Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Four Go In....Five Come Out!

Here's the happy family just before leaving the hospital last weekend. Baby Gabriel is a wonderful present for the whole family. Just look at the happy faces. I'm sure that everyone will want to hold him, and knowing Stephanie, there are already hundreds of pictures taken around the tree. Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ryan and Stephanie Plus Three

So do you remember that Stephanie was pregnant? Well she was, but not anymore. Yesterday morning she and Ryan welcomed child number 3 into this place we call Earth. It is a healthy boy! As of late yesterday afternoon, he was still named Zelinko Boy, as there was lack of agreement on a name. I mean, you can't make such an important decision like that in only 9 months. But whatever he is ultimately named, he is a lucky boy with such loving parents and brother and sister. And I think I see a future Liquid user here. So Stephanie will be away from her desk for awhile getting this guy off to a good starter. BTW, she has internet access in the hospital, so feel free to submit your ideas for names.

Saying Goodbye....

So Mr. Cook was laid to rest today. Yesterday there was visitation with the family at the funeral home. It was a sad yet comforting time sharing stories and expressions of admiration. Today was the funeral and even more stories and memories were shared during the service by son-in-law and Pastor Don Ruff, daughter Debbie and Mr. Cooks church Pastor Kathy Leydorf. It was a most remarkable and touching service attended by a large number of friends and family. So now it has at last sunk in. We can see the cemetary and marker from Farm 3. But we will continue to see his influence and memory all over the NCRS.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mr. Douglas Cook: His Legacy Will Live On In All of Us

By now most of you may be aware that Mr. Douglas Cook passed away last Sunday night. He had been ill for some time now, and his passing wasn't a surprise. But it is still tough to accept that he is gone and we won't be seeing him anymore. He was the definition of a visionary: a man who saw what plant nutrition could be, went against what is the norm, and paved the way to make it happen. What was started literally as a backyard venture in manufacturing new formulations of plant food has grown into an international venture benefitting growers, dealers, and LIQUID's loyal family of employees. He was more than just an agronomist and businessman. He saw what good a person was capable of doing if they would work hard and be kind and helpful to others. He would certainly challenge you to do your best and to think.
I remember when I first interviewed with Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers to be the new research manager back in 1992. He asked me if I had done much work in the science of plant fertility. I said that I had used and applied fertilizers before, but my specialty then was weed control, not fertility so much. He said that was good because I wouldn't have to unlearn any bad habits and that he could teach me the right way to feed plants. And so it was for over 18 years. I also remember at the start of my LIQUID career when someone in the office who learned that I was from Oklahoma mentioned that Garth Brooks was also from there (and incidently, also graduated from OSU). Mr. Cook then told me that I would make a bigger impact on the world than Garth would. Now I may have fallen short on that, and at the time, thought what he said was nonsense. But then I remember thinking that Mr. Cook really did have faith in me that I could do that. That made me feel good, and he certainly thought that his employees could move mountains. And I think that they have.
Since the NCRS was right in his backyard, we would see him almost daily during the growing season. He would always ask what we were up to, and what was the most exciting thing we had learned that day? And he really loved the PLFP tours of farmers, Area Mangers and company employees because then he had an audience. He would delve into his philosophy on feeding plants and often on life itself.
I would enjoy sharing a stop on the NCRS tours with him because you could always count on some back and forth banter and fun challenges that we shared.
Another great thing I enjoyed was being in Hawaii when he was there in the winter. Besides the beautiful scenery and climate, there was the opportunity to visit the Mid-Pacific Research Station on Kauai. It was his winter lab where he could continue to explore plant nutrition and visit with local growers. It was there that I had the opportunity to visit and interact with Mr. Jim Cassel, on whose property had the research station. There was a great friendship between these two gentlemen, and I enjoyed being with them. He will also always be on my most admired people list. Sadly he passed away in 2008. I will always remember the two of them singing Hawaiian songs with band and hula accompanyment in front of our banquets there. Now they are singing together again.
It is said that Life is for the Living. And that is true. We will all go on about our business and lives. And the company will continue to grow. But it will be different now as new people come to work for, or do business with LIQUID, and they will not have had the opportunity to know Mr. Cook personally. I don't think they will have the same level of appreciation for where we came from. But for those of us who had that great privilege, we will be glad to tell them.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Probably Our Last Field Project of the Year

So what is Tim doing in that hole? Well recall last week we were installing our leaching test site, and last Monday we connected the tile line to the collection wells. It was important to accurately place the hole for the connector pipe, so first we measured the depth of the tile at the end of the hole. To do this we used a surveyor's transit. It was kind of fun, if you're into that sort of thing.

Then we added a quarter of an inch to the depth at the end of the tile, and made a mark on the well. This also was done using the transit. We wanted the depth at the well deeper than at the end of the tile so that the water will flow downhill into the well. It's easier that way compered to flowing uphill. (This will all be clear in a minute.) Here Phil marks where the top of the hole will be.

After all of the wells were marked, Phil drilled the holes in the wells with a hole saw.

Then the pipe that was connected to the tile was inserted into the well. Here is the view from the top of the well.

Then Tim applies a bead of silicone around the hole to keep water out.

Back at the other end of the pit, the pipe is connected to the tile. Recall that the wells are 15 feet from the end of the plot in order to maneuver the equipment, like the planter and sidedress rig. We didn't want any fertilizer from in the alley outside the plot to get into the well, so we used PVC pipe from the end of the tile to the well itself. Clever, huh?
Here is a look at the whole thing. There were 16 of these, so it was a busy day!

We finished just before dark, which happens around 5 pm now, and Doug filled in the holes. So they will rest now until next season. They will need the rest as they will be busy then.

We knew we had to get it all done on Monday as the forecast was for rain that night. And the forecast was correct as it rained that night and Tuesday, and then snowed today. So I suspect that will be the last field project of the year. And what a year it was. It is all outlined in this blog going back to planting in May. Not sure what will be posted here from now on, but check back from time to time, you never know. Thanks for looking in on us. HH.