Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, farm animals, food, food safety, genetic modification, GMO, Music | Tags: Agriculture education, children, family, farm, Food, food safety, history, parody
Do you want the real story, or will you believe the “shocking” news of some entertainer? I’ve seen it so many times, a TV celebrity makes a statement or brings on a guest who makes a statement, that is totally at odds with the truth, and people actually believe it. When they make those comments about what we do here on the farm it can really hurt. I’m proud to tell you that a broad array of farm folks are stepping up to tell the real story. Among my favorites are the ladies at “Finding our Common Ground.” These young mothers are telling about what happens on the farm in a way that other young professional women can believe. One that came across my facebook feed today is about GMO’s. (http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/corporate-farms/)
I’ve also watched the Peterson Brother do their thing in song parody that both entertains and informs. These young men and their sister are entertaining and informative. Check out one of their videos at
Today a really good video came to my computer from Midwest Dairy producers that is one of the best I have ever seen.
These are only a few of the many good efforts being made by agriculture today. The truth is that we few are a misunderstood group. What we do is shrouded in mystery because what we do is often hard, dirty work. Work that is rewarding in ways that many city jobs are not, but often so hard that many of our ancestors left the farm for the easier life in cities.Not only hard, but today very costly. It is harder and harder to get into farming without lots of money. For most of my life I struggled to make a living and feed my family on a farmers income. Because I was able to work with my dad I was able to keep going and now, 40 years later, can feel good about the life I live and the income I make. Today land and machinery prices are even higher and I wonder how the next generation will be able to farm.
My life is not “shocking,” but it is complex. We do things on the farm today in new ways because we have a heavier burden on our shoulders. When I started farming the average farmer fed 26 people, today he feeds 155. 98% of the farms are still family owned and account for 85% of the food you eat. In the last 100 years the average farm size has gone from 140 acres to about 500. Of interest is that there are now more farms today that there were 10 years ago, not hobby farms, but farms that are actually viable, $500,000 per farm gross profit farms.
So the next time someone tries to tell you how things really are on the farm, check out their bonafides. Do they really know what goes on on the farm, or are they telling you “shocking” story to get you to buy their book. You all are invited to check out the many farm stories that are now on the internet, and I know any one of us would love to hear from you. We’ll tell you what really happens down on the farm.
Filed under: family, school, travel | Tags: children, deaf education, family, Gallaudet University, school, travel
With our daughter studying at Gallaudet University this year, we decided to take a trip to visit her. Emily has tried to explain what happens at her college, but until you experience it, you do not realize how different it is. It is like going to a different land.
In Washington D.C. it is not unusual to see many people from many lands. The embassies are considered to be part of the country that owns them. The folks at Gallaudet are mostly Americans who grew up in typical American homes, and except for one difference they could all be the kid next door, they are deaf. For many years people who were deaf were thought to be unteachable, after-all they lacked an aspect that any other learning child had, hearing, and because of that they were pushed to the edges of society. Here at Gallaudet the deaf are in control. When you enter Gallaudet you enter the land of the deaf.
From the bus driver who picked us up at Union Station to every food service, security, and sanitation employee there is silence, but every gesture and facial expression speaks volumes. All are here to help the deaf learn. Not all employees and students at Gallaudet are deaf, but every person on campus is dedicated to learning in a deaf world. The rules and language of Gallaudet are not the rules and language of the hearing world around them. As parents of a student there we were given a bit of slack, but it is expected that everyone at Gallaudet speaks American Sign Language.
Our Emily is not deaf, but since her early years in school she was fascinated with American Sign Language. In college she studied to teach in a school for the deaf. She has been both challenged and fulfilled in her early years of teaching as she helped young children, many of whom had as yet received no language training, express themselves. Now she is seeking her Masters degree so that she can better understand and better help the deaf to be full partners in the American life she leads.
As parents we are curious to learn about her life, and this was another good chance to experience the life she has chosen. We were blessed to have visited her in this new step in her life.
Filed under: family, school, science | Tags: A Chance to Grow, art, children, dance, education, music, TED Talks
I was introduced to TED talks last night by our pastor. In particular he showed our boards the talk given by Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity from 2006. In his talk he speaks of the creativity in each child and of how our society and our schools crush that creativity as they push for tests and teach for the test. Sir Ken speaks of how this is a good way to turn out factory workers and academics, but seldom people who think creatively.
My wife and daughter both have taught in elementary education. They have both used techniques that help children learn by moving as they are taught. There is a large body of evidence that without certain types of movement the child’s brain cannot develop properly. In particular they have used the services of A Chance to Grow to develop skills in channeling childhood squirms into learning.
Sir Ken tells the story of a girl who could not sit still. Until her mother took her to dance class she was having a tough time in school. This girl grew up to be a world class ballerina and choreographer, all because she was given a chance to move, a chance to dance.
I am pleased that our local school still gives children a chance to experience art, music and theatre, but more and more schools are cutting the arts from their programs in the push to teach every child to pass tests. Teaching to the test is an educational practice where curriculum is heavily focused on preparing for a standardized test. These standardized tests are good at turning out factory workers and academics, but they do little to produce healthy creative adults. Children are not made in factories, so how come we expect them to all turn out the same?
So here is my challenge for you. Teach your children to be creative. Give them open ended projects and let them figure out how they should be done. Get them away from the TV and outside learning from the world. Let them run, jump and climb. Children need to get out and make mistakes, they need to get hurt and learn from the pain. Giving children a chance to create stimulates the brain. Who knows, your little squirmer may be famous one day. You’ll never know if you do not give them the chance to dance.
Filed under: cold, Minnesota, snow, weather | Tags: children, cold, Minnesota, snow, snowman, winter
My daughter has been home for the past few weeks during a break in her college classes. One of the things she wanted to do while she was home was to make a snow man so the children she used to teach in Hawaii could see how it was done. The snow unfortunately was not cooperating. We did not have any snowman type snow.
For those not from Minnesota or other northern climates would assume that if you have snow, you can make a snowman, nothing could be further from the truth. Our snow here has been too cold to make a snowman.
All of our snow this year has fallen on very cold days. The snowflakes have been large and dry. They do not stick together. You need wet sticky snow to make that snowman. Luckily there have been a few warmer days and she did mange to find a bit of warmer snow. Mission accomplished, we have a snowman!
We have about six inches of snow on the ground yet and until we get some melting days it will remain the dry type of snow. Where the sun can find a spot out of the wind we are getting a bit of melting, but most of our snow is still likely to move if the wind blows. The forecast is for some of that wet snow this weekend, and then we’ll get cold again. We’ll see how long our snowman lasts.
Filed under: church, family, Farm, friends, time, travel | Tags: blog, books, children, church, computer, family, farm, friends, reading, travel, writing, writing a blog
Driving down the road I think of some great story I would like to write, and then I forget it when I get to the computer. I miss a lot of stories I want to tell you all, I could tell them to you if I sat at my computer all day, or maybe not. An interesting life, and interesting stories come from getting out into the world and living it. After nearly 60 years of living life on the farm I have some interesting ones.
Opinions, I’ve got them. You don’t spend your life doing the many things I have done and not develop a few opinions. I miss telling you my opinion on many things because I’m not sitting at my computer all day. I’d love to sit here and tell you my opinion of everything, start me off.
My kids tell me I spend too much time on the computer writing blogs or reading facebook. The thing is that after the years I have spent, the need to get out and earn a living for a growing family is not as great. I’m not well off, but I am comfortable so I don’t need to be accumulating things. I live life a bit more simply than many and am content. I write what I want, when I want.
You’d never know it, but I hated writing in high school. My wife says my writing still leaves a lot to be desired. I still need to read and reread my writing to be sure I’m getting my point across, and I still mess up. I do enjoy reading, and rarely do not have a book that I am in the middle of, or several magazines that I am reading. I still prefer the old-fashioned paper book. I’ve read most of the ones in my library many times, they are old friends.
My family takes some time also. Three kids, two of them married, two grand daughters, a wife, parents, in-laws, sisters and their children, cousins, aunts and uncles, they all take up my time. Then there are activities with friends to attend. They also help provide stories to write about.
We love to travel, and I have been blessed to have traveled most of this country and several others. It can really crimp your writing time if you are on the road.
During the cropping season I am especially busy, and now record keeping and tax preparation will be taking up some of my time. I also have church and organizations that I belong which keep me busy, and provide more stories.
My life would be a lot more boring if I sat at my computer all day. Not only that, but I would have a lot less to write about. So I guess you are just going to have to miss out on some of those stories I could have written, if they were good enough, they will come back again anyway. In the mean time, I’ll be out living life, so I have some more stories to write about for you.
Filed under: Christmas, family | Tags: anticipation, children, Christmas, family, hope, presidents, season of hope
Why is it that the anticipation is so much better than the actual event? Here we are in Christmas, a season for hope if ever there was one. Soon we’ll be watching little children bounce around the house anticipating a new toy, and then they play with the box. There will be children wanting a puppy or kitten or horse, and then finding that the chores and training that go along with that pet were not anticipated. Are you anticipating something that in reality will never happen?
The presidents that are most remembered in our country are those who presided at times of great hope, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, The Roosevelts, Kennedy, Reagan. Some promised more than they could deliver, but indeed the promise, and making us believe the promise are the key. Those who can give hope will ever be those we remember fondly.
Children also are a sign of hope. We wish for our children and grandchildren more than we had. We hope and pray that they can be so much more than we were. Children are our hope for the future.
I invite you to become a remembered person, a person of hope. This is the season for hope of a better tomorrow, it may take a bit of work, but we can build it. Please start building that hope for the future in your world today. Even if it never happens, it is worth the work.
Filed under: family, Farm, friends | Tags: children, community, family, farm, friends, people, travel
In church today the pastor challenged us to think of what you would do different if you only had one more year to live, or one day. Only one day was easy, I’d spend it with my grand daughters. Who wouldn’t love spending time with them. They are a bit over a year old and busy as all get out.What I would do different if I had one year left was harder, because I already seem to be doing exactly what I want.
As a school bus driver I get to spend time with children. Now at times they can be difficult, but the wonder of everyday in a child’s eyes is something that I try to cultivate in myself. They help to keep me young.
I get some time for reading almost every day. Mostly it’s the news, but every once in a while I can get lost in a good book.
I grew up in a traveling family. We went to visit friends and relatives in the area often. I have relatives in many states and have been traveling with my family to see them all my life. I also get to visit new places when I can. Trips to Canada and Mexico as well as Europe, the Middle East and Africa are all thing I have gotten to do.
I have a job I love. It is varied and interesting. Let it look a little bit the same as last year and you will get a curve of some kind thrown at you. The money has not always been the greatest, but it has been enough. It makes me rely on my skills and education, yet is random enough to not be boring. There are others I can talk to that are going through the same things so I do not feel alone. My job has also given me time to live a life of service,
There have been several organizations I have given myself to over the years, lately it has been my church and the Farm Bureau. Both have given me an opportunity to travel and learn.
I was raised to be content. I just need enough money to get by and my job and hobbies have allowed me enough time and money to be content.
I have a wife and children who tolerate and take care of me. They are my best friends and my love.
I guess you could say that I have everything I need, why would I want to change a thing if I knew my time was limited.
So how about you? Would you change anything I you knew your time was limited?
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, farm animals, Farm Bureau, food, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, Breakfast on the Farm, children, family, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, princess kay of the milky way, weather
What can I say, Cottonwood County’s 2012 Breakfast on the Farm was a success. When you plan for 200 to 250 people and serve over 300, you know something went right. We stressed over having to get more supplies, but were happy to get them.The weather was perfect as temperatures and humidity dropped making for a comfortable morning. Our host family, Dean, Elizabeth, April, Chelsea, Jacob and Ethan Johnson could not have been better. There was a chance to see history as the Butter Heads of the only sisters to make finals of Princess Kay of the Milky Way in the same year were on display.
One of biggest draws was the milking demonstration. Some of the younger children got right in close to see this contented cow be milked.
The FFA and 4-H had activities for the kids including a cow pie eating contest where contestants had to find candy corn in chocolate pudding using only their face. The first one to find all five was declared the winner. Sorry, I missed the pie in the face picture, but I did get a picture of the cleanup.
One guest commented that very time he had driven by the farm, he had wanted to stop in to see what happened there. Today he got to see. It was obvious that many others wanted to see the Johnson dairy.
We had lots of help with event. Although the lead organization was the Cottonwood County Farm Bureau, the event also had the Cottonwood County Dairy Association, the Cottonwood County Beef Producers, the Cottonwood County Corn and Soybean Growers and the Windom Chamber of Commerce as co-hosts. It was a team event.
To the Johnson family, a big thank you for all you did. You made this event a success. Perhaps we’ll get to do it again some year.
Filed under: family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Fishing, food, friends, summer, Trees, weather, wind | Tags: children, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, hot, machines, record heat, summer, trees, weather, wind
It has been a hot week and I will be glad to see it go. I seem to be having troubles for the last week or so, one after another.
Last Thursday I called the doctor that was to do my knee surgery to get details. They said, “Oh, No, you are not scheduled for a week.” I said “I have an appointment card that says surgery tomorrow.”, and “Next Friday will not work.” Some how we got the surgery done. The knee is feeling much better now, Thank you.
We go to the cabin so I can recuperate without having any extra duties, spend time with my leg up, take it easy. No water in the cabin! I have to crawl into the basement and prime the pump so we can have water to clean up and cool off.
It’s hot, record-breaking hot,but I cannot go into the water too cool off due to my surgery. Lucky for me the crappies are biting just off the dock. I can at least sit in the sun and fish, and sweat!
A storm comes through and takes down some trees and takes out the electricity. Spend some time helping with the clean up. No fans, no air moving, it’s hard to sleep. The only running water we have is when someone goes down to the lake to carry it back in buckets. With no fridge and food spoiling, we come home early. Oh yeah, the fridge died when the power went out.
We stop at my aunt and uncles on the trip home for a bit. The electricity goes out at their house!
A message comes up on my phone as we near home. One of the items we need to serve for Breakfast on the Farm is not available, could you call back, like, two days ago. With some scrambling, and help from others putting on the event, we are a go.
Today, Friday, I go to open my shop door and nothing happens, motor is out. Looks like I need to do some repair there, and there are no parts available until Monday.
There have been a number of little things that have gone wrong this week, and the record heat and humidity are not helping us get things done. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there. Then, however, I would not get to see my granddaughters,
I would not have the feeling of a job done well, I would not have people looking at me and saying, “Wow, how did you get all of that done.”
So, I guess I’ll just keep on going. We have a big event planned for tomorrow, and thanks to all of those who are helping me, we are going to have a good time. Come on over and help fill the tent. We’ll be waiting for you!
Here’s to keeping going when everything seems to be going wrong!
Filed under: family, Farm, frost, garden, planting, spring, Trees, weather | Tags: children, Easter, farm, garden, leaf lettuce, plant potatoes, Planting, potato, potatoes, spring
Well, I’ve done it, I finally started planting my garden. Usually you are fairly safe to start planting the more hardy plants by Easter. Many a person sets Good Friday as the day to plant potatoes. With this years good weather I could have had a lot more planted, but stayed away as long as I could. The exception, some potatoes.
About a month ago I looked at the sprouting left overs from last years garden and decided to try something crazy. I dug out these old pots and put those sprouted potatoes in. The plan is to keep adding soil as they grow. I’m hoping for some early potatoes. I figured I could move the pots inside when cold weather threatened and not have to worry, so far, no worry.
I had purchased some new asperges plants and some seed potatoes and decided to put them into the ground. My garden had been getting hard, so last fall I went through it with a deep tillage disk that I use in the fields. Now this spring I can tell that it helped. I took the tiller through the garden to get the early sprouting weeds, dug out some quack grass and dandelions and got planting. While I was at it I planted radishes, carrots, leaf lettuce, spinach and peas. These are all plants that can take being a little cold.
It doesn’t look like much now, but give it a few warm days and we’ll have some fresh veggies poking up.
The weather forecast is not hopeful for the plants that are already leafed out. Monday and Tuesday low temperatures are forecast to be well below freezing. That will push off my date for the start of corn planting. It is not only the corn that I have some concerns about. If the weather is cold enough the new blooms in the yard are in danger.
Our lilacs are just beginning to open.
The flowering crab is only days from blooming. The strong winds out of the north these last few days have not kept them from trying to bloom.
We can cover the tulips to protect them, but the trees are not going to be so lucky.
Talking about trees, my grandfather said you should wait until the ash and oak leaves were as big as a squirrels ear. We don’t even have much for buds on the ash, although they are showing their flowers.
I’m not worried about the ash trees, they will make it through quite a cold snap, but many other plants will not. I’m not sure how much cold the climbing rose will take at this time, I guess I’ll find out.
One plant I am hoping to see freeze off are these dandelions.
The blooms are staying close to the ground, so perhaps they know that the cold is not yet over.
So here’s hoping your Easter garden is frost free and full of color.