Winter’s Hold, Cold


Just before the sun comes up
I head out to the barn
The soil’s turned concrete
or granite?
It’s so hard!

Nice to think it’s just a crust
shielding life down deep
Creatures live, under the frost
roots are holding life

Makes me think of a birthday candle
that relights itself, again and again
Winter snorts and blows
icing the world
but, aha!, nestled down
nature lives, and readies
for the world to tilt back
sun warming again
in spring

What things do hold us?
What is permanent
not held by winter’s cold?
One, I posit, is love.
A mystery, a fact
part of a couple
united in marriage and more
caring, yes, but more
self for others

How appropriate that in bleak midwinter
a child is born, for all mankind
wrapping a blanket around God’s love
Holding us close, communicating
caring, yes, but more
self for others

Selah, Lin Christmas 2013


Winter’s Hold, Cold2022-09-03T14:52:46-04:00

Bitter Cold


Welcome to the Arctic!
and you didn’t even leave home!

Down, down, down comes
the sub zero blanket of air
freezing all it can

Soil, rock hard
snow, crunching cold
“Crack!” noises here and there
as materials contract, shrinking

We bundle up
and just keep going
hindered, modified
trudging to the barn
early morning darkness

Why don’t birds feet freeze?
How can the cow udders be so warm?
How can hairless pigs survive?

Chop! Chop! Chop!
The horse tank’s frozen over
8 inches of ice now covering
and the cattle are thirsty, of course.

Pieces of ice sting my face
propelled by the ax impact.
I throw some chunks aside, stepping back
to let the cattle drink.
I turn the valve, and the windmill pumps
warm water flows, 50 degrees down deep

Settling on the milking stool
I tilt in
my forehead warmed by Bessie’s flank
my cold fingers squeeze out milk
Grandpa’s doing the same
the ‘squirt, squirt squrit’
of our rythmic milking, the only sound

The udders empty
and we carry our steaming milk buckets
across the barnlot to the house
We’ll return
to grind feed, check the cattle
throw down straw
think of spring!

Selah, Lin, minus 3, windchill worse January 2015; January 1948


Bitter Cold2022-09-03T14:52:46-04:00

Used to…


Where horses used to run
where buggies rolled along
where people heated rocks
to warm their ice cold feet
cars and trucks now run
rubber balloon tires
springs and shock absorbers
roll across the prairie blacktops
delivering folks here and there

Engines purr where horses snorted
pulling loads with ease
comforts taken for granted
in the winter cold

“Cold” did I say?
Nine below with wind
chill to the bone quickly
but on with the heater
flowing warm air
toasting the smiling occupants

Used to be, so different
on the farm in Illinois
Prairie State, and still
broad expanses treeless

Winter sweeps the same
freezing all it can
and colder
and colder still
long nights wrap us in snow and ice
while winds do their best
to chill all that are warm blooded

Amazing, the squirrels, the birds,
the animals who live out of doors
surviving, seeming oblivious
to the cold

They’re unchanged
just like always
Used to be is still here
Oh my!
How we have changed!

Lin, 9 below, 2/2015


Used to…2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

Deep Draughts*, and The American Farmer


Crop Management Conference
they labeled it
The rest of the story is
it’s all about farming
Year of Our Lord

A baker’s dozen of Ph.Ds
sharing hearts and souls
with a hundred fifty farmers
and their supporters

The very best
from one of the very best
lecturing and answering questions
Getting their minds and arms
around the issues that drive us

Dollars and sense and marketing
cover crops and all things agronomy
Inputs and insects
diseases and herbicides
Best Management Practices
spelled out, numbered out
weather and soil

Ah, soil.
We definitely don’t call it…
Soil. We respect it.
Live with it. Sleep with it.
Study it six ways from Sunday!

One conference down
two days, thirteen hours engaged
with more to come
Two days on government
rules and regulations
laws and lawyers and courts

Legislators and bureaucrats engaging
back and forth with ideas
where we are
where we want and need to go
and how we might get there

Behind the meetings
preparing for planting
Machinery repaired and tuned
seeds and supplies filling sheds
At the ready for the coming day

The deep, deep draughts* of farming
Like a cool drink after baling hay
all day

Information flows like rivers
from labs and test plots to the farmers
Oh, how they drink all winter!
Researchers anxious to share
audiences eager to learn
year after year after year!

Always in discovery mode
Study the problem
Figure it out! (I love that part!)
Try it out for the better
More efficient
More productive
No turning back!
The brew that is true!

Lin 2/2015
* 37 definitions of the word! I like ‘something that is taken in by drinking or inhaling’


Deep Draughts*, and The American Farmer2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

Boards from Parkville


Winter evenings on the farm
Find me settled in
Family room, they call it
And indeed it is
5 red sweatered kids
Pictured above the fireplace
Me in my recliner
Good light, good book, warm fire

The walls are aged red barn boards
Hauled here by horse
A hundred years ago
The Parkville sawmill fed our farm
House and barn and out buildings all
With materials to last a lifetime
And two
And three
Now four, generations.

From 1898 to 1972
The barn stood strong and true
Setting on big boulders
Its beams endured the winds and rains
The giant mow held hay
The south side a milking parlour
The northside winter comfort
For pigs and cows and us

Out there me n grandpa
Started our day right early
Three thirty we were up
Coal oil lanterns in our hands
We hung them on the wall
And started milking cows.

Fast forward thirty years
No cows. No pigs. No horses.
The barn came down but
We saved the boards from Parkville.
They line the walls in the family room
Soft barn red, weathered,
A touch of gray like me
They wrap the family with history

Horse drawn, barn service
They hold family pictures
And seasonal decor
Still shielding the family
Still serving

Selah Lin January 2015


Boards from Parkville2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

Grinding Cold


The calendar grinds along
sifting winter’s cold
adding sun minutes here and there
stretching daylight hours

Cold toes and fingers
stiff but not with age
grasp the icy handles
buckets and shovels and my little stool
and I park next to Bessie

Her milk plays its notes
striking, ringing the cold metal
as the cats, lined up, sit watching
waiting for a shot of breakfast

Now and then I squirt the cats
and they spring to action, licking
oh, so happy for fresh warm milk

Winter crawls along
freezing what it can
the earth, rock hard,
is waiting, not complaining

We grind feed for stock
throw down hay from the mow
head back to the house for breakfast

Shedding frozen clothes
the coal stoker toasts us quickly
the giant iron creature roars
heating the house and us

Winter is so wearing, so long
we wonder when, if ever
the birds will sing, the grass will grow
Hold on! hold on!

Lin, mid February, 2015
childhood on the farm


Grinding Cold2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

The Beautiful Blanket


The farmhouse windows show it
the beautiful living blanket
that feeds us amply
year after year

Beginning as beautiful ebony
it hold a living world
microbes, by the millions
scurrying about, we’re learning,
they do amazing things

Winter’s skin puts things on hold
sometimes wearing pristine white
sometimes hazy gray or tan
patience quietly abounds

Life bursts forth in springtime
shades of green, then purple
tillage takes it back to black
then tiny spikes poke up, corn,
or fat duos of soybean cotyledons unfold
and we’re off to the races again

Summer finds the ocean blanket
emeralds sparkling in the dawn
dew on lush plants
drawing richness from the soil

Fall calls and shouts that winter’s coming
sure as sure can be
the gifts of summer’s sun await
the roar of farmer’s machines
Pouring into trucks and trains
even ocean ships line up
to share the bounty
food, for people
the beautiful blanket has given

Thank the Lord
for this creation
alive, and giving
not asking much
but to be respected, honored
carefully, thoughtfully tended
another gift to count, reflect about

Selah, Lin, the soil, 12/2014


The Beautiful Blanket2022-09-03T14:52:48-04:00

Retired, Re-tiring


Retired from the Presidency
Champaign County Farm Bureau
but, really, getting ‘a new set of tires’!
Still doing, still involved, still thinking!

Retired from Parkland
no longer a board member
no longer chairman
but, here, a different automobile
still self propelled, still moving
still doing, still thinking
Poking, here and there, with ideas

Retired from state college business
Illinois Community College Trustees Association
No longer on committees
No longer on the board
No longer an officer
Secretary, vice president, President
retired, not tired, but
still doing, still thinking, still poking
So I’ve been retiring for fifteen years already!
How’s that working for me?
Different tires, different ‘modes of transportation’
and not enough time!

More books to read, more magazines and newsletters,
more issues, more policies to think about
create amend or delete
Plenty to do, to think about, to poke around in and with and…

Fascinating, the ride!
All along life’s highway we go
sometimes flying (Japan to Turkey, Antarctic to Arctic)
sometimes driving (Maine to Florida, Canada to Mexico, Seattle to L.A.)
sometimes thinking… all over the planet!
Sometimes in history, sometimes now, sometimes future!
No ‘whoa’ to me yet!

I’m getting new tires!
I’m getting a ‘new ride’!
What is it?
I don’t know yet! Never did!
Just keep ‘knocking on doors’
that just keep opening!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Lin, Almost Spring 2015


Retired, Re-tiring2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

Honestly Abe


Honestly Abe,
we need you back!
If your are indeed
walking out there at midnight*
just for a bit we’d like you back

God grace flowed through you
your words, your choices
and a lot of fine things have happened

The Land Grant Colleges you birthed
have sown abundance on Illinois
World leaders are planted here
with food and machines so grand
imagination gets stretched and stretched again

Bunge, Archer Daniels Midland, Kraft
process and enrich far beyond our borders
Caterpillar and John Deere shine world wide
multiplying man’s abilities
to farm and construct
creating mountains of food
moving mountains, building buildings

The rivers still are flowing
barging grain to a hungry world
now seven billion mouths strong
Yes, what a marvel, your Illinois

We’ve sunk into a cloud
a fiscal nightmare of our making
a culture of pandering** pushing, leading
so strong we lost our honesty, Abe…
We don’t even know where we are
our debts are banging on our doors
and we’re afraid to answer

Honestly, Abe, we need you back!
Just for a few years, to help us firm
Where we are
Where we want to go
and how we might get there…***

Selah, Lin, March 2015
*Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight, Vachel Lindsey
**Our Culture of Pandering, Senator Paul Simon
***”House Divided Speech, Old State Capitol Springfield, 1858, A. Lincoln


Honestly Abe2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

Spittin’ Snow


Illinois is an adventure
we can have ‘snow globe’
and we even do one more:
spittin’ snow!

I know! Hard to believe!
But if you had my window
my office, you’d see
a combination that’s new
No, not sleet
that’s ice
ah, come on spring!

Meanwhile we start a snowstorm
with something new to see
better yet get out the door
and feel it!
Yup! It IS spittin’ snow!

Lin, Adventureland, March 2015


Spittin’ Snow2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

The Planter


Strange, those who
take the best seeds
carefully selected
admire them
treasure them
and bury them in the soil!

What drives that planter
to bury his food
into the dark, unknown, unseen?

Faith, I say,
in life and all its processes
in design
and a creator
who rewards those who step out
step forward

Deep inside that see
life exists, at the ready
so warmth and moisture
just so
can fan the ember into flame

Exploding, multiplying cells
burst the tomb
to send forth a root
tapping nourishment
and then a shoot
heading for the sun

Each stage studied hard
by the planter
observing, caring
what works
and works the better, the best

Faith rewarded
a plant is growing
again, studied hard
through the season

Adversity strikes
too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry
not enough sun, too much sun
diseases, insects
soil fertility, cation exchanges
bacteria good and bad
and finally the fruit
or not

the man, the woman
who has studied, toiled
and believed
in harvest

Somewhere in heaven
is a smile
Well done
thou good and faith full servant!

Lin post harvest 2014


The Planter2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00



Corn stubble fields
like two day old beards
lay softly sodden by the dew
Soybean fields lie in wait
the fruits of their labor ready
Come on harvest!
Mother earth had different plans
as the sun slipped up
a downy blanket came down
quietly forming on the warm earth
spawned by cool moist air
either a mother or a lover
put a blanket over us
then disappeared back to mystery
Not to be forgotten
tall buildings and trees poked above
and we, knowing our sun
prepared for our day of labor
Precious moments to savor
how very small we are
captives in our very small places
we can but watch
Who can stay the fog
or stop the earth from turning?
Who can cause the rains to come
or not?
Can this power be bought
or traded
or what?
ours is but to ponder
and wonder
at the beauty of it all
Selah, Lin harvest 2014


The  American Farmer…Today


I know them.
Individuals, couples, teams.
I watch them, study them
with fascination and respect
Indeed there are rich soils
that mother them, father them
Sustain them,
keep them going
Most of them
just do their jobs
quietly, not in the newspapers
and not on tv
The teams they create
the contributions that are made
are truly amazing
Food is taken for granted here
the luxuries of meat prevail
beef, pork, chicken and turkey
fill grocery coolers…always
taken for granted
One farmer feeds himself or herself
and sets free 152 others
to use their gifts, find their niches
mostly in our cities
Nearly every local farmer
has a mate for life
together they are teams
side by side at church and meetings
side by side along life’s highways
In and out the driveways
salespersons of every ilk come and go
some delivering fuel, machinery, plant foods and more
I count some 80 team mates and more
lawyers, doctors, nurses
technicians of every sort
educators, past and continuing
I can see all their faces
Then there’s the neighbors
every team of them exceptional!
A farmer wears a lot of hats!
They volunteer, serve without pay
in a myriad of ways
making this whole thing tick
It starts and ends with the soil
Beginning with Adam, the rest of us are born
to study and work the soil, mother earth giving
Father earth stern with consequences
we grow our food for our seasons
then return to the soil
becoming a part of it
Haven’t we always been
aren’t we always now
a part of the soil
married in ways we are just now learning
The bacteria that live in us, that live in the soils
play their parts in living soil, in living beings
Yet we are more, as
we think and can learn
and ponder higher things
Creation constantly unfolds
revealing a Creator
From around the world
a stream of people come
to study us
Why do we have abundance
while so many live hungry?
The American farmer
lives the answers.
Come watch with me….
Lin, post harvest, 2014

The  American Farmer…Today2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00

At Ease


Welcome words
to the soldier standing in line
He showed up early, early, early, for formation
Drill Instructor fudged for early
Shavetail lieutenant fudged for early
and our recruit was being cautious!
So there he was
standing in formation
spit spot all shined
waiting, waiting, waiting
Company, TEN HUT!!!
Eyes forward, don’t move!
“Sir!  Yes Sir!”
Finally, “Company!  At Ease!
Springtime, early morning dark
farmers are stirring
birds are chirping pre dawn
Out of bed, out the house,
shed doors roll open
Engines come to life
deep toned diesels throbbing
almost like horses pawing, anxious
for inspection
Put ‘er in gear
pull back on the throttle
Roll, baby roll!
The smell of fresh stirred earth
the sun warming the soil
seeds dropping into soft, moist sanctuary
Back and forth, fill the planter
back and forth all day
Sun going down
lights on
back and forth
Seeds sprout quickly
shoots poke through the surface
like swimmers bursting from the deep
leaves unfold and stretch to the sun
growing like crazy, happy
A giant switch somewhere
stops the growth, cries ‘It’s finished”
and a crop is ready for harvest
Once again, early morning
farmers hit the roads
fields offer up their bounty
grain pours into harvesters
into trucks
into trains
into ships
and then
“At Ease” comes to the fields
and to the farmers
Corn stubble, bean stubble
stand like sharpened sticks
with carpeting of leaves comforting the soil
The farmer and his fields settle down
a farm cat snuggles its nose into his arm
in the home, a little one tucks her soft face
into her daddy’s neck
mama smiles, knowing
All is well, all is well….
Lin, at ease, post harvest 2014

At Ease2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

October 2012


“Where has October gone”?
asked a friend in agriculture.
“It’s been graced with sprinkles,
laced with showers again and again.
Cold weather, warm weather,
hurry then wait
while crops and soils dry out.”

The raindrops bind the harvesters
keeping them in their pens
their masters under roofs
Desk work and meetings often the fare
when normally they’d be in the fields
But even with the interruptions
some farmers are ‘getting done’.

Translated that means harvest completed,
as a farmer’s work
like that of a homemaker
is never done!
They just move on to the next task!
Seasons blending into years
for crops and people alike.

Individual initiative is inspiring
as the farmers roll with the punches:
combining soybeans in a pond!
Our new machines with giant tires
can smooth across the soil
so different from long ago.

December 7, 1941
Dad and grandpa were harvesting soybeans
or trying their best to!
A tractor pulled a combine
both were getting stuck
so another tractor and a chain hooked on
all wheels churning, struggling on.
December 1966
Step dad and I and a new combine
self propelled now, no tractor pulling,
would get stuck, back out, and try again
a different spot
Mercy! What ruts the wheels dug out!

October 2012
Smooth purring giant combines
sailed along on wet soils
even going through some water
no stopping, charging on
to harvest complete!

Wonderful machines!
Great progress!
The weather’s still a challenge,
but we are gaining!
We are gaining!
Designers and engineers,
factory workers and local dealers
an economy that makes it work
with the farmers, all in harmony,
doing it better…every year!

Selah, Lin 2012


October 20122022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Sunday on Monday


Agreed we can’t live on and in the Sabbath!
Sunday is a special day, for certain sure,
with soaking in Words of the ages
wisdom for all ages
and remembrance, precious,
of one who died for us, for me
So we come to Monday!
How can we have a bit, still, of Sunday,
as we trudge through the week.
Nasty deeds, nasty words
swirl around us
sometimes become the slangs and arrows
that injure us, hurt us.
Brothers and sisters can help us
maybe it’s at breakfast,
when a brother asks:
“Would you pray?”
and the food gets blessed
and so do we
so do I
Both arrows and comforts fly
and we ourselves can send them
A smile of thanks
a pause, a look,
a timely word
can help us on our way
Monday and every day
we’re built that way
So the Wise One spoke
teaching his fellows (and us)
to pray in  this manner,
recognizing who we are
and who He is
and He was here, in the beginning
creating the world from chaos
Selah, Wednesday, day after election, November 2014

Sunday on Monday2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00

Fixed Right


Sometimes things don’t work
presenting a great adventure!
Jump on the problem!
Be a grizzly bear!
make it right right now!
Sometimes that doesn’t work!
Try, and try again
and still it’s just not right
and you know it
On the phone again
and again
try this, try that
Along comes a fella
a thinker type
He studies the problem
reads the problem
Gets inside it, with fresh eyes
‘I think it’s ______,” says he.
Order parts, wait.
Parts come in, put ’em on.
Fixed right!
What a bit of happiness!
Sail along freely
Machine humming, farmer humming
“Oh what a beautiful morning!”
On through the day
on into night
good lights shining brightly
neighbors out too
Ah, flashers galore going down the road
Somebody’s heading for the barn
Careful!  Slow moving vehicle
Big, wide and long
Great to be a farmer!  One more round towards victory! Lin
Selah, harvest, 2014


Fixed Right2022-09-03T14:52:51-04:00



Rain rest election day 2014
I’m on it.
Judges sit in a row
My name is on the scroll
In the book of life political
I’m in!

Two pages of issues
4 billion spent
Darken the circle
Darken the doors
Be there

I show up once
Winners show up for years
Who will we appreciate
For jobs done well?

Around the world
It’s not done this way
The right to vote’s
Been written in blood
The ability to choose
Is ours

The enormity staggers me.
I make my marks
So the candidates can make theirs…

Selah Lin “I voted!” 2014



Rainy Daze


Days of rain during harvest
give us a time to rest
But all too quickly we begin to wonder
“Where’s the sun?”
We peer at the darkened, cloudy sky
and wish for the warming, drying sun
So critical for harvest happening
Rain storms pass by
with wind, lightning and thunder
as we watch, helpless
the cornstalks jerk and lean
heavy ears at risk
Hang on!
Don’t twist and turn and break!
Truth be told
the sun is there
just waiting above the earthbound clouds
the clouds will rush away
and the sun will work again
So wait, uh, patiently!
That’s so hard!
Get ready, to run and pounce
work and laugh and share
The earth comes with seasonings!
Selah, Lin, harvest 2014

Rainy Daze2022-09-03T14:52:52-04:00

Tween Rows


Horses chose corn row widths
way back when
The horse’s rump determined the gap
to allow the horse and farmer passage
Over the years things change
and others stay the same
We’ve gone from 40 down to 30
and some even down to 20
as machines replaced the horse’s hinny
the goal to capture sunlight
a skill in which the corn leaves excel
Corn becomes a forest
lush and dense as any jungle
except the rows make pathways
used by man and beasties
The farmer checks his corn
walking, stopping , studying
sometimes even with a lens
noting bugs and diseases thievery
pollination and yield guesses
Then comes fall
Giant harvesters house sized moving
Eight and twelve rows wide swaths
twenty or thirty feet paths
back and forth they go
sifting, sorting, down to the seeds
the treasures of food, fuel and fiber
that makes it all worthwhile
Little critturs scurry, tween rows,
running along in the pathways
stopping and looking
“Here it comes!”
running further and further
between the rows
not able to think or see
safety is to the side
oh so close
they stay between the rows
Are we, like them
too often just tween the rows
not thinking, seeing
better ways, safety?
Are we following some long gone rump
instead of turning left or right?
Ah, tis easier
to follow the path
some ho hum horse trod
that became a human highway
and we don’t even know why
Lin, harvest 2014
following a rabbit tween rows
thinking about the tension between: sports and scholarship

Tween Rows2022-09-03T14:52:52-04:00

The Annual Meeting


Four degrees above zero
but the cars and pickups are rolling in
It’s a hardy bunch, these farm folks!
Not to be dissuaded by some bitter cold
Plenty of smiles at the check in desk
plenty of ‘Good to see you’ words being spoken
as the coat room fills to overflowing
The president gets the nod
taps on the mike
and the evening begins
“Welcome to the One Hundred Second Annual Meeting
of the Champaign County Farm Bureau”
and the faces of three hundred turn to see
A very spry eighty year old makes his way
looks out on the audience
He’s a veteran of decades of teaching math
helping others
and now the Prime Timer chairman
“Let’s pray.”
The clear voice fills the room
giving thanks
asking guidance
praying for those in the military
asking a blessing on the food
and those who prepared it for us
“Let’s eat!”
A fine beef meal served
dessert and coffee finishing up
the meeting begins afresh
Switching from an eighty year old
to high school students
the Blue Coats parade the flags
Young men and women of the FFA
Shining examples of our youth
and the best America grows
The Young Ag Leader leads (of course!)
“I pledge allegiance…”
“One nation under God’
No apologies here, just recognition
of how small we are
and how big God is
All ages coming forth
to report, inform, about the business
“Smooth”, some said after
‘Best ever”, said others.
“We loved the speaker”, said others.
Katie Pratt, young farmer,
spouse, mother, advocate, educator
stepping up to the plate
from New York City to Hawaii
telling it like it really is,
the real story of American agriculture.
The program closes
and many slip away
but many stay to visit
enjoying each other, no rush
A pleasant time
this event
to be remembered, savored
Selah, Lin January 2014 

The Annual Meeting2022-09-03T14:52:57-04:00

Summer Rain


A distant rumble
Darkening sky
The birds fluttering for a haven
Big drops splash here and there
Let the big show begin!

Now thunder rolling
Lightning cracking, sizzling
The clouds unload, raindrops pounding
Leaves doing a panic dance
Puddles forming gutters gurgling
A car splashes past
Wipers pounding back and forth in vain

The soil drinks deeply
Soaking up the rain like a sponge
To hold in trust for our plants
To store down deep for our wells
To recycle back through evaporation

We, being two thirds water
Are made to sing and dance
At the wonder of it all

Selah Lin July  2014 


Summer Rain2022-09-03T14:52:59-04:00

Nesting Time!


The robins and the doves
have one thing on their minds:
building the perfect nest
Twigs and straws
pieces of grass and weeds
carried in beaks announce
a spot has been chosen
selected in very particular places
Fascinating the design, the process
that each species seems to know
that temporary home so necessary
to hold the eggs, the chicks
With the whole farm theirs
they flutter about and pick and choose
some liking buildings, some liking trees
some selecting spots up high
some selecting close to our house
Some seem oblivious
of the danger cats present
building too low, or easily accessible
But then, cats can be amazing
balance impressive
as they do high wire acts
to gain a meal.
Robins and doves
sparrows and wrens
pigeons and starlings
the list is pages
diversity sustained
we have our picture books
to help us I.D. them all
Driven is putting it mildly
they build their nests
and settle in
No books, no doctors to guide them
they just somehow know
eggs are coming
chicks will hatch
and grow
and fly away
Whoa!  Slow down…
sit back
“His eye is on the sparrow…
I know He watches me”.
Selah, Lin 4/2014 

Nesting Time!2022-09-03T14:53:00-04:00

Snow Birds


As sure as the snow flies
in northern climes
The snow birds flap their wings
or mount their wheels
to head to southern beaches

Their money flows with them
restaurants and shops
hotels and motels and rentals
lift their signs:
“No Vacancy!”

The cold weary folks
shed their parkas
insulated caps, boots and mittens
toss off shirts and don shorts
swapping suits and ties for swimming suits
skin gets into the game
with gals in bikinis…
and guys in Bermudas!
What gives?

Quiet streets get overloaded, jammed
with cars bearing northern plates
single lane bridges sprout long car snakes
of inchworm traffic

It is but for a day, a week
and they fly away, motor away
back to the cold and dreary

Selah, Lin 3/2014


Snow Birds2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  


It is written
that we came from the soil
dust of some nature
shaped into the form of man
No wonder, then,
there’s something about soil, that draws us
farmers and gardeners who use their hands
to touch, ponder, the mysteries of soil
The seasons are a wonder too
stretching our imaginations
challenging our capacities
with heat, cold, wind, rain
Parching plants and people
in August heat, the sun
almost cooks us
then fall drowns us in color
as leaves shout their warnings of winter
Push the panic button
to store up food
to seal the doors and windows
against arctic blasts, snow and ice
Then, mixed with our exhaustion and depression,
buds begin to swell
robins appear again
pre dawn concerts alert and encourage us
that winter’s hold is slipping, and
in spite of a last flurry or two,
the grass is greening and spring is springing
In all these changes we have wind
and more wind
sometimes scourging in angry swirls
ripping trees and houses
slamming cars and trucks, smashing
and sometimes gently cooling us
Oh yes, the soil and seasons command us
“Be still”, spoken once to the winds and waves,
commanded Nature, but we
are left to study, discover, alter
tiny pieces to our pleasure
Each discovery finding more
another level, hidden til then,
but there, all the time.
Wise are we
to bow, to ask,
“May I have this dance?”
It was created, gifted to us,
for our use
We’ve learned so much
know so little
the dance has just begun
Lin Almost spring, 2014 

Dancing with the Soil, Seasons, and Nature  2022-09-03T14:53:01-04:00

April Winds


Chilled, from deep winter’s freeze
the winds whosh and whistle
sending leaves and debris hip scotching along
barren branches twist and turn
remembering Chubby Checker!
(C’mon everybody, let’s do the twist!)
Wrapped against the chill
I freeze out in the wind
and melt in sun drenched lee spots
Cold, hot!  Cold, hot!
It’s springtime on the prairie!
The winter browned grass is waking
steadily climbing through the thatch
it’s green green green coming!
Buds are swelling,
so tender yet so strong
life will soon burst
into the magnificance of Easter
Color will splash the earth
and mother earth will open
to welcome the seeds of promise
I can’t but help wondering
if winter gets piled up somewhere
far and farther to the East
where the April winds blow it
Is it a giant earth game
where seasons hide and seek
to suddenly shout “You’re it!”
While governments muddle and stumble
the powers above us move
surety abounding
we can but respond
amend our plans as needed
to tune ourselves
to play in the orchestra
so small a part
so small our voice
Yet, together
our tiny voices can sail
singing with the winds
soaking in the sun
seeing and drinking in the seasons
we set our sails…
Lin 4/2014 

April Winds2022-09-03T14:53:02-04:00

Howling Winter


A pinhole or a crack
is all the howling wind needs
to send snowflakes sailing in
Hour after hour
Snow swirls and drifts
sculptured piles arise
packed hard and firm
challenging man and beast
In grandma’s day the drifts
topped fences
so the cattle walked over them
as did she and her siblings
The one room schoolhouse
with the wood stove in center
was open all winter
Summer was for field work
Hard to image her folks
first winter on the prairie
living in a lean to…til spring.
Great grandpa took a sled
four miles southwest
sawmill on the river
brought boards back to the farm
to build a house the next summer
We’ve been building ever since
and the wind still blows
and the snow comes
Still, we have howling winter
and we hunker down
But we are warm…
Thank you Lord…
January, 2014, Lin 

Howling Winter2022-09-03T14:53:02-04:00

The Pouring Season


From the garden
the orchard
and the fields,
fall is the pouring season!
Nature pours forth rewards
for labor and energy
for thinking and planning
and so we see
The tomatoes and potatoes
the squash and onions
gathered into baskets and coming in
The kitchen is alive with processing,
changing summer’s bounty into keepers
Slicing and dicing and grinding
freezing and canning
protecting for later use
the work is enormous
The fruit trees, the nut trees,
shower the ground when they are ready
Next year’s life having moved into seeds
life hidden, protected with layers of nutrients
to spawn more trees
So we work to capture the fruit
pouring the apples, the pears, the walnuts
from buckets and baskets into carts
to, once again,
make their way to the kitchen,
where processing swings again
The corn and soybeans click some switch
Growth stops.  Green goes away
to be replaces with soft colors
gentle, soothing colors of completeness
Done.  Ready for harvest.
So the harvest machines roar back and forth
sucking in the fruits, processing them,
pouring them into trucks
that pour them into giant storage bins
that pour them into trains
that pour them into barges and ships
Pouring, pouring, pouring!
Bounty to feed ourselves
and folks around the world!
Blessings poured out as food
for we are hungry every day
created for life
Ah, we pour ourselves
into the tasks
and creation pours back to us
and we sense, we see
though dimly, through a darkened glass
God breathed life into us
poured into us
and we are to pour into others
in our time
Lin, Harvest, pouring, done, 2013

The Pouring Season2022-09-03T14:53:03-04:00

The Last 500 Feet


As a runner
I’ve been there:
that last 500 feet
The finish line to cross
Yes, the race matters
all of the way
The hills, the straight aways
the curves we can’t see around
yet there’s something about
that last 500 feet
and the line we need to cross
A year of planting, tending,
then harvesting
gets to that last 500 feet
The last rabbits, pheasants
are there to help
as the last rows are devoured
into the chosen kernals and seeds
that hold the valued foods
The finish line
that needs to be crossed!
Like a journey across the vast Pacific
that ends at a specific dock
where a gang plank goes down
and connects with the land
Like the long long flight
the landing, the connection
and then the cabin door is opened
and fresh air rushes in
and used air rushes out
And like the journey through classes
papers and exams
and more classes
til finally, finally,
one crosses a stage
and a diploma is in our hands
the last 500 feet
to a diploma…
Some 32,000 days, on average,
pass from first breath, first suck
to the last 500 feet
and our last lay down
No more mountains to climb
no more rivers to cross
just 500 feet to cross
to the finish line
A final planting
marked with a stone
a peaceful spot
where loved ones can come
on the journey, however long,
and then
the last 500 feet…to heaven
lin, harvest, 2013 

The Last 500 Feet2022-09-03T14:53:05-04:00

Corn Talk


No, I’m not slipping away!
I just do my best to tune in…
to ‘think like corn’ along the way.
So there’s a ‘pop’ in early summer
when corn pops its spike up through earth
to greet the sun and me.
One day the field is just rich and black
and next day a million spikes are there
having popped up to greet the sun and me
Next there’s a scramble
as it grows as fast as can be
the race is on to canopy
cover the earth with green
capture all the sunlight possible
Ah, corn talk happens!
Chest high and higher
with maximum growth conditions
between the joints on the stalks
some summer evenings it happens:
A soft popping noise!
A million plants are growing,
and at the nodes the leaves unfurl
growing so fast there is a noise!
Add to that to soft rustle of leaves waving
summer breezed blowing
almost like a green ocean surf
one can see the wind waves
So soon the plant is finished
and the green turns to tan
Sun tanned?
The tone changes
and brittle leaves speak
Harvest!  Harvest!
In an instant it’s over
as the harvester roars along
grabbing the stalks and jerking down
32 feet per second
one fourth of a second
and the stalk is on the ground
and the ears are in the combine
The sound of corn pouring
from the combine to a truck
from the truck into a grate
and the harvest goes to processors
The Creator through the earth, creation,
has blessed us
with food, fiber, fuel
that we may live
Lin, at corn popping stage, 7/2013 

Corn Talk2022-09-03T14:53:06-04:00

Fragile and Strong


The warmth of our springtime sun
has caused the buds to break
Tiny, fragile leaves abound in greeting
Blossoms will soon burst forth
color and fragrance will bless us
What a time of freshness
as the grays of winter fade
and the prairie celebrates life again
It was there, all the time
but hidden from us
Leaves and flowers and grass surge
in the power of life created
and won’t be held
What nature does for plants
Easter does for us
Ah, earthly powers won’t give up!
Strong winds will blow
tree limbs falling
some leaves and blossoms blowing away
a cold snap or two will lash out
maybe even some snow
the sun, the son
will win!
Have won!
Take two steps back,
take it in
take Him in…
Lin 4/2013 

Fragile and Strong2022-09-03T14:53:06-04:00

Falling Rain


Can be a downright gift
raindrops falling on dry soil
quenching a thirsty land
replentishing an entire aquafer
When drought reigns
it’s cause for celebration
Can also be a plaster
slapped up against the house
windows lathered with running water
maybe even a piece of leaf sticking to the glass
and the gurgling of downspouts commenting
Can be, here on the prairie
‘horizontal rain’
as the winds go full bore
sometimes, even,
masking a tornado
circling winds at race car speeds
tearing and smashing cruelly
our constructs ripped to rubble
people hurt and killed
My favorite’s the early morning
gentle rain
pattering softly on our roof
a good morning lullaby
that I can sleep in a bit
my day changed to ‘slow down’
and ‘catch up’
The soil is being patted
and so am I…
Orchestral ministrations
for life’s opera
bumping along life’s highway
letting us know we’re small
so small
and we need each other
lin 5/2013 

Falling Rain2022-09-03T14:53:08-04:00



A gentle afternoon, I’d say:
gentle breezes, nudging the trees
branches like huge feathered fans nodding
Oh so mild temperature, just right
humanly speaking
Even the sun seems at ease
sharing the afternoon with us
A screened porch, shade
just right softness chairs
made to rock a bit
even a ceiling fan
waving and nodding down
Wrens and finches
robins too
back and forth from feeders to nests
All together now:
Long green lines of soybeans or corn
marking the rich dark soil
Soon the lushness will close and cover
hiding the soil til fall
The prairie is quietly exploding
with flowers and beauty
Like the beginning of a great musical piece
this movement hides the power coming
the crescendo builds towards harvest
Yes, nature is singing
the orchestra is tuned
for just some moments
we can sit and breathe
Lin 6/2013 


The Planter Sits


The planter sits
in the cold dark shed
last week it came out in the sunshine
then, like Punxsutawney Phil
went back into its hole
to wait for a better day
Thunder rolls across the prairie
yet another rain
I’m dreaming it sure would be nice
to move this shower to July
when the crops and I are wanting
But that’s not my role
I hitch it up
repair and grease
adjust and refine
test it out
and wait
The planter sits
long and quietly
waiting for it’s season
the curtain call
pulling on stage, under the lights
like a plane on the runway
engines tested
all inspections passed
ready for the call
“Cleared for takeoff!”
Throttles eased to full
engines roar
moving, faster, faster
all systems go
monitors clicking, flashing ‘Go!”
“Go!  Go!  Go!’
At first I’m humming
then I’m singing!
‘Yea!”  I’m working!
Winter’s shroud is torn asunder!
the seeds of promise  slipping in
patted just so, precisely, counted
Okay!  Okay! Okay!
But not today.
Not tomorrow.
We wait.
The planter sits.
Lin 4/2013 

The Planter Sits2022-09-03T14:53:10-04:00

White Grass


The earth’s blanket
wears different coats
Most famous I think
is green
Poets, singers,
laud the richness
of lush grass, growing
and feeding animals
Summer’s harsh sun
and lack of moisture
or winter’s cold
can turn the green to tan
An earth tone
is suspect
A little coat of snow
can grace the grass with white
brilliant in the morning sun
purity displayed over earth
This morning’s grass was white alone
frost had glazed each blade
so thick the carpet lay
tinted green so slightly
it was quite a sight to see!
Even our barn red mailbox was frosted
plastered with thick frost it stood
another testament to moisture laden air
being pulled from cold darkness to springtime sun
I’ve been frosted too!
Years have grayed my hair
and headed it towards white
How about you?
Lin  2/2013 

White Grass2022-09-03T14:53:12-04:00

Palmer House Morning


Early morning quiet
as I walk a long hallway
Murmuring sifts from some doors
as I pad softly past
The farmers have come to town
two thousand
to stew their policy, ideas,
and surface direction for another year
Couples long together
are working their get up routines
teams, pulling together
raising families, crops and livestock,
they feed themselves and 300 others
Push the button
ride the elevator down
street level
workers bustling in and past
the coffee shop full tilt
A young lady, perky,
ready to serve the java, the joe
Folks studying the morning papers
others punching phones, smartly
Up the escalators, off to work
some three hundred fifty folks
every county represented
Jacobs calls out:
“Adams three!”
“All here”, says the county president.
“A quorum present!” is declared.
The stenographer introduced
the silent one down front
whose finger fly as she concentrates, documents
“Education”, declares the worker bee.
“Line 24 amended to read…”
And so it goes for a day and a half.
In the back, in the hallways,
a steady flow of folks, greeting, visiting,
“You gotta minute?” And off they go.
Democracy in living color!
Grass roots ideas
being hashed out
formed into policy
and often into law
The men and women of Illinois Farm Bureau,
the families, young and old
do this once a  year
Lifetime friendships formed, molded,
by common values, goals
More than just jobs
farming is a lifestyle
It’s who they are
inside and out
The ideas flow
first like tiny creeks,
but joining others, amending, growing
becoming mighty rivers
carrying a mighty nation
‘from sea to shining sea’*
this land,
‘the astonishing rich soil of America’**
food and fuel and fiber in abundance
bound together, so strong, yet fragile
“Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
for amber waves of grain.
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain!
America, America, God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good, with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.”*
Lin, 12/2012, Palmer House Chicago, Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Convention
*”America, the Beautiful”, text Katherine Lee Bates, music Samuel A. Ward
** George Will 

Palmer House Morning2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00

Chicago, Yesterday and Today


A Frenchman made his way
into a great unknown
land, and more land,
lakes and rivers and native peoples
Westward on he went
discovering a land full of wonders
A great lake
and great lakes
like huge inland seas
fresh water, fish
here would be a place
where people could live
and well
Time passing
it came to be
my great grandpa settled there
working at a saw mill
making boards
making a city
a new life
far from tyrants and kings and queens
aristocracies unkind to people
Here, life was better
Wave after wave of people came
and the buildings grew thicker
and taller
til they became like stalagmites
reaching to the sky
sky scrapers, they called them
growing ever more tall
Box rooms built on box rooms
of homes and office spaces
served by small boxes on cables
lifting up, gliding down
the people sorting themselves
into their caves and places
Beneath the earth level tunnels serve
holding pipes and cables
feeding water (clean one way, used the other)
fuel and wires abound
trains come and go
loaded with folk by the thousands
On the streets cars and trucks and people move
pulsing here and there
rhythms and waves day and night
noise accentuated with sirens often
“Give over!” “Emergency!”
Where food came in wagons
it’s now traded through wires
Contracts are made, sold and bought
grains and cattle and hogs only on screens
numbers flashing all day long
prices established around the world
as dealers strike and call
Insurance and investments
banks and stores and restaurants
more sophisticated, complicated, all the time
more and more stalagmites for companies grow
Somehow all of it works!
Amazed, always, I visit there
in huge hotels
with others from around the state
sometimes around the nation
Swirling in with people from around the world
Mixing, sorting, doing our business
Then I go home
to the prairie
to nestle in my small place
the next person a mile away
The sky laid out for me to see

Chicago, Yesterday and Today2022-09-03T14:53:13-04:00



The room stands quiet
returned to its former state
all the things carried in
are carried out, gone
The people
those who stood in front
those who played their music
and those who filed in
claiming chairs for a moment
have gone to their cars
and motored away
Quiet reigns 
In their hearts words are replayed
faces cross the mind screen
the family, the people
have come together to share
a passing
a moving away
moving on
The book of a life has been written
the touching part has slipped away
so now, we can only touch things they touched
but hugs are no more
The structure of creation is such
that in our mind’s eye, in our heart of hearts
we still touch
and do
pleasuring in the memories
that will stay with us
Some fine days we’ll be together
sharing memories
choking up, tearing
it will be good
Thinking deeply
we’ll be aware again
there are seasons
We’ll hear a baby cry
hold a grandchild
receive a hug
Some young person will cross a stage
receive a diploma
A young couple, all decked out
will face each other down front at church
place rings
facing life together
Maybe we’ll see an older couple
walking down a sidewalk
holding hands
Springtime and summer
fall and winter
the trees, the grass, the flowers
all mark the days
they too, are passing
So we scratch the earth
plant some seeds
grow and flower
then begin to slip
returning to the soil
Selah, Lin 9/2012 




We’ve done about all we can do:
We chose the seeds most carefully
from ten thousand possibilities
put the soil, under microscopes
and tested for its health
amended it, for maximum yield
We nestled the seeds
into warmth and moisture
watched them sprout, grow
to fine young plants
Watched for bugs, disease,
and mindfully sprayed where needed
honoring the soil and environment
So, we are done.
Each day the corn holds court
for whatever nature delivers
Temperature, moisture, wind
time goes by
Hunter gatherers roamed the earth
surviving, but in short years.
Along came farmers
who planted, cultivated, and harvested
saving seeds for food year round
surviving, better, but still with problems
nearly everyone had to be
a farmer
Then came knowledge
connecting, mothering nature
ah yes!
Our minds can study
learn, discern
how to make things better
Discover mode
lifts us higher
so one percent are farmers
freeing others for mankinds benefit
for doctors, and dentists and
ten thousand jobs to help each other
still, we need to eat
So a better seed gets planted
the soil is treated better, respected
the plants are encouraged, protected
and harvests grow
grains pour from harvesters to transports
trucks and trains and barges and giant ships
moving, moving, moving
from growing hands to hungry folks
around the earth, it happens
We’re all waiting
done, til harvest
What will it be?
Selah, Lin
James 5:7 




Days of hundred degrees
weeks with little to no rain
but the crops are hanging on!
Drummer Flannagan doin their thing
black blanket tucked under green crops
holding tight to subsoil moisture
So when the crops should look
like the unwatered yards in town
still, they’re growin green!
Soaking up the sun
converting elements to our next meals
We are blessed!
A cold front rolling through
has dropped the temps a lot
Evenings in the 70’s
soft breezes blowing
the roots are going down
deeper and deeper they sink
sipping on the nectar
that we are mostly made of
Leaves that were curled against the drought
are now unfurled, relaxed, relieved….
and so am I!
Waiting for real rain!
But sleeping better!
Selah, Lin 7/2012 


Just a Sip


Half way through a marathon
a runner grabs a cup
a quarter inch or water there
No time to grab another
he throws it down
rushes on
the goal still far ahead
Ten miles down
sixteen to go
the runner knows it’s not enough
from top of head
to tip of toes
cooling sweat is soaking
Better than nothing
this ‘not enough’
yet the runner’s thankful
no way back
going forward
trained to do just that
set small goals
another drink is coming
somewhere forward
getting closer
every step, every minute
July is hot
July is dry
not much water can be expected
so crops and people reach way down
to find their drops of water
Shade’s an answer
for them both
a gentle breeze to boot
A crop ‘canopies’
people burrow, cocoon
conserving all they can
Just a sip feels so good!
We’ll take it!
Be thankful!
keep moving forward!
Lin July 2012 

Just a Sip2022-09-03T14:53:16-04:00



Early morning darkness
coffee, newspaper, coffee again
Waiting for the sun
to whisk away nights soaking
Straight sticks adorned with seeds
standing at attention
in long straight rows
waiting for the farmer
to whisk and sort and steal away
for man and beast
Soybean harvest
is one of waiting
soy seeds so tender, porous
they soak up dew defying
harvest on most mornings
So the farmers stir
and stir their coffee
and do those little things
that always need some doing
Come ten, come eleven
checking, testing
rubbing pods between toughened hands
come twelve
aieee! Come one…
and then we roar!
Clipping off the straight sticks
very close to earth
gathering in, sifting, sorting
treasuring seeds
pouring into trucks, into trains
into giant ocean going vessals
Food is on the move!
Come on sun!
I’m waiting!
Selah, Lin


Wet Air Morning


Leaves drifting down, early morning,
as I pop out the door to snag the paper
the air engulfs me like a big wet kiss!
a wet air morning for certain.
Soaking my world
the fields and grass are laden
humidity must be a hundred
A pin drop would make it rain!
Far to the south
the Gulf offers up its moisture
and winds duly christened travel
a giant swirl brings them here
to bathe the plains with life giving water
to make this a garden
Lush, comes to mind,
in seasons warm
lovely, when cold
slides down in winter
Harvest will wait all morning
as the sun bakes the plants for plucking
Shed doors fly open, late morning
machines growl out
crawling like giant caterpillars
in the fields
sifting, sorting
pouring out the fruits of summer
Into the darkness the machines roar on
pushing against the night
then, moisture again, settles in
smothering plants and machines to silence
Another day of harvest
Harvesting soybeans, 10/2012 

Wet Air Morning2022-09-03T14:53:18-04:00

Morning Moon


randpa rolled out at 0330
to do the livestock chores
Pitch the hay down
from the mow
shovel the grain
into cow shined troughs
slap the stantions
on the milk cows necks
and do the milking
The walk to the barn
only a hundred steps
was lit by stars that twinkled
and by the morning moon.
I wasn’t “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”!
The cattle knew we were coming
they greeted us in moo talk
even the cats had something to say
as they scampered along beside us
Walking back to breakfast
the moon still shone
pristine, in the dawn soft sky
The stock, the stars, the moon, the earth
go about their ways, a habit
while, in sharp contrast,
we can ‘know’.
Thinking about the past
and early rising grandparents
the present
and those whose lights are on
and the future
Who holds it?  How will it be?
We can wonder, dream and plan
Good morning Moon!
I’m on my way
to think and do a thousand things
I’ve never done before!
Hug my wife and out the door
to use my mind and muscles
to fix and fuel and operate machines
that gather in the summer’s bounty
Food, fuel and fiber are my business
People are in line waiting, expecting
and I
I will deliver
Lin 10/2012 

Morning Moon2022-09-03T14:53:26-04:00

Order in the Court!


Seattle, St. Louis…
Baltimore, Chicago…
waiting rooms the same
hallways polished keen
Great big buildings
many floors
folks in starched coats scurrying
America’s clinics hum along
patients in; patients out
patients, patients, all about
secretaries by the score
nurses on the phones
and then, the doctors
Women and men so educated
so focused
mountains of information in
sitting in front of a human
one person
to one person
one question:
“How can I help?”
There is order in the court!
And orders go out:
this test and that
lab and xray and more
digging deeper, deeper, deeper
for that nugget, that exclusive ‘click’
“This is the problem”
and “This is the solution”.
Orders go out again:
to the person
to the pharmacy
to the therapists
to the army of support
yes indeed, Order in the Court!
So life goes on
in a better fashion
all the while remembering
life is precious
and oh so short, determined
by birth and death
mountains and valleys in between
savored with perspective
“This is the day
the Lord has made!
We will rejoice
and be glad in it!”
Lin 6/2012 

Order in the Court!2022-09-03T14:53:27-04:00

The Blue Shirt Folk


I know a certain former congressman
now president of some colleges
whose trademark was a blue shirt
button down
Back and forth to Springfield
then back and forth to Washington
Blue shirt Monday
and every other day
Eastern preppies  uniform, I note
was khaki pants and blue shirts too
although stripes of blue came along
with Paisley ties and Herringbone tweeds
My grandpa and my dad
grew up in bibs of denim blue
with chambray shirts, long sleeves
Summer, winter
it didn’t matter
Hats and jackets changed
but blue shirts ruled the farms
Farm and Fleet and rural stores
still carry lots of the selfsame shirts
and lots of us still wear ’em
Protect us from the hottest suns
make the bugs try harder to bite
and keep the hay chaff out
protect our arms from scratches
Colder weather finds t shirts under
and sweat shirts over
but that blue shirt still rules
Maybe we’ve more in common
than sometimes people think?
Practical wear should be the rule
for those at work wherever
I’m happy in my work shirts
my brand, my label, my ‘flag’
Selah, LIn 6/2012 

The Blue Shirt Folk2022-09-03T14:53:27-04:00

The Bitter Taste of Winter


Cold, they say, bitter cold!
And right they are!
The cold bites us, in many ways!
Noses and toes
fingers and ears
get nipped and painted red
Pay attention!
Our bodies say
this is not to my liking!
Frost bite, they call it
as winter chills and works on us
seeping in to gloves and hats
the wind burning our skin
eyes watering
tears freezing
oh, we are so cold!
Tis a bitter taste
winter gives us
yet, beneath the snow and ice
there’s good
We’re killing bugs!
Rebalancing nature acting
fighting back gainst insects
fighting back against diseases
winter bites and kills
those nasty critturs!
Thank you winter!
You’re saving me money
and helping me avoid
the use of poisons to kill those bugs
the use of chemicals to kill those weeds
that rob our crops
rob our foods, feeds, fuels and fibers!
So I’ll look for sugar
to sweeten winter
I’ll bet I’ll find some
Selah,  Lin Zero degrees and below 2014 

The Bitter Taste of Winter2022-09-03T14:53:28-04:00

Tree Hugger


A hundred thirty years ago
great grandparents settled here
Planted themselves
and then planted trees
Apple trees, pear trees
Osage orange and ash trees
The Osage Orange were windbreakers
cause the prairie sure had wind!
They made great fence rows
and nearly permanent fence posts
Some still line the boundaries

The fruit trees were very precious
cause sugar sure was high
so sweetness was very special
jams and jellies tasted mighty good
all through the long, cold, and snowy winters

Ash is a good hard wood
for making strong shovels and handles
and hand work was the way to do
The ash trees grew so tall
they seemed to touch the clouds
Strong winds served to do the pruning
broken branches made good fires
for cooking and for heating water
and heating the big old farmhouse

Over a century old now
my arms won’t reach around one
limbs way up in the trees
are big around as trees as well!
But time goes by
and nature has its way
to raise things up
and bring things down
We have the Green Ash Borer

The trees will die.

All of them.

I’ll have enough firewood
for a decade or more I’d guess
but it’s a sad sad time
to see them starve
from all their wounds
Fewer and fewer leaves
until the last leaf falls
and the tree stands sullen, barren

No leaves to greet me in the dawn
no shade for noonday sun
or evenings on the porch swing
no watching the branches lean
as strong winds shake the house
No place to hide the Robin’s nest
just lifeless wood
awaiting the saw, the axe
the fire I sit beside

As winters pass
I’ll stoke the fire
read my books and ponder
Bout how this is earth
with all its problems
and how there is a heaven

This summer I’ll hug each tree
give them my small blessing
thanking the Creator
for the century the ash trees gave us
and thanking for diversity
for oaks and maples and Hawthorns and others

Perhaps I’ll slice some boards from ash tree logs
and build some things to remember
Selah, Lin 4/12


Tree Hugger2022-09-03T14:53:29-04:00

What Hath the News- Gazette Wrought?


The president moved amongst the crowd
“Helloing’ here and there.
Handshakes, smiles, friendly comments,
a welcoming on all sides.

Up two steps to the speakers platform
stepping up to the podium, the mike,
he looked out upon the moving sea
listened to the voices
watched the people moving, mixing
These folks like each other!

“Good evening!”
spoken once
spoken twice
a few folks find their seats
but the waves continue
greetings abounding
The president studied some more
and saw, it was good:
These folks enjoy each other!

Farm leaders and spouses
people who’ve risen tall
carrying the ball in many ways
plays writ out large in lives lived well
living well
Tested by storms and drought
floods and markets
government kerfluffles
the vagaries of life
they’ve taken their blows
and risen

Compounded, winner after winner,
selected by peers,
the News Gazette brings them together
to add another, once a year
Forty years coming
people with faces gather
honoring each other and a new one
comfortable in who they are

Finally, they’re all seated
and the program begins
Recognitions, a video
and the honoree speech
Well done,
good and faith full servant
The News-Gazette!
It works!
Lin 4/2012 Farm Leader of the Year Award Banquet


What Hath the News- Gazette Wrought?2022-09-03T14:53:30-04:00

Concert Time


The sun season has changed
and our air is springtime
first blushes from plants seem rushing this year

An abrupt shift from winter
a mild one it was
so the warming sun has clicked
and plants come to heel

Swelling buds
tiny leaves
grass yawning and stretching
then racing to be mowed
farmers and gardeners itching
pulling on gloves
scratching the soil
humming of insects
chirping of birds
it is, indeed, concert time

The whole earth has turned
and nature is glorious
Spring is surging all round
oh, what a time!

Won’t you come celebrate
take a moment, step back,
and nestle in nature
and the Creator, of it all?

Birth, new life remind us
touching all senses
that design was purposed
and so are we.

Lin 3/2012


Concert Time2022-09-03T14:53:31-04:00

Winter Snows


A skiff, a flurry,
a snow storm, a blizzard
we have them all
on the prairie!

For cash grain farmers
the same applies
to meetings during winter!

The constant change, in agriculture
drives us to always be learning
So, when winter comes
so do meetings
and they come like the snow

Computers help
an enormous boost
to be in touch almost daily
with colleges and universities
and providers galore
with information

This is they age,
some say,
of ‘information’
where knowledge is the new wealth
Genetics, computers, GIS and GPS
in skiffs, and flurries
in storms and blizzards
Blowing about us!
Swirling around us!

Machines and markets
policies and government
sometimes all combine
to bury us with information
so, we sift and sort through meetings
all winter, except Christmas week.

What a ride!
A ‘slay’ ride wherein we
slay the dragons that oppose us
Diseases, weather, bugs,
Regulations storming at us
We face them all….

Ah, come sweet spring
and the planting
time again on the tractors
sowing the seeds
in the mother earth
rich black loam inviting
warm sun beckoning
we do it again!

with creation, and the Creator,
what a combination!
Blessed, we are, to be
simple farmers

Lin 2/2012


Winter Snows2022-09-03T14:53:32-04:00

Pasture Lessons


Grandpa had a lot of cattle
a hundred forty head or so
and thus the pasture lessons!

Along life’s highway valued flags
to sift and sort some wisdom

Cowpies always favorites!
Dried, they made nice campfires
wet, like polka dots
we learned to step around them
lesson one:
cowpies happen

Nature has its ways, you see
(and smell, don’t touch)
Cows drink water
by the gallons
eat grass and hay and therefore
four stomachs later
the mixture passes out
A pie!

Lesson two:
when playing baseball in the pasture
interesting bases are made
plain and clear they lie there
beckoning to the runner
Run TO them,
but don’t step IN them!

Lesson three:
All things created
have their uses!
Ours is to discover
Cowpies are quite valuable
mixed in garden soil
tomatoes do quite well
in the natural food for plants
Pure organic
is the sell

When the worst thing happens
as when we forgot to look
Soap and water do the trick
more serious things will come
but we’ve been tempered
with the yuk!

Plod on, my friends, knowing
you’re the wiser
for learning pasture lessons
farm talk, yes,
we’ve lots
to poke our thoughts with humor….

Lin 2/2012


Pasture Lessons2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00

Stacks Attack


Some folks have ’em
some folks don’t!
I’m amongst the chosen few

One might say
we all are witnesses
to the capture of piles of stuff
and not all are bad, you see

Haystacks in a summer scene
bode winter food
for cows and horses and their needs
Stacks of money
aren’t that bad
especially if the money’s yours!

The stacks at libraries
speak treasures of words
inked for posterity, valued
treasured, for memories
and researchers looking

Warehouse stacks
forklifts working
move ’em in and out
sorting what goes where
always moving

Stacks of laundry
stacks of papers
stacks of magazines and more
piles on desks and chairs, oh my!
Now we’re sinking down

End of day
a cleaned off desk
is a mighty precious thing
Going home
all in order
the bare desk calls out loudly

Lin, 2,2012


Stacks Attack2022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00



A century ago
here in Champaign County
a small group of farmers assembled
America, this is
where freedom of assembly
is a law of the land

Farmers and their land
a communion of sorts
people combing and brushing
seeding, tending and harvesting
soil, intellect, and labor combining
to grow the things that feed us

Ideas passed among them
How to do this better?
What do we need to…?
I think WE can change this!

Man faces here
some on their own
others pushed forward by spouses
together, an association was birthed
The “Illinois Farmers Institute”

Dekalb County, Kankakee County,
and Champaign County caught the scent
June, 1912, the words ‘Farm Bureau’ appeared
in an add, The Urbana Daily Courier.

The catalog company, Sears Roebuck,
sent a thousand dollars
Seed money, in need of match,
to hire a special person
a crop and soil expert
to help the local farmers

Two hundred and fifty people
mostly farmers
put their dollars on the line
the rest, we say, is history!

Today some ten thousand county people
have put their names on a line
and joined Champaign County Farm Bureau
each a part of gatherings
for services wanted, met
through the hands and arms of people

Fertilizer, chemicals, seeds,
information gatherings, socials,
through the pain of the Great Depression
people saw the need to gather
combine their knowledge, come together,
forming companies.

Country Life, insurance company,
a creamery association
and a ‘service company’
to bring to farms the gas and oil they needed.
Illini Electric Cooperative, and Production Credit,
and Grain Association
ten companies, all together
moving progress forward
through the worst of times
into the best of times

This year marks one hundred years of gatherings
to bring soil, intellect and labor together
Now we pause, remembering, rededicating
to keep it going
make it even better
this day and tomorrow

Happy One Hundredth Birthday
Champaign County Farm Bureau!

Lin, 1/2012



East 80


Of course
a centennial farm has history!
memories scattered across a century
Each field has pictures
snapped and kept
in someone’s mind, to savor, ponder

My 80, she called it
Ida Augusta Bialeschki
who married a hard working guy
Alfred Warfel was very well known
as a premier hard worker, smart
Why, he could shuck a hundred
ears of corn in a day
working from dawn to dusk
A trader, par excellence
of anything to do with a farm

The east 80
lies east to west
along the Sadorus road
a little rolling, some flat spots
ponding is a problem
dark soil and lighter
you know a glacier was there
by rocks, found annually
rising from winter’s freezing, heaving

As a little lad
I worked with grandpa
forking up the hay
riding the hay rack home
Grandpa was fond of contests
races, if you will,
like when me and Francis (Butler)
tried to beat him
pulling millet
one end of the field to the other
Grandpa won, just barely
I think he strung us along!

The east end
held a school
gone before my time
except for well, standing alone
complete with pump and handle
Time was, grandpa plowed
round and round he went
stopping each round
to pump some water
for a leaky, ailing tractor
Awesome, his persistence
to save a nickel or dime

Cousin Dale and I
too little to lift a bale alone
would work together hoisting
a bale of hay up to the wagon
finally getting a load
Hard work, but we did it
laughing all the way
with grandpa loving us

With grandpa’s passing
a hedge row went
a bull dozer worked for days
Osage orange burns so hot
snapping and popping
sparks flying, fire roaring
all the trees were gone.
A life cycle completed
grandma and her sisters
watered the little trees
great grandpa planted
to break the wind
make a fence
yield longest lasting posts
For 60 years they did that
then went away for good
Four more rows of corn
where thorny trees once stood

My older kids remember
starting their farming there
learning about inputs
in order to have outputs, yields
marketing corn and beans

A year ago a feller
rode a scraper moving
back and forth
back and forth
carrying, distributing
carving out a path
for water to get away, smoothly
The curvy pathway marked in green
will let the water flow
let the crops grow nicely
and hold the soil so precious

Now I’ve farmed it 40 years
and this year’ll mark a generation
grandsons helping me
pick up rocks
like me and grandpa
and Francis Butler

Selah, Lin 1/2012


East 802022-09-03T14:53:33-04:00

Wearin’ of the Green


A grain of corn was slipped
into the mother earth
Moist, warm soil responded,
and soon the kernel was swelling
Life emerging from the heart
a tiny shoot slipped out
and burrowed deeper, ever deeper
another shoot slipped out
to seek the sun
Power up, and power down
mitosis kicking, screaming
not to be denied
the plant emerged, began unfolding
unwrapping leaf after leaf

A farmer kneeling
studying carefully
a doctor in his office
an army in his tool kit, ready,
pronouncing all is well

Most will view
the landscape changing
noting fields turned green
the comin’ of the green has happened!
A glory to be seen
because it represents
fields of food, and fuel, and fibre

Somewhere a chorus should be singin’
Hallelujahs loud and long
But it’s just quiet
like the farmer
on his knees, thinkin’
bout the wonder of it all….

Lin 5/11/10


Wearin’ of the Green2022-09-03T14:53:34-04:00

Buds and Blossoms


Something about the season
has caused a flood of buds
They are thicker than I’ve ever seen them
gracing the yards and streets
Some with fragrant smells
wrapping around a spot
but all with great achievement
a worthy site to ponder

What do they know
kept secret from us?
Will the summer be
a time of abundant fruit?
Or is this just a show
a Hollywood event in color
that will flutter to the floor
cut and cast away
to never be seen any more?

Nature gives us moments
but nature holds the keys
we can but seize the moment
and do our best to capture
Verse, paint, snap a picture,
put it in our memory
but gone it will be

Buds, blossoms, fruits
all part of a great design
that leads us to a creator
Whose palette never ends
Days of wondrous skies
A lover, a child, a grandchild and more
Ah, all there for us
the Good Book says
to mold our thoughts to recognize
there is a God
and it is not us….

Lin 05/08

Romans 11:33-36


Buds and Blossoms2022-09-03T14:53:35-04:00

The Incredible Workshop


For some 70 years now,
this workshop has produced
If you are one of those
who is ‘outcomes based’
A treat is in store for you here!

The shelves and drawers are full
tools of the trade are in waiting
for the five generations who’ve labored herein
Some of the tools are history
some are very recent
But every one, has current use, productive

The window looks out to a farm
livestock and crops are grown
feeding the families
feeding the world
Out there the soil is tilled
opened to awesome production
ever increasing in output, yield

Inside the window is art
cabinets sculpted just so
countertops defined by use
appliances to help create, and serve

Herein hands, hearts, minds and spirits work
In communion creating dishes of food
of colors and texture and taste
Think apple pie fresh from the oven
grandma’s rolls
pot roasts and trimmings savored aromas
early morning coffee
the clatter and chattering of lunch times
the busyness of holiday gatherings
grandma, daughters, and grand daughters together,
grandpa, sons, and grandsons together

The farm kitchen is a key place
where the telephone rings
and words go forth
where plans are made
hashed and rehashed
where dishes are used
washed and put in waiting
Oh, the sacks that are carried in
and the garbage carried out!
all to enable the family going, doing
here on the farm
and out, and about

I hope some memories have come to you
in my musings here
You provide the faces
in their specific places
in your particular kitchen
Remember the laugher
and the tears
Remember the pleasant chatter
that happens through the years
The colors, textures, arrangements
of particular times and dishes
prepared, and served
to the ones you hold special

Selah, Lin 8/10


The Incredible Workshop2022-09-03T14:53:36-04:00

That Would Be a Yes!


Ah, yes, I am a farmer!
And it is good to have all the corn planted!
And it is good to receive a blessing rain!
Gentle. Soft.
Whispering down on the rich black soil.
Soaking down to bathe the seeds…

Can you picture a perfect bath?
Settling down into soothing warm water.
Leaning back, settling in, relaxing.

The seeds are sons and daughters
products of the generations
Sifted, sorted, chosen carefully,
genes on the racetrack starting line

What looks to be a lifeless grain
is waiting to explode!
An awesome ‘click’
when elements combine:
warmth and water, and a little time
Life bursts forth in a tiny shoot
pushing to the light

That would be a YES!
A farmer blessed!
Connecting dots galore
Hungry people and those who help
celebrating planting tomorrow’s food

Not to mention
a little rest
repairing of machines
moving again to the starting line
to plant ‘the other crop’.

Lin 05/09

Corn planted, soybeans to follow!


That Would Be a Yes!2022-09-03T14:53:37-04:00



O that our thanks
could measure up
to the heights of our blessings received

The power of suns rising
matched in a Savior rising
opening heaven’s doors for us

The power in our air
the pungent scent of spring plowed soil
the clean breath of summer rain
the labored odor of oil and fuel and grain
of leaves in fall, burning brightly
of crispness with the frost
through the seasons reminding
creator and created

The mysteries of discovery
there all the time
waiting, just waiting,
for us to recognize
nano and pico
to numbers to big
again and again
now seeing the pathways
created and being

How we need to stretch
to grow in our thanksgiving
to offer praise and stop
on the wonder of it all…

“Summer and winter
springtime and harvest
sun moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”*

Lin 11/07



Farmer Progress


They came…
oh, how they came
to the Farm Progress Show!
Half a section of cars and trucks
lined up on a hayfield
Passengers streaming in

Mega tents and open air
the vendors engaged the farmers
A thousand vendors
ten thousand farmers
Connecting, sharing info

The machinery farmers dream of
shiny, parked to see
the latest, best in the world
farmers and visitors taking pictures
Machines working, side by side
out in the adjacent fields
tilling, harvesting, awesome sights

It really is, farmer progress,
married to dreams, engineering, manufacturing
Seeds and all the things
that move the world of agriculture
here, connecting the dots, the people

Someday, I hope,
you can join the crowd
to soak in this world of food, fuel, and fiber
the people who make it happen
who fill your plate
and those around the world

Seven billion people
sit at the table
more every single day
waiting for their food
How can the food be there?
Come and see
Farmer Progress!

Lin, Farm Progress Show, Decatur, 8/2011


Farmer Progress2022-09-03T14:53:38-04:00

Sifting Soil


“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”
Genesis 2:7

In the springtime I walked the fields
my feet traversing the soil as my father did
my grandfather did
my great grandfather did
Eyes seasoned by the looking, seeing,
the condition of the soil

Stopping, picking up a handful,
sensing the temperature
weighing the sun’s progress against the winter cold
sensing the moisture
sifting in the senses
the experience of generations

Decision time
bring out the machines
till the soil, sifting
the snugging the seeds into their home
on my knees uncovering them, checking them
just right depth
just right compaction
just right soil moisture and temperature
I’m sifting the season

Again I walk the fields
on my knees looking carefully
disease or insect damage?
Tiny plants by millions growing
drawing on the sifted soil
Later walking amidst waist high plants
again checking for disease and insects
A farmer works against ten thousand things we know
and many more yet to know
We know a lot
we know so little

The seasons throw a switch
and begin the walk towards winter
With the fall come harvest
and again the communion with soil
Harvesters begin their toil
giant machines swallowing plants
sifting, sifting sifting
‘til only the seeds, the fruits of all the labor,
are collected and moved to processors or storage
In the sifting, sorting, dry afternoons make dust
swirling about the men and machines
sometimes like a fog lying quietly
moving slowing
gradually returning to the soil

The day comes quickly
when the last row is swallowed up
and the machines are put to rest
The farmer and his helpers too
lie down and rest
but not for long
the next season is in preparation
once again combing the soil
adding plant food, replentishing

Thinking back on all the sifting
the soil that has given us so much
the farmer realizes that he, too,
has been sifted
Like the dust from which he was formed
his destiny is to return
to the soil

“And God blessed the seventh day
and made it holy
because on it He rested
from all the work He had done.”

Selah, LIn 2/10


Sifting Soil2022-09-03T14:53:39-04:00

Ode to a Field Mouse


Some two hundred years ago
a ploughman wrote of a mouse
Behind a horse
he watched her scurry
across the fresh plowed field

Burns sat and pondered
what he’d done
turning the home site over
A tender fellow
more a poet
than a striving farmer
guilt surrounded him.

I, in turn, have seen my mouses!
When I was younger
I sent them packing!
My horse a tractor
some three hundred power
moving like a runner
no hesitation
hour after hour
opening the soil for winter

Back then the mouse had chances
slim to almost nothing
but times have changed
and so have I
In my getting older
I might even stop my steed
and take my pen
a muse a bit about him

Remembering my dad
to my chagrin
when he was my age then
would stop the tractor
let the little mouse pass
then roar on down the field

Now I do too!
Respect for life
has grown and grown
as children and grandchildren come
I learn with fascination
the systems there
in little creatures
and find their study good

I wonder at my world
where mice don’t count
but more importantly
neither do babies
if they’re not wanted
it is their fate
to be plowed away for pleasure

Over a million
go that way
each year in my home land
and more expected now
‘Inconvenient’, some do say,
so flushed away they are

Across the world in China
girl babies were set away
left to die alone
We? We criticized…
I wonder why
We cannot see ourselves.

That brings me back
to the Scottish ploughman
who pondered long and hard
and said this to us one day:

O wad some pow’r
the Giftie gie us
to see oursils
as others see us….*

Lin, Plowing on a Winter’s Day 11/08
*Robert Burns, 1759-1796


Ode to a Field Mouse2022-09-03T14:53:40-04:00

Global Warming


Setting records
right and left
middle of the country too
Global warming
is the culprit
so some scientists say

Learned fellows
degrees in tow
study deeply
numbers and more
then make their premise
give it to us
‘Best guess’, might be
a better thought

Ten year cooling
they tell us now
along with ‘climate change’
Cooling is warming
is hard to take
for us simple folk

Doesn’t help
three decades back
the self same people said
“Ice age coming”
‘Be prepared”
We have the figures here
It’s proven.
Said and done
Prepare for cold and ice

More cold, more snow
(of course)
more of everything
except my toes
tell me I’m cold
and beg for warmer sox!

Please stay tuned
for a different page
wherein we’re told the story
to be care takers
of our planet
and ourselves
and each other…

It will be cold
it will be hot
there will be change for certain
we have to keep on tryin’
to keep a straight face
when learned fellows
do their best….

Lin 2/10


Global Warming2022-09-03T14:53:40-04:00

Last Blasts


Winter often holds us
in a grip of ice and iron winds
We, like bits of paper,
are swept across the prairie
looking for a spot of comfort
warmth by our fires now tamed

The soil frozen hard
captive much like us
endure, we think,
for spring is coming
the calendar clicks the days
as we gaze from frosted windows
holding cups of comfort

Bits of snow
bits of ice
the wind so lonesome blows
untapped, except to chill us
through the day it goes
across our country
and out to sea
day after day it comes

Our cars shudder on the freeway
the trucks are tossed aside
and yet it blows

Maybe there are cables
we cannot see or sense
and the wind is towing springtime
from far away to present
the fresh green grass, the flowers
the trees with buds and leaves
the lushest clouds from heaven
so white and pure soft

I can dream of springtime surely
I have seen two thirds a century now
and know it’s coming, coming
But today, toes and fingers aching
nose of brightest red
I’m bundled, leaning
against the wind and cold
dulled, but going
working, but slowly
“Hold on, to the plow!”


Lin 2/08


Last Blasts2022-09-03T14:53:41-04:00

Winter Wonders


Arctic winds unfurl
to lash the winter plains
they’re a poke in the breadbasket
that feeds the world

Bitter cold
wind, sleet, snow
fight with one another
with us in the miserable middle

O well!
We’re killing bugs!
No kidding!
Insects die by billions
as their eggs freeze and split
decimated, no more!
No one can count them
the victims of the weather
the birds still have plenty to eat

Snow piles higher and higher
school cancelled
activities shunted, other dates
people stock up on groceries
“Hunker down”, advisors say
Plan on staying home
Safety first, of course!

Fleets of trucks and tractors
load with salt and fuel
awaiting the calm of afterstorm
Drivers resting, waiting
to go full blast
clearing the roads again

Hardy souls, these people,
who plow our roads
fix our poles and wires
to make us comfy
allow us travel
through all kinds of weather

I know
that like the ants
you’ve ‘gathered in’
supplies to sail on through
Well done! say I,
well done!

Spring is just around the corner!
The days are longer
the hidden sun will come
and chase the snow, the ice away
Once more
gentle, warm breezes will blow
and flowers not their heads
Hang on! Hang on, dear friend!

Best, Lin


Winter Wonders2022-09-03T14:53:41-04:00

January Thaw


The midwest prairie has a thing
that happens most every year
Just when winter’s iron grip
seems crushingly stong
The sun comes warm
and the winds die down
temperatures climb over freezing
Ice recedes, snow piles shrink
people shed a layer
A welcome respite
the January Thaw
affording hope of spring

The jet stream shifts
and back again
the arctic winds come blowing
The sun is hiding
dry snow falling
dark at eight in the morning
Cold? 7 above!
People and engines grind with effort
but come to life again
move about, to do their things
in spite of wind and weather

Still, we know
that spring is coming
a minute longer day
a little warmer lower temp
garden catalogs rain on us
there is a certain stirring

Winter’s gray is slipping
soon to go away
pushed by springtime heralds
back again, I say!

Give over, winter!
Come on spring!

Ending January, 09, Lin


January Thaw2022-09-03T14:53:42-04:00

Fall Reflection


Breathing in the scent
of freshly tilled black soil
the harvest freshly done
the bounty gathered in
the season now, begins again

It’s evening in
the life of a farmer
the year of tilling, planting, tending, harvest done
it could be a time of rest, but not yet
the soil, the mother of it all
needs to be stroked, massaged
before it is laid to rest.

It is a time of opening up’
so it can breathe more deeply
receiving the rains of fall
expanding, contracting, with freezing thawing

The Lord God took some dust, some soil,
and shaped it to a man
then breathed into his nostrils
and he became a being

And I?
I breathe in the scent
and wonder
What is man
that God is mindful of him?

Lin 11/07


Fall Reflection2022-09-03T14:53:43-04:00

Rain Again…and again…and AGAIN!


Did you see it?

The word ‘again’?
It’s two words, really:
and gain!

Rain is a gain!
The fields are soaking
drinking it in
Not much in ponds
not much in ditches
The soil is ‘talking’
saying ‘It’s okay”.

Are you not busy?
Nothing to do?
Ah, refocus is the word
The world is talking
but you were too busy
to hurried
to hear, to listen

What is being said?
What was being missed?
Two steps back, if you please.
Look a little deeper
Put your feet up
think of the people
and how you can help

Faces soon appear
on the screen of the needy
Boys with no father
needing some help
Young folks in missions
needing some wisdom
Friends facing challenges
with health or with jobs
Spouses and children
needing some time

The rain draws a line
in the mud, not the sand
and gives us a chance
to re-order our lives.

Reminders come at us
that life is short, precious
limited here, unlimited there
Once again we hear
“Invest yourself in people
‘and in things eternal.”

Selah, LIn 10/09


Rain Again…and again…and AGAIN!2022-09-03T14:53:44-04:00

Winter’s Hold


Winter comes with icy fingers
strong and sure and certain
to grip us all
our whole world
frozen soil, ice and snow
and winds that blow from the arctic

Fences sink in snow
with ice and frost lacing
caking cars and windshields
no yielding

Trees stand ridged
sometimes frosted
(see hoarfrost)
sometimes plastered
with blowing snow

Comes a day
when weeds spike through
icy roads are melted
and water begins to gurgle
roofs are dripping
streams are rippling
The sun is pouring it on

Those days are bright
hurts our eyes
Sunglasses are in order
We can feel the sun
surely most welcome
and sense the sun is winning

Spring will come
it always has
and with it comes the robins
who beat the bugs
beat the worms
but somehow do survive
they bet on warmth
they always win
for that we are most thankful!

Winter’s hold is failing
it makes one stop and think
Our lives seem short
and speeding past
indeed our hold is failing

But, there is a place
that grows every stronger
able to hold us forever
Think about it
as you watch the winter fold

Come in
Come in…from the cold
and be welcomed by the Son.

Lin 2/10


Winter’s Hold2022-09-03T14:53:46-04:00

Mixing Bowl Weather


Ah, we study weather
and find out more and more
about what moves our weather

Sun spots have an impact
to start our study far away
Big shifts away out there
push and pull our climate

Moving closer, jet streams,
pathways of air way up high
‘carry the mail’ this way and that,
a giant snake of persuasion
shifting cold and hot
cool and warm

The midwest is a mixing bowl
parked betwixt the arctic and the gulf
a given day can see them both
wide swings what’s displayed
might be balmy, sort of,
fog like near the gulf
a little taste of Mexico
but short lived, for, you see,
the other way is arctic cold
blasting across the prairie
ice and snow can blow so strong
we wonder why we’re here

I have an answer, if you want to know,
we’re killing bugs in billions!
Yup! The cold kills their eggs
It also whips some nasty diseases
that attack our plants for food
Good! Brrrrr!
I’m still cold.

And the gulf weather brings us rain
that makes our bowl a greenhouse
breadbasket to the world
helped by river transport

So we live in a mixing bowl!
What a great adventure!
What a ride we have
living in
this mixing bowl… of weather!

Lin, wind chill sub zero, 12/10


Mixing Bowl Weather2022-09-03T14:53:47-04:00

Machines at Rest


December morning finds them quiet
iron and steel and rubber
engineered to tasks
now, just sitting

Days and nights they thundered
through the fields of black
lifting, turning, stroking
the soils that yielded plenty
chisel plows, men call them
they scratch nature’s back
opening her skin
to air and water
microbes breathe
earthworms relax
stalks and leaves asunder
ready for winter’s freeze and thaw
bugs and weeds disturbed
springtime will find fields waiting
to receive the seeds again

Cold, the metal sits
awaiting repairs, replacement parts
final shots of grease
all done

Once was ‘man and beast’
now still man, but beast is motor
and hoe has grown and grown
so one man’s labor
is multiplied, again and again and again

One hundred fifty two
the current number speaks
one farmer, American,
feeds himself
and another hundred fifty two
Food, fiber, fuel
the soil, the seed, the labor
sun and heaven sent rain
combine with design
engineering, science, factories
education, capital, government
All come together
to make a machine

til next season
But not the farmer, no,
he’ll sit at desk and figure
go to meetings
ponder ‘ever better’
on he goes
to make it so

Lin 11/07


Machines at Rest2022-09-03T14:53:47-04:00

If I were, a Democrat!


If I were, I think
I’d contain the dancing
longer, on the little hardwood floor

Representative Bachmann whirled and swirled
attracting lots of moths
Pretty woman, not shy to speak
she captured hearts for a moment

Then came Perry
from Texas, be wary
who rose like a shining star
then flamed, and became
another also ran

Come on Cain!
Cause ’em pain!
Hit ’em where it hurts!
Politicians, beltway blindness
business is the answer (mostly)
to whatever ails us…

Now he’s, uh, limping
under attack
women, take a number
but wear your tennies
you too will need to run…away

Who can be next
with their neck in a noose?
I think Bobby’s a pretty good bet!
Jindal’s doin’ good!
Pop him up, to take the heat
overcome poor ole Norman the doorman
wrong book!
poor ole Mormon, Romney
(I think I can; I think I can)
chugging along, hangin’ in there
waiting his turn for the guillotine

Your guesses welcome!

Lin 11/11


If I were, a Democrat!2022-09-03T14:53:53-04:00

Green color


Spring and farmer
bring the green focus
Winter pastures green and growing range
away the weary brown
Suddenly, it seems, the world’s carpet is back
lush underfoot

The buds swell, and the warm spring sun
first burst of green
announcing colors come
Protective shells are shucked
as life and increased energy
wrapped in soft spring green

In the areas of soft ground
softened by freezing and thawing
produces tiny buds
as the farmer watches
tunes itself to the earth again
“What we have here?”

In a very short time
planted ranks appear
click genetics
soil, sun and moisture in communion
our livelihood comes
The orchestra plays
as God develops green
and give thanks …


Lin April 2011


Green color2022-09-03T14:53:54-04:00

Fall on the Farm


Soggy leaves, from a gentle night time rain
Soggy soil, luxuriously black and rich
Fields of cornstalks, nipped and low
from roaring machines that stole their fruit
All warmed by a bright fall sun

My toes are cold
is winter creeping, sneaking,
behind some dark barked tree?
The birds are flocking
geese doing check flights
bugs by the billions looking for refuge

The world is changing
as we watch
yes, winter is coming
we know it’s so
So, like the ant
we must hurry and go
to do a thousand things
before we rest hearthside

Early morning darkness
finds us rising and taking food
first light finds us outside
tending to machines
A magic moment comes
when a key is turned
and a deep throated roar begins

devour the crop
sift and sort and sift again
to pour the fruits collected
Boxes and trucks and train cars
barges and ships await

Eyes are watching
around the world
What’s the yield?
Will there be enough?
Can I afford to buy it?

Night is coming
and with it winter
when all will be quiet again
We’ll nestle down
to read and rest
and watch the cold winds blow
Another season
another year
planting, harvesting done

Selah, Lin 10/08


Fall on the Farm2022-09-03T14:53:55-04:00

The Cold


The earth is a quirky place
sometimes hot, sometimes cold
the winds blow hard or gentle
the sun beats down, or warms the soul
the rains come…, or not…

A springtime day
a touch of frost
when planting should be rolling
seeds stay warm, but in the bag
and in the shed, cozy

The farmer scratches his head
checks the weather, again
drinks more coffee
and thinks about the risks
Precious seeds, precious dollars
are sitting on the line
To plant, or not to plant
bet on the come?

Rule number one
(for lots of things!)
Don’t panic!
Tomorrow will come
always has
when the soil and air warm
to mother the seeds
help them grow, every so quickly

Rest and recharge
touch up the planter
be ready to pull the trigger
But today, step back
wait, be it every so hard
for a better day….

Selah, LIn 36 degrees, May 17, 2011


The Cold2022-09-03T14:53:55-04:00

Chest High!


The saying used to be
and was a valid thought
‘Corn knee high
by the 4th of July!”
Well, a new target has appeared:
“Chest high
by 4th of July!”
And ‘we’ do it!

Better understanding
of the soil
(never say ‘dirt’)
and adding plant food
and genetics
and planting machinery
We carefully tune ourselves in
zero in
bringing the symphony to order

Picture the maestro
stepping up on his little platform
batoon raised
gaze intense
every instrument tuned and ready
His arms go up
and the music begins
to the farmer’s senses
a ‘hallelujah chorus’
an epiphany
of praise to the Creator

So the corn is chest high
and the farmer’s chest is swelled
he walks between the rows
looking carefully for problems
bugs and diseases and anything else
that might hold back the plants
To and fro through the fields
his footprints in the soil
Time and again he stops
kneels and studies
from roots to tops
undersides of leaves
feeling the stalks
looking for boreholes
Silent, unmoving,
he waits for insects to adjust
and ignore his presence
It’s a day in the life of a farmer….

Viva la maize!

June 2011, Lin


Chest High!2022-09-03T14:53:55-04:00

Black Corn!


Yup! It’s true!
If the weather is just right
and the corn has great genes
and the soils are supersized (black)
sometimes the corn looks black!

Today is one of those days!
Heavy cumulous clouds are rolling past
and the corn is over the top, growing
so fast, it’s just amaizing!

Dark, dark green,
ever so lush
breezes combing it in waves
it looks like an ocean of green/black!

Add to that silver reflections from waving leaves
and the fields are really sparkling!
What a lovely day to savor, remember!

How I wish you could see it too!
Couched in knowledge
of this food, fiber, and fuel crop
that we are gifted year after year
to the extent we fill our granaries
to their tops
and then pour mountains more outside!

Days gone by, a poet waxed
“Hog butcherer of the world!’
How much more, we now grow
and export by giant shiploads
this gifted crop called corn.
In a hundred days
a kernel multiplies
five hundred times….

All that,
and we get to see the ocean
sparkling, green and black.

Lin, June, 2011

Special dedication to Laverl Byers, farmer
and Langston Hughes, “Freedom’s Plow”
and Carl Sandburg, “Chicago Poems”


Black Corn!2022-09-03T14:53:55-04:00

Roasting Ears


A certain time of year
a certain time in summer
the maize gets sweet on us
Daytime starch
turns to early morning sugar
much to our taste buds delight!

Sun and rain
soil and genes
do their dance so well
there is a reward for us

Early morning finds us
ripping the ears off stalks
well water coolness is just right
to capture the peak of sweetness

Soaking in the shade all day
the ears are ready for the coals
steaming themselves
tenderness peaks
and the picnic is ready
roasting ears are the fare!

Shucks pulled back
butter dripping
salt for seasoning
we stand around and chomp
Oh, so good!

Like salmon in Seattle
like lobster in Maine
sweet corn, Illini style is perfection!

Here it comes!
Get ready!
Monday is the day!
You are welcome!

July 2010, Lin


Roasting Ears2022-09-03T14:53:56-04:00

Going to the Well


Tucked just beside old Route 66
and across the way from Lincoln’s court house
a long handled pump sits atop a well
a sesquicentennial marvel

Honest Abe put his hands
on that self same handle you can
I can
pump it too
just like he did
150 years ago or so

Riding the circuit
palavering in the court house
Abe would work up quite a thirst
Like the others
he’d cross the road
and pump up some clear cold water
Anything ever taste the better?

Our wind mill
whirled away
summer day, winter
the pump jack worked
lifting water
sending it through the pipe
to the big horse tank

Faithfully, three generations
cold clear water pulsed on out
filling buckets and that tank
A hundred forty head o cattle
stood and slurped
giant sucking sounds
The pigs, the sheep, the chickens
all drew from our good well

A summer day
haying field
hot, dusty, sweatin’ in the sun,
we’d pause and drink
that cold, clear water
So good going down
pleasuring our dry throat
We’d splash it on our arms
toss it on our faces
wet our hat,
Then back to work

Small and tall
young and old
we all went to the well

Sunday morning
the preacher spoke
talked about a woman
and a special man
Gathered at the well
he offered living water
a kind that never fails
Being smart, she took it
and Him
then brought her friends and family

Two thousand years and counting
going to the well
just like her we’re needy
reminded, many ways
we live and thrive on water
and living water too….

Lin, Lincoln Illinois, Abe’s well…3/20/11


Going to the Well2022-09-03T14:53:56-04:00

Spring Power


Our lives are really surrounded
by springs both big and small
The energy found inside them
serves us every day

Our cars have springs
in brakes and doors
hidden here and there
Kitchens have them every where
in drawers and doors and little machines
switches and light fixtures all rely
on the power in the springs

Trains and planes and great big trucks
count on springs to stop them
Big and small
they serve us all
seldom noticed, if at all

That hidden power comes to us too
hidden in other things
Winter bonds loosening
the grass begins to green
buds begin to swell
Earth’s blanket coloring
pushed by an unseen spring
is really pretty awesome
if you stop to think
Add in the coming blossoms
the flowers that springtime brings
Nature is power
harnessed from above
created, laid out, sure
It sings,
it blesses
as it uncoils to impress us

Summer and winter
springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars
in their courses above
Join with all nature
in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness
mercy and love….*

Lin, Come on Spring! 3/2011
*Thomas Chisholm, William Runyan, 1923


Spring Power2022-09-03T14:53:56-04:00

The Remnant


History is laced with them
keystones of the seasons
little wedges
placed just so
at just the right time and place
to connect the dots

Governments come and go
people swirling, dancing briefly
passing on and far away
So often, it seems to me
just a little group
just a few folks
take control
Fists holding tightly
Swords always at ready
slashing away dissenters

I picture mighty Egyptians
chariots racing
chasing Hebrews across the desert
My mind’s eye sees Romans too
chasing Hebrews, chasing Christians
So powerful! So intimidating!

Leap forward to modern times
a band of Russians, focused
taking command of a vast country
expanding the borders
Fists holding tightly
Swords always at ready
slashing away dissenters

Yet another small group
a manic, powerful leader
taking command, declaring war
brutalizing people, cities, nations
Millions marching, goose stepping
arms held forth in salute
attacking, expanding
slashing away dissenters

In America today
small groups seething
some with fists clenched, raised others with anger and guns
lashing away in frustration
blinded in hate

There remains a remnant
people aligned with God
people sold out to Jesus
who flavor the earth with love

They serve others in Christ like love
marrying to serve, raising children to serve
serving in churches
spicing communities
even government

So often they are out of view
not in the papers
not on tv
never in the news
They quietly serve

The remnant people save us
putting forth The Way, The Truth, Life
here and forever

Take two steps back
calm yourself
you can see them!
Encourage them, please,
as you go along
Lift them up in prayer
and know

His eye is on the sparrow….



The Remnant2022-09-03T14:53:56-04:00

People of the Dark


Two very different groups
share the night time hours
One stays up late
into the wee small hours
the other awakens early
charged with waiting for the sunrise

Some establishments sit,
quiet mornings, abandoned,
slowly stirring afternoons,
coming awake evenings
Music begins
cigarettes are lit
alcohol begins to flow
Relief from work breaks out
greeting, talking, laughter spices,
the evening eases on
Come midnight things get serious
Music is loud, minds get fuzzy
Finally the hour comes
and folks go home.

The other group is waking up
planning a day of work
breakfast temptations climb the stairs
coffee? Oatmeal? Scrambled eggs and bacon?
The earth is about to move
Clear minds focusing on tasks
as sunlight smothers the darkness
Outside, the air is fresh
laden with morning dew
Engines begin to hum
hands move levers
and work begins to roll

People of the dark
have become people of the light
the day theirs to shape and form
into buildings built
products made
crops planted, tended and harvested

Light swaths the people
and the planet, day side
complex rays do their things
the earth, the people respond in reflection

Two different drummers
two different beats
late night, early morning
all walking the same earth
brothers and sisters of a sort

Some say we can choose
where to put our feet
others say
“We’re born that way”.

Not for me to judge
but to do my part
and do it as well as I can

Someday, I’ve no doubt,
we’ll all lay down
to rise no more
I pray I’m sent
to The Light…
of the world…

Lin 1/2011


People of the Dark2022-09-03T14:53:56-04:00

Horizontal Rain


Now, folks in Seattle
know their rain!
It falls, ever so gently
and so often.
It creates lush flora and fauna
and cleans the air
crystal clear scenes are precious.

The prairie folks
in the flyover zone
have a different rain
Horizontal, they call it
Let me explain

Just yesterday I labored
inside a brand new shed
Fifty feet wide, seventy feet long
with giant doors for giant machines
Thunder boomed, lightning cracked
closer and closer it came
A wall of rain was visible
across the fields ’twas coming
Ting! Ting! big raindrops hit the metal roof
The east door open, I worked in the west end.

The wind picked up, as did the rain
which now was pounding like a snare drummer
Ten feet, twenty feet, the rain came in
and then I was getting wet!
Sixty feet from the door, and I was wet!
That’s horizontal rain!

I might add, it felt real good!
Hot as I was, and sweaty
The cool rain drops refreshed me
Outside, the dry soil was gulping down
The corn leaves frantically waved and thrashed
happy to take a shower
Strong, the plants,
bending in the wind, but resiliant too
they stood the test, endured

More cracking lightning
more booming thunder
wave after wave of intense rain
then it was softer
and then just sprinkles
thunder, lightning distant

The sun came out to greet us
Me, the corn and beans,
all happy with our drink and shower
ready to keep on working

Oh, creation is wonder filled
wonder full
I am so small in many ways
Power just passed
power remains
My time is short, and I must hurry!

Selah, Lin 8/10


Horizontal Rain2022-09-03T14:53:57-04:00

Lake Beds


The rain on the plain
can flood the fields
and cause some plants to drown
Nothing to do but watch it happen
and wait
and wait

The warmth of the sun
and breezes blowing
soak up the lakes in time
But the plants are dead
and the bare spot beckons
rich soil, waiting

At just the right moment
no longer muck or mud
I’m back with the planter
and loaded with seeds
snuggling a fresh batch in

Moisture, warmth, and mothering soil
are electric to the seeds
They swell and pop a shoot right out
and grow like there’s no tomorrow
Hurry! Grow like crazy!
The race has just begun
to beat some frost
that will surely come
to keep the harvest small

Lake beds yield
but not the same
the weight of water squeezes
Compacts the soil
limits moisture movement
limits space between soil particles

Dynamic, the farm is movement
The farmer, the machinery,
the many things that come together
that cause one seed to multiply
returning hundreds ere winter comes

Each step has its mysteries
as to why things happen so
Deeper, ever deeper,
we study and learn
Finding design, designees been there

The map’s in the soil
in the seeds, genetics
in the chemistry, the weather
in you, and me

A joy to learn a part
and happiness to play it well
in our time
For, you see,
He makes all things beautiful
in His time

Selah, Lin


Lake Beds2022-09-03T14:53:58-04:00



HJ came, one day,
to the village of Tolono
Walked out west
to stake his claim
plough and ply, plant and harvest
feed his family and others

First he built a lean to
just next to a tiny stream
every day, necessity
close at hand

Winter came
the family huddled
somehow they survived
Cold days, frozen soil,
HJ and son would journey
horses and sled
to a local sawmill
hauling back the cut boards
from which the home was built

Still, the stream supplied

Mondays found great grandma
Christina Mueller ne
with buckets in her hands
water from the stream a carryin’
to do the weekly wash

Tuesday was washing day
carrying was too hard
to wash that self same day

A train carload one day
unloaded in Tolono
“Hogsheads’ the containers called
large wooden kegs
some hundreds of gallons holding
HJ bought one, brought it home
buried it by the house

First he filled it
from the stream
and then roof water filled
HJ ran a pipe
from granma’s kitchen sink
down into that big ole barrel

Picture granma’s arm a pumpin’
water into her sink
tears running down her face
so happy
no more carrying water
from the nearby stream

A windmill went up
and a pipe went down
deep in the prairie soil
down and down and down
into the hiding water

No more dipping buckets
into the hand dug well
the cows could grow in number
HJ could use that energy
to feed more cows, more sows
the farm could grow in output

Jump forward a hundred years
cities now abound
deep wells into aquifers
big pipes delivering water
connecting cities even

That pure, sparkling water
now pipes past our farm home
a little pipe, ties us in,
right in to the kitchen
Picture a woman
at the sink
holding a clear glassful
tears running down her face
as she rejoices
no more scrubbing stains
no more ruined clothes
whites are white, not iron yellowed
another happy woman!

We human beings
mostly water we
stay close to water daily
yet appreciate it only little
until it’s gone
or ruined somehow
poisoned, against our drinking

Two steps back
start thinking
about wise using
tuning in
to save ourselves
a make a way for others
to treat our world more kindly
to leave it ever better

Maybe a hundred years from now
some lady will be standing
at her kitchen sink
tears streaming
in thankfulness, thinking
about how precious, is the water
we preserved, kept pure
for her, and all her family

Selah, Lin 6/10



The Great Spring Itch


Childhood memories hold them
and all through school they went
Feelings of ‘wanting out!”
start itching
with the warmth of sun
and longer days

Yawning in the morning sun
shaking off the frost
I walk across the frozen skin
soon to be blackened mud

Cold iron lies in waiting
engines wintered long
oil like syrup
drags them back
resisting, resisting, then
Roar! they spring to life!

Oh, it feels so good!
To stir the pot of spring
plans coming off the papers
into piles of seeds
and machines pawing to work

The soil that looked so lifeless
sprouts hair fine tiny plants
they leap and grow
and color the land
green, is coming again

Maybe they scratch
the soil where it itches?
Maybe they reach inside me
whispering messages “Wake up!”

At any rate
I’m up
mind racing with a thousand things
then calming with the earth
Patience, says the soil
Flow with me
treat me gentle
I’ll reward your efforts!

“Oh beautiful
for spacious skies
for amber waves of
for purple mountain majesties
above the fruited plain
America, America
God shed His grace on thee
and crown thy good
with brotherhood,
from sea to shining sea.”*

Lin 03/10
*America the Beautiful text: Katherine Lee Bates, music: Samuel A. Ward A


The Great Spring Itch2022-09-03T14:53:58-04:00

Color it Life


The Japanese Maple
long a favorite
nestles just outside my door
The frosty nights
and sunny days
have spurred the richest color

Not just any
but one that cries out “Life!”

Once a medic
half century a farmer
I’ve seen the color before
On others, injured,
on me, minor cuts
The brightest red flows out

Life! The maple shouts!
I have it but it’s slipping
Springtime birthings
summer soothings
and now fall, crisp and power full

A line’s been drawn
rescission cells
a line that halts the flow of life
now this
a special red

To you, to me
two gifts are given
one a birth of water
the next one a birth of spirit
One to wash away
the other to lift us higher

One a springtime, summer, fall
the other eternal
that’s all

One the choice of others
the other solely ours to choose

Precious the flow
so long ago
Precious the blood, of Jesus

Precious he hung
upon Calvary’s tree
Precious, he died there
for you
for me
Precious the flow
so long ago
Precious the blood
of Jesus….

Lin, Fall, 09


Color it Life2022-09-03T14:53:59-04:00

Summer’s Last Fling


So like the Creator
to color so richly!
Splash the palette!
Throw it at the earth!
Look at what’s happened!

Grass as fresh as springtime
green and growing and loving the cool, the wet
Tree trunks blackened with rain
India inked and clinging leaves
But some, get this, some
with colors defying
Gold and yellow and red and mixes
shocking our senses so quickly

Where did the colors come from?
They were there…
all the time….

Not all creatures
see all colors
but we do, we can
See, and ponder
the changing seasons
Nature nurturing, confirming
the complexity of creation

So we walk upon a leaf carpeted path
breathing deeply the refreshing cool air
Watch a leaf, floating down
Zig zagging, slowly, surely
to a resting place
Soil receiving, welcoming ‘home’
Like us, born of the earth
and returning there

But not like us!
Their colors fade
but ours grow brighter
as heaven’s doors open
and we go home

Lin 10/09


Summer’s Last Fling2022-09-03T14:53:59-04:00

July in Illinois


Our pool sits abandoned
it’s called ‘global warming’
No matter we set records
for cold and cold again
No matter we’re wearing coats
in mid July in Illinois
Hold fast we must
to the notions above
What are we thinking
or are we thinking at all?

Have patience, we urge
don’t jump from the ship
or the frying pan to the fire
Maybe that should rather be
from the fridge to the freezer?

Guessing ’bout nature’
the macro of things
our records are hazy
if we have them at all
‘Things happen’, it seems
off the wall
out of the blue
And we’re back to our figures
painting new pictures
after all

Life is an adventure!

Lin 07/09


July in Illinois2022-09-03T14:54:00-04:00

Minus What?


It’s minus 12
at the moment
Sun is shining brightly
A squirrel just ran up a tree
oblivious to the temp
He’s making his rounds
just as usual
checking his area out
Summer’s harvest
is tucked away
awaiting his preplanned visit

It’s minus 12
and I’m inside
but the house is pretty chilly
66, the dining room
70, my office temp
80 degrees of difference

From 150 feet
below our house
water flows around
warming our house in winter
cooling our house in summer!
round and round it goes

My grandma told me
of ‘way back when’
the winter of ’82
Her parents sheltered
on this land
staked out as their own
A lean to home
a constant fire
a lot of clothes
and cold
Still they made it
built a house
lived through many winters

they did
from early morning until dark
Every day except the Sabbath
Grew the crops and harvested
fed the grain to cattle

Hogs and sheep and chickens too
Horses pulled their weight
Light was kerosene lanterns
Heat was a big iron stove
Fire the friend
that kept them warm
cooked their food
kept them all from freezing

Life went on
at minus 12
but not the same today
I start the car
warm it up
turn the heater on
drive away in comfort
My office fare
is through the net
high speed signals fly
I drop a note
to you, my friends,
to let you know we’re warm

those who came before us
to blaze a trail
and leave us better
May we do the same!

Best, Lin January 15, 2009, Minus 12F


Minus What?2022-09-03T14:54:01-04:00

The Waiting Father


The waiting Father
and the waiting farmer
have some things in common

An idea is born
some winter season
and comes to being

Springtime finds the chosen seeds
carefully placed in soil
Mothered well
tiny plants poke up
and drink in sun and water

Oh, how they stretch and grow
taller and taller through the days
days of warmth, and days of wind
days that stroke, and days that test
taller and taller they grow
then birth their seeds
marked with mother and father

All along,
the harvest season
has been a part of the plan
Some day, you see,
the harvesters roll
set their sickles, fine tuned
to the plants
and begin the final swaths

The plants devoured
but the seeds carefully saved
are food for today and tomorrow
and seeds for next year’s harvest

Nestled in this tale
is a time
just before the harvest
When the farmer waits, knowing
the time is coming
Patience? Oh the virtue!
He sleeps in peace
and watches with care
day after day
He waits.

In another dimension
yet there all the time
a waiting Father
and watches
His people move
across the earth
from the soil, till the soil
become the soil again, except
In Him
their spirits are forever
He’s waiting for you
and for me

Lin 10/08 Waiting


The Waiting Father2022-09-03T14:54:01-04:00

Good and Tired


Oh yes, our bodies ‘talk’ to us
in ways we understand
Sometimes adrenalin just plain soars
and we thrill to go for the ride
but other times we glide
more slowly
til we want a place to hide
and sleep

No telephone a ringin
no one knocking at the door
Just some time to slip away
lights out
maybe even snore!

Then there’s times
when work is done
the clothes in the washing machine
the hot shower soothing oh so good
and we settle in somewhere

Something favorite to drink beside
perhaps a book to read
We might even ‘Ahhhhhhhh’, and ‘ahhhhh’ again
as the good tired comes

Life has rhythms
to be sure
of soaring and of gliding
of rising up, and settling down
each one precious to enfold

For it is in the rest
our bodies rise, refreshed
and feeling oh so fine
Something in creation
surges in those cycles
and we are once again
left to ponder
the mysteries of creation.

Lin 08/08


Good and Tired2022-09-03T14:54:01-04:00

Shovel Ready


Tools of the trade
are varied and many
Sculpted by hands
shiny from use

Favorite tools
have a special place
for those who use them often
Some are passed down
through generations
gaining in honor steadily

Oh, the memories
that go along with them!
Priceless, the tools become
as they wear
the marks of thousands of usings

A two pound hammer
a little sledge
is one I often use
Grandpa Clementz used it
to budge some stubborn bolts
My step dad used it too
I got it without a handle
and promptly added that
then used it heavily one summer
in tearing down old buildings
Sunup found me pounding, prying
knocking down
the hired man’s house and barn
No longer used, the buildings stood
so the lumber was recycled
The hammer is a favorite
so handy as it always was
pounding stubborn things
to fix the old or make the new

A special shovel’s ready
to scoop the grain we grow
A shiny handle with the marks:
“A W” distinguish it from others
My grandpa spent his lifetime
scooping grain, feeding cattle
Oats and wheat, corn and soybeans
were moved from trucks to bins
scooped out again and into feed
for hungry critters growing

This scoop was special
new tools were very rare
but this one was aluminum
thus lighter weight by half
than steel shovels, the standard fare
My mind’s eye still sees him scooping
a steady rhythm going
I’d join him with my kid’s size shovel,
admiring that polished silver

A half century passing
grandpa’s shovel is ready
to move a pile of grain again
Now it’s my rhythm swinging
the sound’s the same
as the shovel digs in
then grain slides off ker chink
Hours pass, and chore is done
one more time
an empty bin is waiting

I’ll not take the shovel with me
to comfort me in a casket
it will need another’s hands
to keep it shiny, used for work
whether grain or snow
it will only be ‘just right’
when it will be swinging
doing what it’s intended to do
it’s shovel ready!

Lin, 8/2011


Shovel Ready2022-09-03T14:54:03-04:00

Time Was


Time was, sometime ago,
when my vision had a problem
Mom, of course, knew the fix
I got my first pair of glasses!
I learned what I had been missing

Time was, sometime ago,
when my vision had another problem
a retinologist laid me down
a nurse held me down
and a lazer fixed my eye
from a blood red thick curtain seen
the world came back to sight
I knew what I was missing

Time was, sometime ago,
age caught up with my eyes
I just couldn’t see precisely
doing my work got harder
my quality slipped a bit
but a doctor laid me down
put me into la la land
and I awoke to better vision
cataracts can cloud ever more
but now I’m fixed again

Time was, and is, it marches on
and bodies do wear out
Just this week
a nice young lady and her machine
checked my hearing and frowned
“Mr. Warfel”, she said to me
“I think you need to consider…
some help with hearing.”
I had been told
by those who love me
I was missing things they said
I knew I had a problem.

So off I went, again,
to get some hearing aids
That nice young lady, and I
talked it over
and I chose a particular pair
Whew! They’re expensive!
Like everything else,
the better ones cost more…
But I chose, and she programmed
(everything’s computer nowadays)
then I plugged them in.

Once again
I learned what I’d been missing.
A lot of sounds
the creaking of the stairs is louder
my own voice is amplified
many things sound different
I learned what I’d been missing…

Another step
up the age stairs
and once again I’m happy
for skilled people and their machines
that make my life the better
And I’m full of thanks
for so many things
beginning with the Creator
and the One who is with us
all the time
every step of the stairs

Selah! I saw that! I heard that!

Lin 3/2011


Time Was2022-09-03T14:54:03-04:00

Alas and Alack!


Good news and bad!
Another decade brings a date…
My favorite Ed
and my good ole Doc
lay it out quite plain:
Do this! It’s important!

So, I make the appointment
and set my mind
to go through it once again.
Age 50?
Age 60?Age 70?
Some guy gets to see my insides
Colonoscopy, they call it.
Oh boy!

A hospital trip
kill a day
just do it all…their way
They’ll put you in dreamland
if you wish
or you can watch the monitor
if you’re brave and a little nutty

how our insides look!
So complex, our ‘machinery’
Digestion and elimination processes
are combinations, out of sight,
but critical to if and how we live
One of my friends
a learned professor
lecturing to his grad students one day
proclaimed, in an un PC way:
“You should thank God for your liver!”
Well, we should!

Confronted with foods
the liver responds
creating chemicals to break it down
make it useful, to our bodies
But, really, from our mouth
to the southern end
the chemicals, the processes,
are really fascinating!

So it’s good news and bad
good news I’m older, by a decade,
bad news is the test
good news if there’s a problem
it can likely be fixed
and I can enjoy another decade!

Okay! Bring on the Miralax….


Alas and Alack!2022-09-03T14:54:04-04:00

Sweet Spots


In the sporting world
there is a spot
a very special spot
it may be a pitch thrown just right
a home run hit, just right on the bat
a golf ball drive
where the ball and the club
connected just right
the ‘sweet spot’

It could be life
the meeting of love…for a lifetime
of a Savior, lifetime and more
or special times less
but still ‘sweet spots’

For me
The Chi O hallway
the door opened
and Kay walked in
to stay…for a lifetime
A small church
a stairway
prayer with Sobol
connection with all things

Children born
count them
one two three four five
each so special
oh so fine

In 89
“Farm Leader of the Year”
by my peers
farm leaders all
lifting me
toasting me

In ’06
“Trustee of the Year”

39 colleges
fellow trustees
leaders all
lifting me
toasting me

Each early morning
I pat the one beside me
choose to start the day
acknowledging her great value
her status and her rank
it is then I can look the day full faced
can pray in peace
can study deeply
reflect and offer thanks

I imagine God unlocking
doors to us held secret
until we’re ready,
God, the I Am,
always has been
is now
and forever will be
Yet God moves constantly
by the Spirit
Our challenge is to see
what has been prepared
for me
for thee

Lin 06/06


Sweet Spots2022-09-03T14:54:04-04:00



I just lost again
but it wasn’t really personal
Not like some ones I love
some ones I respect

In all of history
one loser was the most
Mankind did their best
to put him lower than low
Spit? Beat? Humiliate?
Hang naked on a cross on a hill
for all to see him die?

In all of history
he broke the chains
to conquer death
and make a way to heaven
for you
for me
How’s that?

A sister did her best
put herself on the dotted line
and worked and worked to win a post
only to lose
A hard, hard thing.

A short time passing,
she has thanked the Lord
for changing how she’s lived
The winner waded in
and found a swamp so smelly
he’s challenged every day
to keep above the smell
While she invests in little people
grandchildren growing quickly
to spend her retirement grace fully

Now comes a friend
who did his best
if he were a bear he’d be a grizzly!
For over a year
he walked the county
meeting people
making friends
then putting up signs
giving his all
His family pitching in
and walking in parades
speaking warmly of who he is
a man of many talents

And he lost.
Another fellow, got the vote
somehow was considered better
A puzzling thing
to understand
The why of this defeat

Life can be
about the changes
that are hardest to understand
Sometimes it’s because
this is earth
not heaven, we need to know
imperfection is the rule

What may be best
doesn’t happen
It makes a contrast easy
We get a glimpse
of what might have been
what makes far greater sense
But it’s our task
to move on through
to do our best today
This day
It is the day
the Lord has given
and we will rejoice
and be glad in it!

Surrounded by
so many blessings
we scarce can begin to count them
Health, family, those who love us
care for us
lift us up, when the world pushes down

I do believe
we’re more than conquerors
through the love of Jesus Christ
Who knew
really knew
that we are sinners
yet gave his life for us

We respond
by lifting high his banner
by lifting up our heads
to carry on,
and on,
and on
as long as we have life

Lin, post-election, 08



Hats Off…


It’s that time of year, of course,
when farmers gather, ponder
Ever notice a row of signs
along a field of corn?

Company names
in bright catching colors
with numbers and letters all different
A closer look
shows some differences
in height or breadth or color

They’re different hybrids
the result of skills
applied to ‘make it better’
The latest offerings
on display
for farmer’s choice, selection

Just last eve
I attended a session
where company offerings were touted
Their very best
all growing nicely
preached about to us
Me, and my fellow farmers

The study done,
we marched to a tent
where good food was awaiting
A smiling crew
all prepared
to fee the hungry fellows.

And then it happened
a moment so choice
poignant to be certain
“Let’s have a blessing”
said our host
and the caps came off
just like that.

No one said
take off your hats
No one said
bow your heads

The hats came off
the heads went down
work seasoned hands were folded
Boys and young lads
dads and grandpas
as one joined in the quiet
A simple prayer was offered.

I love those people
I’m one of them
Oh yes, we have some questions,
but we know whom
we have believed
and who is able
to keep that
which we’ve committed
against that day.

We know
His eye is on the sparrow
we know
He watches us

We walk in His shadows
we walk in His light
Day after day
throughout our lives
we live in deep communion
We are small
and we know it
He transcends
and He shows it

Yes, our hats come off
for those moments
and then come back on
There’s work to do
and we’ll do it

Enjoy your food
the best the world has known
It’s waiting there for you
Savor the Father
and the Son
the best the world has known
they’re waiting, patiently,
for you….

Lin 08/09


Hats Off…2022-09-03T14:54:13-04:00

How Cold Is It?


Depends, I suppose!
Grandad and I
stood on deck
Antarctica 91
Icebergs ringed our spot
penguins checked us out
Warm, summer, you see,
at zero or there abouts….

Fluffy the cat
with two inches plus
of thick luxurious fur
prefers the outside
instead of my shop
heated to 45

Enter me
bundled to nines
toes and fingers still cold
as I climb a ladder
to check a bin
breath blowing fog
eyeglasses steamed
Starting a truck
uh, uh, uh,
Ker chug chug chug
It spits and coughs
then evens out
but starting, none the less

Then there’s big diesels
oil like tar
fuel at risk of jelling
that just wait for spring
or warmer days
No problem sitting quiet

I remember times
we milked some cows
early morning and evening chores
I sat on a stool
and milked away
my head warming from the flank
and my hands warmed by teats like toast!
The milk steamed
in the ice cold pail
as I carried two to the house
The basement was warm
from a giant coal furnace
as Grandma ‘separated’ cream

We had an axe
we chopped the ice
from the horse tank every morning
Then the cows drank deeply
40 gallons per daily
amazing to see them slurp!

One time in economizing
grandpa got some hay
spoiled, useless, some fellow thought
so grandpa got it free
We heated water
and heated sorghum
mixing the two together
then poured it on
the nasty hay
and watched the cattle woof it!
Problem was
our pants got stiff!
Would stand up in the basement
without us in them!
Ever walk
in frozen pants
and hear them crack and crackle?

There was a time
when cold winds blew
and snow became a blizzard
The sheep were lambing
so I went
to help them through their labor
I couldn’t see
a hundred feet
or even 15 maybe
I hung on to
the pasture fence
to go and find the barn
Once inside
it seemed so toastie
and lambs were born somehow
I helped the mamas
dry them off
then watched the lambs stand up
(I’m hungry! Really I am!)
Amazing what can happen

Reminds me of
another story
when settlers first had houses

Grandma served
as a neighborhood deliverer
more common than a doctor
Reifstecks’s lived
across the section
their house a rough affair
One winter day,
a baby came
to a cold, cold room
blankets catching snow
but still he came
that little fellow
who lived to 79!
Again amazing
how we cope

What good’s the cold
you well might wonder now?
It kills the bugs
that eat our crops
and kills the funji
that would kill plants too
For that we must give thanks!

Cold’s a blessing
can’t you see?
So hunker down and dream
of springtime sun
and summer breezes
they’ll soon be on their way
We’ve turned a corner
(winter solstice)
so days will start to linger
each day longer
into summer
just hang on!
The weather’ll change
in just another slumber !

Lin, 12/08
Think “Global Warming’!


How Cold Is It?2022-09-03T14:54:13-04:00

Planting Time


The planted field
is a thing of beauty
Rich soil combed
in rows so straight
a blanket of seeds
just beneath the surface
Soon the sprout
will break the surface
drinking in the sunshine
Roots branching
winding a finding their ways deeper
drawing water and nourishment
the crop is growing

A hungry world is watching
Oh come, harvest come!
Feed the nations!
One more time!

Selah, Lin 06/08


Planting Time2022-09-03T14:54:14-04:00

Days of Rain


It’s November
yet the grass
is springtime lush
fresh mowed lawns
look e’er so new
and yet I know
around the corner
a cold wind comes our way
so saw the firewood
keep it dry
for the day that’s coming

We see so dimly
take a seed
that looks so plain and lifeless
a handful, a sackful, not impressive
just lying there so lifeless
like the soil
our present eyes
see not beneath
the covers
there’s life therein, you see
waiting for us to discover
whether towering oak
or fields of corn
the seeds are tied together
deep inside
the genes have codes
that fit together neatly
bring together
and life bursts forth

Another day
long ago
the wisest man instructed
“Be born again”
a silly thing to utter
Yet He knew
the codes yet secret
the mysteries deep inside
a seed…
…and me
waiting to be discovered

Grass and seeds and me
all bound together somehow
we’re digging deeper, higher, wider
all a seeming struggle
the picture still a window
shadowed, but growing brighter
Some day, the Good Book says
we’ll suddenly see clearly
this I understand

November 04 Lin


Days of Rain2022-09-03T14:54:14-04:00

Early Morning Darkness


In early morning darkness
there’s soft, pattering rain
striking cold glass windows
winter, calling again

Winds whisper gently
“You need this”.
Soils will soak it in
hold it
for summer’s plants
to gain
and surge
to harvests plenty

Gray light yields
more gray and black
leafless trees
etched in ink
road lines all laid out
shining strips across the fields
light poles straight and tall
stern, it is
this gray and black
But all of us are knowing
we’re but a tiny way
from blazing white profusion

So for this morning, Saturday,
we’ll snooze a little longer
Waiting for
a quiet time
when rain has called a halt
then we’ll feed the cats
and claim the day
in luxury perusing
papers, books, and antique malls
a movie if we’re choosing

The gray today
is nature’s way
of layering a painting
Tis only priming
don’t you see
not finished landscape coming

Lin 11/04


Early Morning Darkness2022-09-03T14:54:14-04:00

Thunder Rumbles


Thunder rumbles
but shies away
somehow having lost its way
to my front step
my whole farm

Its sister rain
is hiding too
as thunder teases us
raindrops fall
other places
succoring thirsty plants

How does this work?
we are led to ponder
the pathways thunder takes
the byways rain does course

I, like neighbors, listen
and wait for rain

What’s in this mystery
created within
about the ways of rain
why does it fall, and not
on very certain places

Are we to think
we can direct
the great grand forces of nature?
Indeed, it brings us back
to “What is man, that Thou are mindful of him?”

Drought summer 2005


Thunder Rumbles2022-09-03T14:54:15-04:00

The Rain Came…Late


September found us
hot and dry
thirsty people
thirst crops
thirsty lawns, flora and fauna
Drought, they called it
and there we were
United there
town and gown
and country folk
farmers and sidewalk pounders alike

And then the rains came
soft and gentle
soothing all
the crops and people
great full thank full
once again
the grass was green
the crops did what they could
their season was ending
for some was over
but on that final edge
the crops drank in
did what they could
to yield their fruits for us

Farmers have
a lot of habits
maybe in our genes
but in our culture
One habit being
in three dimensions:
remember back
bout previous years
study what’s at hand
and plan for next year
always three
Tuned in to nature
God’s creation
the picture always in motion

So, we harvest with mud
meet the challenge
happy to think ‘next year’
This rain is part
of next year’s plan
which started in past summer

The rain came late,
but early too
Now winter’s cold is coming
and we must run
to do our best
harvest what we have
Squeeze it for good prices
Soon to settle in
beside our hearth
and swap our cherished surmises!

Lin 09/08


The Rain Came…Late2022-09-03T14:54:15-04:00

Summer Rain*


Across the midwest prairies
the summer rains come and go
A lightning show
with rolling thunder
clouds piled higher than mountains
and winds that gust
all bow down to rain

When plants and people
begin to notice
supply is running low
they pause, look up,
are reminded
how small our efforts are
The lightning, thunder,
clouds and wind
are out of our control
So too, is rain
whether more or less
we can ask
that’s all

Interesting that,
the Good Book says,
God caused a mist to rise up
then created rain
followed by plants and…man

In the communion therein
we live today
rain, and plants, and man
to watch, and grow, and be

Oh, study, yes we do,
and often do discover
hidden layers of creation
only to find
another layer
and another

I do agree
with Preacher Nygren
wherever we focus
study deeper and deeper
it leads us back to God

Let us be tender
with plants and people
let us be tender towards rain
and let us be tender
towards the God
who sends it
and again

The thunder rolls
across the prairie
The sky is darkened blue and gray

Rain begins to fall
dancing on the sidewalk
playing a tune on the metal shop roof
It soaks the rich black soil
bringing to a sheen and shine
the gift of earth and life.

Water draws us all together
in many different ways
each human has to have it
indeed it’s part of our conception
and pre-birth in the womb
And we need it, use, daily all our lives.

When raindrops fall
to cover all
We need some recognition
I urge you pause
and celebrate
the gift of earth and life….

Romans: 1:20

*Lin 04/06


Summer Rain*2022-09-03T14:54:16-04:00

August Fog


Kinging the rain
but just for a moment passing
the night air lays heavily
on morning breaking

Don’t we know
the son is ‘out there’
Power on high coming
burning through the fog,
the flotsum jetsum of earth
of humans coming, going
so quickly

We make our moves
scurrying here…, and there…
needing to stop
to listen
to soak it all in

the fog blanket covers
it is pushed away

Not by our might
not by our power
but that of a Creator
who is above all things
and in all things

As sleep slips away
and our minds begin to click
our vision is wont to clear
and we can greet the morning

“Great is thy faithfulness
morning by morning
new mercies I see
All I have needed
thy hands have provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me.”*

Lin 08/09

*Chisholm, Runyan, 1923, Great is Thy Faithfulness


August Fog2022-09-03T14:54:18-04:00

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.