Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here's my #Foodthanks...what's yours?

Gratitude should be observed everyday, but sometimes we lose focus on what matters most in our lives and the many blessings we have received. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to do that at least once a year, and this year, thanks to several ag tweeps on Twitter, I am going a step further and participating in #foodthanks.  For more information, I recommend checking out

First of all, I am particularly thankful for the individual farmers who wake up long before I do, work outside regardless of the conditions, rarely take a day off (let alone a vacation) and care for the animals and land in order for me to enjoy the wholesome fruits of their labor. I am thankful for the farm families who sacrifice time, energy and off-the-farm incomes, in some cases, to support the operation. I am thankful for the amazing agricultural community at large that looks after its own during unexpected crises or accidents.

I am thankful for veterinarians caring for production animals of all shapes and sizes.  I am thankful for the researchers who continue to find more efficient tools for farmers to use in order to protect and increase the sustainability of agricultural production. I am thankful for the cooperative extension agents that work to provide beneficial information to farmers.

I am thankful to cattle dealers who literally risk life and limb when handling cattle and moving them from point A to point B.  I am thankful for the truck drivers who transport products safely and quickly across the country. I am thankful for those in the processing and retail industries that follow established rules and protocol to ensure food safety and quality is maintained to the highest standard possible. I'm thankful that we have a freedom to make a variety of dietary choices and we can feel safe because of our country's standards and regulations.

Finally, this year I am especially thankful for those agvocates who have inspired me to make the best possible use of social media. I look forward to continuing to learn about those tools and resources and make advocating for agriculture part of my daily routine.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today started off bright and early at 3:30 AM, when my head was pounding, and then I began to feel nauseous. I finally decided that vomiting seemed to be the only course of action that might address both the nausea and the inability to sleep, so I went to bathroom. As I knelt down on my left knee - instant calf cramp, GAA! As I kneeled down on my right knee - instant calf cramp in that leg too! Finally, after all that work, I just couldn't bring the cookies up so I laid down on the floor, curled up around the base of the toilet. Apparently 3:45 is a my cat's "Party Time" and he thought I was there to hang out with him. He purred loudly as he rubbed up and down my legs, licked my arms and face, and bit my elbows. None of this helped me.

I laid there for a few more minutes before I began to feel like I was going to doze off. To fall asleep by the toilet may seem comical to most but the sight of me in that position would surely have sent my mother into cardiac arrest as it would appear suspiciously like I had had a seizure. I decided to get up and go back to bed so that I would not have to experience any more ambulance rides any time soon.

After some time and more rest, most of the nausea dissipated, yet the headache has persisted through most of the day and into the evening. I will definitely have to call it an early night tonight and keep my fingers crossed that I will not be reliving my experience tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Daylight Savings Time!

Well, we "gained" an hour this morning...woo hoo. I usually have some trouble adjusting to the time change in the fall, but right now I'm not feeling too bad. Tomorrow might be a little more difficult. In a way, it should be good for me. Maybe now I can discipline myself to go to bed earlier, get up earlier and do my exercises first thing in the morning.

Tomorrow I am also planning to get involved with the local historical society, and I think I am going to connect another local history house to inquire about volunteering in order to 1) find something to occupy my time and 2) keep my office skills sharpened and 3) give me something additional to include on my resume.

I'm still "off" a little bit from my "New Me" plan, but at least I am continuing to write. I think I'm still trying to find my voice with this blog, so it feels like the last couple days haven't been top-notch stuff. I'm optimistic that will turn around.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Um, I missed Day 5. Well, four days is a good streak, right? And today has not been much better but I have at least blogged and that is the most important item on my daily "to-do." Now, I just have to get back on track with some regular exercise.

Tomorrow Mom and I shall be fir-tipping, or gathering fir tips...whichever is the more correct term. Mom makes garlands for her back porch every year, and the fir tips come from trees behind my grandfather's house. We are hoping that the youngest nephew will be joining us, but we'll have to see how that pans out.

I'm looking forward to looking at my grandfather's antique tractors again. I've been reading more and more about tractors in general, and although my knowledge of a working engine is still zilch, I do understand and appreciate more the historical significance of machinery my grandfather has collected.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still hanging in there on Day 4

Well, overall, this week has had a negative tone to it. At least for me, anyway. So I want to use this post to lighten things up. Hopefully, it will bring a smile to someone else's face, too...should someone accidentally stumble upon this during their search for Dr. Livingstone, I presume.

A friend on Facebook (more of a "six-degrees-of-separation" sort of friend) posted a commented that the move to minimalism requires 100 material items or less. I'm assuming minimalism is a bit more strict about this number than supermarket lines where you may be able to get away with more. Of course I began to wonder if I could create a list of 100 things that I "couldn't live without" and if so, what those items would be. Hmmm....let's see:

1) Clothes* (my friend stated that she was counting clothes as one item, so I think it's okay)
2) Bed, as in mattress and frame
3) Bed pillow
4) Bed pillow
5) Bible
6) Laptop
7) Printer
8) Digital Camera
9) MP3 Player
11 - 13) 3 Plates
14 - 16) 3 Cups
17 - 19) 3 Knives
20 - 22) 3 Spoons
23 - 25) 3 Forks
26) Frying pan
27) Small pot
28) Large pot
29) Spatula
30) Wooden spoon
31) Potholder
32) Potholder
33) Washer
34) Dryer
35) Refrigerator (with freezer)
36) Table
37) Chair
38) Recliner/couch/oversized chair/overstuffed chair [basically a more comfortable seat]
39) Jewelry box (and the contents...hehehe...)
40) Quilt
41) CD player/radio
42) Dresser
43) Mirror

Okay, this is my first draft at a list, off the top of my head. It's an interesting exercise because sometimes I think "well, I can count those as one item" when they aren't, or thinking "I HAVE to have that" when I really don't. Case in point: the dishes. Potentially I could reduce the dishes and silverware to a setting for one person, but I thought it'd be better to do dishes only once a day instead of three.

Of course, I have not even thought about books, music and DVDs. I am sure selecting certain items of those would put me over the limit. In reality though, those items can all be borrowed or rented, and do not have to be "owned." I'm sure my list - and my approach to making it - contradict principles of minimalism but it is refreshing to realize that I don't need what I think I need. Unfortunately, it also does not make me want things less, but maybe it's a transitional philosophy and you only reach minimalist nirvana when you stop wanting, and even start rejecting possessions.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3 of New Me

So I did my 45 minutes of walking on the treadmill (yay) and I even worked outside for three hours helping my mom plant bulbs along the rock wall. It was harder than I thought it would be...hauling soil gave me a bit more of a workout than I had anticipated.

Overall, I've had a pretty productive day, so now I am winding down with writing, a little room cleaning and finally - reading. I've started about five books but I'm focused on Farm Tractors: The History of the Tractor by Richard Pripps. It reads pretty well, and I like the format. Photos are also great. I've started two other books on antique tractors. One is a schizophrenic trivia book (different types of facts on every page) and the other goes through manufacturers in alphabetical order, which is great if you already have a good chronological foundation of tractor manufacturers. Therefore, I've decided to finish up my current book before moving on to finish the other two.

In addition, I haven't finished The Year of Living Biblically, which is a great book, but I just haven't been committed to it. I do plan to finish it this month, though. That leads me to one final comment on today: I desperately need to write down my daily goals and chart my progress and success in keeping with those goals. At the end of the month, I can give myself a proper evaluation, and then I'll blog about it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November = New Me

So I am starting off November with new goals and some enthusiasm to go with them. Besides blogging daily/regularly (three days in a row is a good start), I'm also exercising daily and tracking what I eat. Hopefully I will be a much healthier person by the end of the month.

I have another goal involving writing, which is basically to do more of it. Seriously, if I am going to write a book, I need to get on it. I don't know how much longer I will be "blessed" with the amount of time I have to dedicate to it. I have no regrets about the past eight or nine months, but I don't want to look back and think, yeah, I really wasted some time there.

Today's exercise was just a brief 10 minutes as part of my 10 minute exercise challenge with, but it was an interesting 10 minutes. It was part of the "Dance Yourself Thin!" DVD and weight belt set I purchased a few months ago. I opted not to use the belt for my first workout. I thought it would be more important to focus on the basic moves. Although, it probably didn't matter too much because I could barely keep up, and I was so not in sync with the exercises. I just kept telling myself, though, that Tae-Bo used to do the same thing to me until I finally found my groove several workouts into it. So here's hoping I make progress in the next week or so on my coordination.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What is love?

"Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots." ~Author unknown, as printed in The Hoosier Farmer

The above quote reminds me of many farm wives, but most especially my friend's mom, Debby, who just lost her husband of 32 years to a heart attack. Debby and Cliff were best friends and would remind each other daily of this, as well as their love for one another. Like every couple, I am sure their share of bad times, but the love Debby had and still has for Cliff emanates from her very being. On one level, it is reassuring to see that such a love can and does exist, but on another, it is heartbreaking to know the depths of Debby's pain.

The last several days have reminded me that life is short and we should make sure our loved ones know they are loved. Furthermore, speaking with Debby made me realize it is possible to love and be loved for the duration of a marriage - no matter how long that marriage may last. Although I wonder if love is like an hourglass and every couple has a different amount of sand. Sometimes the sand doesn't last nearly as long as it's expected, for one reason or another.