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A summer of change

Agriculture.com Staff 07/20/2006 @ 12:45pm

This has become a month of many emotions here at Sunrise Acres. As I write this, funeral services are being planned for my brother, Larry. Our families will gather to celebrate the life of a man who touched many lives with his unselfish acts of kindness to friends, family, and strangers. He served his country with two tours of duty in Vietnam, and, with the help of his loving wife Loyce, raised four great kids on a small farm near Wilder.

But, to me personally he was my big brother who never was too busy to talk and was always generous to others with his time and talents. We will all miss his patient smile and his gentle touch.

Ironically, the same day as Larry's passing, we celebrated the birthday of our oldest son Tom. The wonder of life's turns is also in the fact that our daughter, Jill, and her husband Bob are expecting their firstborn any day. It truly has been a month of emotional highs and lows.

It is hard to focus on the details of the farm while these events take place, but everything keeps moving whether or not we are ready. Our second cutting of hay has cured quickly in this week of high temperatures and will be baled and stacked before weeks' end. The winter wheat is ripe and hopefully will be combined this week also. It looks promising, although some windy days during the last irrigation caused some lodging to take place and may reduce the yield and quality. Our unplanned crop of Canadian thistle is also doing well and will take some special treatment to halt its spread next year. It seems as though that our irrigation water brings with it a multitude of new weeds each year.

Speaking of irrigation, our pasture pumping system is nearly finished. With the help of Jerry Germain of Germain Excavation, a bubbler/pump sump was installed on the bank of our drain ditch. This structure will be used to screen the trash and weed seeds pumped with the water from our drain ditch, then a second pump will pressurize the water in an underground main line. It will then be delivered to handlines and, hopefully someday, wheel lines. With a little more plumbing and some concrete to hold the structure in place, our pasture will soon receive a welcome drink of water.

And best of all, the pasture will be evenly watered whether the gophers like it or not! Our old inefficient dirt ditch was always prone to the destruction of those little *$%# pests. As a side benefit, Johnny will now get to perfect his technique of changing pipe. There is nothing like moving sprinkler pipe to get you thinking about what you really want to do when you get out of school. Carol and I often think about the names of the kids who used to move lines for us over the years. Many of them have great success in their chosen careers in part due to the discipline and hard work it took to move pipe in the morning's cold dew and the evening's high humidity. Moving sprinkler pipe truly builds muscle, character, and a desire to do something else!

At Agri-Lines this month our focus is starting to turn to fall projects. I have really appreciated the help I have received from everyone at work to overcome the injury I incurred a while back, fracturing an ankle during a fire training exercise with the Wilder Fire Department. This has made it very difficult to carry anything, survey, be helpful -- you get the picture. Now it is time to get back out in the field and get going again. This hot weather really puts a strain on pumps and patience. A lot of my calls lately have been emergency pump replacements as old, tired pumps give up. Crops don't care whether it's Sunday or a holiday; they want water now.

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