Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Toys

Planting 2014 has officially begun!  If you follow me on Twitter (see right), you saw that we got out into the field yesterday afternoon.  Of course, we all got a ride! 

Do you remember when you were little and you got a new toy? You couldn't stop smiling or thinking about it? Well, AJ got a new planter, and he can't stop smiling (believe me, it isn't for me, it's for the planter!).
We aren't a family that favors one 'color' of equipment over another. The brand of this planter is White, but it is custom made.  This means that it is the only one in the world like it!  We bought it from someone that put it together using different components from different planter companies (think of it like putting a car together using a Ford , Toyota, Chevy parts).  Some of its highlights are:
  • It is mounted on the tractor (3 point) rather than towed behind the tractor
    • There are no wheels at all on the planter which is desirable because it is hard to get to the row units to work on.
    • It folds forward rather than backward when moving from field to field (easier/safer to maneuver)
  • It has 24 rows (60 ft. wide)
  • We load the seed in the middle of the planter and the planter distributes the seed to each row from air pushing the seed out (blowing).
  • More adjustments can be made from the seat of the tractor to help with more precise placement of our seed.
  • Variable rate drives: this allows us to put different seeding rates/population on without stopping.

We are excited for spring! 


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Soccer Mom: Coach Update

I was going to write about spring progress on the farm. Then it snowed (I hope you feel the disappointment that I’m trying to convey…). 

I decided to update you on my Coach Status for soccer. First off: my team is great! They are an excited bunch of 3 and 4 year olds, and their excitement is contagious!

Our first practice was great. We only got through 2 or 3 things on my list from Soccer Mom. Apparently, a half hour goes fast when you are having fun!  Instead of kicking a certain number of goals, we used it to warm up to each other (and to the soccer ball).

Last Saturday was our first two games…and pictures. It was a long day for preschoolers!  Also, out of our 6 on the team, only 4 were there.  So, not only was it a long day, but they had to play most of the time (especially when Charlotte didn’t really want to at all the second game!). 

I laughed pretty hard when they kicked the ball off in our first game, and then, NO ONE MOVED.  They looked around at everyone yelling like, “I kicked it, now what?”  Also, high-fives were something that they didn’t understand either.  So, last night at practice we worked on high-fives and scrimmaged! 

We don’t keep score for this age of soccer, which I think is a good idea.  The main thing is to (as my Grandpa George would say) get your nose hard, and HAVE FUN!  Like I said, my team is great :)   

Now, if we could keep this Iowa weather constant...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Soccer Mom

Spring is here, and I am officially a soccer mom.  Not only that, I am a soccer COACH.  I didn't really sign up to be a coach.  However, when you have 2 kids on the team, you are somewhat obligated.  :)
I am the pee-wee coach for 3 and 4 year olds.  2 out of the six kids are my own.  This should be interesting!  I don't really have much experience with coaching, or soccer for that matter, but I do have a 'game plan.' 

I'm planning to start off by giving the parents information and introducing myself.  Hopefully, that will make them more comfortable being there as well.  I'm thankful for Pinterest because I've already pinned some ideas.  I was also able to talk with some other pee-wee coaches at the kick off meeting to get some other tips.  Here is my first practice plan: 

  • To make sure both the parents and the kids are comfortable with me. 
  • Tell them the rules (main ones being:  no hands, when they hear the whistle - they need to stop playing, treat one another nicely, and HAVE FUN). 
  • Stretch & Warm-up (jumping jacks, running the length of the field)
  • Ice Breaker drill:  stand in a circle and kick the ball to one another.  When the ball comes to you - say your name.
  • Goal kicking:  line up and kick the ball in 15 times (count together)
  • Red Light - Green Light (with a ball):  I will let each one of the kids lead
  • Scrimmage:  we will only have 1 practice before our first game, so hopefully this will help them get the idea of what they need to do. 
If anyone reading has any experience with 'herding' preschool children, coaching, or any other sort of advice, please give it! 

I tried to get my kids to play soccer with me the other day.  Charlotte was happy to take pictures, but was not happy to kick the ball.  Wyatt kicked the ball for 5 minutes, sat down and said "that's enough."  I think my own children will be my biggest battle!

 UPDATE:  Read through my coach update after our first practice and game here

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I was able to go down to Iowa State Campus last night and sit on a panel for The Soy Foods Council.  It was great (and I was able to test some tasty soy food :)).  We have done a tour with them last summer, and they continue to get me excited about soy foods!

Normally, the first thing that comes to mind when someone says "soy food" is tofu.  However, there are so many uses of soy in our food!  From Hellmann's Mayonnaise, to pork chops, to chocolate, soy is used to put it on our plates.  

I am excited to learn more about it, but tonight got me #SoyInspired!  Check it out for yourself at  

Do you have concerns about the food on your plate?  Are you concerned that the food you buy is safe?  I am not.  One of the reasons I am sure about this is from being on the farm.  Another reason is being connected to people like CommonGround.  I am a part of this great group that can help you to connect your food to your plate.  This group of resources is wonderful to me and should be to you, too.  Ask questions, don't fear your food.  Join the conversation in Iowa on Facebook:  

I will end with a quote from my son:  "I love you to the moon and all the way back down into a deep dark hole.  But don't worry, the deep dark hole is filled with superheroes."  :)  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Charlotte is 3!

My baby girl turned 3 today!  Birthdays are way more fun when you have a little girl this excited!  I can’t believe how fast 3 years has gone. 

Some of her interests:
  • Disney music.  Almost every night I am asked to sing Beauty and the Beast! 
  • She likes to play ‘mommy.’  I am the sister.  If you stray from those titles, you will be in trouble.
  • Her brother and her are best friends.  And best enemies.
  • Her puppy Dixie
  • Princess dresses.  She likes to dress up, then turn in a circle like a ‘princess.’ 
  • The potty (some days).
Some of her dislikes:
  • The potty (some days).
  • Vegetables (any tips?  I’m thinking if I pour chocolate on them, I may have a chance of her eating them?!)
  • Talking on the real phone (She’ll talk your ear off on a pretend phone)
She is my Valentine.  I love her. 

2014 02 13 Charlotte is 3

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cold Weather Chores

2014 01 25 Cold Weather ChoresWhile a lot of my blogging friends have written about the cold weather, AJ and I were able to take a break with some great friends down in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. When we left Des Moines, it was a whopping -14 degrees (that does not include wind-chill!).

We got to Punta Cana at 4:30 pm that day (Punta Cana time) and it was 89 degrees ABOVE ZERO! Yea, it was awesome. We had a great time. Besides getting sick, it was a beautiful trip. I had hoped to see some of the Dominican Republic agriculture, but didn't quite make it. Maybe next time!

2014 01 25 Cold Weather Chores 02

This week I am switching places with AJ, and I am doing chores (he had a small surgery and has some stitches to care for). I've done chores before and I used to help outside on the farm. But that was before we had kids. Now, my main chore on our farm is our kids. :) I am excited for our switch, but we also have some cold weather to deal with!

My experience so far has been more challenging that I had imagined. Friday was my first full day of doing chores by myself. Of course, the water tanks were frozen up, and we had a calf die (ironically, On The Banks of Squaw Creek wrote about "sentiment" and "sentimentality" on the farm that day.  Read it, I agree with her!). Friday, I started chores at 8 am and finally finished up at noon. I was exhausted! This morning I went out to do chores at 8 and was back in by 10 (I even had to load the feed truck!). By the end of this, I will be a pro :)

Here are some things that I am learning:

  • I need better gloves, stocking hats, socks, and long underwear. It is cold outside.
  • I need to lift more weights in the 'off season.' Going in and out of the loader, trying to load a 150 pound calf in the loader bucket, scooping out feed bunks, and crawling over gates has taught me that I'm more out of shape than I thought!
  • I need a handkerchief. You can only wipe your nose with your hand and wipe it on your jeans so long before your nose gets sore.
  • I need to remember my Bluetooth for questions (and to charge my phone up). This morning I had my Bluetooth and phone charged so when I called AJ with questions I had both hands handy! :)
  • I need a better attitude at times. When I was having trouble yesterday, I was getting mad. I'm pretty sure I waste more energy when I get mad. I need to just move on.
  • When the weather is windy and cold, chores will take a little longer.

Some cool things about chores:

  • The beautiful winter mornings.
  • The equipment that I get to use. 
  • The calves and pigs :)
  • Felfies (Farmer Selfie).  They are the cool thing to do!

2014 01 25 Cold Weather Chores 052014 01 25 Cold Weather Chores 032014 01 25 Cold Weather Chores 04

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meat Guilt?

An interesting question came up the other day: Should we, and do we, feel guilty for eating meat? Well, for me - absolutely not. The only time I ever feel guilty for eating meat is when I don't finish all of it on my plate! I was raised on a farm. I've always known that the calf in the feed yard or the fat hog in the pen was going on my plate!

Another thought of why I'm not guilt-ridden is that humans have been eating meat for 1.5 million years ( Humans were historically hunters and gatherers. In order to live they had to hunt for their food. They had to follow the animals that provided their food, clothing, and shelter.  As cultivation technology evolved they were able to stay in one area and grow their own food. Thus came this super fantastic career that is now known as farming!  Agriculture has evolved to today: where it takes very small amount of people on a very small amount of land to feed the world. We are lucky to have our food brought to us in a store. It is safe and put into a pretty package. Instead of spending our day hunting our food, we can now wonder whether or not we should feel guilty about eating our steak! 

Instead of feeling guilty, here are 8 things to keep in mind for guilt free meat eating:

This post was part of a series hosted by Katie of On the Banks of Squaw Creek.  If you’re interested in reading more about guilt-free meat eating, check out:

1. We've been eating meat for 1.5 million years.

2. Eating meat made us smarter

3. We were born to eat meat.

4. Meat provides us with nutrients we can't easily get elsewhere

5. Farms are lowering their carbon footprint.

6. 96% of farms are family farms

7. Farm animals are not the same as pets.

8. Bacon, steak and Thanksgiving

Are you hungry for some meat yet? I know I am! :)