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Mar 2, 2015

Beat the Winter Blues


Post created for Rural Housewives of America

Lately, I've been in a funk.

Not a stinky funk. A blue funk.

And I am blaming the old man. No, not my husband. Old man winter.

It's funny. Many of us, come October, can't wait for hot chocolate, hooded sweatshirts, cozy blankets and hanging out by the fireplace.

Well, all those things can go to
hell heck.

Usually winter and I are friends but it's March 2nd and I don't think winter is going away quite yet.
They once said,
"If you can't beat them, join them."
I never did quite figure out who "they" is but I usually trust "they" because they're always right. "They" is kind of like your mother, in a sense. But we never admit to either that they're always right.
So, we are going to "join them" and beat the winter blues.
I took a poll on my Facebook page last week asking some of my readers how they beat the winter blues and here's what we came up with. Some of my readers happen to be our own fellow RH girls!

Feb 8, 2015

Fitbit on the Farm


Last August, my husband and I were at Best Buy looking at an iPad mini sale going on. He needed one to help him out with his job. I really think he just wanted one so he could play his farming games that he's always playing on mine. Anyways, I saw the Fitbit display and studied the packages. I read them over and over again, impulsively making the decision that I was going to take one of these babies home finally after watching them appear on more and more wrists each time I went out in public. I had been secretly wanting a fitness tracker for quite some time but I had no rhyme or reason why I chose Fitbit as my brand of choice. Like I said, this was an impulse buy.

I walked the package containing my Fitbit Flex over to my husband and told him I was going to buy it. He looked at me with a questionable look.

"How much is it?"

I mumbled, "Errrrrhundreddollars."

"Sounds like a damn expensive rubber bracelet to me."

"I promise it's worth it."

"Well, get it then."

So get it, I did.

Jan 19, 2015

Barn-Inspired Planner



Last year, I ordered my very first planner from Erin Condren and I absolutely loved it! I am not going to go into full detail about the planner as they haven't changed much from the detailed post I created last year. 

On my 2014 cover, I had a picture of my husband over-looking his grain in a gravity wagon. It's one of my all time favorite pictures. I chose that picture for my cover because I wanted to focus my year on  our legacy as young farmers, our relationship and our goals. 2014 was a great year of reflecting and I learned a lot about myself, my passions and what really mattered.

They say who with and how you spend your New Year's Eve is a reflection on how your year will go. Well, I say the cover I choose for my custom planner will help remind me how I want my year to go.

So, this year, I chose to use a photo I took of a historical barn with the sun setting over it.



Jan 7, 2015

First time for everything...

Recently over the holidays, I participated in a country wide blogger gift exchange called Christmas in the Country. I enjoyed it last year and thought it would be fun to do again this year. Ag bloggers are matched up with a "secret santa" and mail a package of goodies for Christmas. We are given a list of our match's hobbies and favorite things. Everyone tries to find things that not only represent the area where they are from but items their match would enjoy.

I was paired up as Jenn from The South Dakota Cowgirl's secret santa. I sent her a candle and tarts locally poured by a good friend, an antique mason jar found on our farm, some Albanese  gummy worms, Amish popcorn and caramel corn along with a set of my famous Rustic Christmas Ornaments. I am sad to say I also bought her some chocolate from the South Bend Chocolate Factory but found those in my vehicle after the package went out. Sorry, Jenn!

I anxiously waited as many of many of my blog friends posted pictures of their packages. It was kind of fun coming home from work every night to see if I could find out who my secret Santa was! Then one Saturday afternoon, after a long day of work, I pull up the drive....... and there sits on my front porch, a package from.............. HAWAII.


I had a hunch who the blogger may be as I don't know too many ag faces from Hawaii.

Sure enough, it was Rhonda at Iowa Meets Maui. Rhonda is a California native turned mid-westerner in college and now resides in Hawaii. Personally, I love the mid-west but this girl is smart. Especially this time of year when it's you know, -1 outside not including the windchill.


Surprisingly, but not surprisingly because I LOVE coffee, Rhonda sent me a coffee-themed package complete with two bags of MauiGrown beans, a bag of MauiGrown sugar, a coffee mug and a scoop along with some other fun goodies! I was surprised because I had NO IDEA that coffee was grown in Hawaii. I have NO IDEA how I had NO IDEA. It's all starting to make sense now considering I love Kona blends. Anyways, I sort of feel like jerk who only reads up on corn and soybeans 75 percent of the time I read about agriculture.



Dec 24, 2014

A Mother in Law's Tale: Christmas Treat Tradition


In honor of my mother in law's Christmas Eve birthday, I thought I would share a guest post that she wrote for me this holiday season. She shares a Christmas tradition that her mother started years back before I came along. One of my favorite ornaments came from this tradition!

Dec 17, 2014

More Than a Card


Growing up, I always opened the Christmas cards as they would come in the mail. Even though they were addressed to my parents, I got more excited about them more than anyone in the house. I'd sneak a peak and shove the card back into the envelope for my parents to re-open.

As I grew older and moved off to college, I sent out a few Christmas cards to friends who moved out of state and even a few relatives. I found my Christmas card list growing more and more every year. Once I got married, my list more than doubled. I don't really keep track of how many cards I send out. It's not about the number. In fact, I really don't have certain people I send cards to. I just sort of open my address book and go. I go until I run out of cards, basically. It doesn't matter if one sends me a card or not. You may receive a card from me one year and maybe not the next then you'll see one five years from now. It's just how I roll. 

Christmas cards are burden to a lot of people. I get that. It takes several evenings to hand write all the addresses. The boxes of cards are an investment. Stamps aren't getting cheaper. In fact, I almost didn't do them this year. Procrastinating and running short on time, I went from store to store to store trying to find ones that suited us. I almost gave up but ended up finding some at my last hope. I'm picky. And if I planned ahead, I would have even been able to order some of those cool family photo cards. But I don't. Every year come December, I fly by the seat of my pants.

I'm definitely way too busy to be spending my evenings on Christmas cards this week. But I have to. You see, to me, it's more than just filling out an address, signing my name and licking an envelope.

Filling out Christmas cards is personal time with myself to reflect. Our lives and the people in them are always growing and changing as my address book is. As I go through my address book, I find happiness for friends who have purchased their first home writing their new address for the first time, I watch families grow as I try to remember each of my friend's kid's names and I even take time to remember and grieve those we've lost. 

Tonight I came across the name of an old friend we loss. It brought heartache that I wouldn't be sending old Mrs. Clauss a card this year as she lost her battle to cancer last winter. I thought about her family as they'll spend their first Christmas without her. She really would have enjoyed watching her twin great grandsons experience their first Christmas. I couldn't bring myself to cover up her name and address quite yet. I know as I drive by her old house, there won't be colored lights around her kitchen window this year but that's okay. She's moved onto bigger and brighter lights.

Even though I'll be sending one less card this year, I find comfort in knowing I'll be sending an extra one or two. It's always fun to send cards to new friends. It's sort of like sealing the deal on your new found friendship.  

Sometimes I think about some of the people who only have Christmas cards to look forward to each year. They may not be on Facebook, they live alone far away from family and often spend Christmas alone. Maybe they're going through a tough time in life and opening Christmas cards temporarily takes them to a place of joy and comfort. They're the reason why I send Christmas cards. That will be each and every one of us at some point in our lives. That's why Christmas cards are not a burden to me.

Christmas cards are good for the soul. They may be time consuming but in the end it's worth it. Don't do them if it's a burden or they feel like a chore. Social media and email have easily replaced Christmas cards and it makes sense to my why a lot of people have let the tradition die. No one expects them but we all certainly accept them!

Do you send out Christmas cards? If so, why and who do you send them to? If not, why? 

Nov 17, 2014

Two Spiritual Dangers


I came across a quote recently.

"There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” --Aldo Leopold

Now, folks. I want you to really read this quote and think about what it means to you.

Most of us today live in a world of luxury. Even those of us that don't think we have it so well, have it pretty darn well.

My take from this quote is that not everyone needs to own a farm to understand the foundation of our luxurious lives but we need to take the time to appreciate our roots, agriculture advances and the technologies that have lead us to the lives we live.

Sometimes I really truly think that people don't understand how they ended up where they are today. Often times, I see people biting the hand that feeds them.

We get upset when the "power" goes out and our energy bill goes up but do we think twice about heating our homes with our own energy?

Guilty.

I am guilty and you are guilty.

Energy and food provided for us, yes, with a price tag is a luxury, not a right.

Nov 4, 2014

Thankful for the Farm



Last year, on Old Blue Silo, I did a series called '30 Days of Thanks' ... this year, I am not doing the series but instead, I am reading the posts I wrote a year ago to remind myself daily of what I was once thankful for and what I am still thankful for. Exactly a year ago today, I wrote the post below. It's short but really stands out. I thought it would be a post that many of my readers could relate to especially this time of year.

Reblogged from 2013 Archive on November 4th:

As we have recently ended harvest ourselves and I've been watching some of the other farmers still out and about in the fields, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have the opportunity to work side by side with my husband doing something that I love.

I have absolutely fallen head over heals in love with farming and agriculture. I love working the ground that my husband's great grandfather once did with a 3 bottom plow. I love watching our crops grow all summer. I ache when we don't get enough rain or we get too much rain. I thrive on fall harvest. I love reading and learning about farm progress. My heart dances all over when I drive by a herd of cattle or an old barn. My passion grows more and more as the years go by. I even don't mind helping my dad make hay which use to be a dreaded task in my younger years.

Working on the farm, I see what my husbands sees. I feel what my husband feels. I live for the same reasons my husband does. It has brought so much joy and meaning into my life.

This farm has taught me many things including perseverance, patience, sacrifice, hard work and dedication.

I am so thankful for our farm and the fact that no matter what life throws at us, we still get to do something that we love. Success should not be measured by money or Earthly possessions. Success should be measured by how much one loves what they are doing. If you don't love what you're doing, there's no amount of money that can make up for that.

Oct 26, 2014

The Perfect Golden Hour


Harvest has been in full swing lately. I've been working a lot of hours at my new job. I miss my readers. I miss writing. I miss taking pictures.

It's been a stop and go, very late and stressful #harvest14 season. From many hours at full time jobs in town, equipment break downs to lots of rain and wet crops, we've been short on time this year. 

When we started corn, the grain dryer kept putting us to a stop. When we tried to cut beans, they were just too wet and it seemed like it took all day for them to dry. Once they'd dry, it would rain all over again. 

Last night, after a long day of waiting for beans to dry, everything went smooth when my husband and I got off work and we just. had. fun. The golden hour mixed with bean dust was gorgeous for pictures as my husband hauled me around in the back of the pick up for a few minutes while my father in law ran beans. 

The weather was just simply gorgeous. Neighboring farmers were out cutting beans as well and you could see the plumes of dust in the distance. No need to call the fire department, folks. It's just everyone out cutting beans! 



My mother in law and I went into town to pick up pizza, took it to the field where we joined our husbands in the combine and the tractor for a a date.

 Afterwards, we moved equipment in the dark together and the dogs got to ride along too! Harvest IS my most favorite time of the year but it can also be the most stressful. Very seldom do our nights go the way they did last night. 



Nights like last night are what make it all worth it. Nights like last night keep us from throwing in the towel. Nights like last night give us the adrenaline rush to keep going. Year after year.

Oct 6, 2014

Pallet Pumpkin and #harvest14 Decor



Three cheers, fall is here! We just finished decorating our barn house porch and I am excited you stopped by to see it. I didn't really go all out but I added a few cozy touches to our front porch this year. My new favorite touch is the pumpkin my husband and I created out of a pallet! We had some extra pallets laying around from my Pallet Flag project. I really enjoyed how the pallet flag filled the empty spot on our front porch so I wanted to come up with something fall harvest related to go there.

I opted to not consult any magazines or Pinterest for any ideas. I wanted to see what we could come up with on our own! I started by having my husband cut out a pumpkin shape that I drew on the pallet.

Sep 24, 2014

Putting up Gratitude


I was driving home from work last night and the autumn sun was setting. It cast a warm, orange glow across the fields of crops, among the trees and filled the valleys. 

One of my new favorite songs came on on the radio. It's about dirt, roots and settling down somewhere.

I felt blessed. 

I felt warm.

I felt gratitude. 

Every year around this time, everyone talks about fall/autumn being their favorite season. Everyone loves the pumpkin spice everything, apple cider, boots, sweaters, decorating the front porches, the leaves changing and the imaginary hayrides. 

Don't get me wrong, I deck out my porch, buy my very fair share of pumpkin spice everything and I can't wait to cozy up in a pair of boots and a sweater.

Those things are not the reason to love this season, though. At least not for me anyways. 

I'm a farmer's wife so you're probably thinking I love this season because harvest coincides with it. I love harvest. I love the rush, the rewarding feeling and the teamwork within our family. It's definitely an event I look forward to all year.

Harvest isn't the reason I love this season though.

It's a busy season, but it's also a season that tends to slow me down. It's the only time during the year when I stop and collect my thoughts. And I do it often. 

I think a lot during the autumn season. 

I love to take a drive, go on a walk or drive the tractor and just think.

The last few years, I've developed such a deep appreciation for who I am, what I do and where I live. I don't know why it takes the autumn season every year to remind myself that everything is okay; but every year, that reminder is there. It's everywhere.

It's in the rustling sound of the leaves falling. 

It's in the hum of a combine running in the distance.

It's in the steam off a good hot meal brought out to the field by my mother in law. 

It's in my favorite worn out hooded sweatshirt as I pull it over my head and sink into it.

Autumn is sort of like my Christmas season.

It's just what I live for. It only last a few weeks, but while it's here, I try to squeeze out all the thoughts and good feelings of gratitude out that I can. 

Sometimes I feel like I am just going through the motions all year until autumn gets here. 

Everyone is putting up the last of the food, grain and feed for the winter from their gardens and the fields. I'm going to be putting up gratitude and warm feelings. You know, the same way squirrels put up nuts for the winter.

I.Want.To.Feel.This.Way.All.Year.Long.

Sep 11, 2014

Do you remember?


I was a junior in high school sitting in my chemistry class.

We all caught word of the news and begged anxiously to turn on the TV monitor but our teacher thought atoms were more important.

Which, they are important, but.

As each period went on, the teachers let us watch more and more of the news.

I don't think what happened and how it would affect the world today really sunk into my 16 year old brain.

I remember the rumor that gas prices were going up. My main concern was filling up my Jeep after school. Lines of cars filled our small town 4 pump gas station. I waited patiently.

I remember arriving home later feeling a sense of relief sitting around our small kitchen table with my family eating dinner.

I remember asking my mom what was going to happen.

She didn't know then.

We still don't know now.

I'm not sure if it's quite sunk into my 29 year old brain yet, either.

All I know is that we must never take anything for granted.

Sep 3, 2014

Ask the Farmers

I originally began blogging to keep a little diary of my farm life with my new husband on our little piece of ground. My blog was an outlet and opportunity for me to write. I really didn't think anyone would read my blog or even really care what I had to say, for that matter. When I first began sharing my blog, my mom and some of my friend's moms took a great interest in my writing and musings. Little did they know that their support in the beginning is what pushed my to stretch Old Blue Silo just a little further.

I began writing more and more and eventually I began connecting with other bloggers and readers like myself from all over the country. People I didn't even know were taking interest in what I had to say and share.

That's a phenomenal feeling, folks.

Old Blue Silo is not a big blog by any means and it's definitely not famous but it's lead me to people, places and opportunities I never would have encountered. As a big blogger, you can count all the money and statistics you'd like, but you will never be able to put a dollar value on your experiences you had as a small blogger.

Recently, I was asked by a group of my fellow farm wife friends to participate in a new project lifting off the ground this week.


The goal of Ask the Farmers is to pool together a group of farmers, farm wives, ranchers and agronomists to provide educated, well resourced answers to consumers. Today, consumers have so many questions about where there food comes from and it's getting harder and harder to sort through the facts and the myths. Ask the Farmers gives consumers a chance to ask an actual farmer a question they may have about agriculture and agriculture practices. Too many people are turning to unreliable resources for their food facts. They are turning to sources who have never stepped foot on a farm.


Ask the Farmers will take consumer's questions and compose answers in the form of a blog post. To participate in the Ask the Farmers community, please Follow us on Facebook or visit our website at www.askthefarmers.com. You never know what you will learn! I am looking forward to learning from the Ask the Farmers project as I know there is such a diverse group of farmers involved that will provide facts straight from the source: the farm.

Aug 15, 2014

Farmer the Golden Retriever


So, we have a new member in the family.

I'm a bad blogger because we've had this new member for a month and I have yet to make a blog post.


Readers, I'd like you to meet Farmer our future farm and guard dog.

For now, he's just a puppy. He's not doing a whole lot of guarding at the moment.

Just a lot of sleeping, eating, truck riding, slobbering, digging holes, playing catch and oh, discovering corn.

Did I mention, digging holes?

Aug 4, 2014

The grass is never greener...




…on the other side.

What is the ‘other side’ anyways? 

Most of us are familiar with this old saying. I find it fun that it is obviously a metaphor taken from the farm. We’ve all seen horses, cows and goats strrreeetttccchhiiiinnggg under the fence to munch on the grass and clover they can’t get to even though they have access to the exact same munchies underneath their feet.

They’re curious; much like we are.
We spend most of our lives wanting what we don’t have, wondering what it would be like if something were different. There’s truth to the famous saying, “The grass is never greener on the other side,” but why?
No matter what option you choose to have, you’re always giving up something in return.

Always.

The grass might have a little more flavor on the other side, but what are you giving up to sample a taste? Is it worth it?