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Friday, November 21, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 21: Indiana Soybean Alliance

Hello and TGIF!

Looks like I am going to dedicate most of this week's blog posts to organizations and groups that I work with to promote Agriculture.  First there was Indiana Farm Bureau, and yesterday it was all about my gal-pals at Real Farmwives of America and Friends (RFOA), and today it is Indiana Soybean Alliance's turn to grab a bit of the spot light.

RFOA sprang from a group of like-minded women who wanted to give Ag a voice to the young urban mothers of America who might be well removed from the farm.  Our home base has always been in the meeting rooms of Indiana Soybean Alliance's offices.  They have supported our efforts in too many ways to mention, and made impossible ideas possible with that support.

Have you ever been to The Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair?  Do you know Beany?

Indiana Soybean Association also sponsored the Dine and Discuss evening at Kendell Culp's family farm in nearby Rensselaer.  That was a great experience seeing how we can still make every part of a meal prepared with food grown on one farm or withing the county!

ISA works closely with all of Indiana's agriculture commodities, and that makes sense because we all need each other to make this food chain work.  You can see this best tomorrow when I talk about yet another important group of Ag people making sure Indiana's farmers and produce are promoted and supported.  If you do want to learn more about ISA, you can contact our very own Gal in the Middle, Megan Kuhn, Director of Communications. 

Have an awesome day, enjoy the sunshine we have shining on us today, and remember, if the sun is not directly shining on you, it is just above the clouds!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#30 Days of Ag. November 20: Real Farmwives of America and Friends

Yesterday, I talked about Indiana Farm Bureau and how it has been a great organization to give a voice to Indiana's farmers.  It was through IFB that I started blogging about our life here on the big little farm.  The best part about my blog is that I get to work with some incredible women involved Agriculture from all over the state.  Have you met my friends?  You can read their posts on Real Farmwives of America's Facebook page and also at our website RFOA.

I spent a good part of the day today down in Indy learning all I could soak up from Jill Levenhagen. She blogs over at Blog Chicka Blog, and she taught us to know our cameras better and navigate the editing program Lightroom.

Now you might be wondering why we farm gals need to be learning all the fancy ways to take good pictures and editing them into even betters shots.  It's all geared to help us tell our story in the best way possible.  We want our family recipes to shine when we make them for you, we want you to see every color of the sunrises and sunsets we see, we want you to think our kids are pretty darned cute even when they are standing in or covered with a bit of organic material.  Some days we live by the ideas that a picture does paint a thousand words and seeing is believing.  

There were food shots:

There were head shots.  Miss Sarah over at This Farm Family's Life was a great sport while we all tried different settings to capture the perfect pose.  Some of the ladies adjusting their cameras are Jent, From My Front Porch, Liz, Two Maids a Milking, and Meggie, Hoosier Farm Babe. It's kind of funny, but all of us are used to being behind the camera, so posing isn't always something that comes natural to us.  We all had a turn, and amazingly, it wasn't too terrible to smile into the camera.  I think it helps to have a friend on the other end of the lens.

Yeah, I need to crop this one, but a big thanks to Miss Heather over at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs for being the backdrop girl!

Learning the finer points of focus:

and I kind of liked these balls of yarn and "stuff."

Again, these pictures taken today do not have a direct connection to agriculture, but in perfecting our pictures, we learn to better show you what we do when we get back home.  Also, I love to just sit back and chat about who is still in the field, how harvest went, what antics have the animals been up to lately, and a check on everyone's kiddos are doing.  We don't' get a lot of time to do that when we are out in the fields either driving machines or bringing food out to those who are in the cabs.

Here's a big thanks to all my RFOA pals for keeping it fun and sane!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

30 Days of Ag November 19: Indiana Farm Bureau

I know almost of us like to observe Wordless Wednesday, but today I'm all words and no pictures.  I could go dig them out from all the files, but today I would just like to chat with you.

I'm not sure why, but I haven't talked much about my connections to Indiana Farm Bureau.

Maybe I thought you all would think I am trying to sell you insurance, but I am not a salesperson for IFB.  We do have IFB insurance, and we have had it for many years, but that's not my biggest connection to IFB.  I can put you in touch with our county's agent, Joe Horstman, and he would do his absolute best by you.  I can attest to that.

My connection to Indiana Farm Bureau is on the farmer end, or as we like to say, the organization part of it (infarmbureau.org).

Tall Guy and I became board members about 14 years ago, just a bit longer than we have been married.  I will tell you a funny story.  At a leadership meeting, we both took the Myers Briggs Personality test and discovered we were polar opposites.  That's kind of important to know before actually saying "I do," but the great takaway about our opposites is that we tend to compliment each other.  He sees black and white answers to solutions while I see all colors of the rainbow.  I'm outgoing, and he is reserved.  He is a one thing at a time guy, and I (at least I used to be) am a multi-tasker who doesn't mind too much if one thing isn't tied up in a neat bow before going on to another project.  TG is BIG on bows tied tight!

This group has sent us on trips to Washington D.C., right up to Capitol Hill to meet with our state senators and congressmen.  We have traveled to many of our adjoining states to learn more about agriculture from their perspectives through Young Farmer trips.  My legislators at the state level know who I am and feel comfortable talking to me about agriculture.  I, who in all honesty was never that political, served on our state ELECT oversight committee where I started to better understand the power of politics.

Here in our own little world, I served almost nine years as the District 3 Secretary/Treasure, and I have served on our county board as secretary/treasurer, county information leader, and I currently am president of our Benton County Farm Bureau.  It takes some time away from home, but it is a family friendly organization, and I always come away from a gathering learning more than I knew.  It is a great place to network, and it has become sort of like that lovely bar in Boston where everyone knows your name.

The biggest part of what I do is reach out to as many young people as possible to teach them about Agriculture.  We work with 4-H and Benton Central's FFA programs.  We work with Purdue Cooperative Extension, and we work with our county's youth in the elementary schools through several programs geared toward educating children about farm safety, where their food comes from, and all of the great career opportunities Agriculture offers.  You don't have to own an acre of ground to become involved in Ag. We need communication leaders, scientists, veterinarians, political lobbyists, mechanics, marketing majors, and the list goes on........  Ag touches each and every person's life more than once a day.

We want kids to know that pizza doesn't come from a delivery boy, a chuck roast is NOT a roast that belongs to Chuck,  soybeans can make great crayons and candles, and there is a difference between field corn and sweet corn.  We give classes, fund projects, and we award $2000.00 in scholarships to graduating seniors whose parents are members of IFB.  My little county is just about the smallest in population in our state, around 89th of the 92 counties yet we are the third largest Ag county in the state.  As I like to tell people, there are more four-legged critters than two-legged critters in our county.  In our District 3 group of eight counties, we have been the top District in activities two years in a row.

So you will be hearing a bit more from me about Farm Bureau in the future.  I went to a meeting with our state officers last week (yep, I talked with the president  first vice president, second vice president, and the state secretary/treasurer.  We all know each other very well), and it dawned on me that we, as farmers, do not promote ourselves.  Sometimes there just isn't time to toot our own horn. There are many people in the world just sitting at their computers waiting to pounce on some part of my Ag world, and this seems to happen most when all of us are in a tractor, pretty much oblivious to the rest of the world unless it's about the weather. That's why I blog, and I learned about this opportunity from our IFB regional manager.  Thank you Janice Deno for thinking of me when this project started.

IFB's motto is Your Voice Can Be Heard, and I can attest to the fact that mine has.  I feel very comfortable talking with elected officials about property taxes, water rights, three commissioner county government, and a slew of other topics.  I also have several people on my contact list who I can call in a heartbeat if I am stumped with a question or find a farmer in need of guidance or assistance on a variety of topics.

Take the time to seek out your county's Farm Bureau.  I know there is one in every county in Indiana. This is such a great organization to do just what farmers do: grow the best product we can.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

30 Days of Ag Blogging November 18: "Were you born in a barn?"

How many of us have been asked this particular question?  It implies that you have gone through a door and neglected to shut it.....  I'm not exactly sure why people think we leave our barn doors open. We try very hard to keep our animals IN the barn, which just reminded me of another barn-related question usually asked to the gentlemen out there,.... anywho... I think Mother Nature has gone and left her barn door wide open or maybe she even blew them right off the barn.  It's pretty darned cold here in northwestern Indiana, and I am sure most of you reading this are experiencing the same thing.

This is why I LOVE our little green boiler out in the back of our yard.

It's a simple concept.  We feed it wood (it can also burn corn!), it heats up water that pumps into the house and goes to the hot water heater and a heat exchanger. It also goes to the radiant heat running through our new additions and like Tall Guy says works similar to how a radiator would work to heat the rest of our house. It does take some wood to keep this engine running.

And while it looks like TG was slaving away out in the cold to fill up another rack of wood, I WAS there too and just took a moment to snap a picture of him working hard. ( Such is the life of a farm wife behind the camera lens.....)

 I do love the stone wall in this barn.  It's been a great back drop for pictures.

We seem to have captured the attention of the barn cats.

I can't begin to tell you how much I love our wood stove/boiler.  This love is only amplified when my feet hit the floor of our new bedroom and feel warmth coming from down below.  Radiant heat ladies and gentlemen.  Gotta have it in an old farm house!

I didn't mess (edit) this picture below, but I do think it captures the essence of COLD.  

Later in the evening, went to watch Tink play her first basketball game of the season.  These girls really rock the court and won by about 20 points even though the other team had at least 15 players dressed.  We have six, so there is very little down time for the girls.  Coach M. does such a great job with our girls.  In the 5th grade game, one of our girls came in to the huddle at a time out and was upset that she didn't block another girl. Coach said, " Did she score on you?"  "No." "Then you are doing a great job and have nothing to be upset about."  Great lesson in perspective!

I would love to say that I'm going to stay inside, curl up with my Kindle, and read more about the adventures of Claire and Jamie, but appointments are calling my name!  Have you been reading the Outlander series: The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone ???  I really love them; I'm on The Fiery Cross.  I really do like these books, but the author can be a bit too caught up in her descriptive writing.

Ok, time to bundle up and head back out in to this lovely weather.  They say it feels like -10 with the wind blowing out there.......

Monday, November 17, 2014

30 Days of Ag: November 17: The Faces of Farming and One Question

Monday.....A load of laundry is washing, and a load is drying.  Birthday treats for Bear's class are being delivered as I type this thanks to Tall Guy needing to run errands in town.  Tonight is Tink's first 6th grade basketball game of the year.  And it keeps right on moving through the calendar days.

Today I want to stop and look at the faces I see on our farm.  They each tell their own story.

Tall Guy was kind enough to clean the hard-to-get-to mirror on the right side of the combine so I could take better pictures see what was going on behind the machine.

One of our rare moments working together. Sometimes it's hard for spouses to work that closely with both on big machines.  We did a pretty good job, though.

Ah the cows!  We sent five down to be processed last week and may take 2 or more down this week. Good Beef!

I still miss these little fur balls, but with all the potential momma cats running around here, there will soon be more cute fur balls to watch.

In telling you that we three, Tall Guy, Grandpa, and I, farm our 2000 acres, it was time this year to improve on my resume.  I finally got the hang of running the tractor with the auger cart, but it was a challenge every time I pulled up to the truck/semi to dump.  TG says I may be helping him get a few scratch marks off the wagon's auger.  Apparently someone drove a bit too close to the semi, and the auger was up against the top of the semi's trailer.  OOps!

I never get tired of seeing the faces of our calves.  Each one is unique and inspires the imagination.

These next two pictures make me smile because this is what I think of when I want to picture autumn in my mind.

And this face, while you can't really see it, is the face of Grandpa.  He and I worked together most of the harvest. He was a pretty good teacher; patience is a must with farm wives in the tractor cabs.  Here he was showing me where to make a new pass.  You have to look for the sometimes mythical 8th row, and sometimes we hit it, and sometimes we didn't.

All that is left now of harvest is trying to work bean ground and new tile places.  We are a bit at the mercy of Mother Nature, as we can't or shouldn't go out and try to work ground that is frozen.  TG says he has a tractor and implement all ready with my name on it to be used at the first break in the weather.  Wooo....For now, I will go change out laundry and get ready for tonight's first basketball game.

And now for that one question or request:  Are you, dear reader, a farm wife?  If so, I would love for you to leave your name, state, and description of what you do on the farm.  It might be bookkeeper to  chuck wagon, to parts gal, to doing it all.  I would love to know who all is out there like me.  There just has to a quite a few of us out there, so be proud and leave me a comment to give yourself a shout out for what talent(s) you bring to the farm.

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

30 Days of Ag November 16: One of My Favorite Days of the Year!

On the farm, even though we are now officially All.The.Way.Done., there are still things that need done on the farm.  Right after church we came home and moved equipment around from about a three mile radius before we could get to the main event.

Guess who turned "double digits" today???

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Yep, ten years ago Miss Bear was in a big hurry to get here.  We had gone to a District Farm Bureau meeting held in a town north of here, and right before I was elected Secretary/Treasurer for this district, some one asked if I had anything to add, and I believe I said, "Hurry up!" The next day was my due date!  Well, the contractions started in the dinner line, and went from 15 minutes, 15, 15, to 7, 7, 7. That third seven minute mark sparked us to hit the road, and as we hit I-65 headed to Lafayette, the contractions went steadily down in minutes until my water broke at our exit.  Miss Bear was born 14 minutes after the ambulance brought me there, and Tall Guy made it with seven minutes to spare. This crazy little bundle of energy hasn't lost any speed since then.

That's some funky cake huh?  It's my first attempt at a gluten free cake, and she wanted lime green marshmallow cream in the middle...... Let me just ask right now, Am I the only one who didn't know the marshmallow creme would run and hence make the cake shift in a BIG way?  Oy~

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I invoked the famous "never judge a book by its cover" on this one because despite its off-kilter look, it tasted pretty darned good.

And of course her favorite meal consisted entirely of food from the farm:

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Rib-eye steak, asparagus, and sweet corn. Yum! Grandma and Grandpa Lyons approved this menu choice!

After all the festivities, we still needed to run out, feed the cows and calves, and move equipment around before this first bit of accumulating snow hit.

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Poor Miss Sadie still seems to be in a bit of disbelief that the white stuff is coming down again.

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Happy Birthday Bear!  Love you to bits! And Everyone take your time to where you are going tonight and tomorrow.  The first days of driving in winter weather can be tricky!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

30 Days of Agriculture November 15: A Week's Review in Pictures!

It all started a week ago with this little guy's birthday.  All three of them, the blurry kids, have birthdays between November 12-30, so November is a big month around here even without harvest figured in.  I don't know how we did it, but both girls were born right after we finished harvest.  Mr. M was born while we were at the bowling alley with a bunch of little girls having a crazy birthday celebration.  As I type, Tall Guy is down south finishing up the last field of corn, both girls have a friend over, and everyone is upstairs,......and....it just became very quiet up there........hmmm...... And I have to go bake a gluten free cake for tomorrow, Bear's official birthday. So I am leaving you today with a week in review of mostly Ag pics.  Have a great weekend, and I will let you know if we all survived tomorrow!

This is a picture of the bean sample I took in to the elevator to be tested.  I had just hopped out of the shower when I had the phone call to take these over......at least I was clean if not still a little wet.

They are double crop beans; beans that we plant over the wheat ground right after it is harvested.  They go in late, around the 4th of July, and sometimes they don't even amount to that proverbial "hill of beans," but this year we had about 30 bushel to the acre.  30 x 18 acres = 540 bushel and at, let's say $10 to the bushel, that little experiment gave us $5,400 :-)  Not too shabby for a crap shoot!

Keep your toes warm out there, and have a great day!


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