Thursday, January 28, 2010

Closing out August.

Some other things about August:
Betsy decided that I must honor the rainfall by pouring it over my head:

I enjoyed my new wide open path to the motor at home:

I did some weed killin':

Did some corn waterin'.

Watched some sky:

Witnessed some misfortune:

Finally got some mowin' done:

And confirmed the arrival of glyphosate tolerant kochia:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More August Repairs.

August also had its share of things needing fixed. Like this belt.

And of course, sprinkler tires. We decided to back this one up to the pivot road to fix.

It took a few tries.

And, of course, I had to combat my own personal mental glitches. Like, how was I planning on driving back out of the corn field?

Although Dad generally makes most of the trips to town this time of year, we prefer loading the tires into my pickup (a 2002 2wd Chevy,) since it sits so much lower to the ground than Dad's (a 2004 4wd Ford.) This particular time it was especially handy since both my rear tires needed fixed.
Here you can see Dad modeling our makeshift gearbox sled. Good times!

And here you can see the (as it turns out) not-bad gearbox with the broken U-Joint.
In addition to dragging a gearbox through the field unnecessarily, this fix was also memorable because I dropped my camera on the way out of the field. It only took a half hour or so to find it.

And here is another flat tire. Most any sprinkler problem diagnosis begins with a trip up a tower to pinpoint the tower which has stopped moving.

Then a nice hike to the problem.

Then a nice hike with the necessary part(s)/tools.

And then the repair itself.

Have you lost count? You should have, since I haven't mentioned a couple. First, it turns out there were three flats on the Funky truck, plus one sprinkler tire fix with no pictures, plus two new sprinkler tires and two repairs in this post, which brings us to 14. Congrats to Chris.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Official Nomination for Coach of the Year.

The secret is out. Frankenmartin can coach some basketball.

We always knew he was fun to watch.

We always knew that he had a little-tiny-itty-bitty-temper.

And we knew that he had a passion for the game.

What we didn't know was how much we needed that passion.

His passion has rubbed off on his players...

And the fans.

Seriously? The Octagon of Doom? When I was in college Bramlage was the teal accented house of silence, where K-State Basketball had come to enjoy its retirement in some peace and quiet already. It was just two years ago that KU fans were still referring to it as Allen Field House West; where the Jayhawks boasted a perfect record.

Do you know what else we didn't know? We didn't know that Frankenmartin GETS K-State.
That Frankenmartin IS K-State.

So while Bobby Knight might still not respect Frankenmartin like he should (can we all get some Knight-themed chants prepared for his possible return as color commentator?) It is time for K-State to respect Frankenmartin. And not just to fetch him a tailor (you're welcome.)
I'm talking cash.
I'm talking a big fat contract.
Because the rest of the nation watched and saw what a great coach we have. I'm sure there are plenty of other basketball programs across the country who need a good dose of passion and anger and fun. Let's make sure he stays. Let's do our part to make his first Collegiate head coaching job his last. We know he will keep up his end of the bargain.

Let's make Coach smile.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friends of Friends in Haiti

I know that a lot of you know Patrick and Molly (Molly is from GCK.) Anyhoo, they have some friends from Denver who have been in Haiti for some time. Their names are Patrick and Kim. These friends of friends are in a sticky situation because they are in the process of adopting a little Haitian boy named Solomon. Friends of these friends of friends have put up a website, Save Solomon, which has instructions on how we all may be able to help them. There is also a link to their blog on the site. If nothing else, you should read their story and say a prayer for them. If you are interested in taking further action by contacting your Senators/Congressman (and you are from Kansas) it would probably be helpful to mention that Kim is a native Kansan (I think she grew up around Bellville.)

Neighbors in Haiti

As you may be aware there was a group from the Pierceville Federated Church in Haiti when the earthquake struck. I thought those of you from the area might be interested in the various news reports regarding these folks. I know that these are pretty redundant stories, but it seems like they each have a unique tidbit of info to offer.
KSN 1/13/2010
KAKE 1/13/2010
KSN 1/14/2010
Wichita Eagle 1/14/2010
Garden City Telegram 1/14/2010
KSN 1/14/2010
KAKE 1/15/2010
Wichita Eagle 1/15/2010
There also was a story in the Dodge City Globe today which I purchased and am now going to illegally post:

Haiti quake strands locals
Dodge City Daily Globe

Six Dodge City area residents trapped in Haiti following Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake are safe for now.
The residents are John Maples, a Montezuma resident who works for the Dodge City school `district; Greg Love of Montezuma; Clayton Stolzfus of Meade; and Doug McGraw,Terry Major and Martha Major, all of Pierceville.
Families of the locals have received text messages, and Maples daughter, Natalie Briscoe, said Friday her father was able to telephone the family Thursday evening. Maples rigged up a phone through the Internet, using a MagicJack system to make the call.
She said the conversation was approximately 10 minutes long and a 'blessing from God.' All six traveled to Haiti as part of the nationwide Independent Christian Alliance Ministries and were planning to lend a hand to churches and schools in Carrefour, Haiti.
Briscoe said it was her father's first trip to Haiti. He and the others planned to help with minor construction repairs in Carrefour, but they quickly found themselves in the midst of the worst natural disaster to hit one of the world's poorest countries.
The earthquake leveled houses in the immediate area of Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, the Caribbean nation's capital city.While only there a few hours before the quake hit, Maples reported to his family that the Kansas team helped rescue one person trapped in the rubble.
However, Briscoe said, the team was unable to save everyone trapped near the place where they are staying.
Briscoe said team members are living outside in a walled-off church compound. They have food and water and are sharing their provisions with victims of the quake. Church members had purchased food and other essentials prior to the quake since they were expecting the Kansans, she added.
The team sleeps on mattresses in the compound yard, Briscoe said, adding her father told his family that strong aftershocks make staying in a compromised structure very dangerous.
Briscoe, 26, her mother, Pam, and younger sister, Noelle, 22, have been keeping a vigil for word on when the team might be able to leave Haiti.
However, team members are unsure how safe it is to travel within the region.
Further, they are unsure whether they could find passage back to the United States even if they make it to the airport.
'They are not sure if the airport would have food or water,' Briscoe said.
She added: 'We're waiting and hoping, and we praise God for being so faithful and keeping them safe.' The Maples family attends Morningside Community Church in Montezuma.With the vast support network of the church and the community, Briscoe said her family has remained strong.
'The church and Montezuma have been great and provided a wonderful support system for us,' she said.
It was through Morningside Community Church — and through Pierceville Federated Church — that the Kansans found themselves in Haiti.
Briscoe said the churches were aware of the Independent Christian Alliance Ministries through a Haitian national, Andre Louis, who travels between the United States and Haiti seeking volunteers and missionaries.
Indeed, two of the Pierceville residents — Terry and Martha Major — had been in Haiti approximately one week prior to the earthquake, Briscoe said. They are believed to be safe and with the other area residents.
While the news is great that each of the six is OK, officials are concerned that lawlessness and looting could occur in some parts of Port au Prince. But no word is available concerning how the team might return safely to the United States.

Home again, home again.
I will try to keep this post updated as appropriate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Cornfields.

A look at some corn in August.

First the bad news. Here is a look at a typical ear from Over East (the field with the hail damage.) The obvious thing to notice is the huge amount of tip-back on this ear. The plant has basically "cut off" these kernels from the nutrient supply in response to its loss of leaf area. Tip-back is quite normal and something you actually want to see in the field. It usually isn't so pronounced, however. Why do you want to see it? Tip back is the final adjustment the plant makes based on the stress it is undergoing in the field. A little bit of tip back is evidence of a healthy plant population. Remember our goal is yield per acre, not yield per plant. A field that has minimal tip back is an indication that the plant population is too low and that there is yield potential not being realized. The excessive tip back on this ear indicates the severity of the leaf loss from hail.

Here are a couple of examples of ears which took direct hits from hailstones. The damage is pretty self explanatory.

Another problem which the direct strikes create in addition to the primary damage to the ear itself is a separation of the husk surrounding the ear. On this ear you can see the beginnings of a infection of the ear due to the direct exposure to water and air.

Now lets look at some good corn. Here is a typical ear from home. Notice the tip-back on this ear. Perfect.

Here is a look at two different ears which set on a different number of kernels. The corn plant determines the amount of kernels per ear at a very early stage (between v6 (i.e. 6 leaves on the plant, or ) and v8( this is when the plant is between say 6" and 2' tall.)) Various reasons exist for the number of kernels the plant set, including genetics, nutrients, moisture, population etc. etc. Basically the little plant "makes a decision" about the environment it is in and "plans" accordingly. As you can see, the cob above has 16 rows, while the cob below has twelve. While there is no magic number, generally the more rows the better. I like to see most ears in the field at either 16 or 18. As you can see, however, the plant can still make some pretty good corn off of a smaller ear too. Look at the size of the kernels on the ear below!
Looking down at the leaves we can see some of the results of our fertilizer program. Of course you remember that I played around with some manure this spring. Unfortunately, it looks like I either underestimated the amount of available Nitrogen from the manure or that this field wants to yield more than I "gave it credit for." With the nice "cool" summer we had it may just be the latter. This yellowing pattern on the lower leaves is a classic indicator of Nitrogen deficiency. It is caused by the plant mining nitrogen from the older leaves in order to support grain fill. This late in the season, there is pretty much nothing that can be done. How much yield is being lost? It's anybody's guess, but we may be able to get a good idea once we talk to the neighbors after harvest.

One Crazy Month.

Most farmers take it easy in August. This is not the case on a seed farm. Here is a look at scenes from a month of cleaning wheat. It started off with the arrival of a new auger to replace the worn out old 6 incher which Dad got second hand like 25 years ago.
The motor was still good though..
There is a lot of shuttling of wheat between bins, and this year, since we have expanded to Boots, a lot of shuttling of wheat back and forth between locations.
The worst job of all is emptying the screenings bin.
It's always nice to climb into a dirty enclosed space to do some shoveling on a hot summer's day.
I call the eight month August in honor of all the augering I get to do.

Day after day of augering and trucking and watching the cleaner.

Chris secured the use of this Funky truck to help us out. I thought the Sebelius bumper sticker was bad.
Until I saw the Jayhawk on the front.
I had some crazy late nights in august. This picture is taken before a 90 mile round trip to Boot's.
And of course everything always goes exactly as planned.

At least I was able to snooker Anna into joining me once in a while.
She stayed and played with cousins while I made another round trip.
I don't think she was the most tired person in this picture.
And climb.
And clean.
Chris had problems too.

And now it is time to name the problem in this picture:
If you said a flat tire, you are correct.
If you said two flat tires, you are even more correct.
Sarah takes the lead with 8.