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Real Ford County Model T Road Tour

The Real Ford Country Model T Road Tour

Stoskopf Diaries

June 19, 1997

This week has really gone fast! The guys are working with the cattle today, moving them to different pastures. It's so dry that we're short on grass for the cows this year.

We did finish baling the first cutting of alfalfa and have started swathing the second cutting. We've also started swathing the waterways. Waterways are used to help drain the fields of water when it does rain. They are planted to brome, which is a tall grass that does not have to be replanted each year. The brome keeps the soil in the waterways from washing away and creating ditches or gullies. At wheat harvest, we often park the wheat trucks in the waterways to reduce the chances of a wheat field fire. The cattle like to eat the brome, too, so we feed it thru the winter.

It doesn't look like we'll be cutting wheat until next week. The Real Ford Country Model T road tour will come by our place early tomorrow morning. We live next to a highway called Susank Road, which the Model T's will go right down on their way from Great Bend, thru Hoisington, to Russell. The last time they came by here, the cars were so quiet you could hear the people talking. This year, one of the Model T's is from Brussels, Belgium. I hope that they enjoy their trip thru rural Kansas as much as I enjoyed my visit to Belgium in 1995 as a member of the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) program.

It's a busy time of year. In addition to getting everything ready for wheat harvest and cutting and baling hay, we're also getting ground ready for planting wheat in September. If the weeds get too big, they take all the moisture in the soil that the wheat seeds will need next fall.

June 21, 1997

Wheat harvest is on! Dean actually cut some late yesterday afternoon - on June 20th, my target date - but had to patch around to find dry wheat. This afternoon, he was able to start and finish fields. Those two 100 degree days with a strong wind really helped dry everything out. Today, I really noticed the heads of the wheat plants "nodding". That's a sign the wheat is good and ripe and ready to cut.

Dean saved some of today's wheat back for seed wheat for this fall. The guys will wait to unload it in the morning when it's cooler as it gets really dusty and hot when you're putting the wheat into the grain bins. We have upright bins, where you put the wheat in the top and unload it from the bottom. We also have bins with panels that slide into the doors. As wheat piles up in the center and slides to the outer edges of the circular bins, you keep adding panels to hold the wheat in. We also have an old granary that dates back 100 or more years. It's a wooden building with two wooden storage areas - we usually stick the auger in a window and add the panels in the door as the wheat pile grows. As long as the wheat is dry when we put it in and the insects and mice don't damage it, it will keep until we need it to plant next September. We usually plant 5 to 7 different varieties of wheat and each one must be stored separately. Each variety has it's own advantages - some are resistant to certain diseases or do better under different growing conditions.

The Model T's were fun to watch! My favorite was a 1925 paddy wagon. The kids liked the old fire truck. When one Model T pulled into the pasture entrance road, the kids ran down & talked to the driver. James was from California and was surprised by the things to do and see in central Kansas.

Where we live, it's not very flat. When we look out our dining room window, we can see the town of Olmitz 9 miles away but there's a valley in between us. Some mornings, the sun reflects off the steeple on St. Ann's Catholic Church in Olmitz which is the highest point in Barton County. Rainwater actually goes into two different watersheds depending on whether it lands on the east or west side of the church roof. The hill in our pasture next to the house (in the earlier picture with the radio tower and rainbow) is one of the highest, if not the highest, hills in Barton County. It is in a flight pattern used for training out of McConnell Air Base in Wichita, so we often have fighter jets turn around the tower, which is 400 feet tall.

Things will be hectic around here for the next two weeks. Even when we hire custom cutters to cut part of the wheat, we still figure on 10-12 days of cutting. That's if there are no breakdowns, the weather cooperates, and everything else goes just right. Since the county fair is only 17 days away, I hope it all works out.

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