Monday, April 20, 2015

Turkey Hunting Season Opens This Week

I have always joked about my husband.  If it walks or flies, he hunts it.  I sometimes label myself "hunter's widow".  Jokingly.  Reallly.

It wasn't long after I met him I was introduced to his hobbies.  For my birthday, three months after we met, he bought me a fishing pole.  It was just what I wanted.

Sometimes I struggled with his hobbies.  I decided I needed one.  It was called shopping and crafting.

Three kids later, I am lucky to shop or even step foot in my craft room at the end of the day.

I haven't actually gone turkey hunting. I have scouted for turkeys, stopped in the middle of the road to look at turkeys, looked at them through binoculars, but getting up really early is not for me.

In Indiana, turkey season opens on April 22nd.  I marked this in my planner. In other words, it means, my husband will be hunting that weekend (if he is not working), and don't make any family plans.  Shopping anyone? Oh, I just opened my planner and Macie's first softball game is Saturday.  We will have to hold off shopping plans!

One thing my husband enjoys is sharing his love of hunting with our kids.  Ryan enjoys getting up early to go hunting with his dad.  Macie would rather stay home.  Ryan has joined his dad for turkey hunting for a few years.  I am not really sure how that all works out, and how long Ryan can actually go without talking. 

I thought I would sit down with Ryan, age 7,  and talk to him about his hunting experiences with his dad:

What is your favorite part about hunting? I like scouting.

What is your favorite animal to hunt? That is hard, because I like duck, deer, turkey and squirrel hunting.

Do you have a hunting story to share? I remember a duck hunt at the Wilough Slough.  We were close to limiting that day at the Lake Seven blind. We hunted six wood ducks, one gadwall, shoveler, and one hen and one drake mallard.

Why does your dad take you hunting?  To show me how to hunt, so I can pass that on to my kids.

What is the hardest hunt, where you need to be the quietest? Deer hunting

Did you ever get to take a friend hunting? I have hunted with Tanner, Kyle and Logan.  Their dads like to hunt with my dad.  It is fun because we hunt from the same blind and watch our dads hunt.

What is something you need to practice to be a better hunter?  I need to work on my shooting skills. I also need to work on calling in ducks.

Crystal Kellner

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sassafras Tea

This picture is Dave's Great-Grandpa John and Great-Grandma Marie Kellner fishing in Minnesota in June 1969.  Dave said a family tradition (besides fishing) was great-grandmother Marie Kellner boiling Sassafras roots to make tea.  Great-Grandma Marie was also remembered for other drinks, her sweet tea that would leave a collection of sugar in the bottom of the pitcher and a grape juice Dave fondly remembers being served to him at breakfast.


Sassafras Trees are smaller from other tress.  These trees were actually on our property before we removed them this weekend.  You could tell the sassafras trees apart from the others as soon as the roots are exposed. The smell seemed very familiar to me, maybe from a candy I had growing up? It is the main ingredient in traditional root beer and sassafras root tea.  The roots have to be dug early spring before the sap is brought back up the trunk of the tree.

After the trees were removed, we cut the roots. Some of the roots were white, others were red. I picked the smaller roots, not the larger ones.

We took the roots home and peeled some of the bark back and boiled water. 

The roots were boiled for five minutes,  water was drained, and roots boiled for another 6 minutes. The tea was strained through a cheesecloth.  Then it was time for the taste-test.  I waited for the tea to cool down a little bit, but I didn't drink it cold.  It had a the sassafras taste to it, and Dave tried it too.  I thought it tasted good, and didn't have any after taste.  If I was a betting person, I would imagine Great-Grandma Marie added some sugar to this as well.  

It is amazing what you can actually get from nature, if you just take a look around and use your natural resources. 

Crystal Kellner

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Windy Friday Afternoon

We went to bed Thursday night a little leary of the weather.  Northern Illinois had a tornado touchdown that evening,  but seemed like most storms were going around us.  Friday morning the wind woke Mason up early, and the wind howled all day.
Ryan had ball practice Friday evening and was worn out afterwards.  I took the back way home and saw a lot of dirt blowing when I got up by Pleasant Ridge.  I had to stop and take a picture. You could hardly see the elevator or IBEC. 
Crystal Kellner

Friday, April 03, 2015

Ag Question: 2015 Prospective Plantings Report

USDA released the 2015 Prospective Plantings Report
 on March 31, 2015.

These numbers made the corn and bean market  decline when it was released midday. Corn came in at 89.2 million acres.  Corn acres look to be higher in the south and Texas.

Soybeans came in at 84.6 million acres.  This is a new record high for soybean acres, but still below most estimates. 

Corn Stocks came in 7.745 billion bushels, 136 million bushels higher than the average guess, and over 736 million bushels more than a year ago. Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois are the the state holding most of the corn, and that is not surprising since they sit right in the middle of the corn belt. April Supply and Demand Report might show more ending stocks, depending on the feed usage.

Bean Stocks came in at 1.333 billion bushels, 12 million bushels lower the the average guess, and 340 million bushels more than a year ago.  Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio still has the majority of bushels on hand.

Wheat usage and stocks had no surprises, no record highs or lows.

What does this report mean? In my opinion, we are looking at another big crop year.  We are far from it being harvested, and many factors can change the game at any time.  Traders will keep an eye out on the weather this spring, of course.  Planting in the south and Texas is currently being delayed with rains moving in, but they are not wide spread. They will also watch corn stocks closely, and the bushels being distributed. If farmers hold on to their bushels going into summer, they might see a very supportive basis level, but they might also see the basis level go the other way very quickly.  

USDA reports are not always easy to decipher.  But understand the timing of the report and how it might affect the grain markets is important for your operation and marketing plan.
Crystal Kellner