30 Snapshots of a Kansas Farm



I have decided to join in the blogging series 30 days.  The series will be called 30 Snapshots of a Kansas Farm.  I will share a picture and a story to go with it from the day.  There will be a lot going on in November for us.  I will be teaching a barn quilt block class on the 16th and 17th.  There will be a lot of beautiful barn quilt blocks to share with everyone!  I will be at my parent's house for Thanksgiving, so I will share pictures from my parent's farm, also.  There should be a wide variety of posts next month, a mix of farming and family!

If anyone lives in the Phillips county, KS area and is interested in painting a barn quilt block, you can contact me, agronomygirl@gmail.com, for more information.  The classes will take place in Kirwin, KS on the 16th and Phillipsburg, KS on the 17th.

What are some picture topics that you want to see from me?

30 Snapshots of a Kansas Farm
Snapshot #1 - Introduction
Snapshot #2 - The Best Doggie Ever
Snapshot #3 - Momma
Snapshot #4 - Andie and Scraggly
Snapshot #5 - Grain for Gold
Snapshot #6 - 3 Reasons I Love Redbeard
Snapshot #7 - Wheat Growing on the Farm

Here are the rest of the 30 Days Bloggers

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We Are Corny

Corn harvest will be over today!  (Big relief!!!!!)  All the soybeans and grain sorghum are cut and delivered to the grain elevator.  It is time to relax for a little bit.  I wanted to do a post about corn like I did with It's a Bean World Out There.

Corn rows lined up with the header as they come in to be harvested
We use a 12 row corn header.  Redbeard lines the sections on the corn header up with the rows of corn.  The plants enter into its own section and teeth grab the ear off the stalk.  The ear enters the combine and the trash flies out the back.  The grain piles up in the combine bin.
Corn being picked with one of the combines in the background

Corn unloading into the grain cart
Corn is used in a wide variety of products.  Products such as ethanol, plastic, toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, and diapers.  Food products like gum, salad dressing, yogurt, and milk contain corn components.  Corn products are everywhere!

Corn harvest is over for this year.  (Can I get a WooHoo!!!!!)  Harvest is a beautiful time of year, but sometimes it has gone on long enough.  Sometimes we act a little corny by the end of the season!

Source: 12 Surprising Products That Contain Corn http://www.forbes.com/pictures/ffhm45jfm/12-surprising-products-that-contain-corn/

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Snapshots of a Kansas Farm Photography Volume 1

I am excited to unveil my new watermark and share the photos I have been taking lately.

This photo was taken shortly after we got married.  I was walking around outside and saw this beautiful sunset.

This was the view from outside our house toward the town of Kirwin

Another beautiful sunset during wheat harvest 2013

Up close of wheat

I love this action shot!

View of the irrigation canal right by one of the wheat fields

If you look closely, that is four combines lined up at the same time.  This NEVER happens.  I was lucky that I live right by this field.

Wheat harvest with the grain elevator in the background.

Jake was planting corn and this looks like a different country.  It is just a few miles from our house!

I love this picture of unloading on the go during soybean harvest!

The sky changed to this beautiful dark blue right after I exited the combine. 

I feel so blessed to be able to experience views like this!

I love how the sun brightens the combine and corn.

I love the sun peeking over the hill!

Unloading corn on the go

The moon was beautiful that night.  This picture doesn't do it justice!

This is one of my favorite pictures!

I captured this beauty as the sun was coming up

A beautiful sunrise for a Sunday morning

Jake was hiding on the other side of the combine.  I love how this picture turned out!

If you are interested in having any of these hang on your wall, please contact me at agronomygirl@gmail.com.

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Meet Bowhunter Jessie!

It is official! I have joined the bowhunting world!  My obsession with bowhunting started when I was very young.  My dad and aunt have been bowhunters for a long time.  When I was little I would admire the deer that my dad shot with his bow.  I always wanted my own bow and dreamed of shooting my first bow killed deer.

Redbeard got a bow about nine months ago and that made me want one even more!  I never thought it would be possible for me to have an adult bow because I am so weak.  I figured I would have to be able to pull at least 45 pounds before I could get a bow.  A couple weeks ago, Redbeard started investigating my options.  Well...he found one!  I am now the proud owner of a Mission by Mathews Craze bow!  It can be adjusted from a 15 to 70 pound draw weight.  My starting draw weight is 35.5 pounds.  I was shocked that I could pull back that much weight.  My draw weight goal is 45 pounds.  Maybe one day I will get that strong!

My first bow!


Shooting my new bow!

A week and a half ago Redbeard and I went to Cabelas and found the ground blind that we will be using to hunt deer and turkey.  We are excited to get out in the elements and hunt!

We decided to see how the blind looked, so we set it up in the living room.

Scraggly decided to get in on the action!

The blind is ready for a hunt!

Can you see me?

I was really excited to check out the blind!

Hopefully I will be able to have a little bit of success this fall and winter!  

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Confessions of a Crocheting Addict

For twenty years I enjoyed my own version of crocheting.  When I was young I would crochet a whole skein of yarn into a mile long chain.  After I finished I would take it out, roll it up into a ball, and start over again.  On January 6, 2012, I decided it was time to "grow up" and make something more than a chain.  What came next was a huge surprise!  I was actually good at crocheting!

I started with making Redbeard a blanket for his bed that was brown, black, green, cream, and hunter orange.  Yeah, I was trying to be a good girlfriend and earn some future housewife points.  To be nice I decided to make him something manly.

My first project!
I even put a fancy hunter orange trim on it! 

After I finished this blanket, I decided to make a pretty pink blanket.  I really liked a crocheting style that my grandma used to make prayer shawls.  I really like how mine turned out, also!  It was a mystery how she made her prayer shawls like this, so I had to ask how she made them.  It is a triple then single crochet alternated with a long chain woven through the stitches.  It was nice to go back to my old style of crocheting and make an actual project!

I love how this blanket turned out!

The next project I tackled were some scarves for Christmas.  I made five scarves, but two of them were very special.  My cousin was looking for a way to tell the family she was going to have a baby, so I made them matching scarves!  It turned out better than I expected!  They were so cute!

Mary and I with her matching, Mommy and Baby scarves.

After Thanksgiving I told my mom that I would make her a queen size blanket for Christmas.  It ended up being a birthday present since I didn't get it done until June.  She picked a new stitch, called Larksfoot, for me to learn.

The finished product

Up close view of the Larksfoot stitch

When I finished her blanket, I decided I needed to make one for myself.  So I bought purple, gray, silver, and black yarn and got started.  After my mom's blanket, I completely fell in love with this crocheting stitch.

The first crocheting project that is just for me!

As you can see, I am addicted to crocheting.  When I am stressed, bored, or relaxed I reach for my crocheting bag.  I am so glad I decided to grow up and learn how to crochet!

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It's a bean world out there


It is fall harvest time on the farm!  More specifically we are cutting soybeans today! Soybeans are used to make a wide variety of consumer and animal products.  Soybean oil can be used to make edible cooking oils, biodiesel, herbicides, fungicides, paint, shampoo, and plastic to name a few. Soybeans are also used in cosmetics, crayons, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals(1).  They are everywhere you look!

This is our first soybean harvest together!


Like I said in Life Lessons From a Farmer, things happen during the day that are not according to plan.  We had a brief breakdown!

Pulling soybeans out of the header

After a short intermission, we were back to cutting soybeans!


Soybean plants coming into the combine.


Unloading the combine into the grain cart while cutting, otherwise known as "unloading on the go"

We finished cutting soybeans today and moved to some of our rain fed corn!  Next time you buy makeup or crayons, you just might be buying a soybean product!

Source: 1. http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/soybean/uses_soyproducts.html

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Life Lessons From a Farmer

As I made the transition from farmer's daughter to farmer's wife, I realized how many lessons I had learned from my dad and Redbeard.  It wasn't always easy being a farmer's daughter.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, even with my experience, to add farmer's wife to my titles.  Becoming a farmer's wife will change you.  Jenny Dewey Rohrich wrote about the experience in one of her latest blogpost, 10 Ways Marrying a Farmer Will Change Your Life.  If you haven't already seen her story, you should check it out!


The farmers and their women

Here are the life lessons I have learned from the farmers around me.


1. Patience - As a child I was the opposite of patient.  I have learned that patience is an important part of life and especially farming.  The crops are never ready when you need them to be or they are ready too soon and everything else has to wait.  Unless of course it rains or the combine breaks and the only part that can fix it is 500 miles away.  The farmer is a very patient person.  He/she has to wait to cut the best soybeans they have ever seen until they are dry enough.  Or sometimes it goes the other way, the crop is so bad that they just want to get it over with.  It does no good to give in to the excitement or disappointment, the farmer must prepare for the harvest whether it is one day or two weeks away.  The farmer doesn't know when the crop will be ready.  It all depends on the weather.


2. Be thankful for the weather - It doesn't matter what you have planned for the day, it seems like the weather ruins it.  When I was in college, I hated when it would rain on my way to class.  At the same time I would be rejoicing if it were raining in Alta Vista.  It became so dry that I started to wish for rain, even when walking to class.  Of course when it did start raining and it kept the farmers out of the field, we wanted it to be dry again.  My dad tries not to complain about wet weather (no matter how much he wants to get back in the field) because as soon as it stops, rain will be back on our minds.


3. When someone is short with you, it doesn't necessarily mean they are upset, they are probably just busy - I have always been the sensitive kind of woman.  The one you see on tv shows that cries at the drop of the hat.  I am saying, EXTREMELY emotional.  So when I would call my dad and he cut me off right away, I took it personally.  I thought it was an attack on me.  I didn't realize the actual reason until I started helping my dad on the farm.  When someone would call me in the middle of something, I couldn't think straight enough to talk.  I would cut them off and move on without thinking I had hurt someone's feelings.  I reflected on those moments and it hit me.   I am NOT the problem, it was just a bad time.  Since then I have learned to have brief conversations with my dad and Redbeard.  If they are busy, the conversation is short and they can call me back at another time when they are less busy.


4. Enjoy every second of life - Life is too short to worry about little things.  (I am reminding myself of this every single day.)  Farmers have something go wrong almost every day.  Whether it is a broken part or an untimely rain, something goes wrong.  But you don't see every farmer in America holding their head low.  Why is that?  They enjoy what they do and cherish every moment.


Take this day for instance, the day I graduated from college.  My parents were no doubt thinking, "how is our child this old" and "oh my, next thing in her life will be marriage."  What I see, is my parents enjoying the day and thinking, "YES!!!!  No more college tuition for us!  Oh yeah, and good job graduating kid."  They were enjoying every second, even if it was a little scary for them to see me grow up.

And our wedding day when my parents were thinking, "we don't have to pay her insurance anymore!"  It was a wonderful day, but I know deep down they were in shock at how fast this day had come.  They still enjoyed the day, even though it was scary.


And Redbeard, who thought this was the last time he would have to smile for a picture.  Boy do I have him fooled. :)  He enjoyed every second, (even if he won't admit it) and the day was great!

5. Don't let plans get in the way of your life - The life of a farmer is crazy and the family doesn't escape from the busy schedule.  I have always been a planner.  I had all these plans for my life and somehow my life managed to be exactly how I didn't plan.  When I was 14, I wanted to be an accountant and get away from the farm. In high school, I fell in love with agronomy and decided wheat breeding is what I wanted to do with my life.  At the same time I fell in love with being the official swather operator.  I was going to attend Kansas State University, major in agronomy, and go on to get my Master's and PhD.  I had a wheat breeding internship and found out I was allergic to wheat.  Instead of becoming a wheat breeder, I started dating a fellow agronomy student.  He was everything I wished I could do with my life, but I didn't know it yet.  It was never an option to go home and farm with my dad.  The man I fell in love with asked me to be his very own housewife!  I would get to cook and clean (okay, this wasn't the perk) and be involved on the farm!  At that moment I finally let go of my obsession with planning and decided I should go with the flow.  


As a woman, I have plans for the day, week, and my life.  As a farmer's wife and daughter, I realize that some of those plans will not work out the way I wanted.  I might have to take that trip to town tomorrow instead, so that I can drive the men from field to field and save them time.  I am okay with that...now.  Without becoming the wife of a farmer, I wouldn't have learned that lesson.  I have learned to let go of the control I had over my life and let God guide me where I am supposed to go.  Or at least try to!  It only took 22 years!


6. Hard work pays off, even if it doesn't seem like it - Farmers put their blood, sweat, and tears into what they do.  It is more than a job, it is a lifelong choice.  They work hard every day, from sunup to sundown, even when it seems like they aren't getting anything done.  I don't know how many times I hear my farmers (dad and Redbeard), talk about what they tried to fix during the day and it still wasn't fixed.  These days seem like a waste.  When the breakdown is finally fixed and they are harvesting the crop, they realize it wasn't a waste of time.  They are able to take a safe, reliable, and abundant food supply off the land and feed people.  I believe that is what makes farming worth all the ups and downs.


7. Never be satisfied enough that you stop trying to improve - Farmers are innovative and look for a way to increase yields while decreasing the impact on the ground.  They feel that there is always room for improvement.  My parents pushed me to be the best that I could be.  I believe that came from my dad's constant desire to improve his farming operation.  Goals are important for a farm.  In order to continue to improve, it is good to have an idea of what you want to accomplish.



Our very first picture together! (As a couple)
The day we got engaged. Ironically, I was wearing my "I kissed a farmer and I liked it" shirt for the first time!

As you can see, I have learned many life lessons from the farmers in my life.  I can't imagine where I would be today without them in my life.  My parents and husband have shaped me into the woman I am today.  I am so thankful for their love and support, and especially those life lessons from a farmer.

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My purple palace

So by now everyone should know I have an unhealthy obsession with purple.  I have always wanted a K-State purple colored room.  When I was a kid, my mom wouldn't let me because she thought I would grow out of crazy ideas. Well, the only thing she accomplished is not having the room in her house.

A few months ago, Jake and I transformed one of the bedrooms into my childhood dream.  It now serves as my workout/crocheting room.

Here are some pictures of the progress.  There are still a couple things left to do, but they will wait for cooler weather.

Before picture of carpet and wallpaper
First, we had to take the blue carpeting out of the room.  Underneath the carpet we found a very pleasant surprise.  The floor underneath was a beautiful, almost perfect wood floor.  We were hoping it would be nice, but were shocked that it was so nice.

Our first look at the wood floor underneath

We were surprised to find only a few issues with the floor.  There were staples everywhere and the finish was not looking so good.  I pulled out the staples and decided the rest of the floor work should happen in cooler weather.  I will post about this process later on when I actually get to the work.


After everything was off the floor

When all of the staples were out of the floor, I moved on to the wallpaper removal.  This was the longest section of the transformation so far.  I tried using DIF (a wallpaper removal product) and finally landed on plain water in a spray bottle.  It seemed to work the best.  My routine was spray the wall down, rub the water into the paper, and wait a few minutes to remove.  It took awhile, but it was well worth the wait.

Blue and white walls underneath the wallpaper
As I said before, I have wanted K-State purple walls in a room for many years.  When I was younger, I wanted my bedroom to be painted dark purple and my mom told me I would not like purple by the time I was in middle school.  When I was in middle school, I still wanted a purple room!  She finally gave in when I was in Europe the summer before my junior year of high school.  Now that I have my own home to improve, the first thing I did was paint three rooms purple.  I feel like I really showed her!  

All finished!  The beautiful purple walls I have dreamed of for years!

Here is a peek at my exercise equipment next to the BEAUTIFUL purple walls! :)  I remember hearing that Google did a study and found that employees working in purple rooms were most productive out of all the colors.  Let's hope this is a little more true in the future!  I haven't been using my workout equipment as much as I should.  In my defense, I have been using the great outdoors for my exercise!  This winter, the equipment will get used frequently!


My treadmill


My elliptical and crocheting chair
Now if I could just get Jake to get my gray curtains put up!  Look forward to the next post in the home improvement series, Wood Floors Renewed!

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