Monday, August 30, 2010

"dad...DAD! You Can Run A Forklift?" "Dad I've Never Been Prouder of You.

The boys at the body shop have had to add more compressor power. They bought a new one and built a rack to  get the old and new compressors up off of the floor and the rack will also hold the shops air conditioner.
Here Hudson is watching Dad, (our son Tom) operate a forklift. This handsome little boy idolizes his Dad. This didn't hurt his image of Dad.
Now, you can add your own caption.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old Joke

My brother who is a crop duster and who is sensitive to pilot jokes  about rough landings, reminded me of an old one last night.
A little old lady shuffled up the aisle of the plane on her way to get off.  She stopped by the pilot at the door, tapped him on the leg with her cane and said, "Sonny, are you the pilot?"  He replied politely and proudly that indeed he was.  She said, "Well then I have a question about our landing,  did you actually land the plane or were we shot down?"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Birthday Party!

I wrote Breathless, 6 years ago. It's a short post that explains the beginnings of the little girl front left in this photo. Her birthday was last month and we had a great time at their house in Lincoln, NE. (notice the good looks of the little girls in the photo. I think they kind of take after me.

Below is our son Dan's Indian Motorcycle that he restored. Here he had just received a trophy for his class in a big car and bike show in Fremont, NE. The birthday girl is clinging to Daddy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who's The Boss

For The Midwest Producer Magazine

The 800-pound gorilla in the room for those of us from the eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska is the Missouri River. We've developed a love/hate relationship with the Ol' Muddy Mo. This year she's been running bank full almost all summer. That in itself is a major cause of problems for those who farm in any region drained by the big ditch. This year, the experts say the Sandhills of Nebraska are saturated and the soils there must release, as runoff, any excess rain they receive. And they, like us, have received a lot of it.
The basins that eventually drain to the Missouri are all, also, running bank full so it's a bottle neck that only time and a lack of rain is going to solve. The big river as I know her is like a spoiled rotten child. Say and do anything you want, but she'll stomp her feet and do as she pleases. There is no controlling her. But isn't that the case with all rivers no matter the size. They can seem so peaceful and sleepy and then in one dark and stormy night turn into an unrecognizable creature.
I suppose I'm a little more sensitive than some to the problems all of these large and small rivers can cause. As a county board member I witness it first hand here in our county, and I have spoken to many officials from across our state about the damage caused by rampaging water. The costs of trying to control water, or at least trying to keep it from bringing commerce to a halt, is overwhelming to most governmental bodies, even on a dry year.
Some of my first remembrances were of the rock trucks that were hauling rock to our portion of the Missouri River as part of the Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act of 1944. Part of that plan was to make the Missouri navigable from Sioux City, Iowa, south. They hauled limestone, truckload after truckload, day after day and month after month to teach the big river a lesson. As if to say these are now your boundaries, stay there. The meandering river eventually was turned into what some folks refer to as an oversized drainage ditch. The river water sped up and cut deeper as the Army Corp of Engineers carried out the plan. They've spent a lot of our tax money trying to mitigate the damage ever since. They continually try to lay claim to more and more property in an attempt to slow it back down and make fishing what it once was.
But the fact remains that years like these demonstrate to the Corp of Engineers and those of us farming along streams and rivers who really is in charge … and it's not us. The river has now reclaimed most of the land it lost back in the 1950s. At least it has for this growing season.
There's been a lot of water under the bridge since all 8 grades of the kids at District 19 were loaded in three cars and taken on a field trip down to the river to tour the big dredge christened the Meriwether Lewis. It was obviously named for the captain of the Corp of Discovery. It was an impressive display of power for all of us impressionable country school kids. But the most memorable fact for all of the little boys on the trip was the sex education thrown in by the captain. He had a picture of his girl friend taped to the back of the door of the bridge. I know he didn't think to take it down before all of us arrived and I'm just assuming it wasn't a picture of his mom.
I went down to the river tonight and sat in my pickup for a bit and watched as the river ran south with all of its incredible power. Nothing is going to stop it. Nothing will control it. But it runs silently like all of the memories it welled up. The water was right up to the road my truck was sitting on, reminding me of the time my dad had to move all of our possessions out of harms way back in 1952.
Having a big river for a neighbor is like having a really strong parent. No one asks, "Who's the boss around here?" We all know.
You can leave a comment here or go to the magazines website and leave it there . My boss needs all the clicks he can get.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Dog Days

People in these parts try to get their work done and money made so they can vacate the region in January and February. I think this might be misguided thinking. July and August might be better months to bail out. I know it would be some kind of trick for a farmer to be away from the farm this time of year but if possible, it would be a good idea. In my memory we’ve had a couple of ‘delightful’ summers. In those years, the temp only hit 90 degrees a couple of times and of course the corn crop suffered from too much rain and a lack of heating degree days. This year we’ve had too much rain at times but we’ve been into the mid 90’s several days and at the same time the humidity soared making it difficult to draw a breath. I fully expected to hear that someone actually drowned while mowing his lawn. These conditions make it hazardous to open your pickup window while driving because of the immediate fogging up of your glasses.
But there may be other drawbacks to Kansas and Nebraska in July and August. It’s vegetables and what to do with them. We plant tomatoes and cucumbers and just one zucchini plant. (We’ve all learned our lesson there, haven’t we?) Then we wait, and weed, and water and ask our friends if they might have a tomato we might have because ours aren’t ready yet. We operate under the theory that there are just a couple of folks in the county raising tomatoes and everyone else is waiting to hear the words, “Okay, they’re ready, come and get em!” It’s at that point when you realize that there are a lot of folks capable of raising tomatoes and they went ahead and did it. Now, just try putting a 5 gallon pail full of the red beauties in your car and giving them away. “Oh isn’t that nice of you, but Fred left a bushel of them in the back room.” Or they say, “No thanks Cliff, we just got done canning 20 quarts and we didn’t even need to raise any.”
Then there was the year early in our marriage when Marilyn wanted to raise Zucchini squash. I’d never heard of them. We bought a packet of seeds and it planted a row about half the length of a football field. They all came up and flourished. We had enough zucchini for the city of Tekamah. Two days later we had enough pounds of squash for the city of Omaha. I’m surprised that the government doesn’t require some kind of warning on the packets.
Warning: Planting more than two of these seeds may cost you all of your friends. The neighbors lights will suddenly go out when you enter their driveway and worst of all, everyone in town will begin to lock their car doors. And forget about feeding them to the hogs, they don’t like them either. Best if picked at about 8 inches in length and we mean 8 inches. The following day you will need a tractor and loader to harvest.
Our cucumbers are coveted here on our place but we have trouble raising them. The cucumber beetles or blight or bad luck always seem to kill ours just after we pick our first cuke. But not to worry. The same rules apply for cucumbers as they do for tomatoes and we just go get the bushel in some businesses back room in town. The one someone else raised and couldn’t get rid of.
August should be the month to go sit on the bank and see if you can trick a catfish into captivity but alas it’s been almost too hot and sticky for even that. Arizona has been on my mind a lot lately as the perfect vacation spot and maybe those who travel there have the right idea. It’s a dry heat this time of year and it’s a dry 60 degrees in January and February.
It’s okay to dream. Right?