Friday, March 20, 2015

Five Faves

To round out National Ag Week, I wanted to highlight five of my personal favorite agricultural products and link up with some of my favorite Friday characters!

Wine, sweet wine!  Actually I'm a dry wine kinda girl, but "wine, sweet wine" rolls off the tongue a little easier.  Anywho.  Without vitaculture, which is the science, production and study of grapes wines aren't nearly as tasty!  Wineries are becoming one of the largest and most visited Agri-Tourism locations here in Illinois.  All you wine drinkers out there, remember to #thankafarmer!

Meat eater's unite.  Having grown up on a farm that raised cattle to put food on our table, as well as others in our community, I know first hand the respect that farmers have for the animals they care for and raise.  It's a luxury that I'm able to go to our freezer and pick out a package of steaks or a pound of hamburger and have no concerns about what we're eating for supper that night.  Don't forget to #thankafarmer the next time you're standing at the meat counter or grabbing a quick burger at your local pub and grub!

If you're not aware of my obsession with all things 'fall', you can bring yourself up to speed with a few past posts (here, here, here).  It's true!  From harvest to bonfires and everything in between I'm a fan, pumpkins and gourds are some of may favorite ways to decorate our house!  But someone is growing and tending all the mums, gourds and pumpkins that adorn my house each year... #thankafarmer

Who remembers their first sip of beer?  Where you a little kiddo sitting next to grandpa on the swing on a warm July day or maybe it was a stealthy swig at your first college house party?  Mine was somewhere in between.  I've wised up since college and prefer (and can easily afford) "good" beer.  Matt and I both enjoy a good round of craft beer, but without barley, hops and wheat we'd be sunk.  Beer drinkers, #thankafarmer before your next swig!

From my head down to my legs, I love eggs!  Just about anyway you can eat 'em... over-easy, hard-boiled, poached, I love 'em.  When I can get them from the 4-Her down the road, farm-fresh are my go-to and I buy them from her two dozen at a time.  Although I've broached the idea of getting our own chickens, to which I was shot down... I support and always #thankafarmer for my eggs whether they come from the store or just down the road.

What are some of your favorite agricultural products?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Celebrating National Ag Day

As part of National Ag Week, I'm doing radio and television spots in our local media to spread the message about how our lives are impacted daily by agriculture.  This morning I'm appearing on an hour long program to talk about National Ag Day, which is TODAY, the Ag in the Classroom program and also how farmers are gearing up for the Spring planting season. 

These media bits are just a small part of the deal though!  Last week I worked with our local community college to get fun, fact-based information printed and distributed to each 3rd grade teacher and administrator in our county.

In addition to the flyer, they also received some really cool AgMags that tell about all different aspects of agriculture and commodities (pumpkins, soybeans, dairy, soil, energy, etc.) that are kid-friendly and can be used in classrooms to teach math, science and language arts!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crazy for Corn

Let's pretend you and I are driving down a straight, flat country road in rural Illinois.  The windows are down and we've got the radio up.  On both sides of the road there is something tall and green growing in the fields.

You ask "Is that the corn you eat off the cob? Or is it best popped and covered in butter?"

A smile slowly crosses my face and I turn to you and say "Neither."

The majority of corn that you would see in my next of the woods is called Field Corn.  This type of corn is used to feed animals and make products like sandpaper, medicine and ethanol.  

Four other common types of corn would be:

Indian Corn which is primarily used for crafting and decorating.  The dried kernels can also be ground up to make corn meal.

Broom Corn is a type of sorghum use for making brooms and whiskbrooms.

Popcorn, delicious popcorn.  The tiny droplet of water inside of a popcorn kernel is heated and when the pressure finally reaches a breaking point it POPS!  When it does pop, the kernel actually turns itself inside out and we have ourselves a tasty treat.

Sweet Corn is known for it's high sugar content and is enjoyed all summer long from farmer's markets, road-side stands or right out of the garden!

Just a few "corny" facts before you go...

Illinois farmers rank 2nd in the country for corn production!
More than 95% of all corn grown in the US is grown on family farms.
Over 12,000,000 acres of field corn is planted each year in Illinois and produces approximately 2 billion bushels.
One bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds.


Monday, March 16, 2015

National Ag Week

Listen up y'all!
National Ag Day will be celebrated this year on Wednesday, March 18.  How many of you are asking: Why does this affect me?

Here's the scoop...

As Americans, it's important for us to know the value that agriculture has in our daily lives.  In celebrating agriculture (everyday, not just on National Ag Day), I hope you are increasing your knowledge of ag and how it pertains to nutrition and where your food comes from. 

You will also learn about the wide range of careers that are involved in agriculture!  These careers aren't just 'farmers' either.  Maybe all you've seen of a farming and ag was introduced to you by this season of The Bachelor, but even Chris Soules works with a seed salesman, an agronomist, implement dealer, banker, accountant and you can't forget a veterinarian and nutritionist for all those hogs they raise!  I'll let you in on a little secret... careers in agriculture are plentiful, just like the crops farmers raise!

Hopefully, you're aware that the food we eat and the fibers we wear don't just happen!  There are farmers and ranchers who are growing these products, whether they be grains or animals, and thereby providing us with a safe food supply and great options for cute clothes. 

And hello!  Who doesn't want cute clothes?!  

Last year I wrote about where your food comes from, how you'd be hungry and naked without agriculture and one misperception that drives me batty!  If you're new here, you should check them out too! 

I rely on agriculture on a daily basis whether it be the beef in my freezer or the 100% cotton (more on this later in the week) cardigan I've got on today!  If you think about it, even for a minute, you do too! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Two in a Row, Whoa!

Watch out world!  Okay, maybe not the world... but you get the idea.

I'm breaking off the rust and getting back in the blogging game.  I've missed all my Friday link-up pals and if it wasn't for Instagram, y'all may have thought I fell of the planet! 

ONE, Life Updates
I really do have a good reason for it being so quiet on the home front.  Work has been cray cray, lots of exciting things coming up from fundraisers to summer workshops for teachers.  Throw in coordinating a golf scramble!  Have I ever mentioned that I know little to nothing about golf?  In addition to work, there's all the fun stuff that's going on personally!  We are redoing some flooring in the house, horse show season is kicking off soon and I'm hosting my sister-in-law's baby shower.  Making all the decor for the shower has been such a blast!  Last weekend I cut and sewed napkins from some scrap fabric.  I love the vintage pieces!

TWO, New Boots
Picky.  Picky is the best word to describe how I am when it comes to buying new cowboy boots.  It takes me to find a pair that hits all the requirements.  And the requirements are typically a mile long.  It's because I'm a purist when it comes to my boots!  Hearts, wings, peace signs, crosses...need not apply.  I've been looking for a pair of classic, not plain, black boots for over a year and I FINALLY found a pair that fit all my requirements.  And they were on sale!
They're Justin's for inquiring minds.

THREE, The Easter Bunny
So Miss Haddie may have killed the Easter Bunny!  Oopsies.  Okay, it may not be the actual Easter Bunny, but doesn't little miss look awfully proud of her recent slaying?  

FOUR, Leadership Skills
While being told I'm "bossy" doesn't really bother me, I think "leadership skills" sounds much nicer!

FIVE, The Underdog
 Aaron Watson's newest CD, The Underdog, has been on repeat since I bought it the day it was released!  I love his traditional country sound and the messages in each of his songs.  I mean, you can't write and sing a song about the death of your child without tugging on a few heart strings!  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen!