Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Fly Like An Eagle


It pays to have a husband with an eagle eye - literally.

Last week, his eagle eye actually spotted a bald eagle. As the song from Fiddler on the Roof goes, Miracle of Miracles, the eagle stayed put long enough for Randy to pick me up and take me to the location for a few photos before the eagle swooped away.

I have horrible eyesight. I've been wearing strong glasses since grade school. For me, glasses are the last thing off and the first thing on every day. Even with properly-prescribed glasses, I squint and struggle with vision.

Randy has never worn glasses. Well ... he sort of wears them for reading -- once he retrieves a pair of his over-the-counter glasses he leaves scattered around the house and in various vehicles.

Randy spotted the bald eagle on yet another trip to Zenith for diesel fuel during wheat planting. The eagle was perched in a dead cottonwood tree along the Zenith Road.

A pair of eagles builds its nest at nearby Quivira National Wildlife Refuge each winter, but it is too far away from a roadway for me to capture a photo. 
A year ago in July, an eagle perched on a pasture fence long enough that I was able to snap a few photos (again, thanks to Randy's "eagle" eye.)

July 2020

It's quite a treat to see them up close. Usually, they land way too far away for my little camera to be effective. 

Both Randy and I have kept our eyes to the sky to catch another glimpse of our majestic visitor. But we haven't been lucky enough to see him again. However, I keep thinking about that eagle and all that he sees as he's soaring through the air over our Kansas plains.
As is often the case, "flying high" seemed to be a theme with threads running through the whole week.  

An early morning soccer game for Brooke and the Fighting Unicorns provided an added treat when a hot air balloon appeared at a distance, then flew directly over the field. Spectators were watching the balloon as it traveled across the clear blue sky. 

But I think I captured the time when some of the Fighting Unicorns saw it for the first time.   

As a parent or grandparent, it's fun (and sometimes amusing) to watch these initial forays into teamwork and friendship. 

Some of my favorite photos of the day were taken off the field. 

... making friends ...
 ... cheering on teammates ...
... their turn to play ...
 ... and time for hot chocolate!
Cheering spectators are important, too!

At church, there was another glimpse of working together to "fly high" for a good cause.

The kids sold cookies in a jar for a mission project for the Zoe Empowers organization. Their goal was to raise funds for 10 sets of cooking pots for their sponsored friend group in the African country of Liberia.

Susanna Wesley UMC photo from their Facebook page

They quickly sold out! Grandma and Grandpa did their part.

Then we watched Kinley and her friends play in bell choir.

That is both a visual - and audio - reminder of the importance of working together. 

 I hope the girls and their friends learn how to "fly like an eagle" and SOAR in this life!

It's a lot easier with teamwork ... whether that's a husband who takes the time to come and get you when there's an opportunity for an eagle shot ... or on a sports field ... or in a church mission field.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Go Big Red: Milo Harvest 2021


Go Big Red!

If we're talking high school football, red IS our color. 

We also cheer for RED when the Fighting Unicorns are playing. 

However, in the college football realm, we bleed purple around here.

K-State vs. Iowa State - Farmageddon - October 16, 2021


But the "Big Red" I'm talking about this week is our Big Red Case combine cutting our Big Red milo crop. ... OK, it's not such a big crop here on the County Line. 

However, Kansas grows more sorghum than any other U.S. state. Our personal milo harvest does not contribute much to the statewide total. We only had 50 acres of milo in 2021, and harvest was done in less than a day. But it's always good to cross another job off the list. And this one was important for a couple of reasons: 1) It's the last of this year's fall harvest; 2) It's our final milo harvest as active farmers. 

October 20, 2021
 (We are still planting wheat to be harvested next summer, so don't usher us out the door quite yet).

The use of sorghum for human consumption is being developed further in countries where malnutrition and hunger are prevalent. In the fall of 2016, the Kansas State University College of Agriculture Ag Report had an article about sorghum:
In the Mara Region of Tanzania, one of the most starved areas of the world, K-State grain scientist Sajid Alavi is part of a research team working to improve child nutrition and health by providing a sorghum-soybean porridge blend to children younger than 5. ... While the results of the five-month study are yet to be finalized, Alavi said the early indications are that children were more healthy and had average growth rates.

Milo is getting some additional traction in the U.S., too, as consumers seek gluten-free alternatives. 

Pheasants are big fans of the grain, too. As we were finishing up the field, we scattered several pheasants.

It wasn't so easy to capture the wildlife action through the dirty combine windows. These were the best I got.

Randy was both the combine driver and the trucker for milo. Our employee just up and quit mid-morning a couple of weeks ago. But that's another story. Randy's lifelong friend, Rex, has been helping us finish wheat planting. So he been driving the disc tractor to get the field ready for Randy to plant after a rain delay last week. (Que the music for "We Get By With a Little Help from Our Friends.")

Once Randy had the truck loaded, he tarped it and off he went to Zenith to deliver the final truck load of milo - and fall crops - for the year.


I may have another job to add to my list after his trip to Zenith though. One of the employees there mentioned "Randy's wife's" cookie baking. I think it was a subtle hint. 

And we are thankful for all the people who make it possible to do our jobs - from the Kanza Co-op staff to the parts counter guys at Case and John Deere to the friends who fill a tractor seat in a pinch. 


A quick look back at the 2021 milo crop:

Milo as it was coming up, June 4, 2021

And, by July 28, 2021, it looked like this:
We cut the crop on October 18, 2021:
That's a quicker turnaround than the wheat crop, which will take about 9 months from planting to harvest.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Hope: From Sunrise to Sunset

September 28, 2021, sunrise

Sometimes, it feels like God is trying to send a message on a direct line straight to you. For me, it happens when the same themes keep coming up in different contexts.

It started with one of my daily email devotionals from The Upper Room:

Today’s Reflection

What I have come to see is that there is nothing more important to human beings than hope. Certainly in our own day, many people live without explicitly religious faith. And evidence of loveless lives is tragically abundant. But people usually do not survive long without hope. They cannot, because hope is the very heart of a human being.

—Michael Downey, in Hope: It’s More Than Wishful Thinking, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson

Today’s Question

When has hope sustained you?

Today’s Scripture

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

—Romans 15:13 (NRSV)

The "HOPE" theme has continued with spectacular sunrises and sunsets this fall. The latest one was just last evening. Since our house is tucked into trees all around, it's always "by guess and by gosh" moment when I look out the front door and contemplate whether it's worth driving down the road for an unobstructed view. 

Last night, it was definitely worth the effort. (I should have been a little quicker because the unique light that made it look like the sky was on fire only lasted for a few minutes.)

Just last week, I saw a Facebook post with a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. I don't remember which friend posted it, but I saved it and  looked up the source (Collected Poems and Translations):

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day: Begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitation, to waste a moment on yesterdays. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson from Collected Poems and Translations
October 4, 2021, sunrise
But the "HOPE" lessons weren't done. I've been reading Robert Dugoni's The World Played Chess, a coming-of-age novel in which one of the central characters is a Vietnam vet. I was an oblivious high school student at the end of the Vietnam War. And though this is a fictional account, I feel like I've learned a lot because of the well-researched novel. (It's not necessarily a book I would have gravitated toward, but Robert Dugoni wrote my favorite book of 2019, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.)

And I've found nuggets that the main character, William, shares with a younger friend, who then uses those lessons in his own life, as both a man and a parent. Last night's bedtime reading had me writing down page numbers to two different passages so I could find them again:

October 15, 2021 sunrise
... Learn to celebrate each morning that you wake, take a breath, and realize you're still alive and the day is filled with endless potential.
From The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni

October 15, 2021 sunrise
... Mornings are strangely beautiful. The temperature is comfortable, and the air clear and crisp. I sucked in each breath, savoring it like a  cool drink of clean water. I could see color. The sky awakened with ribbons of red and orange, yellows and fuchsia. The color is always welcome. It means I'm still alive.
From The World Played Chess by Robert Dugoni

And seeing a spectacular sunset reminds me that we've made it through another day - despite interruptions, breakdowns, personnel issues ... whatever the day had in store.

September 29, 2021, sunset

Prayer for the Week

New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

May your day be filled with HOPE.