Tag: 071013

Knee High in July?

The phrase, “knee-high by the fourth of July” was used as a measuring stick to predict a successful corn crop at a time when harvesting 40 bushels an acre was the standard. Today, with yields approaching 200 bushels on that same acre, corn is typically chest-high this time of year.
The dramatic increase in productivity is due to the increased mechanization, use of fertilizer and pesticides, and changes in corn-breeding techniques that have occurred, for the most part, since the Second World War. Better genetics make the days of knee-high corn in early July long gone, said Forrest Troyer, an adjunct professor of crop sciences at the University of Illinois.
“We’ve made it much more stress tolerant,” he said.
Enter 2013, a spring and early summer filled with record high levels of rainfall on the heels of severe drought conditions that plagued the 2012 growing season. With a few weeks of drier conditions, the outlook for crops has improved significantly, according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey.
Warmer and mostly drier conditions during the week ending June 30, 2013 allowed Iowa farmers to near completion of corn and soybeans planting, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Moisture levels for both topsoil and subsoil saw movement from the surplus rating into the adequate rating. Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 33 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus.
With 99 percent of the corn crop in the ground, Iowa farmers have virtually wrapped up planting. Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has emerged, about 3 weeks behind normal. The warmer weather helped the condition of corn and the good to excellent rating increased 3 percentage points from last week. Corn condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 44 percent good and 13 percent excellent. Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop has been planted, about two weeks later than it normally takes soybeans to reach that mark. Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop has emerged; 8 percentage points behind the five-year average.
Soybeans also benefitted from the warmer weather, with condition ratings improving slightly, to 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 45 percent good and 11 percent excellent.
Farmers continued to make good progress harvesting alfalfa, and the 1st cutting of alfalfa now stands at 89 percent complete, 2 percentage points ahead of normal. Hay condition was rated at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 54 percent good and 16 percent excellent. Pasture and range conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 48 percent good and 24 percent excellent.
 
2013 CORN CROP – There is a significant variance in the maturity of corn plants throughout the state, as illustrated by these corn fields north of La Porte City. Because of the record-setting spring and early summer rainfall, some farmers were not able to plant their fields until mid to late June. Photo by Mike Whittlesey.
 

Hawkins Library to Host Janice Abel Booksigning

Brass Notes Over Wolf Creek is about a summer when eleven year old Jen turns from Uncle Sam filled with patriotism and loyalty to Rosie the Riveter filled with new hope and self-reliance.  Summer 1945, Wolf Creek, Iowa.  Jen tries to understand a war a world away at the same time caught in a war all her own when she faces unexpected prejudices and finds her peer relationships falling apart.
“How a little girl makes a difference in her community during World War II delivers for both adults and youth. Adults will relish the details of the time: youth will relate to Jen and her friends as they struggle with issues youth face yet today.” From Carol Bodensteiner, author of Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl.
Brass Notes Over Wolf Creek, the newly released book by Janice Abel, will be featured on Wednesday, July 17, at 6 PM, with an author book talk and signing at Hawkins Memorial Library. Brass Notes is the author’s salute to childhood and community life in rural America. It is an earthy story that is a departure from Janice’s usual fantasy writing. This book has a lot of her childhood fictionalized as she shares how it felt growing up in La Porte City during World War II.  This is a wonderful book for young readers.
Books will be for sale at the special price of $6.99, with a portion of the sales benefiting the library. Also available will be the author’s book Dream Shifters, eight fantasy stories that will take your breath away. Additionally, Janice is giving a free copy of her book The Little White Christmas Horse with the purchase of either of her other books.
Please join friends at the library for a wonderful evening of history and stories, and bring a friend or two.

Disaster Assistance Grants Available in Select Counties

Operation Threshold is now accepting applications for the Iowa Disaster Individual Assistance Grant Program. As a result of the flooding in May and June, Governor Branstad declared a State of Disaster Emergency for Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Grundy counties.  Therefore, households in those counties may be eligible for the Iowa Disaster Individual Grant Program.
Persons whose belongings were damage by the flood waters may be eligible for assistance replacing some items and/or assistance with temporary housing. Homeowners whose home was damaged by the flooding may also be eligible for assistance with structural repairs.  Proof of flood damage or damage inspections may be required.
In order to be eligible, households must be earning at or below 200% of the Federal poverty level or involved in a DHS or some Operation Threshold programs. Time is limited, and households must apply by July 16, 2013.
The application is currently available on the DHS website.  Or, for more information, please contact the following:
Black Hawk County: (319) 291-2065
Buchanan County: (319) 334-6081
Grundy County: (319) 824-3460

Hunting South Africa: A Bowhunting Journal

Last Week: Double Lung Archery’s Dave Stueve is joined by his girlfriend, Tammy, and bowhunting safari client, Corey, for a five day hunt in South Africa. Failing to bag any trophies on the first full day of hunting, the group devises a new plan for day two.
The new plan for our second day of hunting has Corey continuing to hunt with Willim, a professional hunter. Tammy is going with Charl and I will be hunting with Solly.
I feel like I’ve been fired! I really wanted to be Tammy’s guide, but I know with only three days left we need to up our game, as well as our odds. Splitting up will help shift the odds in our favor. I also know Tammy is in good hands and will be less nervous if I am not around her.
As we sit by the fire, Erika grills chicken to go along with potato salad with bacon and cheese in it, broccoli, cauliflower and beets. Of course, none of the icky stuff makes it onto my plate, Erika knows me well! I ask her about the potato salad, as I have never had it with bacon in it. She said, “I put everything that is awesome in my potato salad.”  I agree. It was really good!
We sit by the fire a bit and then turn in for the night. Tomorrow our luck has to turn!
Tuesday
I sleep in, waiting until 5 AM to rise and greet the day. After a shower, I get the camp fire going again and do some writing in my journal while Tammy has her morning coffee. Following an omelet breakfast, we head out.
We drop Corey and Willim off first, then me. I wish Tammy good luck and get in the hide. Today I am hunting with Solly. Within minutes we have warthogs coming in, but none are big enough. Then, here come the baboons. They hang around a while, barking at us. Baboons  always know you are there. A lone jackel comes to the water, but he is in the only spot you can’t get a shot. Lucky dog there.
A big warthog boar finally shows up. While he is drinking, he does not offer me a shot. He then moves to our right, stopping at about 28 yards. I have the video camera on him and take the shot. It’s a hit! Off into the bush he goes. We call for the trackers. First to arrive are Charl with Tammy, who has already shot an impala today! It’s her first Africa kill and only her second bow kill ever! I am so proud and happy for her! Charl and Solly go after my warthog, as I listen to Tammy tell me about her hunt. We hear the loud BANG of Charl’s rifle. I guess my shot wasn’t as good as I thought.  We soon get word on the radio from Pat that my hog is down. Cool! Both Tammy and me get one today! I am hoping Corey is having some luck, as well.
While we get pictures taken of us with my warthog, Tammy mentions that this will be the first picture of us. We have been together over two years and have lots of photos of each other, but none with both of us in the picture. Pretty cool first picture of us, if you ask me!
Off to the skinning shed we go! There is Tammy’s impala! After I tell the skinners we are going to do skull mounts of both, they get to work. These will be the first mounts I have brought back from South Africa. I want Tammy to have mounts of her first Africa trip, and if we are going to do any, we might as well do them all. Back at camp I get to see the pictures of Tammy with her impala.  She is one very happy girl!
When Corey and Willim get back to camp, we find out Corey did not shoot anything today. He saw some animals but is holding out for BIG ones.
Wednesday
With only two days left of our hunt, we decide to streamline things a bit. I will be hunting with Joseph, one of Pat’s men. That will leave Solly available at a moment’s notice to help recover animals. Joseph is a quiet, very nice young man. He can’t be more than 18 or so. The first to be dropped off, I wish the others good luck and get in the hide.
By noon, we have seen all kinds of animals but nothing I am after. We see warthogs, waterbucks, kudu, baboons, impala, eland and a really nice nyala that I thought about shooting but held off, not knowing what Tammy was shooting. Nyala isn’t on my list for this hunt anyway, so I let him walk.
No shots for me today. We get picked up at 5:30 to find out Tammy got a Warthog! Way to go Tammy!  Her Elite Hunter bow did the job! They tell me that Corey is also on the board with a very nice impala! Great news all around!
“While we get pictures taken of us with my warthog, Tammy mentions that this will be the first picture of us.” Photo courtesy of Dave Stueve.

Practical Money Matters – July 10, 2013

By Jason Alderman
Don’t Get ‘Spoofed’ by Rogue Callers
When caller ID first arrived on the scene it seemed like a godsend to many people.Now you could easily identify who was on the line and ignore unwanted calls, whether from telemarketers, an ex-boyfriend or an unfriendly collection agency.
But as often happens, unscrupulous individuals soon began manipulating the technology to defraud people by pretending to be someone else. Their scheme is called “caller ID spoofing” and disturbingly, it’s perfectly legal in many cases.
Here’s how caller ID spoofing works and what precautions you should take to avoid being victimized:
For a very low cost, businesses and individuals can use widely available caller ID spoofing software to generate calls that alter the telephone number and/or name which appear on the recipient’s caller ID screen.
Police, private investigators and collection agencies have used legal spoofing services for many years. Others who might have a legitimate reason to hide their identity when making a call include domestic violence victims and doctors returning patient calls who don’t wish to release their private telephone numbers.
Beyond that, the lines of legality begin to blur. The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 prohibits anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Violators can be penalized up to $10,000 for each infraction. Unfortunately, such penalties haven’t dissuaded many scammers.
One common scam involves spoofers pretending to represent a bank, government agency, insurer, credit card company or other organization with which you do business. They count on you being reassured after recognizing the company’s name on your screen.
Under the pretext of warning about an urgent situation (breached account, late payment, pending insurance claim, missed jury duty summons, etc.), the spoofer will try to coax you into revealing personal or account information, supposedly to verify their records.
Often these are robocalls, where a recorded voice asks you to stay on the line to speak to a representative or call another number for more information. Do not. If you suspect the call might possibly be genuine, contact the company yourself at the toll-free number found on your card, account statement or the company’s website.
You should never reveal your full Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, credit card number, passwords or other private information over the phone unless you initiated the call yourself. Someone possessing such information could use it to gain access to your existing accounts to withdraw or transfer money, raise credit limits or snoop around your recent activity, among other intrusions.
ID thieves also can use your personal information to open new credit accounts (e.g., credit cards, mortgage or car loan), create a new identity or even obtain a job fraudulently. Often, you won’t even realize something’s wrong until a collection agency, or the IRS, starts hounding you for unpaid bills or taxes.
Another common caller ID spoof involves hacking into someone’s voice mail account. Many cellphone users never bother to set up passwords on their voice mailboxes. And, since many voicemail systems grant access to callers phoning from their own number, a hacker could easily spoof your number and gain access to your messages.
Bottom line: You wouldn’t give your personal information to a stranger on the street. Take the same level of precaution with strangers on the phone – or online.

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