March 13, 2013
February 28, 2013
Snow. Lots of it. That’s what is blanketing our wheat as we close out month five. We had two blizzards in five days with about 18 inches of total snowfall. 18 inches of snow doesn’t translate into 18 inches of water. However, even on the conservative side, we received several inches of desperately needed moisture.
What’s even better is that the temperatures have stayed slightly above freezing during the day. That has allowed the snow to melt slowly and seep into the ground and not just run off into the ditches.
The timing was great as the wheat will come out of dormancy within the next few weeks.
It’s nice to feel a little optimism about the crop. And, as my 11-year-old farmer says,”Kansas has never looked this clean.”
Take a look at month five.
February 4, 2013
Warning: This is an up-close post about an aging family. If you’re having a bad day or were looking for light reading, click away. We can meet up another time. Or, here goes…
My mom’s Alzheimer’s/dementia/whatever-you-call-this-horrible disease has reached a point where two of my greatest fears have come true: She no longer recognizes me and she can’t live at home anymore.
In the messy aftermath, I realized there was an even greater fear lurking – that my mother wouldn’t love me anymore. But, my sweet mom showed this would never be the case, no matter how much Alzheimer’s separated us. And, she did so on a card game score pad during my recent visit.
She loves, loves, loves playing cards and she also loves winning, which means we always keep score. Since she didn’t know who I was, she just wrote “You” and “Me” at the top of the sheet. When I saw that, my mind hurtled back to something she said during a phone conversation this past summer, when she wasn’t so sick.
When I was hanging up, I told her that I loved her, just as I always do. Then, she answered in a sing-song voice, “I love you and you love me and that’s the way it will always be.”
So, despite what is awaiting mom, me and the rest of our family, I know there will always be love. And, hopefully, lots more card games.
January 20, 2013
My 11-year-old farmer estimated we received a 1/2 inch of rain about a week ago, based on the puddle in the driveway. He was almost right on the money. It wasn’t much, but it was good to know that moisture can fall from these Kansas skies.V. and I walked a field today. Maybe it was the sunshine influencing our outlook, but his general consensus: “Not as bad as I feared.”
Take a look at month 4.
January 2, 2013
December 26, 2012
December 24, 2012
The tiniest bit of moisture fell a few days ago, when light snow blew in courtesy of Storm Draco. A couple of inches would have been nice. However, it was encouraging to think that maybe winter will bring some drought relief.
Here’s what Kansas State University crop production specialist Jim Shroyer has to say about current conditions:
“A combination of very low temperatures, dry soils and poorly developed wheat has created concern about the current wheat crop’s survival.”
He gives a great overview of what can help or hinder its survival, including the root system, soil temperature near the crown of the plant, and whether the crown is protected enough by the soil:
We’ve worried about yields before, but never about the crop surviving. V. had intended this field for winter grazing for our small cow/calf herd, but its condition is too poor. There is always some yield loss when calves graze early in the year on wheat, but he doesn’t want to add any more stress to this fragile crop. The best thing for the wheat now would be more snow to insulate and protect it from harsh winds.