Fly over states – The Harris Family

The Harris kids waiting for Luigi's flying tires at Disneyland

The Harris kids waiting for Luigi’s flying tires at Disneyland

It’s been too long since we last got acquainted, but here is the run down.  We had such a blessed wheat harvest and with the right recipe seemed as though we were “running” behind.  Wheat harvest took about 5 days longer than expected because of a tight harvest crew and some breakdown issues; that threw our hay cutting and baling behind schedule.  Remember I mentioned how purple the creek bottom looked? Then with the few sprinkles and cooler mornings in early June, hay baling took twice as long as expected.  To top it all off, the wind blew like crazy, I guess blowing in all this dry, hot weather.  I say all that to say this is why I NEVER book a vacation and the one time I do this is the circumstances we are stuck with.  But my request for what Amy calls the farming fairy was answered and Brent Straub spent some sleepless nights spraying for us.  You can always count on a good farming neighbor.  It was sure nice to go on vacation and not have the stress of leaving something undone at home.

The Harris kid had a chance to enjoy Disneyland, including the fireworks headboard in the hotel!

We left for vacation on Saturday, June 23.  I was busy trying to do everything humanly possible to get as much done on the farm as I could – I didn’t have time to sleep.  Quite frankly, that’s all I cared about for the first few days of vacation was what time we had to get up and when nap time would be!  We arrived in Los Angeles, CA, the next morning after a short flight and made our way on the shuttle to the “magic” of Disneyland.  The kids had a great time!  We were there Sunday through Thursday and had a late night flight to Dallas.  We pulled in our driveway about 4:00 am.  Amy stayed up doing a few loads of laundry because our daughter, Kenda’s, Softball team won their league in 8 and under softball and qualified for the state tournament, which started Friday morning in Preston, OK.  They ended up fifth in the tournament.

So back home to Hobart we go ready to take on the list at hand!  Alfalfa was ready to be laid down and baled again.  It is amazing what hot, dry weather does for your hay baling week.  Last month, it was a two-week-plus affair, and this trip, it lasted about 6 days start to finish. We put a lot of little squares up this time – about 2000 – plus 200 mid-size squares.   The cotton crop looks good considering there are rows going several directions, several sizes. I just got done spraying it for weeds and bugs.  Finally, the cattle do not need attention for pink eye every other day.  We have a decent chance of some much-needed rain tonight that would be a huge blessing in many ways.  It would get the alfalfa, cotton, and grass a lot further down the road towards making a crop.

Since I have been making paths on all this machinery I have plenty of radio time, this allows me time to ponder important things in life.  For instance, Jason Aldean is someone I would like to meet and shake his hand.  He is a huge advocate for agriculture through his music that hopefully the non-agriculture population can at least know something about production ag.  Rylan’s favorite singer since he was two has been Jason Aldean, and I am so glad of that.  I think it’s so true about the general population and how they perceive the  “Fly Over States” and I’m grateful for a celebrity to acknowledge the importance of who we are.

Repairs, cattle and meetings – The Leonard Family

My dad, a neighbor, and I baled 125 bales of hay for us on our 1st cutting of prairie hay and 2nd of bermudagrass hay. I mowed the meadows with the help of dad on our neighbor’s tractor.

We also worked on the combine changing the concaves from our small wires for wheat to round bars for corn and soybeans. Also we did some minor repairs like taking a half link out of the feeder house chain and sealing come cracks.

We have been working on getting the planter ready for corn planting next year. Also, we have put new blades on it so that we can get a clean cut through the ground.

Recently we worked the rest of our fall cows and weaned the calves. We sold the steers and kept the heifers to grow out and decide which ones to keep for replacements. Then we ground feed to put in the creep feeder to grow the heifers out.

Dad has been at meetings, he was appointed to chairman of the county excise board, which sets the county budget. Katy left for FFA Alumni Camp Sunday and gets back Wednesday.

Time flies when you’re having fun – The Webb family

Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like yesterday I was writing last week’s blog.  We finished our last custom wheat hay baling this week and brought our custom rye wicking to a close also.  We got a couple more sets of cows and calves worked and look forward to finishing up the rest of them next week before harvest begins.  We have three more sets to go and spent some time this weekend getting them moved a little closer to the corral.

A baby calf hiding in the grass.

This weekend will probably find the combine creeping out of the barn for its pre-harvest maintenance.  Things were running fine when we pulled out of the last milo field last fall so I don’t expect anything major will need to be done.  We will change the engine oil and all the filters, grease and lube everything, and give the whole machine a very thorough inspection before heading toward the wheat fields.

It doesn’t take long to look around and be thankful for the moisture we’ve had this spring.  The green in the pastures is certainly a nice sight to behold.  It certainly renews my faith.

As I was learning to drive a tractor, my Grandpa went from sitting with me on the tractor to sitting at the edge of the field in his pickup while I worked the ground.  I was 12 years old when I was turned loose in the field by myself on his John Deere 4020 tractor to work ground.  I thought I was certainly closer to becoming a man than ever before when that day occurred.  I look back with such fond memories on the days that my dad and grandpa were teaching me and trusting me with the responsibilities that come with growing up working on a farm.  I still remember the struggle of learning how to shut a wire gate the my dad made it look easy and how to throw down a baby calf that weighed twice what I did.  Through all of the lessons and instructions, I think what stood out the most was to never give up.  Even when mistakes and shortfalls were made, I was encouraged to try again and give it my best.  I feel very blessed to have had parents and grandparents who took the time to teach me to work.

As I reflect on the last 12 months of the worst drought that I’ve experienced, I think that the building blocks I was taught from early on are at the foundation of why I persevere as hard as I do to be successful here on our operation.  As long as I remember, I’ve been told stories of past perils that confronted the generations that came before me.  One thing in common was that they never gave up.  Through faith in God and the willingness to work hard they overcame what seemed at times like hopeless situations.  I am proud to carry on and hope that I can instill in my sons the same reverence for what we do as I have.

I once heard that if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  Time flies when you’re having fun.