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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

30 Things I Love: Coffee

coffee

My friends and family know I love coffee. In fact, this is the 5th post about coffee this year!

For many years, I liked the smell of coffee, but didn’t enjoy the taste. I got my caffeine fix through soda (we call it pop here in Minnesota), but that wasn’t as pleasant to drink right away in the morning. Then, my friends eased me into coffee drinking. Now, I am totally addicted.

I know we all have different olfactory sensitivities, and that plays an important role in how we perceive taste. I happen to be one of those with a more sensitive nose. If a food’s taste doesn’t match the aroma, I probably won’t like it as well. I discovered that I liked the taste of coffee, if it tasted how the beans smelled when they were freshly ground. This may be the reason this Mrs Olson doesn’t enjoy Folgers as much as other coffee.

I’ve said before that I like the ritual of drinking coffee in the morning while catching up on social media, and reading the news. I also love having coffee right away in the morning as a wake to fire up the old brain cells so I can function in the morning. This is probably why I liked the quote on my photo so well. Another good thing about coffee in the morning, is that I can fake being a morning person once the caffeine kicks in. Before I became a coffee drinker, I’m not sure how I survived being married to a happy morning person!

Some people are pretty opinionated on how dark your coffee needs to be (black coffee, no cream, no sugar is their preference), but I like all types of coffee. My favorite coffee style is a mocha latte made with 1/2 ounce of dark chocolate syrup, 8 ounces of 2% milk, and 4 ounces of espresso. Sometimes I’ll brew another shot, but I try to reserve that for really tough days. Otherwise I’m a little like Hammy in Over the Hedge. If I’m drinking brewed coffee, and not espresso, I like it with just a splash of milk. If the roast is good, and the coffee tastes how it smells, I’ll drink it black. The choices on how to make your coffee are one of the things I love about it. You can make your coffee according to what will make you happy that day.

Are you a coffee drinker? How do you enjoy your coffee?

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

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

 

 

30 Things I Love: Jonathan

Jonathan and Anna - Father Daughter Dance

What can I say…I do love Jonathan! I feel pretty darn fortunate to be married to my best friend. When we met in 1987, we talked for hours. He was going to a college that was about 2 hours from mine. So, we had many phone conversations and wrote many letters. Keep in mind, this was before phone company plans had unlimited long distance calling, and way before email. Those letters were either typed on an electric typewriter, or written by hand, and, well, we won’t discuss the long distance charges we racked up on our parent’s phone bills!

We were married in 1988, and that is when I became a farm wife. Over the past 26 years, we have lived, parented, and worked as a team. I love that we can tell jokes while we’re working, we can discuss farming matters while we’re driving places, and we generally like hanging out with each other.

I have always admired Jonathan’s patience and encouragement when teaching me how to run a piece of machinery I haven’t run before. Since I didn’t grow up on a farm, and I really didn’t want to be the one messing things up or breaking things, I was a bit apprehensive at times. It is due to his confidence in me that I was willing to learn how to operate the combine…and now I love it!  Jonathan is also a respected boss to our migrant workers. He always treats them fairly, and genuinely cares about them. It is because of his compassion that we remodeled a shed into a summer apartment for one of the migrant families. He strongly believes that these people need to be treated as…people…not second class citizens based on their heritage or accents.

Jonathan has been a great dad to our three girls. From the time they were little, he played an active role in their upbringing…although sometimes I questioned if what he was teaching our girls was good or bad. When they are around while cookies are being made, the recipe never  seems to yield as many cookies as it does when they are not around. In the past year, each of our girls have lived at home for a little while and worked for us on the farm. Even though they are in their 20’s, the parenting doesn’t stop…it just changes.  When he walked Anna down the aisle this past June, and handed her over to our son-in-law, Doug, the look of love and pride on his face brought many people to tears…including, of course, me. The song that the two of them chose for the father/daughter dance is one that always makes me cry anyway. They thought it was just great that I lost it when the song started. It was difficult to take photos of them with all the tears in my eyes. I love how much he loves his family!

Life hasn’t always been easy, and I am thankful that Jonathan has been such a great teammate in this life of ours. I love you, Jonathan!

 

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

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

 

30 Things I Love: Dairy

Dairy

When I say I love Dairy…I’m totally serious. Take a look at the tray above. Those are the dairy items I have purchased in the last 10 days.

As you can see, we eat a wide variety of dairy foods at my house. Sometimes brands change, depending on what my grocery store has in stock, but this is pretty typical. You may also notice that I have a Lactaid milk in the group. That would be mine. I became lactose intolerant in 2008. I figured that out when my niece had a soft serve ice cream machine at her graduation party. Let’s just say, I had a lot of alone time at my sister’s house that weekend.

In the last six years, I have come to know what I can and cannot handle dairy-wise. Unfortunately, I have had to give up ice cream. That was difficult. The good news is, I have found that most types of cheese (aged is better), milk, yogurt, and butter are all okay if I take a Lactaid supplement. I love the lactose free milk, because it is so convenient to be able to pour that over my cereal or in my coffee instead of needing to take a pill.

For me, giving up dairy was not an option. I love cheese, milk, and butter too much! I also need the calcium and vitamin D…more than what I can get from non-dairy sources. I’m pretty convinced that the reason I haven’t broken any bones, even with a couple of really great bone bruises, is due to my dairy consumption, and the running I’ve attempted to do when not healing from the bone bruises. Being Lactose Intolerant can stink (really), but we are fortunate that we live in a time where medicine has figured out how to keep dairy in our diets.

The National Dairy Council has some awesome resources on dairy and bone health, as well as the general health benefits of consuming dairy.  Both resources are very helpful in understanding the importance of dairy in our diet…especially for women, who may be prone to osteoporosis.

Since I am not a dairy farmer, I need good farmer resources when I have a question. One of those resources is Carrie Mess. She is also known as Dairy Carrie. She blogs at The Adventures of Dairy Carrie, and can be found on Facebook at Dairy Carrie, or Twitter @DairyCarrie.

I also turn to Tim and Emily Zweber when I have questions about organic dairy farming. They can be found on Facebook at Zweber Farms LLC, on Twitter @ZweberFarms and @EZweber, or you can go to their farm’s website at Zweber Farms.

There are many dairy farmers on social media who would love to answer your questions about dairy farming. Who are your top two trusted resources for agriculture questions?

 

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

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

 

 

 

30 Things I Love: Freedom

Freedom

Today, I simply want to say “Thank you” to all of our veterans. Thank you for ensuring our freedom. Thank you for the sacrifices you and your families make every. single. day.

 

If you see a member of our military, past or present, please take a moment and say, “Thank you.”

 

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

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

30 Things I Love: Winter’s First Snow

First Snow

I love the first snow of the season. It is so magical! I remember as a kid, going to bed like any other autumn night, and waking up to a different, distinctive kind of light coming in the window. I would jump out of bed, and look out of the window, and be so excited that my world had transformed overnight.

After Jonathan and I were married, we lived in a little house across the section from where we live now. We tried to wait to turn on the old fuel oil furnace for as long as possible. That first year, the house was so cold, so I baked some Christmas cookies to heat it up. A tradition was born. There have been years (like this one) where the cookies may wait a day due to other things going on, but they always get baked! This year, I’ll be once again be making one of my favorites: Peanut Blossoms!

Peanut Blossoms

For my birthday this year, I received a GoPro Hero4 video camera. My plan is to use it one farm equipment once spring work starts, but in the meantime, I’m having a little fun with it. This afternoon, Jonathan and I went out on the 4-wheeler and the Ranger to play in the snow a little bit. We had a blast! The GoPro was attached to the front push bumper on the ranger, and it did really well considering the temperatures. I’m still learning the best settings for the camera, and how to edit a lot of footage down to the length of a song. This is the result from today’s adventure:

I know some don’t like the snow as much as I do, but I hope we can all take a little time to appreciate the magic of the first snow.

What is your favorite “first” in a season? Do you find magic in the first snow, or do you dread every aspect of winter?

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

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

 

30 Things I Love: Peacefulness

Peaceful

Today’s post will be short on words…on purpose.

I love the peacefulness that follows a chaotic harvest. I love harvest time, but that first day when the corn dryers are shut off, the machinery is in the shed, and there is no need to rush is so peaceful.

During the rush of harvest, or of spring work, I often think back to some of our vacations. My favorite spots have a common theme…water. Whether it is the lake home we rent for family gatherings, or this scene in Oregon, there is something so calming about the sound of water lapping a shoreline, or moving over rocks. Thinking of those times brings memories of peace, contentedness, and joy even during those crazy days.

Where are your favorite peaceful experiences? Do you go on vacations to relax, or are you more of the work hard, play hard type?

 

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

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

30 Things I Love: Strong Coffee and Strong Hairspray

Vintage Strong Coffee

I love coffee. Most of my friends and family know that by now. I also love a good, strong hairspray – one that will keep my spiked hair spiked. When I saw a vintage inspired tray on Pinterest with this saying, I knew I had to make something similar! It fits me perfectly!

Mornings are not my thing. I married a happy morning person. I have learned to cope after 26 years…by consuming espresso first thing in the morning. The other thing that makes me happy? A shower and looking decent for the day. Trust me, having spiked hair may seem like bed head wouldn’t be an issue, but it is. And it’s bad.

While strong coffee and strong hairspray sometimes make me feel like I can conquer the world…especially if I have an extra shot of espresso…it’s not the only thing that makes me strong. My family and friends are a great support system for when I’m feeling weak or vulnerable. They are my cheerleaders. Being an extrovert, that is important to me. My other source of non-caffeinated strength would be my faith. I don’t know anyone who has the “perfect” life. I’m no different. My faith has sustained me through Anna and Jonathan’s MS diagnoses, the death of family members, and, to be honest, in parenting our girls and our current foster child.

Have you ever noticed how good you feel when a meeting goes well and you were able to contribute in a positive way, or when you were able to lift someone’s spirits after a tough day? What about the feelings accomplishment when an event went really well, because you empowered other members of the group in the planning of that event? Those are instances when we are the coffee and the hairspray. We can energize a group with our participation and engagement. As the leader of a group, we can hold our members together while we give them the ability to use their strengths for the planning of the event. That makes the group stronger overall. Part of the reason that I am running for our Farm Bureau state board of directors is to be the coffee in the room. I hope to energize others for the good of the organization.

How have you been the coffee or hairspray for your friends, your job, or volunteer organizations?

 

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

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

 

 

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