Filed under: cars, church, Farm Bureau, Politicians, travel | Tags: cars, D.C., Farm Bureau, machines, politics, POTUS, presidential motorcade, travel, washington national cathedral
Whenever you visit Washington D.C. you hope for a sighting of the President. Needless to say very few do catch sight of him without a planned event invitation. Our Farm Bureau members could not get that far. I’ve heard stories of close and unplanned sightings of presidents of the past. There are those who saw a president several years ago at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, popularly known as Washington National Cathedral. Or story of the jogger who would see a former president out for an early morning round on the National Mall, and found himself face down in the grass when he reached for a camera. Most people in D.C. will never get close enough to be sure he is even there. Our encounter was not even close, but we know he was there.
During our week in D.C. President Obama was actively out visiting with senators and representatives to get something going on a budget and get the “sequester” settled. That meant a presidential motorcade. We were walking back to our hotel after one of our meetings one afternoon when we noticed that the street was strangely bare of all but police cars. No one was even being allowed to cross the street on foot. Thencame several motorcycle cops, a whole string of black limos and some black suburbans, what looked like a armored Hummer, an ambulance and then more police, and it was over.
There were some squealing girls across the street who thought they saw Obama through the car window, but I never saw him. Security was impressive, those folks know what they are doing. It’s no wonder that it is cheaper for the president to fly in a helicopter than drive.
So, no visit with the POTUS, just a few pictures of the motorcade driving by.
Filed under: church, family, Farm, friends, time, travel | Tags: blog, books, children, church, computer, family, farm, friends, reading, travel, writing, writing a blog
Driving down the road I think of some great story I would like to write, and then I forget it when I get to the computer. I miss a lot of stories I want to tell you all, I could tell them to you if I sat at my computer all day, or maybe not. An interesting life, and interesting stories come from getting out into the world and living it. After nearly 60 years of living life on the farm I have some interesting ones.
Opinions, I’ve got them. You don’t spend your life doing the many things I have done and not develop a few opinions. I miss telling you my opinion on many things because I’m not sitting at my computer all day. I’d love to sit here and tell you my opinion of everything, start me off.
My kids tell me I spend too much time on the computer writing blogs or reading facebook. The thing is that after the years I have spent, the need to get out and earn a living for a growing family is not as great. I’m not well off, but I am comfortable so I don’t need to be accumulating things. I live life a bit more simply than many and am content. I write what I want, when I want.
You’d never know it, but I hated writing in high school. My wife says my writing still leaves a lot to be desired. I still need to read and reread my writing to be sure I’m getting my point across, and I still mess up. I do enjoy reading, and rarely do not have a book that I am in the middle of, or several magazines that I am reading. I still prefer the old-fashioned paper book. I’ve read most of the ones in my library many times, they are old friends.
My family takes some time also. Three kids, two of them married, two grand daughters, a wife, parents, in-laws, sisters and their children, cousins, aunts and uncles, they all take up my time. Then there are activities with friends to attend. They also help provide stories to write about.
We love to travel, and I have been blessed to have traveled most of this country and several others. It can really crimp your writing time if you are on the road.
During the cropping season I am especially busy, and now record keeping and tax preparation will be taking up some of my time. I also have church and organizations that I belong which keep me busy, and provide more stories.
My life would be a lot more boring if I sat at my computer all day. Not only that, but I would have a lot less to write about. So I guess you are just going to have to miss out on some of those stories I could have written, if they were good enough, they will come back again anyway. In the mean time, I’ll be out living life, so I have some more stories to write about for you.
Filed under: charity, Christmas, church | Tags: charity, Christmas, church, shepherds
On this day we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world. His birth was announced not to priests or government officials, but to shepherds. Poor, simple hill folk who did not go to church all that often since they had work to do every day. Because they could not make it to church they were despised by those in power. They were looked down upon and marginalized. Now isn’t that interesting.
The next time you look at someone with scorn, the next time you feel better than someone, remember that Christ’s birth was not announced to those such as you, he came first to the downtrodden, the marginalized, the scorned. Christ came not to those in the church, but to those who were outside, left out, lonely. If Christ were alive today would he come to you?
Filed under: charity, church, family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Politicians, Politics | Tags: civics lesson, family, farm, Farm Bureau, regulations, rules, u s constitution
Well, it seems our President has stepped into a real storm after he O.K.ed a Department of Health and Human Services regulation requiring all employers to cover contraceptives, including those that act as abortifacients and surgical sterilization. To say the least the Catholic Church, and its hospitals, schools and charities, is not happy, and they are not the only ones. We are now faced with another example of a regulatory agency in the Executive branch going much further than the actual law passed by the Legislative branch.
So here’s a little Civics lesson to help you understand what is happening here. When laws need to be changed the Legislative branch, the House and Senate, write a law and pass it. The Executive branch of our government, the President and his cabinet, plus all of the regulatory agencies they control, is charged with enforcing these laws. A law means nothing if it is not enforced by the Executive branch of government. It is the job of the courts, the Judicial branch of our government, to decide if the law or regulation is really legal. The Judicial branch of our government can overturn any law or regulation, but they cannot make or enforce a law. The Judicial branch has final say on fines and imprisonment of any person or group for breaking the law, but they can do nothing if the Executive branch, or the people of our country, does not bring the case before them.
In many cases the Executive branch of our government can make regulations that “interpret” the law in a different way than the Legislature ever intended. It is then the job of our Judicial system to bring the Executive branch back in line. In this case, the Judicial branch will spank the fingers of the Executive branch for pushing too far. The same is true when the Legislative branch passes a law that is not in line with the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
Currently, we in Agriculture are also fighting rule making that just does not make sense. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sought to bring forth a regulation that would control dust. Thus all levels of government would have to either pave over all gravel or dirt roads, or enforce 10 mph speed limits to keep down dust. Ranchers whose cattle raise too much dust in dry months would be subject to fines, and farmers would be forced to eliminate the dust created when they planted or harvested their fields. This regulation would have cost governments and rural residents billions, but the EPA cannot consider the cost of its regulations when it makes a rule.
Currently there is a battle between food producers and the EPA that would require all businesses in the Chesapeake Bay area to a pile of paperwork concerning discharge of pollutants into the bay, even if the EPA had already previously declared that they were not discharging anything.
The Government is currently considering passing regulations that would regulate all water, from the smallest puddle in your driveway, to the water you use to water your house plants and pets. Do they really need to micromanage that far?
A recent regulation has drawn the ire of farm country when the ruling would have prevented children from any kind of work for parents or any other family member. One of the primary ways that families have to pass on their work ethic was in danger.
The cost of democracy is constant vigilance. We need to be watching our government agencies to make sure that they do only the things we want them to. Groups such as the Farm Bureau, the Better Business Bureau and the AARP are helping us keep watch on our government. When they need our help, be sure you answer the call.
Filed under: charity, church, family, Minnesota, Music | Tags: children, Christ, family, God, hymn, Minnesota, politics, South Africa, southwestern minnesota, welcome
I was raised in a house and a church where all were welcome. Because of that I still have no problems with hosting and talking to people of different backgrounds and beliefs. I have been known to avoid conflict with those who are “intense” in their belief and have a hard time understanding those who call “hateful” anyone who does not believe exactly what they believe. Because of my beliefs and upbringing I was really shocked when I heard of a church group that was banning the hymn “All Are Welcome” from their church.
When our church home suffered a fire and was a year in rebuilding, we used this hymn as a promise of what we were doing and what was to come. When I traveled to South Africa a year ago with a group from Southwestern Minnesota, we used this hymn as a bridge between cultures and a promise of unity for all believers. I have used the sentiments of this hymn to argue for the inclusion of women as pastors and the inclusion of gay/ lesbian members of our community into our church. I am a firm believer that all are welcome in Christ’s church.
My firm belief is founded in the actions of Christ himself. When Jesus walked this earth he was not found with the churchgoing folks of his time, but with those most reviled and downcast. He walked with the lepers and ate with prostitutes. He called the tax collector, fisherman, prostitute and all others who were not welcome in the church of his day to follow him.
It is hard to be all welcoming. As fallen creatures we are prone to want to be with those who are most like us, especially if we are living comfortable lives. We separate into “us and them” groups to help ourselves cope with the hugeness of differences in this world. To welcome all would make us feel less important. Some do manage to live out their lives with their warped convictions intact, others do not.
When I was growing up, I remember an individual who was constantly voicing their feelings about those they despised the most. The rants about the divorced, those living together without being married and above all gay/lesbian people were frequent. For this individual, karma is a bitch. As their children grew up, one married a divorced person, another moved in with a person of the opposite gender and never married, and the last has come out of the closet as gay/lesbian. They were taught one relationship at a time to love those they had once despised.
The lessons we are taught are not always that personal. I do indeed hope that you are not so warped to be one of the haters in this world. We are called to live in a world of God’s grace, God’s inclusiveness. How can we love God and His son Jesus if we are not welcoming to all. I’m going to end with the first verse from the hymn “All Are Welcome” by Marty Haugen, I encourage you to look up the hymn and check out the other verses as you contemplate your place in God’s world.
“Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live, a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions; All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.”
Filed under: church, family | Tags: baptism, children, family, grandchildren
We started out 2012 with rain, ice and snow. It was really not a nice morning, but the weather was the least of our worries. We had places to go.
It was a big day for our family as we baptized Allison and Katelyn, our twin granddaughters. They are getting so big and are really growing. It was a lot of fun to have so much family there at church and then later at Paul and Jeni’s house. Here’s a few pictures for you to see a bit of the day.
The girls were all dressed up in new gowns crafted from parts of their mother’s wedding dress.
Sponsors for the twins were the sisters of mom and dad, and their spouses.
Not only were grand parents there, but five of their great grandparents. It was a very special day for all. What a way to start out the new year.
Filed under: charity, Christmas, church, family, friends, Holidays, travel | Tags: children, complaints, discontent, Food, friends, simple life, simple man, stuff, travel
I recently heard reports of the tweets of discontent this holiday season. People were tweeting each other about what they didn’t get for Christmas, or of the things they did get that were not right. I have also heard reports of how much parents are spending on children for Christmas presents, I am shocked. Why do we spend so much? Why are we so discontented? I don’t understand.
Now to be fair, I’ve never wanted for material things in my life. True, I didn’t always have what I wanted, but I always had what I needed. My parents, while not really rich had enough to live and travel well, we worked hard and always had what we really needed, and I was raised to appreciate what I had. Because of that, my tastes are simple. I’ve got a job, make that several jobs, that supply me with what money I need, a much better wife than I deserve, and three children who are now supporting themselves. I consider that a success. I have books to read, friends to visit with and a church and community that I enjoy, all things that I consider worth while.
When I hear people complain about not having the right smart phone, the right color whatever, the best food, I do not understand. Perhaps because of my reading and travels, I know that we have it really nice with our good enough cars, phones and house. I’ve seen and worked with so many that have so much less than I do, and are content. I’ve visited with many who have so much more, and are less happy than I am. I’ve learned that money does not bring happiness, but more worries. I’ve learned that having things doesn’t bring contentment, but a desire to have more and better things. I’ve learned that having just enough, is so nice.
Yep, I’m a simple man. Yes, I enjoy good things, but get no more happiness out of eating a $50 meal than I do a $5 one. My phone is just smart enough to allow me to answer calls where ever I happen to be, and survive the abuse I give it. My home is rather medium in size for our area, nicely decorated and comfortably furnished. I’ve got a bunch of books to read, and re read, a few movies and more than enough TV sets. My wheels are not that old, but not that new either. I live just well enough for me, thank you.
There is a song I am remembering about a simple man, it pretty well sums up my feelings about life. You’ll have to update a few things for today, but it fits: ”I got a hump back mule, a plow and a tater patch, eggs that are gonna hatch someday, I got the Lord above and a good gal that loves me, I’m the richest man in the world.”
Filed under: church, Fall, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, repairs, Soybeans, weather, wind | Tags: farm, fire, harvest, machines, Minnesota, repairs, Soybeans, wind
I finished combining soybean field number three today, that leaves one to go. If everything hangs together we will be finished on Wednesday.
It has been quite a harvest. We started harvest on Thursday due to the unexpected arrival of our local tree service. I had called him earlier about some trees that were in the wrong place. He removed branches that were hanging over buildings and several dying trees that I did not want to tackle because of their location, trees dropped on houses and other buildings are not appreciated. We most likely got a two day late start on soybean harvest because of his arrival.
Thursday was a VERY windy day. We had sustained winds of over 30 mph with gusts exceeding 50 mph. As I am working I see what seem to be fires both east and west of me. When I checked my facebook page that night I find that two of my fb friends had fires in their fields. One fire was most likely started by spark from a combine, the other was sparked when the combine caught fire. There were so many fires in the area that all fire crews were out several times Thursday. It was not a day to fight a fire. The winds made the fire move fast, and gave plenty of air to really make for some big fires.
The newer diesel engines have extremely hot exhaust systems. They heat the exhaust up to make sure that all of the pollutants are fully burned. Unfortunately when the wind blows dry plant material onto exhaust systems that are over 1000 degrees a fire can start instantly. To see pictures of new combines turned to junk is very upsetting. These new machines can cost over $400,000. That is a very significant loss of money and harvest time.
Luckily my problems this week were smaller. That twisted piece of metal in the picture above is the divider that should keep the soybeans from messing up the end of the sickle on my combine. A 2X2 channel iron broke off right at the hinge and twisted the remaining pieces that were still holding on to the combine head. That meant that the first order of business after church this morning was to straighten and weld the pieces. By 3 we had the iron all put back into almost perfect order and could finish the field we had started Saturday.
Soybean yields have so far been better than expected. We’ll see if that translates over to the corn as well.
Tomorrow morning I make a trip to pick up parts, little things that keep breaking but do not significantly affect the performance of the combine, then we get the machine ready for the last field of soybeans. Fingers crossed, here we go.
Filed under: church, Minnesota, repairs | Tags: church, repairs, volunteer
When you think of doing work for your church you do not always think of the repairs and building projects that get done by volunteers. This is a volunteer week for me and many others at our church.
Yesterday I took my chainsaws to church to cut a branch that was in the wrong place. When I got part way through the branch it broke off. The middle of the branch was rotten! It was indeed time to cut that branch.
I was just starting to think the evening was going to be slow when Kelly called me to say the fence for the parsonage was ready. Could I come and help him? So I grab the truck and some tools to spend my evening putting up a fence.
It started with just the two of us, but as the evening went on we had six of us working on the fence.
Having Kelly there with his post hole digger really helped speed the job along.
Some of the fence had been installed years ago to create a bit of privacy. Now with a busy preschooler in the parsonage Pastor Jay requested that we enclose some of the yard.
Now with a complete fence we can call this job done.
Church jobs are not done for the week. We have a parking lot to seal the cracks on and a parsonage to shingle. I’m going to have a busy week.
Filed under: church, family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, Politics, Trees, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, children, farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, music, spring, weather
The calender has turned over to March and every day has the hope of warmer weather. Snow can even melt when the air temperature is under freezing if the sun is out. March does not mean I’m any less busy.
I was just at the monthly Farm Bureau meeting as we talked about activities for the month. This is going to be a busy one.
March 12 is our communities Farm and Home show. Since I on the committee that is sponsoring it, I’ll be there to set up and tear down. I’ll also be manning a booth for the Farm Bureau there.
March 15 we join other county Farm Bureau’s as we go to St. Paul for our day talking to legislators. With so few people still tied to the farm it becomes even more important to make our presence felt. There are several groups who are trying to change the way that food is grown in the U.S. and if we don’t keep telling our story, they’ll tell a story that is not us. If you can join us please contact me for information.
We have a major statewide membership drive planned for later this month. We have several incentives for members to get out and recruit, including the chance to go to a Twins game. If you a wondering what Farm Bureau can do for you, i’d like to talk to you.
That’s just the Farm Bureau things I have. I also have a sump pump to put into the basement along with a tile line to lay, play practice, perhaps snow removal and hopefully if the snow goes away, some wood to cut for next winter. Then there are a few church meetings and our barbershop chorus practice. Hmm. Guess I’d better get going.