Lizzie meeting her new sister for the first time.
Picture taken three weeks ago of a field of wheat turning color. Today is June 16, and I checked this field this afternoon---some kernals cracked, some were mushy. This evening I was in Saline county by Bavaria, finishing up digging musk thistle and I saw two farmers out test cutting wheat but not doing much. I figure 3 more days and we will test some of our wheat and harvest will begin this weekend.
June 17, cutting wheat!
Today was hot and breezy with temps in the mid to upper 90s. After getting home from a fire run late in the afternoon, I checked a wheat field next to our house and all kernals cracked between my teeth. Jeremy and I readied the combines and cut out 5-10 acres, in the process ironing out bugs in the combines that needed adjustment. This morning I ran the two dumps to the elevator and it tested 12.4 moisture at 62# weight. This afternoon we will cut out the rest of my "up" ground and will then have to look around to find wheat dry enough to cut. It will take a couple of days before we can go to full swing harvesting.
June 21, harvest on hold---a good rain.
We recieved a little over an inch of rain from two different storms yesterday. This stopped harvest yesterday and today although I think we could have cut some this early evening. So far we've cut here and there trying to find dry wheat, cutting around 100 acres. Yields have been average at best as the poorer stands have the dryest moisture. My semi trailer had a wheel bearing go out at the elevator Friday but Jeremy painstakenly re-threaded the hub with a triangle file so we can fix it by tomorrow. We should finish Jeremy's wheat tomorrow and start on Grandma's as hot, dry weather is forecasted for next week. We have been very dry the last week so this rain was VERY beneficial.
June 23, harvest in full swing.
The heat is on,(temps) and we're busy cutting wheat again. Today's high temp. 100, dew point 68, little wind means sweltering conditions! All wheat at this time is ripe. We have finished Jeremy's, Grandmas, one of my farms and a field or two of my other farms so are over half done cutting. I got into some good wheat last night and today---one field made 60-65 bu./acre! A couple more days cutting with out breakdowns will see the end getting near. Forecast is for showers this weekend and with the hot dry weather we've had this will be welcome. I saw that some of my alfalfa is starting to bloom so will have to start the second cutting soon.
Combine view cutting some very good wheat. After starting out cutting poorer yields hunting dry grain, cutting this was lots of fun!
Nice long stretch of good wheat!
Filling the truck from a full combine bin.
June 25,wheat harvest is over.
We finished cutting wheat this afternoon with scattered thunderstorms popping all around. I hauled the last two loads over to the elevator just before sundown. Test weight on the last load, after the weekend rain, dropped to 60#. Still, that's pretty good. Forecast is for cooler weather arriving this weekend then warming---haying weather.
Cool and damp for Fourth of July.
We got .75" Friday night as a cold front passed through. Saturday and today has been cloudy and cool compared to normal. I got most of the second cutting of alfalfa put up and have started to work wheat stubble ground. Jobs next week will be get irrigation pump motor running, (we are still very dry!) and working wheat ground plus move hay off of fields. Spent the 4th down at Mary and James loving grandkids and shooting fireworks. In Eudora, it's legal to shoot fireworks on the streets. It's amazing to witness the fireworks mayhem around 8-10 in the evening out on the streets! It sounds like the battle for Bagdad is occurring!
July 20, a nice big rain!
We had a complex of storms develop overhead late last night and early this morning. Unlike other nights recently, where we got 2" of lightning and .20" rain, the rain gauge had 1.95" in it this morning. To put this rain into perspective, it was last fall since we had a single rain of this amount. This will get my milo to head stage and really push the soybeans. The forecast is for another complex to pass over us tonight so could actually get runoff into ponds! Activities on the farm is trying to get prairie hay put up around the showers we've had and prepairing for fall calf sales next month.(August) We got most all of our spring pairs worked for the second time last week as well as getting most of the wheat ground worked. After a hot weather harvest, the temps. have been cooler lately so on average may end up with a cooler than average summer.
Enjoying grandkids visiting the farm.
Taking time to garden with Lizzy.
Checking out the tractor.
Checking the cows.
Aug 1, a nice rain.
We received .70" of much needed rain last night. The 2" we got the other day was a thing of the past. The only thing saving us was the cool temps we've been getting lately, so far a very cool summer. I noticed Jeremy's soybeans were wilting yesterday and the milo was rolling up some. I had two alfalfa fields swathed which probably helped make it rain. Jobs upcoming are finishing the third cutting of alfalfa, finishing prairie hay, working wheat ground and selling fall born calves.
A big rain after a hot and dry week.
We were getting very dry up to today (Aug 10), as temps soared to and above 100 two and three days ago. Everything green was turning brown or wilting. This morning we got 2" of rain with a severe storm that caused wind damage all over the area. This will save and make some milo and soybeans as well as greening up the pasture grass. We even got some of our ponds filled back up since the two inches came in just under an hour!
August 20, cattle sales done---a taste of fall.
We sold mom's fall born calves today, ending cattle sales till late October/November. The entire roundup and hauling went pretty good today unlike last week. Last week haulng my calves, Jed lost his transmission and Jeremy lost the engine in my truck. Prices were close to last week as well. 670 to 720 lb. steers brought $1.06/lb. both sales. A cold front came through last evening and the temperatures are fall like---lows in the 50s in the morning! We did get .30" and .50" rain in the past week so topsoil moisture is moist. Jobs upcoming is still finishing up prarie hay baling and planting alfalfa next week. Then Liz and I will take a short vacation with James and Mary to Yellowstone Park.
Picture of Grandma's cows and calves following me to the "catch" pen just after sunrise. Been doing this every year for the past 40+ years and never tire of this sight---gathering cattle for sale.
August 26, a big rain!
Last evening we had the first of three storms pass over home here. When I went to bed, I dumped 1.25" out of the rain gauge. I was awakened two different times by thunder/rain during the night. This morning the rain gauge had 1.80" in it for a total of just over 3 inches. With some trepidition, I planted some alfalfa yesterday, knowing some rain was coming and needing a half to three quarters of an inch to moisten the top soil. I planted very shallow but it will not make much difference with 3" of rain washing and packing the seed, I will probably have to replant. Now that fall is just around the corner, I reflect back on a cool dry summer. We've been on the very dry side for most of '09 but the cool temps have "saved" our crops and pasture grass somewhat so we should get average yields on our milo and soybeans. Now my attention turns to this upcoming winter. After now turning wetter, what will the fall and winter be like? We'll see.
September 9, just returned from trip to the Teton mountains for our vacation.
Liz and I got back from our trip with James, Mary & grandkids this afternoon. Here are some thoughts. Just a great time with with all the family enjoying spectacular scenery! The geography of Wyoming. Even though most people think the state is desolate when driving through, I find continuous things of interest while driving. I amazes me that about anywhere, an upthrust can produce a granite mountain or a bolder as big as a house, with any size inbetween! The arid climate of Wyoming is acute but there are several large lakes supplied by snow melt rivers and streams. During our trip, most all the grass and sage were dry and straw colored. We didn't see green grass in the highway ditches until we were east of Denver! We saw a lot of cattle grazing in Wyoming but compared to our pastures what were they eating? I spent a lot of the trip thinking of the difficulties ranchers have raising cattle out there. Certainally horses have to be the main form of transportation when checking cattle although there seems to be a 4-wheeler in the back of every pickup! The wildlife was interesting to see in the parks. They drew tourists with cameras like a Kansas tornado does storm chasers. I was dismayed to see how many dead trees there were in the parks due to the bark beetle. Also a lasting inpression was made by the 1988 forest fires in Yellowstone park. I can't imagine what the conflagaration at it's worst would have been like to have lived through and experienced. Anyway, a great many memories were had in a three day time. While we were gone, it rained back home a couple of days so couldn't do much farm work anyway. Below are a few pictures.
This is the first view of the Teton mountains we had as we came in from the east.
We followed James and Mary around to the different places. They have vacationed here for several years and know the area.
This was the cabin we stayed in at Coulter Village.
Liz and James taking pictures of mountains from the shore of Jackson lake.
Eager picture taking people forced this moose to swim across the Snake river.
Teton mountains shrouded with a blanket of evening rain.
Liz and I pose with the grandkids before our trip into Yellowstone park.
September 23, cloudy and cool on the farm.
We've been cool and somewhat damp the past week or two. This cool cloudy weather does not help curing hay or forage sorghum. Wheat planting will begin in a week so I have been moving cattle around as well as trying to cultivate wheat ground between rains. If I can get hay put up and cattle all moved, I can concentrate on planting wheat and get it done quickly. We are calving heifers right now and are about 3/5 done with that. The mature cows will begin calving October 8 or 9, hopefully after wheat is planted. The soybeans are losing their leaves so will ripen around Oct. 10 barring inclemate weather. Jeremy and Meghan's wedding is Oct. 24 so that will tie up a weekend---or at least we'll have to plan work around that weekend but an important weekend none the less!
Jeremy and I moving fall calving cows down the road to the calving pasture.
October 10, cold snap/first snow.
The cool summer and fall continued into October when the temps have dropped even more. Average temps yesterday (average between high and low), was like 23 degrees below average. All day today the temps stayed locked on 31 and snow fell for a couple of hours this afternoon. No accumulation occurred due to warm ground temps. I checked the fall calving pastures today and tagged many calves---fall calving is in full swing. I also planted some wheat on cut soybean ground while snow was falling! Our wheat is basically all planted except for a couple of patches of soybeans we need to cut. Still have all our milo and most of the soybeans to cut and will work on that when the sun shines again. I have made some initial cattle moves this week, getting ready for spring calf sales by the end of the month. Jeremy's wedding draws near so we will get to see some of the family for the first time in a year or so and that will be nice. Wish the weather would just be seasonal, it seems like Thanksgiving now and that throws off my bio-clock!
Picture of the snow falling in the yard. What will winter bring?
Picture of Pinky the wonder dog with snow flakes sticking to his coat.
October 14,checking cattle, some pictures.
While checking all the pastures today, I took this picture of some fall born babys while most of their mothers were eating some pellets.
I found this new born calf in one of the pastures and tagged it. It's about 1 hour old. I tagged 4 new babys today.
I'm beginning to work with my spring calving cows---getting them used to being fed so I can catch them and sell their calves. I may sell calves in around two weeks. This picture kind of shows the cloudy,cold and drizzely weather we've been getting the last week or so.
Picture of some of my calves born in the spring of 09. These will be sold in a couple of weeks but I will save the best heifers for replacement of old cows. I color code the ear tags---white tags are heifers and yellow tags go on the steers.
October 23, Rained out! A VENT.
We recieved over an inch of rain night before last. That would not be so bad but like the last two or so storm systems that moved through central Kansas, they seem to stall out! What happens is we get two dry sunny days, then one day of rain, then 3 or 4 days of clouds and drizzle. This cuts into fall harvest a lot. I've cut about 60% of our soybeans when I can and sampled my driest milo---18% moisture---too wet to cut. This delay in the fall harvest is affecting prices, they are moving higher! I sold a few soybeans at $9.77 per bushel a couple of days ago which is some of the highest prices I've ever recieved. So, we wait for good weather to harvest. The interesting thing I've noticed is the month and three month ahead forecast outlook always has average to above normal temps forecast and we remain cooler! I've always thought that the fall would be cool and the winter mild and we'll see. I only base this on that the weather changes---cool summer/fall will transition into warm as the pattern flip flops. Not very sientific I guess. Is this weather an effect of global warming? Well I have to vent now on this subject, especially after listening to this subject on KSAL yesterday. Here's what I think and know. Is the temps of the world warming? Yes, if the meterologists are telling us right. Is this warming man caused? I don't know--possibly---even probably. What I do know is this. As a farmer and storm chaser, I need to know what the weather is going to do in the future, tomorrow--next week--next month. The current state of forecasting centers around computer forecast models. I know that out to 11 days these models are good---but after 11 days the solutions are what forecasters "white noise". Since our upper level steering weather comes from west to east, we don't have good mesurements of systems in the Pacific ocean, so the imputs to the models are sparce, rendering accuracy nill after 11 days. SO. In my opinion, people who say that the oceans will engulf New York, Florida, ect, and the plains will turn into a desert are IRRESPONSIBLE ALARMISTS! NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE HOW GLOBAL WARMING WILL AFFECT THE WEATHER IN THE FUTURE! There is not enough data base in the long term climatalogical forecast models for accurate prediction very far into the future. There was a forecastor at Dodge City who kept a blog of what the overall circulation was doing. I understood only half of what he was saying. I do understand that climatic weather patterns are generated by many complicated imputs and some cancel each other out at times. Do I think that we should go ahead spew pollutants out? No. But I don't think that we should radically change our cropping systems or other things to try to change the weather because it probably won't do what we intended it to. This earth has had climate changes before and came back (ice ages and 10 feet of dust deposits forming the soils in northwest Kansas per soils classes at Fort Hays State). We should step back and maybe work to improve the sensors and especially put out more mesuring instruments to improve the data base for our prediction models instead of trying to change everything we do on the pretex that it will change the weather. END OF VENT.
October 24, wedding bells chime!
Saturday afternoon family and friends watched as Jeremy and Meghan exchanged marriage vows at our church. YEAH! I will post more pictures as they come in.
Picture of Jer and Meg cutting cake at the reception.
November 15, winter storm coming!
The well advertised winter storm is beginning to affect us here in central Kansas. The ground is damp with overnight showers with the radar showing snow falling in the northwest portion of the state. We FINALLY got our cattle moved off of leased ground yesterday and are set up for winter feeding. I finished cutting a field of milo yesterday as the sun came out for a while yesterday afternoon. We have basically two fields to cut and are done but the trucks are full and will have to be dumped next week and the fields will have to dry back out to finish. We never cut ANY dry milo (moisture under 14%)this fall due to high humidities and wet ground and only one light freeze. Its been a very frustrating 3 weeks trying to get work done ie wet with breakdowns forever happening. Fall calving is pretty well done with just a few calves to come during the next month. I see light at the end of the tunnel so know that things will slow down as far as farmwork goes. Feeding cattle and doing LOTS of maintence on equipment will then be the order of the day.
Friday Nov. 27, warm and dry----fall harvest is over.
I finished cutting milo today. It might be the driest milo I've cut all season. We still have a bit of forage sorghum to cut and bale although the swather still isn't fixed yet---awaiting parts. Cattle moves are done as we moved spring calving cows to winter pastures just before Thanksgiving. Next jobs is to put up electrict fences on milo/alfalfa stubble at "Bob's" and branding replacement heifers. Firearms deer season starts Wednessday so we will be busy as the deer population is high and getting a real nusiance to crops. The bow hunters have taken 3 bucks and 2 does so far and we've invited hunters to come if they will fill doe tags. A cold spell seems always to hit the first day of deer season and sure enough, one is forecasted for next week, and I'm getting old enough that cold weather isn't fun any more!
Wed. Dec. 2, firearms deer season. A double.
Deer season began this morning with just sister Jo, Jeremy, Jeremy's friend and I hunting. With increased deer population we've had problems with them destroying milo and soybeans this summer/fall. I bought a buck tag as well as a doe tag intending to cut into the population. At around 7:30 I discovered a three-legged buck in Grandma's milo stubble and Jeremy and I "sandwiched" it but it decided to try to get around me to make it to cover. Bad mistake for the buck. We discovered that it was missing it's back leg up to the knee as well as having a "sore" on its hip on the oposite side of the missing leg making the meat unuseable. It also had a very unique rack. I was glad to take it for it probably would had suffered during a hard winter. Later this morning after doing some chores, I shot a large doe on Grandma's pasture, taking it with a short range shot through a plum thicket! Sister Jo shot and missed a large racked buck, Jeremy shot a coyote and at this time they are trying to "sandwich" another crippled buck on my land. We've seen lots of deer already today---probably around 30 does, fawns and bucks. Per usual for the first day of deer season, the weather was cold with a biting northwest wind.
Picture of me, the dog, and the three legged buck with the wierd rack. Note that one of the tines of horn points down as seen under my glove.
Another pic. of the unusual horns.
Jeremy poses with his deer he took south of his house.
December 8, a BIG snow.
We had snow all day. Final measurements tonight totaled 8 inches. The wind is starting to drift our dirt roads shut. It is supposed to clear off tomorrow with temps below zero tonight.
Picture through the foggy truck window of a snow drift across our driveway. I had to take my big tractor&blade to open it before I was able to continue feeding cattle.
Picture of my first calf heifers waiting to be fed. Temp was 6 degrees.
Keeping open drinking water is very important in cold weather like today.
Picture of near empty hay feeder. With snow covering the pasture grass and below zero wind chills, you almost can't give cows enough hay!
December 26, cold and windy on the farm.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! The week before Christmas, temperatures moderated and finally the snow melted except the largest drifts. Then the forecast was for a potential blizzard for Christmas eve! I prepared for this by getting the extra big tractor ready to carry bales and pre positioning hay. We ended up with some rain/iceing and snow flurries and WIND! Its been a while since I've seen northerly winds howl for so long a time! It's still blowing at 20 mph this morning. Thank God we didn't get the 8" northwest Kansas got or the 10" Oklahoma got, or the 6-8" eastern Kansas recieved! The other thing was temps. I figured they would drop as time went on, but stayed steady in the 18-21 range night and day. Of course, wind chills are just above 0 and thats bad enough. Cattle are really "chummy" when the feed truck comes anytime. During all the weather, we had small family get-to-gethers at Grandma's Christmas eve and day. Our eastern Kansas family will come after they dig out! I finally got both my feeding trucks back from the shop a couple of days ago. They went down fighting the snow drifts from the previous snow two weeks ago. I was down to feeding with an open tractor and my "town" pickup for a while and it's nice to feed inside a truck in this wind! Of concern now, is the amount of hay we've had to feed in December. The hay piles have big dents in them! Also I've got to nurse a weak clutch on one of my feeding trucks. As we pass into a new year we have to get our farm books ready for turning in to Farm Management, and finances are a concern as we head towards spring. Lower cattle prices and reduced milo/soybean yields this fall have money TIGHT! Another job is cutting fire wood. With all the cold weather, we've burned loads of wood already and Jeremy and I have gone through gallons of chain saw gas---(work!). One thing we do have in abundance is dead trees. Elm disease, beavers all over the creeks and the big ice storm of two years ago produces an abundant supply of dead wood. I never have to cut green trees for firewood except for cleaning up yards/ice storm damage. Well, the new year is almost here. I'm ready for some localized global warming!