The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois in the way of faith, hope, and charity (I Corinthians 13).
I'm a hop'n everyone so inclined has prepared their hearts for the upcoming Good Friday and Easter weekend.
It is such a wonderful time to gather together with family and friends-at the same time celebrating the life of Christ and the grace offered to us.
Old folks never planned on much serious field work until after Easter weekend.
Come early or come late, somehow that event generally gauged the weather. Some have started field work already with much Anhydrous ammonia already applied this past week.
Last spring (08) I watched a farmer mud in his crops because the "calendar" dictated it was time to go.
On top of that, he was a little late in spraying his fields for weeds. Killed them dead when he did spray, but they had a good start before he got around to them. Needless to say, he was one of the few farmers last fall (08) complaining of disappointing yields.
Remember, the calendar knows nothing of soil condition. Just because it ticks off, that spring time is moving along at a rather progressive fashion, don't get nervous or excited. The soil will tell you when it is time to go.
An old Chinese proverb says, "Weather is not as important as good soil, and good soil is not as important as human harmony".
I'm still waiting on someone to invent, "blinders" for farmers. Just as blinders protected our horses, of years gone by, from getting spooked with their peripheral, blinders for farmers might help them from getting spooked from his neighbors' anxious activities.
Each farm has different soil types, drainage, and rainfall tolerances. Watch your farm for proper indicators on getting into spring field work.
One of the easiest ways to gamble is with a heavy tractor, spring tillage tool, planter and unsuitable soil condition.
You would be far better off to go to a Bingo night rather than trying a gamble on rushing the weatherman and soil. It will cost you a lot less.
For those young fathers with children at home yet this spring, I have some advice. "Many a man works hard and saves money so that his sons won't have the disadvantages that made a man of their father" (-Abraham Lincoln).
And, "Not to teach your son to work is like teaching him to steal!"
It is tax time for those who do not report as farmers. Jean-Baptiste Colbert said it best when it was stated, "The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest amount of hissing".
It has been said that April borrows 3 days from March, and they are all bad!
Have we had our three days yet? The old timers sometimes stated that a late spring is a great blessing. But then I guess they didn't have the large acreages we have today to work and plant, especially as spring follows a wet fall limiting field preparation.
For those who follow trees for their signs, remember this old saying, "If the ash leafs out before the oak, expect a wet season".
And, forget about the hedge tree leaves being the size of squirrels ears to begin planting. For the most part, with today's hybrids, your corn should be "up" by then.
It's coming close to cherry blossom time. Watch for that beautiful sight as weather permits. How many of you folks took advantage of Farm Kings 50th anniversary sale on fruit trees?
There was a $10.00 savings/discount on each tree. My friend Cornelius saved himself $120 on that sale and expanded his home orchard to 30 trees. Plum, apple, nectarine, peach, pear, cherries and apricot in various varieties, each wait their turn at summers enjoyment, and good friends and relatives will benefit from his foresightness.
He also planted blueberry and blackberry bushes as well. He claims he does this for succeeding generations, but I suspect he does this for some of his own enjoyment as well.
I myself have benefited by his wife's delicious pies and jams.
Carp, white bass, and large mouth bass are spawning now in cold northern streams. You should receive your fish orders from the Henderson-Warren Soil & Water Conservation Department on April 14th. If you missed the deadline, Crop Production Services and Farm King, as well as a few others are yet offering fish sales for that farm pond.
As you go about your spring work, remember to water yourself.
It is recommended for good health to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (1/2 gallon).
Water accounts for 85 percent of the brain, 78 percent of the blood, and 75 percent of the muscles. Water carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and helps convert food into energy.
Dehydration, it is stated, is a problem for 75 percent of Americans. What often feels like hunger pangs is actually thirst.
For those with "Over the winter weight blues", drinking water boosts metabolism while lessening food cravings.
Dehydration is the chief contributor to daytime fatigue.
Most people who suffer from back and joint pain, find relief if they drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.
And to keep mental faculties sharp-memory, computation, mental focus-stay hydrated.
To quote W. H. Auden - "Thousands have lived without love, not one without water".
During this season of Easter lilies, here is some advice for those who love their cats.
Cats that ingest any part of an Easter lily (or another member of the lily family) can develop kidney damage within hours, so keep those Easter lilies out of reach. If your cat nibbles a lily, call your vet right away!
For those of you that are hard-boiled egg fans for those Easter egg hunts, here's a hint from Mrs. Bruke.
You can prevent hard-boiled eggs from cracking while cooking by bringing refrigerated eggs to room temperature and gently easing them into boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes then cool immediately in cold water.
If you can't remember which eggs you've boiled, here's a rule of thumb. Gently spin the egg on the counter. If the egg spins easily, it is cooked. If it wobbles and stops, its raw. If it hits the floor: well, you'll know.
The wisdom of Barnyard, says its better to mark the eggs after you boil them.
Have fun this weekend with the chillens and grandchillens.
Remember people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold-but so does a hard-boiled egg.
Keep on smile'n!
Catch ya later,