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Stoskopf Diaries

September 7, 1997

The state fair 4-H Horticulture Judging Contest started at 8:30 this morning so we had to leave home by 6:30. Julie wasn't on the county team but she judged as an individual. The team got 8th out of 23 teams. We think that's really great as it was the first time our county had participated in the contest!

Wayne's class is studying insects so the three of us checked out the 4-H Entomology exhibits while Julie did the horticulture-judging contest. Julie's vest is on display in one of the showcases in the 4-H Exhibit Building. It got a blue ribbon - not bad for her first year of sewing.

It was so hot at the state fair that we didn't try to do it all and see everything today - just came home in the middle of the afternoon. Julie has to go back next weekend for the 4-H LifeSkills Judging Contest and Dean has to be down there for the Wheat Growers the same day. Hopefully, it will be a little cooler and we can see the rest of the fair. After 6 years as a county 4-H agent and going down almost every year since I 'retired', Dean and I pretty much know our way around the state fairgrounds and what we want to see each year.

September 8, 1997

There's a pretty good chance for rain tonight so the guys are scrambling to get as much fieldwork done as they possibly can. We're back to the point where we really need some rain. There's good moisture down below (subsoil) but the topsoil - closer to the surface where the wheat seed will be planted and needs moisture to sprout - is really getting dry and dusty.

After the 4-H club meeting tonight, Dean went out and baled alfalfa until 1:30 a.m. John ran the tractor and disc all evening. I'm not sure when he shut down but I heard the two of them talking back and forth on the radios before I called it quits for the night.

September 9, 1997

It did rain a little early this morning. It was enough that the guys can't get into the fields today. If it doesn't rain any more, they'll be back at it again tomorrow. They may be getting to where they can see the end of this round of fieldwork - maybe! When it's time to plant wheat, we need to have all the weeds killed and chopped up. This little bit of rain should help any leftover weed seeds sprout. We'll go back over the fields with the cultivator right before we plant the wheat with the drill. The cultivator just works the topsoil where the wheat seed will be planted - breaking up dirt clumps, picking up big clumps of weeds or other trash, and pulling out the small weeds that have just sprouted. It leaves the dirt smooth and the wheat seeds should be able to sprout and grow quickly without lots of competition from weeds.

September 10, 1997

Cool mornings are good for fence fixing! Since the pipeline project is all done on our land, we sorted cows and calves and moved some of the bred heifers back into the pasture the pipeline project crossed. The fence was only broken in 6 places between our pasture and the neighbor's pasture beside it. It may be a good idea for all of us to get together and rebuild the whole fence sometime this winter.

September 11, 1997

I finally have the new computer and new accounting program up and running. Now I'm scrambling to get several months of bookwork caught up before we meet with our accountant. We belong to the Kansas Farm Management Association, which gives us some guidance on tax implications, etc. of some major decisions. On some issues, the economists will use actual figures from the Farm Management statistics to determine the effects of policy changes, tax changes, etc.

September 12, 1997

We decided to go to the high school football game tonight. Maybe we were just tempting it to rain as it sprinkled the whole time we were there. The DTN National Weather Service radar showed that the storms were moving this way even before we left home. The stormy skies and lightning were pretty spectacular out to the west around Dodge City, which got over 7 1/2 inches of rain. When the lightning was on all four sides of us, Dean & I decided we didn't really want to get caught in the football stadium by a bad storm and we bailed out. By the time we got to our car and were on the edge of town headed home, the storm cut loose. We heard they stopped the game and then finished it after the storm passed but we were glad we left when we did.

Now that it's rained, Dean will be more willing to go Hutchinson and the state fair tomorrow.

September 13, 1997

Dean attended a breakfast with Senator Pat Roberts, Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, Congressman Jerry Moran, and other officials and leaders of Kansas agriculture organizations this morning. Sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau, the breakfast gave the state's agriculture leaders a chance to air some concerns and address some issues.

The kids and I went to the Kansas State Fair. We had a little extra time before the we were to meet the other members of the Life Skills Judging team so we sat and watched part of the 4-H Dog Show. In one ring, the 4-H'er was in a wheelchair. She and her dog performed all the turns and commands just like all the other 4-H'ers. It was really neat to watch.

We met Dean at the Farm Bureau Arena for a live television and radio broadcast about ag issues, with Senator Roberts and Secretary Glickman answering questions from both the live audience and telephone callers. Julie watched the debate between Senator Roberts and his opponent last year at the State Fair and still remembers some of what was said.

Dean worked awhile at Agri-land, a children's agriculture exploration area sponsored by the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and other Kansas commodity groups and agriculture organizations. Julie had made plans to meet her band camp roommate at the 4-H Encampment Building so we were at the other end of the fairgrounds.

One exhibit that really stands out from our visits to the state fair this year was a 4-H Geology exhibit of fern fossils from Franklin County, Kansas. We'd never seen anything like it before. Most of the state of Kansas was underwater and there are lots of fossils from the sea but I had forgotten that part of northeastern Kansas was once a forest on the edge of the water.