January 9, mud on the farm.
Well, 2008 begins like 2007, muddy! The snow and ice has has mostly melted as well as 2" of snow that fell night before last. If one ganders at my 2007 archive the January pictures on it mirrors what it is like through the first week of Jan. '08. We try to feed cattle early while the ground is frozen up and we can get around but yesterday not much freezing happened so I just feed everything with the big tractor. We will be watching for a dry open day to work "grandmas" and our fall cattle pairs around beginning to clean up downed tree branches from the Dec. ice storm. That is the near term work focus we're doing at the moment. The weather is changeable, with systems moving through every 3 days or so with light precip. falling with each system and usually breezy to windy south/north winds depending on which side of the upper systems we're on.
January 17, cold and snow on the farm.
We recieved 3" of snow with very strong winds yesterday and last night. This morning its 8 degrees but sunny. We worked my fall cow/calf herd Tuesday when the temps were 48 and very muddy. Wednessday we helped our neighbors move cattle as the snow was beginning and got that move done before the roads were too bad. The warmth we "had", had melted the ice off of most of the ponds for the first time since late December and will now freeze back up. In the mornings we were able to navigate around the muddy pastures because the previous snow had melted and the night cold would freeze the ground solid until afternoon. Forecast is for more cold and light snow for the next week, but it is the middle of January.
Jan. 19, the deep freeze continues.
The latest arctic outbreak has entrenched itself here in central Kansas. Last night Jeremy said his truck thermometer showed -7 degreese during the night, luckily there was not much wind. These cold temps are requiring more feed to be fed to the cattle and another chore is chopping pond ice for watering them. Maybe we'll get above freezing temps by Thursday-Friday (Jan. 24-25) according to the forecast----five days from now!
A new daily chore---chopping ice so cattle can drink.
January 26, second January thaw.
The temperature rose above freezing yesterday for the first time in a long time!! Today the afternoon high was in the middle 50s. We took advantage of the nice weather to work Grandma's fall born pairs today, just shy of 100 pairs. We dewormed/deloused and retagged the cows and gave first immunity shots to the calves. This took 5 of us a little over 4 hours to complete these jobs. Our next major cattle task will be repositioning spring calving cows to the birthing pastures around the February 10 time period in preparation for spring calving beginning around February 24. The weather is supposed stay warm for the next two days then return to "normal" temps. for next week. This should melt the ice on the ponds so I don't have to "break ice" for the cattle to drink. Also the winds will blow tomorrow and the next day and with the snow now melted the grass fire danger will increase. May have some postings on the fire page.
Jed is filling vaccine gun during a pause in the action as Tammy looks on. Jeremy is in top left corner of picture bringing more calves down to the shute.
Heifer calf waiting to be let out after receiving it's vaccination shot.
First calf born in '08, an unplanned event due to a bovine romantic encounter!
Feb. 7, more snow on the farm.
We received 5" of snow yesterday with a stiff wind blowing up some small drifts. The cold, snowy winter continues. Jeremy and I moved "Grandma's" spring calving cows home yesterday after the snow stopped so they would be closer to feed and check as calving will start around Feb. 25. I will move my cows nearer to home in a couple of days. I checked my wheat fields with a crop service rep. before this last snow storm covered things again. We saw a lot of mustard weeds in my early planted wheat with one field having a lot of cheat grass that will have to be treated. 40% of my wheat (the early planted) looks excellent and I will reinforce success with fertilizer and weed control. 60% of my wheat (later planted due to rain delays) has such thin stands that it is hard to see if it is even there! With perfect weather these stands can still be good but time is running out as spring approaches. I'm anxious about all of this as we had low yields last year due to freeze and floods. Current prices are around $10 per bushel!!! NEVER have I seen grain prices like these---a chance to gain some decent income since I've recently bought land that i've rented "forever" and I have 2 tractor payments remaining. After struggling all my farming career to get out of debt, I finally was even, (no debt) a year ago, then the '07 wheat crop "tanked", cattle prices dropped some, and the land deal was "buy it or loose it". THAT is why I'm somewhat anxious about weather, crop conditions and cattle prices.
Wheat that was planted late---a thin stand.
The early planted wheat looks good.
February 23, More snow.
Saturday---it started to rain this afternoon as we finished feeding cattle. Then the light rain turned to sleet/ice pellets, then to snow. At this time (5:00 pm), it's still snowing heavily with an inch of accumulation on the ground (around another 1" already melted). YUCK! Not what I want as we are beginning calving---I got two calves born yesterday, none so far today. I will not have too much hay left this year when we go to summer pasture as I keep feeding heavily due to the cold wet winter. The extended forecast for around March 5, (we're heavily calving then) is for more cold/stormy weather, a tough winter for raising cattle.
Snowing out at the barn.
February 29, a nice day!
With all the cold, snow and mud we've had this winter, we had a very nice day weatherwise today. High pressure was centered over Kansas today bringing light winds and 60 degree afternoon temps. Short shirtsleeve weather! I fed cattle then Jeremy and I went to Salina to do some banking and get repair parts. We then cut some firewood then I burned some of "Grandma's" yard where leaves and ice storm sticks had accumulated. Activities on the farm include prepairing tractors for spring tillage and "tinning" a barn roof. Spring calving has begun and will be in full swing around March 10th, so checking pastures twice a day is routine. The ground is still frozen/muddy so can't work any fields yet as oats need to be planted asap. Tomorrow, March 1, equals 60 days till freedom from feeding cattle day so I can start that countdown. We've fed lots more hay this winter due to cold weather and another problem will occurr when the grass greens up---the cows and calves will reach through the fence for that jackpot mouthfull of green grass and get out of bounds taking our time putting cattle back in their pasture and fixing fence. (This is usually precipitated by a call from the neighbor on the cell phone, usually when you're in church or in town stateing "you have a cow in the ditch at where-ever-it-is place!" Yeah, lovely! "Ah, could you run her in for me?"
March 12, Recovering from surgical stay at hospital.
I got home from the hospital in Salina yesterday after having complications from gall-bladder surgery. I was in the hospital Thursday--Tuesday and am still slow. The reasons for the complications were scarring from previous surgery in 1997 and my liver disease (diagnosed in 1995). At least the weather is warm here as I begin my convolesce at home but again all that does is make me wish I was well enough to be out and doing, which seems to be down the road a piece. Well, I guess there could be deep snow or something so I should not be glum as I am, although rain is back in the forecast Thurs.--Friday and again maybe Sun/Monday.
April 2, still cool on the farm.
La-Nina still has the central plains in it's cool grip, we have had two mornings this week with temps below 32 degrees with daytime temps (usually cloudy) in the mid 40s. Just so tired of cold temps! It did shower during the last week (approx. .25") which should make my newly planted oats germinate, (if the soil temps raise some)! I've done some field work in the last week getting over all the ground I will plant to soybeans as well as getting over some milo ground with the chizzle. In between all this Jeremy and I have belatedly started going around and fixing fence, something I haven't tried much as I have been taking it easy somewhat with my recent surgery. Speaking of that, Sunday I must have strained the internal part of the surgery area because I'm very sore (where the gall bladder was) so taking it easy again. I will see my main doctor in less than a week which will tell the main story on how my recovery is going. So we'll see. Otherwise we will be working cattle and go to grass with them, (if it ever warms up and makes the grass grow) starting April 19, finishing around April 30. Freedom from feeding cattle day!!! This winter, starting with the huge ice storm in mid Dec. was really hard on the cattle herd, especially the older cows which we have lost a few when they just lay down and don't get back up then die. Even when I feed extra it seems not to help. I remember a similar year, 1993 was cold and wet and we lost some cows the same way but I'm thinking that the ice storm was how bad things got started and while it was not as wet as '93 it is certainly colder.
April 9, results from post operation visit with doctor.
I had my post op. checkup with my "regular" doctor yesterday. He went through the procedure (gall bladder removal) with me on a diagram of what happened while I was sleeping during surgery. The interesting thing about all this was to remove the stone I had in the bile duct between the gall bladder and the small intestine. The end of my bile duct was cut and enlarged and between the two doctors, the stone was removed. This is important in two ways now. If I have further stones in the bile duct area, it will be easier for one doctor to send apparatus into the duct to retrieve the stone. More importantly, if my bile duct disease gets worse, it will be easier for doctors to do sort of a balooning of any bile duct strictures in the future. With all this "extra" work done during the surgery it answered my biggest complaint----lots of adhesions and scarring that make sore spots on my right side when I strain or twist or take deep breaths. The blood tests show minor irritation to the liver (post op swelling/irritation) so thats fine. Bottom line is I'm getting older now and it takes a little more time to bounce back from these "episodes" than when I was younger. On the weather, we recieved around a half an inch of rain yesterday morning and expecting more tonight/tomorrow. Temps were 32 this morning and highs in 40s--- miserable weather for man and animals alike for almost the middle of April.
April 10, big rain, mud on the farm!
I woke up this morning with light rain/drizzle falling. Feeding cattle was a big headache. Due to mud everywhere it was hard to get around with the feeding truck. Finished feeding around 11 am. and the rain started pouring down around 11:30. The rain lasted about 1 hour and the gauge showed 1.75". At 4pm. the creek was 1/3 bank full and still rising some. The temp. at 10:15 when I was typing this is 40 degrees with a northwest wind around 25 mph. Weather service is forecasting a hard freeze for Sunday morning but the wheat hasn't started jointing much yet so just have to endure the cold. Most all our ponds have refilled after today's rain and I'm glad that I got a lot of the "spring" farm ground worked as fields will be muddy for a while. Gladly, next week, temps are forecasted to finally stay in the 70s----maybe spring at last!!!
Picture of an old rock fence built by a homesteader in the 1800s. Back then there was no steel posts or trees for wood posts so they had to make due with what they had---rocks! These fences have been knocked down some with time but in their day, they held cattle, sheep, or hogs. What a lot of hard labor it took to make these fences!
April 20, finally some warm temps.
It was hot and windy when we drove home from church this afternoon. The car thermometer on the car said 80 degreese, whow, it was really hot, especially when we're used to 48 temps all the time (seemingly). The mud has dried out from last Thursday's rain and I actually did some chizzeling this evening. Next week will be cattle working and moving to summer pasture week and freedom from feeding cattle day will arrive around May 1, weather permitting! I found alfalfa weevil larva in the alfalfa today and will have that sprayed probably Tuesday and will need to check some summer pasture fences before turning out cattle this upcoming week. Fixing fence is a chore this year because of all the tree limbs from December's ice storm smashing the fences down. Cottonwood and siberian elms trees were the worst "shedders" of limbs on fences---sometimes in unbeliveable piles. There will not be any shortage of firewood next winter with all the branches laying around curing out in the summer heat!
April 29, freedom from feeding cattle day!!
We finished taking cattle to summer pasture today. We worked and sorted around 80 fall born pairs of ours finishing around 7:30 in the evening. Tomorrow and Thursday we help our neighbors get their cattle out to pasture then we'll turn into "dirt" farmers again. Upcoming jobs are tilling the rest of the spring crop ground, search and destroy musk thistle and begin soybean planting around May 12-15th.
May 14, still cool overall on the farm.
The weather has been cool for the most part with two or three warm days per week. The wind is like it would be in in March---warm out of the south sustained at 20--30 mph, then two days out of the north at 20-30 mph. I brought home my soybean seed yesterday as I normally plant from the 12 through the 18th but the crop consultant said the soil temps are still too cool to plant yet and the showers recieved last week has kept us out of the fields until yesterday, so still trying to finish up spring ground tillage before planting beans. Wheat is beginning to head out and is about on schedule for harvest around the middle of June. Some wheat looks very good and some average at best. Seems the weather (season) is about 2-3 weeks behind normal this year so can't get impatient trying to get things done too soon.
June 7, a short update.
Due to storm activity I haven't much time lately to post much. The weather has warmed considerably and rain falls once to twice a week. Got all the soybeans planted and up by mid/late May. Planting milo now with around 30 acres in so far. I've been trying to get the first cutting of alfalfa up between rains and only half done with that since Jeremy and Liz are back east for a week, (May 30--June 7 vacation at Martha's Vinyard). With the season late this year, I was expecting wheat harvest to not start until June 20 or after but with all the 90s heat with wind, the wheat is "yellowing" quickly thus cutting into the time I figured I had to finish up haying and planting and getting combines and trucks ready!! All this is doing is making me a bit nervous as the wheat looks good but is really lodging after all the heavy rain/wind we've had recently. Price for wheat is staying in the mid $7 range and that is VERY needed as fuel and fertilizer prices are INSANE this spring!
June 11, the great white threshing machine!
We recieved a huge hail storm last evening along with the tornados that hit Salina--Chapman--Manhatten. While storm reporting I looked at the radar on the tornado side of the storm and didn't realize that we were getting hit until I got home late into the night. Mom and Liz picked up hail from quarter to golf ball size and the rain guage had 3" in it!! Mom had a couple of cracked windows and holes in her screens and we didn't have any cracked windows at all. I checked the wheat this morning, (June 12) the home place had some damage, Neel's and Hobbs wheat was flat from rain and wind with some hail damage and one mile south by Jeremy's almost 100% hail damage! In the same area my newly emerged soybeans were pummeled and may be lost. A worse hail swath was discovered 4 miles southwest, where mom's rental pasture was flattened by hail---not much standing! This evening I found out that mom's wheat in Saline Co. was totaled also although we've not gotten over there to see it yet. I have hail insurance on 3 out of 5 farms which will help some but it hurts to loose two wheat crops in a row.
Hail damage to my oats---it was a good crop!
Hail damage to my "seed" wheat, this was the worst damage I could find.
The hail damage to one of our pastures---it just laid the grass over.
Leaves knocked loose from trees making a carpet on road. This pic. was taken 5 miles southwest of home where our neighbor had several windows broken out of his house.
June 22, wheat harvest begins.
10:45 pm. I just finished supper and will state that harvest has begun. After church I got home and checked many fields finally selecting the hailed out field (72% loss) to test. Got my combine ready, pulled into the field a mile south of home and sampled. I took the sample to Westfall elevator and it tested 9% moisture (very dry!!). I called Jeremy to have him get a truck out and get Mom's combine ready while the co-op folks loaded some cane seed to bring home. I began cutting while I fine tuned my combine to the conditions---60 bushel straw 18 bushel yield. The hail pretty well knocked down heads to half height and knocked grain out of the heads that were still standing. Unfortunately this field's grain was supposed to be stored for next fall's planting. I barely got enough to get by. Jeremy came with Mom's combine and we cut the field out trying to cut low to get all the broken off heads, but slugging our headers taking all the extra straw in. Just sad to see a productive field reduced to very little even though I had hail insurance. Yesterday I finished planting milo except for the replant fields which need to dry out a little more. I will switch my attention to planting cane the next couple of days as well as baling the last field of 1st cutting alfalfa. We will try to finish the last field of "hailed out" wheat tomorrow if it doesn't rain then look for dry wheat in some of the other later planted fields. Still, all in all, we're better off than the people northeast of Ellsworth where the wind and hail were so bad that there are no leaves on the trees and the wheat is so flat that all the fields are like a highway---you couldn't pick up one head with a combine! I took a pictorial swing through the devestation and will try to post on my storm or this page later.
June 27, harvest on hold.
We got 1.50" rain last night effectivly shutting down harvest for a couple of days. Jeremy cut into the night until the rain started falling. He was cutting on his wheat and has about 30 acres to go. We are about half done with harvest and would have been farther along but my combine broke down for a day and a half slowing things down. After finishing up Jeremy's wheat I figured to cut off Grandma's then end on my home place. Yields are excellent and bad depending on if fields are south or north. Fields south were hailed out and are making around 20 bushels to the acre with the north fields (near I-70) have averaged up to near 60 bushels to the acre. It always seems that there is one rain during harvest which allows things to slow down and I can catch up on sleep. Also our friends from Texas came up yesterday so we will have time to spend with them instead of doing the harvest frenzy.
July 2, wheat harvest is over.
We finished cutting wheat today around 3:30 in the afternoon on my "north Hobbs" farm next to I-70. We started harvest with one of my hail damaged farms and ended up cutting some of the best wheat last. It seemed that the south fields had the worst yields due to hail damage and weeds and the yields got better as you went north, especially by I-70 on the early planted wheat. Yields for me averaged from 18 to 65 bu./acre with a narrow spread on the range---one mile south was bad, the next mile north,(home place) average, and a mile north (I-70) excellent. All in all with higher prices, it was a good return. The hydrostat pump on my combine had a fitting loose and was leaking profusly as I shut the engine down for a while till fall harvest. Tomorrow I go to town to deposit some checks and pick up parts for the "swather" tractor and get a MUCH overdue oil change for my storm chase/ cattle hauling pickup. Friday we go to eastern Kansas to celebrate birthday no. 1 for our grandchild, then after that its back to 2nd cutting of alfalfa and burning of some wheat stubble/working wheat ground. Harvest is over, YEAH!
Average looking wheat on "Miller" farm, note the green area where the wet winter/spring drowned out the wheat and weeds came in plus add a little hail.
Cutting good wheat just south of I-70---very thick and partially lodged.
Building up a truck load.
Mirror picture shot dumping wheat at the elevator.
Cutting wheat and checking out the growing milo crop---somewhat thin, but looking good!
July 16, getting dry on the farm.
We've missed a few rains since harvest was finished and are getting pretty dry now. Jeremy and I have been working wheat stubble ground and where there are some weeds the soil is hard and dry. There is some moisture under the heavy stubble and we have burned some of this as it keeps plugging up our tillage implements. I've been trying to finish up the second cutting of alfalfa, (it's been really good!) but the swather broke down Sat. and it took two days to get parts and another day to reasemble. I knocked down two fields today for "rain bait" and will wait till the front that is forecasted to move through Friday, passes. Next week, at this time, is forecast to be dry so will finish alfalfa and start on prairie hay while continuing to work wheat ground. Temps have been in the mid 90s this week with dew points rising into the mid-upper 60s a very muggy typical July week. Other activities are working spring calves the second time while pulling out bulls from the pastures as well as prepairing for fall calf sales. Also, if it doesn't rain Thursday-Friday, I will have to get the irrigation pump motor running and start watering soybeans.
July 18, a nice rain.
We recieved 1" of slow rain last night! This was much needed as things were drying out and the forecast is for hot and dry for the next week. This rain buys the milo and soybeans time to grow through the end of the month which is good. Hopefully we can finish getting over wheat ground next week now that things are moistened up again. Also with dry weather upcoming, I will be putting a lot of alfalfa and especially prairie hay down for baling. With August just around the corner it will be time to sell fall born calves for Mom, mine and Miller trust, which will keep things busy. Whow! Its almost August already! Where did this summer go!
August 9, HOT, then cool and wet!
The last week of July/first week of August was very hot and humid. Salina topped at 107 around the 4th but a couple of days later a front moved through with rain, (just in time for the fair in Salna) with much below normal temps. It's rained the last couple of nights totaling 2-3"! Fall crops and pastures were beginning to fire in the heat of last week, now look fine and will make good yields when fall harvest comes. I was worried how I was going to complete fall calf sales in the heat this August but now the problem may be mud (trying to get the calves moved from the pastures to auction down muddy roads). It's always good to recieve moisture in August though!
August 17, the A-10 sign.
It's been cool and wet this past week so I haven't been able to do field work except to move prairie hay bales off medows. Since I had some time, I stacked 65-70 big round bales end to end and spelled A-10. The reason I did this is to support HAWGSMOKE, a bombing/gunnery competition hosted at Salina airport/Smokey Hill gunnery range where 70 A-10s will compete this October. My hope is that if I spread the "word" about my sign, pilots will be curious and fly over the farm on a somewhat round-a-bout way into the bomb range. I became a comitted A-10 fan in the early 1980s when I saw one fire it's 7 barrel 30 millimeter rotary cannon (40 bullets per second) at a target on the range. The target was totally obliterated with flying dirt when the pilot shot and the roar of the gun vibrated inside my chest! The validity of the design of the A-10 was demonstrated time and time again in Iraq and Afganastan. If you were ground forces in contact with the enemy, the sweetest sound you could hear was the sound of the A-10s quiet jet engines as they approached and knowing they could put a LOT of hurt on any vehicle or people wishing you harm. I made a similar sign in 1985 when I knew some of the A-10 pilots out of the Kansas City Air Force Reserve unit. Pilots like "Farmer" Burgess, "Hamster" Brunke, "Kid" Currey, "Cub" Disrude and "Cooter" flew over my sign 3 times a week as they practiced for "Gunsmoke" competition held that year out at Nellis AFB. Lt. C. Disrude won top gun that year so flying over my sign had to be good luck for him. He once dived on my sign and photographed it with his gun camera and presented the tape to me after winning the competition, I still have it today. Anyway, having some fighter jets flying over the farm would be like the "old" days, when I knew pilots from Kansas City as well as F-4,F-16 B-1 pilots from McConnell AFB Wichita. I also made F-16 and B-1 bale signs in support of those pilots and planes. In 1986, my enthusiastic support of the Air Force/Air Guard/Smokey Hill Range won me a back seat ride in an F-4 Phantom up to the Range where we dropped 6 bombs---a ride of my life! So, you A-10 pilots, come take a look in October, and maybe you'll score high in the competition. Jet noise, the sound of freedom!
An picture taken of my A-10 bale sign from a private plane. I've had three flyovers by A-10s looking at this sign, hopefully more to come before I feed the bales. The sign looks better from the air than I thought!
August 27, A-10 flyover.
I was moving hay bales in Saline County when I had a minor breakdown with the tractor. Just before noon, mom and I was coming home to get bolts and wrenches and turned off of the county line road west towards home when I saw two A-10s flying down the road and over us. I had sent GPS coords. and other directions to the 442 fighter wing last week and it must have worked out well. Jeremy was cultivating a mile north behind some trees and didn't see them. So, the first flyover of my A-10 sign has happened. THANKS! May good luck come to you all!
September 4, a touch of Fall.
With ex-hurricane Gustoff plus a strong cold front in the area, the weather has been cloudy and cool---very fall-like! The morning temperture was in the lower 50s and we ended up with around a half inch of rain. I finished up fall calf sales last Thursday as we sold mom's fall born calves. The market for calves has stedily declined from a month ago when we sold calves from the Miller Trust. I've had a hard time getting field work done lately, (haying and wheat ground prep.)due to cattle sales, wet and cool weather, and a rash of funerals. I'm just finishing up the 3rd cutting of alfalfa! Fall crops look good, although the milo is weedy and our forage sorghum shot up to 7 foot tall. Because of weed issues, I'm rolling wheat ground into spring crops and will be planting wheat in milo and soybean ground after I harvest those crops this fall. To these tasks, I purchased a larger used disc from our neighbor which will help us get over ground faster using the same amount of fuel. This evening I disced with it for the first time over in the Saline Co. farm ground since Jeremy was setting it up and trying it out for me. It seems to be working very good-----makes a wide swath! Four days ago I discovered that two of my first calf heifers had calved so fall calving has started. Jeremy and I worked 3 new-borns for grandma a couple of days ago. Between the rains, I got a little alfalfa planted and it is beginning to emerge when I checked it yesterday. Our emphasis will be finishing up wheat ground prep. as well as waiting for dry weather swath and bale the forage sorghum. By the end of September we will be planting wheat as well as getting ready to harvest soybeans and early milo plus putting up the forth cutting of alfalfa.
The first fall born calf of the season. From a first calf heifer.
September 17, warm and dry on the farm.
After a cool wet August and first half of September, the weather finally turned sunny and breezy with lower humidities this week. I have taken advantage of this dryness to swath and bale prairie hay, alfalfa, as well as swathing forage sorghum, (which takes days to cure). We are finishing up prepairing wheat ground for planting and I will spread fertilizer next week then start planting. The milo is pretty well filled, the soybeans are turning color and our older cows will begin fall calving soon. Ah, October must be near---the BUSY month!!
The wildflowers of September.
I just love seeing all the wildflowers while I am checking cattle in the pastures. They are especially pretty as summer turns into fall. Here are a few pictures of what I see. Enjoy!
mouse over a thumbnail below to enlarge
October 7, Some rain after an extended dry spell.
We've had about 3 weeks of dry weather until yesterday (Oct. 6) when we had around one half inch of rain. During this dry time I was able to get all the forage sorghum baled as well as square baleing some alfalfa. We've got most of the wheat planted, just a couple of fields left along with some double crop soybean fields I need to cut. Speaking of beans, I was one day from beginning soybean harvest when the rain came. Also I have some milo nearly ready to cut. Fall calving is ramping up and will be in full swing this week. So, all in all, the weather has been good to us lately, dry for haying and planting, then a "drink" of rain for the newly planted wheat. I am somewhat concerned about the projected rain forecasted for late in the weekend stopping harvest but we'll see.
October 14, rained out!
Its very cool and rainey today with storm total precip of around 1.5" so far. I started the wood furnace at noon,(temp. was 48) and started grandma's new wood furnace late in the afternoon. We discovered that the fabricators connected the duct-work backwards on her new furnace---heat was coming in the cold air return vent!! We finished planting wheat Oct. 12. I also cut soybeans on the 11th, finishing my largest field. Yields were fairly good to excellent depending on whether the ground was flooded in '07 or not. With the falling crude oil prices, grains prices have tumbled. Wheat from $10/ bu to $5.10, beans from $14 to $8.50, milo from $5.50 to $3.00!! OUCH! Since we've been planting wheat and cutting beans and selling cows/calves from the Miller estate, we haven't had time to check our own fall calving herds. I checked cattle Monday, (Oct. 13) and worked 12 baby calves so calving is in full swing now. I also tried test cutting a milo field---too wet yet. Tomorrow Hawgsmoke begins and Thursday we will take a fire truck to the bomb range to help them cover the event. While we are there, Meg, Jeremy and I will watch continuous A-10 bombing, shooting and rocketry which will be better than waiting to see if there are flyovers over my bale sign. Hopefully I can get some pictures during the event and post them later. Activities upcoming on the farm are starting fall cattle movings, spring born calf sales, and milo harvest, all dependent on drier weather than what we have now.
Liz snapped this picture of me cutting soybeans south of our house. Note the combine bin is almost full, a situation that I like! Initial yield estimate, 44 bu/acre.
October 28, Hard freeze.
We had a hard freeze last night as well as the night before. The temp. was 27 this morning when I got up, effectivly ending this year's growing season. I test cut some milo yesterday and it was 15.2% moisture so will probably be able to cut this afternoon. We will sell our spring born calves in two days and after that move cattle off of leased pasture. Fall calving is continuing and getting to the 2/3 point of being done. The weather will be excellent to do outdoor things for the next week before changing again. Its very nice to be able to dry out for a while!
November 20, finally catching up on work.
I finished cutting milo today in Saline county so only have a 2 acre patch to cut on grandmas, then harvest for '08 is over. We've gotten most of our cattle moves for winter done, and finished up our help with our neighbors cattle moves today. I also finished up my 30 + years management of a cattle herd for the Miller Trust/estate Tuesday as we sold the last of the trust's cows. Jeremy and I cut 3 pickup loads of fire wood this morning after hauling cattle so he and myself and grandma will keep warm due to the coldest night so far this fall is forecast. Jobs upcoming are routine cattle feeding as fall calving comes to an end, tractor/truck maintence, firewood cutting and putting up electric fence around milo stubble and wheat fields.
November 28, first snow----barely.
The morning after Thanksgiving I woke up and looked out the window and saw large, fluffy snow flakes falling down. The temperature was 38 so the snow was melting on contact. It would snow for a while and change to rain/drizzle, then back to snow. When I drove out of my driveway, I looked northwest at the hills where the wind farm is and was startled to see them white with snow! Today, (the 29th), we had more flurries but no accumulation. For Thanksgiving dinner, we traveled to Eudora to be with James and Mary and little Lizzy. I was amazed at how much talking Lizzy does as well as how much her hair has grown! Grandpa/Grandma Page came also and we had a quiet time visiting, eating and playing with/reading to little Lizzy. On other matters, the weather has been cool and damp but forecasted to be windy and warmer moving into December before cooling again. Next Wednesday is the beginning of firearms deer season so will have a family hunt that day. Speaking of hunting, Thanksgiving week always brings family and friends out to quail and pheasant hunt. We have quail numbers that rival the "old days", lots! Pheasant numbers are down for some reason and there are still large numbers of turkey so lots of fun was had by all the hunters.
Even Kansas has some colorful sunsets.
December 3, firearms deer season begins.
Here are some pictures of the results of deer taken.
Jeremy poses with his deer.
This buck with a deformed rack was taken by Jeremy's friend. We all had seen him before season especially Jeremy and Liz in the school bus on their morning and afternoon route by home here. We speculate that he was hit by a car when in velvet and the antler grew that way or resolidified after being knocked loose. Anyway, we were looking for him as we hunted!
Henry and the head from his deer. We gave the meat away. Naturally, the dog has to help.
Sister Jo poses with her deer, the largest rack taken by our family.
December 14, extreme cold snap hits central Kansas.
The day started out with temps. in the 50s but fell all through the day with stout northerly winds between 20-30 mph. Now, at 9:30 at night it is 7 degrees and with clear skies 0 may be in the picture by morning. Forecast is for temps. to be below freezing all through the upcoming week which will be taxing on cattle and wheat as there is no snow cover for the wheat. It will take a lot of wood to keep warm this week!
December 16, snow and cold.
We recieved 4+" of snow this morning. Forecast was for around 1-2". Spent most of the day feeding extra as temps were only in the low teens. I had a baby calf born this morning, born in the barn as I discovered a first calf heifer yesterday nesting in the creek and caught her and brought her home. The calf needed a little help getting milk but got a belly full after I primed it with a bottle. This evening I bladed snow with the tractor cleaning grandma's and Jeremy's roads and driveways. Due to the cold temps. the snow today was dry and very fluffy so it was good that no wind blew after the snow fell.
December 23, at least a temporary end to an ice age!
Today, the temperature got above freezing for the first time in a week. We've had lows of +5, -5 then +5, and -3 this past week with highs mainly in the teens to low 20s. For most of this time the wind was blowing from 10 to 20 mph peaking last night with a south wind howling all night up to 40 mph! This afternoon the winds let up and the high temp. was around 38----shirt sleeve weather. All this cold-ice-snow and wind makes for tough times caring for cattle, ie extra feeding and keeping water open. Between mom and I, we had 5 baby calves during all of this and saved them all. On the debit side, mom lost a cow/calf pair breaking through the pond ice and I lost a "poor doer" calf this week. I do believe that during sub zero temps or wind chill, one can't feed enough hay to cattle---they clean up everything we feed and are looking for more! I think I'll start a weight loss program for people in winter---dress them moderately, then make them live outside like the cattle, they'll burn calories just to stay warm! Forecast is for 2-3" of snow tonight but temps. nearer to normal for the week ahead.
December 23, land purchase.
This morning we closed a contract to buy the half section of land right across the road from the home place where we live. I've been farming the farm ground since I started farming in 1976 but not using the pasture until now. Buying this ground is both exciting and scary! In '06 I bought a large used tractor, in '07 we had to buy a quarter section of land I'd been renting or loose it, now this land which I bought at top dollar. An inheritance has helped but we've dipped deep into debt again and with cattle prices $16-$20 cheaper than they were last summer and grain prices following oil prices (MUCH lower), it will be tight finantially! With the economy slipping as it is, that is another worry. Anyway, I've been negotiating and working on this deal for the past month or so and it has occupied a lot of my thoughts, emotion, and time. Now that the deal is done, I can concentrate on the spirit of Christmas, friends and family and the business of running the farm.
Grandpa playing with Lizzy Christmas day.
Cutting trees away from old farm house on the land we just purchased. Then we'll see if the house is salvagable. Today the temperatures rose into the 60s which made working outdoors a delight!