How Great The Yield From A Fertile Field

Random musings from an old farmer about life, agriculture, and faith

Monday, June 04, 2018

Sunday Evening Excitement

We enjoyed a blessed Sunday with the Covenant Chamber Choir visiting church this weekend, then we attended a wedding reception in Fairbury in the afternoon.  We took our time coming home, stopping to check a rain gauge at a distant field, and then ice cream with family in Eureka.

It was a beautiful evening and my brother and his wife were sitting outside enjoying it and facing the farm (a mile away).  A little after 9:00, he saw a flash of flame from one of our hog houses, and they jumped in a vehicle and headed for the farm.  We had just gotten home and were relaxing in the house when he called and said one of our hog buildings was on fire.  I slipped on boots, hat, and gloves and headed out.  The fire was on the north section of a building and that section was currently empty.  The only visible flames were on the East side of the building where the insulated curtain was in flames.  We got a garden hose stretched out from inside the building and were able to get the flames knocked down from the burning curtain as the fire department arrived.  We turned off the LP from the tank, and flipped off all electrical breakers feeding that part of the building.  It was obvious that the attic was filled with fire by the presence of smoke and sparks pouring from the ridge vent.  We advised the fire crews about access, layout, and where there were pigs, and they went to work.  They were able to get water into the attic before the flames broke through the roof.  The trusses were burned and charred, and the insulation was charred and smoldering.  Soaking the smoldering insulation would bring the aluminum lined ceiling down, so they tore it down first.  Then they soaked the insulation along with the walls and trusses.

Because we have no fire hydrants in the country, they had called three other departments to bring tanker trucks of water.  When the first pumper engine pulled in our driveway, it started dropping a large feeder hose as it drove back to the hog buildings.  The second pumper that arrived sat in the driveway and they hooked to the front end of the feeder hose and set up two 3500 gallon holding pools.  Four tanker trucks parked on the road to shuttle water from town to the holding pools.  They pumped water from the road all the way back to the engine that was actively fighting the fire.  An ambulance, rescue truck, and several other support vehicles were also here.  Being Sunday evening, they had a good turnout of firemen, so there must have been 30 to 40 of them at the peak of the action.  Washington was the lead department, but we also had Eureka, Northern Tazewell, and Germantown Hills.  We are thankful for their efforts and expertise.

The Red Cross truck and Daniel L. showed up to provide snacks and drinks.  Two of the Red Cross volunteers took a liking to Gus and were feeding him snacks and water.  He was in his glory with all the attention and food he got!

By about 12:30, they believed they had all the hot spots knocked out and had soaked everything possible.  They started tear down and clean up, and the last truck left the yard at about 1:10.  I think I made it to bed by 1:45.  I got up and looked out the window twice during the night to make sure there was no smoke rising.  This morning, we did find two spots where insulation was still smoldering.  The garden hose took care of them.
We are not sure what started the fire, but the fire officials think it was an electrical short on the North wall that burned up the wall and into the attic.  Another twenty minutes undetected and we may have lost the whole building along with 500 pigs.  And the one beside it with another 500 head.
We feel very fortunate and blessed.

The morning after.

Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
Exodus 35:3

Monday, May 21, 2018

One Ring

The old farmer's wife thought she heard our dinner bell ring once, followed by a few woofs from Gus.  It was two in the morning, but she went back to sleep.  Our dinner bell is fastened to the back of our basketball pole near the garage.  When I got up in the morning and looked out the window, Gus was sitting under the basketball pole waiting for me.  He stood up and started wagging his tail when he saw me look out.  I grabbed the .22 from the gun safe and headed out.  Parked on top of the hoop supports was a big furry fellow.  As soon as the raccoon dropped, Gus was on him, grabbing him by the back of the neck and shaking.  It made quite the mess on the pavement!  The old farmer's wife and Jack had to do some scrubbing to get it clean.  This is the fourth coon in the last two weeks!

April was the second coldest on record for central Illinois.  We only had 3 tenths of an inch of rain for the month of May coming into last night.  But early this morning we had a nice shower, followed by a couple more throughout the day and we ended up with 9 tenths for a total.  It was a very welcome rain that should get the last soybeans out of the ground and give the corn a good boost.  A crop duster sprayed fungicide on our wheat today.  It is heading out, but is shorter than normal.

We went to graduation parties this weekend, including Tate and Kyle's.  Congratulations to both!

Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.
Deuteronomy 15:23

Monday, May 14, 2018

Night Excitement

The corn is up and is looking good so far.
We hauled enough liquid manure to get us by until July, then on Friday morning we disced in the manure, had herbicides applied in the afternoon, field cultivated, and planted our last soybeans.  Rain came Friday night and Saturday.  Hopefully we will not have to replant anything this year and we will stay done.

I love the violets, and hate to mow the lawn when they are in their prime.

Saturday evening we went out to Steak and Shake followed by a stop at Bass Pro Shops.  It was well after dark when we pulled into our garage at home.  Some guests of our neighbor across the road met us and informed us that there was a pig wandering around the neighbor's yard!  I quickly threw on a coverall and boots, grabbed a flashlight and we headed out for the roundup.  When I got out, the neighbors had the pig back in our yard, and the pig seemed to prefer to go towards light.  So, he headed into our open garage.  I had the neighbors and the wife keep the pig corralled in the garage while I went to see where he may have came from and figure out where to put him back.  I opened a gate hoping to chase it into a holding area, but the pig had other directions in mind.  After leading us on a wild pig chase for a while, I opened the hog house office door with the lights on, and we were able to coax him through that door.  Then I was able to run it through the hallways to a temporary pen.  A little Saturday night excitement!
By the way, he left a deposit in the garage.

We enjoyed our Mother's Day gathering at Ron and Kary's, with Ron grilling burgers and frying fish.  With only one grand-kid there to chase around, it was a relaxing evening.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Proverbs 1:8

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Much Progress

After unseasonable cool temperatures and snow the first three weekends of April, it finally warmed up and dried out the last week.  We started planting corn last Wednesday, and in parts of six working days we were able to get it all underground.  We planted our first field of soybeans yesterday, finishing ahead of the rain that moved across the area.  We were ready for a little break, but I spent much of the day catching up on the power-washing.

This young man stops out regularly to make sure the equipment is still in good condition.

A couple weekends ago we went down to visit Phil.  From the time we stepped in the front door of the prison until we were in the visiting room, it was only about twelve minutes!  That included a bathroom stop! That was the quickest we ever made it in.  Usually you have to figure on at least a half hour or more.  We had a good visit and Phil was in good spirits.  He got a new set of false teeth, so he even looked good.

A couple of weeks ago, Gus trapped a ground hog under our grill right outside our door.  I dispatched it for him, but then it disappeared.  Apparently, he buried it in our planter box outside the kitchen window and probably forgot about it.  This week after the temperatures warmed up, he dug it up and it is now adorning our yard.  Last night, he had something cornered in our old shed, so brother and I investigated.  It was a raccoon and Gus was bound and determined that he was going to own it. With the help of a pitchfork, we were able to coax it from its hiding place.  Gus took over from there.  Now we have two dead furry things in our yard along with the usual assorted pig carcass parts.

"I like pigs;  cats look down on human beings, dogs look up to them, but pigs just treat us as their equals."
Sir Winston Churchill

 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
Isaiah 24:22

Friday, April 06, 2018

Twice to C-U

So this is Spring?
We had about two inches of snow accumulation on Easter, and an overnight low of 15 degrees!  Forty miles south of us in Lincoln, they had a record low of -1 degree!  The puddles have been frozen most mornings this week and we are supposed to see 18 tonight.  Still winter if you ask me.

Tuesday afternoon a group of us headed down to C-U and Smith Hall for nephew Ned's last recital.  The first half was a lecture based on his doctoral thesis on the history and evolution of Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 61 from commission in 1806 to final published work.  Then he performed it for us with piano accompaniment.  It is amazing to watch him play a 45 minute piece from memory and do it so well!
We went to Black Dog Smoke & Ale House for some great BBQ afterwords.

Last night we headed back down to C-U for the Jupiter String Quartet concert at Krannert Center.  One member of the quartet has been Ned's grad school instructor, who we have met at his recitals. They all are "artists in residence" at the U of I.  Ned is really, really good, but this group is amazingly talented!  I would say flawless!  The most unique piece that they performed was Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte by Arnold Schoenberg.  This difficult piece involves the quartet, piano accompaniment, and a narrator reading Lord Byron's poem, Ode to Napoleon.  Byron's sarcastic, critical poem made a political statement celebrating the fall of Napoleon. Schoenberg set it to music in 1942 to make a political statement against Hitler as the tide of war started turning against him.  The other music performed were by Shostakovich and Beethoven.  It was a beautiful evening that turned into another late night.

That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
Amos 6:5

Monday, March 26, 2018

Not Quite Over

We headed out to Mepo Friday evening.  It was a good thing!  Saturday's weather event turned out to be one of the worst snow storms of the winter.  Around 8 inches fell in our area.  Across the river in Iowa, it was not as bad.  It was a nasty day none the less, with a cold, driving rain in the morning while we were taking pictures in the old Burlington Library building.  In the afternoon it turned to snow, but very little buildup.  Mostly slush covered roads.  It was a grueling, hazardous drive for all of our family that made the trip on Saturday afternoon.  We were thankful that everyone arrived safely.  Winter is not quite over. 

We had a very comfortable stay at Lloyd and (cousin) Mary's home.  Saturday evening we had a wonderful rehearsal meal at C & B Wagenbach's very accommodating home.  The filet mignon was excellent (along with the rest of the food) and the fellowship great.

With the Saturday storm, we weren't sure if many from central Illinois would make the trip on Sunday morning, but were pleasantly surprised by the number who made the effort.  Thankfully, the roads were clear and the sun was shining.

Jake was our goofiest kid growing up, and most prone to get in trouble ("I just wanted to see what would happen!").  He was our creative illustrator in residence, the trombone player in the family brass quartet, our Russian literature reader, and the family athlete/runner.  As he matured and after his conversion, he became a deep thinker, very spiritual, studious, engineer, and backpacker.  After a four year stint at Cat, his career took him to Iowa where the Lord revealed who his helpmate should be.

We met Rachel when she moved to C-U for college and job, and have known her parents for most of our lives.  She is a Godly young women; pretty, petite, personable, and fun.  We look forward to having her become part of our family.

Sunday afternoon they were united in Holy Matrimony.  It was a beautiful day inside and outside of the church.  The ceremony, worship, and fellowship were inspiring.  We wish them God's blessings and guidance in their marriage.

They left the reception in his 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thingand obtaineth favour of the Lord.
Proverbs 18:22

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Almost Over

It has snowed twice in March now, so hopefully winter can be done now.  The first week when it snowed, some stuck overnight, the second week we just had brief flurries.  The last week of February the oldest farmer celebrated his 93rd birthday, while his little brother celebrated his 91st.

The three siblings.

We have been doing a lot of babysitting of our two grandboys lately.  We are looking forward to warmer weather so we can let them play outside more.  D#2 has had medical problems, so we have been watching the fifth Judge (of Israel) almost daily.  He's a fun little guy who eats almost constantly.  He eats more than any of his cousins, and knows where we stash all of our goodies!  He has also discovered the toilet paper roll and the fun things you can do with TP!

Last night we drove down to C-U to attend nephew Ned's recital in Smith Memorial Hall.  He is getting close to the end of his time at U of I, and didn't know if we would make it down again.  His skills, hard work, and God given talent continue to impress us!  Thanks to Scott, one of his pieces can be viewed here. It was a last minute decision to go, but it was a nice respite for us, and it was good to see two of his brothers (and wives) and some of our C-U friends again also.

The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
Habakkuk 3:19