Wednesday, May 30, 2007


They're Back! Each spring we develop a problem in our house. We have some large flies that appear seemingly out of nowhere. Usually about 10 of them. They are apparently hatched this size. They are huge. Bumble Bees can't be this big when they're born. These flies are large, hairy, and slow. They are here for just a few days and then they're dead. When you swat them (that's why they're dead) you need to be careful about what they are sitting on when you hit them. The toxic waste team that cleans it up will appreciate it. I've always made a habit of getting them vacuumed up right away for fear they might start to smell like a dead animal. I told you they were big.


If you are a first time visitor to our part of the country and I take you for a tour of our little town, I will likely drive you by the Burt County Courthouse and say something like "That's where our Board meetings are held, you should see it on Memorial Day." While on my way to the Veterans service at the cemetery this past Monday, I snapped two pictures. The first is on my way north on main street. It shows the view from the southwest corner of the lawn.

This second picture is from the northwest corner facing east and shows a better view of the flags.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Sometimes you take pictures that you think arent' going to be good ones. But they capture something you didn't see with the naked eye.

Sometimes you snap a picture of cousins getting along.

"Hey Wait!" "Can you teach me to do that?"

(click on pic to enlarge)
Sometimes pictures need no explanation.
Thank You Veterans for protecting our freedoms.
I Salute You!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Views From Around the Farm

This is a picture of one of my Grandaughters sleeping in a carseat. Do not try this position at home without the aid of a diaper.
Just trust me on this one.
This view from the porch is a week old. It proves that I'm having trouble with the lens on my camera. The same lens that made me look overweight in the photo below, makes those corn rows look crooked. I'll admit that they aren't 'perfectly straight' but as I've mentioned before, it's hard to plant straight rows because of the constant rotation of the earth. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

We Also Ran

I got done planting corn twice last week. It could happen again. As another 30 feet of dry ground appears around the water holes, I'll make the circuit and plant 8 more rows here and there. I have one field of beans to plant but that will have to wait for more dry weather. We do have time yet for the timely planting of soybeans.

So our local Country Club was holding a 3 man scramble golf tournament and me with my planter at a stand still, decided to call the boys to assist at donating to the cause. These little tournaments are obviously and idea of some flaming liberal. It is a means by which they take money from the average or in our case, less than average golfer, and redistribute the wealth to others. They would be unable to hold events like this with out us. Without our money, they would have nothing to pay the winners. Our golf professional didn't need to smirk when he saw our card and say "Well men, thanks for supporting our tournament. However, a good time was had by all. This picture is of Dan and Tom with ol' Dad. The pic is a bit deceiving as Tom is actually a bit taller than I and Dan isn't that much shorter than I. Also the lens mad me look overweight.
They came up with their 'girls.' Between them it's the two wives and Dan's two daughters. My Grandson was baptized on Sunday and they wanted to be here for that. The bottom photo is of my Daughter playing the organ during the church service with one of Dans girls inspecting her footwork on the organ pedals.
We had a good long visit. I love it when they can come and kick back for a while.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Like Diarrhea

I've decided planting on years when it's too wet, is like having a bad case of diarrhea. You're never sure when it's over. The corn is done. Or is it? I'm going out this morning to take some more stand counts. I have some poor stands in two places. And a lot of corn that isn't even up yet. Replanting requires a lot of decisions the least of which is will I be improving my chances of a good stand by replanting or will I be better off accepting what I already have.
Then there are the areas that were too wet to plant. Do you wait until the last few days of May and go try and plant another pass around these miniature lakes I have adorning my fields.
There also is the field the Missouri River reclaimed last week. When the water goes down as it is doing now, the catfish leave with the receding water, but the carp aren't that smart. They will get trapped in the ponds that are left and stay for the hazy lazy days of summer. Not smart. That's when they run out of oxygen and water for that matter and begin suning their bellies.
The water also leaves logs, sticks, bottles, more logs, planks, picnic tables, old refridgerators, boats, logs, duck blinds, decoys, maybe a dead farm animal, and then of course, logs, scattered all over the field. It will all need to be cleaned up when it is dry enough. IF that happens. Another decision waiting to be made.
So whilst I busy my self with normal farming activities for this time of year, my mind will be trying to decide whether or not to plant something else or just put the planter away for the season. Like diarrhea, the urges are there but I'm just not sure.

Monday, May 14, 2007

And Then There Were Three (acres left to plant)

An update on the bridge. It hasn't fallen to the bottom of creek. Yet. The south east corner has dropped about 5 feet. I don't think I'll be walking out there to take anymore pics. They have excavated both sides to expose the piling. The pilings down to bedrock which in these here parts is about 100'. But the piling on one side sort of gave up and let the bridge collapse on one corner and sway to the side in that direction.
I fear the cost of this repair.
I got up this morning bent on getting done with corn planting. Heavy rain was forecast for tonight. I had only about 100 acres to do. The last 40 was just down the road from a large machine shed I own where the first 60 was that I planted. It usually takes about 2 minutes to 'road' the equipment down there from my building. The bridge was out so I had 6 miles of travel to get there. Saw some unfamiliar farmers. They all sort of looked at me cross eyed and then the light would come on over there head and you could almost read their thoughts..."Oh yeah, the bridge is out, that's what he's doing over here."
Everything went smoothly until late in the afternoon. A small rainstorm built quickly in the west and moved across southern Burt County drenching me, my planter, and the field with rain and small hail. And of course I only had about 3 acres left to plant. Here is where I must invoke another farmer saying. "If it was easy, everyone would be farming."
Well it's been raining off and on this evening. Enough to be able to say I won't miss any farming whilst attending my meeting in the morning. I hope there will be some sort of moderation in the amount of rain we receive this time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

High Water and Denny Crane

This photo is of a bridge not far from our house. I must cross it with farm equipment to get to one of my fields. The picture is taken from the middle of the bridge looking south. As you can see the 'approach' to the bridge is missing. I think it was transported via the Missouri River to somewhere near Kansas City. It was suggested at our board meeting that we should fix this or build a couple of ramps so it could be jumped ala the Dukes of Hazard. Thinking that my tractor and planter should remain in contact with Terra Firma, I landed on the 'fix it' side of this issue.
The bridge is on a curve in this drainage ditch and that fact plus the recent high water flow made for more turbulence than was planned for by the folks who installed the bridge. The approach dirt was washed out . As soon as the water level subsides a bit they will excavate and install sheet metal even deeper.
On another note, a couple of days ago I was watching TV and an Omaha Station reported that thru May 7th, this was the wettest year on record in Omaha. They have received 17 + inches of rain so far this year.
Marilyn and I were watching Boston Legal last week. We are particularly tickled with Denny Crane who is played by William Shatner. After one of his confrontations with an attractive female and having said something that should have embarrassed him but of course didn't, I said to Marilyn, "When I grow up I wanna be just like Denny Crane." She got all serious like and looked at and said "Honey, you already ARE Denny Crane." My dreams for my future dashed again.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We've Got Trouble!

Right here in River City. We've got Pool(s)...of water. Planting season was late this year because of the cold weather which kept soil temperatures to a minimum and then wet cold weather set in.
We were already saturated but had gotten in to work and plant the better, well drained ground and could see the light at the end of the tunnel when it began raining last Thursday afternoon. I planted thru part of the all-afternoon mist but the mud finally began building up on the gauge wheels.

That will always bring planting to a stop. The gauge wheels are the big, flat wheels that run on either side of each row. Their job is to keep the seed at the correct depth. If they get chunks of mud starting to build, they will do an uneven job of planting putting some kernels at the correct depth and others on top of the ground.
So I quit mid afternoon on Thursday. It rained that night, and the next day and night and day and night. Add infinity. A total of 3.8 inches at our place. You must understand that I live on the Missouri River bottom ground. We are some 9 miles from the town and to get there
must traverse some not very well drained farmland. This owing to the fact that the river is close and the high water level there is not that much lower than than the adjacent land. AND since water tends to run down hill... we must wait for the upstream rivers to drain into the Muddy Mo before our tributaries begin their turn to drain.
On our way to church this morning we snapped these pics. The top one is of U.S Highway 75 (it runs nearly border to border, north and south in this country) about 2 miles south of Tekamah.

The second is of that dusty county road I showed you last fall. The third shows the field I was planting when I got rained out and if you look closely or click on the pic you'll see my planter and tractor sitting there in the mud. The last is of the corn field along our lane. In all of these pics the water is not in a lake but rather sitting on normally productive farm ground.
This time of year we would hope to have been done with planting. When you get rained out you are upset at not being able to get it planted. As you can guess planting is the most important of our jobs as farmers because without this completed in a timely fashion, our year is a failure. As you sow... well you know.
Now we have reached a reversal in conventional thinking. Seeds sitting under water in cold mud are probably not better off than the dry seeds still in the shed. The dry, unplanted ones at least won't rot. By the time this ground dries enough for planting again, we will have begun to loose yield potential because of late planting. At the rate of about one bushel per acre per day past oh say, May 15Th. And we will also likely go thru the added expense of replanting some of that already planted.
But this is why I prefer to farm. I would just hate forking over a bunch of Income Tax money to the IRS every year.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, it just started raining again.

Friday, May 04, 2007