Saturday, April 19, 2014

Way To Go, Lucas

I met Lucas Criswell from Eastern Pennsylvania some years ago at a field day I was presenting near Hagerstown, Maryland.  Here he is being recognized as someone to follow.

"CEDAR FALLS — Farmers started the soil health movement that Ray Archuleta, a conservation agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, N.C., sees as the solution to energy, climate, air and water quality and human health issues.

"Farmers are learning to farm in nature's image, and they are healing the land," said Archuleta during a recent workshop at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He also gave the Shivvers Lecture at Iowa State University.
"No more diapers, no more bandaids," said Archuleta, who is known as the "Soil Guy." "The only way to heal the land is through understanding."

Archuleta said desperation led him to question if there wasn't a better way. He worked for the NRCS in Oregon, lived in Idaho and drove across the Snake River to work. He noticed that when farmers turned on the irrigation water every summer "that beautiful emerald river turned to chocolate."

"We were putting millions of dollars into conservation, and that river was still chocolate, and that bothered me, but what resonated even more was that I had a hard-working, frugal friend who farmed 600 acres of prime Idaho land, and he couldn't make it and bring his son into the operation."

When Archuleta started working on the NRCS Soil Health and Sustainability Team, he began to understand the problem. He wasn't taught the things he since has learned about soil health, and neither were most people who studied soils at universities."

We really need to think outside the box for maximum profit from maximum soil health.

Lucas is doing that.

Ed Winkle

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Legend Of The Weeping Willow Tree

A legend or fable is a story that doesn't pretend to be historical, but simply teaches a lesson.  The events surrounding the suffering and death of Christ gave rise to many legends.

The Legend of the Weeping Willow
Why does the weeping willow bend its branches and leaves downward?

According to one legend, the tree "weeps" because it was the tree upon which Judas hanged himself. 
Another legend says its branches were used by the soldiers to whip the imprisoned Jesus.

Even earlier people had viewed the weeping willow as a grieving tree because of Psalm 37: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.  There on the willow trees we hung up our harps."  Some scholars believe the trees were actually poplars.

"But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit."  Matthew 27:50

Life is usually pretty noisy but sometimes becomes deathly silent.  On this day in 2006, we were visiting LuAnn's parents near Naples, New York.  We had just laid down to sleep when our son Eric called and asked his mother if she was sitting down?  We had just went to bed so now she was sitting on the edge of the bed.

He said a terrible windstorm had come through at dark and he thought the garage was moved off its foundation.  He was living with us at the time as he was starting his career after college.  He said he had tried to lock the barn doors down but the wind sucked them right off the barn.  Was it a tornado we asked?

He didn't know.  The main thing was he was safe but had put himself in harm's way!  By this time we knew we couldn't sleep so we got dressed and drove all night to home.  We got to Martinsville about sunup and never saw anything until we ended Greene Road and State Route 28.  Limbs and wires were strewn everywhere, we knew it was a bad storm and were anxious about the damage.

We live one mile east of that intersection and when we pulled into the drive we saw the devastation.  The 26 foot beams on our front porch were blown off and wedged behind the wheels of his Dodge Dakota!  The garage was sitting 3 feet farther east, straddling the bushes beside it.  The garage contents including years of soil test records were strewn from the garage to the house across the road a half mile south of us.  Almost every bin and building suffered damage.  Shingles were scattered across the countryside.

All was still but 12 hours earlier was sheer turmoil.  It took me all summer and $30,000 to put the place back into original condition.  It was the Good Friday we will never forget.

Today on Good Friday all is quiet.  It sure wasn't eight years ago.  I imagine any weeping willow would have been pointing to the sky.

Ed Winkle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Corn Growing Moving To Canada

"The snow is piled waist-deep outside the Southern Manitoba Convention Centre as more than 400 farmers gather to consider the once-unthinkable: growing corn on the Canadian prairie.

At one end of the packed auditorium last month in Morris, home of the Red River Wild hockey club, an Ohio farmer brought in by DuPont Co. (DD) is making a presentation with a slide that reads “Ear Count 101.” At the other end, Deere & Co. is showing off tractors and other equipment from a booth while Daryl Gross explains planters and corn-dryers to curious men wearing seed caps.

“This is here to stay,” said Gross, who sells CNH Global NV tractors for Southeastern Farm Equipment Ltd. in nearby Steinbach. His customers are increasingly devoting acreage to corn. “There are a lot of guys who are experimenting with it and looking at it,” he said.

Corn is the most common grain in the U.S., with its production historically concentrated in a Midwestern region stretching from the Ohio River valley to Nebraska and trailing off in northern Minnesota. It had been ungrowable in the fertile farmland of Canada’s breadbasket. That is changing as a warming climate, along with the development of faster-maturing seed varieties, turns the table on food cultivation. The Corn Belt is being pushed north of what was imaginable a generation ago."

I've seen this shift over my lifetime and saw it first hand on our trip across Canada in 2012.  Corn and soybeans in Canada!

I wonder what other shifts we will see?

Ed Winkle

The only good pictures I have of the province is from a little farm museum we found on the TransCanada Highway because we drove through a horrible windstorm in August 2012 that nearly blew the slide in camper out of the pickup truck bed!  They better have some standability in that corn and alternative ways of harvesting corn, which they do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Land That Made Me, Me

A friend sent a poem written about us "baby boomers" who grew up in the 50's and 60's.  It is called The Land That Made Me Me.  It reminded me of where we came from and where we are today.  I am sure my grandfather could have written such a poem about his days, too.  I am also sure that my grand children could write a similar poem when they are my age.

That middle one when asked by her Great Uncle if she is the second of her family, she insisted than no, she is third!  She considers cousin Liam as her brother!  That is about the most adorable thing I ever heard from a child.

I had my six month checkup with my dentist this morning and couldn't get away.  Old Cliff wasn't busy and wanted to talk the day away.

About the Nevada takeover and how our country has went to hell
and if our farm has turkeys so he could shoot them like ringing a bell

And how do you make it farming with all the risk and such,
I said it keeps on ticking and what I do doesn't matter much.

But we both know we make an impact sometimes for good or bad,
And when we make bad decisions, isn't it just so sad.

Unless we learn from our mistakes and share our little good,
We can be the best guy around us or noted in the neighborhood.

"If you buy one of those million dollar combines that drives itself across the field,
I want to ride beside you so I can see the yield."

I said you won't be riding with me ole Cliff for that money never came,
But you can ride beside me anyway and see the yield the same.

My generation should be happy with all the things we got,
But it seems we're never happy whether we have it all or not.

Happiness is found in the simple things, green corn fields or a calf,
Mine is found in my grandchildren, especially when they laugh.

This land is filled with blessings, just look, they're all around,
But if you cannot see them, I pray for you right now.

Ed Winkle

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


"When I was in the USN I was stationed in Key West, FL. I worked at the clinic at Naval Air Station on Big Coppitt Key just a few mile north of Key West. The hospital at Key West was for out patient only for retired armed forces personnel that lived in the area. If you needed to be hospitalized you were sent to Homestead AFB Florida. I had the day off and just went inside the hospital(Corpman barracks were next to hospital). There was a retired navy man that worked in the lab and he was very interesting gentleman to talk with. He was a retired biochemist from the USN. he asked me what was going on that day and I  said I had the day off. I wish I was working as the crew on today was taking a sailor to Homestead as he had a very bad kidney infection.
Now this elderly gent told me the man should have eaten more asparagus and  he wouldn't have that problem. I asked why? I'll never forget him saying do you eat asparagus and I said yes, I love them.
He replied you notice how your urine stinks after eating asparagus? I said well I never thought it was what I ate but yes it does have a pungent odor. It is because it is detoxifying your body of harmful chemicals(toxins)!!!
This was back in 1986 when I was stationed there and to read this email again I had to share this story...Eat more asparagus my friends.
Asparagus -- Who knew?
My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus, pureed it and took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week.
Her oncologist said she will not need to see him for 3 months.

Several years ago I met a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a copy of an article, entitled "Asparagus For Cancer" printed in the Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health or over 50 years.
Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories.
Here are a few examples:
Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated.  Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.
Case No. 2, A successful businessman, 68 years old, suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years.  After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he began taking asparagus.  Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

Case No. 3, On March 5th 1971, a man who had lung cancer was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable.  The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August,
x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is now back at his regular business routine.
Case No. 4, A woman had been troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after beginning asparagus therapy, the skin specialist said her skin looked fine with no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which had started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus treatment.
I was not surprised at this result as `The elements of materia medica', edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania , stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates!
We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.
For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using. Fresh or canned asparagus can be used. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.

Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree. Store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening.
Patients usually show some improvement in 2-4 weeks.
It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink.
This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.
As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent.' Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner.  I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold.
For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.
As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.
Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance.
The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that  asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body's most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants."

I like these stories and some are just that, stories but we have been eating more asparagus lately and that one comment about your urine made me think!  One website also linked asparagus to gout symptoms so that sounded contradictory to me.

What do you think?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Pass Corn Herbicide

"In 67% of the trials, the highest corn yields were obtained with a two-pass program that consisted of a pre-emergence herbicide followed by a post-emergence herbicide. A one-pass post-emergence program that also contained a residual herbicide provided the highest corn yields in 28% of the trials, whereas in 5% of the trials a one-pass pre-emergence herbicide program provided the highest corn yields."

Even though I got a fall herbicide on and my fields are cleaner than ever, even my problem fields, I can lose yield with a one pass program.  I thought in the past I could do it with one pass but now with the evolution of weeds against how we've not treated them, tells me I need at least two passes in growing corn.  A timely post spray of the right herbicide can give corn a post as the exudates of the dying weeds are sent to the roots of the corn.

My goal is to do a better job of controlling weeds in my crop.  My heavy fertilizer program has made my soil a great place to grow many different kinds of plants and I am focusing on one crop in a field at a time.

I have fairly weed free soil today to produce a weed free crop this year but my post spray on the wheat and the burn down and pre emerge is critical to my spring planted crop.

I get a lot of good questions about rotating herbicides when the farmer as had success with one program for years but most of the understand they need to change the chemistry and maybe the timing to keep their crop ahead of the ever changing weed population we all have.

Everything I do today affects what I am going to have tomorrow and years down the road.

What are you doing differently this year?

My big change started last year and I see good results so far from that change.

Ed Winkle

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mercy From Percy

Percy Julian returned to DePauw University, where his reputation for inventing was established in 1935 by his synthesizing physostigmine from the calabar bean. Percy Julian went on to become director of research at the Glidden Company, a paint and varnish manufacturer. He developed a process for isolating and preparing soy bean protein, which could be used to coat and size paper, to create cold water paints, and to size textiles. During World War II, Percy Julian used a soy protein to produce AeroFoam, which suffocates gasoline and oil fires.

Percy Julian was noted most for his synthesis of cortisone from soy beans, used in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. His synthesis reduced the price of cortisone. Percy Julian was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 for his "Preparation of Cortisone" for which he received patent #2,752,339. Dr. Percy Lavon Julian was born on April 11, 1899, and died on April l9, 1975.U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater had this to say about Percy Julian:
  • "Those who had earlier sought to keep their slaves in chains were well aware of the threat education posed to their 'peculiar' institution. Consider what happened to the grandfather of Dr. Percy Julian, the great Black research chemist who, over his lifetime, was awarded 105 patents--among them a treatment for glaucoma and a low-cost process to produce cortisone.

  • When Percy Julian decided to leave Alabama to go to college in Indiana, his entire family came to see him off at the train station, including his ninety-nine year old grandmother, a former slave. His grandfather was also there. His grandfather's right hand was two fingers short. His fingers had been cut off for violating the code forbidding slaves to learn to read and write."
If it had not been for cortisone, I am not sure I would be here.  I had asthma so bad as a teen that those injections kept me alive.  My lungs would shut down from ragweeds.

Remember I said I hate ragweeds?  They actually nearly killed me.

God Bless Percy and all of the scientists like George Washington Carver, the inventor of peanut butter.  I think LuAnn would like thank him for that!

Ed Winkle