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Larry Hixson looking over our first corn harvest

Jean Hixson with granddaughters
Emma - 3 1/2 years old
and Chloe - 2 years old

A new calf behind our house

Hixson Diaries

January 4, 1998

The men did accomplish the heifer-moving project yesterday. They are now behind our house. We can watch them out our windows and if we need a closer look we use binoculars to check them. We also have a strong light that we use at night. When we think the heifers are close we will try to check them every 3 or 4 hours day and night.

We are doing this diary because we are wheat farmers. We have about 2400 acres of wheat planted; 850 acres of milo, 220 acres of corn, 75.6 acres of alfalfa and 2300 acres that are fallow this year. The fallow acres do not have anything planted on them. They are kept weed free for a year to accumulate moisture for planting the following year. This practice was started in the 1940's in Western Kansas because our rainfall is usually 20 to 22 inches per year. This past year we had 30 inches, a 50% increase, Larry is having a hard time adjusting to the mud and deep moisture in the soil. If mother nature cooperates, we should have good crops in 1998. We just have to wait and see.

The weather today was cold and icy. We are thankful that we didn't receive the ice that some parts of Kansas did. We did attend church then Larry moved bales all afternoon. He needed to do this while the ground was frozen so he wouldn't tear up the fields with the pickup. We use two pickups with flatbeds and arms on them that move bales and equipment with ease.

January 5, 1998

Today we drove to Colorado Springs to pick up our daughter, Krista, and her two girls, Emma and Chloe. They will stay with us most of the month of January. We are very excited to have them spend a month with us. We arrived at the airport after a four-hour drive only to learn that their plane was one hour late. After we picked them up, we ate and drove home. A patch of fog from Kit Carson, Colorado to Sharon Springs, Kansas, slowed the drive home. We were all tired after the day of travel.

January 6, 1998

The granddaughters were excited--we had a little snow last night. They really wanted to see snow. They don't see that in San Antonio, Texas. But they do remember last winter when they lived in Rochester, Minnesota. They saw lots of snow. This was also my birthday so they had fun baking me a cake and were very excited to open all presents I received. We don't have any baby calves yet. Emma thinks they should be here and she really wants to bottle-feed one. We will see if the heifers cooperate and start having calves soon.

January 7, 1998

Today was a beautiful day. It was about 40 degrees so we could be outside this afternoon. Larry has spent the last two days working on our Church yearend books. He is treasurer so he has to keep all the accounts, then present a financial statement for the year. As with most small churches we are always struggling to make ends meet. We have an older congregation and have lost several older members the past year.

January 8, 1998

The first heifer had her calf this morning. It was born in the morning.

It was a warm beautiful day. We walked out to the see the calf with Emma and Chloe. We didn't get very close, as the mother was very protective. It looks very healthy. We hope the rest of the calves come when the weather is as nice. It is always amazing to see a new calf; they are licked by their mothers and get up usually in 20 minutes. They are not too steady but soon find mom and start nursing. They need to nurse within 4 to 6 hours to get the colestrum milk that the mother produces. They won't survive without that milk. If they don't get it they will usually die within the first 6 weeks of life.

January 9, 1998

Another new calf this morning. This one came on a very cold morning. It is about 20 degrees and windy this morning. The mother did move into a grove of trees to have it so it is not as cold as it could be. The calf looks healthy and the mother is doing a good job of licking it off. That step is very important, especially on a cold morning. The rough tongue dries the calf in about an hour. The sooner that happens the better for the calf, especially when it is so cold.

Krista, Emma, and Chloe are going to Osborne, KS for the weekend to visit another set of grandparents. They are excited to visit them and their cats. We don't have inside pets on our farm so the cats in the house are a treat for the girls. They will return to our house on Sunday.

January 10, 1998

A very cold day and of course we had another new calf. It was fine. Last night we used the calving barn. The new mother seemed to be having trouble getting the calf here and it was very cold so Milo brought her in and pulled the calf. Both mother and calf are doing fine. Many times a heifer (a cow having her first calf) will have a problem and need help getting the calf here. Larry took tickets for the JV wrestling tournament at the high school in the afternoon. I made Emma and Chloe warm bathrobes for their visit. Was able to finish both of them today.

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