Feb. 1, catching up.

It took a while to get the server up and at them, but were good to go. Thinking back on the weather. The first half of January was really cold and dry. We fought thick ice on the ponds for a while. The second half of the month moderated with no rain. Last week the temps were in the 70s for two days and I really got spring fever. The repair man finally changed the flat tire and rim on my big tractor and I was ready to go. I disced two milo stubble fields and they worked pretty well. Also working well was my tractor. I had the dealership work on it as it was running hot most of the time. It never ran over half on the temp gauge even when loaded way down. Friday evening (Jan. 30), it started to sprinkle as advertised. Then it rained all of Sat. and snowed and blew today. We got between .8 and 1.0" of moisture. Current temp at 9 pm. is 12. I am really glad to get this moisture as the weather pattern is a dry one. One other item of interest for me was building a half mile of fence on one of my rental pastures. The neighbor on the other side said his "cowboys" said he needed new fence (it was bad). He furnished wire and steel posts. I supplied hedge corners and hedge line posts as well as take down and clean up and some of the build up. We pretty well knocked it out in a week. I wanted it done as I have 1 corral to build, spring cows to move, and two sections of cedars to clip with the skidder. We should start calving spring heifers in around a week with the adult cows starting at the end of the month. We also just finished up working our fall born cows and calves. I'll let the cold snap pass as well as the one forecasted Wednesday and get back to work projects. Other news is that we had to put down my old dog "Pinky" just before Christmas---an old friend that just couldn't go on. My sister is still battling cancer but really battling her past Kemo. Right now she's not doing good at all. It bears heavily on me to see her struggle.

Picture of the snow and mud combined. We've not had much moisture until yesterday and today.

I feed extra prairie hay for both roughage and bedding for fall born calves.

End of the new fence I built in the last couple of weeks.
Feb. 7, moving cattle and cutting trees.

We are in the process of getting spring calving cattle bunched into birthing pastures. The weather today is very warm (70) so after feeding, I took the skid-steer tree cutter to one of my rentals to cut cedar trees.

I found my first spring born calf by a heifer while I was feeding.

A group of my heifers eating hay at the hay shed.

Cedar trees invade pastures and spread out shading out the grass.

approaching the tree to square it up to cut it.

After cutting the tree I lift it to ensure a good cut and dump it out of the way.

Sometimes the tree pokes inside the skidder. We took off the glass door because it would be broken by branches and costs $1000.

I'm cutting a broadleaf tree. Unlike cedars, we have to spray the stump to ensure killing it.

Spraying the stump.

A bunch of work to do. Cedars on a slope (hill). It's wet (slippery) and lots of big rocks so a challenge to cut these trees.

Job finally done.

Feb. 23, cold again.

After a lot of warm weather in late January, the pattern has turned cold. Seems we get one warm day and 6 cold ones. A couple of days ago we got around 1" of snow with western Kansas getting lots more. Weather folks and models show something coming in next weekend already. We should be calving mature cows by then so guess it will be sloppy. Digging post holes shows moisture down around 18" then dry. Our winter wheat looks good except the late planted which shows minor winter kill. I can't get too excited about top dressing wheat yet as the wheat and weeds are not growing yet. Also, I payed income taxes today so really feeling poor.

March 1, cold on the farm.

I'm always looking for this date but never like it when it gets here. It means two more months of feeding cattle and warmer spring time temps----right. Yesterday, it snowed an inch with 21 degrees but today temps rose into the mid 30s. Last week it got down around 10 degrees a couple times with wind. Ice is thickening on ponds again. We are calving spring calves now and this will peak around March 10. I had been working farm ground but now it is frozen solid again. Forecast is for more normal temps by next weekend(7-8) around 50 degrees. I'm ready for warmth.

March 7, winter into spring.

We went from very cold to very warm in the course of a couple of days. (Mid 30s to mid 60s) Forecast is for this warmth to continue for at least a week, maybe longer. I got my wheat top-dressed and my oats planted. The frost is finally going out of the ground so I've been working farm ground. We have started to rebuild a corral then will move to fence fixing summer pastures and a couple of cattle moves. Spring calving is picking up and will peak in around a week---lots of baby calves to tag.

March 15, spring to summer, then back to "normal" spring. Still dry.

Todays high temps are to be in the upper 70s. Tomorrow the highs are forecast to be in the middle 80s. Really under the gun for grass fires. Dryness continues. Pretty well completed rebuilding of main corral, so now can work on other things. I really need to move a couple of small bunches of cattle---the first moves of the spring season. Forecast for cooler (normal) weather for midweek with chances for showers. We need that but the models are not showing much. Hope they are wrong. Got the axel fixed on my disc so have restarted spring tillage. Calving is at full bore, maybe 5 days behind normal but not bad. Probably a reflection of the dry beginning last spring. Soon to come, fence mending of the summer pasture fences.

March 16, hot day.

We were working cattle today and then hauling them. My truck thermometer showed 91 degrees. Grass and weeds popped up today. If this continues, the cattle will get "April-it- is. Temps forecasted to be cooler through next weekend.

March 25, very little rain but cold this morning.

We got around .1" yesterday. This morning, it's 29 degrees. Although I was giddy, getting rain, we are desperately short of soil moisture. Probably shorter than this time last year. With the weather pattern showing high pressure ridging moving over, little chance for precip. for the next week. At least good rains happened close to the south so mom nature is trying. Maybe next time things will set up for us.

April 11, my sister looses her fight with cancer.

Sat. 3:20 pm. Jo ended her fight with cancer with a victory. She now no longer deals with the pain and affects that she has had with her 1 year 4 months battle with aggressive pancreatic cancer. Her funeral is Thursday at 1 pm. at Assaria Lutheran church. We will be dealing with all that goes on with that this coming week.

Picture of better times. My sister, Mom and me at Mom's 90th birthday celebration.

April 17, rain!

There was rain at my sister's committal service at the cemetery that continued till night fall. Then this morning a heavy storm moved over. Total rain was 1.5", the first meaningful rain since January. I'd like to think my sister's spirit helped wring out this rain for us. A lot of pressure is let off now. I know that there will be pasture grass for the summer pastures as we process cattle and haul them to the summer areas. Our wheat has been damaged by dryness some as it is trying to head out before running out of moisture. This rain will stave off further yield reductions for a while. The great thing is that there is more rain forecasted with this beautiful cut off upper low that is sitting west of us. So many emotions right now. Sadness, with the loss of my sister. Excitement, that there will be new growth on the farm.

April 18, more rain.

Last night we got .5" of rain. Then, this afternoon we got a steady .4". We were working cattle up until the rain started. We got to one load to haul when the rain shut us down. Still, we got a lot done and it is GREAT to keep getting rainfall.

April 24 another rain.

We got .85" rain from the storms this day. (See storm chase) Temps are cool until the 28 on when a warming trend comes. This will make the pasture grass explode just in time for our cattle being moved to summer pasture. Wheat will benefit also but yields are still going to be average at best due to freeze/drought before the rains came.

May 2, freedom from feeding cows day.

I hauled my last heifers to summer pasture after helping our neighbors work and haul their cattle. It was pretty warm today with highs in the 80s with a 55 dew. The wheat is heading/headed and looks a little better than it did a few weeks ago. We'll have to see when harvest comes. A few weeks ago Jeremy's Eisley had her 3rd birthday. I gave her some radish seed and we planted them in my garden. A day or two ago, she was down and we pulled her first radishes. Pictures below.

May 12, getting back in the field.

We've had a whole lot of rain lately. This started at my sister's grave side committal service and has changed the whole picture. I haven't had a good count, but we have had around 8-10" of rain in the last 3 weeks. All our ponds are filled around home here and we've had high water in the creek twice. Wheat is all headed and filling. It looks a lot better now. I worked two fields this afternoon and hope to plant some forage sorghum and soybeans tomorrow. Thursday Mom had a med. procedure so will be tied up that day. Forecast is for general rains to come tomorrow night which will knock us out of the fields again. I'm also really behind in spraying and scouting pastures for musk thistle and cedar trees. I'll get on that after the rain passes.

May 14, rain, and more rain coming.

We got .80" of rain yesterday, effectively keeping me out of the field. After Grandma's med procedure, I sprayed small cedar trees up west with a new concoction. I'll see how this works in a few days. After doing that, I scouted for musk thistle. THEY'RE EVERYWHERE! I worked till dark and I hardly made a dent. I don't know how I'll keep up, especially if it dries out and I get back into the planting field. While the rain is good, when it quits, haying, planting and harvest will all come at once.

Our old fashioned roses have really shown off this spring. It smells real good standing or walking by the back door.

May 30, wet, wet and wetter.

It seems that every two evenings it rains around an inch. Farming has been at a standstill the whole month of May. About the only two things one can do is fix machinery and kill musk thistle in the pastures. (There are plenty of musk thistle). We've about run out of farm machinery to fix! Our wheat had looked better the first of the month but stripe rust hammered us after the rains started. Now white patches have shown up where the water stood further reducing yields. There finally seems to be dryness for a while in the forecast so we might get back into the fields next week. It is just wild to see NO alfalfa cut and it's the first of June! I've seen wet spells but never this long where one could not get into a field for a whole month. One bright spot in all of this is that there has been little flooding on our farm although one county south there is almost continuous flooding.

June 6, more rain.

We got 2.5" rain Friday morning according to the chore buckets. Points north and west of Salina had 3-4". So, farming is shut down again. We had missed a couple of rains and I got the rest of the soybeans planted and a field of alfalfa down. I tried to swath some alfalfa today and got a couple of fields down. I then checked pasture water gates and took mineral to a couple of pastures. While doing this, I snapped some pictures.

The wheat is turning---or the rains have bleached it out.

I swathed this field of alfalfa this afternoon but it's really late. Usually, by this time we're nearing the second cutting.

I checked my oat field. Some came up when I planted it the first of March. The rest came up April 15 when it started raining. Two stands--one field.

All our ponds are full and running over after the big rain. I discovered small fish washed out the spillway and were stranded when the water slowed down.

June 12, more rain.

We got an inch of rain last night and .6" the night before last effectively shutting down farming. Before that, we had a short stretch of hot and dry with 2 and 3 days ago the high temp. hovered just under 100. We hammered it down and got 2/3 of the alfalfa put up during the hot days. I got soybeans in a week ago but 2.5" of rain then 100 degrees made a cement covering crust. These recent rains have helped a little on soybean emergence. The wheat is all but ripe now. I am beginning to wonder whether we will get our wheat cut this year or get our milo planted. The forecast is for rain into next week so more delays. You live long enough, you see more strange things in the weather

June20, harvest begins.

Yesterday afternoon Jeremy tested 3 fields for moisture. My field had the lowest with 12.5% moisture. We were still trying to wrap up lots yesterday. Today was very busy. I finished planting milo, (crop service still needs to spray 20 acres in Saline county but it was too wet for them yet) and baled around 100 big bales this morning. Jeremy started to cut with "Grandma's" machine while I got my combine and grain cart ready. We cut off my home place and the load was 11.5% moisture with 58 lbs test weight. Yield was average to below average. Joint grass was worse than I expected (a manifestation from last year) and the early spring drought hurt the wheat more than I thought. Some of our later planted wheat might be better but is not ready yet. We moved over to Jeremy's rental and cut off one field. Just before sundown, my combine had its big tire go flat and Grandma's machine threw a belt. Not sure how much we will get done tomorrow (Sunday) but hope it's not as hot. Today it was over 100 and maybe tomorrow too with no rain in sight until Thursday. I'm going to check the forecast and models then go to bed. It's 11:40 and I'm tired.

Sunday June 21, second day of harvest.

Jeremy finished his one rental (fewer acres this year) while Liz and I went to church. Sermon was interesting as Pastor talked about our 21 year old conformation class (five), then said the South Carolina shooter was 21, confirmed in a ELCA church too. He also talked about what a forgiving congregation they were in light of such devastation. Anyway, back to harvest Jeremy moved to his and my field in the PM. and got 2/3 of it cut. The evening seemed to toughen up faster than last night so he quit cutting earlier. I think the magnitude of lower yields hit Jeremy and I today and I'm really bummed for his sake. We have gambled on planting forage sorghum on the best ground, baling and selling the bales then planting alfalfa this fall for future cash crop instead of wheat, milo or soybeans. Hopefully I can get my combine tire fixed tomorrow so we can cut with 2 machines in the PM. as I have to take mom to a Dr. consultation in the morning. Any way, I need to catch up on sleep as I never sleep well the first night of harvest.

Third day of harvest.

It was a sizzler today. Salina's temp was around or just over 100 with a dew of 70!!! I dealt with tire repair stores all morning in between mom's Dr. appt. Finally, after searching far and wide for used combine tires a new tire was put on at 5:30 and we cut with two combines since Sat. evening. A cool front passed and temps got reasonable just before sunset. Jeremy finished his/my ground and we moved to my best looking farm. Really disappointing. The one load I hauled in was 55# test with 10% moisture. I thought the yield would be around 60 but we'll be lucky to get 40. Definitely a cutting harvest and not a hauling harvest.

June 23, 4th day of harvest.

Today was much cooler and dry and breezy. We finished one farm and ran into some "good" wheat surprisingly on another farm. We moved to Grandma's place and found one patch that was decent 35-38 bu/acre. We cut off half of Grandma's place and I baled some hay in the evening. Tomorrow we should finish Grandma's home place then move to my next to last farm. After that we'll move to Saline county and cut grandma's wheat there. One and a half farms after that we'll be done. It was nice to cut average yielding wheat for once.

The 5th day of harvest, mud found.

Today was a productive day for the most part. Jeremy fixed a broken bolt on Grandma's combine after drilling it out loosing about 1 hour. We cut off Grandma's home place and yesterday's load tested 60#! The first load to do so. We moved on to one of my farms and we ran into mud so that we had to leave a half of acre. We then cut off my "seed wheat" field and another field we bypassed earlier due to greenness. All that's left is Grandmas Saline county farm, my farm by Jeremy's and Jeremy's rental up west. Getting near the end. The weather was hot (100) and windy today. Forecast is for one more hot day then cooler with slight chances of rain.

The sixth day of harvest---trouble looms it's head.

Today was hot and humid with near 100 temps. and light winds for the most part. We moved tractors-trucks-header trailers and combines to Grandma's Saline county ground. Trouble started when Liz's header trailer broke a weld and almost wrecked en route. Jeremy and Auston were near and straightened things with a strap and they made it to the field. Braden (a hired high-schooler) ran the cultivator and I followed with the drill on the milo field while we waited for Liz et-all. Jeremy cut while the rest of us went home to eat dinner. When we got back he changed a fuel filter on Grandma's combine. In doing so he accidently shifted the rotor into neutral. When he began to cut he slugged things big time. It took me to clean all this out. We finally cut off the fields with thunderstorms looming to the west. I got all the milo and feed planted in between running the combine. Moving back home, Liz was pulling the other header trailer when the tire blew on it. Jeremy had to rescue her with a different tire. Still its a counter. We have just two farms with 47 to 51 acres left to cut. Yeah! It's 11 pm and hasn't rained yet although there are storms still in the area.

Seventh day of harvest showers slowed things down.

It thundered off and on last night but we only settled the dust. Today was much cooler and breezy with highs in the 80s. We started late and finished my last farm then tried to move to Jeremy's last rental. The wheat there was still green which was good as Grandma's machine and my combine had broken parts as well as another flat tire on the header trailer. With so little left, I'm calling harvest over.

July 20.

I haven't been posting much due to health troubles. I spent the July 4th weekend in the hospital with a bleeding esophagus. I actually had a blood transfusion while in the hospital. Then, last Friday, I had a procedure to tie off the bleeding veins. This came about from my liver disease which came from my colon disease I had when I was in my mid 20s. To say the least, I've been tired as I dealt with my recovery. The extra meds I'm taking give me the "runs" which aggravates my already sensitive intestines. Once the tie off is good, I should recover over time. It's the pits to be older. To farming a bit. We have been putting up alfalfa and prairie hay, in between rains and doing pretty well except this last weekend. About every other night a storm complex rolls through from the northwest. We get from a trace to .90" from each storm. Just enough to keep things growing. Most days have been very hot (around 100) and humid. Today, though, highs are to be in the 80s, a break from the heat. Milo crop is variable. Grandma's looks great while my milo has a spotty stand due to some crusting. Beans are thin stands due to crusting and I didn't replant due to the lateness of planting this year. We are going to sell my fall born calves in a week and a half from now then hopefully spend a weeks vacation.

July 25, the heat is on.

Yesterday afternoon, when I left Salina, my truck temp showed 108. On the way home it shifted to 103 then back to 105. To say the least, it's drying out since we've missed local storms the past week and the crops are starting to hurt for moisture. Still good haying weather although looming storms makes one pucker somewhat.

August 9, catching up.

We just returned home from a week's vacation on Martha's Vineyard island, Mass. There, we spent half our time working on the house, the rest of the time exploring, eating (fancy) and swimming. The day before we left for the island we sold our fall calves in Salina. Prices were down from last year a bit but the average weight was better making a good bottom line. The best thing about vacation was when we heard from home we received 2.7" of rain. That's a vacation in itself! Below are some pictures of interest from the island.

The island has narrow two lane winding highways that are usually tree lined. Sometimes the trees will open up into more open areas or you will drive through small villages. For the most part, drivers are very courteous.

Like here in the plains, natives use rocks for fences. They do have trees for lumber that our homesteaders didn't have.

Love to swim and wade in the ocean. Love the waves crashing into you and the roar of the surf.

Menus are all about seafood and "natural" "organic".

Very little beef is served on the island making me hungry for a 14 ounce rib-eye.

Picture of me surveying all the boats moored in the cove when we were leaving. It was peak tourist time with more boats around than past years. I don't know why, but there were lots more boats every where.

Peaches.

Picture of a 3 year old tree and it's fruit. I love to eat peaches and apples from our trees but pay a price digesting them. They really make me regular.

There was so much fruit on this tree the branch broke but still was attached. We will let the fruit ripen then take the branch off.

Sept. 3, Hot and very dry.

We had .40" a week ago then the pattern turned hot and dry. Temps yesterday flirted with 100 with wind. Most of the summer we have not had much wind. The last 3 days south winds have gusted to 30 mph and doesn't die even at night. Crops are hurting now. We have a pattern change next week to more normal temps and better chances of rain. That will help wheat ground we're preparing for planting but will be late for fall crop yields. Looking forward to winter, there is a lot of talk of a cold wet El-Nino winter. MY THINKING. For here in north central Kansas/central Kansas, chances for warm and dry winter are better than 50-50 especially if the storm track trends a little south. We would still get some precip. (rain?) as some low systems get ejected farther north. My experience with strong El=Ninos were cloudy, showery, and cool,(not cold). The KEY is where December storm track sets up. North, cool and wet. South, warm and dry. Right now I'm taking the southern track.

September 8, a great rain, cooler temps.

We got between 1.7 and 2" of rain yesterday afternoon. Today, temps topped out around 80. Now, the milo and beans will finish filling grain, the alfalfa seemed to grow 4" today and the pastures should green up some before frost. Also the grassy weeds will come up in the wheat ground. I was sure tired of all the near 100 temps for the last couple of weeks. Love the coolness today. Also this evening I checked my heifers and discovered two had babies, so fall calving has started. Back to crops. Yields for milo will be great now and soybeans will be ok as the heat hurt the beans more than the milo. Unfortunately, grain prices have been on a free fall for the past month and prices are very low now. Seems there is a glut of grains world wide so I don't want to hear about a starving world that we can't produce enough to feed the worlds population.

Moving prairie hay home.

A few days ago we spent a day moving Grandma's prairie hay home from Saline county. With new trailers and a newer semi tractor, Jeremy took this picture of the loads before we started home. This year's production was above average.

Sept. 17, another loss.

We lost Grandpa Page, Liz's father this evening. He had battled cancer for the past year approximately. Liz, her mom and I were there at his passing. He was pretty good up until the last few days.

September 28, an unusual happening of "nature".

I was checking pastures for fall calving cows when I happened on this scene while driving the ranger down the road. I came upon what I thought, was a dead red tailed hawk on the road but when I passed I saw movement. I stopped, got out and walked back to look. What I found was the hawk had grabbed a large bull snake with it's clawed feet. The snake coiled up the hawk's leg as well as one wrap around the bird's mid body. The snake had a death grip bite on the hawk's foot. The snake also had enough length to constrict the hawk's torso and restricted it's breathing some. It was a true stalemate---a draw. I got a tire iron from the four wheeler and carefully unwrapped the snake while I gently held his head and the hawks feet gently under my foot. Once freed the hawk flew away some what unsteadily while the snake was pissed---striking at me repeatedly. I tried to take pictures with my cell phone but it did not come out due to uncooperative posing by the participants. Just another day at the farm. Speaking of. We are still very dry here. I planted around 60 acres of wheat a week ago and it is coming up spotty even though I planted deep. Today's high temp was 90 with winds SE at 15 mph. Jeremy and I got some hay baled today as the forecast is for a trend to cooler weather. Models show some rain tomorrow and Friday. I need rain to get grassy weeds to come up so I can kill them out before resuming planting. After a LONG bout of above temps, the pendulum may swing the other way so we'll see. Also, our soybeans are maturing rapidly and does not look very good. Milo still looks good but will be late harvest. I just finished calving heifers and the old cows will start calving any day now.

This was how I found the hawk along the road. I did not get the snake coiled around it because I didn't want to get clawed or bit when moving them into a better position.

I just got the hawk and snake separated. The snake is pissed and striking at my dog who is watching just out of range.

Oct. 8,getting very dry and more losses.

We are very dry now. By this I mean, there is not enough moisture to plant wheat and get it up. Ponds are still ok and our creek never quite stopped like other dry years. Todays high was 90---a combo of dry soils and pre frontal compression. Dews were in the low to mid 50s. We had thunder all around but not anything here---not enough surface moisture or moisture anywhere to make good rainfall. I've been putting up our last cutting of alfalfa and beginning to cut soybeans. Our milo is good, but beginning to lodge---we'll need a freeze to completely dry out the moisture in the grain. In between all of this I put a field of wheat in (dusting it in). We are beginning full bore fall calving which takes around 3 hours to cover each morning. This week we had two more losses in the family---my cousin's husband and another cousin's son age 43. The funeral circuit is getting old in a hurry.

October 10, still dry.

Today the highs were in the mid to upper 80s with dews in the low to mid 50s. We baled hay and spread fertilizer and dusted in wheat on Grandma's home place. Jeremy finished up cutting soybeans on his place too.

Oct. 13, still dry.

Today was another warm (hot?) day with temps in the upper 70s to 80 and dews in the 30s. Pasture grass is brown like a killing frost has happened. Blazing sun and no top soil moisture makes grass look like Jan 1. We'll have to feed more this fall due to dried out grass. Cows are hungry. Fall calving is around 1/4 done.

A miss is more than a mile.

Oct. 23. Some how we missed all the rain that was forecasted to save us. There was 1.7" reported within 40 miles of us but we got only a dampening. I dusted in all remaining wheat ground except Grandma's Saline county ground with expectations of the rain. Now, the seed will just lay there. We finished cutting soybeans and Jeremy cut his milo field. It tested 15.7 moisture at 60# with a yield around 90 bu. per acre. Fall calving is over 50% for me as we near the end of the month. I'll start moving cattle off of leased ground and be finished around Nov. 1. We'll sell grandma's spring born calves the 29 so a very busy week ahead. Just bummed that we got no rain. It's very dry and our prospects for a decent wheat crop is dwindling. There is a chance for a light frost this weekend too.

Getting cracks in the ground from the dryness we've had.

Getting the drill ready to dust in the last of the wheat.

Oct. 30, some rain.

The recent forecast reduced expected rain amounts due to expected dry-sloting for today. The dry slot happened as forecast but before that happened we managed to get around .50" slow soaking rain. At 10:30 pm. it is still misting. This MAY be enough to sprout wheat seed in the bone dry soils and get a stand before cold winter temps come in. I didn't know how much good feelings could come from one half inch of rain. Time will tell with a stretch of warm days with more rain forecast around 5-6 days from now. In between, we'll be moving cattle off of leased pasture the 2-3 days. Milo is still not drying out even after two frosts.

Nov. 3, milo harvest begins.

We started to cut milo today. Jeremy on Grandma's, me on my milo. I hauled 1100 bu. to the elevator this afternoon. Moisture was in the mid 15% which is high but it's November now and the % of bad things far out weighs good things of getting in the harvest. Have to help the neighbors move cattle tomorrow so not much chance to cut. Rain forecasted for Wed. night so maybe no more cutting for a few days.

Nov. 7, milo harvest continues.

I moved on my next to last field today. It's a double crop field after wheat. This field turned out to be my best yielder and with the driest moisture, 14.5%. Liz and Eisley came over for a ride around and Liz took some pictures below.

November 14, milo harvest is done.

I finished Grandma's milo in Saline county. For me, I got as much bushels of milo than I did with wheat last summer. On 60% less acres. Commodity prices are really below cost of production now and the cattle prices are tumbling so not as good price prospects. One good thing is chances for rain is good for the next two/three days.

Nov. 17, RAIN!

We got .80" rain during the night, a great, slow soaking, beneficial event. This will really help settle the wheat ground and sprout any late planted kernels or thicken existing stands. There should even be some cheat grass growth in the pastures for the cattle graze on. Not a sub soiler yet but a good start.

Thanksgiving night, ice storm and rain.

We got home from eastern Kansas and found 1.5" of rain frozen in the gauge. The grass was covered with ice with a temp of 32. Radar is showing a decrease with the echoes but precip is forecasted off and on through the weekend. I just had a bunch of my wheat sprayed yesterday so great for that. Wind and ice are hard on cattle though.

November 30, icy weather continues.

We are in our fifth day of cloudy/rainy/drizzle, with temps around freezing. Mud is beginning to be a problem and ice covered grass keeps cattle from grazing. Forecast is for clearing today and warming through the upcoming week. It is currently snowing lightly. I take solace that the 6-14 day outlook shows much above temps. Icy pictures below--at least no power outage.

November 30, the sun shines in the afternoon.

December 5, hunting seasons.

As we get around Thanksgiving and afterwards, we do some family hunts. First, was our Thanksgiving coyote hunt on Saturday. This was miserable as there was freezing rain of and on all day. We were very successful when we could get the coyotes out of heavy cover and bagged 7. Firearms deer season began Dec. 2. The first couple of days I missed shots at three large does. Yesterday Quiz and I parked near a milo stubble field we had seen deer grazing. We walked out in the middle of the stubble and laid down for around 45 minutes, then started peeking around. Just before sunset, when I looked, there was a meat buck grazing towards me. I waited a bit longer, then got on my knees and dropped him with one shot. Nobody yet in our group except friend Cory has scored. He got a doe. Jeremy has been searching for a big antlered buck but as usual, when season opens a trigger trips in it's brain and it vacates our farms!!?

The guys looking at our take at the end of our family coyote hunt.

Picture of me and my "meat buck".

December 13, a nail into the lid of the dry weather coffin.

Last night and today was a classic example on how NOT to depend on forecast models a lot. A week ago, the medium range models showed really no precipitation for us. Then, when the upper storm reached the west coast, the models showed more and more precipitation (the storm is better sampled when it reaches land thus better solutions are made). There was lightning and thunder last night then a cold steady rain today. We took our rain gauge inside but the chore buckets have around 2.75". Combined with Thanksgiving rain and ice, we are in better shape moisture wise---not totally saturated sub soils but close. One more event like today and we would be "there" for the winter. This El Nino may be wet for us yet, contrary to what I thought would happen last fall.

December 28, missed the "big one".

The storm system that caused the tornados in Texas and blizzards in Texas/New Mexico moved farther east and we didn't get the big snow that was earlier forecasted. We did get the cold temps. Yesterday and today the highs were in the 20s. These cold temps will hold into the new year then modify. Running just one model (super long range) shows benign weather into the mid January time and cold. But, it is only one model. Otherwise, we made it through Christmas and now basically feeding cattle. Grandma has a large contracted project to rebuild the corrals around her barn and it's exciting to watch the new fencing develop. I will rebuild some of my corrals to all steel too when it warms up some. Fall calving is all but done although I got 3 calves Christmas eve. Unfortunately commodity and cattle prices are way down. Most grains are at or below cost of production so 2016 may be a bum year for us.