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Christmas Day, 1997

Sledding on Christmas morning

Visiting the Capitol,
March 1998

Cherry blossoms
in Washington, D.C

Julie's cow Splatter remembers her bottles! Wayne is feeding Nugget, a twin who was later adopted.


Splatter's brand-new calf,
Milkshake, minutes after birth.

We just love
Milkshake's smile!

One of four sets of
1998 twins

Julie and Peaches

Wayne and Siena
at cousin Karin's wedding.

Hello from the Stoskopf's!

May 1998

Hello again! It doesn't seem possible that almost a year has passed since we first began keeping a diary for the Wheat Mania web site. It's even harder to believe that the school year we wrote about in our last entries is almost over.

A lot has happened in that time. On the farming side, we were blessed with an excellent milo crop. Fortunately, we were always able to find room in a local grain elevator and never had to store any of the milo here at home. Others in Kansas were not so fortunate. The record breaking milo crop came on the heels of a recordbreaking 506 million bushel Kansas wheat crop. Combined with problems with railroad service to Kansas grain elevators, millions of bushels of grain ended up piled on the ground or stored in such unlikely places as the Expo III Arena where our kids showed livestock during the Barton County Fair!

Our first large snowfall came in late October, kicking off what would be a wet winter in our area. We didn't have what we would consider a cold winter - just a snowstorm or rain every 4 or 5 days. Our family actually missed the worst blizzard in our area as we were in Washington, D.C. Our school's spring break coincided with the National Association of Wheat Growers Board meeting in D.C. Dean & I have been to Washington, D.C. several times but this was a new experience for Julie & Wayne. They enjoyed it all, including meeting with Senator Pat Roberts and Congressman Jerry Moran who had provided us with tickets for the White House Tour and passes to the House and Senate galleries. Other favorites were lunch at the National Press Club, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Library of Congress Jefferson Building, the Newseum, the National Postal Museum, the Smithsonian Castle, Planet Hollywood, riding the Metro (subway), shopping and eating at Union Station -- we definitely packed a lot into one week!

We were only home a couple of days before a big ice storm hit, leaving us without electricity for 2 1/2 days (and we considered ourselves lucky!). Electricity was restored one day and that night we had another big snowstorm! Of course, now that we're experiencing hot, dry, windy days, we talk about needing some rain!

Fortunately, the storms didn't make conditions for calving too difficult. It got very deep in the corral because we moved the first-calf heifers into the corral where we could watch them closely. The ground didn't freeze so the cows were in deep mud. We used up our supply of big round wheat straw bales, trying to give the cows & calves something dry to lay on. We had 4 sets of twins this year - with 7 of the calves surviving. Since the twins were born to younger first-calf heifers, we transplanted one calf from each set onto other cows or heifers that lost their calves. Some days were really crazy - with 7or 9 calves being born one right after another.

For the first time in several years, we lost one calf to coyotes. Wouldn't you know - it was a nice heifer calf born to Julie's first bucket calf, Amanda, and destined for Julie's cow herd. The ground never froze so that the coyotes could be hunted last winter so they have become quite bold - even coming up and chasing our dog around her dog house (less than 10 feet from the house, with lights on)!

Dean has been the traveler this year. As a participant in Monsanto's Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow program, he spent several days in St. Louis in October (during the western Kansas blizzard) and went to Washington, D.C. in February (during calving season). He also went to the National Association of Wheat Growers convention in San Diego in January. Dean is serving as Vice-President and Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. In early May, he participated in the Kansas Wheat Quality Tour. Carloads of people took different routes across the state, stopping every 20-30 miles to get out into a wheat field, estimating the yield. Since many of the tour participants were from out-of-state, Dean really enjoyed sharing Kansas back roads with them.

Julie and Wayne have been just as busy as ever with school, 4-H, music, and other activities. Julie was out for track - running in the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. She really liked the running, esp. when they bused the kids out into the country and had them run back to town. Track season, with practice until 5 p.m. each day after school, really cut into Julie's time to work with her 4-H animals. This year, she has a market steer (Peaches), a market heifer (Cream), and 2 market lambs (Kenny & Shadow).

Wayne has 3 4-H animals: his bucket calf, Bessie, and 2 market lambs, Fleece & Chops. He's also collecting Beanie Babies, in case you recognized the names! Wayne's had a great year at school. His school just completed a fund-raising project so that they can purchase a weatherlab that will tie into a Wichita TV station's weatherlab network. They sold almost $7,000 worth of flowers! Wayne helped plant the ones we bought for here at home & is helping Dean lay out rock paths between the flowerbeds. Lots of rocks have worked their way to the top of the fields over the years, and esp. after the pipeline was taken out last summer. Rather than take rocks off the numerous rock piles at the edge of fields, Dean's been making the kids pick up new ones for the flowerbed paths!

Both Julie and Wayne are playing ball this summer - on the same nights again. This year, however, Julie is on a traveling team that will play at other towns in the area. Wayne's team will be a lot of fun but I groaned when I heard which team he was on. This team has a tradition of playing their mothers before the first "real" game. Dean & the kids think they know where my ball glove is - guess I didn't "lose" it good enough!

Julie has been selected to sing in the National Teachers Hall of Fame Honor Choir when the new inductees are honored in Emporia in late June. Volleyball camp & band camp for Julie, tennis lessons for Wayne, a family wedding in August . . . the summer looks busy enough without adding in all the 4-H and fair activities, let alone the farming!

The past few months have seen us celebrating Dean's parents' 60th Wedding Anniversary, becoming great-aunt & great-uncle (again!), a niece's wedding after Christmas (Wayne was the ring bearer), my father receiving his 60 year Masonic pin, and K-State winning the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve. My brother's death in January and the loss of friends & other family members are also pieces of the past year's quilt of memories.

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