7 Awesome Things That Happened This Fall

We have had a big fall.

Both kids are in school full time! At the same school! It is the small things in life to get excited about.

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Both kids played soccer at the exact same time. Literally the majority of Saturdays they played at the same time at fields that were on the opposite sides of park.

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Then you throw in ballet and swim and tumbling and all I did was drive back and forth from home to town. Many days two or three 50 mile round trips. But swimming has been so worth it!


Boo loves it and has built up his self esteem. Now if only he would be able to drive himself to all the practices. But seeing the smile on his face makes it so worth it!

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And in the midst of our craziness, we have taken all of our bikes to training wheel free status.


And of course we had to order her a new bike because cars and bikes don’t seem to coexist in our world. It seems stores don’t carry large supplies of 16″ bikes. So, thank you Amazon and your prime shipping!!

But just when we didn’t have enough going on, we moved. The people buying our house offered to lease our house from us. They got to move in sooner and we got to move closer to school sooner. Double win…except the two week window to move.

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To cap off the crazy circus life, we decided to take the kids to a Colts game. Since the Colts are doing amazing with their new rock star quarterback, we figured now would be as good of a time as ever! We surprised the kids with new jerseys when we got out of Sunday School and told them we were going to the game. Excitement was so huge that Boo actually cried. Cried tears of happiness. It was better than Christmas morning!

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Pass the locally grown vodka!

That’s right, I said local and vodka in the same sentence. Since eating local food is the trendy thing, I thought maybe I should drink local alcohol too.  One of the cool things about not only being married to a farmer but also working for the farming community, is you learn a lot about where food comes from.

And I learned a few weeks ago that if I drink vodka (or any clear liquor), I have a high probability it came from corn grown in either Indiana, Illinois or Iowa. So, bring on the vodka.

But, in all honesty, corn gets a bad rap. Michael Pollan gave it a bad name in Omnivore’s Dilemma. Then for some reason cane sugar folks gave HFCS (High Fructose Corn Sugar) a bad name. Oh wait, I know the reason. So they could sell more cane sugar. And now people think corn fed beef is less desirable than grass fed. Seriously people have you never had a good steak???

Part of me just shakes my head in frustration for how gullible the general consumer is on these marketing schemes. Because most of the time that is exactly what they are. Someone villainizes the competition to make their product look superior or more desirable. It is marketing people.

But, while touring Grain Processing Corporation, I realized it is all about access for most people. When was the last time people were given access to major food processing companies?

We have all started showing pictures of our farms and trying to show everyone just how good of a job the farmers are doing. But, the problem isn’t with the farmers job. It is really about what happens when the commodity leaves the farm.

So, let me take you through the process of getting locally grown vodka.

It all starts in the spring. Or early summer if you get near record  rains like we did this year. The hope of getting in the tractor to plant is what gets farmers through the cold, long winters. The rush to the field is what keeps marriages together too. Seriously, have you ever lived with a farmer who wakes up every morning and then is quickly disappointed when the weather is just not going to cooperate? Wives are happy to see the farmers skip with joy to their tractors. They have their sanity back with them no longer cooped up inside.

Some farmers no till plant (top picture with weeds and dead plant stubble) and some work the fields before the corn or soybeans are planted (bottom picture with the soil all neat and tilled). Both have pros and cons. Each farmer knows their soil better than anyone else and will do what has the best results. We can all make claims that one type of planting is better than the other, but honestly it is sort of like parenting advice, don’t judge my decisions and I won’t judge your decisions.

And then we watch the corn grow. Literally.

Then we watch the corn almost die when we don’t get rain for six weeks. And then we watch the corn blow down with 70 mph wind gusts. And then it starts raining again. And finally…

The corn is dried out and the combines start rolling. The wives do the happy dance and go into their fall farm widow mode. But, our children, oh our children love this time of year. It means they get to shadow the farmer in their life. And this is the ultimate fairytale for a farm kid.

And then, it is off to climb in the semi and haul the corn back to the farm for storage until it is time to take it to market or deliver to the elevator, corn processor, or livestock farmer right away. For us, a lot of our corn goes directly to pig farmers. But for some lucky folks they will haul their corn to a processor or elevator.

Source: sfgiowa.com via Leah on Pinterest

The corn processor…you know the high fructose corn syrup factory or the ethanol plant or the food grade ethanol plant. And then fun process of making all this really cool stuff begins, including vodka and hand sanitizer which both come from food grade ethanol. Because, after all ethanol is alcohol it has just been blended with gasoline, so who would think of drinking it.

So, the next time you have a French martini remember how great it feels to know the vodka came from corn plants grown right here in the Midwest by some of the most salt of the earth folks. And drink an extra one in their honor!

My little farmer

Nikon 1034Well, he finally got to ride in the combine. Last Thursday, our soybean fields were harvested.

Since we farm less than 300 acres, we have not invested the money in our own combine to harvest our corn and soybeans. Especially because we had chopped (cut the whole stalk down with a special machine and chopped it up for the dairy cows) a lot of the corn in the past. So, we hire other farmers to bring their combines (the large harvesting tractors) over to our field. I am fairly certain the pictures of the green machines breaks my grandpa, dad, and brother’s heart. They are red men.

For farmers, the color of tractor is either green or red, maybe an occasional blue, orange or white depending on the age of your farm machines. But there is no blending of green and red. Farmers are very brand loyal when it comes to their tractors.Nikon 984 It has been very dry here in Indiana so harvest this year is abnormally dusty.  It has been just fantastic living in the middle of crop land when I have self diagnosed dust allergies. But, I keep going out and taking pictures because it is just so fantastic to see.Nikon 991Our farmer friend Steve who is driving the combine got the joy of having Boo ride along with him for several hours.Nikon 1001Down and back. Down and back. For hours. With Boo. Who talks a lot. A lot. Not as much as Princess, but three hours alone in a cab of a combine with only one other person…you get my point. I am sure Steve was glad to go home to his four daughters that night;) Nikon 1018Let’s be honest, I think the hubby loves harvest as much as the 5 year old. He had to keep the combine moving by having the grain cart ready to have the combine dump the beans on the go. He would then come over to the semi to be loaded for transport back to the farm to store the beans till we sell them.Nikon 1011I just love the site of flowing grain-corn or beans. Makes me think of childhood on my grandpa’s farm. Playing in those gravity flow wagons. Crazy. I can’t believe we played in grain. I guess it is sort of like cribs painted in lead based paint. We just didn’t know any different. Nikon 1031 Princess wasn’t as impressed with the combine. She thought it was loud. A bit dusty. A tad boring. She wanted the pepperoni pizza I brought out to the field and hitched a ride back home with me.Nikon 1024While we will not eat the soybeans directly since they are not the edamame type, we will enjoy the dairy, beef, pork, eggs and chicken that all eat the soybean meal that comes from these little beans. And for this we are all grateful.

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