SHELBY, Mont. – Farm families all across America will be celebrating the Fourth of July, our nation’s anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, more than 200 years ago.
At Welker Farms, Bob and Karen and their daughter will be heading to southwestern Montana with the fifth-wheel camper to explore some historical sites.
“For July 4th, Karen and I will be camping in the southwest, and Nick and Scott's family will be home, but they may make a day trip and watch the city’s fireworks show,” Bob said.
The Welker farm families gathered together earlier in the week to not only celebrate the Fourth, but to couple that with a gender reveal celebration.
The family includes: Bob and Karen Welker and their four children: Laura; Lisa and her husband, Dan, and their children (Addy, Andrew, Nora); Nick and his wife, Kathleen, and children (Rose, Luke); and Scott and his wife, Sarah, and children (Taryn, Roscoe).
Kathleen and Nick are having a baby this fall, and wanted to let everyone know - in a Fourth of July kind of way.
“They held off telling us the gender, letting Scott reveal the gender by loading a bowling ball cannon with a color powder: blue for boy and pink for girl,” Bob said. “Kathleen pulled the rope; the cannon fired and blue powder blasted into to the sky.”
At the farm, everyone is watching the skies for the timely rains needed for the big push toward harvest. Every rain shower quenches the plants in the fields, spurs them on, and replenishes the moisture in the soil.
“In June, we received a total rainfall of 1.4 inches, making it the fourth driest June in the last 30 years. But fortunately, the first week of July has turned cool and damp with showers every other day,” he said.
With the cool weather, the winter wheat is still “looking good, with its deeper roots and maturing this month. It is on tract for harvest the last of July,” Bob said.
The Welkers peas are in full bloom, with the beautiful white flowers flashing a sea of white and green across the fields.
“Our peas will be setting pods up to seven or more, but they are starting to show the first signs of dryness,” he said.
Their spring wheat is in the heading stage the first week in July.
“It is still looking to be a good crop if more substantial moisture comes this month,” Bob said.
Unique to the farm, one of the fields had been in CRP for 30 years, building soil organic matter, when it came off contract and was planted to spring wheat this spring.
The field is special in that it is part of the original homestead on the farm.
“The last of our CRP is in spring wheat this year and with that, we’re back to farming the land my grandfather broke in 1912,” Bob said.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Welkers finished the second run-through spraying the chem-fallow fields, and also finished hauling one of the last spring wheat contracts.
They will soon be looking at delivering last year’s remaining peas crop to the elevator to have the bins ready for harvest.
Meanwhile, in a very creative tour of their farm’s old, newer and restored equipment on their YouTube channel, Nick and Scott showed lots of sparkling-clean trucks, tractors, combines and more from past decades. The Welkers are mechanical and restore and repair most of their own farm machinery and equipment.
One interesting piece of equipment was an International swather and baler that Bob used to hay with when the kids were young. The swather/baler was pulled by horses.
It is not what you think. The family didn’t own cows.
“When you have daughters on the farm, horses seem to appear like flies, so you become hay producers to feed those hay burners,” Bob said, with a laugh. “I cut and baled a lot of hay on the edges of our county road where the grass was most plentiful during those years.”
On this week of our nation’s Independence, the Welker family is still amazed by how many people enjoy and look forward to their videos on their YouTube channel and their more than 230,000 subscribers.
“Karen and I are truly blessed to experience the farming life and the excitement and awe about the new fame on social media with our sons,” Bob said.
In spite of it all, they continue to be humble as three farm families working together and feeding the world every day – like all farm families across Montana and the U.S.
“But we, as a family, always keep close to our hearts the purpose the Lord has for this, and who we are as representatives of Him,” Bob said. “His Blessings to you and your families, as we all share in the grace He has bestowed on us to live in the wonderful country and celebrate its founding over 200 years ago.”