How Great The Yield From A Fertile Field

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

More Quick Trips

While harvesting wheat this year, I scared a duck out of the field!  I think that was a first.  We were able to get the wheat out in a timely manner and get some straw baled, so we quickly drilled some double crop soybeans in half of the field.  The wheat yield was good, but not as good as we had hoped for.  Maybe the soybeans will add some value.  They have emerged already and we seem to have a good stand.

Look at all of that beautiful gluten!

The Japanese Beetles are back with a vengeance this year, and they seemed to really like our early apples.  We quickly picked some for the old farmer's wife to make a batch of apple sauce, and then I decided I had better spray all of my fruit trees and some ornamentals.  Usually the beetles just strip the leaves, but this year they helped themselves to the fruit.

On Wednesday after chores, we took off for Chicago to pick up Son #2 at O'Hare Airport.  He had been on a backpacking/hiking trip to Iceland.  We got to Chicago early and then received the message that his flight was delayed a couple of hours, so we did a little shopping to kill some time.  We stopped at three of my favorite outdoors stores (LL Bean, Cabela's, and REI) as well as a used book store.  We got home at 9:00 and I still had to do chores.  It made for a long day.

Thursday was the big day.

My cousin Jay (and wife Holly) lost their son Luke in a tragic car accident.  News article is here, and obituary here.  We wanted to attend the funeral and it seemed like the best way for us was to fly, since Peoria has a nonstop flight into Minneapolis-St. Paul.  We bought our tickets and reserved a rental car.  Our early morning flight was delayed an hour and a half, so we were worried that we wouldn't get to the church on time for the 11:00 funeral.  We landed at MSP at 9:20 and met cousin Virg (who was going to ride with us) in the baggage area.  Virg, a seasoned traveler and familiar with MSP, guided us through the airport and helped us get our rental car.  We were on the road for the hour trip to the church in Elk River by 10:00 and pulled into the church parking lot at 10:56.  We were the last ones to file past the casket, and found our saved seats, and the service began.  That was cutting it close!
Our prayers go out to Jay, Holly, and twin sister Morgan (and all parents who lose children).  He was a nice, fun loving, respectful young man.  And a great outdoors-man.  As the pastor mentioned several times, "Luke caught more fish in his 21 years than most of us will catch in a lifetime"!  He loved to tell, and it was fun listening to, his hunting and fishing stories.  The pastor began the service by saying Luke's faith and life made it easy to preach his funeral sermon.
I hope they can say that about me some day.

Coming home was a little more relaxing.  Despite heavy traffic in the cities, we had plenty of time to drive back to the airport, fill the tank, turn in the car, eat supper, and find our gate.  Enough time to stroll around some of the shops and catch a catnap.  We were back in Peoria by 10:00.  We were worn out, but thankful we were able to be there.

The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.
Isaiah 19:8

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Quick Trip

We made a quick trip to Lester last week for Aunt Esty's funeral.  I spent a lot of time with Fred and Esty's family growing up (and since) and have a lot of good memories.  None of the surviving Illinois sisters-in-law or brothers-in-law could make the 1150 mile round trip, so we were glad that we could go and represent the family.  We enjoyed our overnight with Art and Kris, but would have liked to have had more time to visit with them and our other relatives.  It was peaceful at the cemetery, and my thoughts went to Grandpa and Grandma, Aunts and Uncles, and cousins as we strolled around looking at the graves.  Our van load headed back after the funeral meal, and we were home before midnight.

At home, the Hollyhocks are having a particularly good year.

Sunday evening, we went out to eat with the oldest farmer and his wife who were celebrating their 67th anniversary. Afterwards, a small group of us met at Glen Oak Park for the Municipal Band concert.  It was a cool and beautiful evening to be outside, and Michelle and Nathan brought ice cream to enjoy with the music.

The band setting up and tuning up as people find spots on the lawn.

Our group getting settled in for the concert.

We have cut some wheat, but ours is not really dry enough yet.  We finished our neighbors first, but every time we get started on ours, a shower moves through and chases us from the field.

The combine header clipped the wheat just above this nest of baby birds.  With less shade, they are now working on their tans.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
Song of Solomon 2:12

Monday, June 19, 2017


A T-town potluck bought a meal on the LSM Benefit Auction and each couple invited a guest couple.  We were guests of Steve and Sara.  Saturday night the meal was held at a cabin south of T-town and Dean B. was the chef.  He had spent a lot of time in Brazil when working for Caterpillar, and enjoyed the food, preparation, and social time that their meals entail. So he brought the experience back with him.  He had a brick oven/cast stove-top/open oven/grill built in his cabin so he could recreate the meals he had in Brazil for groups here.
  He started by marinating the meat the day before, then started a pot of beans simmering on the stove-top early afternoon.  When we arrived at 4:00, he had all the meat in various stages of cooking in the oven/grill.  We first sampled the salt pork he had rendered on a disk blade turned cooking utensil.  We ate mostly with our fingers as we progressed through the meats; grilled bacon, steak strips, sausage slices, chicken, veal steak, Picanha steak, and finally prime rib roast.  All grilled/roasted on a cherry wood fire.  We ate for 3-4 hours!  We also had grilled cheese slabs, rice with the beans, salad, and fruit.  After all this food, we topped it off with a Brazilian chocolate cake.  I was uncomfortably stuffed.  It was a fun and interesting evening.

We drove home in a driving rainstorm and the closer we got to home the worse it was.  There was water running across our road in several places as well as some in our basement.  When I checked our rain gauge Sunday morning, we had received 4 inches in the storm!

Father's Day, we had everyone that was available to our house.  We had three generations of Dads here.   The original suggestion was to pick up chicken, but we wanted man food for Father's Day!  We instead served BBQ ribs and beef brisket.  More good meat!  Daughter #2 brought me a coconut cream pie she made for my gift, so it will be a good week!

And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it.
Leviticus 7:9

Friday, June 09, 2017


The last weekend in May, we took a little trip up to Germantown Hills to eat at the Germantown Grill.  They have an interesting menu including nine different types of horseshoes, and several unique pizzas.  I had the Texas BBQ Shoe and it was very good.   We will definitely go back again.

After our meal we stopped back in Washington and walked around the town cemetery.  It was a beautiful evening in a beautiful cemetery.  It was interesting to pick out the grave sites of old town fathers as well as some of our former landlords, family doctor, lawyer, eye doctor, and banker.  It is a peaceful feeling being in a cemetery knowing that this really is not the final resting place, and if we know Christ, our eternal home will be in heaven.

On Memorial Day, I stayed home and cleaned all the gutters on the house.  I got my workout moving ladders around, and climbing up and down.  I did take time to ponder the wonderful freedoms that we have, and the price that was paid for us to be able to enjoy them.

Last weekend we took our children and grandchildren to the historic Delihant Farm near Three Rivers, Michigan.  It is an old, updated farmhouse that had a pool, playground, trampoline, patio, large tree shaded yard, and a few trails.  We enjoyed our stay, had nice weather, and enjoyed good food.  It did get a little noisy at times, but it was mostly good noise.

Sunday morning we drove down to Milford for church.  It was my first time back to Milford since my Sunday School days.  We enjoyed the day of worship and fellowship.  I especially enjoyed meeting a lot of new people as well as renewing some old friendships.  I would like to see a Beer family tree, because I am a little confused after meeting so many!  And they served brownies and ice cream with toppings at lunch!  It's always extra work to take church clothes on vacations and to get up earlier than you would like to on a vacation Sunday morning, but it is always worth it.  A Brother thanked me for thinking to come visit a smaller church and what a blessing visitors are.  I told him that anytime we have made the effort to do that, I always come away with the greater blessing.  This time was no exception.  We have a blessed fellowship.

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
I Corinthians 1:9

Friday, May 19, 2017

Finish Line

We finished planting corn on April 25th, a very timely date for corn.  We started planting soybeans, and then the week and a half of rain and cold weather hit.  We were out of the field for two weeks and then were able to get back to planting soybeans.  We also rotary hoed most of our corn (hard crust on soil) and loaned our hoe to, or hoed for, four neighbors.  It didn't help much.  The corn seemed to run out of energy and some just didn't make it out of the ground.  We finished soybeans on Tuesday (16th) and started tearing up corn on the 17th for replanting.  I finished the last replant last night at 10:00.  Just in time for it to get cold and rainy again!  We replanted 240 acres, the most I've had to do in my whole career!

During the heavy rains the last Saturday night in April, we came home to find water on the floor under where the office/"breezeway" attaches to the house.  The wind drove it through where the roof joins the main house.  That was only the second time I ever remember that happening.  We then made a late night run up to church to check the sanctuary exterior exit doors for water leaking in (which has happened before in heavy rains).  Fortunately all was dry.  I left some absorbent socks by each door just in case.

This was our last field to plant soybeans in.  It would have been a beautiful sight if it were not for the  fact that it is a field of weeds.  Our field of weeds.

A hawk lifting off the corner-post as I came near.

A bald eagle stopped in to watch my progress.

I also chased a coyote out of the weeds, interrupting his nap.

Uncle Bill died this week.  He was on hospice, so it was not unexpected.  We were able to spend some time with him at their 70th anniversary open house three weeks ago.  It's unfortunate that it often takes a visitation/funeral to get family together, but it was good to see everyone and rejoice in Uncle Bill's victory.  At his visitation this evening, his jokes were being shared freely, and new ones were being made up.  Some may have started with; Uncle Bill is standing at the Pearly Gates and he says to Saint Peter . . .

After visitation, we headed to Carli Anna's graduation party.  The food was good, the house was packed, and the fellowship was good.  Lot's of family coming to town this weekend for this party, the funeral, and Troy's baptism on Sunday.  It will be a busy weekend.

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Revelation 21:21

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Life and Death

We finally got a start planting corn late Wednesday afternoon (I hear I missed a really good Bible Study at church!).  We have made good progress, since the weather has cooperated.

Two old area farmers died and their visitations were both Thursday afternoon.  So we took most of a prime afternoon off from field work to pay our respects.  You'd think old farmers would be more considerate during prime planting season, but maybe they are trying to remind us that death is a surety and preparing for it is more important than planting corn.

Gregg Sauder told us we shouldn't be planting Friday and Saturday because of the predicted cold snap.  Cold temperatures 36 hours after planting stresses the seed and can harm germination.  We, along with all of our neighbors ignored his warning and planted anyway.  Farming is always a risk and a gamble with the weather, and we took one.  We hope we don't regret it.

Saturday night I parked the planter in the shed and as I walked past the combine, I heard a new litter of kittens meowing in the feeder house.  Hopefully they will be gone before we have to get the combine ready for wheat or we could have a problem on our hands!

A trailer load of weaner pigs arrived on Monday morning.  They didn't seem too anxious to see their new accommodations!

They are all settled in and doing well now.

In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.
Isaiah 17:11

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


When we were in Holmes County awhile back, we had a pizza supper one night at the B & B.  We ordered from Park Street Pizza, Sugar Creek, Ohio.  I now have two new favorite pizza flavors.  The first is The Memphis.  The ingredients are; pulled pork, BBQ sauce, onion rings, provolone cheese and cheddar cheese.  The second was Cowboy Chicken.  The ingredients are; grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, bacon, pineapple, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese.  Delicious!  I would like to find something similar around here, or make it myself.

We intended to start planting corn today, but we had a planter malfunction.  We couldn't solve the problem ourselves, so at 9:30 this morning I called the dealer's service department.  I was told they were busy and would call me back.  I pulled the planter back to the shop and waited.  I didn't want to go out to the field to do other work because I was afraid I would miss the call or not be near the planter when they called.  At 12:30 I called them again and was told my name was on the list and they would be calling me.  I spent the afternoon hanging around the planter waiting for the phone call that never came. At 8:00 I put the planter back in the shed, more than a little frustrated.  I could have gotten a lot of other work done if I only would have known they wouldn't call!  We have some fields that are fit, and the rain seems to be holding off.  Let's hope tomorrow is more productive!

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Proverbs 8:34