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Here are photos of Julie and Wayne in their uniforms ready to play ball.
Dean and Julie visit with a few Hoisington businessmen and a future 4-H'er.
Wayne and Strider gather with a few friends for a photo.

Stoskopf Diaries

June 22, 1997

What a day! We normally don’t work on Sundays but harvest is an exception. Maybe God does have a sense of humor because we didn’t get far today. Dean only cut a couple hours before hearing something he didn’t like on the combine. It was a major breakdown - from 2:00 p.m. to tomorrow morning, at least. They had the whole front of the combine off - everything that sits in front of and below the cab. With the help of a welder from Great Bend, Dean & our full-time employee, John, think they’re back on the right track.

Also discovered this morning that the windmill isn’t working on one of the pastures we just moved cows into. That’s another early morning job to do! While wheat harvest is our main focus, we have to keep up with everything else, too

June 25, 1997

Each day of wheat harvest brings new challenges and worries. The windmill is fixed and back to pumping water to the cattle and the combine is back together and ready to roll, but the weather isn’t cooperating now. Monday, June 23rd, was an overcast, cloudy day. Dean finally pulled into the field in the late afternoon but only cut for 10-15 minutes before a shower came thru and wet everything down. It was just enough to shut down harvest but not enough to muddy the ball fields.

Yesterday, Tuesday the 24th, they waited all day for the sun to come out and bring down the humidity. Dean finally went to cut wheat after watching the first inning of Wayne’s 6:30 ballgame. Since we were under a severe thunderstorm warning, he cut out the draw behind the barn. The wheat there was too wet on Saturday but would have been a mess to cut after last night’s rain if he had left it. It was pretty dramatic to watch all the combines racing the dark storm clouds. Dean did get everything put away just before the storm hit here.

The storm did bring us our largest rain for a long while - 70 hundredths of an inch. It was enough to shut harvest down for a couple days but it could have been worse - the lightning show was pretty spectacular and they were reporting 60 - 80 mph winds around us. We needed the rain for the milo crop, the alfalfa, and the pastures, but didn’t need the delay in wheat harvest. The rain is likely to bring on the weeds now, which tend to plug up the combines and add moisture to the wheat. Each rain also lowers the test weight of the wheat, which is a quality factor that is taken into account when farmers sell their wheat.

The guys are servicing equipment, making repairs, and checking the pastures. The two Hoisington 4-H clubs are hosting a 4-H Fair Preview for the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce and the public tomorrow morning, so we’re trying to finish up projects for the displays. Wayne has a friend out this afternoon and they’re washing the lambs and his bucket calf, Georgie, so that we can take them into town tomorrow morning. Julie’s in practicing baking with Dean’s Mom. They enjoy cooking together and Grandma has a lot more patience than I do!

June 26, 1997

All the storms in Kansas converged on Hoisington last night. Two miles south of town, they reported 7 inches of rain. In town, it ranged from 4.5 - 6.5 inches of rain. Where we live two miles north of town, we had 3.5 inches. North of there, they didn’t have quite so much rain so we hope we can move to some of those fields and get back to cutting wheat this weekend. There’s mowing, repairs, and all kinds of things for the guys to do while they wait for the fields to dry out.

The 4-H Preview in Hoisington was a hit. Wayne thinks his bucket calf, Georgie, was insulted when a little girl called her a pig. Even in rural areas, a lot of kids do not have first-hand experience with farm animals. Everyone loved the lambs and Georgie, as well as the rabbits and chickens other 4-H’ers brought. The 4-H’ers had lots of their fair exhibits on display. Between the Chamber of Commerce weekly coffee, the Summer Rec kids, and others, there were probably 150-200 people who came and looked at the animals and displays.

Wayne had his last ball game tonight. As soon as Julie’s team is finished, we’ll be able to spend evenings working with the 4-H animals. They are more cooperative and easier to work with in the evenings when it cools off.

June 27, 1997

Since we’re not harvesting, we decided we would give the calves their haircuts for the fair. This morning, it was Solitaire’s turn. The clippers we use can’t hurt the calves, it’s just like going in and getting a close-trimmed haircut. We don’t go overboard on making the calves look fancy, but just like we look to look our best for an important event, the fair judges will be looking for the calves that look their best. Trimming the hair off the calves’ faces really gives them a neat, trim look.

Wayne’s excited that we cleaned out his pool and filled it today. It’s just a stock tank but it gives the kids a chance to splash around and cool off. Swimming at the swimming pool in town is a real treat but we’re busy enough, the kids have to find things they can do here at home. We hope that they’ll be interested in coming back to the farm and the community when they’re older, and we try to balance the work with some fun. That’s one reason both Julie and Wayne play ball. Most of their friends play ball and they get to see them at the ballpark a couple times a week.

June 28, 1997

Georgie got her haircut this morning. She has thick, curly hair - lots more to work with than Solitaire. We’ll do some last minute trimming at the fair but, for now, it’s regular shampoo baths and cold water rinses - keeping the calves cool and clean.

We’re back to cutting wheat. The ground is muddy so Dean won’t be able to put as much in the combine grain tank as usual. We bought a grain cart last fall that will come in handy. The grain cart is pulled by a tractor. The tractor and grain cart can go through mud and soft spots where the trucks would get stuck. The grain cart has an unloading auger so it unloads the wheat into the truck parked at the edge of the field or out on the road. This also saves time as the combine doesn’t have to quit cutting wheat and travel to the edge of the field every time it needs to unload.

Last night, I checked with my dad to see if he had started cutting wheat. He planned to start cutting today. Dad lives northwest of Jamestown, Kansas on a farm that’s been in my mother’s family since the 1870’s. At 84, he still farms full-time. My oldest brother lives in Concordia, 230miles away, and helps out a lot. Dad said my other brother from Ponca City, Oklahoma was coming home today to help with harvest. That’s fairly common. Lots of family members come back for wheat harvest. Dean’s brother from Salina will be back on Sunday to help drive trucks. As a doctor, he usually only get to help with wheat harvest one or two days each year.

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