Calving season finished up the first week in May and went fairly smoothly.

We have a few short ears from freezing temperatures, and one calf was saved because I put it on the heated floor in the shop. I thought it was a goner, but it still had some life in it when I found it. It recovered quickly but has very short ears and froze its hocks, and the skin on the hocks finally sloughed off. It seems to be doing fairly well but doesnít travel as well as the rest of our calves, but it has a good mother so it is growing.

We worked the calves the first weekend of May and got by without any accidents. We work the calves the old-fashioned way. We separate the calves from the cows then rope them from a horse by the back legs and drag them to the branding fire. Once there, two people on the ground hold them down while the calf is branded and vaccinated. This takes more helpers but we make it a social event. The high school boys like it, especially the noon feed. Then we put the cows out on the pastures. We have some grass growth from last fall but it will not be enough to hold the cows all summer. The bulls were put out June 26. Now we are praying for rain so we donít have to reduce numbers more.

The drought is very serious in western Kansas. We have had about 0.50 inch of rain in May and about that amount in April. As a result, hardly any dryland corn has been planted and those that did planted in dry soil and are hoping for rain. Some may plant milo if it rains and others are going to plant feed , trying to have enough to hang on to their cows. It is very hard to remain optimistic, but we are a day closer to that drought-busting rain. We had clouds build up today, but they went on east and produced some very severe weather. We do send out prayers to those that are in those areas. The irrigated corn is looking good but the wells are running constantly.

There will be wheat to cut, but it is thin and short. From the looks of things, it may be about half a crop. I sure hope I am wrong. It is headed in most places and filling. We are probably looking to harvest around the first of July.

We are ready to put down the first cutting of hay so that should make it rain! Everyone tells me to hurry up because they have been waiting long enough. I would rather get it baled and off the field before it rains, but at this point, I would sacrifice good hay for a good overall soaker.

On June 6, my wife, my younger daughter and I are embarking on a bicycle trip across Kansas with Bike Across Kansas. This will be my eighth time and my daughterís second. We are hoping we will be able to finish it. It is a diagonal route from Elkhart to White Cloud, covering 547 miles in eight days. My wife follows us along our route, bringing the camper we sleep in. This is quite a way to see the Kansas countryside and to experience small towns and the changing weather. There are approximately 800 riders of all ages from all over the United States and several foreign countries, with approximately 200 support people. I had the misfortune of getting bucked off a horse and breaking eight ribs last year, so I missed the trip.

Hopefully the next time I write, I can tell you the grass is knee high and we are plowing through the mud.