Monday, April 28, 2008

Planting Begins

Planting season started today.

We have a new field this year. An excavating crew came in, removed a windmill, evened out the sandhills, and created a new field. After lunch, Scott headed there. I think we're planting popcorn in that field, but if not, soybeans will be the crop of choice this year since they are selling at a very high price.

I'm estimating that it will take three weeks to get all the fields planted. Of course, that will depend a lot on the weather. This week looks cooperative until Friday, when it might turn stormy again. Our south fields will need to dry out. An late spring sleet and snow storm on Friday melted into an abundance of H20 in the ditches and fields. (my mind is thinking mosquito infestation if the ditch water doesn't dry up.)

The three-week estimate will also depend on the amount of breakdowns we have. Hopefully, the tractor part run we made last week will mean that there won't be any down time during planting. Is that asking for too much?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Fling in Lincoln

From all indications, Saturday (April 19) in Lincoln mirrored a sunny fall day in Husker Nation.

Rock The Dock was jamming at The Embassy. Lil Red and Herbie Husker joked with the crowd at Misty's. An 80,000+ sea of red filled Memorial Stadium. There were cheerleaders, the Scarlets, and the Husker band. The ORIGINAL tunnel walk music pumped up the crowd.

The only thing missing was the fly over. Oh, and Bill Callahan. (Thank God....I mean T.O.)

The opening play - which was supposed to be a throwback to the days of option football - fell flat as the fumble rolled across the turf. Sure, there were broken plays, dropped passes and missed tackles. That's part of the game.

But something was different in Lincoln on one of the warmest days this spring. A new beginning. A rebirth of a withered (and weathered) team.

There's a new deputy in town - (he can't be the sheriff, because that role has been delegated to T.O.) - and the fans seem to be having a love affair with Bo Pelini. One highlight on the big screen was when a pick of Pelini sporting a Husker cap flashed up with the words "The Tradition Lives in 2008." The crowd went crazy!

The state of football appears to be looking up in Lincoln and across the Cornhusker State; however, fans still need to realize that the deputy is not a miracle worker and he has his work cut out for him. Trying to undo four years of hands-off football and reinstating order are keys to success. The Huskers face a tough autumn schedule, and true fans realize that year one will be a rebuilding year.

Remember T.O.'s first year?

Year two will be better.

Sure, there will be surprises and disappointments this fall. But hopefully, Husker Nation will begin its resurgence to prominence.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life slows down AND The Farm Bill

Sometimes, life just becomes too hectic and there aren't enough hours in the day. I know, I know, I keep singing that song on here - the fact that there isn't time to accomplish everything. But substituting full time, still coaching, planning a wedding, and writing articles and meeting deadlines kept me hopping for six weeks.

And now, I think I might actually be ready to return to my normal writing routine. Sure, there are still days filled with substitute teaching, but the other pressures have subsided and I can finally concentrate on my career. Oh, and probably a little bit on the farming side of it. Honestly, I don't know that much about the farm, but I am slowly learning.

A week ago, we spent our Friday evening watching Bill Moyer's show on NET public TV. The show featured a group of Washington Post reporters who showed how farm subsidies were paid to farmers who did not have any reason to receive the money. The story focused on the possibility of drought - which did affect a few counties in Texas that year - and the explosion of the space shuttle. Since debris from the wreck was supposedly scattered across the area, farmers could claim disaster relief, even though the majority of the farmers weren't affected by the explosion.

Shouldn't the intent of the bill be to assist farmers who truly need the money and suffer a disaster during the year instead of giving it to farmers who weren't affected but because of vague wording, received millions of dollars?

Moyer discussed the food stamp program and how for people who truly need it, the program is a blessing, but because of problems with the farm bill, there might be trouble for the program. The guest speaker mentioned that one of the problems with the program is that it doesn't cover expenses for an entire month. And for families who live below the poverty level - or even lower middle-class families who can't afford to put food on the table due to increased costs - the program is necessary.

I hear people complain because milk is over $4.50 a gallon and eggs are around $2.50 for a dozen. But people who don't follow the food chain and how it goes from field to table don't understand that those dairy cattle are being fed corn that is selling for close to $5.50 a bushel, so feeding that herd of cattle is costly to the farmer. Then there's the cost of operating the dairy, including the milk truck who picks up the milk each day, the processing of the product, the transporting of said product to the grocery store and finally the product is put on the shelf for a consumer to purchase. How much of that investment does the farmer actually make? Not much.