A Place to Lay your Crayons

So this Fall I (ok Grandma) got Harlie a little table and chair set at an Amish auction my parents’ neighbors had for the Amish community school. It was so cute, but not ready for a Toddler to use. I wanted it to have a rustic feel so I did a little creative searching and came up with a great end product!

So here she is with the before. She couldn’t wait for me to get it done before she used it! And the after beside it!

So how did I get the old look?

Step 1: I stained the edges of the table and legs that I knew I’d want to show through a little.

Step 2: I took a candle (one of my leftover emergency candles from living in Florida during some bad hurricanes) and I rubbed it along all of the edges I knew I might want to show through. You can see in the photo there was a little residue left. I tried to use my hand to wipe some of that off so it wouldn’t have a clump under the paint.

Step 3: I painted the table and chairs as you normally would. I painted it a sea foam color as I hope to make that one of Harlie’s colors in her room as she grows out of her nursery motif.

Step 4: This was the fun part! I antiqued it by taking a very fine sandpaper (make sure it is fine so it doesn’t leave marks) and I sanded the edges where I wanted it to look old. I also did a slight sand on the top of the table so the paint looked a little worn. Now my husband thought I needed to sand and reveal more, but I just wanted a slight feel of antique to it. So Here is what it looked like.

I believe in the future of agriculture…

If you can finish this sentence, then  you can understand when I say how much of an impact the National FFA had on my life. This week I am spending my time in the National Convention newsroom for the 14th year in a row. Through pictures I watch the stories of amazing youth unfold over the week. From children who are shy and reserved to outgoing and loud. They are all coming out of their shells and improving their lives through the workshops, sessions, and experiences here at FFA. It isn’t about all the competitions or awards (those are nice), it is about motivating youth. You talk to my husband and myself and both of us will recall a speakerIMG_2511 at the National FFA (and/or Ohio FFA) convention that was a turning point in our lives. Their inspirational words struck chords in us that made us the outgoing, successful agriculturalist we are today. Our farm wouldn’t be nationally recognized for conservation practices without the training my husband got, nor would he be the amazing professional speaker he is. I would not have the research and teaching career with out an ag teacher who pushed me forward way back when.

So what is the point of this post you ask? Simple. Gratitude. I am so thankful that I was given the chance to be a part of a youth organization like this, and thankful that I still get to be a part of it today as a professional. While I know we can’t tell our children who to be or what to do (even though I want to), but you can bet my little girl will be in the FFA. I look forward to the day she puts on that blue jacket and becomes the woman she will be. She doesn’t have to be a state officer like me, or win state proficiencies like John and I. I just want her to experience it! Experience the motivation, the excitement, the dedication to an industry you love, and leadership skills to be gained.

Different type of “Tailgating”

This time of the year means one thing to farm wives… harvest widow. For a few months every fall my husband is a tornado of work. If I do see him he is running for parts, fixing a combine, or cussing the rain. All the while he’s watching the price of corn and beans hoping for a good income. Farmers make their year’s salary over these few months and it is totally up to mother nature how much they will make.  The only thing I can do to help him in this crazy time (since I’m not allowed to drive equipment for good reason) is to be there to help when he needs me to get parts, move him as he switches fields, and make sure he is fed. That last one is the hardest. My farmer doesn’t stop for anything…including food. So dinner has to be something that is one handed and quick. So all those great dinner recipes we fall back to go out the window. I turned to my fellow farm wives for ideas this year since I was sick of the stand by of hamburger, sloppy joe, and shredded chicken. Based on some great ideas I made up this tasty concoction last night!

I took:IMG_3366
Swiss Steak
Onions chopped up
1 Tb of butter
2 tsp of garlic salt
1/3 cup Worcester Sauce
Cheese slices

Melted butter in skillet and softened the onions. Added in garlic salt. Cut swiss steak into pieces big enough for buns and cooked it in the skillet on medium heat. I flipped it every once in a while and poured the Worcester sauce over the meat while cooking. I tried to keep the sauce and onions on the meat as it cooked. While it was cooking I toasted the buns and put slices of cheese on each bun. Put it all together and in a bag to head to the field. It had good reviews so I call it a success!

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Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. — Winnie the Pooh

That day is today. I love kayaking. I love being in the water watching the wildlife listening to the running river with fresh air. But more importantly I cherish our waterways for what they provide for our farm: the tools to grow our crops.

Water quality is a huge topic in Ohio. From the algae blooms in our lakes and the issues with the contamination of the Toledo water supply, everyone is looking for answers. Unfortunately, the media has been pointing their fingers at Ohio’s farmers. While we aren’t totally innocent I think it is important for people to realize our love of water and concern for its quality as well. Most of us are being proactive in what we do. At our farm we truly believe that for our land to be sustainable we have to take care of our soil and our water. Our farm sits on both the Lake Erie watershed and the Mississippi River watershed. So what we do on our farm is not only important for our future but for those who rely on those bodies of water.

As stewards of our land it is important we share our story as to how we care for our water. I’m so proud of my husband and that we have almost 20 years of no-till on our farm and are recognized for conservation practices we employ on the farm. We can be sustainable and productive on the farm.

To learn more about what Ohio Farmers are doing to help Ohio water check out: http://soyohio.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/FINAL-Water-Quality-PDF-Version_May-22-2013.pdf

Crafty… a little late

This post was something I meant to do a while ago…but better late than never. I try to be crafty when I can. It gives my mind a break from the daily grind of the university and the farm. So when Harlie started cribbing (chewing on her crib) I knew I needed to get creative! So I made my own cover. So this is what I did.
1. I measured my crib length taking close notes of what was the space between each post and the length of the posts. I then marked my felt ( I just got a few yards of felt cloth) and cut the slits.

2. Once I had the slits made I went to the crib and tied them on to it. I double knotted it so I knew she couldn’t get it undone. Then I trimmed the ends. Below is my final shot. I did this a few months ago and it has stayed great!

My Kids

ImageI always said I didn’t need kids of my own because I had amazing ones I work with everyday at work. At the end of each school year I am reminded why I love my job so much. Getting to see my “kids” succeed and enter the world I know they are ready to conquer. Every hour away from my family, every late night and early morning, every email while on vacation or while sick is worth it to me if I can make a difference. We don’t teach to get accolades, but when the end of the year rolls around and my seniors say thank you it makes me so happy. I know that I have helped them, but am also happy because they in their own ways have helped me have an amazing life. This year I got several thank you notes from my seniors, and my club I advise nominated me for an advising award I received from the university. I hope some day Harlie knows that while I hate not being by her side 24-7, I love my “kids” at work and am making a difference.