Monthly Archives: March 2012

There are two distinct wheat crops growing in Southern Illinois this spring.  The distinction is in how they have been managed.

Those who have managed their wheat according to the weather and growth stage have some awesome looking wheat.  Plant development has been greatly accelerated due to the unusually warm weather we have had this winter and spring.  The result is that we are about a month ahead of schedule in some areas with where the wheat is in its life cycle.  Those fields have had their N applied earlier than normal and have had their weed control applied earlier as well.  The result is one of the best looking wheat crops ever in my opinion.

Those who have managed their wheat according to the calendar have wheat that is behind in its development and in some cases its health.  This wheat looks N deficient in most cases and is shorter.  In some instances we see tiller development aborted due to lack of N.  Nitrogen has been applied later and in some cases the weed control chemistry is just going on and with the hot temperatures for this time of year we see some cosmetic burn to the plant.  Worse yet some have combined their N and weed chemistry to save time and trips across the field.  Again we see some plant injury and loos of weed control.  This wheat crop looks average at best.

So which one is right?

Well with the lack of a late spring freeze appearing likely managing by plant development and going early could result in one of the best wheat crops in years.  Even better than last year.  If we were to get a late spring freeze, then that advanced crop is toast.  Then those who managed by the calendar will look like geniuses.  No matter what the later crop is going to be average at best but it will be a crop.

Lately I have seen a lot of discussion on Mossbergs new 464 “tactical” lever action rifle.  Frankly the discussion goes all over the place and most of it (discussion) is about useless.  I look at it and say why?  I mean is there really a market for that?

I have yet to think I needed a lever gun with a muzzle break, picatinny rail fore grip and a M4 style stock.

Then again I went to a recent gun show with my friend Randy and he spotted a double barrel shotgun with a picatinny rail under the barrels.  I didn’t even look at the thing let alone find out who made it.  Really?  A picatinny rail on a side by side coach gun?

What Cowboy Action is now shot in low light?

Again I don’t get it.

I guess I do get it, I mean in the age of marketing “tactical cool” you need a rail on everything.  I am sure there is somewhere an espresso maker made to mount on the rail of an M4.  If one where a true “operator” then I could see the need for such.  Rail, not espresso maker.  Yes I can even see the need for a light on a rifle or pistol but not all the other junk that folks hang there.

That being said Matthew and I went shooting Sunday for a while and we took our “tactical trail gun”.  The old short barreled Winchester 94 Trapper in 38/357.  No rail, no espresso maker, no light, no nothing.  Just fun to shoot.  And it didn’t even intimidate the cows in the background!  The old gun is a shooter.  I traded for this gun some 15 years ago.  I had a Smith and Wesson 617 9 shot in stainless with a 6 inch barrel and the other guy had this gun.  He wanted what I had and I wanted a Winchester 94.  I miss the old S&W 617 but have got more use and had more fun with the 94.

For a trail gun it works for us.  Its light enough to carry on a hike, can be loaded with bird shot or magnum loads and it sure seems quieter than the 617 when you shoot it.  And with out a rail and such it doesn’t look tactical………meaning it doesn’t draw much attention except for the few guys who slobber over it because its a 94.

I guess I will just take my lever guns plain, no “tactical cool” please.

I sprayed 45 acres of volunteer wheat, cheat and other weeds yesterday as it is still way to wet to work ground here.  I feared if I didn’t get them killed it was going to be a mess when I finally did get to work the ground.  Even my worked ground is staring to green up a bit.  I had to drive around a few wet holes even with the ATV sprayer.

The fall applied chemicals are doing a great job holding the weeds back on the no till fields.  Wish I had hit them all now but who would have ever thought that we would be so early this year with our warm up.

I also mowed the grass, for the second time this year yesterday.  Yep mowing grass in March……and spinning across the yard due to the wetness.

Still waiting on one last part to finish up the planter.

Trying to enjoy the calm before the storm so to speak…..because when it breaks its going to break hard I think.  This crop will go in the ground the fastest and earliest I can remember.  Then again………….I could get fooled.

I seem to have got way behind on keeping this page up as of late.  To be honest I haven’t had time with this early spring…………

I will try harder but when I get in at night I have been wore out……..

So for a little while a “lite blogging warning” is in effect.

Promise I will do better!

New openers, shoes and firming points on the planter…………

Now we wait for Easter to get here…… planting before then, if I can hold myself back!

Got up this morning and went and fed cows.  Nope, not mine but a friends who had to be away for a few days and didn’t have anyone who could fill in for him.   Was kind of fun actually.  Had to spear four bales of hay to be put out in the feed  lots for the cows and then put out some ground feed for the steers.

It was a welcomed change of pace and interesting to watch the livestock go through their habits when they hear the tractor coming and hear the bulk bin auger run.  Pavlov was right…….. !

Then if was off to sample for the second day at Ridgeway.  Off the tile fields it is a bit wet down at 5 plus inches.  Rain in the forecast the next few days has everyone sitting on go.  Still lots of spraying and fertilizing going on but little or no field work.

The weather says go, but the calendar and field conditions have everyone standing by.  Some farmsteads look like the flight deck of a aircraft carrier.  Everything is lined up along the driveway ready for take off.

Worked at soil sampling east and north of Ridgway, IL today. Saw some planters running up and down the roads but didn’t see anything being planted.  I would say if it doesn’t rain they will be running hard this weekend.

In several fields I had to dodge tornado/storm debris, lots of insulation, shingles, small boards with nails in them and the occasional toy or Christmas decoration. Not sure where it came from, guessing Ridgway or Harrisburg as none of the structures near the fields I was in were damaged.

The fields with tile are very dry and would work good, but the fields with no tile were very wet at the bottom of the probe.


“The more complex the mind the greater the need for simplicity of play.”  Capt James T Kirk

Its been a few days since I have had time to update my blog so I thought I would do so with a long post so “be warned those who enter here!”  With the level of activity and constant variety of jobs to be done I feel the need for simple play but there is no time right now it would seem.  Nor is there anyone who wants to play either.  This rain would normally indicate a time to stop and rest, but rain isn’t welcome right now because of the list of things that must be done is not getting any shorter.

The new shed/warehouse/shop has a concrete floor now.  The final pour happened yesterday and it looks truly beautiful.  Concrete will be a welcome departure from rock and asphalt.  The heat in the floor will be a welcome wonder for winter work that doesn’t seem to get done now because of the cold in the other shed.  There is still a lot of work to be done on the shed but its getting closer.


I got in one good day of soil sampling on 2012 ground this past week before I had to pull out and head to a Pioneer meeting.  The ground is sampling nice for the most part but is kind of funny in a way for March.  With the lack of snow and shallow freeze/thaw that we get here in southern Illinois in a normal winter the ground is very “fluffy” in a lot of areas.  That is dependent on if there was fall tillage done, but there is a good 3-4 inches of fluffy ground on most fields I have been on.

Everyone says they are ready to go to the field and plant corn, or so they say.  Yet I can gather that most don’t have their seed corn yet and they keep forgetting that its March and not April.  This very mild winter has got everyone mixed up and if it keeps this up till April I suspect we will see a lot of corn go in the ground sooner rather than later.

I did manage to slip in getting another field chisel plowed yesterday evening after I got back from my meeting.  The ground is hard in these wheat fields and its no wonder why.  The wet conditions last summer resulted in ruts from wheat harvest, double crop bean planting and from the bean harvest.  Its ground is packed tight!

A side note is that while the big tractor is working in the field, out of no where come these seagulls.  I have no clue where they came from. They are not hanging out around the farm anywhere, and the lake is several miles away.  Yet they seem to show up within minutes of the tractor going to the field and disappear just a quickly when I shut it down.  They don’t hang around.  Strange birds for sure.


BTW in case I didn’t gripe enough its week 2 without any acetylene yet………….

If all that wasn’t enough, we have also been trying to get details on the new business finalized.  That also isn’t getting done as fast as I want but it is going forward and we will be ready to go live soon, I hope.  I guess if I wasn’t so busy with everything else I could get that done as well.

Speaking of simple play. What has happened to my “gun” shows on the outside channels?  I mean even my favorites are not worth watching as of late on TV.   It seems that every show is now doing the same topic week after week.  I mean come on guys show me something new or original, not the same thing program after program with the same bad “experts” talking about and using the trendy words or latest fad in “tactical cool”.  I have no interest in hanging an espresso maker off my AR’s rail.

Worse yet some have fallen into this “prepper” mentality as well.  All I need is another show with the end of the word being  preppers or bunker preppers or salt and preppers or what ever, with some gun play involved.  First off your guys don’t have a clue, second you make gun owners look bad and three you can’t be for real.  I mean anyone who is so scared of the EOTWAWKI would not be on national TV or even a gun show showing the world what you have laid in for an emergency.

Nothing on TV at all anymore.

Simple is what I need, simple play.

Parts of Southern Illinois got hit pretty hard not more than 36 hours ago with a 4 a.m. EF4 tornado that killed at least 6 in Harrisburg and destroyed homes and businesses in three counties.  Over 300 buildings were destroyed in Harrisburg alone including the hospital.  12,000 were without power most of yesterday.  The pictures of devastation flood Facebook and local newspapers as well as national and local TV.

In the middle of all this destruction are good people who are volunteering their time, efforts and energy to help search, rescue and recover the lives of those effected.  To you folks I give you a big “two thumbs up”.  Your work is greatly appreciated.  To those who showed up an had nothing to do because the response was so overwhelming kudos to you for caring and wanting to help.  Again that heart of a servant is what is needed today.

What I can’t stand is how, in a great time of need like this, the politicians and media swoop down to make hay out of misery.  Like flies drawn to a fresh pile of crap in the middle of all the hurting and recovery going on you had the Governor, Lt Governor and all their cronies holding a press conference right in the middle of the destruction to tell everyone they were there and that they cared.  The media circus that has followed is just as tasteless.  Watching the national media reduce a towns life altering event into a 30 sec sound bite while standing the middle of what was someones house is equally as opportunistic as what the Governor did.  Just look at how long it takes for the stories to get buried as the next “big news event” happens.

In a day or two the flies will move on to the next pile for their feeding frenzy and Harrisburg, Ridgway, Marion and other towns will be left to fend for themselves.

Southern Illinois alone, again.

God bless those people in and out of uniform who will continue to show up to work and to give with a servants heart long after the circus leaves town.  For those are whom our foundation of community are built on and why we have and will continue to survive without Chicago and NBC news.

God bless you people of Southern Illinois who give.

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