Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Colors of Spring

There is absolutely nothing that will pull me out of the winter slumps than the bright and fresh colors of spring.  

Winter is always a struggle for me.  I need the sunshine and the vitamin D.  I need to be able to get out and play in the dirt.  Unfortunately, my classroom is one without windows. 

The short daylight hours and the cold air quickly bring me down.    

However, without the darkness we do not truly appreciate the light.  Man, oh man, do I appreciate the light.

Getting dirty.

Spring time allows for an escape from the house.

A renewal.

Fresh pastures, clean fence rows.

A chance to explore and discover.

Try new things.

Make new plans.

Get ready for the glorious season that is summer.

The good Lord knows that we need the vibrant colors of spring to reward us for making it through another dark cold winter.

My favorite sign of spring.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kids These Days

A year ago I wrote this particular post for the American Farm Bureau blog.  I just happened to come across it today and it still resounds with me.  Possibly even more than it did when I originally put the words down.  What are your thoughts?

We’ve all heard it. We may even be guilty of saying it. “Kids these days have it easy.” “Kids these days don’t know how to work.” “When I was young I would have been outside playing, not playing video games or with my nose in a cell phone.” “Our country is going to be a mess when these kids are in charge.”
But maybe kids these days don’t have it so easy.
Our children’s generation has not known a time without conflict and terrorism. They ride to school in their parents’ cars with news stories of school shootings playing on the radio in the background. They don’t have the ability to leave the bullying at school because it follows them anywhere someone can access Twitter or Facebook. Every generation has its own adversities to overcome. We’ve all had different stresses, inventions and privileges that have played a role in developing us into the people we are today. Kids these days will be no different.
As a Biology teacher in our local high school, my days are spent with teenagers of all kinds. In fact, there are days that I see other people’s kids more than I see my own. Spending so much time with this younger generation, I feel like I have a unique view of “kids these days,” and there’s something I would like to share:
I am not worried about the future.
Kids these days are resilient. They think outside of the box. They can take an idea and run with it in directions you and I may have never thought about. They will be able to take today’s ever-changing technology and come up with new and innovative ways to integrate it seamlessly into our farms and ranches. They know how to work, and work hard. They are interested in finding the best, most efficient, and ecologically-friendly ways to accomplish what needs to be done.
Kids these days are on their way to greatness, but they’re not there yet.
It is our job as (I hate to say it) the older generation to help our children transition into their future. We are responsible for teaching them how to be honest and fair in business, how to be a voice for agriculture, how to be stewards of the land. When issues come up in our local, state and national governments, we need to show them what it means to step up and protect our way of life and their future. With a better awareness and understanding of the issues and policies put in place today, we can transition into a better future for our kids, for when it’s their turn to take the combines around the fields and enjoy dinner on the tailgate with their own children. For when the kids these days have kids of their own.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Yes Vote for Amendment 1

This blog has been getting kind of dusty, I know.  It's not that I don't have things I want to say or share, it's more I have put writing on the back burner and let other things take priority.

One of our babies from last fall.  
Tonight, however, I have a lot of thoughts rumbling around my head that I need to get out for my sake as much as yours.  Next Tuesday there is a statewide election that will play a major role in my livelihood, my lifestyle, my future, and the future of my children.

Tuesday, August 5th voters across the state of Missouri will enter the polls and cast their vote on Amendment 1.  I can assure you that I will be casting a YES vote.  Let me tell you why.
Our Century Farm sign. 

I was not born into a farm family.  In fact, both of my parents were raised on farms and chose to leave them to start their careers.  When my husband and I got married I went from generations removed to right smack dab in the middle of a working cattle ranch.

Protecting our farm is not limited to caring for our
cattle but also caring for our land and waters.  

Our ranch was established in 1910 by my husband's great-grandfather.  My husband is the fourth generation of his family to pour his blood, sweat, and heart into our operation.  He currently works day in and day out with his dad and brother to ensure that we have a roof over our heads and clothes on our back. Everyday he hops in his truck and heads to the house he was raised in to care for the same piece of paradise his ancestors chose.  If it sounds idyllic, it's because it is.  When I'm out on the ranch working with the hubby I am amazed about how blessed I am to be there.

"Checking" the alfalfa fields and finding fun.
We are raising our children on this farm.  They are spending time with us, learning about our animals, our land, our waters.  Our days are full of teachable moments that can range from how to head off a runaway cow to knowing when it is time to cut a field of alfalfa hay.  Our son soaks it all up like a sponge.  Except for the fence fixing, he could take that or leave it.

Our daughter loves being outside checking cows and picking green beans in the garden.  If either one of them decide that they want to continue the family tradition and come home to farm, I want nothing more than to have a stable, healthy, working ranch for them to partner in.

I am voting YES on Amendment 1 for them.

Looking over the cattle and making sure they're okay. 
This amendment is designed to protect ALL farmers in Missouri.  Conventional, organic, small truck farmers, larger operations, family farmers and partnerships.  Who do we need protection from?  A major example in this case is HSUS.  The Humane Society of the United States is NOT your local humane society.  In fact, only 1% of their monies actually goes to animal shelters.  So if helping animals is not their goal, what is?  This group wants to abolish animal agriculture, ownership, and consumption.  They have donated $375,000 to counter this amendment.  Why would a D.C. animal right's lobby have an interest in Missouri agriculture if they weren't planning on making a move in our state?  ***UPDATE*** HSUS has now donated $490,000.

Amendment 1 does not excuse bad behavior.  Farmers and ranchers who do not follow local, state, and federal regulations should and will be punished according to the letter of the law.   All of the rules, regulations, and laws currently in place will stand.  If additional rules and regulations are needed they can be implemented after a thorough vetting process that ensures best practices are in place.

I know that I only speak for myself, but it's my belief that farmers and ranchers want nothing more than to protect their farms, their animals, and their resources.  Proper care of their farms and resources helps to maintain a successful farm and ecosystem for years to come.

Playing in the yard.  
Amendment 1 does not allow for a foreign takeover of Missouri lands.  Foreign ownership of  Missouri lands was covered in Chapter 442 Titles and Conveyance of Real Estate Section 442. 571.   I'm not sure how you feel about the foreign ownership of lands.  Shoot, I'm not sure how I feel about it!  What I am sure of is that Amendment 1 is not the reason behind it.  It neither establishes nor takes away the right of a foreign entity to own our land.

Standing on the land her Great-great Grandpa settled

It is my sincere wish that before you enter the polls on Tuesday you become acquainted with the facts surrounding the issues.  Ask questions. Talk to a farmer or a rancher.  Check out Missouri Farmer's Care  or Keep Missouri Farming.  Be an informed voter.

It is my hope that you will come down on the side of Missouri farmers.  It is my hope you too will vote YES on Amendment 1.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Boys of Summer

It's opening day!  All over the country fans and ball clubs alike are kicking off this year's baseball season.

I love baseball season.  Sunny blue skies, warm afternoons, and the crack of the bat.  (It sounds cliche I know.)  There's nothing quite like watching the Cardinals play in Busch Stadium.

Cardinal Nation

I'm sure it has something to do with the fact it coincides with summer.
"There are only two seasons, winter and baseball."  Bill Veeck  

Many of my summer nights growing up were spent on the softball field with my friends.  I grew up in a small town so our little ball fields were the place to be.  

Now that I have kids of my own I get to watch them learn the ins and outs of the game.  I love watching a grin grow when Orran gets a piece of the ball or when he makes a play.

I love watching the boys of summer.  Especially my own.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Room With No View

My classroom has no windows.  None.  I have a great classroom with a full lab facility.  But no windows.

Thankfully, my third job comes with a view!  (Yes, I have three jobs.  Mommy, teacher, farm girl.)  

The cows at our home place calve in the fall so we have a lot of babies around the farm right now. Often times I'll come home from school, hop on the four wheeler, and check through the pastures to make sure that everything is going okay.  

"What are you looking at?"

I look to see if any of our momma cows are close to having their babies, make sure they are not having trouble with delivery and need help, and if the new babies are up and at it.  

She's pretty protective of her new baby.

When you spend your days in a room with no view it can be mentally uplifting to be in the great outdoors, searching for new life, and enjoying the general atmosphere.  

One of my favorite views on our farm.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Statistics Can Be Motivators

I haven't blogged regularly in over a year.  A year!

Today, after browsing through a blog, in awe of all her pictures, posts and thoughts I felt the urge to check out my dash board.

To see what there is to see.

Now admittedly these are not impressive numbers.  They are just minuscule blips really.  They are also encouraging.  Maybe I should return.  Do a little public journaling.  Share my story.  My love of our farm and our family.

Maybe you'll see me here again tomorrow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Just A Field Of Corn.

To the lady who just stopped me on our road and asked that corn on the corner was ours and if I minded if she took "a few dozen ears" when it was ready....

I know that field of corn seems huge to you.

Let me assure you it's not.

And I'm sure you think that when it comes down to harvest we wouldn't miss your "few dozen ears of corn."

Maybe we wouldn't.

But here's the thing. That corn, those cows, that's how we feed our families, clothe our kids, and warm our houses.

Would you stop someone on the road and ask them if they would mind to give you some of their paycheck?

You seem really nice, I appreciate your friendliness. I really don't think you'd want to be gnawing on that field corn anyway. It'd be stuck in your teeth for weeks!