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Thursday, November 27, 2014

#30 Days of Agriculture November 27: Happy Thanksgiving!

Click HERE to ask a real turkey farmer about how turkeys are raised
Happy Thanksgiving!

Not that I am giving this day the short end of the blog stick, but I would love for you to meet an Iowa farm family who works every day of the year to give us, or most of us, the main course of our Thanksgiving meal. They are turkey farmers, and Miss Katie is also an awesome home decorator, mommy to two boys, author of a book for children called My Family's Farm, and she can talk turkey!

Please head on over to meet Miss Katie and her family On the Banks of Squaw Creek.

Have safe travels, and when you are thanking the Good Lord for all the blessings in your life, take time to remember those who helped put the food on your plates:  the cooks and the farmers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#30 Days of Agriculture November 26: What Farmers Do after the Crops Are Harvested.....

I would really love to tell you that we pack our bags and head to sunny Florida for the next four months, but that treat is reserved for our elders.  We are still at home, checking, fixing, cleaning, and putting all the harvest equipment away in "ready to go" condition.  This can turn into a complicated game of Tetris as we jockey wagons, implements, and tractors inside three different tool sheds.

Oh, and once we had this tool shed full, we had to ward off evil rodents that might chew on crucial wires and other important parts. 

When my beloved Tall Guy moved this tarp to the trailer with the fuel tank, a few residents were evicted.  It would have been nice if he had given me a heads up, but you know me, anything to make TG smile.............(paybacks are being plotted!).

Time to hop inside, eat some lunch and catch up on The Young and the Restless right?  Nope!  I still have no clue who the father of Victoria's baby is.   It was time to start hauling corn to a local elevator. It was just a tad bit breezy up here on the ridge!

See?  At least I added a few bits of color to my Carhartt brown attire! Time to move the auger to the right bin.

This is a swing auger because the red part with the little wheels unhooks from the silver part, and this extension can be moved by a motor to go under the bin we want to use.

OK, so what is an auger?  On this farm it's pretty much anything that looks like the sliver blades under the red cage.  The same spiral-type blade is inside the silver "neck" of the large auger, and there is another long auger right beneath the #3 on the bin.  It is the first one to start turning as it brings the grain out of the bin.


Then the smaller swing auger feeds the corn up through the large silver auger, and it takes the corn up and out into the trailer. Below is my view as I tell TG when it's time to move forward.

Yeah, This is TG making sure I know what I am doing.......you farm wives out there will understand this picture and what words were playing in my head but being filtered before going through my mouth. 

And that, my friends, is going to be a big part of our winter activities, and I'm pretty sure it won't be all sunshine and balmy weather out there, but that's what we do!~

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#30 Days of Ag November 25: What Is That Lightbulb?

I am declaring today:  Ask A Farmer A Question Day!  Since I didn't give you all much notice, I am going to answer a question that I get from a lot of friends who spend any time in my kitchen:

"What is that light bulb for"

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This is a very unassuming light; it is just different because it comes out of the side of my kitchen wall.  There's nothing too fancy about it.  I don't dress it up, and I probably should dust it a bit more frequently.  Honestly, I forget it's even there,.......until someone new to the kitchen sees it go off at random moments!

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And of course the questions is, "Why is that light going on and off?"

It's a fair question, and some of you who have dairy farms might have the correct answer without even a pause to ponder it........

Nope, It's not hooked up to the door bell......
Nope, It doesn't mean someone had a great idea........

Are you ready?

That light blinks on and off as our cows drink water.  It indicates that water pump is on, and water is is flowing to the waterers out in the feed lot.  That's kind of important to know.

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We have three (I think!!!) such waterers out and about where the calves can get water whenever they wish.  They really are the best little machines out there, well besides the electric fence!  The water only flows up when they start to drink it.  We have warmers ready to put in them; they might even already be in them, but these waterers have to be watched carefully in the winter time because they are the only access our calves have for drinking water.

We also have a waterer set up in the tool shed for the 4-H calves........

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And the numerous kitties and cats.

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Believe it or not there are THREE black kitties in the pile somewhere and an orange/yellow tiger cat. They do know how to stay warm.

Now that light goes off at any time, 24/7/365.  And yes, sometimes it has startled me in the wee hours of the night, but now you know.  Whew!  Bet you all ran out to cross this off your Bucket List right?

Sorry about my pictures not being as sharp as I would like.  I was using my phone rather than the "Big Kahuna" because I was also helping Tall Guy move an auger to different bins so he could take corn to the elevator.  I snapped pics of that whole fun process when I could, and I will tell you about it soon!

Have a great rest of the day.  I think I can start to smell all the incredible aromas coming from everyone's kitchen as we all get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for this wonderful life TG and I are making for ourselves and our girls, and we all appreciate the land and its bounty each and every day!

If you have a question about our farm, by all means shoot it my way.  It might be about the windmills, or our cattle, or our crops, fire away.  That's why I'm here ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

#30 Days of AG November 23 & 24: A Day Off and Helping Hands

Well poo!  I missed yesterday's post so I am combining two posts for today.

Yesterday Tall Guy and I escaped for a little us time.  Thanks to our IFB District Director, Kevin Underwood, we went down to Indy to watch our first professional football game!  Yep we watched the Colts whoop the Jaguars 23-3.  FUN!!!!!

I looked at my BIG camera, but opted just to take my Samsung 5 and shoot pictures with it.  I still don't like the close up shots, but it did capture the view from where we sat.

First we sat at the Slippery Noodle for a bit of beverage and nibble food.  TG's friend from high school manages the place, and I actually got to meet him briefly.  It was quite busy there.

There were about a bazillion little girls with pompoms out on the field to entertain us a half time.

Now this is a fun story.  Tall Guy and I had found our seats and were getting settled, when TG spotted this gentleman, and told me as he pointed, "Now THAT'S how I am going to let my beard grow!"  I gave him a look, but didn't say much as the 6'4" gentleman sat down right next to TG.  If you don't know me well, you need to understand that I will strike up a conversation with just about anyone I meet.  Imagine our delight to find out Mr. M and his wife are from Stuben County, and they are Indiana Farm Bureau members, quite active with their Young Farmer program both at the county and state level.  Of course we started chatting about crops and farmer stuff during lulls in the game. We had our smart phones out showing pictures of our different grounds, and we chatted about windmills. We made new friends and look forward to seeing them at our IFB State Convention next month in French Lick.

During one of the quarter or halftime breaks, the televisions played a clip of a Colt project conducted earlier last week.  Click HERE to see how corn farmers, Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indianapolis Colts, and FFA members all worked together to Pack Meals for the Hungry.

Bayer is also sponsoring a great #Thankful4Ag project:  Please click HERE to go to that site and create a virtual meal that will help feed ten families for every one share.  It's easy-peasy!

These two projects warm my heart because Ag communities understand how much it takes in money and effort to feed people.  There are so many ways to help those whose Thanksgiving tables will not be as full as ours, and the spirit of giving is in the air.  Look around and see where you might be able to lend a hand or your support to those in need.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#30 Days of Ag. November 22 : Indiana Family of Farmers

When those few great, young, enthusiastic, creative, and savvy women put their heads together to create Real Farmwives of America and Friends, it seems like it was the idea that pulled so many of our Ag businesses and organizations together.  From this, Indiana Family of Farmers (IFOF) was born.

IFOF is such a great resource for any and all questions about Indiana Agriculture. This is a list of all those single entities that come together contributing resources and people power to our mission to educate all consumers about what we grow and produce in Indiana:

The following organizations contribute to Indiana’s Family of Farmers:
Isn't that an extensive list of people to tap when a question pops up?  I have linked up to many of these organizations when I need help explaining a process or need to verify my facts. Another fact about this list is that many of them get together once a month or so to talk about AG related issues. Grain prices effect feed and animal productions, and poor weather conditions can touch us all.  It is so important to keep an open channel of dialog between our state's Ag organizations and institutes

The Partnerships/Opportunities page is another great resource to find Ag education materials for the classroom or your own farm kids.

Over on Facebook, Indiana's Family of Farmers, and IFOF and Dairy Blogger Programs are great pages to look for activities created to let you know more about what we, as farmers, do.

With us just getting back into a routine after harvest, I'm trying to get back in touch with all of these groups and see what I have missed while putting in seat time out in the field.  I know that the people behind these organizations have kept the agricultural home fires burning while we have been burning the midnight oil trying to bring in the harvest.  Thanks IFOF for spreading the good word about Ag.

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.......


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