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Monday, March 31, 2014

Oreos, pink lipstick, and other random thoughts…

 

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I decided to try oil pulling to see if it whitens my teeth.  That was the “before” picture. Isn’t it lovely?  (I’ll give you a thorough review of the process someday.)

When you’re at the grocery store and you buy gum or a pop, the cashier asks if you want that “left out.”  Why don’t they ask if I want my Oreos left out? Because I do.

Adam thinks a thousand is 12.  That’s a dozen, not a thousand, honey.

I had to reschedule Isaac’s 3rd birthday party because of the Iowa State game Friday night.

Every time I get dressed up, I go through my closet, hoping I forgot about something adorable in there that I could wear. Today, I actually found something adorable! Then, I remembered that it’s 4 sizes too small, and I laughed out loud.

I bought some lipstick samples from Bare Minerals.  I tried on the bright Barbie pink lipstick Saturday night.  And Sunday morning, I could not get that color off my lips.  The little girls at Sunday School loved it.

I plugged in 4 different hair appliances to get the job done this morning.  Blow dryer, straightener, and two sizes of curling irons. That’s sort of ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, I kept trying to get Isaac to say that word the other day, and he got MAD at me! “No, that’s SILLY!” But yesterday, I caught him saying “That’s ridiculous,” (which sounds a lot more like “That’s dickless.”)

I love meeting new people, but be warned…I may pour my heart out within the first 10 minutes of meeting you.  Or I may share one of the short stories I shared today. Either way, prepare yourself!

Love, Katie

Monday, March 24, 2014

AgDay 2014: Top 10 Things I’ve Learned about Agriculture

Five short years ago, I was not a farmer.  I thought I knew quite a bit about farming.  After all, I grew up in rural Iowa!  I had uncles who farmed, friends who grew up on a farm, and I married a boy who majored in agriculture.

Now, almost 5 years after getting our first flock of turkeys, I could probably write a book about everything I’ve learned in the past few years. 

But instead of a book, I’m narrowing it down to the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned about Agriculture in the Past Five Years.


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1.  There is no “right” way to farm.  Different farmers make different decisions for different reasons.  That doesn’t make one decision inherently right and another wrong.  What’s right for one farm may not be right for another because of resources, labor, equipment, expertise, land, location, market and on and on and on.  My good friends at Red Granite Farm raise their chickens free-range style.  But that doesn’t work for my size of a farm.  Does that mean one way is right and one way is wrong? NOPE! Different farms, different ways to do things right.

2.  Farmers aren’t perfect, but they’re improving all the time.  There will always be room for improvement, but today’s farms are better than ever.  New technology and knowledge has led to better animal care and more energy efficiency.  Farmers are using fewer resources to produce more food, and they’ll continue to make progress in the coming decades.  For example, our state of the art barns use a new ventilation system that keeps the turkeys more comfortable in the summer and are easier to keep warm in the winter.   Better for the animals and better for the environment.

3.  Farmers make decisions based on science, ethics and economics.  All three of these are required for a farm to have a good quality product and provide a good quality of life to its owners and employees.  If we don’t maintain a perfect balance of these three, our farm will not be around for the next generation.


4.  Farmers must start talking about what they do and explaining their decisions to others.  Americans want to know where their food comes from, and they want to know that it’s safe.  We can help give them the information that they want, if we open up and share information about our farms.  Programs like CommonGround are a great start, but honestly, they’re a drop in the bucket.  Only 2% of Americans farm now…we need more voices and we need open conversations with consumers.  (>> Some fellow CommonGround volunteers and I having a good time, talking about farming!)

5.  There is room for all types of farmers.  Organic, conventional, GMO, free range, grass-fed, feed-lot, farmer’s market, small, big, medium…we need them all!  Each serves a different purpose or a different market, and each is doing what’s “right” for their individual farm.

6.  It is hard for non-farmers to understand how complicated farming is.  Sometimes, from the outside, decisions seem simple and obvious.  I used to wonder, “Why would that farmer do that? Why don’t they….?”  Now, I know that if a farmer has chosen a certain way to do something, it’s probably for a good reason!  And without knowing the daily ins-and-outs of that farm, I AM NOT in the position to judge their decision.

7.  There is a lot of misinformation out there.  A LOT.  I don’t claim to know everything, but I am continually running into “scary” info that seems hard to believe.  When that happens, I turn to a farmer and 9 times out of 10 it turns out that the alarming article I read was full of fallacies.  And if the information was true? Most of the time, if I keep an open mind, the farmers can explain the farm practice and I can see the positive side of the farm practice.

8.  Farming is risky (and hopefully rewarding.) There are financial risks and safety risks, and almost all farmers are at the mercy of the (completely uncontrollable) weather.  Agriculture is in the top 10 for most dangerous jobs, and you can still see the effects of Farm Crisis of the 1980s in our rural area.

IMG_82429.  That being said, the farm is an amazing place to raise children.  Working together as a family, exploring the timber and creek on our farm, picking raspberries in the backyard in July, petting a lamb and riding tractors with Grandpa are things that are a daily part of our lives right now. These wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t on a farm. I joke that our farm IS a field trip, but it’s true!

10.  To farmers, the farm is like another child or spouse.  I wrote about this before, but I want to finish up this list by underscoring our love and devotion to our farm.  Sure, farming is hard.  And risky. And stinky (literally.)  But it is a lifestyle that we are committed to – something deep within us – for the rest of our lives.



I could probably add a few more to the list…
  • Farmers have a vast network of experts helping them make decisions – vets, scientists, universities and other farmers are always sharing information.
  • There are many, many things in place that keep food safe: disease testing, antibiotic residue testing, biosecurity, and sterile processing plants are just a few.
  • Animal welfare and food safety are #1 for livestock farmers.
  • Agriculture has a HUGE, unimaginable positive impact on rural economies (and the economy of the entire state!)
  • There are amazing leaders in the agriculture community, including amazing WOMEN.
  • Big farms aren’t inherently bad farms.
  • 97% of farms in the US are family farms!
…but who ever heard of a “Top 17” list?

Now, readers, it’s your turn. What have you learned about farming in the past few years?  What have you learned from my blog? And what do you want us (farmers) to teach you?
(And I’d LOVE it if you’d share this blog post – help others discover the truths about farming that I’ve uncovered over the past 5 years!)

As always, if you have questions about farming, please ask. I am an open book!


Read more about Squaw Creek Farm:
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Junkin’ Field Trip with Iowa Bloggers: West End Salvage

 

West End Salvage has been junkin’ since before junkin’ was cool.

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The store, located in a 4+ floor, 50,000 square foot building in Des Moines, started as a garage sale almost 10 years ago.

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Now, it’s a popular home décor store and coffee shop.

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So popular, in fact, that it has its own reality TV show on HGTV!

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West End Salvage, the show, originally aired in 2013.  There have been 12 episodes so far (on HGTV on Thursday nights, currently) and there is a possibility more will be coming.

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On my first visit to West End, I got to meet the owner, Don Short, and make a fool of myself like a teenager at a One Direction concert.

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I also met with some fellow Iowa bloggers.

Hey Nicole! Nicole shared some “Farm Girl Facts” with us, like the fact that a couple of ladies from Africa were coming to visit her farm this week!

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And here’s Jenni! (I totally got Jenni mid-word.  Sorry, dear! I couldn’t help but take a pic, though – she was sharing such valuable blog information!  She’s been blogging for 8 years! Be sure and check out her blog!)

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After coffee and chit chat, we took a little tour of the shop.

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The cool thing is, I saw a lot of old junk similar to what we have at The HomeShed (and at a much better price! Junk costs more in the city!)

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I also saw stuff that was much cooler than anything we have at the Shed.

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But hey, when you’ve got 50,000 square feet, carpenters, welders and interior designers on your team, you can do some pretty neat stuff!

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I’ll leave you with this sentiment, painted on an old door and propped in the narrow stairway that leads to the upper floors of the shop…interpret it however you want.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Little Orphan Lambie

Today was an exciting day!  We got our first lamb!

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We’ve been talking about getting a lamb for over a year and a half, and today, a farmer nearby called and said he had one ready for us.

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This baby girl was born last night, but for some reason, her mother rejected her.

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She needs to eat every 4 hours for the next couple of weeks, so that means we’ll be putting in some quality time with her, day AND night.

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The boys are SO excited.  After much deliberation, they decided to name her Bailey.

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Adam’s only question was whether or not one of us would accompany him out to the shop to feed her in the night. We assured him that we would.

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Since this week is spring break, it’s the perfect time to get to know our little orphan lambie!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Irish Blessings

My kids were sick last week and I’m still trying to catch up.  So tonight, I’m just popping in to offer you some Irish Blessings.  These free printables were inspired by my friend Kim, and her recent blog post.

These printables are a free gift for my email subscribers.  In order to download the files, you must sign up for my email list below.  After you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email that has the link to download the printables. (Check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away.)  Any questions, just let me know in the comments!

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Many Irish blessings to you and yours as we enter this new (green!) season!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Favorites on Friday: Pinterest Boards

Is it Friday already? Seriously?

This week has been a little stir-crazy.  Our first HomeShed sale is in April, and I have a lot to do to get ready, but the weather is just. not. cooperating.  We had bitter cold and snow again at the beginning of this week, and now, I’ve got one kiddo with an ear infection (he can go back to school today) but another with a fever/cold who will be staying home to “help” me today.  So even though the weather is slightly nicer, I still won’t be working outside today, either.

So instead of being productive, I spent some time browsing pinterest this morning, and realized I should share some of my favorite pinterest boards with you!

 

First up: Turquoise

My love for turquoise goes way back.  My turquoise chairs are the latest object of my affection, but before that, I had turquoise in my first house, too! (Ah, tiny little house where no children lived, I miss you sometimes!)

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So of course, I have a whole pinterest board devoted to the color! Click here for my Turquoise Board!

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Next: Playroom!

We recently shuffled rooms around so that we have a playroom on the first floor, and I love it! (So do the boys!) 

 

 

I’ve been collecting playroom inspiration for years, though, and it’s all right here on this pinterest board.

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One more: Turkey Recipes

Okay, so we eat a lot of turkey.  For good reason.  So I am always looking for new ways to make it, to liven things up a bit.  My Turkey Recipes board, which I share with a few other turkey lovers, has been a life saver more than once.

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Have a great weekend –hope some of the warmer weather is headed your way!