Maximizing Returns

On Paper. That’s what the marketing gurus are always telling the American farmer. If your going to survive post 1980’s “Farm Crisis” you have to learn how to “Play the Board”, as in the Chicago Board of Trade. I have a neighbor who has owed me for hay for years because when he was growing beans he re owned them on paper. He still promises all us neighbors he’s gonna pay us back some day.

When they say maximize your returns on paper it reminds me of a similar little paper scam I used to play on the high school principal. On certain school days our father would sometimes keep one or more of us kids home from school to help out. The next day Mom would write us a note explaining the who what why where and when to give to the principle’s secretary excusing us from an absence.

The next day I would tell the secretary I’d forgot my note but she could call Mom if she wanted proof. They sometimes did. Hopefully it was the first week of the month if Mom had added the date and it only involved me. Then I could use the note later in the month by simply adding a 1 or a 2 to the front of the date.  I couldn’t copy Mom’s hand writing but knew a girl who could get the numbers right.

Some kids didn’t give a hoot but I wanted to cover my ass, in case Dad still wanted a reason to kick it. The seventh became the twenty seventh or the seventeenth. Depending on what date worked for any or all of the other co conspirators. Or as we’re known today, co creators.

From them to you, you’re cordially invited. Welcome. Stay as long as you’d like. We’ll cover your ass. See ya there, see ya then …….




In It

Beings as; the youngest daughter’s asleep on the couch, I have a let sleeping dogs lie policy, and it’s to hot & humid to do a whole lot of physical activity I think I’ll post a blog. Or at least write one.

We used to Milk. Twice a day for most of the year for me. Us younger boys would do three cows. They didn’t all have their calves simultaneously so there was always one to milk. The older boys had at least eight to milk. The spring flush of milk (most of them calved close to the same time back then) went to fatten newly weaned feeder pigs after it was run through a cream separator. The cream was sold to a cream truck that came around a couple times a week to collect the cream and eggs.

When I was too young to do any other chores but throw sixty ears of corn over the fence to the sows I also had to run the milk cows out to the stock cow herd in the pastures. The girls would go out for daily grazing in the mornings after they’d been milked. In the evening’s I’d go out and sort the girls out of the herd and lead them back to the milk barn, proud of my young cattle sorting skills.

One winter when it was too damned cold to even be outside my next older brother who was doing the milking at the time asked me if I wanted to trade chores. I hayed the fat cattle, fed them their ground ear corn and did hog chores while he milked then we’d both go hay the stock cows if they weren’t out to pasture. He was standing there holding a warm bucket of water that he’d use to thaw out and wash up the teats before milking. Milking that warm cow in a warm barn. “Hell yes, I thought you’d never ask!”

That next summer one hot and humid day in the middle of a heat wave I was in that hot windless barn leaning next to The Little Black Cow, having already milked The Big Black Cow and The Cow With The Star On It’s Head. I was sweating profusely to the point I couldn’t hardly keep her little teats in my hand and she (the youngest and orneriest) was getting nervous, threatening to kick me and the milk all over. Big brother walks casually by and says,”Don’t you know you got to milk her first?”

Be careful what you ask for, hope for, wish for, pray for. When it comes it may look different in your hands.

Have a great, safe, holiday.




Cool Fusion

The crop is growing. It has been cool so it’s not getting big very fast. Unusual. I don’t remember ever catching up. Not that I have. Unless you mean shipping out the old crop. I’m caught up with that. The 2017 crop should be better than the 1917 one. Around here. Lots of young buck growers means an early in. Good to get ahead of what could end up being a 1994 type rain don’t make grain event. Has a volcano blanketed the skies?

We’ve had plenty of rains but not too much rain. All cover no book. Enough has fallen for the time being. We’ll need more by fall, or should I say fill, as in grain fill after pollination but the tank is full as they say. First cutting hay has been washed so it can stop “raining” (During planting it took a week to rain an inch) The last two were close to a quarter inch rains. No real erosion yet, not in the no till. Could we get two years in a row?

I’ll apologize for the long time no post. As I run out of fence to rip out I may give the old blog more time. Until then this will have to do. So I’ll …….

See you there, and see you then.



Corn Run

Spring forth …….

Two farms planted to corn. I should say I’m done planting the corn on two of the five farms. Those two farms have other crops on them but the corn on them is planted. Maybe I’ve already said that. Sort of. The next two farms I plant are going to be all corn. Corn on corn. If everything works the way I planned. On Sunday I tried out the new used planter. New to me. Used and abused otherwise.

I bought it for a song but it needed some tender loving care. It’s a White brand twelve row thirty inch vertical fold planter. Twice as wide as the old six thirty JD 7000 Conservation. Twice as many parts to wear out. Twice the acres to wear them, though. I added some Dawn Coulter / Trashwheels™ but left the trash wheels in the shed. Used, the combo sets cost as much as the planter.

The wind’s drying off the showers so I’d better rock n roll.

Then, there …….



All Roams Lead To Home

A Radiator. Or more specifically a truck’s radiator. A truck with a leaking radiator sitting near the west coast with a full load destined for the Midwest. A stiffer radiator cap didn’t fix it. Troubleshot diagnosis? A leaking head gasket not the radiator. Solution? (temporarily) Leave the cap on but loose to vent the built up gasses from the leaking head gasket before they build any pressure, hang a long rag over the cap and down to wick radiator fluid that sloshes out occasionally down past the frame onto the ground and not all over, drive the load home gingerly.

I was listening to the mechanic talk to my trucker when I went to pick him up from dropping his semi off after his truck motor started smoking and misfiring. He was listening to another man’s adventure. This ingenious method of wicking the leaks almost harmlessly to the ground so the load can get through and the trip can finish successfully, this form of mitigating the circumstances effectively cleared the clouds and let me for the first time understand the audacity and the ongoing success of Wiki Leaks.

A driver uses a mechanic’s hack to get through a sticky situation with no apparent outside strife. Nobody even need know. Wick those leaks safely past the machinery to drip away harmlessly out of site onto the passing road. Assuaging interest. A sure smell but no built up pressure to blow a mess out onto everything and one. The only limitation is the amount of water in the cooling system’s tanks. Even that limitation won’t stop em long. Water’s everywhere. Fill er up and keep on trucking. The show must go on. No matter who’s driving. I have but one question left. Is anybody watching anymore?

See ya then, see ya there …….

All roams lead to home.