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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ag Education Fun

A few months ago I received a call from a teacher from our area school. He asked me if I wanted to be a part of a project with 6th graders. Several businesses would be interviewed and the students would create a display for a gallery walk that would be voted on by peers, faculty, parents and guests.

I eagerly accepted. Anytime I can share the truth about Ag I do.

Our first meeting was a month ago. I have never been to one of these so I had no idea what to expect. 

I met with four students. Two boys and two girls. They came prepared with notebooks and questions. I had a few notes of my own that I wanted to share. It was interesting to interact with these kids. Two were talkative and took notes and the other two were quieter but also engaged. 

We discussed everything they wanted to know and I left them information that was important to us as owners of the farm.

Over the next three weeks I received emails asking for more information or certain types of pictures.

A week ago we met again to do fact checking. 

They brought an info sheet that they created. I had very few corrections. They listened well. We discussed a few ways to display the pictures I sent them. I also brought in bags of our mixed rations that they could display. They were all very excited and invested.

I asked the teacher if I could bring milk and cookies since milk was our product. She agreed.

During the week I received another email from them asking if I thought it would be OK for them to wear plaid shirts and jeans. I was impressed they thought about that detail.

I surprised them this morning and gave them each one of the T-shirts I designed and sell.

This morning I came with the cookies and milk and they had their board all set up - it looked great.

As people stopped I listened and was so pleased. They divided up certain areas that each would speak about. They highlighted every single thing I expressed that was important to us – family, hard work, love of our animals, great employees, safe food and highlighted our mission statement.

They poured the milk and kept the cookie plate filled.

I wandered around to the other exhibits and there were a lot there that did a great job as well.

Most of the time I sat back and observed my gang of kids. Over and over again I was so proud of them.

Tonight I was telling Farmer about it and said I was so proud of myself that I didn’t jump in and do all the work for 
them – they did it themselves.

I just received an email that our group tied for 1st place out of the top 10 and will go on to be judged – not sure what the end 
result will be but will keep you posted.

I’m so proud of these kids and the great job they did.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to be a Memorable Grandma

I was reminded yesterday how easy it is to make a difference in your grandkids lives. One of the wigglies woke up and had a full day of Valentine fun waiting for him at school – party, games, candy and etc. Yet, his first question was “Is Grama getting me a Valentine’s gift this year?”

He remembered last year – a gift bag with some fun dollar store items.

See, it doesn’t take much to make a memory and leave behind warm feelings.

I am fortunate enough to have my grands live nearby and get to interact with them daily if I choose.

There are many who have complemented me on my Grama skills and I really don’t feel like I am any different than anyone else could be.

So, I thought I’d make a few suggestions for anyone who is looking for ideas.
In no particular order:

Æ Sleep overs – makes messes but worth the effort.

Æ When they walk in the door, stop everything and welcome them with hugs – so easy yet so many of us are so busy in the kitchen or whatever we just holler hi and let it go. Take the time to stop, purposefully gather them in your arms and tell them how much you love them and are so happy they are here – even if you just saw them the day before.

Æ Sit and listen. Ask questions and listen to their answers – too many of us ask questions and let their answers sail over our heads as we concentrate on something else.

Æ Read to them – go to the library together and pick out books.

Æ Lay in the yard and watch clouds.

Æ Lie on the driveway and watch the ants make ant hills.

Æ Go hunting with them.

Æ Target practice with them.

Æ Bake cookies together.

Æ Write a story together.

Æ Paint and color together.

Æ Send a card in the mail – add a piece of gum, a dollar, stickers you got in the mail. Mine live across the road and I still mail cards. Who doesn’t like mail?

Æ Attend sporting events – even in cold, freezing, wet weather.

Æ Attend band and choral concerts.

Æ Take them out for lunch and leave your phone in the car.

ÆTake selfies with them.

Æ Sing with them.

Æ Play games – and do puzzles. If you are babysitting don’t set them in front of the TV – interact. We have a puzzle that has been put together 100s of times – well not quite but over and over again.

Æ Take walks – look for interesting things on your path. We walk to the back fields and find corn stalks that become swords and flowers that become magic wands.

Æ Swing together. A back porch swing is a Grama’s delight. So much happens while swinging on a hot sunny afternoon.

ÆTake them shopping. I take my two girls every year before school to purchase an outfit. I started this in kindergarten – I never had girls and it’s so much fun. This year they are in 6th grade.

Æ Make Lego towers and plow fields of corn dumped on your living room floor.

Æ Make houses out of empty boxes.

Æ Make forts with blankets and rearranged furniture.

Æ Send texts and funny GIFs.

Æ Ask them what they want to do and do it!

Æ Pick flowers.

Æ Ask them about their friends at school and have them tell you what they are like.

Æ The most important and never ending thing is to pray. Pray for safety and good companions. Pray that they will hunger for God and have closer walk with him. Pray that God will reveal himself to them.

Whatever you do, do it with purpose wrapped in love. Gramas are meant to love, not discipline and correct (upon some occasions but I avoid it at all costs.)

The idea is that you develop such a close relationship with these kids that if they ever need someone to talk to, to confide in  or to go to in a time of trouble and it’s too hard to talk to mom and dad they will have you. And as a Grama you direct them to God and back to their parents.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Award Winning - A New One For Me!

 I am honored and blessed to be part of this. And to be perfectly honest a little surprised!

Thanks to Make sure you check them out and read about the other winners!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Farm Succession SUCKS! But We Survived

And they all lived happily ever after . . .

Farmer is 3rd generation and out of our four sons there is one that wants to continue. And as we creep closer to heaven this farm succession monster had to be faced.

Let me tell you – it ain’t for the faint of heart.

We started this whole process about three years ago. And, having a procrastinating husband didn’t help the matter but nevertheless it is a long drawn out deal.

Like I stated one of the four boys want to continue the farm. All four have worked on the farm for various lengths so while the bulk needs to go to the one continuing there are three others that we want to bless. Add to that the daughters-in-law, and grandkids.

So, we started our trusts – we each needed one. Then we had to transfer everything over to the trust (you are getting the watered down, not 100% technically correct story). That alone was so much fun. The time to get deeds, find titles and etc. Perhaps you have a better filing system than Farmer and it won’t be so difficult – piles are hard to sift through!

Anyway, there was that.

Then it came time to decide how to divide and when and  . . .

We began the dance with the attorney and the accountants.

We would decide on an issue and the accountant would tell us how that wouldn’t work due to taxes, let’s do it this way. We then would go to the attorney and he would say “Sounds good but here is a legal issue, you may want to consider another way”. And back to the accountant we would go. Swing your partner and dosey doe.

And just to make the dance more fun we added a consultant to help with the process. And God bless that man – he earned extra jewels in his crown when he gets to heaven.

So finally, we have the trusts drawn up and signed. The how, what and when is decided. And we have the ability to adjust if things change – for instance we have a grandson that is leaning towards farming so we have the ability to adjust to benefit his place in the business.

I would encourage you to get this done if you are feeling like you need to. It isn’t fun or easy but necessary.

You too can join the ranks of Succession Survivalists. We made it with a few flesh wounds but they will heal completely.

I can now travel the roads and not worry about the mess left behind if I take off for heaven unexpectedly.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Ever Evolving Conscious of A Farm Wife

An apology is being offered. My apology to fellow farmers.

Plain and simple I posted something that was less than harmonious among farmers. That was wrong.
To clarify – that was not my intent.

To begin with I have no problem admitting I was wrong and more importantly my desire is to correct the wrong. This is my attempt. I will do so without trying to make excuses.

I had just returned from a farm seminar where we had a consumer’s panel that gave opinions and answered questions about food and farming. Our purpose in the audience was to listen and learn, not to correct or defend. It was extremely informative and somewhat frustrating to see their confusion concerning food, farming and production. We all left the session with the desire to do a better job to inform those who purchase what we work so hard to deliver.

As a farmer we are seeing more and more deceitful advertising and marketing that, to say the least, is confusing. Wait a minute, that last sentence still sounds like it is against the food producer. Perhaps a better way is to say - the specialty groups who have an agenda to discontinue animal food source does a great job in confusing.  It lends fear to the decision making of buying food for our families. The voices of who are behind this are louder and have more money pushing it than those of us who are trying to provide food for our families and those who live in our communities.

On to my post. I was shopping at a “warehouse” store that is changing more and more with less options of food.

I needed eggs and this is what they had to offer. So, I guess it all came together and I saw an opportunity to try to clarify. In doing so, I damaged a whole segment of agriculture that is a viable choice. The way in which I posted did not convey the message I wanted to share – which was no fault but my own.

Later in the day I was called out by Amanda from Missouri. I have never met Amanda. She follows me on my face book page A Farm Wife. She was right in doing so and it opened my eyes. I am grateful for her honesty. And, she did so in a kind non-attacking way that was helpful for me to hear.

If I could go back in time I would post the picture with this:
Here are two choices of eggs. Both are safe and nutritious. A conventionally grown egg is just as safe and nutritious. There is no right or wrong, just options of choice.

My desire is that my apology is understood, accepted by farmers and that my correction and intent are comprehended by all. Mostly, to help all of us understand and educate to make food choices that fit us personally.

Fear and confusion should not be an ingredient in our attempt to feed our families.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Coming Soon - Fresh Look for Farm Wife

Coming Soon - a new look for A Farm Wife. We are working on sprucing up, and making improvements to our site.

Stay tuned . . .

Celebrate the ordinary

Today is the only day you have. Don't wish it away, worry it away or plan it away. Your ordinary days add up to life.

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