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Nov 19, 2015

A World Worth Living

I was driving home from work after a mentally exhausting day. No, week. But, that doesn't make it a bad week. Not at all. Because I get to do things that I love and sometimes the things we love exhaust us.

A million thoughts were running through my head as I pulled up to a stop sign near home. Right then and there, I felt like I reached a point where I could no longer find the strength to keep that gas pedal going.

I looked to my left and saw this. I have been so busy that I haven't been able to see the sunset in days.

I rolled down the window and turned the vehicle off. The crisp, cool air hit my face.

I sat there at that stop sign for five minutes. In silence.

There's a lot of sad things going on in our world right now. Things out of our control. Things we may not understand right now. Things we may never understand.

We are all at war, fighting a battle.  

When you look to your left, what do you see? What are you fighting for?

This is not just another picture of a sunset in my neighborhood.

This is my world.

The reason I keep pressing the gas pedal.

My world is worth fighting for.

Is yours?

If not, it's time to change your world.

Nov 8, 2015

the year's last, loveliest smile

'Tis true, Mr. Bryant.

It was only a matter of time.

I don't give a hoot what Starbucks puts on their red cups. Christmas is like, 100 weeks away.

I haven't even had my turkey yet.

For now, I'm going to sit here, enjoy the beautiful colors and listen to the geese honk as they fly south.

Maybe I'll fly south.

Oct 31, 2015

Why do Farmers Take Down Old Barns?

This post is sponsored by Indiana Family of Farmers

Do you ever wonder why farmers take down beautiful, historical barns? As a farmer and member of the Indiana Barn Foundation, I get asked this question a lot.
This subject is a hard one for me to swallow. I understand the farmer's perspective but I also understand the one of a historical preservationist.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Last Chance for Indiana Barns, barns built before 1950 are falling at an alarming rate. Historical barns are no longer practical for today's production agriculture needs. As more and more people have moved off the farm and into the city, current farmers have taken on the burden of producing more and more. Livestock herds and machinery sizes have grown tremendously in the last 60 years.

I often hear that farmers are "selfish" for buying ground with an old barn on it and just knocking it down. I don't necessarily see the person performing the common act of tearing down an old barn as selfish.

A farmer or property owner has to look at their financial well being. If you own a barn that is falling in, you have a dangerous structure on your property that puts you at a liable risk if yourself or someone were to get hurt.

One may have an appreciation for barns like I do, but may not want to put the funds necessary in the restoration. It truly is a tough, financial decision to make and that's why I understand it. 

Just to give you an idea of the financial burden to put a new roof on a barn, you are looking at anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. To repaint a barn properly, you are looking at $8,000 plus. 

By this point, we are close to $40,000 in the hole just on a roof and paint.

Now, look at the home where you live. Let's say it needs a new roof as well.

If you only had enough to repair one structure, your home or your barn, which one are you going to choose? 

More than likely your home.

To put things in perspective financially, owning a barn is like owning a second home.

Oct 17, 2015

Farmer's Beef and Noodles

I first experienced harvest with my husband's family 7 years ago back when we had just started dating for a summer. I remember riding in the combine with Dan for many hours on end until his mother's vehicle came rolling up through the field. 

Staring at the corn feeding into the head, he glanced up and casually says, "Lunch wagon is here!" 

We climbed out of the the combine and walked towards the vehicle as the broken corn stalks crunched under our boots. Kathy opens up the back of her vehicle and there it was.... a whole spread of food. Almost an entire Thanksgiving dinner, if you will.  She had everything from the main entree of beef and noodles with mashed potatoes and creamed corn to an appetizer of cheese and crackers to your choice of iced tea or water and even dessert. I was also even shocked that she had brought her table ware right there to the field! No Styrofoam plates or plastic cups and your drink was served out of a mason jar.

I was honestly expecting sandwiches tossed into a brown bag so this was a surprise. 

And right there began my first of many, many multi course meals in the field. 

Aug 7, 2015

A Foundation for Tomorrow

Driving down an Indiana back road, you'll come across an overgrown lane that leads to a place that once was. There's one on every rural block. The sun will set and rise again over these old farms. Day after day. Year after year. Until they are no more. Our modern lives can coexist with these landmarks of our ancestors. If we let them. We've been so caught up with making things newer, faster and more efficient. The wool is slowly being removed from our eyes as we realize what we have been throwing out.

I spend a lot of time traveling our back country roads especially on nights like tonight. The weather fair, a beautiful sunset as all is quiet on the horizon. As if not a single soul is around for miles. It was a perfect Friday night to end a busy week.

Life just feels so busy at times. The moment I wake up in the morning until that very moment I am lying in my bed at night stretching my eyes open just one last time, my mind is racing a million miles a minute. 

But the moment I come across an old, abandon homestead, my mind completely stops. My busy life stops for just a moment.

A moment long enough to realize that there is more to this world then our present. 

Amongst our present is a world that has completely and utterly stopped.

Our history.

History is a precious reminder that life isn't forever. 

History, however does live on forever. 

The lives we live today are creating a foundation for the lives that will live on tomorrow. 

And I think that's why I love these old farms so much.

These old farms have created our foundation

A foundation that has been truly forgiving and understanding in this out with the old, in with the new  world we live in today. 

Aug 6, 2015

Last Chance for Indiana Barns

Historic Indiana Barns built prior to 1950 are falling at an alarming rate.  

To paint you a better picture, I often hear a chilling statistic.  

Just over a decade ago, 30,00 barns painted Indiana’s rural landscape. In this past decade alone, we have lost 10,000 which leaves us with only 20,000 barns.

You may think that 20,000 is a big number. What you don’t realize, is the amount of barns on the verge of falling down in the mix of that 20,000.

This means 2.5 barns have fallen in the Hoosier state EVERY SINGLE DAY in the last decade.

Many historical barns need a new roof, a new foundation and new siding in order to survive.

You and I both know what’s keeping many from replacing a roof, foundation and the siding on a historical barn.


It all cost money. 

A lot of it.

Families who inherit a historical barn upon purchasing their property struggle with replacing the roof on their home, let alone a barn. 

There are also many families who can afford to put money into their barn but don’t understand the need to.

“Interest in barns is wide. People don’t hate then. They just don’t understand them.”

Jul 7, 2015

Growing Season

About this time of year, my husband and I get asked a certain question on a daily basis from colleagues, friends, neighbors, etc.

How do your crops look?

Typically in agriculture, we call this the growing season. I think it's the hardest part about a farmer's job.

Seed is in the ground. Pesticide and fertilizer have been applied.

Then, it's time to watch the crops grow.

What makes this the hardest part about farming is the unknown. We don't know how much or how little rain we'll get over the course of the summer. We don't know if once the seed is planted, we will have a late frost. What kind of storms will we get? Will our crops have hail or wind damage? What about insects and fungus? Will there be a weed that takes over?

It's all up to nature.

I think this spring and summer have been exceptionally hard on our local farmers here in Northern Indiana. Four years ago we had no rain. This year we have way too much rain. Too much rain could be just as bad as not enough ironically.

Jun 23, 2015

Homestead Versus Industry

I was recently asked to help out a friend with some photography for a Father's Day gift. This friend's father, uncle, brother and cousin operate a relatively large grain farm in my neighborhood. I've grown particularly fond of this family through their modesty, honesty and hard work. I've recognized their good character since I started dating my husband years ago before I even lived here.

Just like any industry, it's easy to lose touch of your roots as you grow and become successful. 

But, you don't see that when you visit the Ron Clauson farm.

May 29, 2015

Been Thirty

So. I've been thirty. For roughly... two weeks. But not quite.




And you know what?

It feels good.


I'm not going to lie. I was dreading my 30th. I moped. I wined. I cried. I curled up in a ball and hollered for my mom. She didn't come though. I don't think she could hear me at 20 miles away.... but it was worth a shot.

A good friend and I were texting not long before my birthday. We were making plans for the weekend. I said something along the lines of, "Let's go do something fun. I am going to be thirty. Eek!"

She replied back with some words that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.

30 is only a number, Kel. You will be just fine. You are successful, admirable and so thoughtful. Just adds more wisdom to your years.... It's all about how comfortable you feel with who you are in life.

Well, I am glad I have her fooled! ;)

But seriously. She is right.

It truly is about being comfortable with who you are.

You hear the saying, 'The best years of your life' a lot. Some may refer to those years as being in high school. Maybe those college years. Some may refer to those years at retirement. Some as newlyweds.

But really, how can you define the best years of your life when you don't know what's yet to come?

I mean, honestly.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Heck, we don't know what next year will bring.

Life. Is full of surprises.

So, to sit back and say you've already experienced the best years of your life is, well, crap. (Sorry for using the word, mom. My brother and I learned it on the school bus when I was in like 3rd grade and I remember getting in trouble for using it.)

I challenge you.

Whether you're 3. 30. or 93.

Go out and have the best fricken years of your life.

Every. Single. Day. For the rest of your life.

May 12, 2015


We have been in the midst of planting field corn and soybeans here on the farm. I always fall into a different state of mind when we plant crops, have crops in the ground and harvest the crops. My passion for agriculture tends to grow more and more each spring.

Along with my hope.

From April to November, there's a lot of hope.

When we want in the fields, we hope it doesn't rain.

Once we get in the fields, we hope the equipment runs smoothly.

Once seed is in the ground, we hope it does rain and we hope it doesn't frost (or snow).

We hope it rains enough and not too much.

When it storms, we hope it doesn't hail or we hope the wind doesn't blow too hard.

We hope it's warm but not too warm.

During harvest, we hope the rain holds off until all the crops are out.

We continue to hope the equipment once again runs smoothly.

We hope for safety.

We hope that we are doing all the right things so that our land is fertile for next year and years to come.

We hope the commodity prices are in our favor so we can pay operation bills so we can break even and maybe even make a little extra.

We hope that someday, we will have the opportunity to rent more ground.

We hope that we would be making our ancestors proud.

Hope, in agriculture, is just as important as soil, water and air.

Hope is more important than money.

You can buy the best equipment, the most ground and operate a nice grain facility but if you lack hope, you're going to fall.

Hope in agriculture is something that money can't buy. It's something you're born with. Hope lies deep within your passion and love for the industry.

Hope is what will carry you through the hard times and it will carry you through the good times.

It's not something that can be put in a will, or forced upon someone, but hope is something that can pass through generation to generation.

Hope is a choice but it's a choice your heart makes; not your mind.

I wake up every morning and I see the hope in my husband's eyes. It's what drives my hope.

Hope allows us to dream. It allows us to follow our passion. It allows us to believe in ourselves.

Without hope, we wouldn't have soil, we'd have dirt.

We wouldn't have a passion, we'd have a job.


It's a word you can't see but you can feel it.

Even when everything seems to be going wrong, there is always hope to make everything right.

The only thing I don't have to hope for is hoping we are where we're suppose to be.

May 9, 2015

Mothers and Tough Love

As you know, Mother's Day is this Sunday. Tomorrow, actually.

This Mother's Day is pretty special. It's the weekend before my 30th birthday. Yes, the BIG 30.

And I was the first born.


We will be celebrating my mother's 30th Mother's Day. I do realize that I was born after mothers day so it only would technically be her 29th but I am hoping Mother's Day was celebrated 30 years ago on the account of my incubation.

It's not very often someone can say they've been doing the same thing for 30 years. Heck, I've played every sport imaginable, changed from hobby to hobby, held many different best friends, changed my major in college 5 times and have worked enough different jobs to count on 10 fingers and maybe even 5 toes in the last 30 years. I really can't say that I have steadily done the same thing for 30 years other than brushing my teeth.

My mom has been a mom for 30 years and not once has she quit, thrown in the towel or said she didn't want to be a mom anymore.

I'm sure there are times that she wanted to give up......... but one thing I've always noticed about my mom is that she doesn't give up.

Apr 17, 2015

Bacon Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

I am slightly embarrassed how long it's been since I posted a recipe here on Old Blue Silo.

*crickets chirping*

Recipe posts are often times pretty intense. Food photography is extremely challenging. Half the time I cook without a recipe so when it comes down to sitting down and writing the recipe, I have to figure out how to translate measurement. 


I need to be honest with you.

I just haven't cooked that much this past year. I started a job last summer that involved many hours during my week and I never really fell into a cooking routine that worked for us. I recently accepted a new position that I believe will allow me a little bit more flexibility to start cooking more often. I am pretty excited. I love to cook. I just don't love it when it's rushed.

Today, I am excited to finally share my go-to potato side dish with you. I typically only make this dish for large gatherings. This is one of the first recipes I wrote on my own and one of the first recipes I made after meeting my husband. We were having a large harvest party one fall when we were dating and I needed several dishes to set out. I researched and researched how to make home-made scalloped potatoes. I took several recipes, combined them and added my own twist.

I recently took this dish to my husband's family Easter dinner. Many were confused why I was outside at the picnic table taking pictures of my plate of food. Once I explained that I was going to post the recipe on my blog, Internet disconnect Granny thought I was going to post my recipe on a billboard  next to the road. She was confused. I was confused.

This recipe is not going on a billboard.

Apr 4, 2015

Spring Porch Inspiration

Lately, when I pull up to my house, I take a look around and think to myself, "BLAH." I know spring is here but it just doeset' quite feel like it yet.

Spring has been very slow this year. The grass is still brown. The trees are not budding and there are no signs of flowers anywhere. Just dead growth from last year.

I thought this year I would bring some color to my porch to eliminate that "BLAH" feeling by adding in a bright color to my decor. I'm not much of a yellow person, but I've really been inspired by it lately. I think yellow is exactly what my front porch needs.

Typically, I usually decorate with pretty rustic items, mostly antiques. I thought it would be fun to incorporate some bright items with my rustic pieces. 

I put together the above inspiration board to get some ideas of what to look for when I am out and about. The barrel, chairs and crates are already there! 

I also have a few Pinterest projects in mind that I might give a try if I have time before we get into the fields. 

This is my first year to decorate for spring. Usually I just wait until May to pot flowers and that brings color to the house. For some reason, this year, I am just a wee bit antsy and am trying something new!

Do you decorate for spring? What are you favorite spring colors to add to your porch?

Mar 28, 2015

Outside Looking Inside

Last weekend, I ventured out and worked on some photography locally. I came across an old farmhouse that was well passed falling in.

This house was literally hanging on by a thread. The window, on the far left side, was still in tact. It's exterior wall created a barrier that was keeping me from seeing into the rest of the house. 

My mind eye kept levitating towards that window. What was inside that room? Was it a living room? The farm office? I kept imagining a little boy dropping his toy on the floor and coming to the window to stare out. Eventually that little boy's face was there. Clear as day. I promise I didn't see a ghost. It was just my imagination running wild.