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Stoskopf Diaries

July 6, 1997

Last night’s rain shut down harvest until after supper. We used this afternoon to wash the 4-H animals and Julie baked for the fair this evening. We’re all nervous about being done with wheat harvest in time for the fair. There’s a lot of field work to be done after the wheat is cut to get the ground ready to plant wheat again in September. There’s also alfalfa to swathe and bale and lots of other things to catch up on.

When Dean called it quits at 10:30 tonight, the western sky was putting on a real fireworks show. We checked the National Weather Service radar on our DTN machine and the storms were clear out by Colby, Kansas - 200 miles away!

July 7, 1997

Dean’s dad has been to Otis for John Deere swather parts and now he’s headed to Millberger for Massey Ferguson combine parts. He’s really been a lifesaver this summer - doing most of the parts runs, helping move machinery and people, and running the combine when he gets the chance.

The elevator finally got five rail cars for wheat. They’ll hold the same amount of wheat that the elevator took in last night when cutting started after supper. They’re unloading into semi-trucks as fast as possible but it’s difficult to take in the farmers’ wheat and unload wheat at the same time. The wheat trucks may have to wait in line again today.

Julie’s baked five angel food cakes and doesn’t have one to take to the fair yet. The best one got gouged when we cut it out of the pan this morning. She was pouring today’s first cake into the cake pan when the pan flipped over onto the floor. The next cake was out of the oven and looking good when it fell out of it’s pan! She still wants to try again this evening!

The neighbors have finished their own cutting and are pulling in to help us out. That should help get us on the way to the end of harvest.

July 8, 1997

Things really got hectic yesterday afternoon and evening. We’re cutting the field that had 6 1/2 inches of rain that one night. In the low spots, the wheat is down and has dirt and trash mixed in with it (weeds, residue from previous crops on adjacent fields, etc.). It was so dirty and dusty that, at times, I could not see the combines thru the clouds of dust they were raising. Dean said he had to cut against the wind in order to see the front part of the combine. It’s also muddy and they got things stuck even when they were careful. Before the afternoon was over, one of our wheat trucks had quit so we ended up with wheat trucks borrowed from two neighbors.

The trucks were critical today as the elevator was full again. The elevator would unload wheat into a semi-truck and then have room for 2 or 3 farmers’ trucks to unload into the elevator. It was like that all afternoon and evening. When Dean quit for the night, he filled several of our trucks and took them home. This morning, the elevator had more room so he took our trucks in and unloaded them before going back to the field and cutting wheat all day.

Today was the day for 4-H clothing and fashion revue judging. Dean shut down wheat harvest after supper to attend the public 4-H Fashion Revue, where the 4-H’ers are awarded ribbons on their modeling and personal presentation skills. Julie also performed a vocal solo, accompanying herself on the piano.

July 9, 1997

After months of work, the fair is here! All the exhibits and animals were entered this morning. Both kids entered the 4-H Livestock Judging Contest this afternoon. The 4-H Bucket Calf Show was this evening. The bucket calf project is judged on how much the 4-H’er knows about his or her calf, the beef industry, and presentation of the calf, rather than on the quality of the animal. Since it’s designed for younger 4-H’ers with younger animals, it’s one of the most popular livestock shows at the fair. Wayne placed in the top 4 in the bucket calf judging and was named Champion Junior Bucket Calf Showman (7 - 9 year olds).

July 10, 1997

Today’s the busiest day of the fair. Dean and Wayne went over early and cleaned the pens and fed and watered the animals. Julie and I stopped at Grandma’s house to pick up the foods exhibits we had been keeping in her freezer. Julie had 2 angel food cakes to choose from - neither one was perfect. After much discussion, she made her own decision as to which to take and, wouldn’t you know, she got a purple ribbon on it! (So much for Mom’s advice!) Julie will get to take an angel food cake and the vest she made to the Kansas State Fair in September. Wayne got Reserve Champion on his 4-H Reading Shadow Box display and also in the Exploring 4-H project. Between them, they had over 20 exhibits judged today.

They also had to wash their lambs and get them ready to show. Julie and Wayne both received 2nd place ribbons in the Open Class Ladies Lead/Shepherd’s Lead contest which was held first. In this contest, they had to wear wool garments and lead their sheep on a halter.

Julie’s lamb Bo was named the Champion Dorset Market Lamb in both 4-H and Open Class. Wayne was named Champion 4-H Junior Sheep Showman, which helped relieve his disappointment when Strider received a red ribbon. Barton County 4-H’ers consistently win at 4-H Sheep Shows all across the state so the competition is pretty tough here at the county level. It’s a fun project and we really appreciate the help that we’ve received from the older 4-H’ers and their families. We really enjoy seeing the older 4-H’ers work with the younger members and give them encouragement and praise. Like one of our friends says, it’s not about the color of the ribbons you get, it’s about having blue ribbon fun.

July 11, 1997

This morning, it was Julie’s turn to clean the pens and feed the animals at the fair. Dean even came home and farmed for awhile during the middle of the day. Our employees keep going while we’re at the fair but it’s not easy, especially when the baler keeps breaking down and needing repairs.

Today, it was Solitaire’s turn in the showring. His bath seemed to refresh him and he and Julie did great. In the 4-H Beef Showmanship Contest, Julie placed 3rd. She was pleased with that, considering that Solitaire is pretty stubborn and doesn’t like to walk for her. He is very gentle but when he decides he doesn’t want to walk, it’s difficult for her to make his 1221 pounds move. We had hoped that Solitaire would place higher in his market class but he received a red ribbon. We chose which steer to take to the fair way back in March. Black Jack, the one we fed as a companion to Solitaire but didn’t take to the fair, might have placed higher. Julie’s all ready to try again next year and that’s what really counts.

July 12, 1997

Dean’s cutting wheat again! The kids and I took care of the chores at the fairgrounds while he got around and finished cutting wheat in two different fields (leaving only one field/mudhole to go). After getting stuck the 2nd time, he decided to leave 2 very small patches for the wildlife.

We weren’t involved in any activities or judging at the fair today - just feeding and watering animals and keeping the pens clean. It was nice to have time to relax and visit with friends.

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