Tuesday, March 28, 2017


FFA is this girl's bag.  Boy is she passionate.  Today she headed off to present her Crop SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Creepy or Cool?

The Illinois Beef Expo is held in Springfield, Il each year.  We don't have beef cattle, but so many of our friends do, that we decided this year to make a weekend out of it and joined friends at a Springfield hotel for a weekend of cattle, swimming and hanging out.  

What's a trip to Springfield without a trip to Scheels?  What's a trip to Scheels without a ride on the ferris wheel and a spin through the presidential characters and maybe even sitting through a simulated Nascar race?
This year may have been the last on the ferris wheel for this boy.  Not a fan of stopping at the top.  Just like his mama I guess.  

Then these animated, moving, realistic, totally awesome and completely creepy figures of the presidents.  
Eeek.  Not sure he was a fan of them either.  

We did manage to spend a mere 3 hundo on running shoes for the big kids' upcoming track season. Now THAT is scary!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Our family farm has social media accounts, and I am largely responsible for updating them .   I uploaded this photo last night to our farm's Facebook account.  It's gorgeous, just look at that sunset!  My hubby snapped this one for me after multiple requests for a photo of his rig for the day.  Social media and photos are not on the top of his priority list.  Must have something to do with having a whole farm to run.

Here is the update I included with this photo on the farm page: "God's handiwork enlightens the sky as we apply #anhydrous to the soil of what is to be a field of corn this coming crop year. #plant17#heritagehappenings #justin"

All true.  The part I left out was that this is the first day or spring work.  So it signifies the beginning of a season of single parenting due to long work days for the hubs.  It means juggling kids' activities alone.  Sitting on the sidelines by myself., cheering on my runners during their events alone!  The fight that ensues each night when I break it to the kindergartener that it is again....BATH TIME!  Ugh!  He hates bath time and he ain't afraid to say it.  Loudly, with gusto.  This I have to endure alone. 

Also it means that those small honey-do items in the house will likely not get done until the end of June.  The reality of this photo taken on this day is that it is:


I'm all in, I've got my uniform clean and ready, I'm a gamer and a veteran.
But the first day of field work each season is always a little bitter sweet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

He Misses Out

Babies of the family have miss out on alot of stuff!  The first two kids in our family were in soccer, piano, ninjutsu and dance by the time they were four or five.  This boy here...only summer t-ball.  That is it.  He is old enough for 4H and Cub Scouts and could probably start in piano lessons any day now.  But because he is the baby, he has to miss out.

 Before I get to feeling too badly and make you feel bad for him, and heaven forbid when he is older and reads this, I want to clarify.  He doesn't miss out on a darn thing!!!  Not a thing.

Yes, he doesn't get to do many of his own structured activities, but he does get to do cool things like work concession stands, hang out through praise band rehearsals, watch his siblings in various sporting events and learn so much from watching them and emulating them.

He is a happy boy and he makes us all so very happy too.  While working a track concession stand, he took a little break.  He came back into the building with this beautiful rock collection.  Gorgeous.  Thoughtful. Creative.  In his own little way.

 These were all in the pocket of his sweatpants.  Don't ask me how they didn't fall down around his tiny little hips under the weight of all of these rocks, but he managed to keep them up!

I'm a lucky mommy to have a kid that helps our his family an me so cheerfully, and even finds the magic in the rocks beside the concession stand.  

We somehow managed to leave all of these in the landscaping, but we did end up coming home with a Sour Patch Kid box and a box from Rice Krispie Treats.  Why?  Because they are "SO COOL MOM!"  Whatever makes him happy.  It's not all about the structured activities.  Sometimes it's in the littler things.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Farmer's Daughter

Daddy may be a dirty looking farmer wearing his bibs and digging in the dirt installing tile along side his crew, but don't let that fool you, he is a pretty smart guy.  He is passionate about plant health and soil.  It is becoming more and more obvious that his baby girl is following suit.

 Here they are working on a project about how nitrogen stays in the soil. Yep.  I can't tell you much more about it, though I have asked lots of questions. I guess I just don't share that passion so it doesn't stick in my brain, but seeing moments like these between two of the people I love the most just warms this mama's heart.
Besides that, somebody has to worry about the nitrogen and the weed pressure and the fertility and the runoff and the levels and the pH and all of that good stuff around here.  These two seem to be the perfect fit.

My Girl.....

My girl knows what she wants.  Just like her mama.  Wait, no, not like me at all.  I guess she must get that trait from her incredible daddy.  When she was in third grade and eligible to show livestock in 4H,  her dad and I asked her what animal she would like to show.  I mean, isn't it a shame to live on a farm and NOT show an animal in 4H?  At that time we had only one animal, well two.  We had my quarter horse Smokey who I bought in college and who I loved so much.  We also had our little miniature horse Shrinky Dink.  Shrinky wasn't much of a prospect, but I thought for sure my girl would say "ya mom, I want to be JUST LIKE YOU and love horses and I want to show horses."  I suppose I should mention that her dad actually showed horses, not just owned a horse like me.  He and his bruh showed western pleasure and did a pretty good job of it!  Me on the other hand, pretty much just rode around the section, a couple of trails and put on a gajillion pasture miles around and around.  Yeehaw

Well, our girl, being mature an all said...."let me think about it."  Grr....come on, you are 9, just pick something girl!  And a few days later she said she wanted to show pigs.  Um....pigs?  We literally knew nothing about pigs.

And so it began.......fast forward about six years or so and a friend introduced up to livestock judging.  She was on a team, had a great coach and loved it.  It literally took one conversation and my girl was hooked.  It was her thing.  And off we went.  Another new venture.  We joined a team, the same one our friend was on and we drove our girl an hour and half to practices aka workouts.  We took her to competitions, we hung out at farms while she was with her coach.  We researched, we talked, we followed her lead.  

Last winter our girl's team got third place in the Illinois State 4H Livestock Judging Contest.  The first place team gets to go on to compete at the American Royal in Kansas City.  The second place team goes on to compete at the National Western Livestock show in Denver Colorado.  Well, lucky for our team, the second place team had already been to Denver to complete for their one and only time, so the honor was passed to our team!!  Image the excitement!  We were headed to Denver!

In January of 2017 off they went to Denver to compete.  They, meaning not Mama and Daddy.  Just the team and their coaches.  Repeat not Mama and Daddy.  

Not US-Her. Alone without us.  This was another new experience for us.  Another example of our laser focused, sharp, confident and capable girl was off with her team to Denver for several days.  

Here they are....your 4th pace team. I'm going to post a link to the results here, not necessarily for you all (um, the 4 of you who actually read this) but for me, well us....to look back on and recall the excitement when our team did a very nice job representing Illinois!

Photo thanks to Sue!

You know what, our family maybe knows a little about horses.  I mean you could say horses are two or three generations deep around here.  But pigs, sheep and cattle.  Nope.  Our girl is figuring that out on her own.  And she is rocking it!  We are so proud.  Not of her performance (of course we are proud of that) but we are proud of her confidence, her poise, her drive, her determination and her passion.  She's a gem. 

A Special Kiss

A trip to Oklahoma with four generations  in tow to reunite friends from 45 years ago.  Great Grandma requested we visit. Great Grandma really wanted us to visit.  Of course when sweet Great  Grandma who is 90 years young asks that we travel to Oklahoma to visit a dear family that she and late Great Grandpa were cattle buying friends with from so far back....well you get in the car and you go.

This was one of those life changing trips for Great Grandma.  Her name is Dorothy.  We call her Dorty,  Dorty often spoke of her friends who lived on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma.  How "the boys" visited a few times in their childhood and rode the horses and met the ranch boys.  These "boys" are now in their 40's and have kids and wives and a couple horses, pigs, dogs and cats of their own and run a nice little farming operation together in Illinois.   These boys are my husband and his brother.  I've seen photos of their tiny blonde toe heads horseback in expansive pastures of tall Oklahoma prairie some 30 plus years ago.  Adorable.

The grown farm brothers, well one of them, was able to visit with the ranch brothers on their Oklahoma ranch.  Grandma was over-the-moon happy to have reunited these two families, if only for a weekend.  Four generations now have fond memories of riding horseback in those OK pastures now.  And Dorty was happy. In OK. 

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