The geese are flying north. The Robins are back. It is warm. What a difference a week can make. I’ve already finished loading out the three grain bins that are in the field. Over twenty one thousand bushels. The only catch, there isn’t much money coming out of the bins. I guess when Iowa State University Extension Service says it’ll take $4.60 corn just to break even when paying average rent they weren’t kidding. What goes up comes back down. We’d all be wise to remember that. Rent has to come down. Under $200 an acre according to the banker. Personally I’m locked in at ISU Extension Services average. It lags by one year, that is last year’s survey is this year’s rent. That means I’ll bleed for a little longer than everyone else. That was great on the way up. Not so fun on the way down. If that ever even happens.

Next on the agenda is tearing out hot wire fences. I have miles of them on the two farms I was growing pasture on to graze the cattle. With the cattle gone I won’t need to be keeping up the hot wires. There will be no better time than now to rip em out since the grass is either eaten and mowed around them and there’s no stalks in the way. After the snow melts off and the frost comes out of the ground but before the grass starts to grow up in the way. It will take both time and effort but won’t be as burdensome as ripping out barbed wire fences like we’ve been doing on the line fences. Line fences are the surrounding fences that line the farm’s perimeter. Each landowner in Iowa is responsible for their half of the dividing  fences and all of the road front fences on their side of the road. Each must be maintained as a legal fence.

I hope it’s warming up where you are. It may not be 70 degrees but it will be before long. Quite a rise from the zero of last week. Sort of makes it all worth while whether there’s money in it or not.

See ya then, see ya there.




Yesterday’s rain snowballed overnight to bring a white scenery this morning. We are back in winter. Until four o’clock this afternoon. That’s when the north door on the house finally thawed out enough to open. That grass really looks a pretty green emerging from the snow. We have moisture for liftoff, liftoff of the 2014 growing season.  It’s five month mission to grow enough food and fiber to survive another year. With a little help from the growth currently being harvested down south of the equator. Manifesting our destiny. One plant at a time. Just add sunlight. Viola!

I expected the markets would go down. I figured that the rain would  mean western Iowa could now at least get a crop off to a good start. They went up. Which shows you what I know. But my little corner of the world is simply that, a little corner of the very large world. What happens here isn’t all there is. The explanation I read on the Farm Futures web site said that this rain will cause delays to planting all through America’s corn belt when the country is already behind the average planting pace. I can attest to that. My neighbors have usually been planting for a week by now. They apparently haven’t turned a wheel on their planters yet. Also, the new weather forecast is for cooler and wetter going out the next couple of weeks. That could slow us up planting a little further. The markets could get hung up on that. Pick up the Pace or get a rope like the ad says.

Today I was out riding fences. Well I guess the accurate word would be walking fences. It was way too muddy to ride. I don’t have a horse. I do have mud boots. The last time I worked on the hot wire that holds the cows in to their field I forgot to turn the electricity back on when I was done. They were starting to take advantage of that fact. I had quite a few re-bar posts missing the plastic insulators that hold the hot wire up off the ground. I also wanted to lock them off of one of the corn fields they were “gleaning”. I put gleaning in quotations because there hasn’t been much to glean out there since spring started.

I was mainly giving them room to roam. Cattle are a migrant species and they like to walk long distances each day. The exercise is good for them even if it makes them eat more. As long as it’s stalks I’m not out any money. They don’t really walk. It’s more like take a few paces and stoop down to bite something edible. Since they run on the fermentation process it’s amazing what a wide variety of foodstuffs they will eat willingly. I’ve read that down in Arkansas where they grow a lot of chickens the cows are fed feathers and chicken manure. It must be mixed with something a little more palatable  since I’ve never seen them eat it up here. Even back when we had chickens.

I can’t say that I would like to eat a cow that had been fed that but I’m not down there so who knows. I do remember when they were adding anhydrous ammonia to big round bales of questionable (old) hay to give the hay more protein. Back when we had chickens and it was my brother and I’s job to haul out the chicken manure it was very high in ammonia. High enough to burn your eyes when you were in the chicken coop. Almost as much as it burns sticking your head into a bag of ammonia based fertilizer. Maybe the Arkansas boys know what they are doing. If not they may have beef that tastes like chicken ……. poop.

Bon appetite  !!


PS, here’s a little site I found very interesting. Check it out.


Here’s a song you might like ……. It kind of goes with the last one. Not to mention the post.