Sunday, December 13, 2009

lazy Sunday afternoon

Greetings everyone. We are at a new chapter in our lives this afternoon. All of our kids are now able to get out of their cribs on their own. What a fast Sunday afternoon we've had.

Much of our farming time this past week has been focused on keeping the animals fed and watered. A cold snap shuffled in two times this past week. Last Sunday evening, we had a great big cold front blow through and then last Wednesday another one came roaring in. We had two nights with temps down into the single digits. Wow. What a shock to the system. This afternoon however its a balmy and windy 67 degrees. Not bad for a Sunday in December.

Here lately, we've been starting to feed our cattle liquid molasses.
This stuff helps them to have more energy and boy does it ever make them eat everything in sight. We'll keep hauling the stuff to them. However, please let us come live with you when they eat of out of house and home. The talk is that if you feed your cattle molasses, they'll eat just about any thing. Well, it sure does make them eat up that wheat straw that they would never eat before. And now, they even have better hair quality. Maybe that is going a bit too far.

Below is a pic of them licking the molasses off of a wheel that rolls down into a tank full of the sticky stuff.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

time to take account

Hello farmers at heart. This is it. This is your season to take account of what has been done this past year. The grain is in the silos and the calves are out on the wheat and the cows.....well, who knows where they are. And we farmers are approaching that time when we all become a little more reflective no matter what type of day we've had or how busy we've been. This is a precious time of year. The little children at home looking with hopeful anticipation of dad getting in from the cold and holding them on his knee. Each one reflecting sweetness in their little faces as their time of anticipation draws near. Wouldn't trade that for anything with anyone. And to think, it must be like that with our Heavenly Father and us. Well, on that lingering thought, I'll share a few pics with you and let you be on your way:
Mollie, my faithful companion in her seat on the patio behind the house.
height of the Endurance wheat we fertilized and sprayed for weeds and cheat back on 11-20-09 was about 3" high and looks thick as hair.
#196 (heifer born at Sheldon Payne's place) now she's here in the field by our house waiting to have her first calf. Hopefully sometime in December about Christmas time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Hello there. We've had a over a weeklong rain delay for our wheat planting. We mulch treaded and packed the Lapel place on Saturday, so we'll be off to the races with drilling there at tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock sharp. A special thanks goes out to Rodney Wheritt for spaying the volunteer wheat with roundup so we can try to get a perfect stand. We'll plant Doans variety that came from Joe Peeper up near Enid. This is a fairly new variety for wheat country as it was only introduced to growers in 2007 and this is the first year for it to be used by farmers other than seed growers.

Yesterday, we bot a new camera to replace the one that got dropped one too many times. Jenn is working out the kinks as I write this.

To encourage your responses, I have a special prize for the person who guesses closest to the correct number of grains of wheat per pound of the Doans Certified wheat seed I mentioned.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gradually expecting a change.....

FARM UPDATE: Autumn is settling onto the Oklahoma praire where the wheat planting is winding down. Wheat spikelets are popping out of the ground all over. Calves are being weened from their mama's with anticipation of getting a taste of early wheat pasture. I can hear a pen of them bawling just outside the window down at TC & Christy's (our neighbor to the south).

We are getting a little bit of rain today. Maybe we'll finish drilling the wheat this week. Part of the reward is in this effort of planting alone.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sowing the Seed

Hello farmers at heart. We've been busy planting our wheat. So far, we have finished over half of the farm and used up all of our Endurance Seed Wheat. Now we're starting to use our Duster variety. On Thursday morning early, Daddy and I took our annual trek to see how the first field we sowed was looking. You should have seen it. Beautiful.....Each little spikelet of seedling wheat had its very own diamond dewdrop on top of it. Pop would have been very proud (even if this was on our no-til upland river patches). Every time I think of No-Til Farming, I remember him saying "Don't neglect the seedbed!"

Update: Well, Dallas Crowdis came through. He found us an 8-volt battery for the 1951 Chevy Wheat Truck. Way to go Dallas and everyone at DNA Auto. Truck runs very smooth and we were all happy to see it driving down the road.

Wheat's growing
Cow's lowing
Moon's up
Lights out.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

rants from the backyard overlooking my life

Would you think that an 8-volt battery for a 1951 Chevy truck would be too hard to find? Well, apparently they are. I was trying to get one this week for Pop's pride & joy but to no avail. Tried NAPA Auto Parts - they said convert it to a 12-volt system. Called John Deere and the 8-volt battery in their computer was listed as "unavailable". Is nothing important just simply for the sake of that's the way it used to be? Are we too busy to appreciate anything besides something that is NEW? Maybe my heart is a relic of the not so distant past. I think I shall take up cigar smoking ..... perhaps.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Into everyone's life a little rain must fall

Hello everyone. Sorry we've taken so long off from the blog. For the past month, we have had some very sick kids. It all started a month ago this past week. We thought our kids one by one were coming down with the flu. Well, after the "flu" had pretty much run its course, the first kiddo to get sick was sick again. Turns out that all 4 quads had e-coli. For Preston, Claire and Griffin, they in turn got sick again with HUS. Its sort of like blood poisoning that resulted in a week and half hospital stay for Preston, a week for Claire and just over two weeks for Griffin. As of Friday, however we were all back home from Children's Hospital in OKC. Everyone is doing very good now. Just a few carryover problems from high blood pressure for 3 of the kids. We are staying on top of this.

As for the farm, many thanks to Daddy, Mike and Kendrick for holding down the fort. They were able to work on the fence a lot, work the ground at least once over with the springtooth and even keep the minerals put out for the cows. Doesn't even seem like they needed me at all. But Jenn and I missed this place. Its certainly good to be back home.

Today, it is raining. Official Weather Observer Maxton Slagell has been eying the rain guage. So far as of 7:00 a.m. this morning we had 1.85" of rainfall. We've had some more that has been falling here since the report this morning too.

We plan on starting to drill wheat next week on or about the 21st of September. This past week, Mike and I made our annual trip to Alva to Joe Shirley's farm for seed wheat. Take a look at Joe's website There his wife Ann and son Biron loaded us with a load of Certified Duster and a load of Certified Endurance. We'll probably plant the Endurance on the home place here because it makes such good pasture during the winter for the mama cows. Maybe some of the Endurance will also go on the Kaiser and Miller places in order to make hay there and help clean up some pesky rye that tries to come up and grow with the wheat. Endurance variety is known for the great amount of forage it produces.

As for the Duster, it was our best yielding wheat for this past summer. It will probably be grown on the Pickens place as well as Huiatt and Long 1/4.

On Thursday, Mike went to the Enid area to Joe Peepers farm. There he picked up a small load of Certified Doans seed wheat. As he was coming back home, he stopped in Lahoma at Byron Hobson's farm to pickup a small load of Cerfied Santa Fe seed. He was able to do this because our trailer has two separate compartments that can hold about 500 bushels of wheat each. Pretty handy for such a trip.

We have almost completed the two wire electric fence on the Woods and Pickens places. Its going to allow us to keep the 2nd calf cows/heifers out of the trees, creeks and ponds on those places this winter. It'll make them much easier to check come calving time. Special thanks to Kendrick and Max"well" for this effort since I've been gone so much.

My Granny taught us a poem with this portion "look this way see nobody, look that way see nobody, hoe corn, dig tater." Perhaps this is one of those endearing things about life on the farm, that we just have to keep on going no matter what.

God Bless, thanks for your prayers. P.S. don't turn the cows into the garden just yet, I think the tomaters are coming on strong!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A week of catching up

Well we've been recovering from the sweltering heat of the past few weeks. Much time this week has been spent working on electric fences for our midsummer cattle endeavors. We've also been busy cleaning up our equipment that we did our field work with. We worked everything at least twice except for the no-til farming we're doing near our house here on the river. The guys have all been busy building electric fences of either the one or two wire variety.

We got about a one inch rain all together early last week. Maybe we'll get a little more this week it looks. We've been starting to sell a little equipment again. Maybe we'll "clean house" and get rid of some extra stuff. Anyone who's interested needs to check the website soon. It'll be updated with some new stuff to sell.

On Thursday, we all banded together - Daddy, Max, Kendrick, Konner, Mike and myself to work our calves. We had a grand total of 40 that got the "works" and then we ear tagged a few of the younger ones that were too young to work. This gave us the opportunity to cull 2 cows. Who were too old and fat to turn back loose.

On Monday, we picked up our first beef from the locker plant that we've home raised in a while. You ought to come by and visit because you'll be in for a treat if you stay for supper.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

deep in the middle

Below: Was that daddy's tractor? says Carson

Below: I was wondering where my hat and showes went that day. Looks like Griffin is the culprit.

Hi everyone. This week (and last week) we've been all about working the ground. Mike, Konner, Kendrick, Dad and myself have been pretty good about taking turns and keeping the wheels turning on the tractor. We've had good luck and not much in the way of breakdowns. Rother Bros. at Clinton has had to make 2 service calls for a tractor problem that keeps reoccuring on the calibration for a transmition shifting problem, but other than that not much problems have gone on. We've been sweeping the ground with sweep plows, then since we've received no rain, we've had to change and deep rip the ground and follow with a sweep plow. On the ground we used the sweep plow on first, we have gone back and deep ripped and sweep plowed again for a stubble mulch affect. This week we are planning on finishing our ripping and sweep plowing work and hooking up to the moldboard to plow up Long Quarter, Huiatt, Lapel and all of the terraces on each farm.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Well, been there and done that and without pretense.

Here's a view from the cab of our Case International STX325 tractor pulling sweep plow on Long Quarter:

Below: Here's Jenn's kitchen during harvest meal prep!

Below: here's mom driving the chuck wagon and on a mission. This day we were cutting wheat on the RMc place.

Below: putting seed wheat from the Airport place in the wheat bins on the Hamar place

Below: Eating lunch on the Airport place (Rex, Konner, Rick listening to a tale spun by Mike.

Mike during Lunch seated infront of his combine and Konner/Mikey's Grain Cart

Below: combine driven by Rex unloading, Konner on Cart and Mike in his combine in front. They were cutting on "Old Crow" place just east of Thomas.
Below: Yours truly advertising for Blahut Harvesting
Below: As a reminder to be careful, Jenn and Parker saw this accident while on a parts run. 2 people were hurt pretty bad after this truck rear ended a grain cart pulling a combine header.
Below: Jenn and Parker on a parts run last week to Schmidt & Sons in Mt. Hope Kansas.

Hello friends, Well harvest is about all wrapped up. All we have left to cut is the wheat that's on the river bottom, so we should be wrapped up on Monday (I think, however we've had .7 tenths rain over night). This week has been long and the whole crew is extremely tired. Thankfully everyone still has their sense of humor and no one it seems is irritable but me. We've cut about half of our total acres this week too. We've made a parts run to Fairview, OK and Pratt, KS and Alva, OK. Willie our faithful truck driver got here this week on Monday and that was while we starting to put some seed wheat in the bin. Has he ever been handy! We thought we ought to save a little seed wheat just in case we can't buy any to replace it with. On Monday, Willie hauled me the wheat at the wheat bin and I put it in the bin while Willie took the empty truck back to the field. That wheat came off of the field we call "Airport Place."
During mid-week, we made the trip down south to cut "Woman Later" place down between Weatherford and Thomas. This trip is pretty hard because we have to go out and around Deer Creek Bridge on Hwy 54. We made it however without a hitch. Just had to air up the combine tires to get over the several bridge banisters we do have to cross.
Sometime this week we also got started working our ground. We started this with a sweep plow that just slips under the ground and works it by lifting it up and over the blade. This really helps control weeds too and then creates a "stubble mulch" effect. On Saturday the ground started getting too dry for the sweep plow to penetrate the soil so we had to switch to the Laney Ripper which has spikes that penetrate the ground about a foot deep and then we follow immediately with the sweep plow. Kendrick Wingard and I worked on the laborious project since Thursday once we got the guys on the combines and trucks off and running. So far we've worked about 400 acres in this fashion.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Harvest that was not.

Hello friends. The week has come and gone. We've harvested about half our acres, taken the wheat to the elevator and had lots of adventures along the way. Above is a picture of Mike cutting wheat on the field our family has owned since the early 1940's. We call it the Long Quarter. Below is some of the "adventure" I was talking about: Parker is making a trek to "East Creek" which is down below "Squeeky's Tree". Squeeky is his imaginary pet squirel.

One of the funniest things that was said this week was from Parker. (see picture below) Parker and I were making a trip to the elevator in the Mack truck. We had on the AC and so I had my window rolled up. Parker's window was down and he looked over at me and said "Daddy roll your window down because my other arm is hot!" I laughed and laughed and told everyone about it. Just had to tell you about it too.

Below is a picture of our #2 Gleaner R72 complete with scenes of nature (weeds from the water way on the edge of Long Quarter.
Thought the pic below was interesting. It was just after the dinner bell rang and everyone was in a hurry to come to the edge of the field for supper. We have a rule that before the combines sit for any length of time that they need to be unloaded. Mike got a jump start on supper by unloading on Konner & Mikey's Grain Cart while they were unloading on the truck. Notice Mikey on the back of the trailer directing traffic.
Below is a picture of Tanner Pruitt our good neighbor farmer who was already working their ground. This field was just east of Long Quarter. He is driving a 9230 John Deere and pulling a sweep chisel plow.
Below is a pic of the grain cart and #1 Gleaner driven by Dad working together on Long Quarter.

Thot the pic below was a pretty sight with our grain cart and the elevator at Thomas in the distance. That's where we haul all of our wheat. Nephew Mikey Taylor and neighbor Konner Kippenberger are Co-Grain Cart Drivers.
Below is a good pic of #1 Mack on the Huiatt Place.
Below: Waiting behind Eyster Harvesting truck at the East Side Elevator. We are next in line and ready to dump.

Below: Pic of Mark Sweeney - assistant elevator manager for Wheeler Brothers in Thomas. He's a good friend. This was taken after we pulled thru bay.

Pic of two of the elevator hands unloading the hopper trailer.
This coming week we'll have more updates!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Here at last

Parker cleaning up some trash in the wheat before it is cut.

Sorry about no post last week. We took a family trip for the benefit of the kids play time and our mental health. At least the kids played so hard they wore themselves out. Jenn and I were too tired to care after keeping up with them. We saw the Calumet elevator open but not receiving any loads of wheat.

Now for this week's post:
Well I think its official - Wheat Harvest '09 has started. Farmers in our area began cutting last Monday afternoon then followed a few rainy days. On Friday, we even started cutting with a test sample that showed 14% moisture. After cutting a truck load we were told "let's not cut anymore 'til next week" by Mark Sweeney (assistant elevator manager). The truckload of wheat Mikey and I brought in went for 15.7% moisture and got a moisture dock. Thankfully they took that one load and we were able to call ahead and stop Daddy & Mike from cutting anymore.
On this first load of wheat that we hauled in, the test weight managed to be OK at 57. If this is all greek to you, the moisture is the easy thing. It's like taking a measurement of the wheat's humidity and temperature together. The elevator can usually safely store wheat that has a moisture percentage below 13.5%. Especially if they have some drier wheat to blend it with. Now on to the test weight of the wheat which is its density. Our load came in at 57 lbs per cubic foot. Normally we like to see wheat weigh at least 60 lbs test weight (per cubic foot) which would be a perfect.
I'm sure you've all heard of farmers talk about how many bushels per acre their wheat made. Now you can imagine if you hear a farmer say his wheat made 40 bushels per acre, then in actuality it made 40 cubic feet of wheat per acre if his wheat's density was a perfect 60 lbs/sq ft.

To tie in the issue of the test weight to the real world, if our wheat yielded 40 cubic feet of wheat per acre and its test weight was only 57 lbs per cubic foot, it actually only made (40x57)/60 = 38 "bushels" per acre. This in essence is a wheat quality issue - being that it was less dense than the standard 60 lbs per cubic foot. A bushel by the way weighs 60 pounds regardless of its density. Bushels are simply a measurement of weight. Therefore, this bushels per acre measurement has the density quality built in to the equation. Sometimes as is the case, but probably not this year because of the stress the wheat was under (drought, hail, freeze), the wheat can even be more dense or heavier than 60 pounds test weight. I've even seen 1 load a couple years ago that went for 64 pounds test weight! You could feel that it was heavier than normal just by putting your fingers into it.
Some what relatedly, in some parts of the world, farmers have stopped using bushels to measure yield since they are such small units of measurement and have gone to using tons per acre. Times they are a changing.
To sum this wheat quality info all up, we had our wheat graded at grade 3. This is not great, but the test weight significantly affects the grading scale and moisture significantly affects the test weight. Anything 57 and below is grade 3 or worse and 58-59 is grade 2 and grade 1 is anything above 60 test weight. Now you know what we had. We expect the test weight on this particular field to increase since we are waiting for the moisture to go down before harvesting the wheat.

I am sure that someone noticed. Yes the truck was significantly over weight. However, being new to the grain cart, I'll get that weight issue figured out. Our crew is somewhat changed up: It includes Daddy on #1 Combine, Mike on #2, Willie on Trucks (Willie's mom passed last Thursday evening, so he's not able to be here til the middle of this week. Please pray for Willie and family.) Myself on Grain Cart (I've heard I've been called "hell-on-wheels" already, but I'm not sure why). Miko aka Mike Taylor bro-in-law at Grain Bins. Mikey & Konner as go-fers and assistants to all where needed as they learn the business.
While waiting for the wheat to dry out, we've worked on cleaning the sheds, putting up wrenches, sorting bolts and working cattle. A farmers work is never done, but we keep trying to get caught up.

Above: Mikey taking a break after cleaning the north shed.
This morning, (as I am trying to recover from a riduculously bad cold) I think the weather is showing signs of change. There was a lot less dew than we've been getting and the breeze feels more like harvesting weather. Forecast is for hot and dry for the next 2 weeks. Glory be. Watch out wheat, here we come :))
I would also like to introduce you guys to a new blog that we've found. We always take a look at is at lunch time since we've been around the house here lately. All the farm hands always want to "hear the update from the harvest blog." Our new frinds and bloggers are named Jenna
and Jada. They are blogging about wheat harvest from Texas to Canada. You can follow them along too. Right now Jenna and her family are in Seiling, OK cutting wheat and Jada and her crew are moving from Olney, TX to up north around Kiowa, KS Blog site: You can subscribe to receive their blog entries by email by entering your email on the top right corner of their site. Also, check out the "What am I doing ..." box on the left side of the blog. It shows lots of interesting trivia.
Well until next week, keep the dust at your back and the breeze to your face and keep the wheels turning.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Growing closer

Hello everyone. We're getting ready for wheat harvest. It seems like two weeks ago I was saying that harvest is about 2-3 weeks away. It still is. And that's a good thing, because the wheat has more time to fill with grain. During this beautiful time of the year, we've been busy with harvest preparations, bermuda grass planting and rye picking. Here's a pic of Mike installing a new chain on the combine header:

Below is a pic of Matt in a tight spot. He was setting up the grain bin extensions for the combine.

Below is the rye picking crew. We've been working about 3 hours a day picking out the rye that tries to grow up over the tops of the wheat. Maybe we'll be finished in about 2 -3 more days. Front Row, r-l: Kendrick Wingard, Konner Kippenberger. Back Row: Philip Barnett, Mitch Cruse, David Barnett, Joel Barnett. In the middle: Megan Barnett.
Below: Case 7110 loader tractor hooked to the Bermuda King sprig digger and trailed by Daddy's own invention - the Sprig Katchall. We use this equipment to dig up bermuda grass sprigs and transplant them to other areas.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

farm update

Above: Here's a pic of the wheat just outside our front door. It looks pretty good considering.

Hi Farmers and those who are interested in ag. We are coming down the home stretch for our wheat crop. It has been a tough year.....flood, drought, greenbugs, hail, freeze and now rust! But we are doing our best and God is doing the rest (which is actually way more than we even imagine). Notice how uneven and thin the wheat is? It has had a lot to face, but its still going to make a crop.
On a lighter note, Parker is playing dressup with a few extras around the house. He's our entertainment around the farm.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

farming passion

For those of you out there who have ever lost faith in anything, let me introduce you to the Oklahoma Farmer. He's made up of a tenacious blend of a rock solid confidence in his fellow man and a tender heart that loves to see things blossom and grow. Now is the time if ever before that we need to band together. We need to embrace tradition while at the same time cultivate change. This will enable us to grow out of the current "down in the dumps" steady drum beat that we are inundated with on the TV. Let's just get back to basic home grown values and look for ways to apply these values to our current situation and maybe even do a little less complaining along the way. What do you think? Are you with me?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

As the saying goes....

It seems like we live and die here on the farm by adages. One old adage goes that "it will rain in sight of 3 days if the sun goes down behind a cloud bank on Sunday evening." We're waiting to see what the sunset brings. Another old adage goes "all weather signs fail in dry weather." Well we've certainly seen our share of that lately. All my life I have been warned to watch out for greenbugs in the wheat when it gets dry. We'll that's come true too. These bugs are starting to devestate the already drought sticken wheat plants. Here's a stock picture of a greenbug (aphid) that has made its home on our wheat.
When rain won't come here on the prairie the wheat reaches a critical point that will result in one of two things. Either the wheat will find moisture stored in the soil below its roots and sink them down further to sustain itself. Or the wheat will simply wither and die. Time has yet to tell what will happen. We have waited in hopes for life giving moisture, but it hasn't come yet. We've gone from having the wettest August in history (the month before wheat was planted) to having the driest stretch that can be remembered by my dad and he's 73.

In fact our area has been charred with one of the largest wildfires in modern history. This occured on the hills and canyons just north of here in Dewey county. This county is known for is spectacular grass where cattle graze on its abundance. Late last week, at least two towns in Dewey County (Taloga & Putnam) were evacuated as a result of the fires. Reports have come in that many cattle have been lost as a result of these raging fires and at least 4 homes. I heard by reliable people that 3 supertanker airplanes were brought in to dump chemicals and water on the fire to help put it out and an Oklahoma Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a big bucket has been helping the over 90 different fire departments across our area. Much appreciation is owed to these courageous people who put their lives on the line. We are grateful. Only one firefighter has been injured so far. He was released after being treated for smoke inhalation. Reports have also surfaced that over 100,000 acres have burned during this fire.

In a somewhat related incident, I was checking for greenbugs on a farm west of our house. I had noticed that our neighbors were intending to take off in their 2 seater airplane. I saw the plane up in the air and then turn and head back another direction sharply. Then I heard the noise of it landing or so I thought. After checking for bugs and much to my worry finding them chewing away, I headed on to check another field. I drove not too far from the site where my friends and neighbors had to make an emergency landing. When their wheels touched down, the front one caught and flipped the plane over on its top. One neighbor was unhurt and his passenger had a big knot on his head and had to have a few stitches. These fellow farmers were on their way up to Dewey county to check on the fires.

So much for a quite weeek on the farm.