country girl

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The "Family Farm" is just that.....

Noxious weed in wheat - RYE!

Tuffy and Donkey

Here we are in the middle of April and life on the family farm has already begun to get busy.  Spring is my favorite time of year as the trees start to get their leaves and the flowers are blooming.  I love waking up in the morning to the sounds of birds chirping outside our bedroom window.  But with all that also comes the sounds of tractors working the fields and power tools in the shop as they prepare and repair the equipment for another season of planting and harvesting crops.

 The Family Farm faces many new challenges each year. We know that farming's a business and it's got to work economically if you're going to remain out there on the farm.  Risk management is essential to insuring the success of any family farm.  With the rising costs of fuel and fertilizer alone, we know the one expense we do have some control over is the cost of labor.  With that being said, we realize we do not begin to pay our children enough for the many hours they contribute to the family farm operation; just as it was the case for past generations.  And yet without them, we would not be able to keep the family business in operation today. Very few young people become farmers today, and half of all U.S. farmers are between the ages of 45 and 65, while only 6% of all farmers are under the age of 35.

Farmers are looking for ways to diversify across agricultural products. The old-school way of farming is a thing of the past.  Like any other industry, farmers have had to accept and learn how to implement the many tools that technology has to offer.  The Internet is a valuable tool to utilize.  Our son Brett has made it his mission to “clean up the farm”.  Like all farm sites, you acquire a lot of old equipment that no longer is valuable to the operation of the farm.  It sits there year after year and becomes overtaken with rust and becomes one more obstacle you have to mow around.  With the use of the Internet he has listed this old equipment on such sites as Purple Wave and Craigslist hoping that our junk will truly be someone else’s treasure.  Much to our surprise there are people out there who are looking.  Many thanks to Brett for taking the time to take pictures, make the contacts and list the items on the Internet.  Mowing will be much easier this summer!

In the next month we will start the task of pulling rye that is growing in the wheat.  “Rye is the enemy and it must be eliminated” according to my husband.  So my husband and I along with two of our kids will walk the many miles and acres of wheat, looking for each and every stock of rye to pull.  I will admit I don’t begin to pull as much as Jeff and Brett do but I will attempt to help.

I love life on the farm and would not trade it for anything.  It’s hard work – but hard work is good for you.  We like working outside and we like seeing the product of our efforts.  We also enjoy the challenge of how to do things better and are willing to adapt to an ever -changing world of agriculture.  But more importantly, it’s a life style that we look forward to passing down to our children and grandchildren.  A lifestyle like none-other!

PS:  It amazes me that a lot of people still don't know where their food comes from. And it doesn't all come from a grocery store. For many people, the connection between farm and fridge is vague at best.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Time Seems To Fly

One thing I've noticed over the past several years is that "time seems to fly" by a lot faster now than it did when I was younger. Now I realize that can't possibly happen as there are still 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. So why is it then that the days seem shorter and life seems to be passing by at a faster rate? Well I recently read an article in a Successful Farming Magazine that offered an explanation that I thought I would share with you. Maybe you will agree!

Ever Wonder Why Time Seems to Fly?

Do you think time goes faster today than when you were a child? Here's a possible explanation. Scientists theorize that when you experience something for the first time,you record more details in your memory. Think: summer vacation, birthday party, or first kiss. There are so many things to remember because it's new and fresh to you. When you review those memories, your memory bank is so dense that it seems time moved slowly then. When you drive somewhere for the first time, it seems to take a long time to get there. The more often you drive that route, the shorter it seems. Your memory isn't writing down as much. At Baylor College of Medicine researchers have found that brains use more energy to imprint a memory when the memory is novel.

The one thing I can relate to in this article is the part about driving somewhere. Our family has traveled to Tablerock Lake for the past 20 years for a weeks vacation. The first few times we made the trip it seemed to take "forever" as it is a 6 hour drive. But now, we get in and go and before we know it we are there. Nothing has changed; it's the same amount of miles from point A to point B, we usually make the same stops along the way for fuel and snacks, but it honestly seems to take less time. Now according to the clock it still takes 6 hours. But my - how quickly the time seems to fly!

Friday, March 19, 2010

You say blog - I say blah!

Well here I go. Taking a giant leap into a whole new world for me. I have always enjoyed learning new things on the computer, but for some reason I have drug my feet on learning about blogs. Can't say why for sure but with much coaxing from my co-workers I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. (Something my daughter tells me to do all the time ).

My employment with ESSDACK began 8 1/2 years ago. The one thing I have appreciated the most about working here has been the fact that you are encouraged to branch out, learn more, grow and to step out of that comfort zone. I've had many opportunities to do so. The first challenge I was faced with was taking over the MAT 8 Test scanning and scoring process. People thought I was crazy for liking this job, but I was able to use my organizational skills to set it up the way I wanted it to be. And then producing a product unique to each school districts requests added to the challenge. At one time we were scoring around 50,000 tests a year. But then Achievement Testing went electronic and I lost that job. It was a "fun" experience while it lasted.

As I think about why I've drug my feet on blogging, I have come to recognize it's because it exposes you to many people. I tend to like to do my job and not be "out there" for everyone to see my work. I guess I'm a little bit of a private person in this aspect. Once again - working in a comfortable zone. This was what I could do with the MAT 8 Scanning/Scoring program. Did my work, sent it off and moved on to the next project. Oh no - I just learned something new about myself ~ scary!

Well if you have read through my blog you have endured my first attempt. So in the future as you read my posts - please don't be too critical as this type of "exposure" makes me a little nervous. There you go - Step one is complete :-)