Memorial Day memories

May 25, 2015

Today it’s cloudy and drizzling rain.  It’s okay with me because late last night, the soybean planting got finished.  We had a small window of opportunity over the weekend, with good weather and good soil conditions.  And with the larger, flat fields of the White River bottom lands, the acres seemed to go by faster.  It certainly feels good to have the crop in the ground.  Now, the task will be to monitor it as it comes up.

After church yesterday, I went to the field at Nellie and later at Harry.  As I was planting at Nellie, I listened to the Indianapolis 500 on the radio.  This brought back many memories of times spent planting during the famous race.  I remember one year in particular when I was 7 or 8… I was assisting my dad with loading the soybean seed into the planter.  This was in the day when we had a 4-row planter, and we kept seed from the previous year.  Our home-grown seed was stored in big burlap bags tied with twine at the top.  Boy, for a little guy those things were heavy and awkward, some weighing 100 pounds!  My job was to wrestle those bags in the back of the pickup, open them up, and put the seed into 2-gallon galvanized buckets.  With the seed in buckets, it was more convenient for dad to put the beans in the planter seed boxes.   On this particular race day, I recall using my little transistor radio (for the pickup had no radio) to listen to Sid Collins, the Voice of the 500.  The day was hot and sunny.  I could get a little rest in between dad’s “pit stops” to fill up with seed, so I stretched out across the seat of the pickup with the doors both flung open to catch the breeze.  What a sweet memory: the race on the radio, my dad planting, and me being his pit crew!

We are grateful for the productive opportunity of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon/night.  The task of planting soybeans is one of my particular favorites, so it was a great pleasure to spend long days in the tractor.  But, I must admit, I slept in a little longer this morning!

Here are some photos of what I have been seeing over the weekend.

The view ahead

The view ahead

The view behind

The view behind

Monitoring the monitor.

Monitoring the monitor.  Notice, I’m planting from the back tank of the cart.  (green gear picture in box ‘c’, as compared to the white gear picture in box ‘a’)  It is applying 64.7 pounds of seed per acre of the targeted 65.0.  The blower that moves the seed from the cart to the drill is turning at 2860 rpm.  I’m traveling at 6.5 mph.  The drill is planting at a rate of 39.5 acres/hour.  And the GPS system is locked on track, deviating zero inches.  (little green number in upper right of screen). .

I've been carrying my iPad for a few days.   Thanks to Ben for the loan of his special holder that sticks to the glass.  Here, I'm watching the progress of Philip's flight home on Saturday morning, using the app FlightAware.

I’ve been carrying my iPad for a few days. Thanks to Ben for the loan of his special holder that sticks to the glass. Here, I’m watching the progress of Philip’s flight home on Saturday morning, using the app FlightAware.

John went to the 500 with Philip and Ben in what has become a many-year tradition for them.  Philip made the trip from Oregon.  He says he gets a little misty-eyed when he hears the great 500 tradition of singing “Back Home Again in Indiana”.  They had a perfect day, and another exciting race to experience.  It is great to have him home, and have all “the brothers” together one more time.

It’ll be a little different for me, not working in the field on this Memorial Day.  Planting is complete, and it’s lightly raining.  Pat’s preparing a nice cook-out for the evening with Philip at home from Oregon.   Yes, it’s a happy day for many reasons.

Mom called this holiday “Decoration Day”, and I don’t know what year the name changed.

Next up?  John will be making the first post-emerge pass of herbicide soon, and he has already done several acres of that.  We still have a few loads of corn in the bin to be delivered.  Soon we’ll be empty of grain inventory.

May your Memorial Day celebration be a great one.  May we honor the memory of our heroic soldiers.  We have much for which to be thankful.

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