Home » Archive by category "agriculture" (Page 5)

30 Things I Love: My Sisters

Sisters

I love my sisters. We love hanging out with each other whether it is at family gatherings, or on sister weekends. Since we live in different areas of the state, we don’t get to see each other often enough!

We also have two brothers, and we love them as well, but there is nothing like the bond between sisters. Have you ever hung out with someone so much that you start to finish each others sentences, or know what they are thinking before they even say it? That’s how it is with my sisters. We have stuck by each other through thick and thin…literally and figuratively…and have supported each other through medical issues, job transitions, and the typical tough parts of life. Those things draw us closer together, and make the joyful parts of life sweeter.

My sisters and I love good jokes, good food, and good stories. We laugh. A lot. We’ve been know to text each other late into the night when we’re apart, or go looking for the super moon at 2 am when on a sister’s weekend. We always stay up too late talking, and we never seem to run out of things to talk about. We cherish those conversations, and the time spent together.

One of our favorite Christmas movies is White Christmas. We reference it quite often, even in the summer. The best part about it? When Betty and Judy Haynes (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen’s voice double) sing the song, “Sisters”.  Those times when we say the same thing at the same time? We sing the song. Those times when we all do the exact same thing at the exact same time? We sing the song. Those times when our family looks at us as if we’re completely nuts as we’re laughing hysterically at an inside joke? We sing the song.

Ahhh. I love my sisters!

 

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Day 21: OxyClean

Day 22: Small Town Celebrations

Day 23: Clouds

Day 24: Thanksgiving

Day 25: Sisters

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

30 Things I Love: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I love the time spent in reflection of all the good in our lives. I love the time spent with friends or family or both. And, let’s be honest, I love the food.

As we pause to give thanks for the food on our tables, remember those who have labored to grow the food so we can stuff ourselves silly. Let us also remember those who are not with family…our military, those who are working, or those who could not travel home to be with loved ones.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers, for your comments, likes, and for reading my posts. I am grateful for your support.

Wishing you a day filled with blessings!

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Day 21: OxyClean

Day 22: Small Town Celebrations

Day 23: Clouds

Day 24: Thanksgiving

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

 

30 Things I Love: Clouds

Clouds

I’ve been accused of walking around with my head in the clouds, but sometimes I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love watching cloud formations changing as they move across the sky. The bonus is when the sun kisses the clouds as it sets.

The photo above was taken when Anna and I were on our way home from an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. When you’re heading west in prairie country, it is impossible to miss a gorgeous sunset. Sometimes I try to get a photo out the windshield with my cell phone when I’m at a stop sign, but other times, the sky calls for the “good” camera and pulling over onto a gravel road to get out of the van to get the right shot. This was one of those pull over and use the good camera nights.

Our willingness to pull over and enjoy the beauty of the clouds and the sunset got me to thinking…how many times do we rush through life, and never notice the beauty that surrounds us? Anna and I could have all kinds of excuses to keep going the night I took this photo. Her appointments at the clinic were exhausting, and we were both tired from the travel. It had been a long couple of days. Instead, we were both willing to pull over and document the beauty in the skies in a stop and smell the roses kind of way.

Life is hard, and it can really get you down. It’s okay to stop every once in awhile and look around at the clouds in the sky, and be thankful.

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. ~Rabindranath Tagore

 

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Day 21: OxyClean

Day 22: Small Town Celebrations

Day 23: Clouds

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

 

30 Things I Love: Small Town Celebrations

Small Town Celebrations

Many small towns in rural America have community celebrations in the summer. I love these celebrations, and reconnecting with friends and family.

Our town’s celebration is called Coming Home Days. We used to have a winter celebration, called the Fishless Derby, but after a few winters of less than ideal conditions for the snowmobile races and ice fishing contests, it was moved to the weekend after Independence Day.

There is a lake in town, where we have a fireworks display on the first evening of the celebration. We usually go sit at the beach, and watch from there. This year, the lake was almost perfectly calm, making for some cool reflections on the water. It’s a pretty good show for a small town. Saturday is the busiest day of Coming Home Days. This year, my serving group and church was in charge of the pie social. So many wonderful pies were brought in by our congregation members! Fruit pies, custard pies, cookie pies…you name it, it was there. I look forward to visiting with the people who come to enjoy a piece of pie and relax a little bit. The pie social ends just in time to head outside to watch the parade. Our parade is pretty typical of small town parades. Tractors (new and old), area fire departments and ambulances, politicians, music, local clubs, and local businesses all wind their way through town.  Following the parade, we have a pork loin feed at the town fire hall, which raises funds for new equipment for the fire department.

The thing that makes small town celebrations best, are the people who come home to visit. It is so fun to see people that have been away for awhile. People that we may have taught in confirmation or Sunday school, were classmates of our daughters, or who were friends of Jonathan from high school. Catching up and reconnecting are just as important as the other events that are going on. After all, our small towns are nothing without the community of people. If you’re debating whether or not to attend your hometown’s celebration this year, I would encourage you to go. Not for the entertainment as much as reconnecting with family and friends. It’s the community that people create that make small towns great.

What is your town’s celebration like? What is you favorite part?

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Day 21: OxyClean

Day 22: Small Town Celebrations

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

30 Things I Love: OxyClean

OxyClean

I know. Another post about a laundry product. However, this one is a new love.

When we purchased our first front load HE washing machine, we didn’t have a lot of issues with sour smelling clothes at first, but every once in awhile, it seemed like a load of towels would pick up an odor. As time went on, I learned that keeping the door open and using a washing machine cleaning tablet were the best ways to keep the musty smelling odors out of the machine. Getting the odors out of the towels that were left in the machine too long? That wasn’t as easy.

I started using Febreeze for Laundry when washing my towels and my tech shirts (the kind of shirts many wear while exercising, or working).  I also tried using vinegar in the rinse cycle, and using an extra rinse cycle to make sure all of the detergent was rinsed out. Alone, the products had mixed results. Bleaching was out, because Laura is sensitive to bleach, so I try not to use it on things she’ll use. Enter Pinterest.

I searched for ways to remove odors from HE washing machines, and came upon a few variations on a theme. Most used an oxygen bleach, and white vinegar. I had no idea what oxygen bleach was, and was pretty confused when I looked for it at the store, so I did a little Google search. Turns out that OxyClean is a form of oxygen bleach, so I bought a small bottle to see if it would work.

To remove the smell from towels and tech shirts, use the typical amount of detergent that you use (I use between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon depending on load size), add the OxyClean into the prewash water or dispenser, add some vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser, and choose the hottest water the fabric can handle. Set the machine to auto soak or pre-treat, then use the normal setting you use for the clothes. As soon as the cycle is done, remove the clothes, and do a smell check before you dry them on the hottest setting for those clothes. Personally, I like to air dry my tech shirts, since I think it helps them to last longer. Make sure the clothes or towels are fully dry before you fold and put away.

I was pretty skeptical that this would work. I have tried it with and without the vinegar as well. Let me just say, I love how the OxyClean helps remove the odors from the towels and tech shirts. In fact, the last time I went shopping, I bought a bigger bottle. Next test? Pig odors!

What laundry tricks or tips do you love?

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Day 21: OxyClean

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

30 Things I Love: My Church Choir Family

My Church Choir

I love singing. I’m not soloist material, but I love singing in our church choir. The best thing about the choir? It’s members.

The first time I attended a Wednesday evening choir practice, I was so nervous. I had never sung in a choir before, only small groups, so I had no idea what to expect. I was warmly welcomed by everyone, and quickly felt at ease. Over the years we have built friendships. We’ve cried together, laughed together, prayed together, and we’ve made beautiful music together. Our numbers fluctuate depending on the time of year and job or travel schedules, which is normal. The photo above was taken last night, with no heads up…just a “hey, I need a photo of the choir”. They were kind enough to allow the photo.

My music involvement at church started when I was asked to take over the bells of a woman with cancer. She could no longer continue to play in the bell choir, so she asked me to play her bells. How can you turn that down? Next came an ensemble that was made up of a few couple friends, and some choir members. We practiced regularly, right before the senior choir’s practice, but it took a few years to work my way up to the balcony. When I first joined the choir, I sat in the back row of the alto section. When one of our tenors was fighting cancer, I volunteered to move back to the tenor section. That is now my choir home. It was a steep learning curve, and I still have to really think about the notes at times, but I love it. The other two tenors, and the basses have been very good about helping me out when I need it. But, that’s what families do. They help each other out. I am so thankful for that!

I’ve had to miss a few practices this fall, but I always look forward to choir practice. Seeing the choir members, having devotions together, and making music always means I leave with a song in my heart. I love my choir family!

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Day 19: Friends

Day 20: My Church Choir Family

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

30 Things I Love: Playing in the Dirt

Playing in the Dirt

When I say I love playing in the dirt, that can mean a couple of things…running around barefoot outside, or running the field cultivator in the spring, or various other pieces of equipment throughout the growing season. Occasionally, running the field cultivator in the spring and running around barefoot outside can happen at the same time.

Every spring, I get so tempted to whip off the shoes and socks and run around barefoot in the middle of a field. This spring, it appeared that there was an issue with one of the tires on the field cultivator, so I stopped the tractor and went to check it out. The soil was so soft that it filled my shoes as my foot sank in. I removed my shoes to empty them, and left them off for awhile. The next time I needed to stop, I went barefoot. It was heavenly! I may or may not have taken way longer to check the equipment that time than was necessary. After a few rounds, I stopped again, inhaling the smell of the freshly turned earth as I sunk my toes into the topsoil. I felt like a kid again.

The field I was in is bordered by two well traveled county roads. Each time I went out barefoot, I was hoping the traffic going by wouldn’t notice. That would be a little hard to explain in church on Sunday…I was just out playing in the dirt. Thinking back on it, though, I wonder why we need to feel embarrassed when we are enjoying life by running barefoot in a field, or spending an afternoon with our families, or sitting on the front porch in the evening. If we just slog through life without taking the time to smell the roses every now and then, we miss out on so much. I don’t want my biggest regrets in life to be that I never took the time to enjoy my surroundings, or that I was too serious to play a little.

Next spring, you may find me playing in the dirt again…instead of shaking your head like I’m crazy, come join me!

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Day 18: Playing in the Dirt

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

30 Things I Love: #AgNerds

AgNerds in Austin

I love #AgNerds. I can ask tons of questions about blogging, social media site issues, cameras, and agvocating in general, and they never make me feel dumb.

I joined Twitter in September 2012 after hearing my friend talk about #AgChat Twitter chats on Tuesday evenings. These chats led to more social media connections, and opened the agriculture advocating door a little wider for me. I started my blog in August 2010 as a way to share my farming story, and I really enjoyed communicating outside of my personal Facebook page that way. Joining Twitter for the purpose of communicating with others involved in agriculture has helped my blogging, and agvocating in general.

In February 2013, I attended my first AgChat Foundation event. It was a regional training held in Rochester, Minnesota. There, I was able to meet some of the people I looked up to as great #AgNerd examples. People who were super savvy on blogging, social media platforms, and photography. The coolest thing? They were all exactly the same in person as I thought they would be. Down to earth, and the type of people you just like to hang out with. When the opportunity came to attend this year’s AgChat Foundation event in Austin, Texas, I knew I had to go. You can read about my time in Austin here! I am so thankful for the friends I have made, and for the great examples they set for how to agvocate, and how to give back by sharing their knowledge with other agvocates.

So, what exactly is an #AgNerd, and why the hashtag?

Being the helpful sorts that they are, my friends sent me a few blog links on the history of the #AgNerd hashtag. Janice Person wrote about how the idea started in a blog post written a few years ago. It’s definitely worth the read if you are new to blogging, social media, or AgChat. If you’d like a pretty easy way to determine if you are, indeed, an #AgNerd, you must read this post from Jeff Fowle. He’s a livestock guy, so most of his statements are livestock related, but read the comments for more great ways to tell if you are an #AgNerd. According to a few, I just may be one!  I like Jeff’s definition and history of the hashtag as well. Reading both of those blogs will give you a great understanding of how it all started, and what it takes to be an #AgNerd. Another blog post was sent that is valuable for all #AgNerds, or those aspiring to become one. The post is 4 years old, so when it says “new”, they aren’t new new, but still relevant. It is a list of Top Twitter Hashtags, also written by Janice Person.

#AgNerd

Do you know an #AgNerd, or have you participated in a Tuesday evening #agchat or #foodchat (3rd Tuesday of the month)? What are some of your favorite ag hashtags to follow?

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Day 17: #AgNerds

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

 

 

30 Things I Love: Scones

Scones

I love scones. Whether they are homemade, from a coffee shop, come frozen from Schwan’s, I love them.

My first taste of scones happened at a coffee shop. I had thought that scones were dry, crumbly, and not very sweet. Then I tasted a pumpkin scone. I was hooked. That particular coffee shop closed, and the nearest one from that chain was now two hours away. Having the “I don’t need to buy that, I can make it myself” attitude (which I think came from my dad who made beautiful pieces out of wood), I started searching for a recipe that would taste similar. Now I am constantly looking for scone recipes. I haven’t found a great raspberry white chocolate scone recipe, but Schwan’s has a good version, so I just buy those frozen to bake at home.

When our town’s farmer’s market was beginning in 2013, I knew I wanted to bring something to sell that most people wouldn’t be making on their own. Scones, caramel rolls, and cinnamon rolls would be the basic fare I would bake each week. After that was decided, it was time to find recipes that had the flavors and textures I like. I’m not big on dry scones, so when I found a recipe for Vanilla Bean Scones from the blog, Iowa Girl Eats, I knew that was one I had to bring each week. I made a few changes to adapt it to my style of baking, and to make it more economical to make. A second flavor was needed, and I wanted to try something a little different. I searched for a maple bacon scone recipe that wasn’t super dry, but didn’t like most of them. I adapted one I found, but I’m still not happy with the texture. I will be tinkering a little more with that recipe this winter until I get it the texture I like with the flavor of the original recipe. The last couple of weeks of the market, I make the pumpkin scones that got me started on this little obsession. They are my signal that fall and comfort food season is fast approaching.

Do you have a recipe obsession? What are your favorite things to make?

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Day 16: Scones

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

 

30 Things I Love: Seasons

Seasons

I love living where we get to experience four distinct seasons. Just about the time I get bored with one, the transition to the next begins.

In the spring, I can’t wait for the flowers and the rhubarb to start emerging from the ground. They are a great indicator that spring work will soon begin as the soil temperature gets warm enough to start seeding wheat. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but there is nothing so sweet as the smell of freshly turned soil in the spring. This past spring, the soil was so beautiful as I was preparing the ground for planting, that I stopped the tractor and walked barefoot in it. It felt so good! After all of the seeding and planting is done, there is the anticipation of the plants germinating, and growing big enough to “row” the field…seeing plants all lined up neatly from end to end. This is also about the time that the apple tree is in full blossom, and looks beautiful.

Summer brings field work, and green. Trees are fully leafed out, crops are growing quickly, and the lawn is a beautiful green. Summer also brings plenty of heat and humidity, but I know those things will be short lived. Occasionally, Jonathan is able to get the jet-skies out and go to one of the lakes nearby for a fun afternoon on the water, and we also make time for Sunday afternoon picnics at local parks. That is a tradition we started when Anna was a baby.  When our kids were younger, summer was also a time for working on outdoor 4-H projects, and showing their horses and goats at the county fair. We work hard in the summer, yet we value family time.

Fall in Minnesota is a season that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Fortunately for us, this fall lasted a long time. We didn’t have any snow the during harvest this year! There are so many things to love about fall. The crazy busy schedule of harvest, sitting in the combine and watching the fruits of your labor pour into the grain tank, watching the leaves turn from green to bright colors before falling to the ground, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the cooler temps that make working outside pleasant, and the satisfaction of a job well done when harvest is complete.

I’m not sure if winter is my favorite season because I like the snow, or if it’s because Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day happen during this time. I know that technically Thanksgiving happens in the fall, but I live in Minnesota, and it’s snowing again as I write. Winter brings cold…and an end to ragweed, thank you…snow, hot chocolate, comfort foods, and family time. It also brings meeting and convention season where we get to see many family and friends from all over. We get to recharge our batteries as we take a weekend here and there to learn more about soils, plant health, advocating for agriculture, and agriculture related politics while we network with a wide variety of farmers.

Each season has its own reasons to be celebrated. What is your favorite season?

 

Day 1: Pizza

Day 2: Shoes

Day 3: Shout Stain Remover

Day 4: The Ability to Vote

Day 5: My Heritage

Day 6: NASCAR

Day 7: Black Velvet for Photography

Day 8: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Day 9: Peacefulness

Day 10: Winter’s First Snow

Day 11: Freedom

Day 12: Dairy

Day 13: Jonathan

Day 14: Coffee

Day 15: Seasons

Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers

%d bloggers like this: