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January 14, 2018

Our Farm Office

Our farm office is in our house.......I've literally begged for years for him to build a fancy pole barn with an office!

"Get the office out of the house!"

But the older I get the more I appreciate that it is still part of our home.  When we bought the house 25 years ago thats the first room Chris was concerned with - it was mauve, it had a floral border - it was hideous!  He painted 3 walls white (kinda forgot about the fourth wall), bought a desk, and set up shop!

I've come to believe if the kitchen is the heart of the home the farm office is the heart of the farm - and having that in our home makes me feel good!

He hates my grand ideas!  I re-did the whole room based around our toy tractor collection, I wall papered it with plaid paper, I made him build shelves for all the toys, we put in some stock cabinets and a couple of countertop desks and 2 months later he had a beautiful office!

But the number one hands down most favorite thing I did in that room was hang all the pictures I could find of our families through the years farming.  I still walk in the office sometimes and catch myself just looking at all the pictures of family working hard that made us who we are today.

Each picture is family, each picture holds special memories and stories that mean something to us - made us who we are today, where we are today!

This is Chris' Great Grandpa and the house we live in behind him!  He had a pair of working Percheron's that he was super proud of - Prince and Dick - this is him and Prince!

This is my Dad when he was a teenager!

That little human standing by the front duals is me posing with my Dad's new tractor in the early 70's!

This is Chris' Dad when he was little helping Grandpa Beckley check the level of seed in the planter! Again the house in the background is the house we live in now!

This is Chris' Mom's Dad - it still almost brings tears to my eyes that we are blessed to have so many family farming pictures.

These two pictures were newspaper pictures taken in the 50's when my Grandfather had a corn picker accident and the community came together to harvest his corn.

We have included pictures of us working, the kids riding and working with us - a continual mix of then and now - where we have come from, the progress we have made and those that are our future!

I love being surrounded by memories while making memories - probably why my backsplash in my kitchen is full of handwritten family recipes, most of which we still make often!

Like this apple pie recipe from Chris' Grandma, in his Mom's handwriting and Chris' favorite apple pie!

Mother's Apple Pie

Times change and advancements are made but knowing where you come from helps you map out where you are going!

December 14, 2017

Dear Santa

Hope you've had a good year and the Christmas season doesn't drag out like Harvest 17 did!

I wish I could say I've been good this year but in all honesty I've been tolerable at the best, but I'm writing anyway!

I hope the reindeer are good, I used to be so infatuated with flying reindeer, now all I can think about is the sheer amount of manure they must make - I've clearly become a crotchety old person!

I do plan on leaving cookies out this year for you - however the milk will be in the fridge - warm milk just gives me the heebie jeebies!

Enough small talk, on to the business at hand!  Years ago as a parent I adopted Want - Need - Wear - Read as our Christmas gift giving tradition for the kids, so for the sake of tradition I am using it as my guide this year!


Oh Santa what I want more than anything is for all the feed bins to have working lids and chains!  I'm too old/maybe too lazy to climb the bins to open the lids and climb again to close them!  I don't know if you have a team of repair elves you could send out - I'll be happy to supply the materials I'm simply asking for the labor!

Me freezing my ...... off the other night on top of Bin 1!


Let's be honest - I need for nothing, but that won't stop me from asking for something!

Casey's Gift Certificates........these would be perfect!  I NEED my Casey's donuts but I don't NEED Chris adding up my Casey's bills every month!  Yes - he actually does this!

On a more practical note --- my truck needs detailed and a boat load of air freshener!!  I love my pick-up truck but it is used and probably abused!


These Macie Bean Boots - just look at them Santa, aren't they beautiful!

Oh Sweet Santa - I promise to not get too much manure on them, only in livestock emergencies!

And if you feel my 'wear' should be more practical, well I can always use new work jeans!  I love Cowgirls Tuff - they fit and hold up great!  But look at those boots!!!


I would love to read the manual and instructions for a set of clutches on the Kinze planter.........that being said I would also get the clutches!  Did I push that too far?

But I will add a suggestion for you to give to others........I might be biased but I think every family would love a copy of Meet Pete!!!!

Let's not forget my stocking - one can never have to many clamps to hold the pressure washer wand on, tarp straps disappear into thin air around here, I love Pez and Nerd Ropes!

Hope that nothing breaks down on your trip around the world!

Love, Jent

More Christmas fun from Girls Talk Ag - you'll even find out who owns an American Flag Bikini and a Mud Flap Chic necklace!!

HoHoHo Part One

HoHoHo Part Duex-Christmas Chaos

And might I suggest these Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies for Santa!

Looking for a more serious list......this is a great one for those guys who struggle - girls make sure you leave it open on the computer for them to see!!!

The Farmwife Gift Guide


November 5, 2017

There are worse things in life......

There are worse things in life than listening to Christmas carols while running the grain cart!

I keep repeating this to myself to keep moving forward with a half ass smile plastered on my face and  talking with a hint of sarcasm to keep my voice from quivering-I’m somewhat of a stress cryer!

Why is it on October 31 no matter where you are in harvest it’s all good?

“Oh it’s only Halloween things are looking good! We have a handle on harvest, it’s a good year!”

And less than 24 hours later......

It’s Nov 1 and panic creeps in!

“This is it-the sky is falling-we’ll never finish-we’ll be combining on Christmas Day!”

Today is not a beautiful fall November day-it’s overcast, the ground can be described as 'squishy', a storm is moving in.  It was a debate wether to attempt to work at all-we may shell for an hour before the rain starts or combine gets hung up or we may shell till dark-it’s a gamble!

But it’s a gamble that’s there every year and we just keep coming back to that Craps table!

We were able to shell 13 acres today before the rain moved started......again - and more rain and more rain - our yard is a lake as I finish typing this.  Chris says I'm taking it worse than him - that scares me!

But there a lots worse things in life than singing Christmas carols in the the tractor cab, I've done it before and lived, I can make it this time!

Heres a link to the latest Girls Talk Ag Podcast - The Harvest That Will Never End talking about crop updates, winter wheat acres, Dicamba, and what ever else that occurred to us!!

January 2, 2017

I'd rather dance with Wanda!!

Yes, I would rather pressure wash a hog barn than do bookwork!

This time of year brings about tweets and posts all over social media about the dreaded year-end paperwork, preparation for meetings with accountants and loan officers!

I giggle for two reasons:

1.  I no longer go to loan officer meeting!

B. I am immediately taken back to almost 25 years ago when Chris and I met for the first time together with our loan officer at the time!

Chris loves numbers, I however lack adequate respect for them from his standpoint.  I am 47 years old, and still sometimes run under the assumption that if I still have checks there must still be money. In all honesty Chris took the checkbook away from me years ago.......

I help when needed, which isn't often but I do know how to run the farm bookkeeping software, write paychecks and pay payroll taxes - but it's not my forte.  I will never live down a mistake I made the first year we were married and so my entries are sill double checked.

I accidentally assigned a tux rental for a friend's wedding to a farm account, therefore it was deducted as a business expense.  I know, the horror!  Chris lived in fear for 10 years that the IRS would catch it and audit us.  The time is expired, right?

But I digress.  Year-end paperwork and the yearly review with our loan officer, he claims, is a nightmare.  But I think he secretly thinks it's a holiday.  He knows our farm numbers backwards and forwards and loves to talk about them.

I, however, do not.  I'll do all the manual labor you like but sit in an office discussing numbers is not for me!  Chris and I review the numbers at home........repeatedly........then I let him have his fun with the loan officer.  We have always been blessed with loan officers who love agriculture as much as we do and have faith in us as a business.

So many stories about meeting with loan officers - there tends to be more farm and shop talk - like the bag balm story!!!  But I still laugh out loud at the memory of our first meeting with the loan officer as a married couple.  There we sat in the waiting area of the local Farm Credit Services office, sitting up straight, whispering quietly to each other and Chris with his brief case full of documentation on  his lap.  YES, a briefcase.  He loved that briefcase and the one time of year he got to use it.

I looked at it and seeing the lock, whispered sarcastically "You did lock it right?"  I shouldn't have, but hind sight is 20/20.  He looked at me, locked it, and said: "I know the combination, I made it easy so I could remember it if it ever got locked accidentally."

And he did, for one side!  We were called in right then and right there in front of our loan officer we sat as Chris pried open the one corner of the briefcase that wasn't locked and I carefully stuck my hand in to retrieve our paperwork!

December 10, 2016

I ask stupid questions!

Yes, that may not be surprising to some……or most, but I do.  I’m not afraid to admit it - If I’m not asking stupid questions I’m Googling to find the answer while you think I am tweeting something!

I had the opportunity to spend the last few days in Kansas City at The Ag Chat Conference.  I am overly blessed with amazing opportunities in ag and so thankful.  Getting to not only work on our farm but be able to travel to learn more about agriculture is a dream come true!

But, because let’s be honest there’s always a but……. the majority of the time I learn more from the attendees of a conference than from the speakers - there I said it!

Sitting through a panel session I met the most wonderful lady completely by accident during AgChat.  She was quiet and reserved and I wonder, if just like me she had to summon all her courage just to talk to a stranger.  If I know you and am comfortable, I’m most likely obnoxious but until then I’m not a huge fan of peopling, especially in large crowds.

This lady struck up a conversation with me at our table because I got embarrassed and was attempting to crawl under the table…..she said you shouldn't be embarrassed and then informed me I was her first tweet ever!

WOW just WOW

We had a super conversation where she told me that while her grandparents had farmed she herself had not grown up on a farm.  But after many years in corporate America in downtown Chicago she had had enough and wanted to farm - so she found a farmer husband and became a farmer!  That is some serious goal setting and accomplishing!!

During the conversation she said “I still ask a lot of stupid questions even after six years!”  I laughed and said I ask a ton of stupid questions daily!

She was shocked, she said haven’t you been around agriculture your whole life.  Well yes, one of my favorite things to say is that I have been in the middle of production agriculture my entire life but that by no means makes me think even slightly I know everything.  Matter of fact I am positive there is more I don’t know about agriculture than I do know!

It made me wonder if we get to caught up in the way ‘we’ do things on our farm and think it is the best way!  And by all means we are doing it the best way, the best way for our farm.  If we all did everything exactly the same and all thought exactly the same we would eliminate what we hear in America cherish the most, our freedom of choice!  Not only to live the way we want but to farm the way we feel best and feed our family the way we see best.

I guess my point is there really is no such thing as a stupid question, We say that to consumers but are we open to others ways of thinking within agriculture.  Are we in ag coming across as open to discussion, open to not only answering questions from consumers but asking questions of each other and learning.

If you're interested in what others learned at AgChat this year check out #agchat on Twitter or AgChat Foundation on Facebook!

I'm truly fortunate to be a Bayer Blogger, so all my expenses were paid for by Bayer Crop Sciences but what I learned was totally all mine!!!

November 19, 2016

Rotting Pumpkins On The Porch

It feels like its been years since I've taken any time to write......a million things run through my head but to sit down and let them come out my fingertips just hasn't been happening.

The weather finally turned last night - from a beautiful 70 degree Indian summer day into the low 30's, rain, snow flurries and howling wind.

I had to actually move my desktop computer down to the kitchen table because I thought there was a desk upstairs but it seems to have turned into a pile of miscellaneous crap-yes crap-that I don't have the energy to sort through right now!

I am attempting to write a children's book about Pete, the bottle calf we are raising.  I'm attempting to make it a fun book to read as well as educational about real farm life.  However, talking about contracted flexor tendons in 4th grader speak is currently leaving me at a loss for words-which is something most people would not accuse me of very often!

While words might not be coming can I say the friend I have doing the illustrations is amazing!!!

Thanksgiving is this week and pictures of Christmas trees are popping up on my Facebook feed........I'm still just thankful harvest is over before Thanksgiving, we had no major breakdowns, and no one was hurt.

People are all 'Christmas trees and clean houses' and I'm all over here shitty boots in the kitchen and rotting pumpkins on the porches - it's life, it's our life.

As for my Christmas decorations I have no clue where any of them are right now, well except for my Nativity Scene!  It's been up all year - I couldn't find the box last January and was afraid to put it away without it so I just left it up!  In all honesty this family needs Jesus' presence all year around, a physical reminder - that's what I tell myself anyway to justify still having Christmas decorations sitting around!

As for the rotting pumpkins, won't it be a nice surprise next Spring when pumpkin vines pop up and I can be all 'lookie there, I'm ahead of the game decorating for fall' - being all sustainable with my pumpkins and making them work for me year after year!  And when I sweep my kitchen floor I just scatter it in my flower beds as fertilizer, that is however what it actually is!

I did get my chili recipe up on Farmwife Feeds yesterday, no small feat!  This cold snap calls for good chili!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

July 8, 2016

Don't Judge Me

We are headed into our, geez I don't even know, maybe 13th maybe 14th, year as a 4-H family and we still don't have all the kinks worked out. Sometimes I think 4-H is a lot like childbirth – you forget between each child how much work, and yes pain, the labor of preparing for a child/week at the fair is.
If you had a better memory, there's a chance you wouldn't sign up for it again.
I am fully aware that not every 4-H family is like ours. As a matter of fact, most are probably nothing like ours.  Projects look so exciting and fun in January, but on July 1? Not so much.  In January, projects like recycled crafts seem easy and exciting after browsing Pinterest. Do you have any idea how many 'recycled' ideas are on that website?  Quite frankly, a shit load!
Regardless, I have tried to teach my kids that you not only win graciously, but that you have to lose graciously as well.  Like most things in life, a lot of fair decisions come down to opinions – and while you are standing in front of a 4-H judge with your calf or your recycled craft, what the judge says that day goes. While it may just be his or her opinion, he is the judge.  You either do it for the fun and experience or you miss out.
With the right attitude, you win experiences and memories and lots of good stories to tell later in life – even when you lose.
Let's visit that for a second. I once turned in Polaroid prints on a photography poster. Back in the day, there was no one-hour printing in the camera world. Film took a good week to process.  My Mom had been on me to take my pictures, but I am a professional procrastinator now and obviously started training at a young age.
Finally, a few days before the project was due, she handed me the Polaroid camera loaded with one clip of film, which was exactly 10 pictures. "You better not mess any up," she told me. "That is all the film I have."
I ended up with 10 Polaroid pictures of my sister posing around the yard of our house. Needless to say I didn't win!
As you read this we are on the verge/in the midst of judging. While I am trying to keep a positive attitude, it is so much harder to watch your kids' hard work be judged.  But I will be repeating to myself a lot next week: "It was my idea for the kids to participate in 4-H and show cattle, It was my idea for the kids to participate in 4-H and show cattle…"
Now that is not to say there isn't some venting going on in the pick-up truck on the way home from the fairgrounds late at night, but ultimately the bigger picture will prevail.
We don't plan to walk away with any banners or pretty purple ribbons; if we do, it is simply a bonus to the friends, memories and lessons of the week at the Johnson County Fair.