Friday, August 31, 2012

Farm Friday

This week on the farm we have continued to get things ready for harvest.  The corn keeps on drying and the soybeans are starting to change colors.  Here are a few photos I took on top of one of our grain bins so you can see the changes in the crops.

You can see we have the combine, corn head and tractor with disc-ripper
sitting out and ready to go
You can see both the corn in the foreground and
soybeans in background maturing and changing colors
If you look real close in the shop you can see my father-in-law, My Farmer, LP and
one of our hired hands talking and probably wondering what I'm doing on the top of the grain bin!
My "backyard's" corn continues to mature.

The corn ears and kernels continue to dry, so we may be starting harvest at the end of next week.  This field will probably yield about 30%-40% less than we'd "normally" see but we'll be very happy with that type of result during this year's harvest!

My hog's "backyard" of soybeans have changed the most in the last week.  See how the field is changing colors and drying.

I'm looking forward to seeing what our soybeans yield this year.  They look really good in my opinion.

The soybeans are also starting to dry.  You can see how the pod and beans are drying.

It'll be interesting to see how things progress in the next week!  Like I said earlier, we might be harvesting by the end of next week.  Do you have any questions about harvesting corn or soybeans?  Feel free to leave comments and questions - I love hearing from my readers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Farm Progress Show

My Farmer, LP, my in-laws and I had a great time at the Farm Progress Show today.  I didn't take too many photos I'm afraid, but here are a few looks from on top of a combine that I took today.  My favorite part of today was probably watching the field demonstrations and catching up with so many friends!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Goal Accomplished

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to get healthier:
Healthier for myself,
                        Healthier for my family and 
Healthier for my future children.  

I did a really good job of watching my portion sizes and snacking during the first part of the year, which gave me decent results.  This summer I decided to take it to the next level by starting to exercise.  In June I joined a "Couch to 5K" program at my local wellness center.  This is an interval training program where at the beginning of the program you walk longer than you run and by the end you are running longer than you walk.  The goal of the class was to complete a 5K at the end of August that supported our local recreational lake, the Beeds Lake Restoration Run.  Our first class in June had over 30 people in it and yesterday, I'm happy to say that I was one of 6 class members that completed the 5K!

My goal at the beginning of the summer was to not just complete the 5K with the rest of my class members, it was to run the entire 5K - and that is exactly what I did!  Now, my pace may have been pretty slow, but it didn't matter to me.  I finished my first ever 5K race in 42:31 minutes!  Now all I can think of is where I should register to run next and try to increase my running pace so I can beat my time.

Thank you to My Farmer and LP for giving me time to run this summer and time to join the class at the Wellness Center.  I was so happy and proud when I saw both of you standing at the finish line cheering me on, along with the hugs I got as soon as I finished.

I wish I had some photos of me at the end of the race, but we had to get back home so we could check on my in-laws new puppies!

What would you rather see, me sweaty after a race, or hour old Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies - I mean really...  Aren't they so cute and adorable?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Farm Friday

This week on the farm we have continued getting things ready for harvest.  The crops continue to advance in development.  

In my "backyard" the corn has really dried up a lot in the last week.

The ears of corn have continued to show dents on each kernel of the cob and...

Have begun to show a black layer in the kernel.  If you look at the bottom of the kernel, you'll see a black line.  When kernels show a black layer, that means they have reached R6 or Physiological Maturity.  I used a knife to cut cleanly through these kernels, but if you ever see a farmer bite down on a kernel, they are checking the maturity of the kernel - they're looking for the black layer and checking the moisture in the corn.

As for my hog's "backyard" the soybeans don't look too much different from last week.

They continue to be at R6 - Full Seed, which means the soybean plant has pods completely filled by seed through the top four nodes.

We are thinking we will probably start harvesting corn after the first of September, which will be a couple weeks earlier than normal.  Do you have any questions about harvest time on the farm?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jump for Wishes

I know there are a lot of people that have always wanted to go skydiving - I was not one of those people.  I never had the desire to jump out of a plane and fall from the sky.  See, the thing is, I'm actually not very good about cliffs or heights, so the idea of skydiving never thrilled me.  But this past Sunday, I did something I never thought I would - I went SKYDIVING!

Now, it had to take someone or something pretty special to make me do something as crazy as skydiving, and that something special was Make-A-Wish.  Make-A-Wish is an organization that is very dear to my heart, as my cousin Jake, received an Alaskan fishing trip wish after he was diagnosed with cancer when he was in high school.  Jake said that receiving his wish was something that meant so much to him and was the best thing that he did during his battle with cancer.  Because of Jake, I started volunteering and granting wishes for Make-A-Wish four years ago.  I "Jumped for Wishes" in memory of Jake and in honor of all the Wish kids I've had the honor of granting wishes to.

I know Jake was right there with me as I was skydiving.
Make-A-Wish Iowa is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year.  A wish is granted in Iowa every-other day and at an average cost of more than $8,000.  That is why our Make-A-Wish North Iowa committee decided to "Jump for wishes" to help raise money and awareness for this organization that helps children with life-threatening medical conditions.  Please help support this worthy cause by donating to Make-A-Wish today.

We had 18 people jump for Make A Wish, including an 84 year old and a former Wish kid
Our motto was "Putting our lives at risk, for those whose lives are at risk"
Thank you Skydive Iowa for all your help and support with this likely annual event!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Iowa State Fair

I love fair season and was happy to travel to the Iowa State Fair this past weekend.  Here are a couple photos from our time at the fair!

New Fair Food - Fried Pickle Dawg (pickle, covered with cream cheese and rolled up in ham, fried)

Good ol' Favorite Fair Food - Cookies in a Cup

LP at Little Hands on the Farm

LP as a Turkey Farmer at the Animal Learning Center
This is our friend Bart's photo that was turned into a photo board at this year's fair

We love volunteering at the Iowa Pork Tent every year
Here My Farmer and our friend's Brian and Mike get some Iowa chops ready to grill

We had a great time at the Iowa State Fair - it wore us all out!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Last week I asked everyone "What they were doing on Friday, August 17th?" and invited everyone to the #140ConfAgIowa conference in Ames.  Today I'm excited to give a quick recap of my experience.

The #140ConfAgIowa conference was an agriculture social media conference whose attendees included farmers, ag business professionals, social media experts and others just interested in agriculture and social media.  One neat thing I thought about the event was that there were several people from the county I live in not only as attendees but as speakers at the event.  There were 16 speakers that spoke each for 10 minutes, which equaled to be three hours of quick hitting information on things like how to "speak consumer", to tips on how to share messages, to resources for facts and figures.  I spoke on how to start a blog from a beginner blogger's perspective.  I covered things to think through before beginning a blog and also shared a couple tips I have learned in my eight months of blogging.  Click here to check out my presentation video.

Me speaking at the #140ConfAgIowa conference
To give you a better idea of what the conference all covered, her are some of my favorite tweets from the conference:

  • Use "consumer speak" not "science speak" #140ConfAgIowa @abbyjowhite @bestfoodfacts
  • @katieolthoff emphasizes for ag folks to reach out beyond #ag! #140ConfAgIowa
  • @FBLJ People outside of #ag want to meet the "right type" of #farmer.  How can we show that we are all "right" farmers? #140ConfAgIoa
  • Whether #cotton or #bacon, @JPlovesCOTTON says you can find your niche on Twitter. "Agriculture" is a niche itself. #140ConfAgIowa
  • @LathamSeeds How can we create virtual experiences that turn into reality. #140ConfAgIowa

Overall, I had a great time learning and networking.  The common threads from the day were to be yourself and to diversify your audience.  If you have a #140Conf in your area be sure to attend!

Here are a couple other takes from the #140ConfAgIowa conference that you might find of interest:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Farm Friday

I'm happy to be back on schedule and have a Farm Friday update today!  This week after we got my father-in-law back home and on the mend, we started getting equipment ready for the fall.  LP had his first combine ride of the fall earlier this week when we moved it out of the machine shed - he was very excited for that!

My "backyard" is getting closer and closer to being ready for harvest.

The corn stalks and husks are starting to dry and the ears of corn are beginning to drop.

Because of the drought conditions, the ears of corn are not as long compared to "normal" years.

The corn is now at the R5 development stage, as know as the Dent stage.  As you can see the tops of the kernels are dented.  The moisture content is lessening, which causes the dent.  It is always exciting to see your corn dent because that means harvest is near!

My "hog's backyard" has benefited for some casual rains over the past couple of weeks, but of course, could still use some more.

Here is an up-close look at a soybean pod and seeds.  Currently the soybeans are reaching the R6 development stage, also known as Full Seed.  After the soybeans reach R6, the plants will begin to mature and dry.

The drought has obviously affected our fields, along with the rest of the central United States, this year.  The news media keeps comparing this year's weather conditions to those of the 1980's and 1930's.  We might be having similar weather to the Dust Bowl years, but our crops are doing a lot better than they would have back then.  The conservation methods used by farmers today help keep our topsoil from blowing away and the hybrid's of today have traits to help withstand dry conditions.  I wouldn't like to think what are crops would be looking like right now if we didn't have the practices and genetics that we do.

Do you have any questions about the harvest process?  Do you have any questions about this year's drought?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Green Thumb Journey

It has been quite awhile since I gave my last "Green Thumb Journey" update.  Overall, I feel pretty good on how well I've kept up on taking care of my garden this summer.  This summer's drought's dry conditions were both positive and negative to my gardens.

The negative:  My pumpkin & gourd patch!

My pumpkins and gourds have flowered two different times but still have developed nothing.  Usually I never have to worry about getting a crop from my pumpkin and gourd patch, but this year I'm worried.  I just don't think my patch got enough water and I think they were competing too much with the neighboring corn - which didn't result well for either.  Luckily for me there is a new pumpkin patch that will be open this fall in our area!

The positive:  My tomatoes!

I can't believe how many tomatoes I have this year!  They have really liked the dry conditions.  I have so many tomatoes that some plant branches are almost touching the ground they have so much weight on them from all the tomatoes!

I picked my first tomatoes (and peppers) about a week and a half ago.  Now I pick several tomatoes every other day, and I have literally over 100 left to ripen and pick.  Earlier this week I got all of my canning supplies ready to make a lot of homemade salsa!

My first tomato and pepper pick - August 6th
Besides my tomatoes, my peppers are doing fairly well and my onions are doing okay.  I think my onions would be doing better if I had planted then deeper.  I also had a lot of weed pressure at one point this summer that I think hurt my onions.

Did you plant a garden this year?  Did the drought effect your garden positively or negatively in any way?

Monday, August 13, 2012

What are you doing this Friday?

What are you doing this Friday?  I am personally going to the Ag Iowa #140 Conference in Ames and I hope you join me!

The #140ConfAgIowa is Friday, August 17th from 2 to 5pm at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State Campus in Ames, Iowa.  This three hour event will consist of presentations discussing social media and agriculture in ten minute segments - with plenty of time for questions, cocktails and networking afterwards.

Here is a list of several speakers who I'm looking forward to listening to:

(I know you might think this would be the entire line-up, but it isn't!  There are even more a great speakers on the schedule.)

Besides being excited to hear from all the speakers, I'm also looking forward to being a presenter myself!  I am presenting on "Making the Time to Blog," where I'll talk about what you need to think about to start a blog from a beginner's perspective.

If you would like to learn more about the event, check out the event's website, as well as schedule, and then order your $10 ticket online.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ten Commandments for the Farmer's Wife

This past week I had a guest blog post on All In An Iowa Mom's Day! blog.  Thank you Sara for the opportunity!  I figured I'd share my post that I shared on her blog - I hope you all enjoy!

Ten Commandments for the Farmer’s Wife

When I am asked what “I do” I usually pause and have to think how I am going answer.  The truth is that I farm with my husband and father-in-law, I stay at home and watch my 17 month old son, I volunteer with several different groups that it could be a full time job, and I do independent consulting on a contract basis for leadership development, social media training and event management.  Maybe in the end the best way of answering that question is to say that “I’m a farmer’s wife.”  I mean a farmer’s wife helps on the farm, takes care of her family, volunteers in the community and usually tries to make some extra cash whenever possible.  When thinking of my life as a farmer’s wife I am reminded of a sign that my Mom had hanging in our kitchen growing up, “Ten Commandment for the Farmer’s Wife.”  I’m not sure where she got it from or when it was written, but I thought you’d enjoy reading it:
  1.  Thou shall not sort cattle with your hands in your pockets, husbands and cows don’t like it.
  2. Thou shall serve meals which can be served 30 minutes early or 2 hours late.
  3. Thou shall learn to keep farm records. 
  4. Thou shall love the smell of new mown hay, fresh plowed earth, sweet smelling silage and the stinging sensation of ammonia in the sheep barn.
  5. Thou shall be inspired to see the sun rise and relieved to see it set.
  6. Thou shall learn to open gates, close gates and guard gates.
  7. Thou shall thrill at the sight of the bright new tractor and the birth of a new calf.
  8. Thou shall live close to God with the faith to cherish nature’s church.
  9. Thou shall cherish meals together, long waiting for the vet to arrive, and decisions of plowing up the winter wheat.
  10. Thou shall be exultant at the touch of a brotherly hand on your shoulder, the tender kiss on your forehead and those precious words, “thanks for your help!”

When Life Makes You Slow Down UPDATE

Well, it looks like I'll be going another week without a Farm Friday post.  Yesterday morning, my father-in-law was admitted back into the hospital.  His spleen, which was torn due to the accident, reopened and bled into his abdomen.  So, it looks like we'll be back in the hospital for a couple of days.  He is doing much better today though, compared to yesterday.  I appreciate all the messages and thoughts I received from my Thursday When Life Makes You Slow Down post.  Thanks for all the prayers!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When Life Makes You Slow Down

It has been over a week since I have posted on my blog.  Since my last blog post, my family was hit with an unexpected change of events, which has made all of us take a break from the busyness of life and be with and for each other.  Last Friday night my father-in-law was in a motorcycle/deer accident.  He is doing great now, especially considering everything.  From the accident, he has fractured four ribs, had a partially-collapsed lung, has a fractured scapula (shoulder blade), a small tear in his spleen, a small brain bleed and second degree burns from the road rash.  I'm happy to say that after just five days in the hospital, we were able to bring him home yesterday late afternoon/early evening.  He has a long road to a full recovery; his progress this week has been amazing!

This is the reason why you should wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
This is the reason why my father-in-law is still with us today.
I am so happy, proud and fortunate that he has always been a helmet rider.