Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Memorial

A moment of silence please. It is with deep sadness, that I report to you, that I have received my last WALTER DRAKE catalog. I have been a long standing, valued customer,,,, but yes, I have received the LAST CATALOG. The cost of postage has made it impossible for them to continue to send even one............ WAIT, if I actually order something out of this catalog,,,, YIPEE!!!! IT WON'T BE MY LAST.
Now, hmmmm let's see, we could use a key holder that looks like a pile of dog crap. But we have 2 dogs running loose on the farm and I just can't take the chance.
They have tweezers that will remove unwanted hair. Uh,,I don't have any of that.
There's Anti-Aging hand creme. That's what I need, people coming up and commenting that my hands look much younger than the rest of me.
They have "Hair No More Creme". Apparently Marilyn's been slathering that, in place of mayo, on my BLT's.
Here's a machine that will trim nose hairs painlessly. Yeah right!
Maybe Blind Wipes. No, not invented by Ray Charles. These will effortlessly wipe the dirt from your venetian blinds.
I could get 'Ready Strip'. As a varnish remover it might work,,, as foreplay,,, it doesn't.
Here it is,,, a bag squeezer! No I don't play the bagpipes, and No we don't make that many cups of tea, and no to what ever it is you're thinking.
Now I'm getting warm, Restaurant Quality Hamburger Press. How about a Farm Kitchen Quality Hamburger Press??
Hooboy, get this. Aluminum Ice Cube Trays. $8.99 I grew up with these and they didn't work. These are why all ice cube trays are now made of plastic.
JUMBO KEYBOARD LABELS!! They want you to buy these stickers and stick them on each letter on your key board. Someone explain to them, (screaming like Sam Kenison now) I KNOW WHERE THE KEYS ARE, I JUST CAN'T HIT EM.
Ah, my favorite, a Pedal Cycle, sit in your favorite easy chair, and pedal inches away.(if you never get up to eat something) Much easier to peddle than a bike. Now that's my kind of exercise, a workout that doesn't include that annoying tired feeling.
Yep, I've just received my last Walter Drake catalog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sleep On It

I've usually told my kids, when they got into trouble, "you've made this bed now you'll have to lay in it".
There were two times I didn't. About 15 years ago, (give or take 5) my oldest, then about a 3rd grader, brought home his final report card for the year. It had an INCOMPLETE behind ART. I asked the typical thing that most fathers would ask. "You're taking art"? I asked him what the problem was. He was so mad, his eye's were red. "She said I didn't hand in my last project". "I did". "She's lost it". I have always hesitated to go to school and complain. Mostly because most of the administration have always been good friends. What to do? The teacher was widely known for being disorganized. I called her and told her who I was. I said "He says he turned it in, could you conduct another search for it". I got a call back in about 30 minutes and it had been found stuck to the back of another project. She'd be happy to change the grade.
The other incident that comes to mind was when my youngest was in High School and he turned in a book report at the end of the year. It was important to him because he needed a certain average to avoid taking the semester test, and he was teetering on the edge. He got his report back and the grade was not good enough. I had proof read the report and felt that it was not bad. When I started to study the paper it dawned on me that there had been a substantial error in addition on the -2 here, and the -1/2 there and so on. AND the one that got to me was the last question. It was something like, Give your opinion of the book and would you read another book by this author. In so many words my son had related that, no, he didn't like the book and wouldn't read another by that author. His Opinion was apparently wrong, because he got the full 4 points off.
I was going into a boil, I could hardly breath I was so mad. The teacher had obviously little regard for either this assignment, grading, or my son. It didn't matter, I was going to call the principal in the morning and get a meeting with him, and the teacher, and my son, and I. I slept on it. In the morning my mind was clear. Forget the meeting I thought. I said to my son. "Take this paper back in and say these exact words, My Dad thinks you may want to re-add the number of incorrect. And he was also wondering about the last question". He brought the paper home that night, it had been recorrected, and I think he had about 16 points added to his grade. Oh yeah, his opinion was no longer incorrect.
It taught me a lot about confrontation. When I'm ready to fly off the handle, in a public way, I sleep on it, and can usually come up with a plan to get my way without having to say something to regret the rest of my life.
Oh yes, the teacher was a good one, I think, but was just going through the motions until she figured out that someone was watching.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Is This Heaven?

We've been suffering with triple digit heat and dew points in the low 80's. It has been painfull because the hardest task in farming is hauling irrigation pipe when it's hot. Okay, maybe not the hardest, but one of the hardest. Respiration is labored even while idle.
We had a front go through last night. We got almost an inch. That makes 2 and a half we've received in the last 10 days.
BUT,,,the big news is that it is 67 degrees right now. We expect mid 70's for a high. Tonights low is expected to nearly break a record low in the mid 50's.
The temps are to return to the low 90's by the weekend, but for now, let's pretend it's fall in Tekamah. (pronounced- tee-Kay'-muh)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

California Pictures

I was in a neighboring town last week for an Economic Development Board meeting and stopped in to visit our county's center for the developmentally disabled. It's part of a very large regional program, that covers about a quarter of Nebraska. I'm on the governing board for the region. I'd been invited to stop in at any time by the director. (I'll call her Mary)
The first thing that struck me was how busy everyone was, how friendly, but most of all, sincere. When Mary talked of the 'needs' of the program and her 'people', as she calls them, she became very serious. She showed she clearly was a woman who would fight for her residents. When she spoke of what she wanted to accomplish, her eyes would soften and emotion just poured out of her face.
She took me back into the facility, away from the front offices, and deeper in where the residents were all busy, maybe not accomplishing much by my standards, but then I don't accomplish much by others standards.
We were approached by a lady who obviously hadn't physically or mentally developed to her fullest, but she was very interested in talking to me. She put out her hand and I shook it while Mary told me her name and told mine to her. "I'm pleased to meet you I said". The gal whirled around and ran off into the corner. I then met a resident, that I already knew, and we visited a bit. The gal who had run off, came quickly shuffling back to me with a photo album. "She just got back from a trip to California to see her brother", Mary said. The gal just beamed while I opened the little album. She was in a picture on the beach, with two people. "ME"!!! She shouted. Mary translated everything that was said. When I pointed to someone and said "who's that", the answer was always, "ME", as she danced with delight. Mary would calmly add the names of the people in the picture and their relationship to the lady.
That got me to thinking that if you run a center that employs that many people, but can still tell me the name of all of the people in one of the residents photo albums.... Then you are obviously taking a personal interest in the residents and I feel confident that the their best interests, are being looked after.
One more thing. I've seen a lot of good vacation pictures in my time, but none were ever better then the ones I saw that day from California. I've never shown my photo's to someone and had the urge to laugh and yell and dance as they viewed them. Who's the unfortunate one?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Let's Go Check the Irrigation!!

The heat and humidity have been oppressive. The dew point hit 81 today. We've been running our wells as much as possible.
The sun will set in about 10 minutes. This pic is taken just south of our house. One of the rewards for going to all the work of irrigating, (besides higher yields) is being able to idle around the farm at about sundown, while tending to the wells, and observing the long shadows, the beauty, and Gods creatures. I saw 5 whitetail deer in the field road tonight. They were nibbling at my crops again. They didn't stay put long enough for me to be able to run over the little varmits. (er,,, creatures)

Pick a name. Pipe irrigation. Flood irrigation. Gated pipe irrigation. They all are correct. That is cold ground water being pumped out of the pipe. We will run those gates open for about 8 hours and then open another set and close these. The effort required to reach the point of running water from the pipe takes considerable labor, effort, and youth. Yes, youth is the key and on this farm that must be hired.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Birthday for Doll Face

Most things that I write, like you, I don't care to reread. The following is a blog I wrote one year ago that talks of the birth of a grandaughter. I have gone back from time to time, not to admire my writing but to relive the events of that day and my thoughts at the time.

Originally posted July 2004
Last week we had a great family reunion for my wife's side of the family. Even her Brother from New Zealand came, along with his wife. In the midst of all of the eating, visiting, and picture taking, we had a family baby shower for our son and his wife from Lincoln. They were expecting in the middle of August. I had to leave in the middle of all of this for a truck driving job to Wichita. I was feeling sorry for myself, I had to leave too late in the day, company at home, and I even had to stop on the way down to snooze. I couldn't stay awake and that little nap made it so I didn't leave Wichita until 4:00 AM. I stopped at the first rest area at 4:30 and went to bed.
At 6:00 AM, my phone rang and It was my son saying. Dad, where are ya? North Wichita. Why. We had a baby last night. Right there, July 20 went thru my mind. My Dad's birthday. I thought about how we have our time here to try and make a difference and then make room for the next.
Well that changed everything. "How soon can you get here Dad"?
"I'm leaving right now".
The sleepiness was gone, the reunion was on the back burner, along with truck driving, and I was on my way to see two of the happiest people in world.
Everything was as it should be. Smiles, Grandmas, and Dad proudly handing the baby from visitor to visitor saying "meet Madilyn Rose". The reunion had moved to a hospital in Lincoln, NE.
I recieved an email the next day. At the bottom it said, Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, it's by the moments that take your breath away.
Grandma and Grandpa are breathless.

Monday, July 18, 2005

It Was A Good Day

My oldest Brother and his Wife, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary yesterday. They are going to a week long retreat with their family in a few days to celebrate. So this was our chance to take them to lunch. The couple are Marty's folks. They just moved back to the home town and are proving to be a 'wonderful addition' to our little community. The conversation usually goes like this. "Cliff, I met your Brother and his Wife, we are lucky to have them in town". They are the type of people who are quickly getting everybody's family tree figured out. Not a prerequisite for living in a small town, but it is recommended.
We took them to an Omaha restaurant where we met another brother and my boys and family from Lincoln.
We went shopping and got home for the finale'. 1.1 INCHES OF RAIN. I've got a busy week ahead, but the rain made it much easier to get up. And one more thing, THE SWEET CORN IS READY!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A View From Our Farm

(Click to enlarge photo) There are two ways to irrigate. I prefer this one. A center pivot system giving our soybeans a drink. We need rain. I'll try to get some pics today of the other method of irrigating.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Booby Trapped Pancakes

Last week, my son and his wife were in the middle of their morning routine. He gets the baby out of bed, changes the diapers and takes her into Mom to feed. That used to be done in bed. However recently they have been weaning the baby and moving toward adult food.
They have had excellent success with breast feeding and saving a supply in the freezer. The baby had a ready supply whether Mom was there or not.
Well Mom took the baby into the kitchen to make breakfast and made her whole wheat pancakes. The milk in the recipe came from the supply of Mom's Best in the freezer.
My son finished his morning shower in the basement, sprinted up the stairs as per normal, and in one motion said "Oh pancakes", and popped one in his mouth. On about the second chew, his wife smiled and said, "uh, they're made with breast milk".
"You didn't give me a chance to tell you". Well the pancakes ended up splattered into the sink, and a glass of water was used to purge the system.
What do you think folks. Is spitting breast milk pancakes out, like they were a glass of sour milk, the correct reaction. What would you have done.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Miserable House They Live In.

In our county, the County Board of Supervisors, acts as the Board of Equalization. So I’ve spent the last two days presiding over hearings of residents unhappy over their new valuation notices. It went well and most had good reason to schedule a hearing with us.
We had revalued some sub classes by putting on an across the board 6 or 8% increase on the whole county. Then a month ago, Nebraska’s Tax Equalization and Review Committee (TERC) slapped our county with an additional 17% increase on all rural houses. That little misguided action put many over 100% of their value. We removed that (the 17%) from many who were over 100%. We had to get the value of the buildings near 96%.
We had one protestor that explained the reason they thought their valuation increase was unjustified. A full page, of reasons on what was wrong with the house they lived in, and why no one, in their right mind could possibly consider purchasing it, if they were to ever put it on the market. The problems with the house were enormous. Then they finished their tirade with the fact they had just purchased the house a couple of years ago. As our clerk read the form, the board members looked at each other with the unspoken question on our lips. Why did they buy the house to start with??

And The Next Generation Prepares

"If we practice enough, maybe Unca Tom will let us take this 'ski' for a spin".
Last Sunday. Son Tom on Right, with two of our Grandkids.

Monday, July 11, 2005

On Right: Ralph,, a Colorado State Forrester. A man who is truly OUTSTANDING in his field! On Left: Cliff,, a Nebraska Farmer. A man who is just out standing in his field.

A Quiz

Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes??

A: No eye deer.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

We Still Have Cherries, but Ralph's Are Gone!!

We are going thru withdrawal from our visit by Ralph and his Wife. They are great house guests. The type that just come in and make themselves at home. (thinking on that most of our guest are that way. Means they feel at home OR they have to fend for themselves) Ralph's brought about 10K calories in the form of a gift from a chocolate factory.
This cherry tree was bursting forth with fresh fruit. It was a center of entertainment. The Neighbors, and Ralphs and the Morrow's gathered around the tree to pick. I think this tree may be Biblical in a sense. We picked several gallons of cherries, and "the tree was not consumed". We never made a dent. Everyone hung around for a visit and slow charcoaled and smoked chickens.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ranger Ralph

....then he suddenly looked at me with that look, you know the one, the one that says, "Cliff, this will be the last time yer gonna get to take a picture of me on horseback.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th to You All!!

Just one more reason why men should never be allowed to go shopping. Not even in sporting goods stores.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Read Ben Steins Last Column

Go HERE to read a great column. There are three pages, but at least read the first two.


The Colorado forester, the 'espresso love boy', the 'Boss Hog' of bike rides, the jocular jockey of John Deere's, RALPH the incredible, (and more importantly, his lovely wife) are on their way for a visit. The fireworks are dry, and we're baking a cake. Film at 10.