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Stoskopf Diaries

August 10, 1997

We went up and looked at the pile of pipe that they've taken out of the ground. It's really impressive. It's like looking at the end of a pile of drinking straws - only the straw openings are each 2 feet wide and the straws are 80 feet long! They're almost done taking the pipe out of the last of our fields that the pipeline crosses and have the trench closed in most places on us.

We went to go thru the home pasture and check on Georgie and all the other cows & calves tonight and found 3 calves and a cow out. The cow got back in the pasture by walking across the cattleguard - a huge grate that is made from round pipe and is supposed to keep the cows in the pasture while letting vehicles drive in and out of the pasture without having to get out and open a gate. Disaster almost struck when one of the calves tried to walk on the cattleguard and one leg slipped down between the pipes. Luckily, we were right there and Dean was able to work with the calf and get the leg pulled back out before it struggled and broke a leg or got hurt. By the time we got the calves back into the pasture, it was dark enough that we had to use the car headlights to see what we were doing and all 4 of us had been out in the mud and whatever else there was to step into. Not quite what we had in mind for our evening drive!

August 11, 1997

Tonight, we had our 4-H club's first business meeting since May. The kids are planning to have a car wash in September, with half the money they make being donated to buy new playground equipment for the parks in town. The club is also having a float in Hoisington's Labor Day parade, which has been Hoisington's biggest weekend celebration for over 100 years.

The kids realized tonight that they need to get started working on their 4-H record books and award applications. They grumble about keeping records and writing stories about their 4-H projects but they like getting awards and enjoy looking back at what they've done. If they really get to complaining, Dean and I get out our 4-H record books and show them how much more work was required in the good old days!

August 12, 1997

Dean and I took off for meetings today and Dean's parents shuttled the kids around and fed them lunch. Dean went to Manhattan for a board meeting for the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. They met on the K-State campus and got updated on several areas of research, extension plans, and KSU's College of Agriculture. I went to Ellsworth for a board meeting for Kansas Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE). The WIFE meeting included planning for the WIFE annual meeting in Lindsborg in October.

Julie and Wayne had another 4-H horticulture judging training session at the extension office. The kids have really learned a lot. The state fair contest will include identifying all kinds of trees, flowers, vegetables, and other plants by the leaves or seeds or fruit, etc.

August 13, 1997

School started today! I think we were all ready. Wayne has 16 in his 4th Grade class and is real excited about his new school and teachers. The Middle School classes are much like high school classes - Julie will be with different friends every hour. Both kids have several new students in their classes which is pretty exciting.

Wayne & Dean mowed the yard and then went to check on the cows. Wayne got to pet Starry, his 1995 bucket calf that is now a big cow with her own calf. He named Starry's calf Joy, because it is a heifer calf and he can keep her for a cow, too.

August 14, 1997

We planted new alfalfa fields today. When the guys pulled the drill out from inside the machine shed, they found out it had 3 flat tires! Dean ran to town and got the tires fixed so they could get the planting started. While John planted, Dean was raking and baling the alfalfa that we swathed several days ago. It was rained on several times and looks brown and dirty, instead of a nice pretty green. We'll probably mix it with some better hay and feed it to our own cows this winter, instead of selling it. The next cutting of alfalfa has already started growing and we had to get the other hay off before it killed the plants growing underneath the windrows.

It warmed up this afternoon and we're starting to see some Monarch butterflies. The last few years, the Monarchs have migrated thru this area about this time of year. It's really something to watch! They only fly on warm dry days and they're pretty picky about which flowers they feed on. There's usually alfalfa blooming when the butterflies migrate so the alfalfa fields are just full of them. Last year, they rested in the shelterbelt when it was damp and overcast, and then fed on my zinnias when it warmed up and they started moving south again.

August 15, 1997

The guys started fertilizing the wheat ground today. To keep the tractor going, someone else has to take empty fertilizer tanks back to town and pick up a full tank of anhydrous ammonia - all while one tank is being used behind the tractor and undercutter. Anhydrous ammonia is nitrogen molecules in a gaseous state. Incorporated into the ground, the molecules bind to water molecules and sit there in the root zone until the roots of the wheat plants take up water (with the fertilizer molecules attached). Today, we shared a nurse tank of the liquid phosphorus to keep us and one of the neighbors both going until another nurse tank is available. The nurse tank holds more liquid than the tank we pull behind the undercutter so it is parked in the field and used to refill the smaller tank.

They're really making progress on the pipeline project today. All the trenches on our fields have been filled in and all of the pipe has been removed from our fields. However, the road used by the semi-trucks hauling the pipe out and all the other vehicles and machinery still remains. It's just like a cross-country road. We used it tonight to move machinery to another field where we couldn't get across the pile of topsoil that's still waiting to be filled back in.

August 16, 1997

Dean fertilized wheat ground all day and as far into the evening as he could. The kids & I took his supper to the field. (Actually, it was carryout pizza and we all ate on the tailgate!) Dean was working next to a Milo field. We have prospects for a very good Milo crop - at least it looks that way now.

They weren't predicting bad weather but about 8:30 p.m., a storm popped up out of nowhere and moved into eastern Barton County. Dean worked as long as he could but quit when the lightning got impressive - and close. The storm hit here just after he got home. Parts of eastern Barton County really got hit hard - up to 6 inches of rain - but we only had an inch here. Enough to shut down fertilizing and swathing alfalfa and all the other field work for awhile.

Bulldozers moved all the topsoil back over the trenches and rebuilt terraces and other things that had been torn out in removing the pipe. All that's left is rebuilding fences, picking up rocks left near the surface, figuring out how to replant alfalfa & brome waterways, etc. The pipeline project really went quicker and smoother than we thought it would, especially considering all the rain they've had to work around since they got started in our area.

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