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A Rural Snapshot


It has been hot in Davenport over the past 2 weeks; temperatures over 100, and little more than a rumor of rain.  Pivots are running continuously on some farms, and the wear and tear of the pumps and motors makes breakdowns inevitable. With the corn standing more than 7 feet tall, with no breeze and high humidity repairing these systems is the toughest job in farming.  This is one of several reasons why almost any rain is considered to be a “million dollar rain.”

Irrigation Pivot in Soy Beans

A common sight in the fields around Davenport are the crop dusters spraying fungicide.

Crop Duster Flying Low

One of my favorite gravel roads.

Road 5000 South of Davenport

This past week has been a busy one.  Coming from every direction, I had the opportunity to:

Support the Relay for Life “Cancer Kickers” team

A grand fund raising activity in Thayer County is Relay For Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  Teams and individuals spend 24 hours in a relay walking a track in support of lives touched by cancer.  Walking the Deshler High School track for several laps I was struck by the 1,100 luminaries that honored survivors and the memories of those who had lived with cancer during their lives.  Many names decorating the paper bags I knew, and many more family names.

Cancer Kickers Base Camp

1,100 Luminaries

There had been a break in the 100 degree days that evening, and the potluck coordinated by Virginia Brase on the football field was a great opportunity for fellowship.  Although I did not stay long, I was there long enough to see the lighting of the luminaries.  It was very touching, knowing that these people are being honored and that this rural community was able to raise the hope and consciousness of their neighbors to support cancer research and support its survivors.  It was a very moving and welcoming event.

Preaching at the Methodist Church

Pastor Mike at the Davenport Methodist Church had to preach the community service in Bruning as part of the Bruning Days events.  I volunteered to conduct the service… I think I did ok… Well, I am posting the message I delivered, and you can decide.  Of course, for those who know me well, I spoke on the topic of Integrity and Dignity.

Judging Vegetables

Nuckolls County has a really interesting County Fair.  It is one county away – but oh, what a difference a quarter mile makes (literally.)  My home county, Thayer County, has a different sort of character .   The character of the county fairs reflects the land of these 2 counties.  Both have the latest John Deere tractors and combines on display, but the culture of the Thayer County Fair has a ballcap wearing, farming feel.

Thayer County is dominated with flat to rolling land that is necessary to allow the irrigation of large swaths of land.  Nuckolls County has a more angular topography; gullies and rough terrain make irrigation difficult.  As a result, more grazing land and cow-calf operations dominate the landscape.  When you go to the Nuckolls County Fair you see more boots and cowboy hats.  Mini-cowboys throwing lassos to capture their mom’s foot, or a cow dummy as they practice for the youth rodeo.



Lasso Practice

Producing vegetables in Thayer County makes me a candidate for judging the Horticulture category at the Nuckolls County Fair.  I never thought it could be so difficult.  Sure, there are always those entries that needed improvement, but most were stellar entries, and many purple and blue ribbons were awarded.  But the differences between these entries is so slight that it is hard to decide which is best.

You Decide – Which Entry is Better?

Other Nuckolls County Fair images – Bread Judging, Rabbit Judging Interview with an audience, and a diorama of a short grass prairie common in the area.

Bread Judging

Rabbit Judging

short grass prairie display

Next Weekend is the Thayer County Fair, and then the State Fair!  Hope to see you there!

  1. If I could swap some of our rain for some of your sunshine I gladly would. But then that’s the nature of this material world isn’t it? It’s never perfect.

    • STILL RAINING THERE? Earlier I was envious… now I am not so sure… Everyone here comment on how strange the weather has been. Sounds like the same there. Its good to hear from you – great pictures on facebook, by the way.

  2. Tom Johnson permalink

    Dr. S- I read your sermon linked in the mix here. Love it. Exactly what Jesus was doing for this woman caught in adultery and ironically for the accusers as well – restoring dignity to the situation. Even in his act of writing in the dirt – the scriptures don’t tell us what he wrote, just that he wrote. The beauty of it is in the act. I imagine it was quite the unexpected move, and just for a moment, I bet all the eyes in the crowd went to that finger and that disturbed dust. Even before the ultimate act of taking on our sin on the cross, Jesus takes just a bit of the sting of this woman’s sin on himself. He takes the eyes off of a woman (probably barely clothed) and gives her just a moment of composure. He is a good God, not safe, but good.

    • Coming from you Tom, this is high praise. Thanks for your comments. Barbara told me you did wonderfully leading the service when she was there for a visit. Thanks for reading the blog.

  3. Paul Baker permalink

    Dear Harold,
    Well my friend, I am continuing to enjoy your blog posts. I’m glad to hear that you are making it through the drought. Catherine and i just got back from visiting Chelsea in Fujiyoshida, Japan. A short, but wonderful, trip. We will be heading up to DC next weekend and have tickets for the Nat’s game.
    Love to you and Barb,

    • Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. As sweet corn came in my mind went back to when y’all were here. BLTs and shucking corn at the Brase’s. Could have used your help in the gardens and farmers market. But, there’s always next year. Love to you and Catherine.

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