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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

You Knew This Day Was Coming

He keeps saying that, "it's like high school graduation, you knew this day was coming.  Calm down."

But it's hard to calm down and get through our crazy busy schedules while trying to prepare for planting season and move into a different house on the farm.

Time flies and this day wasn't supposed to be this week, or so I thought. 

But it's here, and we are moving into a different house on the farm.  

I call our first home together a "bungalow".  
Kind of as a joke, but kind of because it's small and lots of crazy things seem to happen in it like  things that would happen on a wild adventure in a foreign country.

This house is where we first said "I love you".

It's where we got engaged, actually at this table in front of our big window.

 It's where we planned our wedding in Colorado and our Celebration on the Farm.

We bought this door on the day we got engaged and now I have to leave it behind. 
The story about the door is hilarious, but the stories told and memories made 
behind the door are more meaningful.

When we were dating, I found this Glick seed sack at an antique store and thought I was the best girlfriend ever.
His brother helped me find an old horseshoe from the family's barn to hang it.  I was so proud.

It took him weeks to tell me that they had lots of these at the farm still.  I was crushed but it remained on the wall.

And it's a nice, daily reminder of the family farm and seed business.
It reminds us of why we do what we do on the farm, and for the farm, so when our great grandchildren see a seed sack from 2015, they are just as impressed by it as I am with this sack from 1965.

We lived in this house and talked about how we grew up and the values we were raised on.  
We had to share memories of our fathers with each other as they both are watching from above in heaven.  

This house is where we realized we both believe, "He'll take you when he wants you."  
It's where we grew up the last few years together realizing the blessings God gives us and the fact he can take them away so we must appreciate each other at all times.

The house is where we decided to support and believe in each other, to sacrifice and be patient.  

For example, Brett sacrificed seeing my antique "Love" sign made by a friend. 
He loved the thoughtfulness, but he isn't a fan of old antiques used in this way. 

When I found out that our annoying chipmunk friend had been chewing on my sign, I had patience with Brett because he let it happen.  

Love is patient, love is kind........

The house is where I encountered more than my fair share of mice, lizards, bugs, clogged up sinks, no central air or heat, frost on the inside of our windows and much more.

So as we were packing up the house week and I got a little emotional. 
I just can't believe it's here.

While I was having one of my many breakdowns, he packed up our bar. 
I told him to keep the vodka out for the week just in case I need it.  

And then he said, "we need to drink a bottle of wine from our honeymoon in South America before we leave this house."  Genius idea!  And then I was crying yet again.

The bottle looks a little rough because it had quite the adventure from Argentina, a foreign country, 
to our bungalow here on the farm.

We did our own marriage counseling over bottles of wine before we got married to plan our life together.   And it started in this house, at this table.  

Then we set out on adventures and brought more wine home to enjoy over continued conversations about our life plans.  While the table is going with us to the next house, the big window where a proposal and many memories were made isn't.

Thanks to The Bungalow for our many memories and adventures between the walls. 

Now on to our next adventure and the many memories to come in this life.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Celebrate Agriculture & Our the Next Generation of Farmers

My sister, Sarah, and I collaborate on various agriculture projects as we advocate for our family farms and way of life.  Below is an article we wrote for our local paper this month to celebrate National Ag Day. 

As we praise the warm weather and new beginnings that spring brings, we want to remind you that our farmers are starting to gather in the fields to produce this year’s crop and the food that comes to your table each and every day. 
This year’s National Agriculture Day was on March 18th and the theme was “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations”.  This is a day to celebrate and support agriculture and the people that work in the agriculture industry even though we hope many of you celebrate more than one day of the year.  These “people” are the farmers and ranchers that grow crops, raise, and care for livestock and tend to the land.

When we think of farmers, many times we think of overalls and a pitchfork.  But in today’s agriculture world, more and more farmers are communicating via their smart phone from their tractors and using technologies that make our farms more efficient.  The old pitchforks have turned into iPads.  Even with the adoption of new technologies, we still face issues within agriculture.  Many people outside the agriculture family don’t realize the issues we are facing today with aging farmers.  Today, the average American farmer or rancher is 55 years old or older.  Young people are not returning to the farm to work and take over the age-old tradition of farming.  Instead they are looking elsewhere for more “attractive” jobs that have a typical 9-5 hour schedule, vacation days and less physically demanding work.

This is everyone’s problem because we need the next generation of farmers and ranchers to raise our crops and livestock to sustain our lifestyles as consumers.  With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, who will grow and raise our food?  We need a next generation of farmers, ranchers and agriculturists to take on that task.  Whether they come back to the farm or ranch to work, work for companies that create the technologies used on the farms, or help develop policies farmers and ranchers need to sustain their family farms, we need someone to take on the task.  Also, we need people to teach the next generation about agriculture and where their food comes from.  Without a doubt, there are many jobs that need to be filled in the agriculture industry.

Living in Indiana we are lucky to have various options for the next generation to be a part of this agriculture family.  We have a strong agriculture sector ranging from a leading land grant university that provides educational and extension services to every citizen and a growing technology and innovation sector that includes companies like Dow AgroSciences and Elanco.  We also have seed companies that provide more innovative agronomic tools for our farms and a livestock sector that provides food to people around the world.  Our Indiana agriculture sector generates more than $25.4 billion towards Indiana’s gross domestic product and employees more than 475,000 Hoosiers, which attributes to roughly 20% of our workforce.

So how you can you help find the next generation of farmers, ranchers and members of the agriculture family?  Encourage a young person to learn more about jobs in agriculture.  Attend a forum or meeting that discusses ag issues and policies that affect our farming and our food.  Visit local events, county and state fairs and farms to show your support of farmers and ranchers.  Educate yourself on local, state, national and world food and ag issues.  Support your local FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, or young farmer groups.  Let them know that they are needed and that you really need them too.

Agriculture is a part of our heritage and we hope it continues to be a strong part of our future in Indiana and in our country.  As farm girls who wore overalls, loved showing animals and eating sweet corn from our own farm, we hope you take a moment to celebrate National Ag Day today and every day with us.  Do your part in sustaining agriculture’s future generations which include you too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Do This Because of Him

There was "no burnin' daylight" yesterday.

I was up before the sun helping to run an agriculture event for work.  
We were helping to promote agriculture and teach farmers and local leaders 
the value of agriculture in their communities.

Then I flew to DC where I will be advocating for our Indiana farmers on The Hill.

And this week on Wednesday, March 18th we celebrate Ag Day.

However, I realized that I celebrate agriculture every day but others don't.  

I used to celebrate like this.....

....and now I celebrate or advocate like this.


Because He did this.

I get fancy to celebrate the country in my blood.  
And always have passion and give thanks while I am doing it.

Here are a few facts for you:
Thanks to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for these facts from 2013.

Families own and operate most of U.S. farms and ranches:  
Today, 97 percent of all U.S. farms and ranches are owned by individuals, family partnerships or family corporations.

Each U.S. Farmer Feeds 154 People:  
America's farmers and ranchers are the world's most productive stewards of our land.  Today, each one produces food and fiber for 154 people in the United States and abroad.  

Americans Pay the Least for the Food:  
U.S. consumers spend just 10% of their disposable income on food each year, while other countries spend much more.
Italy:  15%
Poland: 20%
Philippines: 36%
Kenya: 41%

Celebrate with me today by thanking a farmer.  
Say a little pray as our farmers advocate in Washington D.C. with me today to protect our family farms, businesses and way of life.  And keep our farmers in your thoughts and prayers as they prepare to start a new season in the our fields.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Celebrating New Adventures at Home

When the older and wiser tell you "time flies", you should listen.

Just yesterday, my best friend Amy and I were shopping for wedding rings together. 
Then engaged withing weeks of each other.
Then married. 

And now....we are showering her and her baby with gifts of love.  

Time flies....so we must celebrate all the wonderful and generous gifts we are given 
including babies that will soon join us on this adventure called life.

Amy is the dearest of friends with lots of passion for life and love for others so we decided to go all out for Amy as she embarks on this new adventure with Baby B.  

This shower is a trip around the world, in my parents' basement 
where many of our adventures as young adults began........

My sister, mom and I have a love for antiques so we used them throughout the shower 
to show that the past can be a part of the future.

Amy and her husband, Marc, traveled to Ireland last fall and it was a trip of a lifetime.  Amy told me there was seafood chowder everywhere they visited so I made some in honor of their adventure across the pond.

Amy and our girlfriends love Mexican food, especially homemade guacamole 
so a little Mexican flare was on the menu.

And we tasted a little bit of America in the mac 'n' cheese bites!

While enjoying the food, why not enjoy lots of champagne to celebrate Baby B and Amy too!

Many of us have a little German in us so why not have few German Dip Rye Bites?

Our salad came from Greece, very tasty!

And we all love pasta....

Many of our friends studied Spanish so we have to honor Spain with some cheese and the meat.

Even though we were in Indiana, the girls loved traveling around the world via the food.

And because you can't travel without several modes of transportation, my mom made cookies to reflect how we would travel around the world.

And Amy always requests my mom's Sweet & Salty Chocolate Pizzazz!  A little piece of heaven!

These are mini pineapple upside down cakes which fit perfectly on my sister's favorite dishware, jadite.

We asked each guest to bring a postcard of their favorite place to visit and to write 
a note to Baby B on why he/she should visit as well.

What we hope for Baby B, and for Amy, is that they enjoy every adventure life brings in this world.

But we want Baby B to always remember that Indiana is home and he/she is always rooted, always based at home.

As the shower wrapped, Marc came to collect the gifts and was treated like a king with a beer in a frozen mug, warm soup and service from the ladies.

Thanks to Amy for our wonderful friendship and for letting us host an adventurous baby shower!
On to planning our next adventure for her and Baby B!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unspoken Lesson from the Farmer: Passionate & Loving Hands

I have recently been reminded of the work of our hands.
"Why", you may ask.
Because my farmer husband comes home with dirty and cold hands this time of year.  

He works tirelessly to care for our animals in the bitter cold and to make sure 
our farm keeps going even in the winter months.

I, however, do not have dirty hands or cold hands.  

But I do use my hands in a different way.  

Many who know me, know that I talk with my hands, a lot, actually too much.
And apparently I have been my whole life.

My mother found this photo recently and found it quite funny. 
This is proof that I have always used my hands, always been a little demanding 
and been so with determination and passion!

I have written about the work we do with our hands in my post titled, 

However, what I have been feeling more now than ever is that we should not only 
have heart when it comes to our hands' work but have passion through our work too.  

We need to always be thankful and remember the work of others' hands that have led us to our passion.

My mom, sister and I saved my dad's gloves he was wearing when he passed away on our family farm to remind us of him and his passionate, hard working personality.  

My sister recently wrote about our passion for agriculture and what we learned from our dad in her post about Celebrating National Agriculture Month.  She said that our dad "taught us to do things with passion or not at all".

We honor and thank him for our passion and love for the work we do with our hands even though they work differently than his.

So as we are hopefully at the end of our winter days and celebrate the start of a new beginning in spring, make sure you wrap your hands around someone you love and use your hands to do something good in this world with passion!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Always Farmer's Daughters

As farm girls, my sister Sarah and I grew up with several pairs of bib overalls.  

At one point, I had a purple pair and a mint green pair.
At another point in my young life, I thought the 1990s fashion phase with one strap unclasped was cool.....yep.  

But this photo, this photo we took for our farmer dad, really encompasses what we have always called ourselves:  the Farmer's Daughters.

To this day, we dress somewhat alike but with our own personal flare.  
Sarah is always in turquoise and I'm usually in pearls. 

But one thing we always have in common is our love for life and our love for our farmer.

After dad's death over 5 years ago, Sarah, the real storyteller of our family, wrote this poem: 
Always a Farmer's Daughter

There once was a Farmer who had a daughter.
A Farmer that knew how to plant and raise crops and his own stock.
That Farmer's daughter admired and loved the Farmer.

But the time came for the Farmer to answer the call because the Man upstairs 
needed the Farmer to tend to his stock from above.

Although the time of Thanksgiving is the most difficult time of all
the Farmer's daughter was thankful for him. 
Thankful for the time she had with the Farmer
Thankful for the memories made and the stories to share. 
Thankful for the example of a life well lived. 

The Farmer left a legacy for his daughter to share with you.
A story that shaped the daughter's life.
The story of the Farmer told by the Farmer's daughter.
And always a Farmer's daughter I'll be.

So as farmer's daughters, we have committed ourselves to telling stories about our farmer and agriculture.  
We will educate those that need to know more about where their food comes from and how it is raised.
And even if we are into wearing turquoise or pearls or are dressed fancy or country, we are always wearing our bibs, always farmer's daughters giving thanks for the farmer.