Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ice, Rain and Snow Oh My!

Ironically my last blog post was about how beautiful winter is in Iowa.  Now, for the last few days we've been having the exact weather that people dread during winter...

It all started with an ice storm on Sunday and Monday, along with heavy fog all day Monday.

Look how weighed down one of our lilac bushes is due to the ice
and how low the neighboring trees branches are hanging to the ground
Ice was coating everything - trees, bushes, grass, vehicles, the house, etc.
See how foggy it is, at the bottom of the photo you can kind of see the ground through the fog
Thunderstorms and rain Monday night and Tuesday.

The thunderstorm and rain left everything very wet
We usually have puddles like this in April, not January...
And now this morning we wake up to snow, with wind to pick up later today.

Our dog Bailey taking a mid-morning nap in the snow
I don't know why,
but she'd rather sleep in the flower box next the the house, rather  than her doghouse
Bailey back on duty protecting the farm, she'd never want us to see her sleeping on the job!
I guess the only type of weather we're missing now is sunshine!  I just have to laugh and smile and say, this is winter in Iowa!  I'm just happy that we've been getting precipitation!  After the 2012 drought, I'm concerned with what sub-soil moisture we have left and what conditions our 2013 crops will have to try to grow in.  So bring on the moisture, in whatever form it comes!

Hope you all are taking care in whatever weather conditions come your way!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Beauty of Winter in Iowa

I know I've said it before, I love winter!  Technically, my favorite season is fall, but winter comes in a close second.  So many times I hear people at the grocery store, gas station, church, etc., complaining about winter.  They complain that it is cold, that it is boring, and that it is just kind of a blah time of year.  To all those that don't think there is a special beauty to winter, here are a few photos I've taken this winter that I hope will make people smile and cherish this special season we call winter.

My inspiration for this blog post - a bald eagle in one of our fields
My Farmer and I were commenting today
how there are so many more bald eagles in Iowa  now
than we have ever seen before
There is just something about winter sunsets (and sunrises)
The extra cold moisture in the air brings out beautiful colors in the sky
Ice and Snow - the two things people complain about the most during winter
But don't they look beautiful on this tree!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Get Your Flu Vaccine So You, Your Family and Your Pigs Stay Healthy

The Flu Epidemic of 2013 is all over the news lately.  Currently 47 states are at widespread epidemic levels. A lot of the articles I have ran across about the flu include reminders to get your flu vaccine and what to do to prevent, but I didn't expect to see something in my latest Pork Checkoff enewsletter about getting the flu vaccine to help with herd health.

Some of our pigs saying hello!
But it makes sense, doesn't it!  Getting the flu vaccine not only protects the farmer, but their animals too.  Many of the articles I have ran across remind people to stay home if they have the flu so it doesn't spread.  Well, farmers have to work through all sorts of conditions, that includes being sick at times.  Getting the flu vaccine and doing preventative measures such as washing our hands, keeping equipment and buildings clean, and wearing farm-specific clothing and boots, can help keep us and our hogs healthy.  We, along with other pork producers, pride ourselves on producing quality, affordable pork in clean and healthy environments every day, 365 days a year.  So for the health of yourself, your family and your pigs - remember to get your flu vaccine and enforce bio-security practices!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

19 Weeks - Corn, Beans, Pig & KIDS

When I started this blog over a year ago I decided to call it "Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids" because that is what we raise on our farm and it just has a nice flow to it.  "Corn, Soybeans, Pigs & Kid" just didn't seem to have the same ring to it.  And My Farmer and I often, if not always, introduce ourselves as farmers from North Central Iowa who raise corn, beans, pigs and kids.  Now we have been caught a time or two having to explain the kids part since we only have one, but now I'm officially excited to announce we are expecting a second child on June 6th, so we officially will being raising KIDS on the farm!

Now I had hinted at that we were expecting another child in my New Year Resolutions, but I figured today, at 19 weeks, I'd make an official announcement that MP (Mini-Plagge) will be arriving this spring.

The best picture MP would give us yesterday at my ultrasound
So what does it mean being pregnant with your second child when your first is a busy toddler?

  • Well, it means when you're tired and just want to take a nap, you can't just take one anytime you wanted to, like with the first pregnancy.  You have to wait till nap time or bed time, which I have to admit, I've thought about changing slightly just so I could lay on the couch.  I found out I was pregnant in September and actually kept the pregnancy a secret most of harvest.  Now this was hard at times because harvest can just be tiring to begin with, add going through your first trimester and you can imagine how tired I was at the end of the day (or in the middle day as the sun was really beating down through the tractor windshield)!
  • My Farmer has always told me that I plan too much, but I figure planning for arrival of MP won't hurt anyone right?  Well, arrival of MP makes me think of how much, or shall I say how little, "free" time I'll have with two kids in the house?  I also wonder how well LP will do with MP?  I know he'll be a big helper but I also am aware he might be confused or jealous.  Having two kids in the house also make me wonder how well I'll be able to divide my focus, energy and love towards both of them?  Along those lines, I think how hard it is sometimes for just My Farmer and I to go out and have time just to ourselves now, let alone with another child.
  • Now at the same time, I am so excited for LP to have a sibling.  I have two sisters and I wouldn't trade growing up with them for anything in the world.  We are all each others best friends and my parents often tell us stories of when we were younger of how we almost had our own language and I remember the countless games we played, just the three of us.  Earlier I mentioned how I think about how well I'll do dividing up my focus, energy and love towards both kids, but the great thing for MP, they'll have not just Mom and Dad to get attention from, they'll have an older brother that'll give them attention too!
So, yeah, I guess that is what this mother is thinking at 19 weeks.  We are almost half way through the pregnancy and we're all excited for MP to arrive!  Do any of you have any advice for a soon to be family of four?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What I've Learned About the iPad Since Christmas

Did anyone get an iPad for Christmas this year?  Well, my family did, in a way.  One of the seed companies we bought corn from gave customers a new iPad 4 - 32 GB, as a thank you gift.  I say thank you loosely because in the end, we really paid for it, but it was a nice perk from buying from them this year!  Anyways, My Farmer and I have always been PC people and have stayed far away from any Apple/Mac products.  But we are happy with our new iPad and have enjoyed using it.

LP might just enjoy the iPad the most out of the whole family
I figured I'd share a few tricks to the iPad we've learned by "playing around" on it and by going to an iPad class offered through an area Verizon dealer store, Cell Tech in Hampton and the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, along with some of our family's favorite apps.

iPad Tips and Tricks:
  • To move an app to a different location or different page, hold down on the app till it starts shaking, at this point you can move it to where you'd like.
  • To make folders of apps, for example - we have all of my son's apps in one folder, make the apps shake, then drag apps you'd like grouped together on top of each other.  This will create a folder that you can then give a name.
  • To multi-task, double-click the home button and it will bring up all your apps as a bottom scroll bar, you can then bring up another program while saving your spot on another app.
Favorite iPad apps:
  • My Farmer's favorite apps:  
    • AgPhDMain - farming programs and tools from the Hefty brothers
    • AgPhD Fert. Removal - you select a crop such as corn and it tells you the fertilizer removal information for it
    • Angry Birds - My Farmer use to have this game on his phone but deleted it because it was so addicting - he says it is even better on a bigger screne! (we might need to delete it in the future... and not just because of him, we all play it!)
  • LP's favorite apps:  
    • PBS Kids - if you're traveling this is great because it has full episodes of all the PBS Kids television programs - LP loves "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood"
    • Farmyard - this is wear you build your own farm by adding animals, farmers, tractors, etc. - everytime you add something to your farm scene it says what it is and makes the sound
    • I Hear Ewe - it has a variety of farm and jungle animals, as well as different forms of transportation on it and as you click on something it will say the name along with the sound it makes
  • My favorite apps:  
    • Evernote - if you're a note taker this is a great program that sinks your To Do list between your phone, iPad, computer, internet, etc.
    • Bible - a nice tool to easily search for a bible verse, bible chapter, etc. or just to read the Bible from
    • Ant Smasher - this is another addicting game that the whole family enjoys playing where you smash ants, but watch out for the bees!
Do you have any iPad tips or tricks that you can share?  What are your favorite iPad apps?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Blog Goals

Besides my New Year Resolutions, I have also decided to create some blog goals.  I hope these things will make me not only a better blogger, but that it will also build my audience and outreach.
  1. Blog Regularly.  Last year I set a goal of blogging at least three times a week.  I am going to work towards that goal again this year.
  2. Promote More Through Social Media.  This year I'm going to look into sharing my blog through more social media avenues and on a more regular basis.  Currently I send out one tweet and one Facebook post per blog post.  In 2013, I'd like to experiment with tweeting posts out more than once, possibly creating a Facebook page for my blog, look into utilizing Pinterest more, and share on LinkedIn when appropriate.
  3. Comment On Other Blogs.  This year I am going to make a goal of commenting on three blogs per week, including commenting on a new blog once a month.  
  4. Enhance SEO.  In February I will be attending the regional Ag Chat Foundation conference in Rochester, Minnesota.  One of the break-out sessions I'm looking forward to the most is tips on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  I know this is something I need to work on for my blog.
  5. Utilize Followers.  This year I want to explore ways of utilizing my followers.  This could mean having guest bloggers, or guest blogging myself on others' blogs.
Here's to a great year of blogging!  Do you blog?  What are your goals for this year?

Me with Darcy Maulsby and Heather Lilienthal at the #140ConfAgIowa
Some great #AgNerd friends I have gained through blogging

New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year!  I figure today is a great day to get back on track and get organized for the year.  This year I have made New Year Resolutions related to being a better Mom and Wife.

  1. Wake-up Early.  I always feel good and better prepared for the day when I wake up early.  So this year I have set a goal of waking-up early each morning so I get a good start to my day.  (This will also give me more time to get things done before LP wakes up!)
  2. Go To Bed Earlier.  Now in order for me to wake-up earlier, I need to go to bed earlier.  I have to admit I find myself staying up way too late pretty much doing nothing.  So this year my goal will be to go to bed at a decent time.
  3. Do One Complete Load Of Laundry Daily.  I have to admit, sometimes I get behind on laundry.  This doesn't work well when we go through so many clothes between chore clothes and nice clothes.  So I feel if I get one complete load of laundry done each day I should be able to give my family clean clothes to wear.  (Plus, My Farmer and I are expecting in June 2013 so I'll have even more laundry to take care of!)
  4. Do A House Walk-Through Every Night.  This house "walk-through" will involved doing the dishes, picking up toys, cleaning-up the bathroom, etc.  I know this will make me feel better before going to bed and in the morning when I wake-up if I do these simple things each night.
  5. Not To Say YES Immediately.  I've always had a problem with saying "yes" too fast shall we say.  In this New Year I need to prioritize my time and activities better, especially with MP (Mini-Plagge) arriving this spring.
To be a better Mom for LP
To be a better Wife for My Farmer and
To be a good Mom to MP (you can start to see a bump)
    I hope you all have a great New Year and that you can keep your resolutions and goals, just like I'm planning and striving to do!