Friday, November 25, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Okay. Thanksgiving is officially over and it is now time to indulge in my favorite: Christmas!!!

Yeah, yeah, I know.   Christmas is everyone's favorite holiday. But really, Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. My birthday is December 19th and when I was little it was so super awesome to get my birthday and Christmas so close together. Now that I'm a 'grown-up' I enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling when I hear Christmas music, smell a wood fire (Mom & Dads' house), drink hot chocolate (Grandma Betty), get bundled up to go play in the snow, and have the lights in the house dimmed with the Christmas lights on (I have an obsession with white lights and greenery! :)).
My favorite Nativity Scene in the house
So the decorating has begun! Like I said, I have a serious obsession with white lights and greenery. I LOVE IT. Another love: The Tree (yup- it is important enough to capitalize). I absolutely have to have a real tree. The smell. The sticky sap. The needles. I LOVE IT. We don't have the tree yet, but my lights are on as I sit and write. The other decorations aren't quite where they need to be, but I got like a month to get that figured out.

Enjoy your decorations, family and friends. Count your won't believe how many there are. Christmas isn't about the decorations, the food, and is definitely NOT about the presents - those are all HUGE bonuses.  The main reason I love this holiday is because I believe in Him... :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Work With Manure

My title for my job is an Agronomist with The Maschhoffs.  It is okay if you have no clue about what I actually do for my job.  I'm not really sure where to start, but I will just jump in as best I can (questions are good!!). 
In Iowa, if you raise animals (depending on how many) you have to report those animals to the Iowa DNR at least once a year with a fee.  Every 4 years you are required to send in a Manure Management Plan.  This plan ensures that all manure generated from those animals is properly allocated to enough land.  I help to write these state required plans.  For my job, I mainly handle swine (pig) manure which is considered a 'liquid.'  This manure is literally applied to fields as fertilizer.  We actually help to sample the pits once a year to analyze the manure.  This helps the farmers to apply the manure on a more precise rate for the next crop growing season.  SIDE BAR:  I help to ensure that this manure is completely contained and used for this purpose.  When I visit the farms, I help maintain those plans as well as encourage good management practices (one example: mowing and making the site look nice).  I work closely with these farmers and that is one aspect of my job that I love. 

On our own farm we have pigs and cattle.  All of this manure is used as fertilizer on our farm to help reduce input costs and makes our farm 'sustainable' (when I use this word I mean:  our crop helps to feed our animals, our animals help to feed us, the animals' manure help to grow the crop). 

I work with manure, and I actually enjoy it :)

Our Cattle Barn

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Family Dinners

Family dinners are a big part of my family background. Now that I have a family - this picture shows a moment I live for:

Happy Dining!