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Stoskopf Diaries

August 24, 1997

Dean raked hay but it won't bale until at least tonight - assuming that it gets hot and dry this afternoon and the hay cures out. The guys swathed some other alfalfa this afternoon but the swather now has a flat tire that can't be fixed until at least tomorrow morning.

Dean did pick up some round bales - baled before all the rains started a week ago. The bed of his pickup is flat (no sides) and has "arms" that come out, grab the big round bale on both sides, and lift it up onto the pickup bed. Then, he drives to the edge of the field or wherever he is making a line of the bales and the arms put the bale back down on the ground. When the ground is dry, he can move 2 bales at a time but today, he had to leave some bales behind because the field was too soggy. In fact, there was water standing in the field in some places. Dry, the bales probably weighed around 1500 - 1800 pounds each. After having been rained on, they'll weigh a little more until they dry out completely. Dean didn't want to destroy the alfalfa growing in the field by making muddy tracks all through it so he only moved the bales he could get to without too much danger of getting stuck.

August 25, 1997

What a morning! All the tire company trucks & people were tied up so Dean & John took the swather tire off by themselves, took it town, and then brought the new tire out to the field and put it back on. $470 for that one tire!

Right before lunch, we took a load of seed wheat to Beaver. The elevator there cleans the seed wheat. Using a series of screens inside the seed cleaner, the best seed shakes down to the bottom while the weed seeds, odd-sized wheat, and anything else that isn't good wheat seed stays in the screens. If everything is working right, it takes about 1 1/2 - 2 hours to clean a truckload of seed wheat and load it back onto the truck. What's left in the screens is called "fines". We sell them to the elevator and they sell them for feed or whatever.

The railroad that runs through Beaver has been abandoned. They're picking up the railroad ties between Susank and Beaver and stacking them all at Beaver. The good ones are stacked together and banded and trucked out to be sold. For now, the other railroad ties are just in a big long, tall stack.

August 26, 1997

The pipeline project is about done on our fields. Today, a big tracked tractor (uses bulldozer-type tracks rather than wheels) pulled a "ripper" through where the cross-country "road" had been. All that traffic compacted the soil, just like when you constantly cut the corner of a yard. Eventually, nothing will grow there. The same thing happens in the fields. The ripper reaches deep into the soil and rips it up - breaks up all the hard-packed pieces and chops or cuts it up so that plant roots can grow down deep and the rainwater can flow down through the ground, rather than washing off the top.

The terraces have been rebuilt so most of the work that is left is re-seeding (re-planting) the alfalfa field and waterways that were torn up. The Milo that was mowed down and torn up will just be a loss but we should be able to work the wheat fields and get them in shape to plant wheat where the pipeline work was done. With a project like this, you can usually tell where the fields were torn out for several years. Crop yields are reduced and rocks work up to the surface.

The guys did get back to fertilizing today. It's just a little "sticky". They have to watch the low spots so that the blades on the undercutter don't get gummed up or mud doesn't block the outlets for the fertilizer.

August 27, 1997

This morning, Dean fertilized the field where we had the wheat field fire July 4th. Where the fire had been, nothing was growing. The fire was so hot it popped all the wheat and weed seeds so nothing was left to sprout. Even today, you could tell exactly where the fire had been.

August 29, 1997

What a day! Dean and I spent the morning at meetings of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the KAWG education committee - the Kansas Wheathearts. He's been farming day and night and, wouldn't you know it, the equipment broke down half an hour after he left. The guys didn't get the disc all fixed and ready to go again until 4:00 this afternoon. It took at least 4 parts runs to Otis and Milberger. Needless to say, Dean farmed as late as he could tonight and will be back at it early in the morning.

I missed the first part of the Middle School's volleyball scrimmage against the parents because a technician came out to replace our new computer's motherboard. Wayne had a friend come over to play after school - just lots and lots of coming and going today!

August 30, 1997

Labor Day Weekend in Hoisington! This is Hoisington's 101st Labor Day Celebration - a whole weekend of activities. Wayne took 2 turtles to the turtle races this morning. One was the fifth fastest turtle overall - out of 60-70 turtles. Of course, it was the one Wayne gave to his friend to race. His own turtle didn't make it into the finals. We brought both turtles back to the pond and let them loose. The faster turtle didn't want anything to do with the pond and disappeared quickly into the weeds. Wayne's turtle finally dipped under the water and then came back out to the edge, as if it was waiting for Wayne to pick it up and carry it around some more. It was a different kind of turtle than our regular box turtles. It had a bright orange neck and legs.

This afternoon, it was really hot at the kid's races out in the middle of the Hoisington's walking trail on the west edge of town. Wayne won some carnival tickets in the 3-legged race, gunnysack race, and running races. We were all ready to come home, as it was just too hot! Dean met us for lunch but farmed the rest of the day and evening. He's trying to catch up and knows that he'll be tied up with different activities the rest of the weekend.

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