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2013 – A Photo Journey

I love looking back on our year and reflecting the good, the bad, and the excellent. This year, I thought a photo journey of highlights from our year might help you to see what happens on our farm and in our family over a years time.

January started out with a pretty good cold snap. When Laura was home on break, we tested out the “throwing water into the air” theory to see what would happen. We were pretty excited that it worked! And yes, it was really cold, and she was out in a t-shirt. She takes after her mom in that regard!

CarolynCares January

Laura tossing water into the air

February was still pretty cold. Last winter, we had snow 8 months in a row. It gets to the point where you just want to curl up with a hot cup of Russian Tea and a good book…and stay there until spring!

Russian Tea mix

Russian Tea mix

March brought Anna’s senior recital at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. She is a percussionist, so her recital covered many different percussion instruments, including clay pots. Many friends and relatives came to support her, and to share in the day.

Anna playing the toms

Anna playing the toms

April brought a bit of warmer weather, and some thawing. We started to plan our field work schedule and get equipment ready for spring planting.

Spring thaw

Spring thaw

By mid-May, we were finally able to see the growth of the barley. It is always exciting to see the plants emerge, and the landscape turn from brown to a gentle green.

Rows of barley

Rows of barley

We had a very eventful June. We hosted the final stop of our county Farm Bureau’s I Met a Farmer tour. The tour participants traveled to a dairy farm, pig farm, beef farm, and then to our crop farm. They had supper in our newly built shop (finished that day!), and then were brought back to the starting point. Most of the participants have no agriculture experience, or are at least 15 years removed from the farm. They are business people and leaders in their communities across our county. This is an excellent way to teach them about agriculture in their area, and it puts a face on farming. I’m looking forward to our 3rd Tour in 2014!

Jonathan explaining our farm to tour participants

Jonathan explaining our farm to tour participants

The other major event in June was our Century Farm Appreciation Party. Click on the link to read more about the day. It was so nice to be able to celebrate this milestone with those who have helped to make our farm what it is today – family, friends, neighbors, grain buyers, seed dealers, co-op employees, elevator employees…the list could go on, but so must this post!

CarolynCares June Celebration

The invitation

In July, I took a leap of faith, and signed up as a vendor at the brand new Cottonwood Central Park Market farmers market. I started CO Baked Goods, bringing homemade baked goods like scones, caramel and cinnamon rolls, and pound cakes to the Market. It was a fun adventure, and I hope to continue this year with an expanded selection of baking.

Maple Bacon Scones

Maple Bacon Scones

I love attending the Minnesota State Fair. This year, we had the opportunity to work at the Farm Bureau building for a few hours one morning. We brought Flat Ryan along for some fun. He met many of our Farm Bureau friends, including Eric Kuehl from St Cloud. After our shift ended, we explored the fair grounds and found friends to visit, foods to try, and animals to admire.

Eric and Flat Ryan

Eric and Flat Ryan

Our crops were growing well, we had cover crops planted on the harvested small grain fields, and were anticipating the dry down of the soybeans when a major storm blew through on September 19th. The sunrise was beautiful that day, but soon, it was as black as midnight. We had rain, hail, and wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour. I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole time. It was a farmer’s nightmare. After the storm passed, it was time to assess the damage. Most of our corn had been affected, as was our neighbors. It wasn’t laying flat, like that of friends a couple miles away, but it was messy. We could only hope that the stalks were simply leaning, and not broken. This would allow the corn to continue to mature without heavy yield losses.

Black skies at 8:17 am Sept 19

Black skies at 8:17 am Sept 19

October means harvest in our part of the world. Despite the storm in September, our yields were good. Harvest was going well, with only a few bumps along the way. We ended up combining our corn mostly one direction due to the winds, so it took us a little longer than normal. We were thankful for no injuries or illness while putting long hours in. We also remembered to take the time to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. Our office during harvest has great views of beautiful sunsets and full moons.

Full Moon Rising

Full Moon Rising

November is a time to give thanks for the blessings, the trials, and those things that make you who you are. We were fortunate to be able to host Thanksgiving this year. We had 17 people around the dining room table, and I am thankful for each and every one of them. We missed those who couldn’t be there, but they are loved just as much. It has been a few years since my family and Jonathan’s family have been together for a holiday. We thought it would be fun to introduce Anna’s boyfriend to as many family members as possible while he was here. The entire family welcomed him, and we all hope he stays around for awhile!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

That brings us to December. What a busy time of the year! It is easy to get yourself stressed out, and to try to keep up with all the cool pins on Pinterest. This year, my decorating was minimal, as was my baking. I know that next year may be different, but for this year, simple was better. My family was okay with the simple approach this year. They realize that Christmas is more about the family time and the miracle of Jesus’ birth than the decorations or the cookies. I am blessed!

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Here’s looking forward to 2014, and another great year of farming, faith building, family, friends, food, and fun!

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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