Noble Barns

The classic Iowa barns. Mostly post and beam construction. Sounds like an avatar for an internet business. Write a post or however you catch the moment and beam it out over the internet. Or maybe just barely under it. One wouldn’t necessarily want to get caught in the spotlight when the wrong search engine fires up and starts spinning around. It’s best to be out of phase when the all seeing eye of Google scans by. To be oriented correctly to slip through the openings of the dragnet when those on high come dredging by. To have a little hyssop on the lentil to belie that passing over angel of death. That beam above the posts that frame the threshold out of hearth and home.

Even if your home is nothing but a hearthless barn. Any shelter from the wind and rain. Or snow. I started this post to talk about the barn. Not any particular barn but the concept of the barn. Basically a barley urn, according to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary circa 1972. A place to store barley. Maybe initially but by the time I came along they were used to store about anything. I’d say horses but the horses were gone. The horse barns weren’t gone yet though. Neither were the cows, hogs, hay, straw, oats, and machinery. Today the machinery and hay is about all I use the barns for. They are worth their weight in rust as a place to keep my old paintless equipment in, bull or no bull.

I haven’t seen a new barn built since I helped build one down in Texas one hot summer years (and years) ago. Unless you count the imitation barn that was put up to be called a corn crib in town a few years ago. It’s used as a gas station office and a Dominoes pizza place. And this dominoes doesn’t deliver. The same guy built a house to look like a barn a few years before that. But a new barn shaped like a barn to be used to store stuff in I haven’t seen built since that one in Texas back in the early 1980’s. Granted that Texas barn was on an acreage not a farm. And it was going to store video game and vending machines instead of barley. But it was built like a real barn with a fancy hip roof and everything.

I can remember back when we were kids the barn becoming a spaceship on long rainy days. We would climb all the way to the top of the hay. Then climb the ladder on the end of the barn all the way to the top window up under the peak on the gable end. We would stand side by side on the 2×6 ledge below the window and take turns looking out the window into the falling rain. We thought the rain looked like the stars that used to stream by on Star Trek. So our imaginations would conjure up a space based reality we could run with all day. It beat the usual pastime of jumping off the hay bales into a pile of loose hay at the bottom. It also beat the work we usually had to do in that very same barn.

Back then we grew to like rainy days. Out in one of our classic Iowa barns


red barn : Old Barn       red barn : The towering peak of the roof of an historic old German style Bank Barn.



Awed It

Ninety nine bottles of beer on the wall. Take them down and pass them around because everyone should drink from their own damn bottle. You wouldn’t want to get Ebola or something from sharing bottles. I’ll share a few as in some for me and some for you. I’ll share a six pack. I’ll even share a twelve or a case but I’m not sharing a bottle. You lip it you own it. Now whiskey ……. I’ll have to think about. Whiskey is strong enough to kill the germs so I may take a swig. Though I prefer shots. Sipped out of a half pint jar so I can smell it. I think whiskey smells better than it tastes. That’s why you want a broad bottomed glass to sip it out of. A jar top keeps not too much spirit from escaping. Whiskey in the jaro. But it doesn’t take ninety nine whiskeys like it does beer. Half that many will do.

Agent Ninety Nine. Tell the truth, the only reason you watched Get Smart was to get a look at the great gams on the Control agent called Ninety Nine. And to see the last door close on Maxwell Smart’s nose on the opening bit. Or was that the closing bit. All I know is cell phones don’t have to be hidden inside the shoe anymore. But that doesn’t mean agent Eighty Six won’t still show up in your trash barrel. Not as a disguise any more (or less) but more likely as a miner for your information. At least the information they can’t scoop up off the airwaves that our wireless lives emit outward in all directions. Agent Ninety Nine is probably an old hag like Hillary nowadays but I’ll bet they have an agent Nine Nine Nine that’s dressed to the nines.

Ninety nine words on the page? That was so two hundred words ago that it’s not even real like, ya know? No seriously this is my ninety ninth post here on Cocreator’s New Blog. While you’d think I would not have anything lefty to say after maybe the fortieth or fiftieth post you wouldn’t really know me then. It takes ninety nine shots to shut me up. I’m not talking about shots at writing a blog post, there may be no upper limit on that, I’m talking shots of rye. And I’m not talking near as fast and hard as after about half that many shots. Before rye shuts me up it frees my tongue. And sometimes imprisons my soul. Even body and soul on occasion. But whom amongst us can’t confess that? Which is in the end I guess what this blog is all about. My confession. That makes you dear readers my confessors. I only wish I didn’t need more than one.

I’m just saying …….



Some Summer

The last day of summer. I know I have been speaking of Fall but the first day isn’t until tomorrow. It’s still summer if only for a day. What are you going to do with it. I think I’m getting my other combine out of the barn over on the west farm here on Rosewood Road. I already took the 1460 out of the barn here at home to move heads around. The last couple of weeks I’ve been hauling three heads home from about one hundred miles away out in Nebraska. I bought them a year ago and the gentleman I bought them from was getting antsy to be rid of them. I plan on using the 15″ bean head on the 1440 this year. The 20″ head I used last year is too wide for these old hills and that narrower, lighter combine. I fought it all last year.

The 1400 series (1420, 1440, 1460, 1480) IH Axial Flow combines never had the pivoting, land hugging head mount on the feeder houses that the later models came out with. On side hills in western Iowa the combines can get to leaning over pretty far as we cut around the hills. Farmers used to tip over a combine once in a while. I’m just trying to keep the whole width of the cutter bar down on the ground. On the bottoms are no problem, this year that’s only about twenty acres on the two hundred soybean acres I have to harvest. The rest is up on the side hill where the “new” head will pay off. Cutting up and down the sides of wash outs with a narrower head may be better also. As long as I’m not disking them shut before finishing the combining. Then the extra width is beneficial, giving more room to maneuver the disk.

I guess I’m spending my last day of summer much as I’ve spent the last number of days, getting ready for fall. And telling the internet about it. Also known as staying in the same routine. The nights are getting long enough you hardly need an afternoon nap. The nights are getting chilly enough you may have to close a window sometime through the night. I’m getting old enough I can close them when I get up to pee. It won’t be long we won’t be able to leave the windows open. We’re going to miss the sweltering days of summer. We kind of did miss them this year anyway. I’m looking forward to Indian summer as it will at least be some summer if we get it. So far this year it’s never quite made it this far north. Some summer is a good thing. Even if but for a day.



Rain Fall

I don’t think I can remember a wetter August and September since I started farming back in 1984. I remember one September getting seven inches of rain in one storm. That was the first year I farmed the farm north of town. If you can call running your brother’s equipment farming. To me it felt an awful lot like working for a brother. I’ve done that too many times to count and it’s not felt good since I did it to get out of working for Dad. So it’s all relative, literally. The year of the seven inches was 1988. The first drouth I farmed through. Yields were cut in half during a time when I was farming for half the yield. Try explaining to your new landlord that everything in the bin is everything the farm grew, not his half.

The reason I remember the seven inches was the gullies it left in the fields. 1988 was the first year I tore a wheel off a combine. I tore both rear wheels off along with the axle they pivot on. If you’re going to break it break it right I always say. When they fell through the ground tight into a little tire sized bowl that had washed out under a little four inch gulley I was crossing I didn’t get it stopped until they had rolled up into the straw chopper that ate itself and one of the tires. We could get the axle welded back on but the chopper and wheel was a total loss. I don’t think my brother ever forgave me for tearing up his toy. We parted ways soon there after and haven’t talked much since. Even though we live only a couple miles apart.

I was watching the water run out of fields and the creek top it’s banks the last real heavy rain and the thought of my first bad gully experience came to mind. Here we are a few weeks away from harvesting a crop that has seen nothing but heavy rains ever since it was planted. If there ever was a year to tell us where we need to plant something to hold the soil this one should be it. What’s worse is that this last few storms happened again in a standing crop that can cause pools of water to back up increasing the chance for little tire sized bowls to cut out under the soil’s surface. It could be an interesting fall. Watch where you step and watch where you drive this “fall” season. I’m still healing up from my last fall a few weeks ago.




I flew to Phoenix
I flew back out
Over the mountains
Down in the south
We would stop often
Shuffle about
Crowded in a room
Smoke in the mouth

Met me with bracelets
Met me with chains
There on the tarmac
My main complaint
My perfect record
Covered with stains
Bleeding on through each
New coat of paint

Man without freedom
I flew no more
I was locked down tight
Man in a fort
My final sortie
I flew to shore
Not my best flying
I came up short