Monday, January 31, 2011

Singin' in the Rain? No, Swingin' in the Snow!

Thought I would post a quick blurb on here so that Dad can see what my curious Caoilin is up to this week. She convinced me to take her swinging in the snow, against my better judgement. To me, the idea of sailing through freezing air does not sound the least bit appealing, but once again, she proved me wrong. We swung for at least 30 minutes and you can see in this photo all the joy that she felt flying through the air.

We sang, "How I love to go up in the air, up in the sky so white," as the snow was falling down all around us. One of the greatest joys of being a mother is that you get to be a kid again. You get to remember what it is like to let go of all you know and put yourself in a place of wonder and delight, despite all your fears and notions you have gained through life experiences.

I hope you get a chance to go swinging in the snow this week. Lose yourself in the moment, despite the chaos of the world around you.


Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today I pray for peace in the Middle East. The turmoil in Egypt is going to affect our lives but we don't know how yet.

I can see why they want the freedom they don't have but over 100 people have lost their lives in this uprising already. I am sure there will be many more before it is over.

The effect on the Suez Canal and world economy is scary. It is especially scary to me after seeing the impact of the Panama Canal Friday.

The world doesn't need higher prices right now but the impact on world shipping and economy has great potential. No one knows what will happen but it usually gets worse before it gets better.

On a good note I did run into an old friend at lunch. I saw the lady, listened to her speak and thought that has to be Darlene, the treasurer of the Blanchester School Board I used to serve on. We had a great chat and just laughed at the possibility of finding someone who lives 10 miles away on a ship thousands of miles away from home.

Pray for peace and prepare for the best and the worst, either or both are coming.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Costa Rico

We just got back from a little tour around Costa Rico. There are several 500 acre banana plantations owne by Dole, Del Monte or Chiquita. Some of the workers drive tours around in their off time. We got an inside tour of the plantation and packing facility.

The average worker makes $35-40 US per 8 hour day. They start at 5 AM ans work until 2 pm because it gets so hot in the afternoon.

Te unemployment here is 10 percent here like the US, much higher than the 5 % in Panama.

I am talking to a nice young man while I am typing. He helped me figure out the buttons on this thing in Spanish.

Just like Gabriel yesterday, I hope he is successful at working for himself. He is a helper in the Catholic Church here and we are talking about Simon Peter being the Rock of the Church. 80% of the islanders are Catholic like many Latin American countires.

Tomorrow we go back to sea and back to seminars and I will report back later.

Have a great day.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Panama Canal

The Zuiderdam enteredt the Panama Canal this morning at 5 AM Eastern Standard Time. I woke up at 5 AM just in time to see the first ships waiting to pass through and the see the first guide lights to guide our ship safely through the eight locks.

It wasn't long before the whole ship was on their deck or one of the decks to watch the events. The first ship we saw was The Ivory Pearl with a stack of containers six to seven high, six wide and 12 or more containers long. The millions of dollars of goods on one ship just makes your head spin.

It costs $185 per person for our ship to pass the canal and the reservation was made a year ago so we had priority. The canal makes a few million a day in fees in and a billion plus US dollars per year. The local currency is named for the famous explorer Balboa.

We were told Balboa didn't slash his way through the jungle, the natives walked him through their corn fields to the Pacific Ocean. I thought that was pretty good.

My allergies came to life for the first time in a long time and I am plugged up writing this before dinner. My eyes and nose ran all day and my head hurts. What a tropical place4 where everything grows and the pollens must be flush even here in January.

Every American farmer should visit the canal. The Roach Ag Group was a great way to see the movement of cargo from one ocean to another with 260 other farmers. We have had a great time teaching and entertaining our city cousins on board.

The seminars have been good. I have to tell you about the Chinese pig and an update on China from John's trip with 25 farmers last August.

Some amazing things are going on.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Morning

The boss and and I are playing hooky again. We are currently in Curacao after visiting Aruba yesterday, on our way to the Panama Canal.

There are 264 of us on the Zuiderdam with the Roach Ag Marketing Cruise. The seminars have been interesting so far. Saw one of my college day friends and his neighbor who farms near my brother in Cedarville.

Lots of farmers know me from NewAgTalk and the NoTill Conference. It's a really fine group of people and makes the cruise even more enjoyable.

We really enjoy this hot weather during the middle of our Ohio Winters and have to figure out how to make enough money to do it every winter.

Farmers had a pretty good year but most of us lost yield from the late summer weather and John Roach's sell signals left us short on the volatile market prices. We have all been discussing what happened and planning how to avoid it in the future.

We just got caught up with beautiful crops and lower prices last July and we all sold a little too much. That quickly takes tens of thousands of dollars off your gross income. At least all of us are still farming!

I really enjoyed Becky's posts and those are keepers for dear old dad.

Keep up the good work all!

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some Pig

Currently, one of my son’s favorite stories is Charlotte's Web. In fact he recently spent the better part of a snowy Saturday in his room listening to the audio recording of the book read by E.B. White himself. It is a gem of a book, and if you have never read it, I highly recommend you go get yourself a copy right now.

The story unfolds between a young pig by the name of Wilbur and a wise old spider, Charlotte, and the relationship that develops between the two remarkable animals. The subplot of the story lies between Wilbur and his little girl Fern, who originally saves Wilbur from the fate that faced most runts in a litter of pigs. You see, Fern’s Daddy knew the best thing for a little runt was to end his life before it could really begin, because most likely he would die from lack of being able to fend for himself. But Fern promised to take the responsibility of raising the baby pig, and Wilbur spent the first few weeks of his life being coddled and loved by the sweet little girl. In turn, Wilbur went on to live an incredible life.

The story brings to mind another tale about a girl and her pig.

I don’t recall a lot of specific memories of my childhood. I’ve recently been discussing with friends and family whether the memories we have are in fact our memories, or if they are stories so often shared that we just think we remember them. But, I do recall this story rather well.

When I was nine years old I spent the summer in a hog barn with a Hampshire pig by the name of Speckles. He earned his name from the black speckles across his white belt. It was the first year I was able to have my own hog project in 4-H. At that time we kept our projects at a friends hog farm and I recall diligently visiting everyday to spend some time with Speckles. I don’t remember how it happened, but Speckles grew very ill. In fact he was so ill, I was told he should be put down because there was nothing to be done for him. But I, like Fern, was not ready to give up on my little friend, and so I was allowed to coddle and love on him for as long as he would last. My mom and I spent hours just sitting with Speckles and hand feeding him slop in hopes that he would make a miraculous recovery. Turns out that he did! Speckles got well, and although he wasn’t able to gain enough weight to show in the Junior market hog show, I was able to show him in showmanship. By that time Speckles was a pet to me and was so tame he would practically follow me around the show arena. I went on to win my showmanship class and I still recall the silver belt buckle I proudly displayed on my shelf for years to come.

But there is another part to my story that isn’t so happy. Unfortunately, Speckles was a barrow and wasn’t worth anything but as a market hog, which meant I had to sell him for slaughter. I think this memory stays so vivid in my mind because it was my first true experience with death. Other than my grandfather dying when I was very young, I hadn’t had anyone close to me pass away. As silly as it may sound to some, I mourned that pig. I’m embarrassed to say I even made up words to the song “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones, which I often heard on the radio while riding in the car with my dad. I remember feeling silly and terribly sad all at the same time, crying over the life of that pig.

But just like Wilbur grieved the death of his friend, Charlotte (hope I didn’t ruin the story for you!), I grieved the death of my friend and the death of something more.
To quote Andrew Peterson, one of my favorite musicians and writers, “We grieve and we rejoice, like breathing in and breathing out. The little things matter, and the big things matter, and hearts far and near need hope.” Death is death, and all of it matters because it is a part of the Curse. Which also means it is a part of our life here on earth.

So consider these things as you prepare to help your child or grandchild with their next market project. Raising market animals will teach them about responsibility and hard work. It will give them first hand experience in learning about food sources and a little about how farmers feed the world. It may also teach them lessons about life, lessons that are difficult to learn, but are nonetheless invaluable.

P.S. If you would like to learn more about Andrew Peterson, I highly recommend you visiting the Rabbit Room. It’s an amazing collection of writers, musicians, artists, and preachers with so many great stories to share.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let me take a moment to introduce myself...

If you've been following this blog for long, some of you may know me by name. I'm Ed's daughter, Becky, and he asked me to post a few blurbs on here while he was enjoying the Caribbean sun this week. I have to admit, I did not jump at the chance! After all, what do I have to say to a bunch of agriculturalist that would have any significance. I still have so much to learn in that area, even though I spent most of my summer days in the barn taking care of hogs, cattle, and sheep, and spending much of my high school years building a career in FFA.

Anyway, my dad really wanted to hear what I had to say, so I am taking a little time tonight to say hello.

So here's a little about me you may like to know. I am usually known as the mother to Liam, a precocious little five-year-old who makes himself known to just about anyone he meets. I am also the mother to 18 month old Caoilin, who is also quite a card, but in much different ways than her brother. Caoilin loves to sing, hates to be told no, and is best described as Curious George incarnate. And then there is Finnegan, three months old and as large as his name implies. You see, Finn McCool was a giant of a man in a famous Irish legend. If you'd like to know more, check out this link. I also highly recommend Tomie DePaola's version of the story which is quite an enjoyable book to share with your kids or grandkids.

I am a wife of eight years to William, the son of a veterinarian full of stories much like James Herriot, a Marine who has served in Iraq and Haiti, and an intellectual who loves science, technology, and engineering. I might also add, Will is the best husband and father I could have ever hoped for.

I am also a lover of stories. I fill my days with as much music, art, reading, and creating that the good Lord and my lovely children will allow.

I am the daughter of retired teachers who will never stop teaching me so much about life.

And most importantly I am a child of God, who is in constant pursuit in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18).

So I think I shall end my post for the evening while I still hold your interest, and I will be back tomorrow night to share a story that may intrigue you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fifteen Years

I was thinking about everything I have seen in 15 years. There has been a lot of change.

In fifteen years I have been through 8 pickup trucks. Four Chevrolet's, two Fords and two Dodge trucks. I still drive the latest Chevy and Dodge's. I put almost 300,000 miles alone on the first Dakota so I wouldn't be surprised if I have over a million miles on those trucks.

My acreage went from around 30 acres to 1120 harvested this year. In fifteen years I have went from full time teaching to full time farming and consulting.

My family life has completely changed from single to married to getting all the kids through college and married and now expecting our ninth grandchild.

I lost a lot of friends in 15 years, most notably my dad ten years ago to several friends and family this past year.

It's amazing what happens in just a few years. Look how our country has changed. We have come from Bill Clinton to George Bush to Barack Obama. We have went from a time of prosperity for our country through some really hard times, an attack on our nation and two major battlefields, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think I have put a million miles on myself seeing the 48 states and Alaska and Canada, Europe and New Zealand in many trips. I guess Hawaii and Australia are still on the bucket list.

I have made a lot of friends and done a lot of things over these last 15 years.

It is all nothing short of amazing.

With the right focus and a lot of help I guess we can do about anthing, can't we?


Friday, January 21, 2011


The notion that glyphosate changes your soil and can reek havoc on you the crops that grow in it keeps picking up a little steam.

I have friends who won't use glyphosate on their farms anymore. There are farm leases that have been written that prevent the tenant from using glyphosate on that farm so that eliminates any RoundUp Ready program which so many farmers use.

Dr. Huber, professfor Emeritus at Purdue let the cat out of the bag as soon as he retired from Purdue. Several other noted scientists like Kremer in Missouri and from all over the world have studies proving glyphosate ties up minerals in the soil which allows disease to become a bigger issue in crop reduction.

One of my colleagues showed us some of his findings from Ohio at the notill conference. Like me he is sitting on the sidelines until this gets sorted out but he showed tree after tree with bark splitting. The grower sprays round up herbicide which is a form of glyphosate and it lowers the mineral concentration around the roots so much the bark splits on the tree or bush.

There is other data coming that shows yield results compared to amount of glyphosate in the soil. The initial results don't look good for glyphosate but we may just be on the tip of the iceberg on this problem.

I never raised RoundUp Ready corn and started growing non GMO soybeans when I had all those resistant weeds round up won't kill on my farm anymore.

You can do some digging and start reading about this issue on the net. Take everything with a grain of glyphosate salt because some claims are rather bold like the anti Monsanto stuff Jeffery Smith spreads but there is something to the half life of glyphosate changing soil properties.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


If this keeps up, this will be one of the snowier winters in local records. We are already at 22 inches with more coming and those winters in the 70's broke 50 inches. That is a lot for us. Just a few years ago it didn't quite snow an inch all winter!

That is how the Ohio Valley is. It is supposed to be one of the hardest regions to predict weather. The weather man is the subject to many jokes everywhere and Cincinnati is no different. The models did show this storm coming about a week ago though.

The schools are all closed today and I am sure they will be tomorrow. Teachers are enjoying their snow days but I imagine most will be going into June again this year. I see where the house is voting on giving schools back their five calamity or snow days this year.

Congrats to former ag teacher Rob Hovis for getting electing as President of the Ohio Board of Education. The Republicans got the leadership back with a close 10-9 vote, probably thanks to Kasich and the other Republican wins in November. It is good to have someone you trust in such positions.

It's been 50 years since John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. We were a much younger, naive country then and he was the youngest man to get elected at that time. He is one of the Presidents that you remember his famous lines in his inaugural address like Lincoln and Roosevelt. Those lines became famous.

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. The Peace Corps was started and over 22,000 people have served since its inception. The country was all about giving and helping and not all about me like it is now.

LuAnn's Kindle died so she is bummed. I better go look for some ideas but I suspect the battery. I read they have had lots of problems with them.

Stay warm,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ohio River

Unloading grain at the river yesterday made me think of all the value that is barged up and down the river. It is an awesome number and the US Corps of Army Engineers has a handle on it.

Along with Iron & Steel grain is the Ohio River basin’s fourth largest commodity group. There were 145 waterside grain elevators, plants and terminals in the basin, which shipped or received grain by barge in 2008.

Ohio River System waterways serve grain shippers primarily by affording access to the export and industrial markets for grain. These markets have been the most dynamic sector of the grain market and the strong growth in grain traffic in the basin reflects the prominence of these sectors in waterborne movements. Large movements of grains are made by water out of the basin to the export market through lower Mississippi River ports. The only other significant movements of barged grains are those to the South, most importantly to processors in the Tennessee River Valley.

Grain shipments on the Ohio River basin’s waterways totaled over 14 million tons in 2008, or 5.2% of all barge cargo. Of this amount, approximately 1.2 million tons were shipped into the basin from outside. Just over 10.5 million tons were shipped out of the basin, and about 1.8 million tons moved within the Ohio River System. The 13.5 million tons moving by barge in 2008 had a combined value of over $2.3 billion, which is almost 7.6 per cent of the value of the basin’s commodities moving by water.

The largest grain commodity that moves by barge in the basin is corn. Almost all of the more than 7.0 million tons of corn which moved in 2008 fell into one of two categories: moving from the upper Mississippi, Illinois River or Ohio River to the Tennessee River for processing (24.3%); or moving from the lower Ohio River to the lower Mississippi River for export (75.7%). Soybeans are the second ranking waterborne grain.

Ohio River Basin Barge Traffic – 2008 (values in millions of $) Millions of dollars!













Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterborne Commerce Statistics

Most of the grain that is moved by barge in the Ohio River basin originated in Illinois. Corn, oilseeds, soybeans, wheat and animal feed preparations were shipped out of Illinois on the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Ohio River Basin Barge Traffic

Grain Shipped by State – 2008

(values in millions of $)

Leading Grain






The main destinations for grain barges originating in the basin were export facilities in Louisiana. Within the basin, processing plants in Decatur and Guntersville Alabama and Loudoun and Chattanooga Tennessee were major destinations for corn and other grains.

Grain Received by State – 2008 (values in millions of $)

Leading Grain






You would think Ohio would contribute more to the Ohio River traffic but it doesn't. The basin is much larger than you would think.

Millions of dollars worth of products float by Cincinnati every day. It is nothing short of amazing.

It is probably how some of our families got here, too.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Truck Ride

I took a spin to Cargill Grain on Kellogg Avenue this morning with a load of soybeans. It is 42 miles one way and figures into our cost of production. Right now it is the best money we are spending even with high diesel fuel costs.

I don't normally run that route so it was good to see my friends from the north and east of us here in Martinsville. I got to see my old friend Super Duper Cooper hauling Mike Clark's grain from Dayton. Coop is one fine super guy. I first met him in the 80's when I was the county extension agent up that way.

Luttrell Farms, Blanton Farms, Lutmer Farms, Malott Farms, Stahl Farms, so many friends were unloading grain. Markets are really good today and farmers are taking advantage of it. Pretty much record high grain prices across the board. My sell singal algorism went off and tells me to sell 1/4 of this years crop and a little 2012 and 2013 if I can do it.

Farmers are riding high in the saddle right now but before you think we are all rich, remember our cost of production. Land price, rent, tiling, seed, fertilizer and chemicals always leave us at 3-5% margin. On a good year we might make 10% and the more successful farmers have a real knack of doing that.

The weather is warm for January, the roads are damp and the traffic was pretty light for Cincinnati east. You pull in, roll the tarp over on your trailer and go get probed. A man sits in a booth and directs a grain probe with TV cameras into your load without hurting your trailer hopefully and the sample is vacuumed into his booth where he measures moisture, test weight and grain quality.

You leave the probing area and make a hard turn to the booth he is sitting in to weigh your gross load and give him your load information as to who owns the grain, how to sell it, and who to pay the trucking fee to. 30 cents per bushel is probably a fair charge to haul that easy 42 mile run from our farm.

Then you pull into the pit they tell you to pull into and unload your grain. It just takes seconds to unload 900 bushels of grain or so. There was little dust today, some days it can be bad.

You then pull across the scale again to get your tare or empty weight so they can caluclate gross pounds of grain delivered and net bushels you will be paid for.

Many drivers do this for a living, many part time or even farmers grow and truck their own grain. I saw a barge load moving pretty fast down the Ohio River and was reminded of the huge impact farmers have on our economy. It is awesome.

Now I am home and it is back to work on the hard for me, paying bills and calculating figures and management plans.

Monday, January 17, 2011

19th Annual National NoTill Conference

The number nine to me is like the power ball number that was worth millions of dollars recently. This corn was planted the 19th of April. The 19th is my birthday. 49 is my birth year. The 19th annual National NoTill Conference as no different. It was a powerful conference.

We enjoyed another excellent NNTC in Cincinnati last week with a record crowd for our location. I think Des Moines brought in more people one time in 19 years. The NoTill Farmer staff did another bang up job putting on this conference for standing room only crowds.

From the opening talk from my friend Tom Oswald to the last talk by my friend Jack Maloney, every speaking slot was full of good information. I can’t say there was any hot breaking news this year but there was more information and evidence on the things we have been talking about from seed treatments to cover crops.

I explained how treat my treated seed and how I use soil amendments and micronutrients. Fertilizing is one thing but every decision we make impacts how our crops can or can’t take up the nutrients available. With rising fertilizer costs, there is much interest in releasing more nutrients from our soils.

I raised some eyebrows when I said that I think every seed company needs to be prepared to put whatever treatment we want right on the seed with these new polymers available. I shouldn’t have to treat my treated seed; it should all be sealed on pristine seed for the price we are paying. The industry IS coming around to this notion as it outperforms other seed.

One question that came up was all about glyphosate. How much is it limiting nutrient uptake and increasing disease pressure and how do we handle or prevent resistant weeds. Resistant weeds are becoming a larger problem each year as most farmers use this effective herbicide to the point of over use. Lots of discussion was shared on these topics.

I found three farmers who forgot more about the air drills than I understand. I see right now we need a full rebuild with some modifications or replace the drill. Robert Adamic in Michigan, Allen Dean in Ohio and Mel Gerber in Missouri understand the John Deere air drill better than I do. Here is the value of the conference that can pay huge dividends even above the other great topics and speakers.

Dr. Ray Weil of Maryland gave a real good primer on soil fauna and his student Joel Gruver at Western Illinois University put numbers and explanation to soil biology and nutrient release. I never saw a talk I wasn’t interested in, some just more than others. Every speaker from presentation to classroom to round table explained their beliefs and raised good questions.

The woman’s program was excellent; I wish LuAnn could have been there for all of them. My tax accountant Donna Dalton and my old friend Chris Bruynis of Ohio State gave really informational talks, well worth the price of admission to the conference.

I hope we can all meet again next year in St. Louis for the 20th annual conference. Put it on your calendar now and just send in your payment so you won’t forget or put something less important in front of it.

This conference has answered more questions than any conference I have ever been part of.

Good job guys!

Ed Winkle

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't Fall

As I get older I see the delemma of falling. LuAnn took an embarrasing fall yesterday and bruised herself up pretty good and pulled some muscles.

I took one this year that knocked me out for a bit so I know the fear of falling at our age. We aren't that old yet be we are old enough that a fall is bad. You never think about it twice when you are younger.

I remember visiting people this year who had fallen and were visibly shaken up or hurt. You can do more damage than you can imagine. I now have arthritis in every joint I injured at a younger age so it is going to come back and get ya.

The economy is the same way. Falling markets and failing weather is not what we hope for.

Farmers are saying please don't fall markets until I get this figured out and my plan in place. We can sell crops now for almost a third more than we got a year ago today. Some inputs have went up more than 1/3 and surely will catch up over the coming weeks.

We all hope our yields don't fall. I know I hope they don't. I lost a third off my potential yield the way it was weather wise this past year.

Who knows what this growing season will bring. I will get to hear more about that next week.

I just hope things don't fall too much, yield wise. Gas prices, yes they can fall but probably won't the way it looks. Who knows?

Food prices are going up but it really isn't the price of corn, it is the cost of getting crops to our plate. Everything has been going up in this inflationary cycle.

About all we can do is stay as stable as we can and brace ourselves for the ups and downs of life.

Have a good week and watch out for those falls!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

What a Week!

It was quite a week in Cincinnati. Lots of friendship, good questions and presentations. I think the women's program was the best ever from what I saw and heard and the couple from northern Ohio who heads that up are to be commended.

The staff at NoTill Farmer magazine did another bangup job. It was flawless. One speaker had to change his schedule because of family coming in and another had to leave because of an unexpected funeral for his friend.

The best news of the week is we are expecting our ninth grandchild! Those little ones are priceless and the kids are all doing such a great job raising their families. It makes us very proud.

I got to spend time with my Winkle grandchildren today. Corbin says, now grandpa tell me about those green and red pulling tractors you had. I told him all about them while he kept coloring inside the lines of the choo choo train he was coloring.

Then we got to cowboy movies and he said John Wayne said stick em up, there isnn't room in this town for the two of us! He is only 4 years old.

There was room in town for 823 registered notiller's in Cincinnati, a record crowd for Cincinnati. Everyone was in a pretty good mood after a decent year, pretty good yields and a robust market. Lots of farmers were on the computer and their cell phones.

I don't think there was anything really new but I heard so many talks that made me glad I have done what I have done and made me wonder how I can do it on more acres. Timing was everything last year although I think that is true every year.

The day is gone when you can plant all spring into summer unless you planned it behind another crop. We have to be ready for every blow Mother Nature throws us.

I know the air drill needs to be completely gone through and/or replaced. I know we have to address our spraying issues.

It's amazing the amount of questions I had on what I have taught for years as farmers try to understand exactly what they are doing and how to do it right and better.

It was a really good week all the way around.

As Leon says, Ask me questions.


Friday, January 14, 2011

To Till or Not to Till

That is not the question anymore. It costs too much to till the soil and does too much damage. Presentation after presentation at the 19th National NoTill Conference in Cincinnati this week has proved that.

Let earthworms and soil fauna be your tillers. Feed them calcium, they thrive on calcium ao many discussions on lime vs by products vs pelletized. To me they all work if they provide calcium to the soil which feeds our soil livestock.

Does glyphosate limit uptake of these nutrients? That is becoming a bigger discussion point around the world but most farmers here don't see the concern many scientists point to from their research.

Farmers are more concerned about resistant weeds from over use of glyphosate. That is a bigger concern among farmers at this point.

There has been lots of recognition this week and more at lunch and dinner tonight when the big winners are announced. All of us who have received the notill innovator award were introduced last night at a reception by Syngenta. Thank you Syngenta.

I have many notes and ideas.

More later,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Sable, dogs don't eat artichokes."

Last night Sable sat at my feet staring intently as I opened a can of artichoke hearts. She was so funny looking like she was just drooling for one. I told her, "Sable, dogs don't eat artichokes," and she walked away dejected while I finished fixing my "dinner" of fresh mozzerella cheese, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, Mike-Sells' potato chips, Frango's chocolate mints and beef jerky! I am sure she was bummed. Her body language (yes, dogs have body language!) told me that she was bummed. Then I felt guilty.

One of my favorite things to do when Ed is not going to be home for dinner is to fix a bizzarre plate full of my favorite things with no regard to a balanced nutritious meal....just whatever strikes my fancy from whatever I can find in the cupboards or the fridge.

I must admit my first inclination when knowing I am going to eat alone is to stop at Strebers Farm Market, a little store between my office and home where they have the most delicious fried chicken. It is so bad for you that I ONLY get it when Ed is not going be here for dinner. Good thing he doesn't miss too many meals!

Some of my other favorites that I only make when I am eating alone are herring, salmon patties, fried chicken livers, liverwurst sandwiches, pretzels to dip in cheese sauce, brussels sprouts, turnips, and V-8 juice! All things I rarely get because I am the only one who likes them.

If he is going to be gone for a few meals, I usually have one crazy meal then go back to healthy salads and foods. I figure one meal can't do much more than cause heartburn or indigestion from all the goofy stuff.

Do you have any foods that you are the only one in the family who likes it? How often do you treat yourself to it?

BTW, Sable got a dog treat....she loves pig ears! So she was happy, too!

Back to the guilt didn't go away with a good night's sleep. I made a split second decision to take her to work with me today. She looked so sad with Ed gone for the day again. Her best buddy was not going to be there and she knew it.

She needed attention and I was running out the I took her. My students and staff had a blast and she sure did not go for want of attention with 100+ people calling her name, wanting to play with her, offering her treats and petting her. She was in dog heaven. I had to go to a meeting with three judges with my black slacks looking kind of furry. Oh, well.

See, Sable. Even when dogs can't have artichokes, they have other wonderful things to give them good dog days!"

Sable and Cincinnati

Sorry I missed yesterday but I made it to Cincinnati. Lots of accidents blocking the roads.

The first day went well with presentations on cover crops to seed treatments. I am getting lots of email and questions, not sure when I will catch up!

I heard that AGCO sold 32,000 milo plates for radishes last year so they doubled the price from $21 to $42! I also hear they come standard on the new Deere planters but have not confirmed that one!

Lots of interest in cover crops and seed treatments amongst many other topics. I heard a real good soil biology lesson this morning. Makes you never want to till and tear up earthworm mittens!

I think LuAnn has a little story about Sable and artichokes!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Neighbor Neil

Do you have good neighbors? We have the best we ever had here west of the fantastic Martinsville Mall. I am being facitious of course but it's really true.

Martinsville had a post office, two gas station type general stores and a few churches and houses. All with a population of a few hundred people. Those little stores keep us in business and save us tons of money travelling for stuff.

I met neighbor Neil soon after we bought this farm in 2004. This farm lies really well, close to town and city but out in the country and the rumors were it would go for development.

We had three farm deals fall through as God said wait a little bit more, I have one for you and it was this farm. Neighbor Neil, Darrel, Ralph and Donna and the Ertel's came with the deal. We never knew that then.

We are out going folks so we soon met our neighbors. They were more than cordial to us. They really were happy this farm didn't get a bunch of houses dumped on it. The soil is just too good to build houses on and I don't think I could do it even if I was desperate. People do funny things in desperate times.

Neighbor Neil's line abuts with ours and there were a few straggly fence row trees there eating up sunshine and keeping the soil too wet for crops so I asked him if I could them down. He said sure, do you want some more?

We cut them down and the crops grow better but you kinda lose that tree feeling, shade in summer, windbreak in winter. Both are gone so now the snowplow is running many times a day to keep our hill clean and safe. There are so many trees around here, good for the environment but so are annual crops.

My best pictures of one field and this farm stead is from nighbor Neil's and my property line.

All my water drains through Neil's property so I wanted to make sure we were on the same page for that too. We got talking and we were both school board chairmen. He talked about how he wanted Martinsville to merge with Blanchester where I was and I talked about how I wanted Martinsville farm kids in my ag program. We hit it right off.

It never happened of course but we can still tell you how it would be if we had our ideas fulfilled! Neither one of us are shy on that point.

I just got off the phone with him and enjoyed another good belly laugh. Isn't that great to have with your next door neighbor? Neighbor Darrell can do the same thing to me. Laugh so hard for minutes on end your stomach hurts.

We really need that in America. I hope it never dies.

Thank you neighbor Neil.

Ed Winkle

Monday, January 10, 2011

Revving Up

Farmers are revving up for the National NoTillage Conference in Cincinnati this week. I hope they don't have to change their plans to get here with the weather this week.

Looks like I might have my own problems getting there and I am only an hour away. The south is getting record snowfall today and we will have it converging from the west and the south. Hopefully will pretty much burn itself out.

The jar on the left of the picture is water from a tillage field and the water in the jar on the right is from a no-till field. It's not difficult to figure out my enthusiasm for no-till.

We are about footballed out. We watched most of all four games. The wildcard playoffs are always exciting to watch as they are sudden death. You lose, you are out.

Crop Talk has been a hot potato this weekend as farmer firm plans for spring. Lots of good questions. Lots of them aimed right at me with my name on it. I give good answers, I really do. I am not always right but if each one of those guys would send a hundred dollar check it would be worth the 40 years of study.

I do it out of the kindness of my heart. I love sharing and contributing. I really do. I hate to see people make stupid mistakes like I did but sometimes you have to learn from the school of hard knocks like I did. I had good teachers and have been paying back everything I learned.

I was looking up my post on Hybrid Corn this weekend and read my post again. It is really good! It is unbelieveable how quickly the world is changing. I hope all my posts are that good but I know they aren't. It had so many good links and was so crisp. I had more fire that day.

No one can be this good every day. We strive for good performance and learn how to recover from our bad days.

Today and tomorrow I will finish my powerpoints and try to give good talks at NNTC this week. It doesn't take long to get me revved up when I am with that bunch of people. I know so many so well now it is like a convention of good friends with new and interested people mixed in each year.

They have done a good job at Lessiter Publications, home of the NoTill Farmer magazine. They have helped more farmers than they could ever count.

Someday I hope they can say the same about me.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are We Healthier?

Are we healthier than we were 20 or 100 years ago?

A farmer raised this question in the Cafe forum of Ag Talk. It's a good question, many wonder about it.

I felt this article was worth sharing for the discussion:

"seems like not a day goes by without news of a drug or food recall (Zicam) or a law being passed to limit our food choices (soda bans in schools). But I don’t remember these kinds of things happening when I was growing up. In fact, just 20 years ago, I was riding my bike helmet-less, buying candy cigarettes from the ice cream truck, sitting in smoke-filled restaurants with my parents and eating raw cookie dough.

So I had to laugh this morning when I read this article on MSN: Coming of age in the years of living dangerously. It highlights perfectly what I’ve always been fascinated with… just how much things can change in such a short amount of time, and whether it’s for the better, or because we’ve become just a little ridiculous.

My parents grew up differently than I did (check out these funny stories from baby boomers), and I grew up totally different than children today do.

My mom wasn’t a health fanatic, but my brother and I did have rules: We were allowed to buy one sugary cereal along with a healthy one each grocery store trip. We had to call my mom at work to ask her if we could drink a diet soda. And we were banned from watching TV during summer days.

Yet I remember my mom getting pulled over once because I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, or her never making us wash our hands before dinner.

Today, with all sorts of health regulations placed upon us by our parents, schools and government, are we really better off? It’s a good question, and one that doesn’t seem to have a definite answer.

In the MSN article, Dr. Daniel Berman, chief of cardiac imaging at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in L.A., says: “It would be a disservice to say that (modern, healthier habits) don’t make any difference. I’m 100 percent convinced that the things we’re doing are extending our younger years.”

But the good doc also noted that 50% of our health comes from our DNA. Or, another theory as one woman in the article put it, what didn’t kill her made her stronger.
As an adult now, when it comes to my personal well-being, I do take certain steps to live safer and healthier. But I also like to live a little, and rarely give into the hysteria that surrounds public health issues. So far, due to luck, good genes, or maybe a combo, it’s worked for me.

So what do you think? Have we gone overboard when it comes to our health? And where will we be 20 years from now?

Want to reverse old bad habits? Read Second Chances."

Dad's family lived a little longer than his dad's family so I think they fall into the trend of living longer which is not DNA, it is environment. Breast cancer has become a threat to the women of our family. I am not sure how my family will do compared to dad's.

I think over half the families are living longer but not all of them. I have lost way too many friends over 40. To me that is a short life, I was just hitting my prime at 40. Wasn't many generations ago that was the expected longevity.

So as usual, we don't know. The trends go all directions. Some are better, some are worse.

I know I am thankful I never missed the last ten years, wow.


Saturday, January 8, 2011


Joy, joy, it's tax time again. Don't you just love doing your taxes? I can't think of a farmer who does. The law is so complicated and there are so many potential deductions. I know many farmers buy equipment just because their business needs the tool more than we think Washington needs our money.

I wish this field of wheat would be enough to pay my taxes but it won't be.

I heard on TV and you know that is worth, that only 1/3 of Americans file the long form. I am in a long line of those Americans waiting to give my data to my tax advisor and hoping WE don't owe a lot of money, I had to include LuAnn since we file jointly. They said something about 2010 tax laws are not yet set and it will take longer to get a refund if you file with deductions.

Gee, I think I filed with deductions the first time I filed as a teacher in 1971. I always spent more for my classroom that was deductble in the law over and above what the schoolboard could justify giving us to spend which wasn't much.

I got real good at it too until I got a random audit and then they audited me seven years in a row! I got to know the Afro American ladies at the Cincinnati IRS office better than I ever wanted to! I never paid an extra dollar in taxes and received some hefty refunds after audits in the Carter years of high interest rates.

So I guess we will play the waitng game this year. I know we owe money this year with record gross and net income though we played the game all year long. Almost all of 2011 crop is prepayed. I never wanted to be there but I guess it is good to a point. Sometimes it is easier being poor!

Dad remembered when he paid his first Federal Income tax so it's a relatively new business in America. Now it is big business and the game none of us like playing but it's the lsw of the land. I always thought a flat tax would be simpler and fairer but I doubt I would want to pay that amount in taxes today.

Look at all the people we employ with taxes! How many are on the Federal dole? Millions of people are and what percentage of the jobs are government jobs today? I don't know the figure but it is a bunch.

Roads and bridges and infrastructure I can see but all these Federal jobs from you and me? It's enough to make your head spin.

So it's tax time again. Real estate tax, federal income tax and state income tax and tax, tax, tax.

Is tax day still around May 1 for most of us when we have earned enough to pay all our taxes and the rest of the year is left for our own discretionary spending?


Friday, January 7, 2011

Calcium Key to Life

We are having interesting discussions on plant growth on Crop Talk. It's that time of the year. Things are slow right now and crop farmers are inside on the computer all day.

New discoveries every day help us learn what makes plants tick and how we can maximize their growth and seed production we sell as grain.

A new understanding of how plants manage their internal calcium levels could lead to modifying plants to avoid damage from acid rain. The pollutant disrupts calcium balance in plants by leaching significant amounts of the mineral from leaves as well as the agricultural and forest soils the plants live in.

"Our findings should help scientists understand how plant ecosystems respond to soil calcium depletion and to design appropriate strategies to protect the environment," said Zhen-Ming Pei, a Duke University biologist who led the study, which is published in the journal Science."

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Xiamen University in China.

To grow, a plant needs a reliable supply of calcium, which enters the plant dissolved in water the roots take in from surrounding soil. As the water circulates through a plant, dissolved calcium gets shuttled where it is needed to give the plant's cells their structural rigidity. But calcium supplies coming into the plant cycle up and down over the course of the day, dropping to a minimum at night.

"Calcium is a key regulator of vital physiological functions in both plants and animals," said Maryanna Henkart, director of NSF's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. "The discovery of the relationship between calcium in soil, in plant cells, and cellular mechanisms sheds new light on the role of this important mineral in plant growth and development."

Plants use molecular sensors and flows of chemical messengers to detect and regulate the storage and distribution of vital nutrients such as water and calcium. To track the calcium sensors in the laboratory plant Arabidopsis, Pei and his coworkers used molecules originally found in jellyfish that emit light in the presence of calcium. To deduce the calcium sensor's role, the researchers also introduced an altered version of the sensor protein that abolishes the sensor's effects.

According to Pei, the sensors try to detect how much calcium there is and coordinate that level with growth and development. "If the sensors detect there is not enough calcium, they may tell the plant to hold off on growing, at least until it gets more calcium."

Although acid rain robs soil of much of its calcium, enough is still left for plants to live on, Pei added. But he suspects that sensors may misinterpret "less" as "too little" in those plants and unnecessarily signal for growth shutdowns.

"Some soils have lost as much as 75 percent of their calcium during the past century," Pei said. "One way to respond is to add new calcium to the soil. But we can't do that everywhere that it's needed, and it is also expensive. Perhaps a plant's calcium sensors could instead be tricked into interpreting "less" as "still enough" and keep building new cell walls."

This reiterates how important calcium is to plant growth. It's not just about neutralizing acidic soil but the actual plant cells.

Did you know calcium helped plants make their own aspirin?


Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love this picture of Liam. My interpretation well, if I have to go here today I will do my best.

Such it is with cousins sometimes. Thankfully I don't have that with my cousins.

I was struggling for a blog subject today. I was replying to my cousin Sheila near Cincinnati when I got this idea. Cousins. I hope she doesn't kill me for posting this but I don't think she will. How close are you to your cousins?

I am pretty close to mine. The ones on my dad side I see at least once a year and my cousins on my mothers side email me and post on Facebook.

Some I am pretty close to and others I barely know but we are all cousins. I see similar traits in all of us but of course some more than others.

Still there is a big link in cousins genetically and often enivironmentally as many live just like you do.

Being the oldest of my family I was introduced to my cousins at an early age and always kept contact with most of them. When I am invited to some event I like to see my cousins.

Here is my reply to my cousin Sheila.

"The Winkle's were special, no doubt. I just wish I could have known Grandpa better. Maybe that could be our gift if we make it to heaven?

I am glad we made it to your house, too. I really didn't want to go because
I was tired but shoot, it is my cousin and we got to your house in half an
hour from church.

We are both running out of time, Sheila. We are about in the position grandma
and grandpa was when that picture was taken! (I am referring to the picture I posted a few days ago.)

Arthritis sucks, it really does. I guess you could die of something worse
but it limits our activities when we are in the mood to get up and go!

We leave the 19th I think it is for the cruise. We booked a trip from the
canal overland all day to catch the ship when it turns around. We think
hard and long about those excursions, they are pricey and very touristic.

Somehow someway I have to finish my three notill farming talks for the next
month. I am so lazy in my older age!

Right now I trying to figure out what to blog about today. Nothing pops out
for me. Somedays it just flows from my typing finger tips. Today, Nope!
It has been good for over these last two years. I can't get rid of the
teacher in me and my blog is my classroom for family and friends.

Yes the country girl did well in the city! I guess I am OK but too much
farming in my roots to stray very far. At least I can mix a little, LOL.
LuAnn always said she could dress me up and take me out, kind of like
Grandpa's picture. LOL

We will sit down one of these days and share our stories.

Love you too, cousin!"

Do your cousin a favor. Give them a call today.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


NoTiller's are stinking up the neighborhood, now!

LANCASTER -- In the past month, firefighters from Greenfield and Bloom Township have been called out to the intersection of Carroll Northern and Pleasantville roads five times after receiving calls about a propane leak.

It turns out, there was a rather unlikely culprit, and it had nothing to do with the flammable gas: It was rotten radishes.

"We went out four times in December and Bloom went out once," said Greenfield Township Fire Chief Terry Morris. "You could smell the odor, but we couldn't detect the source."

They checked the one nearby house that has a propane tank, but they didn't find a leak.

"There is a gas line going through the area, and we checked it out to see if it was leaking and it wasn't," said Bloom Township firefighter Andy Nunley.

Luckily for both fire departments, Nunley was familiar with the area and remembered a field near the intersection had been planted with radishes.

"I thought I remembered reading something about how they smell when they rot," Nunley said. "I got on the Internet and found an OSU Extension fact sheet about the radish and articles about it causing other fire departments to be called out."

The oilseed radish is used as a cover crop for fields that farmers are using to improve the soil quality of the fields for the planting of better-selling economic crops, according to the OSU fact sheet.

"One problem with decaying oilseed radish is the smell given off during decomposition," said OSU Extension Wood County agent Alan Sundermeier in the 2008 fact sheet. "It has a sulfur-like odor that may take a few days to dissipate."

When Nunley mentioned what he found to Morris and what he thought it was, Morris then tracked down the farmer who planted the field.

It was David Brandt.

"The radishes are a great soil conservation tool," Brandt said. "We are a no-till farming operation and we plant about 350 acres around the county, alternating rows of radishes and winter peas. It provides a lot of nutrients to the soil and we don't have to fertilize the soil, but it does have the one drawback when it rots -- it smells. But it normally only lasts a couple of weeks."

Generally it only smells in the springtime, but the odor became noticeable with recent warm temperatures.

Brandt said when he got the call from Morris, he knew where the odor came from.

"Once they get used to it, they'll know what is," Brandt said. "This is the first year we've planted in that area."

Morris said he wanted people in the area to know about the crop and the odor emanating from it. Every time the fire departments get a call and have to go out to search for the source, it may prevent firefighters from responding to more serious calls.

Thank you my good friends, Dave Brandt and Steve Groff, the radish experts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, seriously. You have raised a stink for the good of mankind. Radishes increase our notill yield and keep our soil covered.

They are worth a little stink!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It Hit Me

I have been not been able to put this seed treatment PowerPoint together like I want and I just woke up early and it hit me.

What do you think?

Why I Treat My Treated Seed

Seed Treatments have come a long way

Chemical 21 days
Biological season long

Captan is one of our oldest chemicals and it is still effective on Mucor where little else is

Mucor fungus is a silent killer in notill
Mucor is a genus of about 3000 species of moulds commonly found in soil, digestive systems, plant surfaces, and rotten vegetable matter.
Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia are our principal seedling killers
Pine Cone Theory produced stroburilins and asoxystrobins
Trilex or Dynasty more than pay for themselves on my farm
I even plant treated seed for double cropping
Insecticide comes along for the ride Gaucho, Poncho Cruiser
Wire worm, root worms grub worms, bean leaf beetles, flea beetles, aphids
Since 1996 I have used trichaderma sold as T-22 on every seed
12 bu on wheat
10 bu on corn
2 bu on soybeans
2010 everything treated with Sabrex, it’s replacement
14 bu on wheat 13 on corn 3 on soybeans
USDA strain 1995 Revolutionized and Modernized Inoculation
3.7 bu on my farm
2009 came R09 or Rhizobia 2009 in Graphex Form
6.7 bu over 2 years

Those are just the slide covers with more information on each slide with several pictures and graphs.

What do you think?

Can I enlighten 1000 intensive no-tiller's for 30 minutes on that one?

I have no doubt. You probably have never heard me talk. Besides, those numbers will raise eye brows. That's a lot of cash on a notill farm.


Monday, January 3, 2011

January Third

Ten years ago Dad moved on to "greener pastures."

He didn't want to go. He liked it right here where he spent his 85 and a half years doing what he loved, farming and family.

At least he and LuAnn got to know each other before he left. He never quite made it to the ceremony but he was truly there in spirit.

I have been thinking about everything we have done since that day ten years ago. We got married, got the kids through college and all married off to good people. Now we have eight grandchildren, his great grandchildren.

I retired from 31 years of public service and ten years of school boardmanship. That alone seems like a miracle to me.

We traveled the 48 states and many provinces in the off seasons. We travelled to all those islands that look the same, Alaska, Paris and now Europe. We spent a month in New Zealand teaching notill.

We went from five acres to 50 acres to 100 acres to over a thousand acres last year. That is quite an accomplishment in these times I couldn't have done by myself.

We have made this farm our home. There isn't a building or a room we haven't touched. The former owner wrote the best comment on Facebook that we were sent from Heaven and kept the Cochran home a real center of living like it has been since 1880. Her note brought tears to our eyes.

We were sent from the One in heaven, believe me. We almost bought three other farms before we found this one. God kept saying now be patient, just wait a little, I have something much better for you. Isn't that the way it is?

Many times I was planting and looked up and asked dad if I was doing it right. I always got a warm feeling from that.

He rented our first notill planter and now I teach how to do it to other farmers and have for ten years.

A farmer just asked on Crop Talk how I have transitioned in notill in 1976 and the words just flowed from my finger tips. 34 years of notilling, can you believe that?

With all my failures I wouldn't trade my life for any one's. Never ever felt that way because I know I am truly blessed. The last ten years has been more than icing on the cake.

Dad you were the best. Our life together was not hugs and kisses but hard work with love and respect. You couldn't have done a better job with me.

I know you are proud of Linda and Jeff every bit as much as me. We all did our best.

May the Lord always bless you and keep you.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


1-1-11 was weird to write on my checks yesterday. I think 1 January or January 1 works a lot better. So much for digits.

The Big Ten didn't do so well yesterday in the bowl games. Some of them got slaughtered. Good thing it is only a game. Their graduates are a lot better, let me assure you. At least Illinois and Iowa one their games earlier.

It was a good day to read and work on other things because no game interested me. It was just a nice quiet day to rest. LuAnn made the best ham loaf you ever tasted out of the left over ham and everything tastes good again. We are almost recovered from a week of illness.

I woke up early with the greatest feeling of gratitude this morning. I am so blessed. I have had so many good things happen to me it doesn't seem fair to hog them all so I give till it hurts. That doesn't take much for an old German Dutchman ha ha.

Today I want to polish off my seed treatment presentation. How can I convince farmers to treat all their seed and add inoculants to it? I usually won't plant soybean seed that is untreated unless it is late like double crops but I find it even pays to treat them.

The new fungicides keep enough seed alive and healthy long enough to establish a better plant. A good insecticide and stave off the incoming insects on the baby plant up until about 4 leaves or 21 days after planting. I have had to spray for bean leaf beetles several times.

You can't hardly buy corn or wheat seed untreated unless you are organic. Thank goodness. That seed is too costly and the yield potential too high to go untreated. Now the problem is which one do you use

They are coming out with new treatments faster than salesmen can explain them to farmers. It's a great thing but it is also confusing.

Here is where trust comes in. The people I buy from are really on top of their game. When they say Ed we are using this product this year or you should consider this product or you can choose from these new products that we have, I listen. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and I expect good products and good advice. I pretty much get that.

So I think any farmer can. One product may make more money on your farm but look at the chemistry. The old pine cone story I wrote about a long time ago refers to the evolution of the new asoxystrobins that EVERY company offers now in one form or another. Boy do they work good on my farm and I know they will on yours.

So pick one, any one and make sure it is done right. Once in awhile a batch of seed won't get treated right but passes the test and gets bagged. That one might make 5 less bushels for me.

I demand pristine seed and pristine treatment or a good reason why not and it better be almost free. $150 for a bag of corn seed(some are paying double for GMO), $40 for soybean seed and $17 for wheat seed, it better get up and walk to market!

Seed treatment is an easy bushel an acre on soybeans and inoculation is just as easy. But not as many farmers use it as they do chemically treated seed.

It was one of my best lessons in science class, backed up by grandpa(in yesterday's picture). The symbiotic relationship, where the life of one organism depends on the life of another. That is what happens when you inoculate a legume plant. You increase the efficiency of that plant because the bacteria on the nodules depends on the plant being there and the plant gains nitrogen and other good chemicals which make it healthier.

I don't see why farmers and gardeners don't get that, it is basic science. I know most farmers think you have to mix it in with a big stick in the seed box like we did 20 years ago but now they can get it applied right to their seed. It is an easy bushel and has made about 3 extra bushels for me the last 7 years and 10 soybean crops.

I wonder what photograph I will scan for today's blog? Something January 1 about 25 years ago I bet.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year! I resolve to go through my old stuff and organize it and use it and pass it on. This is a picture of my Grandpa George Winkle and Mamie Kier Winkle. I don't know when it was taken or where but I would guess it is in the 50's.

I know I need to figure out how to enlarge these older, smaller pictures to fit my blogs and email.

Last night LuAnn and I made a resolution to make this a better year by doing things better and striving to meet our Christian goals in life.

After this week's bought with the flu and our unintended fasting we thought God was sending us a message. Eat less and strive to be healthier!

That stomach virus could strike anyone but it made us think. I snuck over to Women in Ag, LuAnn's bunch of pals that share the toils of life in agriculture.

She is the most kudo'd poster on AgOnline, and I am not surprised. Her blogs over there probably get a lot more recognition than mine here do and that is OK, that is great!

Here is her list:

1. Eat less; Pray more.

2. Talk less; Listen more.

3. Work less; Play more.

4. Worry less; rejoice more.

5. Complain less; laugh more.

6. Get a mammogram.

7. Remodel my two bathrooms!

The first five in the list looks like a list to live by any good person would try to do in this day and age. But how do you do it?

Eat less and pray more. Pray more is not difficult for me except when I get all wound up in a project. Thanks to my Christian studies I have prayed more in a serious manner in the last two years or so than I have my whole life. It was a natural progression for me.

But eat less? I have always had a voracious appetite but now the years and the pounds have caught up with me. We did take a walk to the covered bridge yesterday in the unusually warm weather and it did not leave me out of breath or weak. It helped me get more things done all afternoon.

Then we had marinated chicken breast, green beans with ham, and a baked potato topped off with pumpkin pie. That is a pretty normal dinner for us. I felt good but could not keep my eyes opened after the evening news. I fell asleep and woke up at 10 and stayed awake for the ball to drop in Times Square. This is going to be a hard one for me.

Talk less, listen more. This can be as hard for me as not eating too much. When I hear more than I know, I am eager to listen. Usually we all hear the same old stuff repeated over and over so I tend to talk more and listen less in these times. Must be the teacher in me when I had to talk for 45 minutes many times a day for 31 years.

Work less, play more. Oh I have mastered that one! Now I need to play less each day and work more to keep myself on the straight and narrow. I can't even run a chainsaw all day anymore and have become the Internet participant and go to town guru! I have to work on that one!

Worry less, rejoice more. I have done really well in this area. I can usually not worry near as much as I used to and I rejoice all day long most days. I would like to keep that one right like I am doing and keep practicing "protect us from all anxiety" that the Lord's Prayer or Our Father commands us to.

Complain less, laugh more. I have strived to do this all my life. I do really well in some moods and poor in others. I am a moody person, I have had to deal with that all my life. I have had to act happy when I wasn't and that comes as a lie to others. For me it is the best thing that person can do if they are really attempting to be the best person they can be.

Mammogram I would equate to the male prostate test. My dad died 10 years ago to prostate cancer but he was the longest living patient at Christ Hospital at that time. Cancer didn't kill him, old age did. I have done well in this arena since I started getting tested when dad found his in 1990. It had been there for quite some time.

The bathrooms, well, they really need remodeling. They are wore out and don't fit the remodeling in the house anymore. Leaks are appearing where they weren't before but it is 40 years old and overtime for an update.

There is my resolution opinion.

What is yours?

Ed Winkle