Posts Tagged ‘farming’

That was the topic of the sermon at church last Sunday.  It was a short sermon because it’s a pretty darn blunt message!  Well, that, and our pastor is just really good at getting the point across in a short time with a LOT of enthusiasm!  There are some awfully good tv shows and movies made about this very thing – trying to get along with neighbors; and for good reason!

So, for today, let’s think about a counter action for different times your neighbor frustrates you, so you can demonstrate those acts of love.  (You have to bear in mind, I am really making up some fun stuff here, because our nearest neighbors are just over a mile away and they are completely not annoying!)

  1.  Your neighbor constantly spies on you and then reports to everyone else what they see you doing.  First of all – how much fun is it to do things because you know they are watching!?!  Do something to give them an extra good story, like writing Christmas cards during the summer or using a fork to eat ice cream (I may or may not do these things regardless if someone is watching).  Then, each and every time you see them, kindly ask how they are doing and offer them a cookie – preferably a Valentine’s cookie at Easter, a Halloween cookie on Valentine’s Day, and a Christmas cookie on 4th of July.  Just generally keep them guessing – cheap entertainment for you and them! 

    I highly recommend a cookie/snack recipe I made this morning – your neighbor will LLLOOOVVVEEE you if you share! 
    Peanut butter Fritos – oh my sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy deliciousness! 
    Here is the simple recipe:
    Dump a bag of Fritos on a serving tray (I used a jelly roll pan covered with foil).  Mix 1 cup sugar and 1 cup light corn syrup in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil – stir and boil just until sugar melts and mixture is clear.  Remove from heat and stir in one cup peanut butter.  Pour the entire mixture over the Fritos.  Allow to cool and ENJOY!IMG_7898

  2. Your neighbor parks in front of your driveway so you can’t turn in to your own property.  This can be incredibly maddening!  Your first thought may be to park in their driveway, but it’s probably already full if they are blocking yours.  Let’s think of something SO nice they are completely confused  – my mom always called it “killing them with kindness.”  I would suggest getting your lawn mower and and going to work on their lawn!  Who doesn’t want to have their lawn mowed for them?  Or perhaps, once you have finally found a place to park, you just call and invite them right on over to supper and some entertaining board games.  Wait! I’ve got it!  Put up Christmas lights on their house for them! (I love this idea, particularly if they aren’t fond of Christmas lights, heehee!)
  3. If your neighbor constantly has loud music going or loud machinery outside all the time, here is a potential solution:  Give your neighbors a pair of Bluetooth speakers as a gift.  How loving and kind is that?  Then, you can use your device to blast music into the speakers at random times during the day so they can enjoy your music with you! You can easily sync your device to the speakers so long as you are not too far out of range. You can also blast creepy sounds to make them think their house is haunted, you know, just for fun. 
  4. Your neighbor has all kinds of political campaign signs that you absolutely don’t agree with and they place them in their lawn right up to the very edge of the property line.  This is NOT the end of the world!  Once again, plan a bbq or meal, invite them to watch a ball game, and JUST DON’T TALK POLITICS.  

Honestly try to get to know something about your neighbor that has nothing to do with politics or even their habit that makes you angry.  Do they love to cook?  Are they good at art?  Do they have an amazing garden?  Did they grow up in a small town or a big city?  Have they ever been to a farm?  Do they enjoy sports?  I know I am 100% chatty and I am also well aware of my tendency to hang with people that are just like me.  That is when I remind myself, I am glad I have friends like Jonathon – not much like me, but SUPER cool and smart!  I just have to be willing to show a little love to someone that at one time in my life I would have probably stared at, snuck a pic to send around to friends, and even sent a group “check this out!” text.  That is rude and now I know I should talk to them instead of making fun…In fact, I got to enjoy a completely impromptu shopping trip at a thrift store with Jonathon!

Here is my buddy Jonathan – he has more certifications and qualifications than I can name, he grew up in Hawaii and now lives in New York City, he is a great advocate for modern agriculture and I am proud to call him my neighbor from across the country!


But in all seriousness – do you see why I would have sent that “check this out” pic!?!?  Blue mo-hawk, a lot of crazy, and quite honestly, stuff you just don’t see much in good ol Clay County Nebraska, USA.

Have a great week everyone – I hope you get to show some unexpected kindness to someone!

Read Full Post »

We have still been cleaning up the Kottmeyer Place.  Everything about it is an adventure.  There are so many cool OLD things to wonder at!  One of the things I wonder at is how many years worth of Old Granddad bottles are in one glass pile.  That would be one of my less favorite drinks of choice, but based on the pile,there was a fair amount consumed on that place through the years – I’m sure, often times, with friends, telling stories.  Roy Henry certainly knew how to tell a good story that never ended without belly laughs.

Roy Henry

Roy Henry ALWAYS had a dog with him!

This is what good belly laughs look like!!!   IMG_6703

As we gather up piles of iron, wood, glass and so on, it’s easy to imagine what farming was like 100 years ago.  I have stories from my grandparents to help solidify the images of smaller fields, larger gardens, horse-drawn equipment, early tractors, and of course, the old outhouse!  Gosh – that is one thing that proves to me that God knew the right era to put me in.  I am game to be one with nature if necessary, but to run out to an outhouse through a blizzard – I just don’t know if I’m that tough!

From our grandparents’ stories, we know exactly how much change they got to see in their lifetimes.  They did go from horse-drawn equipment to tractors with cabs.  They went from thrashing crews to combines with air conditioners and bin monitors.  They used crank telephones and ended up having cell phones.  They celebrated yields of 60 bushel per acre corn long before they were disappointed with 100 bushel per acre corn.  They got to experience so much advancement in their lifetimes!

I have reached an age where I am old enough to love myself (that means I am way past my 20’s and beyond my 30’s). I think about what farming was like for my family when I was a kid and I wonder what is yet to come in the next 50 years.  I know it will be nothing short of amazing!  We already have driver-less tractors – well, WE don’t have that, but they have been created.  We do have a drone at our place that gets used to check on where cattle are, look at pasture or crop quality, and so on.  Seed genetics and soil health have improved immensely.  And livestock – we have much better facilities, genomic data, carcass usage, and ultimately, eating satisfaction.  Heck, we can even Ask Chuck how to prepare a cut of beef!  It’s hard to believe we can get EVEN better at what we all do, but there are a lot of very bright minds working to help us do just that.

I hope that as we continue to make advancements, we do so  wisely.  Every choice should leave our land, water, and air in better condition than when we became the manager of it.

I treasure this line that I saw in an essay contest written by a young lady named Grace:  “Honoring tradition and being bound by it are two different things.”  May we always honor the important traditions of our families and our communities.  May we also embrace and implement advancements in technology, farming practices, and food production while honoring those important traditions.

Just for fun and because I love it, even though the ONLY thing about it that ties together with this blog is tradition, i.e. the father-daughter dance, here is one of my favorite pictures from the summer. And yes, she chose a dress with a very long, gorgeous train that was a beast to bustle up!


I hope that a hundred years from now fathers are still dancing with their daughters.

Read Full Post »

We have been getting rain – lots and lots of rain!!!  We would have given anything to have received this rain back in May and June and July.  I won’t be a whiner – I really am thankful for the moisture now, and I do realize it really is a blessing, but golly, it would be nice for the crops to get harvested.  And to have the cattle pens not be muddy.  And to have the gravel roads not be a muddy disaster.  Okay – sorry, I did whine there just a little bit.  Yes, this rain is a blessing, it doesn’t seem like that many years ago we had a very dry fall with strong winds and combines and fields were catching on fire all over the place.  We will gladly deal with a little mud.


Sometimes things do happen just at the right time.  Last summer we were literally 24 hours from having to drive an hour one way to pick up a water trailer, drive another 20 minutes to load the trailer with water, and then back to the pasture and home again – all for one of the pastures of cows to have water to drink.  Their pond was down to the tiniest muddy water hole you can imagine.  We also had a list of cows we were willing to sell because we just weren’t going to have enough grass to get them all through the summer.  Amazingly, we received enough rain to fill that pond the very next day.  And since then we have received enough rain to keep the grass going.  God is good!  That was a very timely blessing!


These little corn plants ended up getting just enough rain to make a nice crop.

How many times in life do we think, “if this had only happened then, not now?”  Or even more often, how often to we receive or encounter something that we wish would never happen at all?  There are always struggles, whether they are with health or finances, or for farmers, the weather; and sometimes they are with friends or family relationships.  Our pastor reminded us last Sunday (yes, it was raining then, too), it will be o.k.  It always ends up being o.k.  It may not be exactly as you planned and it may stretch your faith and make you get out your thinking cap, but it will be o.k.


This is the rain that came just in time last summer – it was a million dollar rain for the area.

I feel like I need to share some comfort food after all of this.  Since it’s been damp and chilly, we have already kicked off soup season at our house.  Here is a recipe link for a DELICIOUS potato soup we just had.  Matt and I both highly recommend it (especially with plenty of bacon)!


Potato Soup

P.S.  I know I have been VERY VERY bad about blogging the past couple (er, maybe 3) years.  I have committed to myself to get back to it.  If anyone reads these posts, push me – make me be better about blogging and I certainly welcome topic ideas!



Read Full Post »

This week I heard a most profound statement:  “You will feel much greater success when you see your circumstance as a choice rather than a sacrifice.”  Bam! Right in the forehead!  Yes!  Now, I typically do keep that attitude, but I know there have been times where I was certainly less than cheerful about the choice I had made and attempted to qualify myself as a hero for sacrificing SSSOOO much.  That statement was made in a room chock full of successful agriculture women, but it is completely suitable for all people – men, women, urban, rural, everybody.

So, here are a few of my choices, not sacrifices:

  1. I chose to marry a man who’s trade training was in welding; not someone who would likely provide me the opportunity to fly in his corporate jet or take luxurious vacations or live in a mansion. I chose a man who treats me like a queen, makes our home feel like the richest place on earth with his wit and charm, and can make any weekend hanging out together as fun as any possible vacation.  And yes – we have treated ourselves to a few really great vacations 🙂dsc_5038
  2. We choose to live an hour drive away from the nearest shopping.  We get to plan when to be in town and we learn to keep essential supplies on hand.  We could live where there is a Target just minutes away and going to the movies could be a spur of the moment thing to do. Instead, we choose to rent a movie on our satellite, see millions of stars at night, watch a lunar eclipse without going anywhere but our front deck, and grill burgers at home rather than driving through somewhere.IMG_1604
  3. I choose to have a career and be a farm wife and a mom. I have chosen to make time for the kids activities, while showing them that a woman can have a rewarding career in what has traditionally been known as a “man’s world.”  I have also chosen to be involved in organizations where I feel I am contributing to the betterment of the things I love (church, the beef community, all of agriculture, 4-H, FFA, and so on).IMG_7873

While some may say I sacrificed convenience, culture, time with family, or lavish lifestyle, I believe I CHOSE true love, happiness, cherished memories, and genuine appreciation of ALL things, great and small. (Though admittedly, I do NOT appreciate the snakes crawling through my flower beds!)  I guess wherever you are and whatever you do, everyday seems much better if you remember you chose to go the direction you did and you can choose to change it!

Read Full Post »

Where did your footsteps take you today and what kind of footprints did you leave behind?

This past Sunday Matt and I got to attend a special church service. The little church (very near where we farm and ranch in Kansas) celebrated 125 years! His grandparents were pastors there at the time they were killed in a car accident in the 1960’s. The message of the sermon was about footprints. My mind immediately began racing about the steps we take and footprints we leave in our farming and ranching choices. The bulletin for the service was titled “Celebrating Northbranch Heritage”; every farmer’s heritage is determined by his choice of footsteps.

(I didn’t have a picture from when the kids were little of boots – but this one is darn cute!)

I can’t help but think of how BIG some guys feet are and how ADORABLE toddlers are when they try to stand in the boots of those big men! Those young people are shaping their hopes and dreams based on the footprints we leave. Are we constantly stumbling? Are we walking proudly? Are we taking scary paths? Are we taking time to let them follow closely?

Just to lighten this up a bit…I guarantee, several times a week, we step in a pile of poop. When you have cattle in pens, there is bound to be a footprint in a cow pie. There are various ways to then clean those boots or shoes – just make sure you do before heading in the house! And I know I have attempted to step over an electric fence, only to lose my balance and get a zap on my inner thigh – yep, go ahead, laugh along with me! It’s all one can do when that happens! I hope our kids see when, in life, we figuratively “step in the poop” and learn from our mistakes! I also hope they notice that younger kids are already looking to them as an example and they REALLY need to carefully select their path!

Matt and I have been blessed with some pretty amazing footsteps to follow & we have blazed our own path a few times & all we can hope is that our “heritage” is meaningful in some way decades from now. Regardless, those who know us, are not a bit surprised by the spot in our path where there are tons of prints all in one area…those are the times we are dancing!

dsc_5009 (1)

Read Full Post »

First and foremost, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mama’s out there! That goes for those of you who are wonderful influences on kids even if they are not your own, too! I love hearing my kids and their friends refer to different moms…Mama Shawna, Mama Caldwell, Mama Linda, and on and on. We all know, it takes a community to raise a child, right? That is especially true in farming and ranching communities. We all know and look out for one another.

A good mama cow nursing the embryo transfer calf she is raising.

Hopefully all mom’s out there get treated to either going out to eat or having their family cook for them. And hopefully, they appreciate the wonderful food grown by America’s farmers as they enjoy their special day. I know that my kids, my husband, and myself will spend a portion of Mother’s Day in some good, quality, cattle working, family time, which I LOVE! We will also take supper to my Mom’s to enjoy with my brothers and their families. My sis is a new mom for the third time, so she is going to enjoy her Mother’s Day at her own place with her 3 little ones…if she is really lucky, her husband will take the kids out for a few hours and she will get treated to a MUCH needed nap!

Me & my kids.

Kaydee recently worked with a gal at CommonGround to put together a Mother’s Day letter to me. I have nothing funny to say here. In fact, after she did this, she immediately called me and told me the things she said were sure to make me cry…darn her!  She was very kind to me and I am so thankful to have been raised by an amazing Mom who was the best example I could have ever asked for in how to be a strong and gracious woman & how to be a good mama. And, it appears, at least as of now, Kaydee thinks I am an o.k. mama, too…coming from a teenage girl, all I can say is, “WHEW!”


Read Full Post »

Just ask any one of the nearly 4000 people that attended the Nebraska State FFA Convention in Lincoln last week. They will agree with UNL IANR Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ronnie Green, AGRICULTURE IS SEXY!  I have been working with this group of FFA members for the past three years. They may or may not think I am sexy & honestly, I do NOT want to know if they do! However, they are great kids & most importantly, they help keep me young!

They are pictured here with their Ag Ed instructor and FFA Advisor, Amy Tomlinson. They don’t look happy or excited at all, do they?  We started three years ago having half of an idea of what was expected of us & have progressed to earning the honor of State Champion Ag Sales Team and will represent Nebraska at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October.

After really thinking about our situation, I am glad we didn’t qualify for National until this year. We are a mature team and will represent our state well. We are going into the contest with countless hours of practice, laughs, studying, and quite a bit more laughing. I am well aware of my limitations and know that I should never be a high school teacher…some kid would head home missing appendages, or worse… But, to work with them on a special project for a couple months per yer – VERY rewarding! I know there was a time when I was young and had their level of energy (it was more than a few years ago), but I truly admire all of the youth that were in Lincoln last week. They are all involved in a ton of activities & they are extremely talented!

So, what else is sexy about agriculture? You  name it. To me, it usually looks pretty good…for instance, I snapped this great picture of my husband tagging a calf. I don’t get to spend many days or nights with him this time of year, so he looks good to me just going about his daily work! 🙂

The young men at the State FFA Convention thought Miss America was totally sexy! And, they really appreciated her positive and intellectual message regarding agriculture policy and perception in the U.S. My son, pictured below with his fellow FFA member Erika, but much to his dismay, not with Miss America, thought it would be great if Miss America became a CommonGround volunteer and stayed at our house…often! He is so cute! 🙂 I am VERY proud of him for doing so well in Creed Speaking – a gold medal is quite an accomplishment for a young man who used to be absolutely terrified of any public speaking!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: