Saturday, July 15, 2017

No Blog Zone

I'm going to take a little time away from the blog. It'll give me time to see more sunrises ...
and sunsets ...
 and everything in between.

Thanks to those of you who so faithfully hang out with me on the County Line. I'll be back.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Second Cutting

When wheat harvest was in the books, it was time for the second cutting of alfalfa. Actually, it was past time, but Randy says he's too old to cut wheat all day and bale all night like he did back in his early days of farming.
With minimal rain, there was a lot less alfalfa to cut this time around.
During the first cutting, we'd gotten approximately 400 bales. This time, we only netted 150 bales. Randy didn't even cut one field: A new field planted last summer was too thin to even attempt a second cutting. 
The quality of the hay was good, Randy says. The tonnage just wasn't there. It didn't get rained on before we got it baled this time. (That is kind of a good news, bad news thing. We could use some rain on our dryland corn and milo.)

We will need some rain if we hope to have a third cutting.
These clouds last week didn't bring any rain, but they sure made a picturesque scene.
A note: We didn't get measurable rain here at home last evening. However, we drove to the fairgrounds in Stafford for supper last night, and it was pouring buckets at the time. Our corn north of Stafford did get an inch or so, according to my "sources" (another farm wife).

As we sat in the car with the rain pouring down, it reminded us of a fair when Brent was supposed to do an evening magic show. The audience turned out to be the extension agents, Randy, Jill and me (or about that many). We were lucky we didn't get electrocuted. Now, with no one in 4-H, we just went back home, since the radar showed the rain could last awhile at Stafford. We probably should have stuck it out!
This wasn't the fair talk, but rather, Brent's first 4-H magic talk. I looked for a photo from that night, but it didn't make the 4-H project book. Looking back, a photo from that evening probably should have made the cut!  It was more memorable and probably taught Brent more than the carefully scripted talks.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Flying the Coop

There's been an exodus from the County Line. No, Randy and I aren't planning a move to a retirement home ... at least, not yet.

But our backdoor visitors have flown the coop, so to speak. Maybe they are still flying around in the vicinity, but they are no longer in the nest above the back door.
Last Friday, I got the final photo of all four of the fledglings.
Their numbers soon dwindled to three ...
... then two.

Randy watched the final one fly away Saturday morning. (Ugh! I missed it!)
Their parents are still hanging out on the wires nearby. I guess they are contemplating their lives as "empty nesters." I speak from experience: It takes awhile to adjust.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pretty Purple Flowers (aka WEEDS)

"What are those pretty purple flowers?" I asked.

"It's vetch. And it's a weed," my farmer informed me.

Well, OK. But it's not a weed when it's in the ditch, is it? While the "pretty purple flowers" were blooming, Randy teased me when we'd see large patches of it.

But I still think it's pretty ... even if it is a weed. I must agree with A.A. Milne:

That's a very Winnie the Pooh kind of thing to say, isn't it?

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”
                                                       ― William Blake
On the 4th of July, we went to check cattle in the Ninnescah Pasture. I'd gone along for the ride a month before, too. While the pasture is no carefully-tended garden, it has different flowers blooming at different times.
A month ago, the milkweed was blooming. But now its glorious blooms have faded.
These "flowers" looked like miniature bridal bouquets to me.
The bright blue erect dayflowers are tiny, but I love finding them hidden in plain sight among the grasses.
This not-yet-furled purple poppy mallow almost mimicked a rose. They were abundant during both my June and July pasture trips.
They weren't the only things hiding in the grass. I turned off my 4-wheeler for a moment while Randy went to check another fence. Some killdeers were my companions while I waited.
On our 4th of July trip, I saw more purple flowers, but they weren't vetch. 

It's called wooly verbena.
The insects really liked the verbeba flowers, too, though I didn't realize it until I was back at my computer, looking at the photos.
These white flowers always look prettier than they feel on the stems. I guess you'd have to expect that when you find out they are called hedge hog prickly poppy. But they, too, are insect magnets, it appears.
These yellow coneflowers are abundant in the pastures during this time of year.
I love these visual bouquets across the Kansas pastures. 
Yesterday, Pastor Nate talked about the wildflowers blooming along the Kansas roadways this time of year. It made me think again of the hymn, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," one of my favorites from childhood that I still love today. (More photo illustrations for the hymn are found at that link.)

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all.
 Each little flower that opens
Each little bird that sings
God made their glowing colors
And made their tiny wings.

It's a good way to start a hot and busy fair week, don't you think?

A Time to Think

All the world is an utterance of the Almighty.
Its countless beauties, its exquisite adaptations, all speak to you of Him.
 –Phillips Brooks, clergyman and author

A Time to Act

Open your heart to the beauty that surrounds you.

A Time to Pray

Dear Lord, please help me to see the beauty of every day.
 Thank You for all of the blessings in my life
and the vision with which to recognize them.
From Guideposts daily email devotional

Friday, July 7, 2017

Busman's Holiday

busman's holiday
noun                bus·man's holiday \ˈbəs-mənz-\ 
A holiday or vacation during which one does something similar to what one does as work. 
First recorded in 1893 in the UK. The idea is that a busman, to go off on a holiday, would take an excursion by bus, thereby engaging in a similar activity to his work.
From Wiktionary
On the morning of the 4th of July, we took a busman's holiday.
Except we used 4-wheelers.
I was more on holiday than Randy, who had to fix fence while we were there. 
However, when you get to ride 4-wheelers and see views like this ...
... and this ...
... and this ...
It feels more like a short getaway rather than work.
We were checking to make sure that our cows, calves and the bulls were thriving in their summer "vacation" spot on the Ninnescah.
They seemed curious about the interlopers in their quiet pastoral getaway. Who were these people interrupting their breakfast? Who was so rudely covering up the sound of bird song and the gentle breeze rustling through pasture grasses?
It was the farmer on a "busman's holiday."
They were all present and accounted for. 
While the 4th of July is often associated with explosions and drama, we were just as happy as the cattle that it was a quiet, peaceful start to the day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

An Explosion (of Sorts)

You might be a farmer's wife if you look at fireworks and think one of them looks like corn tasseling.
See the resemblance? OK, maybe it's just me.

But there is an "explosion" of activity happening in the corn fields these days. And we could use some rain.

If you're a faithful reader of Kim's County Line, you know that I may have been a bit persnickety about rain falling on our swathed alfalfa earlier in June. The same could be said about the little showers that interrupted Wheat Harvest 2017. But we finished that task a week ago, Wednesday, June 28.
June 2, 2017
June 2, 2017
Now we could use some rain for our dryland crops. And therein lies the dichotomy that is a farmer's brain.
From May 1, 2017, blog post
We started planting corn in mid-April. By April 28, it was starting to emerge. On June 2 (as you can see in the two photos at the top), it was at the top of Randy's boots and growing.
June 21, 2017
By June 21, it was up to Randy's waist.
June 27, 2017
Then, on June 27 - less than a week later - I almost had to play the Where's Randy variation of Where's Waldo.
July 4, 2017
We took a 4th of July trip to the same corn field. The corn is tasseling, and it could use some moisture. All our corn is dryland corn. In other words, we don't have irrigation. Mother Nature is our irrigator.
Let's hope she's in a cooperative mood!

On the way to plant milo: Photo taken May 26, 2017
A timely rain could also provide a boost for the milo crop. 
Randy planted 110 acres of milo on May 26. I took photos of these tiny plants on June 2.
On June 27, the milo field was looking good, but some moisture would certainly help it.

Milo on June 27, 2017
It has grown a lot in just a week. We took photos in the milo field on our way back from checking the Ninnescah Pasture yesterday morning.
Milo on July 4, 2017
OK. So maybe I'll have to admit there's some truth to that saying that farmers are never happy about the weather. But there are always silver linings. (The sky below was during wheat harvest. We didn't get rain that night, but someone to the east of us did.)

There was a silver lining -- and a whole lot of other colors, too -- in the fireworks display last night. Sterling is a small town with a big show. Thanks to all the sponsors!
I'm never happy with the fireworks photos I shoot. But I always give it a try. We saw drones flying around the sky last night, taking photos. I'd love to see their birds' eye view.