Project Appleseed Illinois event at Sparta, IL on 19 April 2014.  At 3 PM there was a volley by all shooters to honor those American Patriots who died on April 19, 1775, the day the American Revolution began.  Find out more about Project Appleseed by clicking this link.


Spring break for the kids so its time to help dad get ready to farm!  Morgan is busy cleaning up tractors and Matthew is busy welding up all the stuff I broke during the winter!  Great family times!



Had a great time in Texas not long ago hunting at Northern Sky Ranch near the town of Jacksboro.  Had great fun with my son!


Well a first for us is that we are cutting soybeans before we shell any corn.  Corn was still running in the high 20’s for moisture but the beans were dry.  So we went to the bean field.

I shot about 2 hours of video with the GoPro on a small tripod in the cab before I decided it was not the thing to use.  It kept falling over with every bump I hit.  I moved on to a Ram Mount ball where I could tie it down good and tight.  Anyway I managed to get three plus minutes of video to show how things were going on Saturday to make this video.

I will shoot some more and make another bean video and most likely a few corn videos as I work on perfecting my technique.

BTW the beans were good, averaging almost 50 bu/ac across 70 acres.  The more dust that rolled out of the combine the higher the yield was…..  seeing upwards of 70 in the real dusty places.  No dust, no beans or low bean yields in the 30’s.


My nephew Cormac Glascock visited earlier this month all the way from Arizona.  He enjoyed showing off one of the ears of corn that we will harvest this year.  It is sure a lot different than last year.  About 200 bu/ac different than last year.

This was this time last year…….


Latest commercial by my brother Jonathan…….. (that’s him driving the car.)

My grandfather passed away on August 16.  He was a life long farmer who lived to farm. He just loved farming, and farmed up until 2010.  He was 93 years old when he passed away in his sleep.  He didn’t go to the doctor nor did he take any medicine.  

The man taught me everything about farming that they dont teach you in the textbooks or at all these meetings I attend.  You know…. the important stuff.    

In the video section you can watch a short clip of him running our bulldozer at age 91, clearing some brush.  

I am the most blessed farmer in the world, having had the privilege to farm with him for 35 or so years.  The following is my tribute to him and his life as a farmer:

When he was a kid it took him two days to disc 35 acres behind a team of horses and he got paid $0.25 for his work.  A quarter less than the other kids because he was smaller.

On that same 35 acres in his life time with a team of horses he spread lime out the back of a horse drawn wagon. He used commercial fertilizer shoveled out of a rail car into a wagon and then into a spreader driven by the wheels of the wagon.  He would then go on to use a tractor to spread fertilizer and apply anhydrous ammonia.  He would use GPS to spread fertilizer and lime variable rate.

On that same 35 acres he used his first tractor, it had steel wheels. He would trade up even having to buy a chest freezer during the war because of rationing to be able to buy a tractor off the International dealer.  He went from 13 horsepower when he started to 350 horsepower when he made his last pass across the field.  His implement size went from 3 foot to 35 foot.  His planter went from two rows to 12 rows.

On that same 35 acres he went from guiding a team of horses with reins in hand to watching his grandson and great grandson only touch the steering wheel on the ends when they turned because they had GPS auto guidance.

On that same 35 acres he picked corn by hand and threw it in a wagon.  He went from a horse drawn wagon to a corn picker run by a tractor to a two row combine.  He went from a two row combine with no cab to a four row combine with a cab to a six row combine with a cab and air conditioning.  He shelled corn in a combine that had a GPS yield monitor to map the yield.  But he already knew what it would make and where it would make it before the GPS told him because he had been over every inch of that 35 acres so many times.

He saw the development of the gas tractor, the diesel tractor, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, hybrid seed corn, cyst resistant soybeans, insect resistant corn,  Round Up and Liberty Link soybeans and corn, GPS, yield monitors, variable rate planting, variable rate fertilizer and auto guidance.

He went from hoping to make 50 bushel corn to shelling whole farm averages over 200.

He drove a tractor and a combine until he was 91 years old.

He could fix anything.

He could teach. At 91 he taught his 13 year old great grandson how to weld.

He was married for almost 73 years.

He had more faith than anyone else that everything would be alright and work out.

This is a mighty big yard stick to measure a life by.  As a farmer he saw every major invention, advancement and development in agriculture in his lifetime.  He adapted, changed and thrived.  He got to farm in fields with 4 generations of his family at the same time.

Wow, what a life lived!

We are sad that he is gone, but there is no reason to be sad at the life he lived.

If I make it to 90 in this fast paced world, and the yard stick is laid down to measure my life I hope that it can be compared to the same yard stick of accomplishment.  If I make it to 90+ year old I hope my grand kids and great grand kids will look back and shake their head and say “Wow, what a life lived”!

This morning all I can say is WOW!  WHAT A LIFE LIVED.

Roy Faughn Payne 7-18-1919 – 8-16-2012

Kelly Robertson, Grandson. 

Love this clip from the Andy Griffith show.  I never liked the color episodes for some reason.  Barney is a bigger kid than Opie and his gang………

Happy 4th of July!

Lots of anhydrous going on this week around the area.  Side dressing corn is my second favorite part of growing corn.  Number 1 is shelling it!  But I love side dressing corn almost as much as running the combine.

There is just something about how the corn reacts a few days after the tool bar opens up the soil and the plant grabs the nitrogen that makes me know we have a shot at a big crop.  I say shot because it all comes down to rain and weather in the end, but I always feel that I gave it every chance when I side dress.

Anyway here is a picture that Randy Anderson posted on Facebook of him finishing up on Friday night.  A very good picture.  Randy is one of my soil testing clients and also a fellow Farm Bureau member and Crop Watcher for the ILFB Farm Week.  You can follow his reports from Saline Co, IL  here if you dont get the Farm Week.

Here is a few pictures I took. The first is my tractor and tank applying anhydrous behind the house when I got started on Tuesday night.


This last picture I took when down at Cornersville, IL pulling some soil samples on ground farmed by David Hale.  It had just been side dressed and they have closers on the tool bar that made the little mole mound.  I really like this picture also.

We cooked 360 New York strip steaks at Immanuel Baptist Church last night as part of our revival services.  It has been an awesome week seeing what God had done in the lives of so many people the last three days.


But I think I have a welding burn from cooking over this hot grill………..

Monday night we had an event at our church called Touch a Truck. Various church and community members brought different vehicles to the church parking lot for the public and kids to see and “touch”. 


Since it rained I cleaned up ole green and drove her up to the church for the event.  Thought I had better get a picture of her all clean as she may not be this clean again for a long time!


Nephew Jack liked the smaller tractor another farmer brought much better than his uncles big green one it appears by his smile.

My sister Samantha and her son Jack from Phoenix are here at world wide headquarters for the next week for a visit.  Jack made a field visit today to bring me a diet Mt. Dew.


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.

“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.

Just returned from the Illinois Project Appleseed IBC.  IBC stands for Instructor Boot Camp.  The IBC is a training event to help mentor IIT’s (instructors in training) or Orange Hats to become qualified instructors or Red Hats.  There are five stages of IIT from IIT0 to IIT4.  I am currently an IIT2, so I have two more IIT progressions before I go for my Red Hat!

The weekend consist of reviewing and teaching the history and events of April 19, 1775 as well as polishing up on the marksmanship skills necessary to teach the shooting portion of an Appleseed weekend.  To become an IIT you first have to have attended at least two Appleseed weekend shoots and shoot Rifleman, a minimum score of 210 on the AQT (Army Qualification Test) that has a maximum score of 250.  Shooting Rifleman is not an easy task as a lot of experienced shooters think it might be.  It took me three Appleseeds and a lot of practice in between them to master the skills necessary to score above a 210.

Instruction was done by Dond, Master Shoot Boss and State Coordinator for Illinois.  Dond has a very unique way of approaching a COF (course of fire) for an Appleseed weekend that results in very high scores for the shooters by the end of the day.  Small group sessions were done by Red Hats or instructors and shoot bosses to help polish up the things that were taught by Dond.

I had the privilege to be in small groups with Red Hats Wurstmacher, Castle Mountain, Shooter 30-06 and Tornado.  These are not there real names but their “forum” names that they go by at the shoots.  All of these folks are very passionate about the history and shooting that goes into a Appleseed weekend.

Castle Mountain reviews some of the history and teaches how to deliver the important points during a breakout session


Shooter 30-06 goes over the retreat of the British Regulars from Concord or the “Third Strike” using his “battle road map” during small group time.

Woodl practices explaining the AQT and how each stage of the AQT is to be shot during a breakout session.

It was a great time, made a lot of new friends and learned a lot to help me be a better IIT and one day a Red Hat!

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