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

Gathering of The Clan


Coast to coast they come
to the Heartland
Flyover Zone

The gene pool arrives!
Gammy and grandpo hosting
kids and grandkids
a family of American Eagles
and eaglets

Generations in turn
learning to fly
and flying away
but coming back
the family farm
a hundred thirty years and counting

Eagles, eaglets
dreams coming true
Priests, professors, designers and politicians
(Now there’s a nest plumb full!)

Risking, reflecting,
investing in people
and things eternal
the stuff of life
and life abundant

Oh yes scrapes and tears
winds and rains and
Thunder storms
But after the storms
Sun coming out
Fresh air, birds singing, flowers blooming
food growing on the farm
people, helping people grow

Food for the farmer
and a hundred fifty five others
the system setting them free
to think and do a thousand things
limited only by their imaginations

So songs ring out
Prayers of thanksgiving given
around the table they gather
the Warfel/Perry clan

Praise God from whom all blessing flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen…*

Selah, Lin Christmas 2014
*Old Hundredth L.M.


Gathering of The Clan2022-09-03T14:52:46-04:00

Crunch Grass


Folks down south miss a lot
things the cold gifts to us
Some good
some not so pleasant

This morning crisp, cold air
nipped at my nose and fingers
as I trudged out to the shop

Overnight cold was winter’s hold
refusing to let go to the sun
The January thaw was working
Gulf air boosting the temps
so the soil is gushy soft
roadsides mush
fields black as coal

Frost blankets the grass
refreezing the slender spears
holding them tightly

Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!
The sound reminds me
of sub zero snow crunching
as my boots push down

Crunch grass!
How hardy the grass
Lush in springtime and early summer
then lazy and browned by August heat and drought

Green and lush in fall
loving the cool temps, and rain
Then once again arrested
frozen, seeming dead
Always giving…to us!

Serving as carpet for play
luxury for my dog, as he rolls upon it
setting for the tapestry
of flowers and bushes and trees
flat lands and hills and even mountains

for critturs that need it
even a cat seeking an enzyme
a ewe or goat or cow
turning it into milk…and meat

When the world’s on hold from the cold
the grass holds it together
protecting the precious soil
Crunch! Crunch!
Amazing creation!

Lin, January thaw, 2015


Crunch Grass2022-09-03T14:52:46-04:00

Music of The Prairie


Symphony, they call it
music that wraps its arms around us
because we listen, feel,smell, see

Perhaps it’s wind we can see
percussion we feel
bow strings we stretch and tune, bend and clip
and brass we mold, shape, file and weld

The farmer is a visiting conductor
a concert master too
finely trained, taught and taut,
anxious for beginnings
plantings, tendings, and grand harvest finales

He steps up, raises his arms
eyes sweeping across all instruments, all players,
Stop! tap! tap! Tap! the baton on the stand…
an electric Attention! Attencion! Fait attention!

With his arms, his hands,
indeed his whole body, whole being
he sets the orchestra in motion

Close your eyes and listen, imagine
springtime, raindrops pinging
wind blowing gently, stronger, stronger
rising, then falling
The sun after the rain
the smell of fresh earth
the hum of a tractor coming along
little noises from the planter, slipping seeds
into mother earth

The music of our prairie
gifting food to a hungry world…

Lin, January 2014

(and now Denise Yates, singing:)

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O’er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

Eighteen-eighteen saw your founding, Illinois, Illinois,
And your progress is unbounding, Illinois, Illinois,
Pioneers once cleared the lands,
Where great industries now stand. World renown you do command, Illinois, Illinois,
World renown you do command, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commercial tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, there were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln’s name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

Let us pledge in final chorus, Illinois, Illinois
That in struggles still before us, Illinois, Illinois
To our heroes we’ll be true,
As their vision we pursue. In abiding love for you, Illinois, Illinois.
In abiding love for you, Illinois.

Chamberlain and Johnston, the Illinois state song.


Music of The Prairie2022-09-03T14:52:46-04:00

Mothers of Distinction


I discovered my wife
in mother mode
was a person of distinction
For a start
how could she do it?
Deliver a baby
But she did
Five times

Her love grew
for each one
and also for me
How could that be
that love can expand so
and do it again and again

At each stage
suckling to cup
baby food to burger
cooing and gurgling
to standing on a stage, reciting
first toddling steps
to running races
first day of school
to graduation exercises
mother mode was supreme
is supreme

So if we define love
as an accurate understanding
and an adequate supply
of another person’s need(s)
we see the depths
of Mothers of Distinction

52 years later
5 children, 6 grandchildren later
sons in law
daughters in law

How can we say thanks?
ah, we’re back to love
the greatest of all
said Jesus

Lin to Kay, January 2015


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Planting the Flag


A feller born this day
74 years ago
has a lifetime of
planting the flag!
I’ve seen him do it
time and again
courage is the backbone of leadership
and he’s got it!

School district train wreck
finances askew
teachers on the walk
somebody needs courage
plant a flag
draw a line in the sand
know how to add, subtract

Pause, look down,
soil is precious
somebody needs to plant a flag
we’re not doing it right
Here’s a better way!

Plant a flag, John, plant a flag!
So happy birthday,
Him Who Plants a Flag!
Well done!

Lin 2/2015
John Walter Fisher


Planting the Flag2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

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



Books are bound together
warp and woof of words and pages
fibers woven into threads and strings
woods woven into threads and chapters
Front cover, back cover,
bound and determined to state
the notions and ideas of humankind
It’s those bindings that get them shared
Not one reader or two, but hundreds
and thousands and sometimes a million
or more

Consider the Christian Bible
words and pages of people stories
bound together by the idea
that there is a god
One God, holy
the binding for all mankind

So the creation of fibers
of threads and strings
that will not be broken
In the beginning and the now story
and an ending, somewhere
out there

We each one need our bindings
knowing someone cares
we spend our lives learning
how much
our pages are laid
one upon the next
tiny book, large book, a volume
created and creating
so in need of bindings

Welcome to The Book
history of the ages
words of wisdom, enduring
for all time
your time
my time
tomorrow’s time too

Page by page as our book is built
We need to seek those enduring pages
the bindings that can keep us strong, intact,
and give us meaning

Lin 2/2015



The Sky in Mourning


Indeed some mornings the sky
electrifies with shining grandeur
Sun delighting, orange and blue yea team!
The celebration continues
the birds happily flitting about
chattering their latest views

But other mornings are on slow
clouds veiling the sky
night time cold holding fast
refusing to let go
Only light through curtains
clouds draped in mourning

Another dear one has passed
life’s highway ended
all engines stopped
no driver
deepening quiet
The hand shined steering wheels
unmoved, unmoving
paint on floorboards worn away’
by boots now at rest, done

Oh, the prairie moods
we capture in music
that wraps our souls tightly
then loosens
then sets us free
bodies under sod
spirits rising, higher and higher

Mourning, this morning,
but gain, the higher plane
joining the Light of the World

Selah, Lin, winter 2015


The Sky in Mourning2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

Gentlemen Farmers


There really is
a ‘farm community’
but it’s bigger than one might think
It stretches over farmers
no matter where their land

Soldiers have their trenches
where many a battle is fought
and those who lay the pipes and cables
and those who dig the footings
all are part of the soil

With farmers it is food
enabled by the soil
don’t you dare call it dirt
it’s mysterious and fascinating
we’re discovering more and more

Growing, producing food
is a noble call for certain
after air and water we need it
all the days of our lives

Of course there are ways of doing business
and here again come farmers
with ‘gentlemen’s agreements’
Their word their bond
a gift to all who work with them

Come trouble and they join together
putting their own work on hold
to help their neighbors
through thick and thin
amazing to behold
how they help each other

Gentlemen, and farmers
honoring each other and their families
teams in motion
working, praying, sustaining
themselves and multitudes of others

Selah, Lin March 2015
American farmers: 1 feeds 155
I believe…in miracles…


Gentlemen Farmers2022-09-03T14:52:47-04:00

Me ‘n Grandpa


Chores done, early morning,
Me ‘n Grandpa are in the house
Basement, actually
Shiverin’ cold out in the barn
‘cept for the cow’s warm teats
But the huge coal furnace
wafted warmth all over the basement
toasting us before and after the shower

Sunday morning, routine as usual
Grandpa puttin on his blue suit
suspendered pants, but with a belt
uniform for church
Grandma all ready
colorful dress, perfume
ker choo!
My nose didn’t like perfume!
In the car
me drivin’

11 years old
but experienced
at 4 and 5 I earned my wings
settin’ on Grandpa’s lap
steering tractors and the big truck

By 7 I reached the pedals
Big guy now! Well, sorta!
But never a cause for worry
Grandpa gave me the reins

So by 11, no big deal,
my drivin’ two miles to church!
Inside, the stained glass windows impressed-
what could those have cost?
Neighbor Salsbury paid the price’
for us to enjoy the art
the big pendulum clock, ticked away,
counting the seconds in that hour.

Assigned seats
I could find in the dark
eyes shut!
I knew where everyone parked
can still see their faces
Good, solid folk, farmin’ mostly
a banker and university folk exceptions

After church the Sunday dinner
Grandma at her best!
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes n gravy
corn and green beans and fruit from jars

Then the nap.
Me ‘n Grandpa on the floor
living room thick carpet
snoozing away for a little bit
waking to do the chores

Yup! Me ‘n Grandpa
living high
what a life!

Lin, remembering Sunday on the farm. Decembers past


Me ‘n Grandpa2022-09-03T14:52:48-04:00

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

Monsanto Doors


Unlocking secrets of creation
opening doors, Monsanto folk are real
Adventuring forward, looking backward
checking, checking, and checking again
Is this good? Is this okay? Is it better?
We’re talking food here

Young scientists, men and women
moms and dads
creme de la creme of scientists
abide in the labs, the greenhouses
putting ‘new’ in plots
then opening the doors
to a hungry world
even more so tomorrow

Should we fear science?
Should we create words that frighten
and tell stories from imagination?
Or should we discover
what has been created, gifted, to us?

Squanto taught the newcomers
G.W. Carver opened more doors
Borlaug ventured farther
Robb et al started a stampede
a good one
of unlocking more secrets of creation
Using knowledge to help us eat, sustain

Those of us with plenty
need to open our eyes
to those who open doors
and lead us forward

Lin, May, 2015


Monsanto Doors2022-09-03T14:52:48-04:00

Robin in the Rain


Sitting on the garden fence
Perky as can be
rain peppering the patio rapidly

Sitting tall
rain sliding off her easily
she was thinking ‘earthworm’, I’ll bet!

As our rich black soil soaked it in
the loam will surface the worms
oh, fat and juicy!
Filet de earth!
made for each other?

Our farm is home to light touches
the master gardener grooms
planting, caring for certain areas
flowers and shrubs and even trees
each in turn flowering, coloring
blessing we humans who abide
welcoming those who have wings

Humming birds find food
Baltimore Orioles stop by
as many other species do
Just for a visit
just for their time
before winging on their ways

Each and every one is welcome
we enjoy their visits
it even seems sometimes
they note our happiness to see them

Tiny creatures, so vulnerable
yet surviving, multiplying
fluttering about with abandon
some planting themselves here

Ah, we’ve nested here!
Settled down
hustling waning
nap times expanding
more often ‘setting’
soaking it all in

Becoming more like
the robins in the rain!

Springtime on the farm 2015, Lin and Kay and Kate, for the birds!


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Ebony Earth, Ribbons and Bows


Kindness came to earth
the prairie speaks to us
sacrificed plants over thousands of years
turn the soil to ebony black

Gentle rains make it shine
glistening in the morning Son
Father creating mother, it seems

Breaking winter’s hardness
the earth tilts to give us warmth
farmers do their things
scratching, massaging mother earth
laying down rows of seeds

Corn, in particular
has a hardened point
sharp as a pencil it pushes up
from ebony earth comes ribbons green
so now we see
ebony earth, adorned with ribbons

From the thinnest of ribbons
come plants of promise
life spans of a hundred days
where one seed becomes 600
and the ribbons have become bows

Picture a newborn baby
fuzzy hair there
with a tiny ribbon somehow tied
then a young girl, smiling, laughing
running and jumping and squealing with joy
and then a beautiful mother
(aren’t they all?)
hair coifed just so
and a bow…

Ah, beautiful mother, earth
is adorned with a bow
seen from far above
It’s for us!
You! Me!
Ebony earth, ribbons and bows!

Spring 2015, a happy farmer, Lin, corn planted


Ebony Earth, Ribbons and Bows2022-09-03T14:52:48-04:00

Fog and Fertilizer


The giant tender is a ghost
a galleon floating back and forth
sprinkling plant food along its pathways

Satellite driven
much straighter than an arrow
it glides my field…in through the early morning fog

Corn seeds wait
nestled in my shed
waiting for the perfect day
they’ll be poured into my planter
and tendered into the soil
just so, 2 inches deep, firmed
long lines of ribbons placed
rows thirty inches wide
a kernel every six inches
a few days of warmth and moisture and

Springing forth
bursting the seed coat
a root emerges, pushing down
and a shoot pushes up
the root diving for food
the shoot driving for sunshine

Earlier, satellite driven 4 wheelers
zipped back and forth
technicians stopping, pulling soil samples
Maps created of nutrition
the galleon is varying the rates
more here, less there
based upon the need

Research, education, skills,
capitalism, desire
coming together in America
The farmer and technology
Always figuring it out
How to do it better!

Sail on, ghostly galleon
your lights flashing through the fog
the field will soon be done!

Lin April 2015, working in the fog


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Oft times unnoticed
a switch is thrown: “ON!”
and things begin to happen…

Robins are back
buds are swelling
and the grass begins to grow
faster, and faster, and faster!

Winter’s brown is pushed aside
and green grows the earth
the carpet is alive!

the grass drinks in the sun
and suckles on the soil
lush is the operative word


Easter fits so well!

What seems impossible
a switch it thrown
for all mankind
things begin to happen

The whole earth is singing!
Around the globe songs rise up
Hearts swell
souls begin to grow
hope springs and grows
and faster
and faster!

The people drink in remembrance
drawing on creation
“Alive!” is the operative Word…


Selah, Easter 2015, Lin



Frosting on the Cake


Early springtime
winter holding on
squeezing us tightly, nightly
sunup showing a light white blanket
glistening with sparkles in the morning sun
frosted, our cake

Scarce known
our cake is what we walk on
blindly calling it ‘dirt’
but what a glorious cake it is!

Teaming with life
unseen to the naked eye
a billion microbes per teaspoonfull
are living under our feet!

Magic and mystery live there
hidden from the millenia
just now being discovered

Concomitantly we are learning
microbes in our inner selves
enable us to live
in balance, we do well
unbalanced, we hurt
digestion depends on them

How often what we see
is but the frosting on the cake!
Awaiting our discovery
they’re there all the time
Created, stretching our minds
at the complexity of it all
yet knowing, our all
is often so limited, so small

Open Creations doors and windows
Breathe in the smell of spring awakening
Listen to and savor the robin’s commentary
on the wonder of it all!

Lin, Springtime 2015
“Then sings my soul’!


Frosting on the Cake2022-09-03T14:52:48-04:00

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



an interesting lot
trained the boys to be
hunters, and warriors

Hunter meant meat
the women did farming
childbearing, rearing, cooking
clothing, blanketing, beading
corn, beans and squash, the staples

Then first white folk
Europeans, of differing ilk
Importantly, crucially,
people of The Book
a different concept therein
First among equals

Indeed, there were still ‘Firsts’
and still are
but the Apostle Paul nailed it
“No longer Jew nor Greek,
neither slave nor free,
nor male or female…
You are all one…
in Christ Jesus.” *

But the struggle remained
over who ‘owned’ what
where the lines are drawn…

First doesn’t hold us
it’s a fleeting state
History has them strewn
across the land and time
First among equals can

The wise leader knows
especially in America
every vote, thus every person
counts, is equal

What tomfoolery says
“The winner takes all!”
It’s only for a moment
not sustainable…

Wise ones seek wisdom, so
they ‘turn their eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonder full face.
Then the things of earth
grow strangely dim
in the Light of His glory
and Grace…

Lin 2/2015
*Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 3, verse 28



Windows on the World (2015)


I suspect each one of us
have our own windows on the world
that would be our world
the one we pour ourselves into

three come to my mind at once
first being,
when my feet hit the floor
after a night of rest

Three quick steps to the window
looking across the driveway
where grandpa and I ran footraces
where I rode a pony, and then a bicycle
then drove an old car, back and forth
I’m checking the little world
where I live, where I farm

That view is loaded with memories
snapshots of people and machines and cattle
of putting hay up into the barn
and butchering days with neighbors
I see little faces, our kids,
smiling and laughing
and swimming in the horse tank
where the cattle used to slurp noisily

The second window’s in the kitchen
same view but from ground level
it looks different somehow
Here grandma stood, looked and commented,
somehow mom is missing
but from here my wife commanded
the house her castle, the farm she embraced
her hands on every surface
her arms around us all

The third window is in my shop
all seasons I spent there
designing, building, repairing, maintaining
and in the winter, by the wood stove
settin’ with a fella, or fellas,
solving the world’s problems
well, analyzing and discussing anyhow!

Here the windows are looking out,
not in
From here we travel far
nearly the ends of earth
and nearly around the globe
oh, so precious
to come home
to the farm

Here I was conceived
Here I lived my first days and years
and here we settled in
the farm
our centennial farm
we own as tenants

It is good

Selah, Lin January 2015


Windows on the World (2015)2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

Rain Reigns


The world is held in tension
Created that way
Sustained that way
Pause and reflect on rain with me

Picture a prairie farm
Mid summer day
Soil dry and hot
Thirsty plants
Dark clouds rolling in
Farmer and his wife looking up
Big raindrops splash their faces
Tears of joy mix with raindrops
The soil drinks
Harvest is possible again

On the other extreme are floods
Think 1927
Mississippi River
Wet fall, wet winter, Minnesota down
Extra wet spring
Roaring streams screaming rivers
Ever expanding their footprints
Scouring soil away
Whisking away homes
And more rain pain

Good things taken to excess
Come back to bite us, haunt us
How lovely balance is
How utterly fine
To fragile humans


Rain Reigns2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

Soil and Seeds


Secrets abound on a farm
hidden and waiting
unendiing discoveries inside
soil and seeds are diamonds

What comes naturally
is to simply walk on soil
unknowing, uncaring its value
yet life depends upon it
no one could live without it

A particle of this and that
chemistry and physics
and mystery, no

Bacteria, for example.
50 years ago in college
I studied a few
now we think a million, or more
are living in the soil (and us)
doing things important

Comes the planter
who studies seeds and plants
breeding, sorting and sifting
50 years ago in college
we knew a little
genes and chromosomes
and mystery, no

genetic modifications
a million chances for change

What some my think lifeless
soil, seeds,
discovery shows alive
fully alive, teaming

Thank you for the soil, the seeds!

Selah, Lin January 2015


Soil and Seeds2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

9 in the Evening


Long day
Good day
The sun came up
in all its Glory
Resplendent! Awesome! Power full!
No way to stop it, it just keeps rising!

It’s arc complete, work done for the day
it sank out west
slowly, slowly, then ever more quickly
and gone…

The evening quieted the winds
so more and more softly, gently,
nighttimes blanket settled over
as stars poked through the darkness
brighter and brighter
and the moon rose, full

9 in the evening
found me leisurely walking
strolling across the harvested rows
to pull in the last, now lonely, grain truck
I stopped

The smell of rich earth
of stalked and grain
the softness of the soil
now blanketed for winter’s keep
a cock pheasant calling out
(“I am here. Where are you?”)
and the sky, overwhelming me

I realized…
Great grandma and grandma saw the same
grandpa and grandma
dad and mom
now me.
Same stars, same field
I’m so small

I raised my strong arms in praise
stretching them as far as I could
to get them round the universe
no way
My part is so small
and the rest is so huge
I live in God’s creation
in God’s grace
I’m held in God’s embrace
for my little time
9 in the evening

Lin, ending harvest, coming winter 2014


9 in the Evening2022-09-03T14:52:49-04:00

Homeward Bound


Some days are giant magnets
pulling so hard
they snap!
And we go!

Emotions ride hard and high
about Christmas, family
and being together
Mom’s and kids and grandkids
tender dads, kisses and hugs
caring that was born and grows

So highways and byways
trains and planes and even ships
take folks in and deliver
People pouring home

Take snapshots of drivers
purposed, driven
to make it home for Christmas!

Bathed by music, church programs
food and presents folks are blessed and blessings
in their Christmas garb and doings
It is a time for sharing

Staggering to try to capture
put our arms and minds around
the greatest need mankind had and has
God made it simple.

A baby came
Lowly shepherds witnessed
Princely nobles came, gave
connection, click enter, God and mankind

Dwelling among us He spoke
His words endure
sifting and sorting all of life and living
poking, enticing, showing the way
to personal and mutual abundance:
“I have come that you might have life…abundantly”
Creation yielding, creation sustained

Peace on earth
and goodwill to men…

“Hosanna, hosanna
the whole world is singing
the hope of all ages is born
Though sometimes it may seem
this old world’s in control
He’s still King of Kings
and Lord of Lords!”*

Merry Christmas! Lin 2014
*Gloria and Bill Gaither, Ron Huff, 1975


Homeward Bound2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00

Swimming Upstream


What comes naturally
is ‘going with the flow’
no need for a sail
just put your boat
out into the current

Lots of company
floating along
life is but a party!
A continual celebration
down a lazy river
of days, months, and years.

But there’s some folks
who set their sails
pull out the oars
and go the other way
Up the stream
against the currents
eyes on a prize

One way lies the waterfalls
a crash landing
The other, a reward
“Well done, thou good and faith full servant!”

Fully human, fully alive
assessing the situations clearly
setting out to make things better
Oh, what a ride!
Choosing paddles
sometimes tacking
against the winds
using the wind in spite of
gaining, always gaining…
closer, closer, to the prize

Making ports, landings,
out of reach to the floaters
higher, higher up the streams
high ways of life

And somewhere up there
the final landing
a dock like no other
a heavenly ‘click’
a welcome
to a mansion

selah, Lin, a leadership journey, 2014


Swimming Upstream2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00

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

Chicago Steam


Streaming, steaming to Chicago
Illinois farm folks hit the roads
pouring from their farms
all across the state

Cairo to Galena
Danville over to Quincy
Champaign, Decatur, Springfield,
some 2,000 arrive in the Loop

Indeed it’s Science
modern agriculture
education on the move
botany, biology, genetics
animal science, food science
soil science, medicine
setting the bar
for the world

And it’s Technology
satellites, drones
site specific applications
computers, software
the worlds in microscopes
creativity steaming across the state

Oh, it’s Engineering!
Beautiful machines gleaming
grooming soils and planting
accuracy untold but growing
to harvesting with ever increasing efficiency
Green and Red competing
engineers abound around the farms

Math comes into play
numbers all along the way
in science, technology and engineering
the farmers know how to ply them
accounting, planning, discerning
what works, what doesn’t
they figure it out
and figure again

With seven billion Souls On Board
planet earth spins along
every year more children, men and women
needing to breathe, to drink… to eat.
Agriculture rises always
from hunter gatherers to farmers
millennia building industry
and then computer knowledge
every day, we need to eat

Chicago, four days,
Illinois Farm Bureau is in town.
Delegates propose, consider,debate, determine
the policies that govern the association
Volunteers, almost all unpaid
except they make it better
and better
and better

The President and Senators,
Representatives, Governors,
come in turns to see, to talk
the sea of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
becomes STEAM
and rightfully so

Please pass the salt!

Lin, Palmer House, December 2014


Chicago Steam2022-09-03T14:52:50-04:00

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.