Bartel's Christmas Trees & Treasures-Steve, Judy & Brian Bartels

Diary of Steve Bartels -Bartels Christmas Trees & Treasures Week 4- April 18-24

Monday April 18    

This was a good day to get caught up with some tasks. I worked this morning, on the Public Policy Action Team’s portion of the Butler County Farm Bureau newsletter. I reported our meeting with the elected and appointed officials on local and state issues. Also, I enclosed a survey for our members to return to our office about increasing Butler County’s sales tax, elimination of Ohio’s estate tax, and setting priorities on issues for 2012. The function of this action team is to find out what our members want in regards to government. The next step is for members to vote on those proposals at our annual meeting. If the resolution is passed, the team works to get it implemented at the local, state or federal level. To me this organization is grass roots politics at its best. That is the main reason I am a member and involved.    Brian cut grass in the Christmas trees in the afternoon while I finished cleaning eve troughs. I went for a walk on the pretense of looking for erosion damage, new tile blowouts and scouting the wheat for garlic. It was such a beautiful afternoon. It was more about looking for some Native American Relics, a hobby I do love. It is much more difficult to find anything when you no-till. They are not turned to the surface with the tillage.    About 7:00pm , my sister-in-law called to let us know that my brother had fallen from a ladder while cleaning his eve troughs. He was air flighted to Miami Valley Hospital. We went to be with them in the emergency room. They admitted him to ICU. By the time you read this, we will know a lot more about his condition. Right now his vitals are stable. Pastor Wes started the prayer chain at church.

Tuesday April 19    

Working around your property can be very dangerous. Many times people are hurt doing the more mundane task. My brother owned and operated his own Masonry Company. He has lived his life on scaffolds and ladders. How ironic for him to be hurt at his home from a fall from a ladder. He has a sub-dural bleed in his brain, but at this time, no neurologic damage.  I worked for crop insurance today while it rained another two inches. The rain is causing concern in the grain trade that corn will not be planted on time. That makes nine inches for the month. Now I’m going to sound like an old man: “I remember back in ‘83, it rained 11 inches in May and only two more inches the rest of the growing season.” That was a true disaster. The crops were planted late and then the drought began. Yields in some fields would not pay the cost of harvesting the crop. At that time, crop insurance did not pay enough to make it worth buying. After the price of corn went down 26 cents a bushel last Tuesday, it has gone up enough to trigger a forward contract sale of another 10 percent of my expected production.   Brian did his 24-hour shift and Judy was busy teaching her, soon to be, graduate nurses. We spent the evening at Miami Valley Hospital.

Wednesday April 20     

I paid some bills in the morning and again balanced the spreadsheet with the account book. I drove to Hamilton to purchase four, much needed, new tires for the car. Brian called to let me know he received an e-mail that the rest of our trees will arrive here sometime tomorrow. It would have been really nice to get the first 400 in before these trees arrived. I spent a little time cleaning out a small storage area. Now you know things are slow when you start to do the jobs you have put off forever. The kids learned quickly, when they were small, to never say they were bored because we always said; “well, go clean out your closet till I find something else for you too work on.” We arrived at Miami Valley Hospital late, so just checked with John and Jewell and returned home.

Thursday April 21   

I helped Butler County Farm Bureau Vice President Tim Hesselbrock at the Earth Day celebration at the Butler County Administration Center. We passed out literature about agriculture and the environment, production of energy via corn and soybean, biotechnology and the production of crops, and the benefits of being a Farm Bureau member. The two most popular items were the biodegradable bags made from corn and the agricultural word scramble. People are very interested in learning about agriculture, they just have no idea what that involves. Afternoon, I picked up some more topsoil to heal in the rest of the arriving trees. These trees are White pine. They had not arrived by six o’clock. Brian went on line to use the tracking number. He found there had been a problem with the boxes and they had been returned to the sender. That is really better for us. I would like to get the firs planted before the pine arrive. Brian finished cutting the grass in the tree planting. We went to church for Holy Thursday service and then on to Miami Valley. John is improving, not out of the woods yet, but Drs expected today to be his worst and he is actually improving!

Friday April 22    

John is out of ICU and on a neuro floor. He is still miserable, but up and around a little, improving, but slowly. We went back to see him today in the evening. I really can’t tell you where the day went. I spent time in the morning looking over the soil test results that came back from Michigan State yesterday. The trend over the last ten years or so on the cropland is for the phosphorus and the pH to be down in my cropland fields. The pH is a measure of the acidity of the soil. The lower this number, the more acid the soil. This means I need to put on additional lime in at least two fields in the next twelve months. The lime will replace the acidic hydrogen molecules with basic calcium or magnesium molecules in the soil. Two hydrogen molecules will combine with an oxygen molecule to form water. All of my fields have decreased in phosphorus because I have intentionally under-applied this nutrient. If excess phosphorus is in the soil and the soil erodes into a stream, the phosphorus can cause a number of environmental problems. Phosphorus levels had been high on our farm for years. For many, many years, livestock have been produced there. Livestock manure contains phosphorus. In the past, the manure was seen as waste and spread on the fields. Manure spread on the same fields for 200 years can increase levels above what is needed for optimum plant growth.   We have lowered the level to the point where it is now in the moderate range. We will apply what the plants use each year and try to keep it between 15 and 30 parts per million, the current level for most of our fields.

Saturday April 23    

Up at 5:00am this morning to meet Vickie from the Edgewood Baptist Church to distribute Angel Food. Angel Food is a non-denomination food ministry that sells high quality food for a reasonable price. They do it by dealing in high quantities and cutting out the middleman as much as possible. The only requirement for anyone to purchase food is for you to be hungry. Everyone qualifies! You can learn more at The sponsoring churches receive only $1 per order for their help. Vickie and I met the semi-truck in Carlisle, Ohio at 7:00am. We pick up the orders for Edgewood Baptist and Jacksonburg United Methodist and take them back to Edgewood. After we unload the van and get the products ready for families to pick up, I deliver the boxes to the families who order through JUMC. I had everything delivered and was back home about 10:30am. I tried to mow the lawn between rain showers and got about half done before it rained again. Amy is home from Columbus for Kara’s Bridal shower. Judy, Amy, and Judy’s sister Sharon were the hostesses. Like they say in the old weekly newspapers about parties and family reunions; “a good time was had by all.” We went back to Dayton to check on John in the afternoon. Brian received an e-mail which said the white pines will be re-mailed Monday. Watched a rerun of the Ohio State University Spring Football Game in the evening.

Sunday April 24    

We were up early again this morning, 5:30am, for Easter Sunrise Services. We visited mother in Eaton, came home and had brunch with Amy. Replaced a tail light bulb in her car before she started back to Ctown. We finished mowing the grass before we picked up Judy’s brother Jeff. He went with us to visit John in Dayton. We then went on to the Golden Lamb in Lebanon for our Easter Dinner.



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