Thursday, March 25, 2021

Class Use

Sometimes when sitting in a classroom and being stuck at school for hours, I often wonder when will I ever use this in real life in the future? I am usually thinking this halfway through a super hard math class or a confusing chemistry lesson.

Recently in my senior physics class, we were assigned a project to design and build a bridge out of a handful of pieces of various sizes of Balsa wood. Everyone in the class was given the same amount. It is part of a contest to see who can design and build the best bridge that can hold the most weight based on the weight of each individual bridge.

For the past couple of weeks I have put my woodworking hat on and started to design my bridge, along with the help of my dad and brothers of course. Everyone has their own idea, which they think is going to be great. My oldest brother especially thinks his ideas are amazing because he did one similar to it back when he was in high school. I do not know how much to trust his judgment however, because his bridge broke and did not hold a lot of weight. My grandpa has even offered his advice informing me that it would be extremely strong if I were to sneak a piece of metal between the wood. That however, would be frowned upon and be considered cheating on the assignment, but I know he’s right!

We are trying to design a bridge like a piece of strong farm equipment. Specifically like the beam of a head trailer that must support it for long transports or the beam of a planter to hold dry fertilizer, insecticide, and seed. From operating the grain cart last fall, a few of our fields have a bridge that I often say a quick prayer before crossing with a heavy load. I realize how important a good heavy bridge really is.

After countless designs were sketched, the perfect one was finally drawn. I did not realize how many other class subjects were used to create this one bridge. I had to use a lot of math. I had to measure angles, ensure my bridge will meet the height and width requirements, and calculate the perfect length to connect the pieces of wood. I used woodworking when cutting the pieces and countless other skills. It also made me realize how many skills farmers use daily while on the farm. They use a lot of math to calculate the perfect feed ration recipe. They also use math to calculate yields and see if they made a profit and they use mechanical and engineering skills when fixing machinery, especially now as they are gearing up for spring. Much to my surprise, farmers even use physics.

Farmers use a lot of different skills and do so many things involving math and chemistry. They do in fact use what I am learning in school each day. Now, whenever I ask myself when I am ever going to use this in my future? I know that there is a huge chance I will probably use it down the road. This is a good reminder to stop staring at the clock and waiting for the bell to ring. While I am anxiously counting down the days until graduation, I still need to focus on what is happening in front of me, even if that means waiting for the glue to dry on my cool new bridge. ~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Off Season

It is technically the off-season for farmers right now. They are not in the fields at the moment to plant or to harvest. They spend most of the winter in the shop working on various things around the farm and getting things ready for springtime. I have always wondered when do farmers go to the doctor? If you do tell them they should go see a doctor they always quickly reply with the famous saying their pain is a long way from the heart or I’ll just rub some dirt on it. Farmers are always waiting until the last possible minute to head to the doctor or they just avoid it all entirely. However, when it comes to their machinery they will never miss a check-up on that. Even with a little minor hiccup or error code they immediately send it to the “doctors” to get checked out. That office appointment is made in their own shop or at the dealers.

They pull it straight into the shop and put it on the operating table. Meaning the hood is popped up and the toolbox is right at the farmer’s side, ready to be used at any moment. Farmers also make sure their machinery attends every regular check up. Meaning always checking or changing the oil or having a tire appointment to change the tires. Right now spring machinery is in the shop getting checked up on making sure everything is ready come go time.

Next time you have a farmer that doesn’t want to go to the doctor or uses the line it’s a long way from the heart. Remind them of their machinery check-up. Ask them if their tractor had a low back tire would they still just say well it’s a long way from the engine so don’t worry about it? Or would they take it to the doctor’s office, the farm shop, to get fixed?

Good luck, getting your farmer to the doctor for a tune-up, but maybe after reading this it will be easier. However, I hope all of our farmers stay happy and healthy because spring is almost knocking on our door and we must be ready to go.

- Kesley Holdgrafer


These last couple of weeks have been extremely busy for most people. For seniors the beginning of March means deadlines for many scholarship opportunities. For most farmers it means it’s time to sign and file the dreadful but necessary paperwork for taxes. After a long day of work a quick power nap always seems to be the best kind of medicine. However, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to take a nap when you are extremely busy. Well I have the perfect solution.

Monday, March 15th is National Napping Day. This day is the perfect excuse to curl up in a recliner or couch with your favorite blanket, hopefully with the warm sun shining through the window and take a nice long nap. Who doesn’t love a good nap? This day was created on the day after the return of Daylight Savings Time and it is supposed to give people an opportunity to catch up on that hour of sleep they lost. I honestly wish this day was everyday because I love a good refreshing nap.

My brother Luke also loves a good nap. He is the only one I know who can fall asleep in the most uncomfortable positions such as in the buddy seat of a tractor while planting and not wake up when the tractor hits a big bump. I don’t know how his neck can take all that head bobbing! Most farmers are up bright and early working and often up late at night still doing chores, so they love to get in a good nap whenever they can, especially now before crazy spring hours begin. Sometimes farmers get in a quick nap after their morning chores. They come in to get warmed up saying they will go back out in five minutes, but soon they are passed out on the couch snoring away. Before they know it they have been asleep for over an hour past the time they wanted to go back out. They can even catch a quick nap while sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. We think he is reading until his snore gives him away. I am more of a recliner or couch napper, preferably with a cozy blanket to snuggle with. My Dad designed our house specifically for warm winter naps as the sun shines brightly in our large living room windows to the South and West. That warm winter sunshine is perfect for napping. It’s officially calving season and you know who also loves naps, newborn calves. Nothing beats watching a newborn calf taking a nap . They look so peaceful all wrapped up in the deep cornstalk bedding.

As we all spring forward soon, I hope you also get a chance to celebrate National Napping Day on March 15th. Just remember to brush your bedhead and wipe the slobber from your chin before heading back out to work!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer