Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Oregon State Fair on a Sunday Afternoon

Buddeshepherd is the guest blogger for the Ed Winkle Chronicles!
Ed Winkle asked me to write his blog while he is on his cruise. Ed's blog is always full of interesting information and insight. Plus, I think he always makes it to Church on Sunday. Those of you who read "The Lazy Farmer" know that I tend to ramble on and on and never proofread. And-I skipped church and took my family to the Oregon State fair today.
Actually my wife took us. Her car is so much nicer than my pickup that I am a little afraid to drive it. So I just rode along. It also took me quite awhile to wake up this morning as she brought me home a book about the Battle of Britain and I stayed up late last night reading it, so she did most of the talking on the way to the fair as well.
I always feel pretty guilty about skipping church, especially to enjoy such foolishness as the State fair. But we still had a good time.
We drove around in back in search of the promised free parking and so had quite a walk. We entered at the gate near the midway where all the rides are. Sadie, our 8 year old daughter, was in awe.
I was in awe of the prices for rides. Think I may have been on the farm too long. I bought a $20 ticket which equaled 40 fifty cent tickets. Most rides were 6-8 tickets so $4 a pop. Wife was looking for the sky diver but one of the ride attendants (I think they used to be called "carnies") said that ride was outdated. Instead they went for the Spider. It had little pods that you sat in and then as it rotated articulated arms brought those pods up in the air. It made a few turns and then the senior attendant decided it had a loose chain and shut it down and gave us our money back. The junior attendant attempted to tell me there was a problem but it is really hard to express yourself when you can only speak in monosyllables.
Next they tried the ferris wheel. It is huge. They could see the whole fair from the top. Sadie was a little scared at first but was fine once it started. We were going to ride the fair-lift which is a chair lift that takes you over the whole fair from one side to the other. Somehow we didn't. Think it was too much money. We got occupied going from one booth to the next and pretty much forgot about it.
We then went looking for the animals. The Oregon State fair is somewhere around 140 years old. Most of the old buildings are gone. I think the arena and the poultry building are the oldest.
We saw the chickens, cattle judging, miniature horses, giant draft horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, an guinea fowl. They have to be the most ugly, and horrible sounding birds on the planet.
We had ice cream at the Dairy Farmers of Oregon booth, found some cotton candy for Sadie, looked at spa's, and decided not to spend $15 on a BBQ chicken dinner. We looked at the cake judging, found a really cool Lego display, and looked at student art displays. We took on last trip down the midway where I tried the water squirter gun and didn't win. Sadie tried the softball toss and won a stuffed animal. She also took a ride on the kiddie roller coaster but got pretty freaked out. She was tough and didn't cry or make them stop the ride so I told her I was proud of her. Then we went home.
I was planning on taking a nap as my feet and back were suffering but my wife put on a DVD. The Astronaut Farmer is a pretty silly movie. Guy builds a rocket in his back yard and orbits the earth. It is all about following your deams and family support and all that good feeling stuff. Of course Hollywood gets it all wrong. I'd bet that building a rocket in your backyard because your dad killed himself and you didn't get to follow your dream of becoming an astronaut is pretty selfish. Especially when you nearly loose the farm in the process and pretty much endanger your family's life with a highly explosive rocket in the back yard. But, what do I know about inspiring films. My family found it amusing. The daughter did not appreciate the lecture I gave her about following dreams that helped your family, and that if you risk the whole farm on some stupid scheme like building a rocket, or turning a corn field into a baseball park, there probably won't be some out-of-the-blue unforeseen windfall, like grandpa's inheritance, or space aliens, or no freakin' fairy godmother to get you to the ball.
She said, "dad it is just a movie, life is not like that, and you are so weird."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Star to Alaska

Today we board the Norwegian Star to Alaska on our quest to visit our 49th state.

We are pretty excited, everyone clamors about the trip who has taken it or has it on their bucket list.

There is one shipmate for every two passengers. We are ready to be pampered.

"We just returned from a 25th anniversary cruise from Seattle to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Star. The ship is beautiful and there are so very many things to do on board - Casino, Java Bar, The Red Lion, shows, restaurants - I could go on and on. However, the personnel are personable, interesting, interested in you, always remember your name and are just the best I have encountered.

A special THANK YOU TO RAYMOND - RED LION, who is the world's best mixologist and made me a white rose from paper on our anniversary night (along with great Irish Coffees). What a great personality - remembering our name for the whole week! . THANKS TO CHENA IN THE BLUE LAGOON, who always took the time to assist us in anything we needed and also, just to have a short visit. GRACIAS TO RONALDO in the Java Lounge who also makes a great Irish Coffee and would remember us by name- always smiling.If someone in management sees this, Kudos to you in selecting these wonderful employees. PRAISE TO YOU AND THEM. WHAT FUN WE HAD!!!!!"

We can't wait to see Alaska for ourselves. Maybe we will pick up another National Park visit or two but we are going for site seeing and relaxation.

We really needed this.

This has truly been the trip of a lifetime and ten great years together.

After a summer of rain and cold, deaths and births, we are off the emotional roller coaster.

I am ready to go home and tackle harvest and LuAnn is ready for the next challenges of Turning Point.

This is good.

Ed and LuAnn

Friday, August 28, 2009

Made it to the port

The traffic wasn't nearly so bad as going out of town, whew!

We survived the EconoLodge last night. Actually we slept very well.

We headed to Mt. Rainier this morning. Wow, what a sight!

That thing is a monster!

"Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano) in Pierce County, Washington, located 54 miles (87 km) southeast of Seattle. It towers over the Cascade Range as the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and Cascade Volcanic Arc at 14,411 feet (4,392 m).

The mountain and the surrounding area are protected within Mount Rainier National Park. With 26 major glaciers and 35 square miles (91 km2) of permanent snowfields and glaciers, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each over 1,000 feet (300 m) in diameter with the larger east crater overlapping the west crater. Geothermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both crater rims free of snow and ice, and has formed the world's largest volcanic glacier cave network within the ice-filled craters. A small crater lake about 130 by 30 feet (40 m × 9.1 m) in size and 16 feet (5 m) deep, the highest in North America with a surface elevation of 14,203 feet (4,329 m), occupies the lowest portion of the west crater below more than 100 feet (30 m) of ice and is accessible only via the caves.[9] [10]

Mount Rainier has a topographic prominence of 13,210 feet (4,030 m), greater than that of K2 (13,189 feet (4,020 m)).[4] On clear days it dominates the southeastern horizon in most of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area to such an extent that residents sometimes refer to it simply as "the Mountain."[11] On days of exceptional clarity, it can also be seen from as far away as Portland, Oregon, and Victoria, British Columbia.

The Carbon, Puyallup, Mowich, Nisqually, and Cowlitz Rivers begin at eponymous glaciers of Mount Rainier. The sources of the White River are Winthrop, Emmons, and Fryingpan Glaciers. The White, Carbon, and Mowich join the Puyallup River, which discharges into Commencement Bay at Tacoma; the Nisqually empties into Puget Sound east of Lacey; and the Cowlitz joins the Columbia River between Kelso and Longview."

Thanks again, Wiki.

If you visit, I would recommend route 410 to 123 and back on 706. That was a beautiful way to see the whole park. Well worth the drive and $15 NPS charges.

That is one beautiful mountain top and forest!

Ed and LuAnn

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Word to the Wise

Don't invite guest bloggers!

My dear blogger and I have been traveling together for ten years. One wonderful summer we were in Maine in July and were in Vancouver in August. We have kind of learned to accommodate each other’s different traveling styles over the years but every once in a while those characteristics that are so charming when everything magically falls into place can be like a burr under the saddle when they don’t.

Ed is a dreamer, big picture, “fly by the seat of his pants” sort of guy when traveling. His idea of being prepared is an extra can of chew and a case of bottled water. He loves to drive wherever the road takes him always eager to see what is beyond the next bend. Like a little kid he delights in a small town museum or a local diner or a breathtaking view that is the perfect photographic subject. I must admit that some of my most special memories came from his fly by the seat of his pants style of traveling.

Like most women, I tend to lean toward being the planner, map reader, calculator of when and where we will land and what- will- be- waiting- for- us- when- we- arrive kind of traveler. Along the way, armed with my maps and AAA travel guides, I navigate for my dear blogger and we usually experience great adventures with great food and accommodations awaiting us at the end of the day. We have a deal, Ed is in charge of food and gas (is this a Freudian slip or what?) and I am in charge of lodging.

However, at least once on every vacation, we end up with a crummy meal and a night in a Super 8 or Motel 6 or, God forbid, an EconoLodge. It has become a joke between us that when we fly by the seat of my dear blogger’s pants the end result can be less than spectacular. Today was one of those days.

It began innocently enough. We left our lovely Hampton Inn Jacuzzi Suite after a warm and wonderful breakfast (did I mention that we dined at a fabulous Japanese steak house within walking distance last night) and headed northeast to the North Cascade National Park. Along the way we followed the Skagit River with its tributaries, ebbs and flows always within site. The river was fast but not high and we stopped several times to catch great photos of the sheer rock walls reflecting off the shallow crystal clear river. Amazing!

Lavender farms, organic fruit farms and art galleries sporadically appeared and, knowing that we would return by this same route out of the park, we made plans to stop at several of these roadside wonders on the way back. The park proved to be spectacular from a distance but unless one planned to drive 45 miles across its northern border and exit a good 4 hour drive back toward Mount Ranier, our next destination, it was best to make a short visit to the park and retrace our route back.

After a couple of hours in the region immediately adjacent to the visitors center including taking in a good, but not great, video introduction to the park (Compared to Olympic NP which had a fantastic award-winning film that left us speechless after watching 20 minutes of the most incredible videography imaginable), we began our return journey.

I was thinking romantic cabin and a river rafting adventure and we were within sight of the organic blueberry farm with its fresh organic homemade ice cream (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry) when we regained cell service….not good. The message light lit up and Ed’s phone contained a message from Jason our house-sitter and dog-sitter to Sable.

Jason was beside himself that Sable had spied a cat coming out of one of the grain bins and took chase. I was expecting to hear the worst, that she had gone into the road and been hit, but it was slightly less awful to learn that in the chase she had stepped on a board with a nail sticking up and punctured her paw. It was serious enough to require the vet to put her under and stitch her up. For the next two hours we crawled south along I-5 in the Seattle traffic waiting to hear that she was back home and doing okay.

You might wonder, “What about the lovely Skagit River Valley and the cabin and a slow river rafting adventure amid the blueberries and art galleries?” Well, my dear blogger had different ideas of how to spend our afternoon. All of today’s crystal clear sunny 75 degree afternoon was spent in pursuit of a trip to Mount Ranier. When we weren’t stuck in traffic on I-5 we were talking with an OnStar “Advisor” trying to find a route and lodging.

About three, hungry and frustrated, we stopped at what looked to be a great Mexican restaurant called Puerto Vallarta. Let’s say it was not one of my shining culinary choices. The best part of that experience was that it was there that we got word that Sable and Jason were back home safely and we could put that worry to rest.

Back on the road after a quick visit to an optometrist to get our glasses adjusted (that was positive….they were really, really nice), we started toward that massive but elusive peak Mount Ranier…we could see it but getting there was another story.

Anyway, speaking of rest, we still had not found lodging and we were now over an hour from Tacoma, the last place that the AAA book showed good facilities. Hunger and frustration was replaced by tired and frustrated as our OnStar “Advisor” attempted to ease my dear blogger’s conscience over not listening to the planner, organizer member of our HyMark team of adventurers when she wanted to find a cabin and float down the river earlier in the day. Flying by the seat of our pants had ended in an emergency landing in the middle of nowhere.

So tonight we find ourselves in that “it-happens-once-every-vacation” hotel that we will inevitably laugh about later when we recount the highlights of this once in a lifetime trip. It ain’t fancy and it ain’t a Hilton but it is clean and it is the only place within miles. I am certain it will take at least two Tylenol PM’s to get me to fall asleep in this place but tomorrow is a new day. And, lulling me to sleep is that knowledge that tomorrow night we are staying at the Hilton in downtown Seattle with a view of the harbor right near the Space Needle. With the sights and sounds of this fabulous port city right outside our lobby door I am sure we will forget today’s fiasco food choice and our hellacious hotel.

You dear husbands surely must recognize yourselves in this tale. You guys will basically sleep anywhere but will only eat at the meat, potatoes and pie places. We ladies are very particular about our lodgings but we love the lure of Thai, Indian, and French cuisine. Surely you guys recognize that quest for the mountain that beckons; the blinders you guys put on when you are hell-bent on getting to some destination; and the “it’s only one night” attitude you assume when you discover that there isn’t a decent hotel within miles. There is something to be said about the grit and determination you guys have to avoid using those maps and planning tools at all costs. In the words of the last dry-humored OnStar Advisor who tried to help us today, “As part of my job, Mr. Winkle, I pray every night for husbands.”

Did I mention that right outside the door of the hellacious hotel is the most spectacular view of Mount Ranier. Tomorrow is a new day with a new adventure waiting. I sure love my dear blogger for all he does to bring new adventures to my life every day.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mount Olympus

Today we headed up to Chief Seattle's territory, Mount Olympus. It was another beautiful day and another beautiful drive.

"Mount Olympus (Greek: Όλυμπος ; also transliterated as Ólympos, and on Greek maps, Óros Ólimbos) is the highest mountain in Greece at 2,919 metres high (9,577 feet).[1] Since its base is located at sea level, it is one of the highest mountains in Europe in terms of topographic prominence, the relative altitude from base to top. It is located in Macedonia, about 100 km away from Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city.

Mount Olympus is noted for its very rich flora with several endemic species. The highest peak on Mount Olympus is Mitikas at 2,919 metres high (9,577 feet), which in Greek means "nose" (an alternative transliterated spelling of this name is "Mytikas"). Mitikas is the highest peak in Greece, the second highest being Skolio (2912 m).

In Greek mythology the mountain was regarded as the "home of the gods", specifically of the Twelve Olympians, the twelve principal gods of the ancient Hellenistic world.[2] Any climb to Mount Olympus starts from the town of Litochoro, which took the name City of Gods because of its location on the roots of the mountain."

But we saw the one in Washington State.

"Olympic National Park is located in the U.S. state of Washington, in the Olympic Peninsula. The park can be divided into three basic regions: the Pacific coastline, the Olympic Mountains, and the temperate rainforest. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Olympic National Monument in 1909 and after Congress voted to authorize a redesignation to National Park status, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation in 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, almost all of the Olympic Peninsula was designated as the Olympic Wilderness, further enhancing the protection of the region."

Thank you again, Wiki.

We crossed the Pugent Sound on the ferry for $13 and saved a lot of gas and time.

We are in Burlington, Washington tonight and are heading for the Cascades in the morning then Mt. Rainier in the evening.

Then we will rest up in Seattle for the trip to Alaska Saturday.


Ed and LuAnn

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Friends and Lewis and Clark

Yesterday I got to ride with Garth and see some radish seed and all kinds of other crops. Susan fixed a great lunch and we just sat around and talked. They have done a lot to that farm.

I was impressed with the new pivot which will raise up and hit more than one field, very impressive. Garth is a innovative notiller so we looked at lots of things and talked about more.

His radish seed was huge!

His homebrew planter and sprayer and his dad's D6 with a backhoe were impressive.

Then we made it to David's family farm and the whole family was there. His dad is sharp as a tack at 90 and his uncle always has a big smile on his face.

His brother Rollan and I had a good chat before David came in with a load of alfalfa on the stacker.

The 2-135 brought back good memories.

Today we drove up 101 and caught the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park and Fort Clatsop. Hard to believe what they did in the early 1800's but they changed this country forever and for the good.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Crater Lake and Oregon folks

We just sat in awe yesterday at Crater Lake. Can you imagine a beautiful blue lake on top of a mountain 6 miles across and 1500 feet deep?

On the way to Orin's we saw the most beautifully green, well shaped Christmas trees you can imagine. Can you picture harvesting Christmas trees with helocopters? That is they way they do it here in the Christmas tree capital of the great Northwest because it gets so wet here in fall. They get their 40 inches of rainfall over the winter so it gets real muddy!

We had another beautiful drive yesterday. Then we went to have dinner with Orin's family. What fine people they are. We enjoyed homegrown steakburgers with wonderful tomatoes, Mandy's killer potato salad, Matt's sweet corn picked just before the harvest crew came through to harvest his crop. She topped it off with strawberry shortcake, so much better than eating out! We met Frank and Van and all just sat around and talked, what a way to top off a great day.

Matt gave me a good report on T-22, his supplier had it sitting there on the shelf so he bought some and put it on the crops. Sounds like he got the same results I get in Ohio.

Van is so cute in his Allis Chalmer bibbies, reminded me of Matt and Mark when they were little guys. Even the family dog was friendly and a part of the get together.

Then we got the tour of the seed house and operation, grass seed stacked high and ready to ship out our way.

Farmers, don't worry about killing the annual ryegrass cover crops, I have had no problems and I didn't see anything to be concerned about on that farm.

Van is the seventh generation to live on that farm. Mandy's picture windows from the kitchen and living room is amazing, just like Grandpa and Grandma wanted in 1955.

The cattle operation was pleasant, right beside the house and our picnic area.

The folks are so pleasant out here, not the city folk you hear about that move into regions like that. Down home, hard working people that have kept our country great.

We can't let them ruin our country.

What a day and what a trip!

Now if I can find Garth and David today and head towards Washington State.

Ed and LuAnn

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wind Turbines

Today I introduce to you my first guest blogger, my dear wife LuAnn Winkle!

Last week, on our trip across the country, we began to encounter wind “farms” in northwest Wyoming. Along Interstate 80 the first field contained more than 50….it is difficult to count when your dear blogger is driving along at 80 mph but that is another story. About an hour later, I saw in the distance another field of turbines. This field, with the mountains as a dramatic backdrop, was over 60 miles away at the time I first sighted it but was so large that it was unmistakable.

As the miles rolled by and the field became more visible I began to count. I lost count at over 100 turbines stretching south to north for miles. These wind farms were a noticeable change from the last time we made this trip. We are still trying to figure out if it was 2005 or 2006 that we last passed this way but that, too, is another story.

Our first ever encounter with the wind farms was in southwest California and western Arizona on one of our previous loop camping trips. I vividly remember stopping for lunch at a truck stop diner in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mammoth white silent turbines. I remember seeing fields of turbines stretching endlessly across the desert valley and thinking how amazing they looked. They fascinated me.

In the past year, a wind farm has developed near my parents’ home in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. Across dairy farms and low mountain ranges the graceful blades move silently. Mom told us of the opposition voiced when the turbines came: “They would obstruct the view-shed; they would hurt birds; they would pose a danger to aircraft; and the most interesting objection, to me anyway, was that they would ‘sling’ ice and snow in the winter.” Somehow the objections were overcome and the turbines now gracefully turn in the distance.

Back to last week in Wyoming….as I watched the miles of turbines pass, I found myself thinking of how delighted God would be that man found ways to harness the wind that He gave us using the gifts that He gave us to develop and install that technology. I saw the turbines as graceful, fluid works of art that have a purpose beyond the aesthetic.

Then I looked closely at the miles and miles of utility lines that crossed the prairie and grasslands and at how dated and ugly they seemed. It is hard to believe that barely 60 years ago those power lines were welcomed with such anticipation by the rural families who were farming the mid and western states without electricity even as late as the 1950s. Imagine how they felt when at last those lines brought access to electric lights and appliances and tools that would make their rural life so much easier. Yet, here barely 60 years later, those same lines looked obsolete and intrusive on the landscape.

I wondered if the wind turbines would look ugly and obsolete in a short time? Would we view them as an intrusion in the landscape as we view utility poles and lines now? Would we forget our vulnerability to foreign oil producing nations and no longer welcome the development of new cleaner technologies? In short, would the next generation view the wind turbines the way we view utility poles and lines today?

Only time will tell. Until then, my dear blogger and I are excited to welcome new technologies for energy on our farm through the Ohio Department of Development.
. We applied for a grant to assist with the cost of installing a wind turbine that will supply our residential needs. My dear blogger is looking forward to cutting, storing and carrying less firewood. We both look forward to the energy cost savings. We look forward to the conveniences (central air conditioning, dear blogger) that cheaper electricity will afford us.

We also look forward to being pioneers in wind energy technology in our county. I always thought I would have made a great pioneer. Through the wind energy program I may get my chance.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We made it to the California Redwoods today.

"The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. The parks consist of a combined area of 131,983 acres (534.12 km2) located entirely within Del Norte and Humboldt Counties and they protect 45% of all remaining Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) old-growth forests, totaling at least 38,982 acres (157.75 km2). These trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the redwood forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, fauna, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams, and 37 miles (60 km) of pristine coastline.

In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres (8,100 km2) of the California coast. The northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees[2] for booming development in San Francisco and other places on the West Coast."

They are truly majestic. They are dissimilar than the Sequoias which have the big knuckles holding them to the mountain side. The rangers count every Sequouia that falls, saying "it lost its balance."

I walked around many Redwoods that were 40 foot or more in diameter in the Stout Grove. What a beautiful day to walk the Redwoods!

Tomorrow is church, then Crater Lake, then our friend Orin and over to Eugene.

Ed and LuAnn

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lassen Volcanic

We had a beautiful drive to the Lassen Volcanic National Park in California today.

We had lunch at the RoundUp Cafe in Sierraville, California where hay was going by the double semi loads. Ranchers and cattle were everywhere.

We spent the afternoon at the old volcanic site that supposedly blew 3 million years ago. The rubble on the west side was amazing.

It was a beautiful drive up to 8500 feet to the crest and back down during the 32 mile drive.

We just had dinner at Chevy's Fresh Mex in Redding, California and it was excellent.

What a day!

Ed and LuAnn

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Made it across Wyoming and beautiful Utah and made it to Elko, Nevada. What a town! Be sure to eat at the Star diner but get there early or late! Place is packed everynight for their steaks, seafood and Basque style dining. Yum!

LuAnn is down at the Casino having fun. I had my fun all summer, my gamblings are out in my fields! We got more rain so we should be good to go.

Now to get everything ready for harvest will be the challenge!

I am missing the Bowling Green tractor pulls, Keith's Field Day, the Farm Progress Show and the big NAT meet and greet get together. Oh well, I owe her this one but she always seems to take me away about this time of the year!

I have drug her to many such events though so I cannot say too much.

My oldest boy bought a 706 Farmall tonight and it sounds like a real bargain. He found me a good Case 2590 if I can talk LuAnn into it. 200 HP would be nice and maybe I could make the Wilmington Farm Stock class next July???

They had a years rainfall out here in June and the west is the greenest I have seen. Talked to one rancher who can't get his hay up and now the price is in the tubes, everyone has some. Hay is stacked all the way back to Iowa. I never saw so much hay.

We had the most beautiful weather this week you can imagine and it rained back home. Wow, can't believe it!

We are on our way to the California Redwoods tomorrow, can't wait to see those trees. I might be a temporary tree hugger!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Today we are in beautiful Wyoming. It is the greenest I have ever seen it. I bet they liked the rain they got this year!

Record amounts of hay has been made. Hay is everywhere. I never saw so much hay on a trip in my life! The cows look good in tall grass.

We stopped at Cabella's World Headquarters in Sidney Nebraska. Dick and his wife started making fishing lures on their kitchen table in 1969 and now they have ten beautiful stores! Talk about a success story, they made it!

We love going to Cabella's, the wildlife display is always so beautiful. They have things you can't find anywhere else but they specialize on the hunter and fisherman.

A case of shotgun shells was 53-58 dollars. They were stacked right by the front doors. Ammunition is hot as you know.

We saw Sinclair's new modern refinery in Wyoming. We had lunch at the Albany Inn in Cheyenne. It has been famous since 1946, great food and a beautiful place.

That's about it for now. Long but good and fun day again.

Ed and LuAnn

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Iowa State Fair

We went to the Iowa State Fair today for the first time. The fairgrounds is immaculate, no trash!

They really need to work on their traffic control though as the Ohio State Fair moves traffic so much faster.

The main feature for us was the Agriculture Building. It had the most exhibits and the most visitors, too.

I really liked the FFA Jackets hanging up from every chapter in the state. LuAnn liked the corn stalk where kids could measure their growth at each years fair.

The fruit and produce and honey looked really good, high quality.

The pork producers had the longest food line.

We saw a lot of quality livestock, too.

They had a very nice antique tractor and new farm machinery exhibit most fairs don't have anymore.

We made it to Grand Island Nebraska tonight. If you like steak and paass through or go to the Husker Harvest days, get a hand cut stea at the Texas T-Bone. One of the best we ever had.

Talk to you tomorrow if I get the chance.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 17, 2009


We are in my favorite state, Iowa. I spent the day with my mentors Keith and Paul and his brothers.

I saw some tremendous corn and soybeans. Soybeans that looked like Christmas trees with 72 pods per main branch! Keith is into soil health and plant hormones. He showed me my Ohio non GMO soybeans that look fantastic. He showed me roots on non GMO corn after corn with no insectide with tremendous roots. It was a really enlightening visit.

One of my favorite movies is Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. Go the Distance. If you build your soil, the yields will come. That takes some work!

Paul and Kevin and Ken showed me all kinds of machinery inventions and adaptations that can make money on my farm and other farmers farms. The anhydrous tool bar is impressive. The chopper modifications will really help spread the residue on our combine. There are so many things I have to go write them down right now before I forget. I should have taped the whole session. Maybe my 40 pictures will trigger my memory!

We had a great dinner at the Machine Shed Restaurant, what a meal, as usual! The Iowa State Fair is going on too and we have never been there. I will be able to take it off my bucket list.

The weather was nice today, unlike the east coast where it is steaming.

Hope you are staying cool!


Sunday, August 16, 2009


We attended the intense Lord and Giver of Life all day conference in Buffalo NY yesterday. Words cannot describe it. I will try to put it into words some day.

Prayed with 11,000 people and you could hear a pin drop.

When we sang the responses it would almost hurt your ears in pefect pitch!

Today we are in Illinois. We just ate at the Cajun Connection, wow what food! Just like the French Quarter!

If you ever get out I-80 get off at Ottawa, go south to US 6 and head west for a few miles. You have to eat there once!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Tonight will be your last chance to see the Perseid meteor shower at its peak—and the annual sky show is especially dazzling this year thanks to a one-time-only boost from Saturn, experts say.

The Perseids light up the night when Earth passes through a trail of debris left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which swings past the sun roughly every 130 years

The Perseids are supposed to peak at 2 AM. I don't think I will be up.

I remember watching them many times and contacting ham radio operators via the bounce off those meteor showers.

I also remember sleeping on the sleeping bags under the stars and Mark came home late that morning and there they were. Beautiful, amazing, words can't describe our Universe.

Perseids start streaking across the sky as early as July and continue through late August. But the meteors usually peak in mid-August, with average rates of 70 to 80 shooting stars an hour.

Powerful Perseids This Year

This year's Perseids are even showier than normal, with an expected peak rate of a hundred meteors an hour.

Tuesday night through Wednesday dawn offered viewers the best chance to see the most Perseids without as much glare from the waning gibbous—or just past full—moon. (Take a moon facts quiz.)

But the actual peak of this year's Perseids is occuring this afternoon for people in North America. Although the meteors are essentially invisible in daylight, tonight's show could be just as plentiful, if not better.

After tonight, though, the numbers of shooting stars should taper off, with a rare bright streak appearing only occasionally.

Herding Perseids

This year's high number of Perseids is most likely a "gift" from the gas giant Saturn, said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, Alabama.

As Swift-Tuttle passes by the sun, the comet leaves debris strung out all along its orbital path through the solar system.

Over time, other forces have acted on those particles. Some have drifted apart, creating a spread that delivers a more consistent shower on Earth.

But Cooke thinks that at some point hundreds of years ago, the comet passed especially close to Saturn, and the pull of that planet's gravity helped concentrate nearby debris into a clump.

This year is special, Cooke said, because we're now passing through the debris herded together by Saturn, and "that clump of particles will encounter Earth only once."

If you wake up tonight like I usually do, go look!

Thanks Ralph,


Monday, August 10, 2009

It Got Hot

I told you it was the coolest July on record here. That changed and it got hot.

I was computering last night and LuAnn came downstairs and said it is just too hot to sleep. I know honey, that is why I wait so long to come to bed.

The air conditioner, window unit, had run five hours and that wasn't enough.

This should really help mature this crop. I will be curious to see what Ohio Crop Weather reports today on GDD's.

Growing Degree Days is a way we measure temperature for crops by taking the high of each day up to 86 degrees where plants start shuting down to a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit where they also shut down.

Amazingly enough, we have been slightly ahead of normal at the SW Ohio reporting station, whom I believe is Nancy in Wilmington or NOAA themselves.

Region :Temperature: Precipitation :Growing Degree Days 1/
:Last : :Last : :Since: :Last : :Since:
:Week :Dev. :Week :Dev. :Apr.1:Dev. :Week :Dev. :Apr.1:Dev.
: Degrees -------- Inches ------- -------- Days -------
Northwest :69.8 -2.2 0.69 0.06 14.46 -0.05 141 -9 1,738 -111
North Central :71.0 -1.0 1.14 0.46 14.11 -0.73 148 -3 1,748 -61
Northeast :70.4 -0.2 1.67 0.81 15.03 -0.27 144 2 1,613 -88
West Central :70.8 -1.7 0.82 0.25 16.40 0.34 148 -6 1,876 -51
Central :71.6 -1.0 1.86 1.34 16.56 0.42 151 -4 1,945 -1
Central Hills :70.7 -0.5 1.78 1.10 14.91 -1.04 146 0 1,765 -36
Northeast Hills :71.8 0.3 1.67 0.88 14.59 -1.27 154 6 1,757 -66
Southwest :71.7 -1.9 1.83 1.22 18.52 1.50 153 -7 2,020 -11
South Central :72.8 -0.9 3.09 2.35 21.42 5.59 161 1 2,051 -10
Southeast :72.0 -0.4 2.18 1.45 17.15 1.18 156 3 1,929 -7
STATE :71.3 -1.0 1.69 1.01 16.46 0.70 151 -2 1,856 -42
1/ Modified Growing degree days, base 50 - ceiling 86

Hooray, a chart that copies! So many programs are unique and incompatible.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another Blessed Sunday

Here it is, another blessed Sunday.

God has been so good to us.

We are so busy we can't get together with all our neighbors. We have worked hard to build this little community and they have too. That is about all we have right now, love thy neighbor as thyself.

It has sure been a roller coaster emotional ride this year, birth and death, mud and dry, but good crops overall.

The best thing is my neighbors though, I never had a neighborhood like this one. The people are so nice and helpful and help make it a cozy place to live here.

We have bought 5 beautiful lemon yellow floor rugs from our neighbors across the road. Their children wove the rugs, they are really good kids and good at weaving.

Neighbor Joe made a shelf that was missing from my antique display case we bought near Hillsboro.

Neighbor Mike tilled my garden for me. Neighbor Ralph and Darrell watch this place like a hawk. Neighbor Donna gave us Iris that look beautiful when they come out.

We have a really good neighborhood, we stay in close contact so we can help each other.

We love our neighbor's has ourself.

It is truly amazing and God's word.

Ed Winkle

Saturday, August 8, 2009


LuAnn and I were scouting our beans near Greenfield Ohio when I got this panic call from her oldest daughter.

Where are you guys? Out in the fields. I can't breathe, it feels like a knife in my chest.

29 year old woman drops two gallons of milk on the floor rolled up like a worm.

I haven't drove that fast for a long time, I had the Dodge wide open.

Talk about scary.

ER found her lungs clean and her heart is good.

I thought asthma attack but it could be pleurisy?

That can drop you on the ground.

Then we worried about the little girls, home alone with their mother.

Everything is OK now but it was scary for about three hours. Mom needs some rest.

She tends to burn the candle at both ends like her mother and me.

That can catch up with you.

I told her husband Kevin we need to get to the bottom of this and he agreed.

Scary moment and we have all had them and more to come.

It is called having a life.



I guess we like visitors. There is almost always someone in the driveway here. People just flock to this place.

Just had a wonderful chat with Omar from Ontario Canada over a cup of coffee. What a nice guy, one of nine children. He is sales manager for a large John Deere dealership.

We talked about family, we talked about life, we talked about our countries and of course we talked about machinery.

Tomorrow Oliver may stop by on his way from Vermont to Grove City. We both have family there.

They are both really cool guys with skills I don't have. We just like to sit down and exchange information.

I learn so much from other people and I try to share everything I know.

Somedays I feel like I never quit teaching, I just changed my classroom!

There is so much to comprehend these days. People have seemed to really get social in a friendly way in these challenging times.

I think that is good for all of us.

I like visitors.

Come on over.

Ed Winkle

Friday, August 7, 2009


I stupidly forwarded this Mars email that got me snoped out and embarrassed me. So I went out to see what was really there, it is Jupiter.

Do a google on Stargazing, there is a wealth of information there.

"Tonight, the waning gibbous moon is 2 days past full. So the moon rises at a later hour tonight than it did last night, or the night before. This evening, the moon rises in the east at nightfall or early evening. And our feature star, Fomalhaut, won’t rise until about 2 hours after moonrise.

Two days ago, on Wednesday, the full moon came up around sunset – of course! Full moons always rise at or near sunset. Last night, on Thursday, the moon looked full, but was actually a day past. Therefore, last night’s moon rose after sunset, or at dusk.

At late evening tonight (10:30 to 11:30 p.m.), watch for a bright star to climb above the southeast horizon, beneath the moon and Jupiter. That star is Fomalhaut, the only bright star in a large area of dim stars. Because it alone shines brightly in this patch of sky, Fomalhaut is sometimes called the loneliest star. Like all stars, Fomalhaut rises about four minutes earlier each day, due to Earth’s motion in orbit around the sun. This autumn we’ll look outside to see Fomalhaut in the southeast sky – not late at night – but earlier in the evening.

That’s why Fomalhaut is associated with the autumn months. See it now as a reminder that there’s cooler weather ahead!"

Cooler weather ahead? We can't get enough heat for a dog day! At least the cool nights keep the diseases at bay. Gray Leaf Spot on corn, frogeye leaf spot on beans this year. It would probably pay to spray but another, almost $30 per acre? Hard to spend my friends, hard to spend.

I know you have to spend money to make money but that's a lot of money.


Thursday, August 6, 2009


I depend on my partners to help me and I hope they depend on me to help them.

Partners can make you or break you. Look at marriage, half the marriages fail because the partners can't get along.

You have to find a partner who compliments your personality and balances your weaknesses with their strengths. You have to be able to do the same for them.

I got two young men together this week who partner well together. They cleaned out bins that could have taken forever to do or never get done.

One never knew his dad, the other never knew his mom. They have talked about it and built a good friendship from it.

We just had a good farm partner meeting as to who was doing what and how this fall.

We have a good crop but we have to figure out how to get it through our system.

Partnering is important in this life.

Who do you partner with?

What are the traits of a good partnership?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grain Bins

I have a newer and deeper appreciation for anyone who owns, manages or works in grain bins.

They get plain nasty.

We are just about to clean out bin two with 40 year old grain residue and put a bigger unloading auger on it. Truckers won't wait and if you fill them fast, they will be here first so I can get my grain marketed.

We found more mice than you would ever hope to see. Trapped three in the house already because some of them ran to the house.

We found one of my kitty cat mouse killers dead in the middle, must have snuck through the bin fan fins and never got back out. Jason just laughed and I told him that was one of my buddies.

Grain bins are necessary because the market can't take your grain at harvest, you have to spread it over a year.

So a hundred semi loads will come through here this fall and one hundred will pass back out by the following harvest.

That is besides all the loads going to town out of the combine to fill contracts.

I never have to go to the casino, I have it right here in my back yard.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thunder Boomers

Woke up to big big thunder boomers this morning. I haven't heard that noise in a long time. These are the kind that just rumble on a long, long time. There must have been a five minute span of nothing but thunder.

I wonder where the center is, I listen and try to estimate the miles and I think it is over Roger Achor's farms right now.

Thunderstorms in August are blessing to a crop farmer here. You change your plans thanks to rain and lightning but you keep on working somewhere.

I looked up the word thunder boomer and it seems no one agrees where it comes from or what it means. Some think it is a quick onset of thunderstorms so what I am hearing right now is lingering thunder that rolls and rolls and rolls.

This puts a halt to my scouting so back to the paperwork. Oh, I have learned to just dread paperwork.

I have to certify my last seed acres I am scouting for my agreements. It is a tedious process and must be done correctly. I know in my head what I saw but I have to get it down right on paper. The old paper trail, the one that make you or break you if someone gets audited. I am their eyes and ears so I have to get it down right.

The weathermen are calling for three days of this volatility and then finally, a hot and humid weekend we usually get all summer here east of Cincinnati.

Not this year, it has been a very cool and damp sping and summer.

Ed Winkle

Monday, August 3, 2009


Baby Caoilin went to Childrens Hospital this weekend with a virus.

Becky called and said she was limp instead of nursing as normal, three weeks old.

I thought babies had that tremendous immune system thanks to mother's milk. It scared Becky and Will and scared us both.

She came home today with no trace of spinal meningitiis. Talk about one happy grandpa after hours of prayer but the doctors know best. Yet, they only know so much.

Our society has advanced food and medically wise that longevity can be increased beyond the current social system and insurance can fund it.

Viruses can mutate so quickly in response to environment, thus my blog on pandameics.

They have killed many humans.

I sold corn today. I may sell some more beans, I was short on corn sales. This little system can only handle so many bushles and we need cash flow. Boy, the crops look good here.

I am trying my hardest to get all this work caught up so we can go do something fun.

This weekend wasn't fun for lots of family.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Fair

The Greene County fair in Xenia starts today. I have another busy afternoon of judging probably 500 entries.

This one I judge canned foods also because it is lumped into farm produce. You turn the canning jar over and over looking for faults or quality. It gets very tedious but we make fun out of it.

I always speak out what I am seeing and people line up to hear me. I think the shows I judge have gotten better out of this practice.

Greene County is where my brother raised his family. That county also has the sad distinction of the big F5 tornado that ripped the county in half. Wouldn't you know I was right in the middle of it taking students to an awards banquet.

That was the most powerful force I have even seen in my life. Words and pictures just can't describe it.

In recent years a smaller one came through and destroyed most of the fairgrounds. Now they have new buildings but few trees. It is one of those towns you drive through and everything looks new but there are no mature trees.

I drove through the county recently after judging the big crop show in Sprinfield, Ohio. Man, what a crop!

We have the bins tore apart to try and make sure we can handle this harvest.

What a strange year!


Saturday, August 1, 2009


The crops look good here, you have to pinch yourself. Is this real?

Then the market came back because others don't have it. We are very blessed.

You have to pronounce August correctly, like the old country. August is the month two of my children were born, Mark and Becky. Those were very happy days and here we are almost 30 years later.

"August is the eighth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. [1]

This month was originally named Sextilis in Latin, because it was the sixth month in the ancient Roman calendar, which started in March about 735 BC under Romulus. It became the eighth month either when January and February were added to the beginning of the year by King Numa Pompilius about 700 BC or when those two months were moved from the end to the beginning of the year by the decemvirs about 450 BC (Roman writers disagree). It was renamed in honor of Augustus in 8 BC because several of the most significant events in his rise to power, culminating in the fall of Alexandria, fell in this month. Lore claims August originally had 29 days in the Roman Republican calendar. Augustus took two days from February and gave it to August when Sextilis was renamed in his honor.[2] See Month lengths how this commonly believed lore was proven wrong.

August's flower is the gladiolus or poppy, and its birthstone is the peridot.

In common years no other month starts on the same day of the week as August, though in leap years February starts on the same day."

We must have more soil moisture than I think we ever saw for August first. What an unusual year. I had to park on the horse race track yesterday at the Clermont County Fairgrounds.

We had a great time at our mini family get together in Maineville last night. My cousin Jenny was in from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's in California. She introduced me to her fiance John, a lung doctor. I said I might need your help some day and we talked about farmers lung. A doctor and a lawyer together, I told them that is dangerous. They just laughed and said their friends tease them about it.

Roy and Jane looked good. They are the remaining siblings of nine children in dad's family. They have four first cousins left counting them. New generation taking of and now I am on the aging part of that one!

We have just another beautiful sunrise coming. I don't remember so many in one year. The sky was wide open and clear blue last night. Just a bit chilly in the old farm office.

My cousins love LuAnn. They probably can't believe I am married to someone like her.