Farm Photos January

Pictures on the farm during the month of January.

Why Dodge’s Truck Ad Works

So God Made A Farmer

This is why Dodge’s Truck advertisement on Sunday’s Super Bowl was the best commercial.

The reason the Dodge commercial makes such an impact on viewers is because it so basic and so fundamental you can’t ignore it. “So God Made A Farmer” advertisement doesn’t have special effects, celebrity spots, or blaring music. It’s meaningful words and relevant still images. It’s purpose and love. It’s God and man.

Historic Drought of 2012

Spring of Drought 2012

Since I had my websites combined and professionally revamped, I am behind in my blog updates. And I can’t believe I had forgotten about recording this historic year all summer. But fear not, I took lots of pictures. Believe me it’s all still fresh in my memory if not sweat glands, the details of the Drought of 2012.

Let this be a reminder to all of us. You never know when a season will be noteworthy enough to write about ’til it’s already gone. Please recall the harvest of 2009. Another year etched in my memory. But in our memories is not good enough for future generations. It has to be written down. It’s our children’s children’s heritage.

Okay, enough of the sentimental crap.

Winter was very mild/warmish. There was a late spring frost that killed some other farmers’ early planted corn.

perky 3 leaf corn

Spring planting started off at a very nice pace. Considering for many years in a row, we had too much rain to get into the fields. But we finished planting and were able to go to the Flach cattle show Memorial Day weekend.

theo at flach show

At this time, we weren’t getting a whole lotta rain. But we weren’t too concerned yet. Late last summer it stopped raining and we had to haul water. But we finally put in new wells at our house and grandpa’s. So we weren’t hauling water to the houses any more. But almost everyone else on old wells was dry.

cultivating corn

William dug out the old cultivator that completes the matched set with the tractor.(my opinion) After he drove it into the driveway, Bella asked, “What’s that?!” We don’t use it very much. We debate whether cultivating helps by creating a mulch around the plants or harms by clipping roots and releases moisture.

z and coyote

Z knocked this coyote down in one shot. She was out traipsing in the pasture close to the cows and calves. The pastures were still green. But that will change.

To be continued…


Cattlemen, Boots & Music

Whoa. What a great time William and I had at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. convention last week. They had a record number register for this year’s meetings (8200+).  I’ll admit the main reason we decided to attend was because it was in Nashville. William and I love going to Nashville to hear live music and dance a little. Even better if we can join up with some cattle guys at the same time. After driving down Tuesday we had steaks at the Stockyards. It turned out not to be as good as the last time we were there. Wednesday we went to Robert’s Western World and listened to a singer. He was a lot of fun and played some good music.

steel bull
Later that day, we headed over to Opryland Hotel to register and walked around a little ’til the exhibit hall opened. I took some pictures and made a short video of William for his blog. So the second reason I wanted to go to the NCBA was the exhibit hall. I knew it was going to be gooood and it waaaas. There were food tables scattered throughout with meatballs, fried pickles and okra.

We joined the tweetup at the Angus booth. It was amazing to finally meet many of the guys from twitter. @JPlovescotton @dailycowman @AR_Ranchhand @cowgirljesse @Agwired to name a few. Sorry if I missed someone. Please remind me in the comments. So much fun talking cattle and social media with everyone.

NCBA tweetup
Afterwards we made a bee line to signup at the Beef Magazine booth for free pair of boots before the hall closed. Met Heather and Jamie there and chatted a little bit. We headed back downtown to our hotel and the honky tonks. A funny thing happened on the way. William’s phone rang. I answered it for him. it was the ladies at the Beef Magazine booth calling to say his name was drawn for the boots. Yeah.  William picked out this pair of ostrich Setsons from Roper. Thank you very much Beef Magazine and Roper.

Roper ostrich boots
The next day we were signing up for everything; gators, ipads, guitars. Hey, we were on a roll. We stopped at a ton of booths to talk about feed, bulls, fly control, ag colleges ect. William went to a few meetings while I walked around a little and edited some of the pictures I had taken on my phone. Before dinner we went to the MBA reception. There we sat with a couple from Kentucky. Then we met Whitney and Kaity from Missouri Beef Council. That night NCBA had a couple of bands playing. The band on the main stage didn’t play any two step music so quite a few dancers were disappointed. The action was at the karaoke dj. That was fun. Tried to bribe Ryan Goodman to sing a tune but he didn’t want anything to do with that. Guess tweeting his picture wasn’t enough of an incentive.

opryland karaoke

this guy nailed it

Again we headed down town for better music and found it at Second Fiddle. Excellent band. William and I even met a group from our state there. Had a good time talking to them when we could hear each other. That was our last night. We drove home the next day. We had to get back for 4H steer weigh in. I did miss getting grits at Puckett’s. I can get them next time we’re back in town or when NCBA is back to Nashville in 2014. We’ll definitely be there.

Is There a Future For Farmers?

useless college degrees

Agriculture Degrees Are Not Useless

It’s all the buzz in the social media ag circles. In Yahoo’s Education section, Terrance Loose wrote an article “College Majors That Are Useless“.  He lists top 5 degrees that should be avoided. Three of which are in the agriculture industry. Mr. Loose could have done a little more digging for more accurate information before condemning a whole industry. Is a survey of “almost” 1000 employers going to give you complete enough facts about career opportunities across the country.

Mr. Loose brings up the school in Idaho that is cutting ag programs. My alma mater, Illinois State University, is adding programs and degrees to the agriculture department. The ag student enrollment is up with an increase for next year. ISU is hiring more professors (=more jobs) because of the influx of students. Their Dept. of Ag has continually had the highest job placement for graduates in the university.

Which brings me to the next point. The article states “don’t expect farms and ranches to be calling you”. If Mr. Loose would simply ask a farmer he would know that farms raise their own workers, send them to college and bring them back to the family farm. But farms and ranches do call crop specialists, large animal vets, elevator managers, seed dealers, custom applicators, machinery dealers, fertilizer plants, specialty food contractors, even USDA’s county managers, extension specialists, ect. All of which are highly likely to have degrees in agriculture.

Finally, the point “U.S. Department of Labor projects 64,000 fewer jobs in this field over the next seven years”. I would suspect that these jobs mentioned are low skilled jobs that don’t require a college degree. All I can compare this to is the ag climate here in Illinois where we have the 2000 lb wind-bag gorilla on our shoulder known as Chicago. (It’s not a monkey. It’s a big, stinky, resource sucking, arrogant, felonious gorilla.) One would think the behemoth would dominate the state. With 76,000 farms, Illinois biggest employer is the agriculture industry at 25%. 68% job growth in the state is ag related and 9% growth expected over the next 10 years (2008 stats).

So if the saying holds “How’s it play in Peoria, IL ?”, the ag industry for the country is likely to be similar.

Yahoo is doing a huge disservice to its readers and those looking for factual information on career decisions.  It makes one doubt the accuracy of the rest of the articles in the “College Majors” series.

A career in agriculture is an excellent choice. It’s a noble profession to earn a degree that can take you anywhere in the world or back to the family farm. My kids are discussing which ag major they would like to study and what ag college to attend. I couldn’t be happier for them.


Farm Kids & Child Labor

Every year we haul corn out of the grain bins in December or January to the elevator. The kids are always giddy about pushing their favorite shovel to move corn, as you will see in the video. Usually the weather is bitterly cold but emptying the last bin the beginning of this Jan. was unusually warm.

Here is the video from last year. You can see the difference in the kids’ sizes in just one year. They eat lots of beef.

Corn Casserole

My super simple but not-so-secret recipe for Corn Casserole. I get requests to supply this dish at every gathering.

Corn Casserole
corn in spoon
1 pkg jiffy corn bread/muffin mix
8oz sour cream
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 stick softened butter
1 C cooked wild brown rice (optional but worth the effort)

Mix all together pour into a 1 ½  qt casserole dish. Bake at 350 ‘til golden brown. 55 to 60 min. Depending on how deep the dish is. Cake tester should come out clean.

I cook a big batch of rice ahead of time because wild brown rice takes 50 minutes to cook. Then freeze the rest to use later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be sure to share with your friends

Working with the hiefers for NAILE

Kids are work with the heifers, setting them up and walking them. Leaving for Louisville this week.

What are you wearin’ ?

Some would think that when a husband asks this question to his wife over the phone, he’s being frisky and hoping to get lucky later. Nope. During harvest when a farmer asks his wife that question it means: How fast can you come out to the field to run the combine while he runs to do ______. (fill in the blank) Farmer is thinking: How long will it take her to change into her jeans & tshirt? not I wonder if she is wearing something slinky and see-through.

That is the call I got tonight. When he asked What are you wearing, I smiled and said “Why do you want to know?” William said, “Because I want you to come out while I run the truck back to the bins.” Smile gone.

So goes the farm life of a frustrated farm wife.

Harvest 11 Day Forever And A

Z with leaf blower

Blowing the dust off he combine helps prevent fires.

William’s calculations must have been off. We finished corn on Wednesday. The yields were nothing to get excited about. I would say 150 would hit the average. We have since switched the combine over to beans. So far nothing too exciting there either. 40-45 bu/acre. Of course these are decent numbers for the drought we’ve been in.

This picture is of Z using the leaf blower on the combine before we put the bean head on. He seems to be the only one who can get the blasted thing going. When he’s done William uses it on him.

The combine has been running none stop (knock on wood) for 3 weeks. Since we haven’t had any rain. That’s good that we are getting through a bunch of acres. But it would be nice to get a few other things done.

We had another well dug. This one is by our house where the cattle are. It’s a shallow surface water well. Not near the volume as the well over the aquifer. But better than the well we are currently using. Plus it’s got 2000 gallon holding capacity that older wells don’t have.

drilling well at home

drilling a well by our house

Ron our plumber/electrician is coming out this week to start ditching in the new lines and put in the pump. Man will it be nice not to have to haul water every day. The kids have a cattle show in Kansas City the end of the month. Hopefully we’ll get the new well going so they can get their bull and heifers cleaned up.