Sunday, November 30, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 30 : Coming Full Circle

WOW!  I've reached the end of my 30 days of blogging about Ag.  Some posts were definitely better than others, and on those "other" days, I just did what I could do with the time left at the end of the day.

Day 30, though, is one of my most favorite days of the year.  Twelve years ago my biggest wish came true:  I became a mom!  Today is Tink's 12th birthday.

I think our girls are the best reason why we do what we do here on the farm.  We try every day to save resources, be good stewards of the ground, grow and raise safe food to feed them and others, and we instill all the life skills needed to be a success at what ever they want to be.

If you've been following along these past 30 days, you will know that two weeks ago we were celebrating Bear's birthday.  They are two weeks shy of being two years apart, but it's getting harder and harder to see the difference.  After we had Bear, many asked if we would try again to have a boy so he could take over the farm.  We both said, "No!" for a couple of reasons.  #1 on my list went to the tune of " I'm 42 1/2~!!"  We both felt that we had been blessed with two healthy girls.  The #2 reason was that our girls, if they chose to do so, will be able to farm this ground when it comes there time.  I hope I've been able to show them that being a girl on the farm doesn't mean you run around in short shorts making picnic basket dinners for a boy on a tractor!  They will be able to drive any piece of equipment and be able to work with cattle by the time they go off to college.  Farming isn't just for boys anymore; although they sure are nice to have around to help ;-)

On this final post of my 30 day project, I'm going to turn back the clock a bit and share with you some of my favorite pics of the girls out here doing what farm girls do!

Those are lighting bugs on Tink's arm.

This one might be my all-time favorite pic of the girls.

Now don't go worrying if you don't see a post from me tomorrow,  I promise I will be writing more regularly than I have been these past few months.  Right now, it's time to eat some birthday cake!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 29: Making up for Lost Time

In the crazy life of a farm wife, especially during the peak times of planting and harvest, there is precious little spare time.  Add in the active lives of two young ladies, and that little slice of pie gets even smaller.  That's why today, the girls and I went shopping.

Would you believe I don't have one picture of us shopping?  We just climbed into the van and went out into the world outside our farm boundaries.  Today was Small Town Shop Saturday, so that's what we tried to do.  Fowler has two fun stores, Blessings and Buds and Berries Classy Chic. Wonderful treasures made and/or re-purposed into fun new uses.  Next stop was in the big town of Boswell for a look see at yet another little store at the far south end of town that has a great selection of paintings, message boards, decoration, and country food to offer.

The girls had so much fun shopping at these stores.  We even ran into an old, dear friend, Miss K. whose business is called The Charmed Paint Brush.  She is the very same talented artist who gave life to my kitchen a few years ago.  Remember?  You have to click HERE, scroll down through the applesauce, and then you will see the walls and doors of my kitchen.  These scenes always make me smile.

What's this have to do with Ag?  Well, on the surface, not much, but if you dig deeper into our daily lives, you will see that there isn't a whole lot of "fun time" to be found.  That's why today was a special day.  It's nice to get off the farm for a while, but after spending several hours in somewhat tiny spaces with lots of people, it makes coming back to farm such a blessing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 28: The Good Samaritan

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I love where we live!  When the stars are out,the whole ski lights up!  I don't have to worry about people peeking in windows, or being too loud.  In our neighborhood, the coyotes are our noisiest neighbors!

On our two mile stretch of road there are a grand total of six houses.  Between our house and our neighbors closest to the east is a piece of ground we call "Bird Ground."  There are many such places all over the state.  Ground is set aside or taken out of production and used for wild life sanctuaries about 11 months out of the year.  During hunting season, however, our little road picks up a bit more traffic.  Hunters who have put their names into a drawing are allowed to hunt on this ground.

The hunters above had a pretty good day....good day that is until they went to leave and backed in to a culvert.  It just had to have been their lucky day.  We had seen them getting ready to leave as we headed out to town then on to my niece's for Thanksgiving Day Part 2.  Just as we made into town, I realized I didn't have my round baking stone that I needed to make my part of the meal, so back home we went.

Once we were back on our road, we saw the van's predicament, and one of the hunters returning from a walk up the road to our neighbor's house, but no one was home.   Tall Guy and I looked at each other, sighed a bit, and turned around to see if they needed help, which they did.  We zoomed back home so TG could get a tractor out to them, and I had to grab my forgotten stuff and run an errand back up the road for him.  The picture above is the "after" picture.  All was well!  The hunters were from a county up north, knew no one in our neighborhood, and they really were up the proverbial creek.

I'm glad we stopped.  Most farmers do stop when we can to help out others in distress.  We also watch out for each other.  Not the Gladis Cravits kind of watch (you DO remember her from the show Bewitched right?).  It's just that after going by each other's homes, we notice when something is amiss, whose dog is loose, and what lights should and should not be on at any given part of the day. We also keep a big chain in most farm-worth machines for occasions just like the one we came upon today.

Being good neighbors and Samaritans seems to come naturally to us out here in the country.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#30 Days of Agriculture November 27: Happy Thanksgiving!
Click HERE to ask a real turkey farmer about how turkeys are raised
Happy Thanksgiving!

Not that I am giving this day the short end of the blog stick, but I would love for you to meet an Iowa farm family who works every day of the year to give us, or most of us, the main course of our Thanksgiving meal. They are turkey farmers, and Miss Katie is also an awesome home decorator, mommy to two boys, author of a book for children called My Family's Farm, and she can talk turkey!

Please head on over to meet Miss Katie and her family On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

Have safe travels, and when you are thanking the Good Lord for all the blessings in your life, take time to remember those who helped put the food on your plates:  the cooks and the farmers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#30 Days of Agriculture November 26: What Farmers Do after the Crops Are Harvested.....

I would really love to tell you that we pack our bags and head to sunny Florida for the next four months, but that treat is reserved for our elders.  We are still at home, checking, fixing, cleaning, and putting all the harvest equipment away in "ready to go" condition.  This can turn into a complicated game of Tetris as we jockey wagons, implements, and tractors inside three different tool sheds.

Oh, and once we had this tool shed full, we had to ward off evil rodents that might chew on crucial wires and other important parts. 

When my beloved Tall Guy moved this tarp to the trailer with the fuel tank, a few residents were evicted.  It would have been nice if he had given me a heads up, but you know me, anything to make TG smile.............(paybacks are being plotted!).

Time to hop inside, eat some lunch and catch up on The Young and the Restless right?  Nope!  I still have no clue who the father of Victoria's baby is.   It was time to start hauling corn to a local elevator. It was just a tad bit breezy up here on the ridge!

See?  At least I added a few bits of color to my Carhartt brown attire! Time to move the auger to the right bin.

This is a swing auger because the red part with the little wheels unhooks from the silver part, and this extension can be moved by a motor to go under the bin we want to use.

OK, so what is an auger?  On this farm it's pretty much anything that looks like the sliver blades under the red cage.  The same spiral-type blade is inside the silver "neck" of the large auger, and there is another long auger right beneath the #3 on the bin.  It is the first one to start turning as it brings the grain out of the bin.


Then the smaller swing auger feeds the corn up through the large silver auger, and it takes the corn up and out into the trailer. Below is my view as I tell TG when it's time to move forward.

Yeah, This is TG making sure I know what I am farm wives out there will understand this picture and what words were playing in my head but being filtered before going through my mouth. 

And that, my friends, is going to be a big part of our winter activities, and I'm pretty sure it won't be all sunshine and balmy weather out there, but that's what we do!~

Monday, November 24, 2014

#30 Days of AG November 23 & 24: A Day Off and Helping Hands

Well poo!  I missed yesterday's post so I am combining two posts for today.

Yesterday Tall Guy and I escaped for a little us time.  Thanks to our IFB District Director, Kevin Underwood, we went down to Indy to watch our first professional football game!  Yep we watched the Colts whoop the Jaguars 23-3.  FUN!!!!!

I looked at my BIG camera, but opted just to take my Samsung 5 and shoot pictures with it.  I still don't like the close up shots, but it did capture the view from where we sat.

First we sat at the Slippery Noodle for a bit of beverage and nibble food.  TG's friend from high school manages the place, and I actually got to meet him briefly.  It was quite busy there.

There were about a bazillion little girls with pompoms out on the field to entertain us a half time.

Now this is a fun story.  Tall Guy and I had found our seats and were getting settled, when TG spotted this gentleman, and told me as he pointed, "Now THAT'S how I am going to let my beard grow!"  I gave him a look, but didn't say much as the 6'4" gentleman sat down right next to TG.  If you don't know me well, you need to understand that I will strike up a conversation with just about anyone I meet.  Imagine our delight to find out Mr. M and his wife are from Stuben County, and they are Indiana Farm Bureau members, quite active with their Young Farmer program both at the county and state level.  Of course we started chatting about crops and farmer stuff during lulls in the game. We had our smart phones out showing pictures of our different grounds, and we chatted about windmills. We made new friends and look forward to seeing them at our IFB State Convention next month in French Lick.

During one of the quarter or halftime breaks, the televisions played a clip of a Colt project conducted earlier last week.  Click HERE to see how corn farmers, Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indianapolis Colts, and FFA members all worked together to Pack Meals for the Hungry.

Bayer is also sponsoring a great #Thankful4Ag project:  Please click HERE to go to that site and create a virtual meal that will help feed ten families for every one share.  It's easy-peasy!

These two projects warm my heart because Ag communities understand how much it takes in money and effort to feed people.  There are so many ways to help those whose Thanksgiving tables will not be as full as ours, and the spirit of giving is in the air.  Look around and see where you might be able to lend a hand or your support to those in need.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#30 Days of Ag. November 22 : Indiana Family of Farmers

When those few great, young, enthusiastic, creative, and savvy women put their heads together to create Real Farmwives of America and Friends, it seems like it was the idea that pulled so many of our Ag businesses and organizations together.  From this, Indiana Family of Farmers (IFOF) was born.

IFOF is such a great resource for any and all questions about Indiana Agriculture. This is a list of all those single entities that come together contributing resources and people power to our mission to educate all consumers about what we grow and produce in Indiana:

The following organizations contribute to Indiana’s Family of Farmers:
Isn't that an extensive list of people to tap when a question pops up?  I have linked up to many of these organizations when I need help explaining a process or need to verify my facts. Another fact about this list is that many of them get together once a month or so to talk about AG related issues. Grain prices effect feed and animal productions, and poor weather conditions can touch us all.  It is so important to keep an open channel of dialog between our state's Ag organizations and institutes

The Partnerships/Opportunities page is another great resource to find Ag education materials for the classroom or your own farm kids.

Over on Facebook, Indiana's Family of Farmers, and IFOF and Dairy Blogger Programs are great pages to look for activities created to let you know more about what we, as farmers, do.

With us just getting back into a routine after harvest, I'm trying to get back in touch with all of these groups and see what I have missed while putting in seat time out in the field.  I know that the people behind these organizations have kept the agricultural home fires burning while we have been burning the midnight oil trying to bring in the harvest.  Thanks IFOF for spreading the good word about Ag.

Friday, November 21, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 21: Indiana Soybean Alliance

Hello and TGIF!

Looks like I am going to dedicate most of this week's blog posts to organizations and groups that I work with to promote Agriculture.  First there was Indiana Farm Bureau, and yesterday it was all about my gal-pals at Real Farmwives of America and Friends (RFOA), and today it is Indiana Soybean Alliance's turn to grab a bit of the spot light.

RFOA sprang from a group of like-minded women who wanted to give Ag a voice to the young urban mothers of America who might be well removed from the farm.  Our home base has always been in the meeting rooms of Indiana Soybean Alliance's offices.  They have supported our efforts in too many ways to mention, and made impossible ideas possible with that support.

Have you ever been to The Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair?  Do you know Beany?

Indiana Soybean Association also sponsored the Dine and Discuss evening at Kendell Culp's family farm in nearby Rensselaer.  That was a great experience seeing how we can still make every part of a meal prepared with food grown on one farm or withing the county!

ISA works closely with all of Indiana's agriculture commodities, and that makes sense because we all need each other to make this food chain work.  You can see this best tomorrow when I talk about yet another important group of Ag people making sure Indiana's farmers and produce are promoted and supported.  If you do want to learn more about ISA, you can contact our very own Gal in the Middle, Megan Kuhn, Director of Communications. 

Have an awesome day, enjoy the sunshine we have shining on us today, and remember, if the sun is not directly shining on you, it is just above the clouds!