Thursday, March 31, 2011
The race for acres is on. In fact, it is heating up as farmers respond to the weather and crop prices to plant their 2011 crop.
Corn is still our number on U.S. crop and demand is large. You might call it huge. But soybeans is very far behind to supply the world's protein and oil needs.
The traders and hedgers are trying to figure out what to gamble on because the supply is so tight to demand, any little glitch will make the market run one way or another.
This farmer made a good post with his prediction. No one knows what the final acreage of each crop will be but the market does influence planting.
Weather is number one. I rely on wheat and soybeans more because of my rolling, eroded hills and management plan. I am not a traditional corn and soybean farmer here in the east where we raise good soybeans and wheat keeps my soil from eroding so much.
The market is very volatile and the price will move when the USDA releases their intended acreage report today.
Here is a news flash I just got which will affect the markets this year.
USDA's prospective plantings report shows farmers intend to plant 245 million acres of the five major crops, up from 236 million last year, and above USDA's estimate in its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, which was greeted with skepticism at the time..
The estimate of 92.18 million acres of corn eases supply concerns modestly compared with the pre-report estimate of 91.84. USDA's soybean acreage, at 77.4 million, is within the pre-report trade estimates but above average expectations.
Corn and bean stocks were below expectations; slightly more wheat and sorghum on hand than the trade was looking for.
USDA's prospective corn plantings are modestly above pre-report expectations, which averaged 91.84. This could slightly ease supply concerns. But in order for ending stocks to use to gain in 2011-12, corn plantings would need to total an ambitious 93.4 million acres, according to DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom
Farmers told USDA they plan to plant 77.4 million acres. This is more than the average pre-report estimate of 76.9 million and equal to last year.
At 58.02 million acres, all wheat also is higher than the expected average of 57.3 million. Winter is pegged at 41.2; spring at 14.4 and durum at 2.4. Today's intentions report can't account for changes in spring wheat reductions due to flooding, which eventually may lead to a decrease in acres compared with the 13.7 million planted in 2010, according to Newsom.
Cotton acres, at 12.57 million, are up 15 percent from 10.97 million last year, but are surprisingly low given average trade expectations of 13.15 and a low projection of 12.97.
Pre-report estimates for corn stocks on hand at the end of February averaged 6.69 billion bushels, suggesting usage well above the five-year average pace for the second quarter.
The actual number came in at 6.52 billion, indicating December-February disappearance of 3.53 billion, up from 3.21 billion during the same period last year. This was even stronger use than expected on average, though at the exact lower end of the pre-report estimate range.
Soybean quarterly stocks were expected to come in at 1.299 billion bushels, representing second-quarter usage as a percent of supplies near the five-year average.
Soybean stocks were announced at 1.249, slightly below average expectations and below the 1.266 lowest projection. It represents disappearance of 1.03 billion bushels, a 4 percent decrease in usage compared with the same period a year ago.
The average pre-report estimate for all wheat ending stocks was 1.399 billion bushels, slightly above the 5-year average usage pace at this stage of the marketing year.
With wheat stocks pegged at 1.425 billion bushels, they are slightly above average expectations but within the pre-report range. The disappearance of 508 million bushels is up 20 percent from the same period a year earlier.
ACREAGE (million acres) Actual USDA Outlook
3/31/11 Average High Low 2010-2011 2010-2011
Corn 92.18 91.84 92.60 91.00 88.19 92.00
Soybeans 76.61 76.87 78.50 75.00 77.40 78.00
All Wheat 58.02 57.29 58.40 56.00 53.60 57.00
Winter 41.23 41.10 42.90 40.20 37.34
Spring 14.43 13.73 14.31 13.00 13.70
Durum 2.37 2.55 2.80 2.40 2.57
Grain Sorghum 5.65 6.65 6.75 6.50 5.40
Cotton 12.57 13.15 13.22 12.97 10.97 13.00
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
One more day of March! The year is a quarter over already. March has been a rough month around here. I called crop insurance today and got in line with all the farmers who are concerned about their wheat crop.
The adjustor said file the claim, I am not sure when I can get there. The problem with that is it could be planting time before they decide to destroy my wheat. Everything is timing isn't it?
I keep looking for frozen plants or dead centers but it is just cold enough the degradation is slow. What looks good today could be bad in a week. That is kind of like life, isn't it?
As soon as it warms up and dries up farmers will be chomping at the bit as they say. I think we have moved up planting dates with all the agricultural improvements from drainage to seeds to implements. There is so much big machinery now, millions of acres are planted in a day across this country at prime planting time.
We would like to be finished planting in early May. May 1 is our goal. With this weather and moisture, that may be postponed but we are close enough on moisture and temperature it could still happen. You never know what the best planting is until you harvest it but we do better planting earlier than normal.
You have to have the right setup to do it from soil to seed to planter. Labor per acre has dropped from the over 10 hours per acre per crop to closer to 2 or 4 hours per acre for the whole year! The American Farmer had to get more efficient to stay competitive.
I just got another call from a farmer in Butler County who is seeing the same thing I am and needed some clarification. He has seen notill really increase his yields and decrease his cost of production and soil erosion.
I think I better post the notill sign from Kentucky again. It really makes me think and remember.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Several farmers are concerned about these low temperatures damaging their wheat crop. Some areas get frosted more than others but it is very unusual here. I don't remember ever losing a crop to freeze damage.
Freeze damage occurs at about 24 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or so depending on a lot of factors like soil moisuture, humidity, cover etc. The key thing is what stage the wheat is in when the cold temps hit. If the wheat is in Feeke's stage 5.0 to 6.0 and that little baby head is above ground far enough to get frozen.
We had that here yesterday morning. I don't think I have enough little heads up far enough to get frozen but I know there are some as the main tiller is always ahead of the little tillers. Wheat will have up to 10 or more tillers per seed so the little ones are probably OK but that main one can get smoked and hurt the whole crop.
Then the local weathermen called for a low of 22 this morning! I thought well that crop is shot for sure now but I woke up and the weatherman missed it again. It was a safer 30 degrees this morning.
I was just telling LuAnn I have to call crop insurance and have them analyze its condition for a possible claim. Damage shows up about 3 days after freezing and you can see the white water tissue turn yellow then brown inside the wheat plant.
One field is suspect, planted first on the best soil and the rest are behind it in growth and should be OK. It really doesn't matter what I think about the crop until the adjustor makes his counts and puts it on paper. Then, I can make a decision.
If I come up short on bushels, I can fill my contract. Wheat got up to $9 a bushel here awhile ago so I sold some. July delivery wheat has dropped back under $7 per bushel so I should be OK on the contract. You don't want to sell at the reverse, a lesser price early and come short on bushels when the price is higher in July. This normally doesn't happen but it has and it can.
That is farming today, decisions, decisions, decisions. The markets are so volatile the price can do anything, go in your favor or reverse on you.
The AGCO site has an interesting piece today where a deep sea diver found a load of Massey Ferguson tractors that have been laying at the bottom of the ocean off tbe coast of Tunisia for years.
Have a good day,
Monday, March 28, 2011
I have been watching Undercover Boss off and on this winter and watched the whole episode last night on Synagro, an evironmental resources company. From this link it looks like they redesigning their website.
The CEO set the stage telling how he was selected to turn the company around after mismanagement and fraud by former employees. Sure enough someone posted an article from the Detroit Free Press how one person was caught taking bribes to vote for Synagro to get a contract.
I guess it's dirty business in more ways than one. The CEO sure got his hands dirty working with 4 employees in the poop business as they called it. The one lady said her sons tells people my mommy works at the poopy palace.
I wonder how they choose the employees used on the show who gets the special treatment from their employer at the end of the show?
You know the old saying, poop happens. I always taught my students to think what happens after they flush the toilet. It's all biology after that happens and sludge has been used for fertilizer as long as man as been around. The poorer Chinese even carry theirs in a pot on a stick over their shoulder and call it night soil.
One of the worst things is what some people flush down, even their trash. That creates a job for the plumber and a hassle for these recovery companies handling all the junk in sludge.
Our friend Ray in Kansas posted that the one video shot at Kansas was on one of his farms. Some farmers won't use sludge but it's considered valuable manure on many farms. Land application of sludge is big business for companies like Synagro.
The data shows the U.S. is a world leader in land application of sludge because there are more benefits than risks.
Livestock manure has always been valuable fertilizer but human sludge is often misunderstood.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Thanks to my cousin Brian I think I may have finally got my computer system back together. It had so many faults and errors it is surprising it is still alive.
Brian and I go back a long way, 1983 when when we moved to Canada Road. The next door neighbor was Winkle. You know me, I had to go introduce my self. The farmer was Merlin Winkle. I remember asking do you think we are related? I can still remember his laugh, no I don't think we are related. I think he meant I would have known you already if we were related.
We got to be pretty good neighbors and he asked me if I wanted to go the Winkle Reunion in Mowrystown with. I had never been to one but heard all the stories about how big the families were.
Boy were they ever big. Many had 16 children, dad was one of nine. There is even a town that used to be called Winkle until they change the name to East Danville. Every time I visited Grandpa at the Mowrystown Cemetery I saw all these Winkle headstones. Probably more than you would find anywhere in the US. I think I counted over 50 at one time.
It turned out his grandpa and my dad's grandpa's were brothers, Isaac and Levi. I guess they went their separate ways. Dad's family always were close to the Keir's, my grandma's family.
Brian was in my class over 20 years ago. It was a proud moment for me, a Winkle in Winkle's ag class. I remember Brian dressed in the Blue and Gold. He said he still has that jacket like so many former members still do. I had to ask how old he is now and I couldn't believe he is 40. I was just that old yesterday!
Anyhow Brian walked me through all of my hard drive problems and downloaded the free Microsoft Office. I have been using it, getting reacquainted with my files. All I lost was a bunch of old email I should have deleted any how but they are valuable files to me. I think Staples will be getting their $260 Microsoft software back. It would be worth it if I did a lot of web design work which I don't do.
It is so hard to keep up with technology. I have to drive to Iowa to learn the latest and greatest in no till. Fortunately Brian is only 25 miles away.
If you are local and need some good computer advice, call my cousin Brian Winkle at at Wolf PC Solutions in Lebanon, Ohio. I call him Wolf Tech. 513-696-6250. This is the best this computer has ran since it was new.
Someone, something attacked me with viruses and malware again and the bells and whistles went off. There are a lot of predators out there, physically near your barnyard or electronically behind some computer.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Yes I am still alive after the upset win of Kentucky over my beloved Ohio State. Why did they have to peak right now after we played so well all year?
Glad it is a basketball game and not my farm, you know what I mean?
These top teams all show character. Really good deep down character. That kind you would trust your life with. If we had the inside story on these players I bet we would learn a lot of things.
I have been labelled a character but I don't think that is what they were referring to. People would say he's a character because he acts so different from everyone else.
So what is character? Character is doing the right thing every day, day after day after day. It is who you are. You work hard, you play hard but you are always honest and fair.
We want that so much in every one we meet and every company we deal with. Tom Gill sells Chevrolet's on our local TV and calls his company a business of character. I would like to meet the man but I am afraid I would come home in a new Chevrolet I don't need right now.
Character is that ingrained spirit that shows what you are made of you just can't put your hands on, but you see it when it is displayed. A young farmer asked on AgTalk how he could get a low interest loan to buy a piece of ground.
I sure wish some character would have helped me do that 40 years ago but they didn't.
He got a lot of good responses.
The kind of character I respect is those who do the right thing when it hurts. That diligence, long suffering doing what you really think in your soul is the right thing to do. That would be my dad! I couldn't carry his shoes very long let alone walk in them. What a man, a person of character.
Dad and Linda and I would have commiserated over the Buckeye's loss last night, went to bed and went back to work the next morning. That team really has character and that is why we cheered for them.
Friday, March 25, 2011
I have spent some of my life on Interstate 71. It is a great connector to I-90 coming out of Buffalo to Cleveland down to I-65 in Louisville, Kentucky.
I watched it being built when I was a teenager in the 60's and drove some of the completed portions on the way to college at Ohio State. A friend and I would race to the Mount Sterling exit on Friday evenings so we could go home and farm with our dads.
Now it will be our connector to the north to our daughter's family in Lakewood Ohio. Lakewood sits right on Lake Erie near Interstate 90 and Interstate 71. I know they have good schools because every person I met from there is very smart, at least well educated.
Cleveland is a melting pot like Buffalo in the early days. You had all these immirgrants coming from poor countries in Europe just desiring a chance at freedom in the American life.
Cleveland was so foreign to me when I was a student at Ohio State. I was not raised in an environment anything like those students were. I can't say I ever made any good friends there because Cleveland is city and my home town of Sardinia is surely country.
But we got along OK, it was just so hard to compete with those better educated students. I never competed very well. They had no clue about farming and I had no clue about physics. They were very entertained by my southern accent as I was with their northern accent.
Cleveland has been called the mistake on the lake. The Cuyahoga River caught fire at at one time during the industrial age. Now I think it is pretty much an information based economy.
It's nothing short of amazing how small the world had gotten with technology. Now my daughter's family lives in Cleveland which was a very foreign place to southern Ohio when I was a child.
I know my dad saw a lot of change over his lifetime and now I have too.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
We really want to go to the John Deere Pavilion in Moline Illinois this weekend. LuAnn came home and exclaimed it took $60 to fill her gas tank and it would take a few tanks to get to Moline and back. This economy is limiting us already.
There are a few Women in Agriculture meeting there Saturday and we had hoped to leave after her photography class tomorrow. There are some pretty savvy ladies on that board and most of them have not met each other but they still send Christmas cards to each other. I really respect them.
The Quad Cities is a pretty neat place for a farmer to visit. I have friends scattered all around the region but my best friends are near Washington Iowa, just a an hour or two southwest of the Quad Cities.
I went there the last 10 years in a row to talk with my mentor Paul Reed and his cousin David Moeller. I have learned so much from them and helped other farmers learn from them also.
So I am kinda bummed. This world situation is holding us all down but I know we need it. We spent like there was no end to money. Now we are out of money.
We are a far cry from the 12 cent gasoline I put in my car as a teenager. A dollar was terrible and now we are facing four dollars per gallon. That really stymies the farmer, too.
Fertilizer and fuel prices run together and they are getting astronomically high again. Good thing we have record commodity prices to go with them but farmers know that won't last forever.
I don't know where where this will end up but is it strange this all happens during Lent, a time of fasting?
One week and it's April, year already one third gone. Can you believe that?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
TTS is the acronym for Tractor Trouble Shooting. Our local school district, Wilmington City Schools FFA Chapter just won the Ohio Ag and Industrial Diagnostics Contest. We call it State Tractor Trouble Shooting.
Trouble Shooting is a unique skill in life, being able to figure out why something doesn't work or doesn't work quite right. It is a series of valued skills of knowledge and experience.
The FFA contest centers around six gas or diesel farm tractors that don't run properly. The judges have installed "bugs" in these engines that are to simulate what you might find in the real world.
The students are taught to use tools and equipment to diagnose the problem, find it and tell the judge what you found. If you are correct, you get points added to your score and the quicker you find them the higher your score. If you don't find the bugs or problems withint 30 minutes you are scored on your cleanliness and workmanship skills.
There are basically two systems in any tractor engine, fuel and electrical. On a gas engine, it is spark and fuel. On a compression ignition or diesel engine it is fuel and air versus electrical circuit. That is way over simplifying it but you get the point.
Good trouble shooters are valued people in any business. The best are hard to find because they are known and so busy with work. Lots of techs want to be good trouble shooters but aren't.
I congratulate my local school district on their win. I got my teams to the top ten many times but could never pick up that first place. Congratulations, I know it was hard earned. Eric Heeg is doing a fine job as agricultural education instructor and this proves it.
Hat's off to Wilmington FFA and tractor trouble shooting.
These are skills our society really need.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
When I turned on the computer this morning I found a really good story MSN and NBC are carrying. Heaven is real.
I have always believed in heaven but you see so few substantial proofs because it is a whole different world than our little human world. We are talking about the metaphysical world and what I believe in, the spiritual world. Some people don't even believe in that world but I do. I know it is there. Our little human world is too big for most of us most days.
What this little boy went through leaves no doubt in my mind. The naysayers will say they were just signing a book deal. It could be true but I don't know that. The book deal takes away from the story unless they use that money to further the belief.
In this Lenten season many people sacrifice for their belief. I hope they do, too. If you have read this blog much you know I believe and here is recent proof for me which is big enough for this story to hit mainstream media.
We don't have time to argue the pro's and con's of these beliefs but whether you believe or not, it is really worth discussing. I beleive there is a big battle going on for good versus evil and I have experienced it every day of my life. Pick your side and go for it.
I have a Mennonite crew working on our 1880 era barn roof this morning from the 70 MPH wind damage to the roof a few weeks ago. These are hard working, believing people doing work for me that needs to be done that has been passed down through their families for hundreds of years. They know how to do it.
I donate to Mennonite Relief Services and Catholic Relief Services. I really believe in what they both do. They are wonderful people doing a great job for their fellow man, even in Japan right now with their great disaster.
We have many problems in our own country they and all of us are dealing with and right now a local church is helping me.
There is no doubt in my mind heaven is real, just like the little boy says in his story.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The first day of spring was warm and balmy. We had a hard rain come in at 4 pm. We really need to get that topdressing done to the wheat, it is getting late and it looks like a wet spring forecasted.
Who would have thought after no rain after July 12? Barely had enough to get the wheat and cover crops out of the ground last fall but they all still look good. They just need some attention.
We took the Adam's County tour guide down to Ralph and Donna and walked through the wheat field that connects our farms. We noticed quite a few purple dead nettles and some dandelion. I didn't see much chickweed for once, I think the radishes took them out.
It is warm enough we will be getting aphids too if they don't drown in all these showers. I always put some insecticide down with the herbicide and now that needs to be done also but we don't even have any topdress down yet. Good thing I put as much nitrogen on last year as I did, it has kept it holding on but we will start losing yield potential if we haven't already.
The neat thing was Sable was very well behaved and stayed away from the neighbor's dog and stayed with us. Then she did something she hasn't done yet and she starting licking all over Ralph! We had to see it to believe it but she has really changed since her second birthday October 1.
It was so special Donna had to take pictures of this new event! For some reason Sable got in her head she wanted nothing to do with Ralph and after he gave her a doggie treat she gave him a big kiss! If you saw how shy she has been around Ralph you would take pictures, too!
We visited their neighbors Bob and Peggy and Katie the other day on another walk and she gave Katie a big kiss too. She is a very loving dog if she likes you and she barks like you know what if she thinks you are coming to the house to be a threat to us. I wouldn't want that dog angry at me for sure.
Such was the first full day of spring. Now they are calling for snow flurries again this weekend!
I just love this picture of radishes intersown with wheat in the fall. I think there is more going on there than we understand. They make great companion crops and then the radishes die off over winter giving nutrients and weed killing power to the wheat.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I opened Windows this morning and looked at the news. The first article that caught my eye was the best place to view spring flowers.
Yes, the Netherlands. Rich ocean soil with weather moderated by the ocean. I have been there once and want to go again in full bloom but that is the first of May, prime farming time here.
We saw daffodils in bloom this morning on the way home from church and even though it was 39 degrees you know spring time is here.
We should have planted more bulbs and more trees ever since we moved here. The apple trees and roses are budding out. If you plant anything, try some SabrEx seed treatment on them, it really makes a difference. All my crops and seeds and transplants get a dose of it, that trichaderma really makes a big difference here.
The moon was as big as a flower last night. Did you see it? That is the closest it has been to earth in 18 years. Many friends were commenting at its beauty. Usually that means I don't sleep well but I slept very well last night and feel rejuvenated today.
My NewAgTalk NCAA brackets need a little rejuvenating. Wow, there were some good games last night. How about that coach at Butler? He is a class act and I forgot what he did last year, nothing short of amazing.
Big Ten has let me down so far in the competition. I took Penn State, Purdue and Michigan State too far and Wisonsin not far enough. My brackets are all up to my alma mater, Ohio State. Otherwise, I am out of the competition this year.
Oh well, it's a lot of fun playing and watching. I think a lot of young men's future is determined right in this tournament after a lifetime of work. Isn't that amazing?
The wheat looks really good today. Maybe, just maybe we can finally get our first shot of nitrogen on this week. The ground is firming up.
A year ago we were cleaning out a fence row. Boy, that was a good move, it really opened up those two fields into one nice 40 acre field. The drainage has improved because of it and we produce a lot more food now and I just put a piece of that wood into our toasty Vermont Castings woodstove this last cold winter day.
The newagtalkers are discussing lawn renovation and sweet corn. I need to get my last garden seed order in this week. Gurney's is half off, I wonder what is going on with them?
Maybe we can sneak in and get some sweet corn planted early for that wonderful July sweet corn and juicy hamburgers. I think we just had our last Vision sweet corn out of the freezer and need to replenish our supply.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
We had our green day Friday. Everything was green, all the food and drinks were green. The grandkids just loved it but they missed Liam so much they drew him a picture I will send to him today.
It was a day later than St. Patricks Day but you have to work around schedules, you know?
"St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.
Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.
Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.
There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.
Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.
As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.
During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.
He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."
He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.
Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.
Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).
Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.
He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.
Why a shamrock?
Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. (I think this is really cool!)
In His Footsteps:
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission."
Humble, pious, gentle man, now that is something worth striving for! I devote this blog to my friend Gifford Knapp, age 88, retired farmer in Kansas who gave all of us New Ag Talk readers so much wisdom and hope.
St. Patrick and Gifford had a lot in common.
Friday, March 18, 2011
I always knew I had a bit of Intelligence Looking at the world's smartest people I wouldn't trade places with any of them.
I saw this series of articles and thought about my own intelligence and my school days. I always got good grades in school but that doesn't always correlate getting along in life. In fact, the more intelligence you have the more that is expected of you and I think it is your responsibility to to use your talents, your gifts.
Many times I got to a point I wished I had less of it because so much more is expected of you if you have any self worth to apply it to your life, your family and for the good of mankind.
I distinctly remember taking the Iowa Aptitude test in fourth grade. For me, it was a good way to show what I was able to do. I did so well on the test I remember Ella Mae Alexander grabbing me by the ear from the back row of the class, leading me to the front row where I would sit the rest of the year. That was painful in more ways than one.
That changed my life forever, that one test. I was expected to do well in higher level courses which led me away from farming and into my career of teaching. I got my Bachelor's Degree in 3 years but I alwasy figured it was because of my poverty and desire to make money, not just my intelligence.
It all turned out OK but you wonder how one event in your life changes your whole life path so much. That is why I put so much emphasis on childhoood development. That sets all your habits and where you will eventually wind up. Our family has always done well and I think it is early childhood development.
Farming is a lot more than driving machinery and it takes a lot of intelligence to be successful to build a farm or keep one that was given to you. So many fail as we have fewer and fewer farmers. Farm management today takes a lot of intelligence, some say luck, but the best farmers I know are pretty smart people.
I really think it is easier to get through life knowing just enough to get by. The more you know, the more difficult it is to apply your knowledge in general. I always admired those people who are just plain happy all the time and not influenced so much by mood or weather or economic changes. That isn't me.
But I am happy who I am where I am and I have no regrets. Sure, things could have been easier but all in all I have had it pretty good compared to others. Intelligence is a part of that.
I know you have to be smarter than a machine or it won't make you money and could take your life.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I think we are making progress. We have the crop insurance program filed, the seed paid for and the banking done for the new farm year. We were able to get all our loans under 5%. It took a lot of hard work and dedication by all of us to get here.
We were new farmers at age 54 in the eyes of lenders so we took on a lot of debt late in life like dad did to make it all happen. I don't regret it at all and wish I could have done it when I was 21. It wasn't in the cards.
Can you imagine having to walk into the bank at 75 like dad did and ask for $40,000 to finish completing the deal you and your dad worked all their lives for? I think about that and just smile. It can be done if everything is right. I will never forget the man who made it all happen for dad.
So, I help aspiring, solid young people analyze their talents and reach their dreams younger than I did. Brad bought his first farm at the age of 20. He has a long farming career ahead of him. I get many calls for advice but it so hard to analyze each situation and give the right recommendations. It is a large responsibility.
It seems like everything I take on is a large responsibility, maybe that is just how I look at it because I know every decision has repercussions. I knew what to do at 21 but everyone in my support group thought I was just a young wild college graduate with wild dreams. It's taken a life time to get here. That is why I encourage young people to pursue their dreams but take the hard earned steps to make them happen.
We will have more progress here when we get the taxes filed and paid for and the wheat all top dressed. Then we are only 4 months away from our next harvest. That's a good feeling.
I know how to raise a profitable crop. I feel like I know it inside out and I think most farmers do. The tough part is farm management, land, labor and capital and how you manage it. Thankfully I had a lot of good teachers but it took my lifetime to work through it. Somedays I feel like a slow learner with all this knowledge and not the ability to make it happen.
Marketing my crop is the hardest part but I can't focus on what if I had done this or that and keep making wise decisions. It is a tedious process some make look so easy to do.
Still, this is progress. Building a new store in a bean field or putting a 4 lane through the best field on the farm isn't. That is stupidity.
This economy is slowing down stupidity. Now that is progress.
I know I am going to get email and phone calls on this blog but that is what I am here for.
I have come a long way since that first Oliver 70 I bought almost 50 years ago.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The orange farm machinery company became popular in this region. Our friends from Wisconsin were talking with us and I asked about Allis, and they said the union broke them. The union negotiated a "job forever" clause and it eventually broke the company in 1985 when it sold to Deutz in Germany and then Deutz sold them to AGCO in 1990.
Allis-Chalmers' history as a manufacturer extends to the 1840's in Milwaukee. In 1914 the growing company entered into the farm equipment business. Over the years Allis-Chalmers was responsible for many innovations in farm equipment and grew to become one of the largest and most diverse manufacturers in North America. However, Allis-Chalmers became the victim of rapidly changing financial times and was eventually forced to sell the farm equipment division to K-H-Deutz AG of Germany in 1985. Duetz sold to AGCO inc. in 1990. After the dispersal of the remaining manufacturing businesses in 1988, Allis-Chalmers maintained an office in Milwaukee until January 1999.
AGCO has expanded the farm equipment business, largely in Europe and South America. In 2004 AGCO entered the Fortune 500 list of America's largest companies."
I never owned an Allis but have driven and been in charge of a few of them. They are short and stout with little wheels and powerful engines, at least the ones I used 40 years ago. They didn't make a big tractor until the famous D-21 with 426 inch engine and Persian Orange paint.
When farming got bigger in the late 60's you saw the 806 International take over followed by D-21's and 1950 Olivers. Deere only had the 4010 then 4020 which wouldn't keep pace with any of them. Deere ended up winning the whole shooting match though.
I cut up my share of All Crop pull type combines. They were left in fence rows and when steel got high in the oil embargo 70's we would sell the best parts and scrap the rest of the machine. I would have rather kept them for a museum piece but there wasn't the incentive to do it 40 years ago. Today they would be a good piece to show and display.
The union comment is appropriate today with all of the discussion on union agreements and tenure. There are two sides to every story and this one ends with the end of another great company.
Oliver's best people got hired by Deere.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We took our guests from Wisconsin down to Amish Country today. We drove to Hillsboro down to Bainbridge to Lloyd's and Company, a really good furniture store with hardware for the locals. Then we headed toJR's Country Store, then the bakery down the road and then drove down US 41 to SR 32 back west to Tater Ridge Road and the these huge barns of old stuff. I mean every kind of old stuff you can imagine. You never saw so many old grinding wheels in your life.
You turn left on Wheat Ridge Road, what a name for a road and there is all the Amish community, industry and stores with sawdust to stove pipes and bulk food to jerky.
The Amish shop at all these stores, the hardware store at Lloyd's in Bainbridge was busy. We see more clip clop of horst and buggies every trip we make. I think more and more are moving here from Pennsylvania.
We slipped by our son's new place on the way and construction was really going on. I should say excavation. It's a beautiful home site and building a new house in this economy is something special. Must be a Winkle thing, I always did better when the economy is sour. I guess I am just cheap. The Amish are frugal. I quickly added up over $1000 a month of living expenses they don't pay.
There are 3 main general stores with all kind of bulk and deli food and furniture, JR's to the north, Miller's to the south and Keim's to the west. They are similar but show each family's and community's character. We saw some outstanding furniture and some at a reasonable price.
There are all kinds of cottage industries going well, too. They must be doing well, the places look nicer every time we visit.
It was a nice day for a drive but getting awfully expensive. It took $60 to fill the Buick but we got 22 MPG on this trip.
For some reason some of my best teachings are with the Anabaptist's. I think I have a good name with them and that makes me feel good. They are good farmers and just a little behind on technology but way ahead in so many ways. They have their priorities straight.
Like many religious sects the Amish are misunderstood. The southern Ohio people are learning about their ways as they buy up our land which I think is under priced. Of course everything is overpriced if you don't have money.
They have cash. It's their frugal ways.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Boy, teachers are in the news aren't they? Since Wisconsin and Ohio protests and the talk about unions and teacher tenure, the average classroom teacher got thrown into the limelight without permission.
Limes are bitter so it's a bittersweet situation. I am what I am because of my teachers and parents. They are so critical in a child's development yet 40-60% of the children today do not have what I have. Don't you think we are going backwards in some ways?
With budgets broken, the world broken and hurting, now even teachers are being analyzed. It's a sign of the times and not a good one.
Yes we need reform in everything but it gets into a pushing and shoving match. Someone sold the idea of collective bargaining when worker conditions were bad and now you have the unions shoving the guys with the money and those guys are low in funds and the shoving match escalates.
They will have to meet in the middle sometime. Both sides need to concede and you know how hard that is for people. At least we are so far from the stone age but the last 50 years, my lifetime, has seen so many changes.
If people will only work together, we can do this. Now that we have so many problems we really need to work together. I see factions of groups of people that work together but I don't see one solid push to do things right because so many people disagree on how to do it.
It's always been that way, hasn't it? It feels like we became more clanish and groupish to a fault when all along we really needed to work together.
I don't like seeing farmers or teachers getting bashed but some of them earned it. LuAnn and I and so many others have worked so hard not to let that happen.
I am sure you have, too.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I found an interactive 2010 census map for Ohio that I found interesting.
We farm in Clinton and Highland Counties and LuAnn works in Highland County. Both counties have about 42,000 each. There are lots of data similarities between our two counties.
We live in Clark Township and you can see the break down of our census data.
You go east of us, you get more rural. You go west or north of us and you quickly get into counties with twice to many more times as many people as our two rural counties. You find that all across the United States, too.
When I was a kid, Clinton was the big hog and corn county like you would find in states west of us. Almost every farm had hogs and cattle. Now the hogs and cattle are all gone and soybeans have taken many corn acres in just 40 years. I think there are two outfits raising confinement hogs in the county now and just a few barns full.
Almost every farmer in Ohio milked cows at that time and that has all shifted, too. There is one little dairy farmer left near me with 50 cows and he is about ready to retire. He has fought those cows all his life which is really coddling but cows don't give milk, you have to steal it from them!
We really take our farmers and our rural life for granted. We are quite lucky to have both, most of the world does not and that makes us the envy of many people.
Spring is next week and moved our clocks forward one hour last night. The first bulbs are pushing stems and this is National Agriculture Week. They have even moved National Agriculture Day up by a week to coincide with our efforts in Washington D.C. this week. I hope the world tradegies don't overshadow them.
It's important we don't forget our food system by those who produce them and especially our rural way of life here in Clinton County.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Daylight Savings Time goes into effect tonight at 2 AM. Does it really help?
"Daylight saving time (DST)—also summer time in British English and European official terminology respectively (see Terminology)—is the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn. Modern DST was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson. Many countries have used it since then; details vary by location and change occasionally.
The practice has been criticized. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but causes problems for farming, evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun. Its effect on health and crime is less clear. Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity, modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory."
I guess I can live with it either way but at might point in life I would rather have one set time. It seems like screwing around with my clock by a bunch of politicians. Yes I have read all the pro's and con's.
Time was based on daylight hours so it makes a little sense but still seems like manipulation for me.
Lots of people are really rocked by it. Sometimes I am and sometimes I am not.
I have been waking up an hour early so maybe I will be just right this time.
Friday, March 11, 2011
There is news streaming in from around the world. A large earthquake hit Japan after the big one in New Zealand and the video shows a coast being swept clean.
Farmers are really getting antsy on NewAgTalk. One of the farmers a few miles east of me posted a supposed finding by local land grant's that glyphosate damage is being blown out of proportion.
But I found two that really touched me heart. A boy in Iowa dying of cancer wishes to receive one million get well cards.
His name is Max Low and they call him Mighty Max.
Do Max and me a favor and mail him a get well card at Box 111, Neola, Iowa, 51559.
Ever since I met Loran Steinlage of West Union Iowa I have been praying for his son Rolan, with a cancer and near the same age as Max.
Then I prayed for DaNNY, the way he wrote his name and Harper Creek. The Lord took them both back. That's a good thing, isn't it? It sure doesn't feel like it down here.
So just send Max a get well card, mine is in the mail today.
Another farmer broke his neck in a fall from trimming trees on his farm, Shane Haas.
A young lady was killed driving a new Deere from one factory to the other near Waterloo, Iowa yesterday.
I bring these up only to remind us to be safe and pray for each other when we are ill. The million card wish is a good one so I thought I would share.
We have a new white blanket of snow, very unexpected.
I leave with a picture from Florida, one year ago, where it rarely snows.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The data released this week shows our unemployment rate broke 15% again. This is not good. This is not good at all.Our family is blessed to have everyone employed. We are serious, well trained, hardworking people but there are many people who meet these qualities better than we do and they are unemployed.
I am sure the rate is higher than that but it really doesn't matter. There are so many who are underemployed or working just part time and just getting by. I don't know how they get by and I don't want to find out, either.
The problem is you can't turn this around over night. It all happened so gradually and it takes longer to build up than it does to tear down. We should have done something sooner before all this happened.
Now you see the unions hanging on their last rung in Wisconsin and Ohio and all over the nation. People are getting desperate enough to make anything happen. A politician has a step to stand on when his government owes more than it is worth.
I don't know where this all ends, I really don't. I don't think anyone can say they do but I am listening.
I wish the rain would end. I have had enough, Lord. Rain rain, go away, come back another day, how about August?
I don't think it works that way either.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
"The Church emphasizes the penitential nature of Ash Wednesday by calling us to fast and abstain from meat. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Ash Wednesday."
The ashes are soaked this Ash Wednesday. What a rainfall event that moved across the country yesterday and it is sucking up water from the lakes and oceans and dropping it all on us.
I wanted to see what my total rainfall has been since July 1 when the spigot turned off and holy cow we have had a lot of water in the last two months! No wonder we have some water damage to the house.
I think Mother Nature is trying to kill my wheat. She already took millions of tons of the neighbors topsoil where they didn't plant anything or even fall tilled. How can you build soil when you are losing it faster than you can build it?
The scariest part here is water pours through our east brick basement wall in a stream in high rain events. Sump pump goes off and you got water a foot deep in no time. That time the last pump died was when LuAnn was in DC and the water got above my chore boots.
All the lime, tile and cover crop improvemnts are really showing, holding our soil in place very well. If this keeps up though that 100 ac of rye will be feet high in no time. I wonder how this relates to our summertime moisture? I would sure take this in July this year instead of the piddly amount we got last year.
I see farmers are restless. You can read it in their words. This is where the farms with good shops and mechanics pass up everyone else. The planter is tore apart in a million pieces here right now. That will make us money all year long.
Me, I will just dream of July, corn over my head and the beans up to my waist while thinking about my son's 706.
many don't understand the basics of farming even if they can't paint a tractor so I just posted RTB, READ THE BOOK. It is a very thorough agronomy manual from my folks at Midwest Labs. When I was in college we left the r and m out of agronomy and called it agony. It still is for many farmers. Now it is pleasure to me that makes me money every day.
So let it rain, let 'em fret, this thing ain't over yet.
Ashes to ashes dust to dust, this proves Christ is a must.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
According to US Farm Report this weekend, only 10% of the world's land is planted with genetically modified organisms. With the rage in the US and other main grain producing areas you would think it would be a higher figure than 10%.
The report from an International Biotech research organization says that:
81% of the soybean seed is GMO
64% of the cotton seed is GMO
29% of the corn seed is GMO because it is hybrid and planted where corn grows best
23% of the canola seed is GMO
My main income is from soybean sales and I live in the United States so I have little choice than to plant GMO seed.
So what will I plant this year? All GMO seed, Liberty Link seed from Bayer Crop Science because it yields well and conquers the weeds I fight right here in southwest Ohio.
I tried to chase the non GMO seed market but my yield started falling short and I made more net income from Liberty Link soybean seed. My Roundup Ready soybean yields are just as good and better if I can control the weeds like they do west of me.
My records show it's a clear choice for me. Liberty Link soybeans. They averaged 61 bushels per acre in this region where the county average yield history is 44 bushels.
Many farmers are fine tuning their final seed needs. Most of us need to wait and see how our cover crop and cereal grains go. My thinking is go with your normal crop rotation first. If economics say you can diverge from that, go for that.
There is so much new information it is hard for anyone to digest. I can barely get through all my email and sort out what is wrong, especially after you read the Internet links.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Madison had her yearly check up on her heart today. Ehe had a revolutionary heart plug put in her open heart as a little girl when she was one years old.
I will never forget her waving at us from her gurney as they wheeled her into the operating room many years ago. Today she is 8 years old and honestly a wonderful child to us.
The plug has done it's job but her heart tissue has not grown around like they thought it would. I got this all third hand so don't take it any farther than I got it.
Just pray for Madison Abt. Something is not quite right according to the doctors. The tissue has not surrounded the plug like they thought it would. LuAnn and I have encouraged a second and third opinion so the parents can sort out the information and make the best decision for their daughter.
If you haven't had this happen to your, God Blessed you. He has blessed us too but now we ask for mediation.
So, I ask you to pray for our Grand daughter, Madison Elizabeth Abt. She is such a leader of our grand children and we need her to be in full strength.
I would give up everything I own for her and I know her grandmother and parents would too.
It might be a small thing. All we can do is hope and pray it is.
We call her Maddie. God Bless you, Maddie.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
It is time for Christians to show a little more Adoration to Christ than they do in their every day normal life.
Ash Wednesday is this week, a significant time in the life of many Christians as they enter the 40 days of Lent like Christ entered the 40 days with the evil one.
Our church has 40 hours of adoration of the Christ next weekend and I was thinking the time change happens Saturday night. Sure enough it does. We signed up for very early Saturday morning but those signed up for an hour of prayer of adoration after midnight could be on the wrong clock. I am sure our good church will figure it out.
We got the Little Black Book this morning after we signed up our times of adoration. It is a good way to reflect and give more adoration any chance you get like riding in the car or other transportation or just whenever you don't have something else better to do, which is most of the time for me!
One of our hymns sang Jehovah Sabaoth so I had to ask my mighty Christian mate what is this mate? She didn't know either so I looked it up, it sounds familiar to my earliest teaching. Sometimes we cram our brains with so much stuff we can't remember the basics. Age really emphasizes it, too.
Squish asked in the NAT Cafe what he should give up for Lent? Oh my, some of the answers, they brought agnostic vs. Protestant vs. Catholic beleif to life. I really think he did it on purpose though I have one friend who has met him and says he is OK.
I am tired of fighting. I believe what I believe. I have worked hard to get here. OK that, doesn't even cover it. Either get on the train or miss the train. The train is moving right now, you and I have a another great opportunity to get on it between now and Wednesday.
I had a suprise load of farmers in a 15 passenger van show up yesterday. They were very impressed with Les's planter. We had a two hour notill session impromptu.
Have a blessed Sunday and Adore and Admit and Admonish.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I am encouraging my family and neighbors to complete the new survey of your opinion of our county for the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission.
It centers around your ranking of 10 major issues in our county:
developing jobs at the closed air park
developing new jobs
improving the schools
improving the hospital
improving Wilmington College
bringing in new business
bringing in new residents
and several related topics. You can read them at the Clinton Country Regional Planning Commission website.
It's that little green circle button right below the picture where it says attitude survey. Once you fill out the survey, you can't go back and read the questions on your computer.
I wondered how our children would complete the survey. I am sure they would see things a little differently than me because of their age and experience but I think we would agree on most of the issues. Half of our children lived in this county until Becky and family just moved away.
I think the 2008 survey did impact the county some but by that time DHL left Wilmington and our country faced one of the greatest financial recessions in history.
Surveys are good if they are well constructed to meet a defined goal, in this case, the attitude of residents of Clinton County on their local living conditions and services. I think this one makes good sense, not too long but long enough for them to compile some valuable data of the views of the people.
Crime and drug crime were discussed and I ranked them both high. We had a scary situation just down the road yesterday when two men tried to rob a house and found a 16 year old boy home on school suspension. A fight ensued and the boy was shot but his dad said in the newspaper he is going to be OK. Thank God.
LuAnn let Sable roam the house last night just in case.
It's almost time to make some coffee and pancakes. Have a good day,
Friday, March 4, 2011
Those are often magical words to a crop farmer but not this time. The last thing we want is burned up corn like this picture from 2002 but we don't need floods, either. They say the farmer is never satisfied with the weather.
Our soil is pretty saturated but I am not sure how we have down deep yet. Late last fall, we couldn't find any excess water so we definitely need the recharge.
I talked to my friend Bill Northcutt at Spatial Rain Consulting and he found a bug in his software and has been sick with the flu. I would guess we have had 10 inches since that last inch July 12, all coming after harvest. It didn't do any good for our 2010 crop but will for our 2011 crop.
A farmer is always staging his crop to the rainfall. Many have to irrigate, they live in such low rainfall areas. We don't, excess rain is our problem and we are getting it right now. I hear it on my office window. Here, we adapt our planters to planting in damp soil that allows us to plant sooner and more profitably.
Here in Ohio we have to drain off our excess water with surface and subsurface drainage tile. I see a bunch of rolls of it on a farm just south of me past the railroad tracks. That tile will make the young farmer a bunch of money when he is able to get it in.
Drainage is king here and calcium is queen. You get those two addressed, you harvest much better crops and more net profit that will more than pay for the tile and the lime.
On a local note I submitted my Clinton County Regional Economic Development survey online. It asks questions about how we are doing and what do you think of our plans and schools and progress. I think everyone in the county should fill it out. The powers that be need to know our feelings.
Have a good Friday and talk to you tomorrow.
Ash Wednesday is next week. You should read the response on the Cafe when a farmer asked what he should give up for Lent. I think he just wanted to provoke the non believers.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
With all this rain I have erosion again in my best notill field behind the house. I keep it covered all the time and grade it each year but it still wants to wash. The soil is trapped in the sod waterway below it so I am not polluting the river but I hate to see my precious topsoil move.
My friend Chris in New Zealand can keep his soil on his farm with notill. He farms near some slopes but they graze slopes like mine in their country. Their soil will erode even worse than mine.
If anyone thinks that notill doesn't erode, even on a one percent slope, I don't believe they have ever studied the situation. Believe me, it does.
I have a pretty good stand of wheat in it and it still washed some. We never ran the drill up both sides of it like a real waterway and that might have helped but I know it is not a cure.
If I had a big tile below it I think it would help. I don't want to put a water way there because it would split the field in half again and it is already split right up the middle.
This is very good soil but it washes easily. Mine is always greener than the neighbors but mine has more slope, just enough to really make it wash in a big rain. It has never laid in soybean stubble all winter since I lived here. 200 bu notill cornstalks holds it pretty well.
The settlers of this farm used this soil to make the bricks for the house. It is not good for bricks. It is good for farming but not good for bricks.
I see the rivers are still brown around here so there is too much erosion. I wonder if they will always be brown?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The title of this blog is unknown. It will remain unknown until you or I come up with a snazzy name for it. It's a pretty accurate title today with the unknown future of this picture of Christchurch or anything in this world and especially the hard drive of my old computer. I am missing some key software I don't know where I put and the data is unknown to the drive!
Welcome to all our new readers, I have heard from several of you. Give me feedback by comment or email and tell me what you like and don't like. It helps light my dark path of what to say or not say.
I see farmers are commiserating over not being able to top dress nitrogen on their winter wheat and barley. Our soils are soaked and I see many regions like ours have flooding.
One of our repair guys called yesterday to see if he could do our job as he couldn't get to Sinking Spring, appropriately name. The bridge is under water, We live on higher ground so he could get to us.
Sorry about the lack of links and pictures but I am still using LuAnn's laptop. I despise this Windows 7, I just lost all of this blog to here and she lost a big email to the Bochstiegel's of Wisconsin last night.
My problems started when I downloaded a free power point from Dr. Joel Gruver posted on ag talk. He used Babylon to host the power point and when I downloaded it that thing took over my task bar and I couldn't get it off.
The popups increased until the computer crashed. Brandon Apgar cleaned it up and installed Malwarebytes and it went another few weeks until it crashed again. Now it is at Greystone who does business tech in the area. They have had it almost a week so it might be Gravestone.
I had that computer loaded and set just the way I wanted. I don't see how LuAnn gets by with this one, this shows our age difference. She is more teachable and less rigid than I am.
Farmers have two weeks to figure out their crop insurance options. My agent sent me the spreadsheets but I can't print them out or read them on this computer.
It seems like my whole life revolved around that darned computer.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
This picture is from beautiful New Zealand a year ago. We just read about the devestation to the Diocese of the South Island in our local paper. News from the islands keep trickling over here to the states.
I recorded Phil Keoghan's report on Christchurch, New Zealand. It is featured this week on CBS News early morning program. I apologize if the link doesn't work, I just tried it again and it didn't this time.
The devastation is real but the people's resiliency is amazing. As the mayor of Christchurch said, the island's population is one million inhabitants but half of them live in Christchurch, the center of the earthquake's damage. This makes our little storm 24 hours ago seem paltry.
They are already digging out so they can rebuild the best they can. Historic buildings only 100 years old are destroyed. Bridges are being rebuilt and connected to the land again so they can start the cleanup.
The young people signing up to help and already helping looks amazing in the report. Chris's helicopter pilot friend helped him get footage of the damage that is indescribable.
As our country goes through its own self inflicted economic tsunami I find the stories about Ulysses Samuel Grant and Robert Edward Lee very poignant. You can see why Grant is on the five dollar bill and not Lee.
Grant represents to me the poor immigrants of the early states compared to the aristocracy of Lee's peoples and how the war between the states changed our country forever. Over 4 million black slaves were freed but their people have struggled ever since. I guess we can say that about all of us.
People of poverty won the war over aristocracy and both came from Europe. Civil rights and poverty has been a problem ever since this war and the reason for it wasn't just slavery. It was about a way of life including slavery. I highly recommend these series on American Experience on PBS.
On the local front we are very wet now. I can't see us topdressing cereal grains or getting into the fields anytime soon with the forecast. It's starting to look like another interesting year thanks to climatic events.
All we can do is farm planning, records and taxes until we can get into the fields. I am glad to see the recharge of water in our soils but not happy about not being able to feed or manage what we planted during last fall's dry soils. In only 30 days it will be April and we will want to start planting.