Thursday, March 31, 2011


Not much to report today. I think the seat in the 8120 is finally buttoned up, so whenever it dries out around here, we can get into the field. My gauge hasn't been emptied for awhile, but there was over an inch of water in there today. We've had a lot of wet snow and it rained for awhile this morning. The ditches are full of water, so it appears we'll be fighting groundwater again this spring. 

Shay and I are headed to Lincoln tomorrow. We'll be picking up the BIL Joe in Seward when he gets off work, then head to a currently undetermined location to meet up with my sister Alli, at which point we'll head to the Husker baseball game. Shay starts school Tuesday, so I thought it'd be nice to get away once more before she gets busy. 

Who wants to buy the 4th season of Mad Men for me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broken Ariats

Here's some farm poetry for you. Sorry if it sucks. I wrote it in the last 5 minutes and I don't much care for revisions.

I've been staring at them for a few minutes
Trying to decide whether to say goodbye
Or extend their stay
There's an unscuffed pair sitting next to the door
Smirking at the old faithfuls
Not knowing their time will come

These have been on my feet most of the last 365 days
Wearing scars, oil, blood and dust from another crop
Remembering memories good and bad
I don't want to get rid of them
But I don't think I need them
Someone else might find some use

Into the bag with other rejects they go
Swallowed by the dark and cold
Wondering what they've done wrong
Tomorrow they go to town
To sit on a shelf next to someone else's giveaways
Sold for $3 to someone who won't care

My eyes won't leave the bag
My body won't leave the room
My mind can't forget the dirt they've tread
And I know they've proven their worth
They deserve better than what would lie ahead
No one would wear them the same

A man can never have too many pairs of boots

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello Again

Well all, I'm back. Shay and I left for Parks, Nebraska last Thursday to visit her parents. I got home late Saturday night, and yesterday I was busy almost all day. Heartland Lutheran had their benefit banquet, and from preliminary reports, it went exceedingly well. I spent some time with good friends there last night.

So, I'm back to this blogging world. 

I went to St. Paul and got my stalk chopper today. Since it's snowing, I didn't feel like standing outside taking pictures. The fact that I would've had to drive another 1.5 miles to stop by my house to get my camera also contributed to no pictures. Yeah, I know, a mile and a half doesn't sound like much, but when you're in a tractor, it takes a few minutes. 

All of the parts for our planter are here, so hopefully we'll be working on that soon. I'll take lots of pictures and explain what we're doing when we get to it. We're putting different closing wheels on it. Closing wheels are what cover up the furrow after the seed is dropped in the trench. The pieces of crap I had on it last year were worthless as tits on a boar, so I'm pretty excited to get the new wheels on. 

The new compressor for the seat in the 8120 has arrived, too. Maybe tomorrow we'll get that bugger in. It's not even the size of a beer can, but it cost the equivalent of 46 cases of Keystone Light, give or take a few cans. Yes, we are thrilled. Actually, my pants probably are, because with no beer money, the waist band may not have to strain so much.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


If you know what TV show my title is from, you're either old, or you watch too much late night TV. Or you've seen a certain episode of Tourette's Guy.


Sorry I've been away. I haven't been home much the last couple of days. Tuesday we went to an auction, and yes, I bought something. No, it was not a polish dog. I finally got a stalk chopper bought. It's a 12 row Besler with a double gang. It's not home yet, but I'll take a picture when it is. I spent a few hundred dollars more than I was going to, but the other bidder was a farmer that doesn't like us (and we don't like him) so I kind of let pride take over. I still got away pretty well, though, considering that an 8 row Buffalo I was looking at sold yesterday for $500 more than I paid for mine.

Shay went with us, and at one point said to me "This bidding thing is fun!" It's a good thing there wasn't a chicken house or something on the sale. I think she would've bid up to $8,000,000 on it.

Dad and I found out yesterday that the air pump in the seat in the 8120 took a dump. A new one only costs $675... We haven't started field work yet and I'm already breaking shit. It could be a long year.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Spring


I've heard that the masses have been missing my blog posts. Sorry about that. I promise I'll do better from now on.

We're preparing to go back to the field. I didn't have my camera today, so you'll have to imagine. First thing I did today - paid off a loan. I sold my '07 Chevy pickup Saturday. It feels nice to be that much more out of debt. Then I had to help Grandpa load up some pipe he bought at an auction Saturday. After dinner Dad and I put a new rear window seal and door seal in the 8120, and we put the hydraulic top link on. Went and got the row stalker, and not long after that, something went wrong with the seat in the tractor. Our tractors have air ride seats in them, which are nice, until they break. Dad thinks an air line has a hole in it. Then we moved a bunch of shop equipment from the shop at Mom and Dad's old place to the shop at their new place.

Going to an auction tomorrow. I've been looking for a stalk chopper, sprayer, and square body ('73-'87) Chevy/GMC pickup all winter. All of those things are on the sale tomorrow. The priority list is as follows:

Stalk chopper
Polish Dog

Shay's going along, so that should be neat.

Congrats go out to a couple of couples I know. JJ and Kelli Jensen had their first child last Friday - Jace Tobey. We're going to meet the little fella on Thursday. Also, congrats to Scott and Teagan Dinslage. Blessings on your marriage!

Also, for those of you that remember my rant about the government, my operating loan got funded today. I can farm now. I'm still not very happy about the process, but that 2.2% interest rate sounds pretty ok to me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Farm Poetry

I Googled "farm poetry" and "agricultural poetry" and got nothing. I haven't written much poetry in the last 6 months. I feel like some of my friends reading this need to challenge me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Week Is Turning Out Nicely

Corn went down $.60/bushel last week and has gone down another $.48/bushel the last two days. There are many things that factor into the price the local co-op will give for corn, so for the math exercise that follows, the math might not make exact sense, and I'm sorry about that, but it's for illustrative purposes only.

Ben has 2,000 bushels of corn left to contract for October/November of this year. Ben could've sold that corn for $5.50/bu, but today, the co-op was giving $4.89/bu. Theoretically, I've lost $1220 in the last week. I suck at marketing. I'm small potatoes. What if I had 20,000 bushels left to contract? I'll let you do the math.

You know why farmers are crazy? Because we don't set the prices for our own goods. It'd be like a restaurant owner saying "Give me whatever you want for that burger" or a car salesman saying "I've got $20,000 into this vehicle, but I'll let you take it home for $10,000." Sure, we can protect ourselves by forward contracting (and a bunch of other things I'm barely smart enough to understand, much less explain), but as illustrated above, in as little as two days, that can all be taken away.

Another peril in my farming life is the fact that the government has not yet funded my operating loan. I qualify for a young farmer loan from the FSA, which supplies money to me at a much lower interest rate. Normally, I would go to a bank and pay 6-8% interest. With the FSA, I pay approximately 2%. With a $150,000 operating loan, a guy can save quite a bit of money. Problems arise when the government doesn't fund the program. I was told that the local FSA office did receive some funding, but it went to non-beginning farmers, which means it went to either disabled farmers, or minority farmers. Basically, I'm almost 3 weeks late on land rent. I need to pay for some parts for my planter, I bought a controller for my hydraulic pump today, and I need to buy a stalk chopper next week. I'll be paying cash, which normally would be fine, but with Shay going back to school we were planning on using that money to live for the next 14 months. I'm not exactly happy about this, but there's not much I can do. I could go to a bank and get an operating loan, but I'd much rather stick it out and see if I can get the lower interest rate. I'm supposed to find out Monday if they have funding or if they'll get a continuance, which means I wait another week. That puts us nearly into April. I'm semi-freaking out. If the government shuts down? I'm shit out of luck.

You know what really pisses me off about this? I'm exactly the type of guy that every farming publication raves about. They all say the same thing - we need young farmers. This program is in place to help young farmers. I pay my freaking taxes every year. I've never caused any trouble. And I can't get funding for a loan that isn't even pocket change to most people that are "working" on Capitol Hill. The fact of the matter is, If Shay and I were of a different ethnic background, we would've had this loan 2 months ago. If I would've lost a foot in a farming accident, I would've had this loan 2 months ago. The only thing separating me from those people is the fact that I'm white, and I'm whole. Aren't I the type of person that is supposedly the foundation of this country? 

I am thankful for the opportunity provided the last two years, but this year I feel cheated. I wish the people in D.C. would come out here and spend a few days with me. Maybe they'd get off their asses and stop fighting and work together, like they're supposed to. 

I don't know. I'm just a dumb kid.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It Was Monday

I had kind of a bad morning. Found out that the FSA still doesn't have funding for my operating loan. They might know more next week. Might. This is what happens when you try to bank with the government. The 2% interest rate is worth it, though, so I'll continue to deal with it. Kind of hard to pay crop ground rent without operating money.

Went to the river with Andy this afternoon. That was really cool. There are a ton of birds going through the area right now, so we watched a bunch of ducks and geese for awhile. When we went to leave, we got stuck. If Andy's dad hadn't come to our rescue, I'd probably be stranded in the wild. Or I could've rafted down the river like Huck. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Good Day Today, Tater

Sunday school, church, dinner with the whole family for Grandma's birthday, Sheep's Head, a couple of little boys running around, time change, haircut...

Well, it's official, so I can tell you now. Shay's last day at her job at the radio station is Tuesday. She starts cosmetology school April 5th in Grand Island. It's something she's wanted to do for a long time, and after much discussion and investigation, she's decided to do it. She's really excited, and I'm really excited for her.

Time for a once-in-awhile feature of this blog: Piece of Farm Equipment I Would Like To Have:

John Deere 4960
This is a 200 horsepower tractor. I've always liked the way they looked, and we could use one as an extra tractor. We have our tractors on both of our planters, so it would be nice to have this if we needed it to finish some tillage or disk end rows, run an auger wagon in the fall, apply anhydrous, maybe hill corn... And, eventually I'd like to go 12 row, so this could easily handle the larger equipment. So if you've got $50-60,000 to buy me one, I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good Thing I Went To The Farm Expo

I spent some money today. I needed a hydraulic fertilizer pump for my tractor and they were on special at the show. I saved $150 on that bad boy. I can't find a good picture of the pump, so you'll just have to imagine it. 

I also bought a hydraulic top link for the 3 point of the tractor. I paid $400 less than the John Deere dealer wants for theirs. 

Not sure if you can really see what it does there if you don't already have an idea... 

Basically, we attach a lot of our implements to our tractors with the 3 point hitch, seen here:

The top link is the, well, the top link of the 3 point that is attached to the tractor. This one shows the standard top link. These need to be adjusted when you're doing certain field work - field cultivating, cultivation, hilling, etc. It has to be adjusted manually and can be a real pain in the butt because you have to make sure it's not carrying any weight when you go to adjust it, and you obviously have to stop and get out of the tractor every time you want to adjust it. Also, most of them don't move without a very large wrench. They get a lot of dirt and fertilizer and crap in them and basically hate me. I usually end up cussing a lot when I have to adjust one. The hydraulic top link eliminates all of that by operating through one of the tractor's hydraulic remotes. I can adjust the top link now with a lever from the cab. It's not absolutely necessary, but it makes adjustments very easy, especially since you can do them on the fly. Instead of guesstimating the right amount of adjustment, I can watch the adjustment while I'm still working. And I cuss less.

Yeah. I'm a farm equipment geek.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I can't bring myself to blog lately. I don't know what to write about. I'm going to a farm expo tomorrow. Is that interesting enough?

I did read a report yesterday that said food costs are going to rise $178 per person this year. I saw another report that showed how much Americans spend on certain things. The graph in this report states that the average U.S consumer spends $2,698/year on entertainment. Now, when it comes to rising food costs, it seems a number of people squeal that farmers are getting rich. I'm not going to say we aren't enjoying near record high prices, but we also have very high costs. With as much money as people spend on entertainment alone, they can't take $178 out of that?

I'll tell you a story. There was a time in my life I was contemplating going to a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers show that was opened by the Drive By Truckers. Anyone that knows me could tell you that I would give a lot of money for that ticket. I love those bands. The best seats I could find? $140. 

That was a sacrifice I made. Well, not really a sacrifice, more of a reasoning - "Hey, that pays my utilities for a month and a half." 

We can't do anything about food costs. Sorry. What we can do is pay attention to what we spend our money on. I spend $178/year on beer pretty easily I'm sure, not to mention the $.83 I spend on coffee at the Pump most days, or the $1.09 I spend for a 32 oz. fountain pop at Casey's. I love ice cream, but it's about $7 a gallon. 

I wish people would focus on what they need to live, and not what they want. I want a lot of things. An '81 GMC 4x4 pickup. A 6030 John Deere. A 5020 John Deere with a Detroit re-power. A Guild D-55. A Gibson J-45. Tom Petty/Drive By Trucker tickets. 

People can spend their money any way they want. I wish they wouldn't blame farmers for it, though.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Apparently it didn't snow enough for me to work tonight, but I'm sure I'll be out by noon tomorrow. They're calling for 3-7 inches tomorrow and another 1-2 before midnight tomorrow night. If we're out during the day, and I remember to take my camera along, maybe I can take a few pictures so you kids can see what I do. It's not terribly entertaining, and it for sure ain't rocket surgery. It pays the bills, though.

I'm contemplating selling my '07 Chevy pickup and getting something cheaper. I read enough of Dave Ramsey's book to know that I shouldn't be in debt when it comes to vehicles, so maybe I'll sell it and just drive the '94 until harvest is over and I can pay cash for a nice crew cab or extended cab pickup. Or maybe I'll trade the '07 off for something else that comes with less debt. Being a grown-up is weird. Why do I need a crew or extended cab? Can't put a baby seat in a regular cab. Don't read into this too much. We aren't having a baby. Someday we will, though, and I don't want to be buying a pickup and having a baby all at the same time.

My cousin Jake and I are half-seriously discussing buying a tractor to fix up and take to tractor pulls. The other half? My wife and Jake's soon-to-be-wife. We don't think they would share our enthusiasm.

I'm getting into this state of mind where I really like older stuff. I love my '94 Chevy much more than my '07. I want to buy an old John Deere to putz around in. Maybe do some light work with it. Take it to tractor pulls. If I had lots of money, I'd buy an old GMC pickup. Anything from '67-'81 would do. I think I like the simplicity of the older stuff. You can actually work on it when it breaks. And older stuff looks cooler. I thought my '07 would grow on me, but it's plain ass ugly. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it. Live and learn.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Few Lines

Grandpa Charlie smoked and drank whiskey
But he died in '43
Nobody like him in all my kin
Until my brother and me
He died in a small town so far back
They didn't know what hit him maybe heart attack
That was a drag on my Grandma you know
She never really forgave him for that
Most every year on Christmas Day
My Dad and me go down where he lay
I don't know what kind of man he'd be
But he'd like my brother and me
"My Brother and Me" - Bruce Robison

This kind of simplicity in writing is what I strive for. I've tried and tried to write something like this and I can't quite do it. It's amazing how much talent some people have. I want to write about my family like this, but I can't do it. This is inspiration to keep going. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Friday

And my wife is gone and the house is empty and cold and as much as I complain about how much heat Shay puts off when she sleeps I'm worried I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight without her icy feet underneath my legs and I don't know how to sleep on more than 1/3 of the bed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Well, I'm Dumb

I drove to Grand Island tonight thinking I had a meeting. Instead, I walked in on a Concordia graduate class.

"Can I help you?"
"Uh... I thought there was a meeting in here tonight."
"Oh. What was the meeting for?"
"SCOLBE... It's a strategic planning meeting."
"Oh. I don't know."
"Ok. I'll go check the other building."
"Oh. Ok."
"It is Wednesday, right?"
"Yes. It is."

This conversation was followed by a stare that said "Why is this well dressed hobo in our school?" She probably thought I was drunk or high. No big deal. I just hopped the train and rode the rails home.