Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hump Day Bump Report

It is hard to believe that I am already 26 weeks pregnant!  At the very beginning of the pregnancy I thought it was taking a long time but now that our baby, MP, will be here Memorial Day/June-ish, I feel like time is starting to fly by!  Here are ten questions to let you know how my pregnancy is going:

How far along?  26 weeks or 14 weeks to go - whichever way you want to look at it

Baby Size:  Head of Lettuce

Baby Milestone:  Baby's eyes will open soon, eye lashes are now grown

Gender:  We'll see when MP arrives (we're the "surprise" type of people, or should I say I at least am...  My Farmer wanted to find out so I told him he could, he just couldn't tell anyone, and he decided he couldn't handle that pressure!)

Feelings on Gender:  My Farmer believes it is a girl and I don't have a feeling one way or the other.  I feel like both MP and LP's pregnancy have been very similar so far but I know that doesn't mean anything

Maternity Clothes:  Mixing and matching - pants are exclusively maternity, even though some are big, and I wear both maternity and regular shirts

Sleep:  I just got out my body pillow to help me sleep better, other than that I can make it all night without getting up.  I do have to admit I have went back to my old habits of staying up late and sleeping in that I was trying to stop at the beginning of the year.

Movement:  MP has "active" periods daily where I and others can feel the baby move

Food Cravings:  A Fighting Burrito from Ames (too bad that is an hour away) and warm chocolate cake or brownies with ice cream

Emotions:  I think I'm pretty much the same - enjoying life and having a good time

Thank you to My Farmer for having way too much fun taking pictures for me!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Goals from #ACFR13

Over this past weekend, I attended the AgChat Foundation Upper Midwest Regional Conference in Rochester, Minnesota.  This was a great opportunity to for me to focus on my personal agvocacy.  I attended breakout sessions that gave me new ideas for my blog, as well as how to utilize my facebook and twitter accounts better.  A highlight of the conference was getting to meet a few individuals who I had gotten to know through social media, but yet had never met in-person, such as Jenny Dewey, Katie Pinke and Emily Zweber.  I also got to connect with new people, which is probably one of my favorite past-times.

A fun side-note is that Franklin County, Iowa, where I am from, had a great representation in the crowd of 75 at the conference.  There were six of us, that as we all liked to say "live, work and play" in Franklin County.  From left to right is Larry Sailer (farmer and guest blogger who loves facebook), Deb Brown (communications guru who works for Franklin County's Chamber and Tourism), Shannon Latham, Laura Cunningham and Amy Hild (all who work for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds Communications and Marketing department), and then me!

I came home from the conference with several ideas, especially for blog posts, but I thought it would be good to create three goals, as a result from attending the event.  I think all of these goals go well with the beginning of year goals I created in January.

  1. Start a Facebook page for my blog.  (I actually accomplished this yesterday during a disappointing over time of the ISU Cyclones basketball game.  Thanks to Sara Broers for her recommendations for starting this.)  So be sure to "Like" my Facebook page.
  2. Start a regular post segment about my pregnancy.  I realized at the conference that I am 26 weeks pregnant and really haven't talked about it except in my initial announcement post.  Well this is going to change.  I love being pregnant and am happy that I am, so why am I not sharing this with everyone?  So look for my first installment of Hump Day Bump Report on Wednesday.
  3. To actually read my camera manual, front to back, all the way through.  I love taking photos and actually carry my camera's manual in my camera bag but I only use it to look up what I have want to find information about.  So I have decided in order to understand and utilize my camera better I need to read my camera manual all the way through.
The AgChat Foundation's missing statement is: “Empowering farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms" and I think that is what this Upper Midwest Regional Conference was set-up to do.  This regional conference was the first in a series of regional conferences offered by the AgChat Foundation.  The Foundation decided to start hosting regional conferences so those who were unable to attend their national conference due to location or timing, had a chance to connect and learn about agriculture in social media. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Like My Facebook Page!

Yesterday was LP's 2nd Birthday and both My Farmer and I were commenting that we weren't sure if it wore out him or us more.  Needless to say I haven't done too much today but clean-up post-party, play with new birthday gifts and I started a Facebook page for my blog.  Please go and "Like" my blog's page!  Also be sure to keep checking my blog for a birthday party post and a post from the AgChat Foundation Regional Conference I attended this past weekend.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Birthday LP!

Today is LP's 2nd Birthday!  It is amazing to think he is already two years old.  To celebrate today we are going to have our family over this afternoon for a train inspired birthday party (I'll be sure to post photos later this week!).  In the meantime, check out how LP has changed over the last year!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Developing Your Pinterest Potential

How many of you enjoy going on Pinterest?  I know I love going on Pinterest to get ideas for holidays, kids crafts and activities, photography, recipes and I've been on the site a lot lately getting ready for a certain soon to be 2 year old's birthday party.  Besides collecting ideas for myself, what is my "Pinterest Potential" to reach others?

Pinterest is simply a virtual bulletin board.  What makes it unique, is that your pins on your bulletin board can be seen by millions of people.  This is an opportunity to reach millions of others with similar interests as you and grow your network, your business and your views.  So how are you going to utilize your "Pinterest Potential"?

My "Pinterest Potential" is showing the value of agriculture in every day images and pins.  I've been on Pinterest for over a year and about a year ago I started a board that shared different fun facts about farming and agriculture called "Living to Farm, Farming to Live."  Then around nine months ago I was asked to join a couple "shared board" about agriculture.  The first is "Farms & Rural America, Food & Agriculture".  This board is a "tribute to farmers, rural lifestyle, those working in agriculture and people with an interest in any of those."  It is a great board for people that have an interest in where their food comes from.  As of this morning, there are 199 contributors to the board and there are 2,147 followers to the board.  The second is "AgNerd".  This board has a similar purpose as the other and has 69 contributors and has 555 followers.

One person who I think has done a great job of developing their "Pinterest Potential" is Katie On the Banks of Squaw Creek.  Her blog and Pinterest boards center around her family, kids and renovating her 100 year old farmhouse on a turkey farm.  Katie has seen a lot of traffic to her blog from Pinterest.  What might draw people to her blog initially are her decorating for small room ideas, or her tips on working with kids that are picky eaters.  But once they get to her blog they have the opportunity to learn more about her family's farm.  One of her blogs that I pinned about a month ago included a cute printable sign she made that said "Wash your Hands and Say your Prayers because Germs and Jesus are Everywhere."  Once a person clicks on the pin to visit the website to download the sign, they'll also learn about how they care for their turkeys on their farm.  Katie has found her "Pinterest Potential."

So whether you'd like people to learn about your business, your product or even your farm, think about what your "Pinterest Potential" is and don't forget to utilize Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media tools available!  Also, don't forget to follow my boards and pins on Pinterest and check out other social media goals I have set for the year!

Monday, February 18, 2013

So I've Been A Little Busy Lately...

It has been over a week since I last posted and I guess the only reason I can say this happened because life just simply has been busy.  Not too busy where I've been stressed out, but busy enough that my blog fell to the bottom of my priority list.  Maybe I should just say I've been having a lot of fun this past week.

Here's a quick look at what I've been having fun doing over the past week:

#1:  I attended the Iowa Farm Bureau's Speaker Corps Training.
Myself (with baby bump), Larry Sailer and Annette Sweeney
(Larry and Annette are fellow farmers and friends who also participated in the program)

#2:  My Farmer and I attended the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines. Ohhhh, Bacon!
Me and My Farmer after enjoying a day of bacon

#3:  I helped at the 2013 North Iowa Battle of the Badges hockey game that raised over $30,000 for Make A Wish.
The Police and Fire hockey teams after the game

#4:  I helped the North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom with their program at my local school.
3rd graders starting their Embryology unit

#5:  I went to a meeting with my U.S. Congressman Steve King.

#6:  LP and I made and delivered Valentine's Day cookies.

#7:  I've enjoyed being My Farmer's wife and LP's mom!
LP and My Farmer enjoying our Valentine's Day supper
Fried Pickles, Greek Steak and Greek Spaghetti, Chocolate Melting Cake with Ice Cream

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Funny

Last week I said I'd share some more information from the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer LV2FRM Conference.  Today, I thought I'd share some "You've Been to Farm Camp if..." sayings from Damian Mason.  I hope you enjoy and have a good laugh this Friday!

You've Been to Farm Camp if...
  • Several articles of your wardrobe bear trademarks of seed companies.
  • By the time you got your drivers license, you had already been driving for several years.
  • The neighbor dies and your first inclination is to prepare and deliver a casserole to the immediate family.
  • You consider "turkey bacon" an insult to the pig.
  • You've attended hog roasts celebrating one or more of the following:  graduation, wedding, birthday or family reunion.
  • You know at least three old guys who are missing fingers.
  • You attended a school that was bordered by an agricultural field.
  • The smell of turned dirt is perfume to you.
  • Your neighborhood "block" is a square mile.
  • By odor alone, you can distinguish between cow, pig, horse and chicken manure.
LP has just started his tenure at "Farm Camp"
Whether you're a full-time ag producer, hobby farmer, transplanted farm kid or just a country resident, you know what "Farm Camp" is all about.  If you've tended livestock, planted the crops, battled the elements and lived your life in the country, you've attended "Farm Camp."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Farming - A Family Tradition

When you hear the words “family business” what do you first think of?  The local restaurant, or maybe your dental practice, or maybe the community pharmacy store.  Do you ever think of the farmers in your community?  My husband and I are proud to be 5th generation farmers and we work hard every day so our kids can be the 6th.  Five generations!  Can many other family businesses say that?

My family’s farming story is similar to other Iowa farm families.  My great-great-grandparents, Julius & Reka, immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1890.  They settled in Hamilton County, Iowa, where they got married, started a family and continued their engagement in farming, which was my great-great-grandpa’s trade in Germany.  An interesting side note is that they paid for the passage of their farm-hand, Fritz, to come from Germany a few years later.  Fritz then worked for the family to pay-off his passage.  So in 1890 in Hamilton County, Iowa, my family’s farming legacy began and still continues today.  My Dad is now the fourth generation to work on some of that original ground that his great-grandpa Julius farmed.

Our Farming Tradition's 6th Generation
The truth is my family is not the only ones who have made farming a family tradition.  In the United States 98% of all farms are family-owned.  So why do families make farming their heritage?  Farmers pride themselves on putting food on the table and preserving the land.  Through these goals, generations have learned a powerful work ethic and respect.  Because of this, the next generation feels a purpose to engage in farming and continue their family’s farming legacy.  Both my husband and I have always wanted to farm since we were little kids.  We are both so proud of farming today and feel fortunate to be doing so.  I can already see this sense of purpose to farm with our 23-month old son.  He loves to help on the farm!  If it isn’t the season to be in the tractor with my husband or I, then he’s “carpet farming” in the house.  If he doesn’t get up early enough to ride along for morning chores with my husband, then he’s at least taking responsibility for the dog’s needs at the house.  A farmer has already been made in the sixth generation.

This is a guest post I did for a local chicken hatchery in Rudd, Iowa - Hoover's Hatchery.  Check out their blog and follow them on twitterfacebook and pinterest.

I feel like this post had great timing with all the excitement from the Super Bowl's "So God Made a Farmer" Ram Trucks commercial.  I think my family's farming tradition explains, as Paul Harvey would say it, "the rest of the story", behind why "God Made a Farmer".

Monday, February 4, 2013

So God Made A Farmer

As you all should know, last night was the Super Bowl.  I figure you watch the Super Bowl for one of four reasons:  the game; the commercials; the half-time show; or you don't care, you just like getting together with friends and eating good food.  Well I fall under the commercial category and I always find the Super Bowl as a good excuse to get together with friends and eat good food!

My favorite commercial this year was from Ram Trucks.  It included the transcript from Paul Harvey's speech, "So God Made a Farmer," that he deliver at the 1978 National FFA Convention.  The hidden greatness of this commercial is two things:
  • First, Ram has declared 2013 as the Year of the Farmer.  Throughout the year, Ram will be celebrating the American Farmer.  I'm excited to see what else Ram does during this year of dedication to the "people, food and lifestyle that keep America growing".
  • Second, every time you watch the Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial, the National FFA receives $1, up to $1 Million.

Do you want to learn about my family's "rest of the story"?  Check out my Farming - A Family Tradition blog post.

And if you are interested, here are the words to Paul Harvey's "So God Made A Farmer" speech:

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.

"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

Friday, February 1, 2013


While I'm driving I always look at personalized license plates on other cars and try to depict what they mean.  What do you think this license plate says?
Do you see "Live to Farm" or "Love to Farm"?  The first time I saw it I saw "Live to Farm" and I think that is because I've always said that My Farmer and I are "Farming to Live and Living to Farm."  

Well, whatever way you see it, both views were welcome at last weekend's Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference.  This was My Farmer's and my sixth year attending the conference.  It has been great to see this program expand over those years.  This year's conference had a record attendance of over 350 young farmers from across the state!  And we were proud that our county was one of the top attendance counties with 12 attendees.

The Young Farmer Conference delegation eating Saturday dinner
Photo taken by Hayley Muff
I would say My Farmer's and my favorite thing about Young Farmer Conference is networking - getting to meet up with friends we've had for years and at the same getting to meet new people.  We both enjoy being able to talk to others that are in similar "places in life" about everything from farming, to family, to kids, to even politics and religion, two things that were discussed heavily one night...

Besides networking, we also enjoy the breakout sessions.  This year I went to breakout sessions on "Speaking Up!  Telling OUR Agriculture Story" from Katie Olthoff who is a Common Ground volunteer and I went to "Influence Those Who Influence Our Bottom Line" from Zach Bader who is the Grassroots Program Manager at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.  My Farmer went to "Continuing Our Legacy of Family Farming" from Dr. Ron Hansen of the University of Nebraska and he went to "Healthcare & Insurance for the Future" from Deb Ferjak, a Health Insurance Manager for Farm Bureau Life Financial.  These were just some of the options for the breakout sessions and we both agree that next year's conference should have three rounds of breakout sessions and not just two!  It was hard to decide which two we'd go to.

Katie Olthoff speaking about how to educate and answer questions about farming and food
This year's conference also had a great group of keynote speakers - Dr. Ron Hansen and Matt Lohr gave the group some great information that hopefully left everyone motivated to start discussing succession planning with our families and to make an impact that will leave our legacy, respectively.  We also had a lot of laughs with Damian Mason, as he discussed "Farm Camp."

A fun side note from this year's conference for me is that I made the Top 10 for the Discussion Meet!  Which means I'll have a chance to compete at the Iowa Annual Meeting Discussion Meet finals in December.  The Discussion Meet helps young farmers build discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important ag issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach a consensus and solve problems.

Discussion Meet Top 10 (I'm fourth from the left)
I just want to thank the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Young Farmer Advisory Committee for another great conference this year!  My Farmer and I look forward to it every year.  If you are a young farmer in Iowa you should get involved too.  It is a great group to work with where you get to learn and have fun at the same time!

I'm hoping to go more in depth in the next couple weeks on some of the breakout sessions and keynote speakers that we heard from.  So keep your eyes out for more information from this great conference!