Happy International Women’s Day!

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What a great time to grow up as a girl! With no brothers to help out on the farm, Nicole, Mom, and I were expected to fill in the gaps. And let me tell you we do a fine job of it! Don’t ever tell us we can’t do something, because growing up with a highly competitive Dad we will prove you extremely wrong. Dad never let us win at anything, whether it was a sport or checkers. That has pushed us both to be the best we can be. Nicole and I can drive a tractor, bale hay, and even pull a calf. We do what needs to be done, to help our family, and make our farm a success; just like every other farmer out there.

Dad recently had knee surgery. For two months we really showcased our ability and ran the farm and it was a great feeling to know that we could do it! Living on a farm as a girl, I have learned that it is OK to not succeed the first time, but you have to try again anyway.

Whether you live on a farm or not, this is a day to celebrate all the jobs, little and big, women do everyday!

-Bethany

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The things they don’t tell you…

They don’t tell you how much you have to practice to learn to tie your shoes when your little… Wear cowboy boots instead.

They don’t tell you to be a good friend sometimes, others will disappoint you…so put your whole self out there.

They don’t tell you to get a good grade you will probably fail an assignment or even two… Stay up late and study anyway.

They don’t tell you pie crust is super hard to make… Call Grandma to find out her secrets.

They don’t tell you how hard it will be to move away to college… Call Mom and cry on her shoulder.

They don’t tell you how hard it is to sign a loan for your first brand new car… but it IS worth the money so you don’t break down like your Dad has been telling you for the post week.

They don’t tell you to grow up and make a life on your own is hard… It’s ok to cry when the going gets rough.

They don’t tell you that all these hard moments make like worth living. They make the little moments sweeter and the hard ones easier to bear. They don’t tell you with the love of your family and the support of your friends life  rolls on and those harder moments make up the fabric of your life and the person you will become.

-Bethany

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We lost a cow

No, it didn’t run away. It died. 

Last night when I was driving home from work, I got a rambling voicemail for dad that I couldn’t understand. When I got to the driveway, I met the vet leaving. 

Never a good sign. 

Last week one of our cows got stuck in the concrete bunks that we feed them in. She was a little scraped up, but we have been watching her and she seemed fine. On Sunday, I even commented how good she looked. 

Yesterday was a completely different story. When dad and Bethany were feeding hay, they noticed she was ‘off’. So they brought her to the lot and called the vet, who checked her up and down, to find nothing wrong at all. But she look terrible, head down, white gums, and blank eyes. The vet gave her a couple of shots and she perked up enough to eat some grain and drink.

When I got home, I joined the crowd watching her eat. She was drinking and eating as if nothing was wrong. Granted, she didn’t look near as good as she did on Sunday. 

This morning, I got up early to feed her grain again and give her more water. I walked outside to a stunning sunrise.

  

Only to walk to the lot and find her dead. She hadn’t even touched the hay we had given her. And that sucks. 

  

Not only do we now have a dead cow and a vet bill with no returns, but we lost a member of our herd. Her great-grandmother’s name was May and she was part of the original herd we bought. Her grandmother was our first white calf, April. I’ll never forget the excitement of seeing her for the first time. Her mother added more white to our herd. This cow, while she didn’t have a name, had a habit of losing ear tags every year. 

When I got back to the house, the sun has set the sky on fire. Just God’s way of showing the beauty of a rough morning. 

  

Farming isn’t always beautiful. Farming is hard. Farming is rough. And sometimes, farming just plain sucks. There are hard times, rough times and times I just want to give up.

But, even through the highs and lows, farming is full of passion. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

~Nicole

FFA Week: No Dress clothes, No Sleep…

And it is totally worth it!

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As an Agriculture Teacher, you and your students can’t wait for FFA Week. It is a time for FFA Chapters to bring together the community, school, and members to celebrate what a great organization FFA is! FFA was founded in 1928, with 33 students from 18 states in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2013, Membership hit an all-time high with 579,678 members in 7,570 chapters throughout the entire nation. FFA is not just for farmers or someone who grew up on a farm. There are FFA programs throughout the country in urban and even city locations. FFA teaches premier leaders, personal growth, and career success. It helps students achieve leadership skills, public speaking opportunities, and a chance to set themselves above the rest through Career Development and Leadership Development events.

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Chapters celebrate the week with fun dress up days, serving the community breakfast, and activities! Our chapter was no different. I dressed up as a Ninja Turtle, farmer, and even got out my FFA jacket, and yes it still does fit! Our students arrived at school at 4:00 am on Tuesday to cook breakfast for our community and supporters. It was a chance to show our thanks for everyone who has supported us throughout the year and continues to do so.

With the Superbowl commercial, “So God made a Farmer.” Many people are thinking about agriculture who wouldn’t normally bring it up as a topic. FFA week is a chance for our chapter to showcase our accomplishments and thank those who have helped us achieve them.

FFA and agriculture class focus on helping students succeed. Everyone needs a farmer every  and every day to eat food, have clothes to wear, and even use household products. Just because you didn’t live on a farm, grow up on a farm, or plan to farm doesn’t mean you can’t join or support one of the nation’s largest students organizations.

-Bethany

 

I fell off my horse

Well. Kinda. It was more of a slide. 

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to ride my horse when I got home. But getting home at this time of the year, you have to rush a bit. 

So as soon as I got home, I threw on my coveralls and grabbed a Rowdy’s rope halter. 

A little back story on Rowdy, he is my baby. I got him when I was 12 and he was a yearling and we’ve been together ever since. He has kicked, bit and bucked me off but I couldn’t love him more. His shoulder is also level with my forehead. He’s a BIG horse. 

I head to the field and walk right up to Rowdy. I’m feeling pretty awesome because the sun is setting and you haven’t seen God’s beauty until you’ve watched the sun set on horseback. 

I lead him over to my mounting rock (yes, rock, we have got some big rocks) and throw my lead rope over his neck to become my reins. 

This is where the fun begins. As soon as I step onto the rock, Rowdy reaches back and nips my coveralls. I smack him in the nose and get back in the rock. He side steps just far enough that I can’t jump onto is back. Back off the rock, re-adjust and back on the rock. Finally, after a little more convincing, I finally get on. 

We set off across the field. All of a sudden here comes, Chex racing from the hay bale like her tail is on fire. She passes us in a blur and Rowdy attempts to take off after her. With only a rope halter to hold his back, he was mildly successful and once I got him stopped, he threw in a few bucks for the fun of it. 

But here comes Chex again, this time she completes a few bucks as she passes by. Rowdy decides that we need to star in the next up and coming western and rears so high, I hear the theme song of the Lone Ranger in my head. 

I felt my legs slipping and the next thing I know, I’m only hanging on by hands in his mane. (Thanks a lot coveralls.) When he comes back down to earth, so did I. But my feet were no longer dangling by his side, they were tangled on the ground. 

I would like to note that in my head, I slid down his back like a graceful dancer and landed on my feet. I doubt that happened but I will keep that mental image!

By now it’s practically dark and I don’t have near enough time to get back on and fix his problem. Besides after, I ‘slid’ off, he gave a few more good bucks, and then stood there patiently waiting for me to scratch his forehead. He knows I love a good challenge and he always provides it.

Either way, he will be getting a definite workout on Saturday. 

~Nicole

Post fall. They are both listening even though they won’t look at me.  

Beer Margaritas 

Happy National Margarita Day!


It’s a Monday. I don’t have time to celebrate in typical margarita fashion with a bowl of chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant.

I also don’t have any clue how to make a true Mexican margarita (and if I did, the local Mexican restaurant might lose a lot of business!)

Bethany and I celebrated National Margarita Day a couple days early on Friday (Shouldn’t this always be on a Friday?!) with a new recipe!  Beer margaritas!

   

I know. This raises so many questions. Is there a catch? Why is is so easy? Really… Beer and tequila? Is that actually good?

Trust me, it’s good and SO SIMPLE.  We took the more sober route and added only half a can of tequila. To clarify, when I say can of tequila, I mean the frozen lime can. The first batch was super limey (is that a word?) so I would suggest adding all the tequila to tone down the lime a bit more. 

The essential part is THE ICE. Make sure you add crushed ice so it melts with your drink because without the ice, this drink is almost toxic! We used Bethany’s blender to make it the consistency of a frozen margarita.

Either way, it’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s tasty! Happy drinking!

Do you have a favorite margarita recipe? We would love to try it!

~Nicole

 

The quilt saga continues…

Well people, it’s been six weeks since the voyage began. And a voyage it has been!

I’ve cut.


I’ve pinned.


I’ve sewed.


And I’ve ironed.

But I am finally making headway! I had to work through some problems with mom’s sewing machine (it may seem cute and antiquish, but it has a mind of its own!)


Yesterday, it was cold and dreary so I worked on quilting after all the  feeding  was done. Before yesterday, I was cutting, pinning and sewing on only one 12 inch block at a time. It takes four of those to make a full quilt block and it was taking me forever to get anything done!

So yesterday, I turned on Netflix (I started Heartland and I’m hooked!) and entered the new world of mass production!

Pretty soon, I had squares everywhere.
And then I had strips everywhere.


And then I had half a block! It took me six weeks to get the first half and one day to get the second half!

I also got to engrossed in Netflix and this happened. Whoops!


By the end of the night, I had two (YES TWO!) full blocks! I was so excited!
Until I looked at the lines and how they didn’t match up.

A little backstory in my line ‘specialty’. When I was little, I used to move my play horses one by one in a straight line until we got where we were going and to this day, I’m still a huge fan of when things match up. So it hurts my ego a little to know that my quilt doesn’t perfectly match up.

But to have convinced myself that as my first quilt, it’s ok to be a little off (and sometimes more than a little).


That isn’t sewed together yet but still gives you a glimpse at my progress! After I got done sewing and looked at my interesting lines, I forgot to take a picture. Tonight, after ironing them, of course, you can check them out on Facebook!

~Nicole

 

 

Thank you, Corporate Farmers

Yes, I’m thanking Monsanto, Purina, MFA Inc and all those other big corporations that support farmers on a daily basis. 

These probably aren’t the first people you think of when it comes to National Thank a Farmer Week. Mainly people think of the old man in his pickup checking cows, or someone on a tractor. But honestly, we wouldn’t be where we are today without these companies. 

Just think of the invovations they have giving us in the past. Beans that are drought resistant. Corn that can withstand a flood. Tractors that drive themselves. And a constant supplies of things we need to keep our crops, and animals heathy. 

Most people view these large corporations has the enemy. But where would we be without them? 

Personally, I wouldn’t have a job (thanks MFA!) and I wouldn’t have anywhere to buy ground feed for our cattle. We wouldn’t have anywhere to buy fertilizer or lime. And when hay season came around we sure would be up a creek with broken parts. (Breaking something is inevitable, more of a when, not if.) 

So next time you want to thank a farmer, thank the guy on the tractor, thank his wife and thank those companies that keep farmers going day in and day out. 

Thank You, To the Farmer’s Wife

My mom always said there was a love hate relationship to that four letter word. One day I finally broke down and asked her what word she was talking about! She looked at me and laughed and said, “Farming, and one day you will know what I mean.” You will love the time spent in the field, and look with pride at your hard work and accomplishments. But you will stress about making ends meet with the income doesn’t quite match the expenses. Or when your farmer tells you that you must be crazy for thinking you can take a vacation in the middle of hay season! You have to get that hay baled first!

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So today, I want to say thank you to all the farmers wives out there. They keep track of those receipts that never seem to quite make it out of the truck, drive a tractor, pull a calf, and most importantly keep their farmer in line. Many farms can succeed without the gentle touch of a farmer’s wife, but everything is better when you have someone else to share the laughs, hardships, and joys with it.

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The farmers wife constantly goes through team building activities with her husband. She gets sent to find wrenches or pull start a tractor. But no fear she gets him back when she needs help hanging pictures!

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From late nights to summer birthdays spend in the tractor they love spending time together on the farm.

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Thank you to all of the farmer’s wives that keep food in our grocery stores and keep our farmers happy. Have you told a farmer or farmer’s wife thank you today?

-Bethany

 

Thank you, Flashlight Farmer

Flashlight farmer: one who has a full time job off the farm.

  
Some people call them hobby farmers, but it’s not a hobby. It’s a lifestyle, a passion that consumes you.

Some people call them part-time farmers but absolutely nothing about agriculture is part time. 

So thank you to the flashlight farmers. 

The ones who get up each morning, complete the chores in mud boots only to change into dress shoes to continue their day. 

The ones who come home at night and check their livestock and crops via flashlight, headlight or moonlight. 

The ones who take sick leave for the children and cows, and vacation time for harvest. 

  
The ones who come to work with imperfect nails, bruises and sore muscles and have to constantly explain how weekends are for a different kind of ‘relaxation.’

  
The ones who can park a  dirty farm truck in the smallest parking space, and walk away in heels and a dress. 

  
The ones who spend all night pulling a calf, get two hours of sleep to wake up in the morning and go to their job like nothing happened. 

The ones that put the meaning, the passion, the life in small farmers.

Flashlight farmers, the ones I thank for National Thank A Farmer Week. 

~Nicole