Jan 23, 2018

Winter on the Farm






Post created for Ranch House Designs, Inc.



It seems whenever we go to an agriculture-related conference, the hotel staff always enjoys talking to farmers and ranchers, asking questions about the industry.

Our most recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee for a conference was no different. In fact, I was asked a question by our front desk clerk that I have not been asked before as a grain farmer.

“Do you guys work all year round?”

Instantly, my answer from within was a, “Yes!” but I knew it would be hard to explain the kind of work we do in the wintertime since we are not in the fields, working on our soybean or corn crops.

We may not be in the field, but we are still working on our old and new crops all winter long!

Those in the livestock industry are obviously destined to chores 365 days a year regardless of the weather! In the winter they have animals to feed and issues to battle when the snow, ice and freezing temperatures arrive.

At one time, it was a stereotype that midwestern grain farmers would “winter” in warm places such as Florida or Arizona. Fortunately, winter work allows us in a nice, warm office or meeting hall, but there are some chores that involve being outside in the harsh weather.

Farms have grown in size, resulting in on-farm grain storage and the need to market and truck grain all year long. Sometimes younger farmers and seasonal farmers will take a job off the farm during the winter to supplement their income and even some seasoned farmers will do so as well. It really depends on one’s individual situation.

For us, my husband and I and my father-in-law all work full-time jobs, off the farm, year round.. Our farm is not large enough to employ us full-time. Winters seem like they should be a slow down for us, but we feel just as busy in the winter as we do in the spring, summer and fall. We just don’t have a lawn to mow or weeds to tackle, which is a nice break!

So what do we grain farmers do in the wintertime?

... to find out, visit the rest of the article over at Ranch House Designs, Inc.

Jan 10, 2018

Life Lesson from a Grocery List

I sent my husband to the grocery story on his way home from work last night. He drives right by so it’s convenient to have him pick up a few necessities between my large stock-up-all-the-things trips.

He walked in the door last night, hands me the bags and I set them on the counter. As I begin putting stuff away I already recognize a few things that are “wrong”. He bought a package of fresh mushrooms. I wanted mushrooms in a can or jar for the pantry. He bought organic spinach. I wanted conventional. He bought a package of individually wrapped processed Swiss cheese product slices. I wanted real Swiss cheese from the deli. He bought whole chocolate milk. I wanted 2%.

I can go on.


I could have been mad that he bought the “wrong” things. But was he “wrong”?


Take a look at the list I sent him:





Based on my list, he bought exactly what I had asked for.


I provided zero details. My list lacked brands, sizes and flavors.


You see, I assumed and expected he would know the exact brand and package I wanted. But, how would he know?

Last night, I watched the new episode of This Is Us. Kevin, one of the triplets, now 35 years old, was checked into rehab for an alcohol addiction. The family was brought in to dig really deep into the triggers of his addiction. He shared a perception of his childhood, his siblings Kate and Randall shared theirs and his mother Rebecca took a turn; each having a different view on how things were growing up in their household.

The family argued and the conversation turned into several walking out of the room in frustration.

Towards the end of the episode, after everyone has cooled off, Randall shares an excerpt of his childhood from when he first had to get glasses; looking through the various lenses of the device that would then help determine his prescription. Some of the lenses were blurry, some clear.

He makes a point that we all view life through different lenses.

We can’t expect everyone to view through our lens when they are looking through their very own, unique “prescription.”

Details are so important. Whether we are describing a process from an industry outside of someone’s familiarity, such as agriculture or sending our husbands or wives to the store to pick up something for us, we have to communicate in a detailed language that people understand.


Things are no longer black and white anymore.


We live in a world of variety and choice. Our world is full of information.


When it comes to choices and expectations, we only know what we know through our own lens.


So, the next time you make out your grocery list, provide details.


Or you’ll end up with organic spinach and processed Swiss cheese product.

Jan 9, 2018

Try it Tuesday


So, my husband and I just got back from a long weekend in Nashville. We were there for the American Farm Bureau conference at the beautiful Opryland Resort & Convention Center which is full of indoor gardens, restaurants, shops and even a lazy river! Definitely a wonderful destination spot. You'll never want to leave the resort. 

.... and I found this photo in my phone from the weekend. You just never know when something may inspire you.

Even a bathroom door from a bar downtown Nashville.

Our groups ate at the Wild Horse Saloon, Claim Jumper and Caney Fork Restaurant while in Nashville. All delicious.

President Trump addressed thousands of farmers and ranchers at the convention we went to. Unfortunately we were on our way home during his speech, but we watched it live from my phone and you can watch it here if you missed it!

We used the Uber app a lot in Nashville. Tip: Download the app and set up your account prior to your trip. And be sure to swipe right for Economy or you'll pay twice as much. 

These boots paired well with my business casual attire this weekend. Especially this blazer.

The one thing I hate about traveling is having to iron everything out of the suitcase. My friends told me they always pack this so they don't have to iron. Genius.

Also hate traveling with winter coats. Try this one if you need something packable and warm.

Can't wait to get back to a normal breakfast routine and try this Instant Pot accessory in my Instant Pot with this recipe.

Watch this quick video on the importance of plant breeding innovation. I like it. Quick, simple, and to the point. It showed up in my inbox today.

Well, back to the grind in the office today. We have a Beck's seed meeting later this week, some friends are taking us out to dinner and I need to take Granny to get groceries sometime. And maybe some for us, too. Fingers crossed for a quiet weekend at home!

Jan 2, 2018

Try it Tuesday



Did you guys have a wonderful holiday season? I took some time to reflect, spend time with friends and family, work on a few projects in the office and really think about some goals and outlooks for 2018.

Gadgets have been a new love of mine lately. Especially ones that make our busy lives easier and maybe... less busy?

My husband and I purchased this robotic vacuum with some money we were given for Christmas. My brother and sister in law have this one and we've noticed how much they've enjoyed theirs. Needless to say, with a dog and two cats, this gadget was worth a try. So far we are loving the job it's doing! I love walking into a room and it feeling/looking like it's been freshly cleaned. It's like having your own digital maid.

I made this in my Instant Pot last night and my husband and I loved it!

I am trying to read a novel every two weeks in 2018. Starting with this thriller. So far so good. Half way through but technically I started it in 2017. Any tips on getting your reading in?

I am also trying to listen to more Podcasts. If you like agriculture, try this one and this one.

Got my husband these socks for Christmas. Says his feet stay dry and warm. Brownie points for this wife. Possibly our new go-to.

I also thought he would like these.

Mom got us these for Christmas.

I want to watch this on Netflix.

If you can never have enough chambray button downs to layer under your sweaters.

This winter coat is the warmest. Did you know today is the coldest day on record in my lifetime? Brrr.

Been connecting with my friends on this free app.

Any gun-toting ladies out there? I put this bag on my Amazon wish list. Fringe or no fringe?

I hope you learn, laugh and love a lot in 2018! My husband and I were appointed to a national position with this committee. We will have a lot of traveling and many dates to keep track of this year! We downloaded this calendar app to keep our lives in sync.