The Thanksgiving List

This week started my much needed break from school.  It always seems as if Turkey Day break comes three weeks too late.  By this time in the semester all of us are exasperated and our brains are fried to a crisp.  It has been so nice to be able to kick back and relax somewhat! 

Being that it’s so close to Thanksgiving, I’m going to do a list of things that I’m thankful for, and most of you can probably relate.

1.  I’m thankful that I was born in a country where I am free to practice my faith.

2.  I’m thankful for growing up in the Midwest. (Mainly Iowa)

3.  I’m thankful for the most inexpensive and safe food source in the world.

4. I’m thankful for the farmers who contribute to that food source.

5. I’m thankful for clean water.

6. I’m thankful for my farmer, and all of the other farmers out there who will be doing their chores on Thanksgiving day so that we get to have that mouth watering ham or turkey on Thanksgiving Day every year.

7. I’m thankful for my education.

8. I’m thankful for my family and friends.

9. I’m thankful for the talents God has given me.

10. I am most thankful for the blessed, crazy, fun, and busy life God has given me. 

It’s so easy to forget why we get together with our loved ones and stuff ourselves until misery.  Remember to not only give thanks on this special holiday, but to give thanks every day.  We have so much to be thankful for living in the country that we do and living the lives we do.  Remember to thank our farmers who skip out on some family time so that they can care for their livestock in order to feed us every day.

Are you thankful for some of the same things?  How do you celebrate the holidays?


Love to all- Nicole

Farmers are the Underdogs

This past Friday I was able to attend a conference put on by the Iowa AgriWomen.  It was a conference based around policy and advocacy.  It could not have been more perfect in terms of timing.  After last weeks success with my blog I was extremely intimidated to write another one this week.  But, here I am once again cranking out another post.

Last week the AP came out with a very misleading article on ethanol and what is has done to Iowa’s land and environment.  This isn’t the first time the press or any anti-agriculture group has put out misleading information but this one really got me thinking.  Farmers are the underdogs in this rat race.  What I mean by this is that everyone BUT farmers are telling the farmers story. Everyone else is trying to tell farmers how to farm, and what they are doing wrong and most of it is false information because they are misinformed.

Farmers, friends of farmers, farming families, and anyone else advocating for agriculture.. this is our time to put our foot down and show and tell what’s really going on.  If we don’t do something now we’re going to continue to get slammed with false information, articles, horrible policies and attacks.  It’s our time to be transparent and open about all of the good things we are doing to make sure we are providing a quality, wholesome, and healthy food source for the rest of the world.

Have that conversation with the woman at the grocery store that is wanting to buy GMO free products.  Explain to her the truths of GMO’s and give her the right information.  It is our job to be a trustworthy information source for people to make educated decisions on their food products.  Open the conversations with dialogs, not arguments.  Invite them out to your farm and show them what you are doing.  Field their concerns and be transparent with your answers.  You never know if the woman or man in the grocery store could be the editor for AP or the local newspaper.

Farmers have never been more careful and concerned with their practices because it is their best interest.  It’s in their best interest to preserve the land for their future generations, so that their son or daughter can someday farm the land that they worked so tirelessly for.

We are the underdogs in this story, because the world needs farmers, whether they’d like to admit to it or not.

Why small town Iowa kids are spoiled

This weekend I went home to help my best friend go wedding dress shopping in our small hometown Iowa.  Now, when I say small hometown, I mean it.  We went to school in a town of 1000 people and had a graduating class of around 48.  This town, technically isn’t even my hometown.  The small town I grew up closest to has under 500 people, but that’s not even small yet.  The village that was closest to me, being only about 5 miles away has a population of about  50 people.  So, when I say I grew up in small town Iowa, it’s legit small town.

Being home always reminds me why I’m so spoiled to grow up in a small town.  Now, before you freak out and get mad that I’m dissing small town life, it’s not what you think it is.  I promise.

Here’s some reasons why I believe small town Iowa kids are spoiled:

1.   You are spoiled because you know whoever you pass on the road will wave.  It doesn’t even have to be on the road.  While walking down the street in your small town Iowa, people will greet you with a smile and a wave.  They will know who you are, who your parents are, and who your grandparents are.

2.  You are spoiled because your neighbors and your neighbors’ neighbors will help you in a time of need.  If you have a house fire, a death in the family, a tragic accident or any of the above, your neighbors will be there.  The neighbors will be the first to bring you a hot meal or a pan of bars.  They will be there to listen, console or laugh with you through your experience.

3.  You are spoiled because you will know what a true sense of community feels like.  What it feels like to have the entire town come support the football team in the championship round.  How it feels to have the small town Iowa celebration and know almost every single person in attendance of the pork chop supper or the crowning of the town princess.

4.  You are spoiled because you will know the ease of selling cookie dough for volleyball, or FFA fruit to the neighbors. The only hard work required is walking to the doorstep and having small town chat with the neighbor in order to get them to support your cause.

5. You are spoiled because you know that no matter where your life’s journey will take you, your small town Iowa will always be welcoming you back with open arms, waves and smiles.  Whether you go off to college, the Service, get married and move across the state, move away for a job, a love interest, or simply just want a different experience, your small town Iowa will always be home.

We are some of the most spoiled people in the world, yet we would never think about it until we move away and see and experience “city life”.

After living in a busy college town for the past few years you come to appreciate your small town Iowa.  You miss the waves, the sense of community and togetherness, and the feeling of home.

Things I’m learning as a soon to be Farmers Wife.

Another harvest is completed for both of my farming families!  Although it may not have been as bountiful as we all would have hoped, everyone had a safe harvest which is most important.

This weekend I was able to ride in the combine with my sweetheart for the final time this year.  With only a few more acres to go the combine broke, however we could still run which we were thankful for.

Here’s what I am learning so far:

My soon to be husband is so darn handsome when he’s mad that it’s hard not to laugh at him.  — When the combine is broke with little acres left, tensions are running high, and the fiance has little patience left, now is not the time to laugh!  Luckily, my fiance is a good sport and starts crack a smile and relax a little when I start laughing at how ridiculous the situation is.

The second thing I have had to get used to is the difference in land from where I grew up in northern Iowa (extremely flat) to southern Iowa (rolling hills).  It is EXTREMELY hard for me not to freak out if we are on somewhat of a side hill or incline when in machinery.  I feel as though we are going to tip over. (however it is quite obvious we won’t.)  My farmer gets a kick out of me scrambling to grab on to something if we get onto the slightest hill.

During the planting or harvesting seasons, you are lucky if you get to spend a whole lot of time with your loved one, unless of course you ride along with him in the equipment.  I am lucky in that I love to ride along.  I grew up spending a lot of time with my dad or grandpa in the equipment during harvest, so I’ve learned to love the inside of a cab🙂

Silence is okay when riding along.  Sometimes my sweetie can be quiet and just needs that silence.. which is really hard for me because I LOVE to talk.  I never realized how much I talked until I started dating my Farmer when he mentioned it to me one time.  I just have so many things that are floating around in my head that need to come out and he’s so wonderful for sitting and listening to all of them!

Time spent together outside of the harvest activities consists of harvest talk.  How things are yielding, what the moisture is, how many acres left, and what we will and won’t be planting next year.

All he wants is a good, hot meal! Luckily I learned this young, but when the men come in from a long day in the field all they want is a nice, hot meal.  Eating sandwiches for weeks straight starts to get a little monotonous and my sweetie is always welcoming hot, filling meals.  Last night I made homemade chili, corn bread, and scotcheroos for him.  My cooking is going to have to adjust a little from just my single serving meals for feeding me, to feeding 4 people so that he has easy access to leftovers when needed.

A last and somewhat unrelated thing that I have learned.. which is making me a little sad, is that I am losing my northern Iowa/southern Minnesota accent.  My “Ohs” have gotten shorter, I’m adopting the “Have you chored yet?” compared to “Have you done the chores yet” — (Is chore a verb or a noun?) and I am no longer saying “Oofta”.

Happy beginning of November! Don’t blink or we’ll hit Xmas!

Love to all- Nicole

It’s Okay To Be Sad About Happy Things..

Housewives of Rural America

by Danielle Beard

I didn’t believe in ‘the one,’ real-life, fairy tale love stories or the whole ‘when you know, you know’ cliche. In fact, I didn’t believe in a lot of things, that is, until I met My Someone.(<= As my fiance is known on my blog, High Heels & Shotgun Shells)

The moment I let that blue-eyed Kentucky boy into my heart, everything as I knew it came to a halt. It wasn’t long after I realized that my wagon would be hitched to his till the whole death do us part shin-dig.

We hadn’t been dating long when ‘the talk’ happened. You know the one that involves words like, “our future,” “we,” “us,” “marriage,” “a litter of kids and a T-Post, barbed wire fence ” and in our case “moving.” With me in Kansas and him in Kentucky, it was inevitable someone was going to have…

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