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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.

Money.

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.

Thirty.

Spffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttttttttshhhhhhhhhh.

Phew.

And you know what?

It feels good.

But.

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

Hope


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.

Hope. 

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.

SO.

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. 

And.

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. 

Mar 25, 2015

Make Yourself at Home


Home.

What exactly does that mean?

Sometimes home to us is where we grew up. Where we "started" from.

To some of us, home is where we live now. Where we hang our hat. Where we keep our families and our pets.

A home isn't a place. It's not a person. It's not a thing.

It's not something we can touch.

Home. 

It's a place of comfort.

Comfort. It's a feeling we all strive for in life.

Mar 12, 2015

Change


I took the back roads home from work tonight.
I needed a change. The highways get old. 
All the snow from this past winter is melting down as it got up to the 40s and 50s this week. 
I was enjoying my drive but there was mud just everywhere. As I thought about spring coming and the sunny, warmer days ahead, I tried to forget about the mud.
I then realized,
Every change comes with a price.

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.