Waking up this morning, we discovered that the weather guys were correct. It was really cold! The past two days were pretty nice here, with temperatures about 47ºF (8C) and bright sunny skies. This morning’s sunny sky brings us 13ºF (-11C)… a noticeable difference. But one good factor is that the wind is calm. So, this cold day is not really bad because there is no wind to cut through.
The weather station at the office shows a pretty low temperature.
We have a little concern about this low temperature; will it damage the wheat crop? It would be preferred to have a snow cover on the wheat, but this week’s light snow melted away the past couple days. We will continue to monitor the condition of the wheat.
A look at the main farm of Carnahan & Sons. The wheat crop looks pretty good so far.
We are running low on soybeans in storage, and we may get them all delivered soon. Brandon and Bill work to keep the trucks on the road, and fill the sold grain contracts. Brandon also works to keep the trucks clean, which can be a challenge in the winter. Often, the roads are messy or salty.
Brandon has the Vision in the shop for a much-needed wash job.
This cold spell will likely be short lived. Warmer days are predicted for next week.
A screen capture from my phone shows warmer days are on the way.
Big basketball game for tonight. Across Indiana, it is hard to find a person not interested in the outcome of Purdue at Indiana, 7pm this evening. Purdue has a 9-game winning streak going against the Hoosiers, and from my perspective, I would like to see it go to 10 and beyond!
We had a good and productive week of work last week, even if I didn’t participate much in it. I had been in the company of a person on Sunday (the 9th) who got a positive COVID test on Monday. So, Pat and I did the 5-day quarantine, and remained home (mostly)–keeping apart from what was going on at work. We never had symptoms, PTL. I did go into the office after everyone else was gone for the day (or in the wee hours before sunrise) in order to keep the paperwork caught up-to-date. Seems like there is a need for some bit of computer work every day!
There was a really handsome sunrise last week.
During last week some progress was made in and out of the shop. Now that the big shop door has been repaired, we could actually use the space again! John brought the corn planter inside and replaced the opener disk blades, and then also thoroughly inspected all the other bearings on each of the 24 row units. We think it is now ‘field-ready’. The STX 420 Quadtrac tractor also got some scrutiny.
Bill and Brandon made many grain deliveries, both to GPC at Washington and ADM at Newburgh, Indiana. Brandon had the additional duty to run the sweep in a couple grain bins to keep the overhead load-out bins ready for the trucks! He also keeps the trucks pretty clean and shiny, a tough task on these often-messy winter days.
New opener disk blades were installed on the corn planter.
We all appreciate a clean machine.
Here, some corn is getting loaded to go out to market.
John is still waiting for some of the components for the water trailer project. Hmmm….
Other outside work? A contractor has been making progress at the new Leser farm, removing the posts and anchors and trellis wires. (See the post for December 15, 2021.) When that is complete, there will be a few trees for a timber specialist to cut, and then we can get the bulldozer in there to clear away the other trees and debris. One out-of-control fencerow will be trimmed back to add additional 10 to 50 feet to that side of the field!
Our quarantine (or COVID jail as some call it) ended Friday, and it was nice to return to a bit more normal routine.
We did wake up to a little bit of snow this morning. It was nice to see the white stuff on the ground. It was not much, <1″, and it may not stay around very long. Still, it is nice to see some snow over the wheat crop. Lower temperatures are predicted for late in the week, and hopefully, the snow may provide some protection for the wheat crop. Did you get snow at your place?
This wheat field has a bit of snow cover on it today. Good.
When Mr. Cardinal showed up this morning for his breakfast, his red coloring really stood out in the snow!
I confess I was home for an extended time over lunch today. Purdue played at Illinois starting at noon, and the game went into double overtime! So, I got an extended 2 1/2 hour lunch break today. And best of all (at least from my perspective) Purdue won the game.
Yesterday afternoon I took off to drive up to Purdue to take in the Nebraska at Purdue basketball game. It’s about a 3-hour trip to get up there. Accompanying me were a couple young guys from church who had never been to Mackey before. Our YM Collin Mattingly and my godson Emmanuel “E” Smith really took it all in! I think they were impressed with the atmosphere. We had great seats, Section 2, Row 12–behind the Nebraska bench. Sitting that close, you could get a real feel for just how BIG the players are! Mackey makes for a very immersive experience, taking in that loud and energetic atmosphere…you just can not get all that from watching on TV. Once again, it was a fun time in Mackey Arena. The Boilermakers seemed to just take off right from the start, in fact within a few minutes, the Boilermakers were leading 17-2. Mackey was electric! It was certainly a lot of fun! And, of course, I got a bit sentimental when the capacity crowd sang along with the band to “Hail, Purdue”.
First time in Mackey for Collin and E.
Purdue is often called the ‘cradle of astronauts’, and these were in the crowd last night!
Always great energy from the Paint Crew, the Boilermakers’ student group that fills 6 of the 18 seating sections in Mackey.
All in all, it was a great night for this old Boilermaker
We stopped on the way to the game at the famous “Beef House” for an early supper (or was it a late lunch?). Terrific as usual. The relatively early –630pm– start of the game made for an earlier arrival back home Friday night (got back right at midnight). The weather was very pleasant for a January night. Snow had been predicted, but none came here or anywhere along the way. TBH, I was hoping to find some snow this morning…
At the Beef House…
Saturday morning, no snow, not even a dusting.
Another fascinating thing about Purdue is their fleet of little robots that deliver meals across the campus. We encountered several on the sidewalks as we walked to the game. It’s really cool to watch them as they make their was around, and to see how the people never seem to interfere with the robots’ tasks. It’s like these robots are part of the everyday routine on campus.
Here, a group of the little “Starship” robots are queued up for their next run to deliver food to some hungry Purdue student
My memories of my time at Purdue are crowded with happy times with great people. The faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture made you feel like you really did matter to them, and you knew they were ‘all in’ to help you succeed. Those memories warm my heart even now. No wonder I get a little nostalgic whenever I return to campus.
It’s colder today, with a bit of a breeze. If the wind were calm, it wouldn’t be too bad out there, but the wind sorta cuts through. Greg at our nearby Nutrien location notified us that he has most of the soybean seed now in his inventory. He shared the seed sizes with us for those he has on hand. With that information (the number of seeds per pound), I am able to create the planting prescriptions. I have been working on that today. It is just my kind of task…I can be in the office on this chilly day!
Each prescription for each field is written one at a time, with a separate prescription for each variety that is possible to go into each field. Each soil type is assigned a productivity level–low, average, and high–which corresponds to a seeding population. Seed rates for soybeans are counter-intuitive, meaning the better the productivity level of the soil, the lower the population is assigned to it. Each field has from one to nine soil types.
The prescription program is integrated into JD Operations Center, and that makes it very convenient. Although it can become a bit tedious, it is not difficult. We are still missing the seed size for one soybean variety, and when that comes, I can finish off creating these planting prescriptions. Once finalized, these will be transferred wirelessly to the 4640 screen/controller inside the JD 9520 tractor–which is the one that pulls the soybean air drill.
I use the crop plan, a chart of each field’s soil types, and the individual variety’s seed size to input into the Agrian Prescription Creator, which is embedded within JD Operations Center.
Several days ago, the lift assist springs on the big overhead door of our shop broke. We could not open the door to get anything in or out until it got fixed. We called our local Overhead Door contractor and he got right on it. The hold-up was actually getting the long coil springs. We had to pay a premium to get the springs in 1 week, rather than wait 10 weeks for replacement springs. Oh, the supply chain hiccups! But, even so, the Overhead Door guys came today and made the repair. It’s working great now! We have a shop available again. We just could not wait 10 weeks. The corn planter needs to come inside asap to get the opener disc blades replaced. And, of course, when John gets some more of the components of the water tender trailer to arrive, that will come back into the shop, too.
It took 3 guys to replace those big springs, which were about 6″ in diameter and 4 feet long
We are sending soybeans to ADM at Newburgh, Indiana, down on the Ohio River. The lines are pretty long, making Bill and Brandon wait to get unloaded. Those lines will diminish over the course of January. But right now, many farmers are, like us, sending grain to market. Corn is going to GPC at Washington, Indiana
The building permit came for the new grain bin. There is no county building inspector, but the permit was required.
Yeah, it’s cold out there today, but even more cold is on its way. Thursday night is predicted to get down to 5ºF (-15C). Better be ready to bundle up! The good news is that we may get some snow. If it’s gonna be that cold, I’d prefer to have a blanket of snow to cover the wheat crop. Of course, we will take what we get, and make the best of it.
I’m so grateful for a warm shop to work and a warm home.
The new year has arrived at Carnahan & Sons. The trucks are busy taking grain to market. Early January is a busy, busy time at grain elevators across the Midwest . It’s almost like the harvest time rush! So, there will likely be some hours of waiting in line for the next several days… at least through the first and second weeks.
John is hooking up the snow blower to the 6130R tractor. After an unusually warm week, it has turned much colder. Snow is predicted for Thursday…and we will be ready if there is much accumulation from this snow event. It would have been nice to have snow for Christmas, but that is a rare event in SWIN. In fact, it was near 70ºF (21C) on Christmas day! It is more typical for us to receive snow in mid-January and through February. But March can also bring snowy days. We even had snow last spring on the 20th of April! I remember driving home at the end of that day of planting soybeans with snow in the air.
I can’t tell you how old this snow blower is, but John did a restoration on it a few years ago, and it looks like new.
When John restored this snow blower a few years ago, he added a hydraulic motor to the spout. You can turn it now from inside the tractor… before, you had to go out and move it by hand!
As soon as we get some of the soybean seed in at the dealer, I can begin to write the 2022 planting prescriptions. The prescriptions for nitrogen fertilizer for corn can be done this month, too. That is a somewhat tedious exercise, but perfect for cold and snowy days– it’s warm and comfortable in the office!
We have had some daffodils emerge in the flower beds at home. I think they will regret popping out this week. But those things are pretty hardy, they should be okay when spring really gets here.
Little daffodils…you’re a bit early!
So, we are entering a new year of work on the farm. I’m busy in the office working on financial projections and the cash flow. That cash flow document was begun last summer. I refine it as we go along, making edits to improve its accuracy. Our banker will need that as we work on the line of credit renewal this summer, but I use it to predict and monitor our financial status throughout the year.
2021 was a pretty good year here at Carnahan & Sons. Let’s move ahead into 2022 with hope and faith and optimism.
Not many days left of 2021. Many people will be pleased to see the old year go. Yes, we look ahead to the new year with optimism, but looking back on 2021 is not all bad by any measure. In many ways, 2021 has been good to us at Carnahan & Sons. We harvested our best-ever wheat, corn, and soybean crops this year! The double-crop soybeans were not best-ever, but still very good. So, the result of the crops of 2021 were very happy and satisfying. We are grateful to our Maker who provided the good weather for the bountiful harvest.
We look ahead to another year of planting and harvest in 2022. Much of what is planned is already ‘in the works’. Inputs (seed, fertilizers, and chemistries) were purchased and paid in November 2021. Now, it is up to us to use each window of opportunity to give our ’22 crops the best possible chance to thrive.
There are a few new machines coming in 2022. A new NH3 application machine is coming, but may not arrive in time to use it in the spring. That is puzzling, for we made the deal for it back in July… it was unthinkable that it would not arrive for spring ’22 work. But the dealer is telling us they don’t have an anticipated delivery date yet! Also, we await the arrival of a new hopper trailer. We are hopeful that it will arrive in May when promised. The biggie of the improvements for 2022 is also in the works. We signed the papers last week for the construction of a new grain bin. It’s been decades since we increased our grain storage and conditioning capacity. It will be a very welcome addition.
It’s a rainy day here in SWIN today. Not a problem. I even heard some thunder very early this morning. The temperatures for the past week have been much above average, getting almost to 70ºF (21C) yesterday. Today, it’s 50ºF (10C) and really feels cooler, but that too is above the average of about 40ºF (4C). The forecast shows below freezing days beginning next week, so the real feel of winter is on its way. That’s okay. In fact, I’d prefer it be down to about 20ºF (-7C) and stay there for a couple months. It’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge of that.
Just think… 12 weeks and we will be back in the fields! When you express the future plans in terms of weeks, it makes the time seem not very far off.
So, Happy New Year! May you find success and happiness in 2022!
Got the Gator in the shop and gave it a wash.
John has the Demco tender trailer out of the shop. He is at a standstill until more of the components arrive.
Brandon delivered some corn to market this week. More will go out in January.
Last week when I was taking a steroid, I rarely slept… so I caught the view of several sunrises like this one.
Up before sunrise this morning, my plan was to cut up and pick up the downed limbs in the backyard that last weeks windstorm knocked down. It was not very fun, but nothing compared to what the folks in Kentucky are going through! I wanted to work back there while the ground was still frozen, for the temperatures in the afternoons have been in the 40s. It was 24F when I went out with the Gator and a handy Milwaukee battery-powered chain saw. First cut with the saw, and I saw sparks flying from the chain. Yuck. That worn-out thing would not cut the proverbial hot butter. So, back to the shop to search for a new/better chain. Found it! After replacing that chain, I zipped through the cutting of those limbs in practically no time! It took a couple loads of branches filling the bed of the Gator to get them all hauled away. And I finished before the thaw. It turned out to be a glorious day, with bright sunshine!
Frost on the roof this morning…
Tomorrow morning while it’s frozen, I plan to take the Gator down to the Huey farm and bob off a few sprouts in the ditch at the far end of the big flat field. The Gator sure makes that easier– I can pop back into the cab and warm back up between cuts. We will see how that goes… the ground may be too soft, but it may be okay for an hour or two…that little Milwaukee saw in pretty neat. It seems I just can’t get that conventional Stihl saw started anymore. So, with the Milwaukee, no pulls are needed, just push the button!
Last night, I got a few pictures sent to me from Mackey Arena. Sons John and Ben met up there and got to see their Boilermakers. It was against a team called “Incarnate Word”, and I wondered why such a team was on our schedule. Well, the answer to that came when I learned that the UIW coach is a former Purdue player, Carson Cunningham! It was good to see that he is coaching. Ben tells me he received a very warm reception when he was announced at the game.
So, my granddaughters Ella and Molly caught their first game in Mackey Arena! And it was a big win, too. It was great to see them there, and also great to see “the brothers” sharing a moment.
Molly and Ella at Mackey…
Have a good evening, on this shortest day of the year. It’s always a big mental turnaround to know the days will be getting longer… One step closer to planting season! Be here before you know it.
The sun is out, and it’s a pretty winter day…well, winter actually begins tomorrow! Nights in the 20s and days in the 40s for the week before Christmas. Not bad at all. Of course, we’d prefer a white Christmas, but looks like that’s not gonna happen again this year. Snow for us in SWIN usually comes in January and February. That’s okay. You know? Come to think of it, we had snow on the 21st of April this year! Anything can happen!
John keeps at work on his water trailer project. The loads of December grain are nearly all delivered. So, the pace of work this week will be a little slower, in keeping with the holiday season.
I’ve got some tree limbs to clean up in the backyard… we didn’t get the wind that the plains states got, but it was enough to break out some limbs here, too. A few will need the chainsaw. That’s my goal for tomorrow morning, to get those cut up and hauled out.
As you prepare for Christmas, we hope you have the occasion to spend time with your families. A dash of COVID in our house has postponed our ‘together time’, but it will occur on another date.
Enjoy your day.
The wheat crop is lookin’ good
At least Mr. Cardinal is a nice reminder of the Christmas holiday!
Little by little, it is coming together for John’s project
Room for 5 totes, waiting on the cone-bottom mix tank.
I had a bad head cold over the weekend. I just figured it was one of my typical winter-time Man-Colds. It started on Thursday and my head got progressively stopped up…and the runny nose would not stop. I went off to see my NP on Monday, thinking I needed some medications or a shot of steroids to open up my head and stop the drainage. Instead, they tested me for COVID, and came back in a few minutes with a positive test result. This sent my spirits pretty low for a while, because I realized the quarantine requirements would block our plans for family Christmas celebration over the coming weekend. On Monday the 20th I’ll be released from the quarantine. Another complicating factor is Pat. She started with chills and body aches and extensive fatigue Sunday evening. She has not had the congestion that I have, but even with her mild symptoms, she went to get tested today. This she believes will give her some certainty about how a quarantine will play out for her. So, it seems, we are sharing this malady almost simultaneously. We have absolutely no idea where we contracted the virus, and the answer to that question is probably irrelevant. I’m feeling better today, as my air passages seem to be opening back up again. I never lost my sense of taste or smell. Looks like my case has been comparatively mild. It is just so strange that this virus manifests itself in so many different ways.
We will adjust our Christmas family plans to fit the restrictions of temporary quarantine. COVID may make us adjust our plans, but we will not abandon them! We will find another day that works for our sons’ families.
Work continues apace on John’s project to build out the chemical mixing and delivering system on the new Demco sprayer tender trailer. More plumbing fittings arrived from Owensboro, Kentucky today. It has been a big undertaking, with all sorts of electrical, plumbing and valving, lighting, and even structural framing for the placement of up to 5 chemical bulk totes (or metal-caged plastic containers of about 275 gallons each)! Those totes will be MUCH easier to re-fill or swap out than on the old trailer. If a tote change is needed, the wiring’s alligator clips will be pulled off the nearby + and – posts, the hose/meter curled up on the top of the tote, the ratchet hold-down straps will be removed, and a forklift will carry the tote up and away. The new one is installed by reversing the steps.
Those totes will contain stuff like Roundup, Warrant, Strut (dicamba for burndown), Intensity (a herbicide for in-season grass control in soybeans), and/or Liberty (broadleaf control in soybeans). Each tote will have a 12V pump with a flow meter. John will have a control panel for the pumps’ electrical switches at elbow height, and within the same reach will have the liquid supply lines from the 5 totes to the cone-bottom mix tank. There will be on-deck storage for bags/boxes/bottles in addition to the totes. Under the deck are frame-mounted boxes to receive empty packaging. John mixes each sprayer load precisely just ahead of the application, depending on the recipe for that field’s requirements. The new system may not be very much faster than the old one, but it will have greater capacity, be much more convenient and much more secure– on a trailer that yields more confidence that it is structurally sound. It’s quite a sight to see him put this together. Maybe John should patent his design!
Today, we took full, official possession of a 37-acre tract of land nearby that we purchased this fall. This land had a small vineyard on part of it, and the previous owner had until today to remove any of their vines and supports that they needed. We don’t think they removed anything. There are many trellis posts to pull out along with the vines. There will also be a row of bigger trees to remove on the northwest edge, so we will have to get a contractor in there to do that. Brandon has been itching to get going on this project, and now he has unrestricted access to work on the transformation. Our late son Philip often suggested we plant a vineyard and produce wine grapes using the expertise he gained in his years in Oregon. I will always think of him when we farm at this place. But we are grain farmers, and I think this place will be beautiful next summer with a crop of soybeans thriving on it. The previous owner will still be making wine, just sourcing their grapes from other vineyards. It seems that they like the wine-making part of the business, not the farming part of it.
One bit of trivia about vineyards. When you think of vineyards and wine in the USA, your first thoughts always go to California Napa Valley or the Willamette Valley of Oregon. But did you know that the first vineyards planted in North America were right here in Indiana? Yes, that’s true. The French pioneer settlers in the late 1600s and early 1700s brought their vines with them and planted grapes here. The climate difference from their homeland did not allow those vines to flourish, and the vineyards moved on to more climate-friendly parts of the country. But university research at Purdue and other midwest land-grant schools have led in developing varieties of grapes that are adapted for our climate, and the wine business is growing significantly again here in Indiana where it started. It’s just that we are not gonna be part of that growth. Our interests and expertise lies in more traditional corn-soybean-winter wheat production.
Bill and Brandon are delivering corn to market. We just about have our December deliveries caught up. It is easier to get unload times this month than in January! We will be delivering corn and soybeans then, too. Work continues on apace.
We have our plans made for seed, fertility, and crop protection chemicals for 2022 crops, and we have made those as secure as possible by paying for them. Purchasing inputs in November for the following year has become de rigueur for our farm for several years now. The added urgency this year comes from the ubiquitous supply chain controversies along with the significantly higher costs! With our dedicated local supplier, we have great confidence that we will end up using the chemistries according to our plan.
So, while I’m quarantined at home, maybe this afternoon, I’ll help bake some Christmas cookies… my problem is that when I help, I sample a bit too many of them! Pat uses my mom’s recipe for Carrot Cookies, and it’s fantastic! A Christmas tradition I hope never goes away! My sister just sent us a perfect batch of Divinity — pure and simple with no nuts in it — just like mom made it. Tasting that brings back sweet memories ‘way back to the 1950s. Thanks, Sheila! All part of a Merry Christmas…
May you find your blessings this Christmas. Among and above all the things of Christmas, celebrate Jesus.
Yesterday I finished the task of cranking on some fescue seed on the refurbished ditch banks down at the Steen and Newman farms near Wheatland. I loaded the bed of the Gator with a supply of seed, a hand scoop, and the hand-powered seeder. The heated cabin of the Gator made it a comfortable ride to the field and back, and a place to warm back up between fills of fescue seed. The soil was mostly frozen yesterday while I was working, making it easier to keep my footing in what might have otherwise been a bit muddy conditions.
My tools for scattering fescue seed on the ditch banks.
Looks like warmer days are predicted to return for the weekend, maybe up to 64ºF (18C) on Friday. We had snow on the roof when the day began this morning!
We attended a basketball game at our local high school last night. Our South Knox Spartans defeated our rival North Knox Warriors in a game that was a blowout early on, but got close at the end. The gym was filled with fans. Local doctor, Tom Thompson, was honored before the varsity game for 40+ years of service to SK athletics. Also in attendance was my old coach, Sam Alford (dad of Steve Alford) who coached the Spartans when SK was a new school 1968-1971. It was great to see and visit with Coach Alford again.
The gym was pretty much filled with fans for the game vs. NK.
The ceremony for Dr. Thompson. L to R SK Supt Tim Grove, Former Supt Brad Case, Coach Sam Alford, Dr. Tom and his wife Teri, and AD Chris Lancaster.
Even Buddy the Elf came to SK last night!
It was great to be out among all the SK fans last night. Saw many old friends and shared some laughs.