Fairtime 2017

How did I not get this posted? Not sure.. but fair time came …and went over 2 months ago. It was our last one showing cattle as Nate has now graduated and moved on. But the memories are priceless. The animals all have a name, Phil and Jack, Ace, Daisy, Junior….just to name a few. I can remember like yesterday the first animal Nate showed, the runt reject twin steer brought home in a dog crate from my dads farm. His name was Junior. We had him and showed him for two years, and when he left us we cried. I also can remember when Nate said goodbye to Phil, the first steer that won him a first place trophy, The night before he went to auction I sat in the showbarn alone late at night with him, talked to him and cried. It was so hard to watch my 14 year old son say goodbye to his best friend.  He knew it was time, but it did not make it any easier on him, on me, on my daughter. Like I said before, we remember each animal individually, all of them loved. All of them a best friend to my child and all whom have taught him about love and loss and friendship.

Fair 2017 was one for the books. Nate turned over the Cass County Fair King crown to the next worthy recipient as Addie was crowned Little Miss Beef Queen 2017. Nate showed his last steer taking top honors in his class and in showmanship. Addie handed out ribbons at the Feeder Calf show and showed our long time family pet dog, Cowboy who appeared to have the time of his life “taking the ring”.

I served for my last year as head of Addie’s Clover Kid Club and served my last shift in the FFA foodstand as a parent and not as a member of the FFA alumni. We parked our camper in the campground for the last time in the foreseeable future as I believe my daughter will likely be a static exhibitor in her future.

I am not done with 4H as I will take over in her 4H club as a leader there. I will continue to work shifts in the 4H and FFA foodstands and my husband is taking on a post on the grounds committee for the fairground. Our support of the youth and adults who live and love agriculture every day continues in a new way.

Whether you live in the midwest, the plains, the coast or somewhere in between I encourage you to support agriculture in your area and support your local fairs. I have witnessed firsthand the love and care put into these animals and in static exhibit projects and the work these kids put into raising an animal in an ethical, safe and healthy way. These animals are pets to these kids, best friends, confidants and partners. I am lucky to be able to live this and watch this in my life. I am lucky to have been raised in agriculture and married to agriculture. I hope you support the farmers, 4H kids, and FFA members in your community too.

As for the future time will tell for us what it will look like as our daughter matures and discovers her own path at fairtime. It was bittersweet to watch my son take the ring one last time, but he now turns his attention to his major in Animal Science at Northwest Missouri Sate and I am excited for what his next chapter will bring. His love of agriculture will evolve into a career doing what he loves and for that I am grateful.

So to wrap up the fair memories as I will quote a 4H poster I read one time while walking around at the fair. It read “We are more than just a 4H Club… we are Family”

This is so true when you set foot in a county fair show barn, and it will be missed.

Till next time,

Laura

 

 

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What is a farm manager?

I have been asked literally a million times what my husband does. “He is a farm manager? “What is that?”, “Does he farm?”, “What does he manage?” I have a lot of confused looks and questions whenever I mention his career. So let me clear some of the myths behind farm management and what a farm manager actually does.

  1. He does not drive around in a pickup and look at fields. …well… he kind of does… but not really. He does own a pick up and he does look at fields, but he gets out of the pick up and ventures into fields. Just like a farmer, he has to check moisture, look for signs of pests and weeds, and check the progress of the crops he is responsible for.
  2. He does not work with the farmer. I think this is the biggest misconception. Yes, his job is to work for the land owner, (who is not always the farmer) but he works with the land owner and the farmer toward the best outcome.
  3.  Farm managers aren’t as busy as farmers. Actually this is completely false. My husband is gone just as much as the farmers he works with. When you are responsible for the production and outcome on over 50 fields, you are gone. ALOT. He is in the combine when they are combining, in the tractor when they are planting and out visiting fields when chemicals are being put on (or not). His family knows what it is like to have him hit a “busy season” and we experience his absence too.
  4. Not all agents that sell farm ground are farm managers. Yes. To manage ground you have to have a real estate license, even if you do not sell. (In other words you cannot manage real estate without a real estate license). This also enables you to list and sell farm ground. Some also carry insurance licenses to they can sell crop insurance. Depends on who you work for.
  5. Farm managers don’t understand how farming works. My husband grew up on a cattle feedlot, worked on a farm all the way through college, has managed more than one farm chemical outlet, has a degree in agronomy, and has earned sales awards in both chemical and land. He also was awarded an environmental service award and was in charge of a winter nursery in Puerto Rico… so he does know agriculture.

The best way for me to describe what my husband does is to set up a scenario- one he has seen time and time again… Imagine being an adult child of a farmer who has farmed his whole life. You grew up, moved away to the coast and upon the death of your dad you inherit 240 acres of farm ground back in the midwest. You have no idea how to farm, what land can make in rent, what an input is, what kinds of seed to plant and you have no idea who is currently farming this land and how does that rent work? You are established in your career, know nothing abut farming and have no desire to move back. How do you take care of this investment you were given?

This is where the farm manager comes in. He is hired with the responsibility of managing the land, rent, and depending on the contract, any leases, sales and upkeep of the ground. He meets with the seed and chemical companies, hires the sprayers, chooses the seed in some cases, hires the people who will put up new terraces, work on drainage issues, complete tiling etc. He works with managed ground, custom ground, and owners. The land owner who knows nothing about this or cannot or does not want to manage this all him/herself can rely on the farm manager to get the best return on his/her investment.

For many, it really is a blessing to have access to a farm manager if you have no idea what to do next once you inherit ground. He is utilized by adult children who have land, widows of farmers, and in some cases he is works for investment companies.

Bottom line is that farm managers are a very necessary part of the agricultural landscape. They are men and women who work hard to protect the farm ground that is such an important part of the agricultural foundation of our country. If you ever wonder just exactly what they do, just ask! They are proud of the profession they love.

Picture of my husbands dad and siblings by his tractor late 70’s

Iowa summer sights “John Wayne birthplace museum”

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway -John Wayne

Statue of John Wayne at the entrance of the newly built museum in Winterset, Iowa

The only area of the museum where pictures are allowed, along with props for kids to try on and take a picture in. Nice job Addie!

I am finally getting to my last blog post ( I believe) of our summer travels around our beautiful state. I had a MISSION this summer to show my children some of the great places our state has to offer and we saw several. One of my favorite though was the John Wayne birthplace and museum. The home is located in Winterset Iowa and very recently they built a new museum next door which was still not completely finished. When we were there they had tile in the entryway that had not yet been laid etc. Overall though the place was ready for visitors.
The visitor center and museum tour starts with a video about the life of John Wayne and some clips about his famous films and television shows he has starred in. plays on a continuous rotation and if I recall correctly lasts about 10 minutes.

From there you move into a large room that has memorabilia from John Wayne’s life on display. There are pieces of hollywood props and sets he used, old letters and scripts etc. There are no videos or pictures allowed in the room, which really was the biggest downer as I would have liked to have taken some to show my husband. Oh well.

From this room you exit the building and if you paid to also tour his birthplace you walk next door and take a tour of the very small home that is right beside the museum. The picture of the decorated conversion van was taken between the two. From the looks of it, this van was custom-made by a super fan and they allow the museum to park it there for display at various times throughout the year. It was kind of parked off the sidewalk under a carport between the 2 buildings.

 The house was neat. Very small, and was crowded the day we were there. It was a weekday in August, but that is also prime tourism season so I am sure that contributed to the congestion. Everything in the house is on 1 level and it takes only about 10 minutes to see it all. It is very small and is decorated to look like period for his life but does not contain a lot of actual John Wayne items. Interesting, but the whole tour of both buildings did not take as long as I would have thought.

My kids were (eh..) on the whole thing… they really do not know much about John Wayne so that is understandable. I enjoyed seeing it because I am a person who likes to see and experience as much as I can. I have no plans to return though. I appreciate any opportunity to support small town Iowa attractions though and would recommend this as a stop if ever in the area.

We were able to experience this museum and also the covered bridges in Madison County – read more here Iowa Summer sights, Bridges of Madison County in an afternoon along with an ice cream stop.

I think this is my last post about Iowa summer sights…. that is until I find more pictures in my camera and I remember another stop we made…

Thanks for reading!

Iowa summer sights 2015 “Clark Tower”

Tyler sitting under the ladder you have to climb to get to the observation deck, note how steep the steps are

Madison County part II. The Clark tower in Winterset City Park.  This was an interesting quick stop. We were already here for the covered Bridges of Madison County anyway. It was a quick stop, it did not take long.   The best way to find the tower is to enter the city park in the main entrance and then follow the road straight up into the hilly dense tree area ahead of you. (Past the covered bridge). It is a long drive in the dense trees and is tight. The road curves and has tight turns, and side note…..it is one lane in width. Not an easy drive if you have a big vehicle… and I don’t believe motorhomes are allowed in that area of the park. Once at the top of the bluff the road enters a clearing and the tower is up in a gravel lot.

 The tower is old. Its best attribute is the view which looks over all the bluffs below. To get to the top you have to climb a rickety old ladder that appears to have been there since the 40’s. If you cannot easily manipulate steep ladder stairs and narrow openings then this stop isn’t for you. The pay off is definitely the view which was spectacular.

I had to help my youngest to the top. She does not handle heights well. But she enjoyed it when she got to lookout area and she was able to see over the trees. For me it was worth the stop… I enjoy seeing off the road places.

Another side note, it is very deserted up there. You have to drive off in a wooden area alone and there is NO ONE around when you get to the top. I felt a little disconnected from society, not sure I would walk all the way up there alone.

All in all- good stop, but quick. Won’t take up too much time. 🙂

Iowa summer sights “Bridges of Madison County”

Bridges of Madison County What a beautiful sight! If you live in Iowa… as I have my whole life.. Then the covered bridges in Madison County are a must see. There is nothing quite like walking through the old wooden structures knowing that once upon a time they held horse-drawn buggies and wagons. They are beautiful. 
Popularity rose for the bridges in 1995 when award-winning actor Clint Eastwood released a movie starring Meryl Streep that’s title was “The Bridges of Madison County” . People flocked to Iowa to see one of the 6 remaining covered bridges. Originally Madison County housed 19, and today 5 are on the National Registry of Historic Places.

You can read more about their history, the novel, the movie, and their tours here:

Bridges of Madison County

I decided this was another stop in Iowa that my kids should take the time to visit. I remember my Grandparents going once upon a time.. and since we only live an hour away, this was another stop we should take the time to make.

We visited 2 of the bridges. The first one was Roseman Bridge (the one in the picture of the backside of 2 of my kids) and it is known as the “haunted bridge”. Legend has it that this bridge is haunted because in 1892 two sheriff’s posses trapped a county jail escapee in the bridge. Legend says that the man cried out and jumped up straight through the roof of the bridge and disappeared. As the story goes he was not found again. The bridge was very quiet, covered with signatures of those who had been there before (marked in marker on the inside of one of the walls) and had a nice area for a picnic just outside the front entrance. The bad part of this one? It is literally in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, you can pick up a map at the Madison County Visitors Center that has the names and locations of all the bridges, so I was able to navigate my way there off that map.

The second one we visited was in Winterset City Park and is named the Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge which was built in 1870. It was smaller than the first and had less graffiti and signatures in it. The park itself also houses the Clark tower which I will write about on a another day.

If you are wanting more information on the bridges as well as directions you can click here:

Madison County Covered Bridges Map

All in all the Bridges made a great day trip for my kids and I. Top the day off with ice cream from the local ice cream shop and it is a perfect summer day trip. One more thing off my bucket list of things to see in this beautiful state.

~Laura

Gallery

Iowa summer sights 2015, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Council Bluffs Iowa

What a weekend! We were in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area for a weekend long basketball tournament and had plenty of time to check out some sites in between games.

The Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge is a unique walking bridge that is suspended over the Missouri River. You start one side in Iowa and cross over into Nebraska. An interesting and fun way to stand in 2 states at once! Its unique “S” shaped curvature makes it even more fun to cross and the suspension concept allows for movement you can feel as you go across. Scary? Yes. But makes for some great views.

We stopped halfway across and watched the boats speed under us and also spent some time sitting on the bench at the midway point. The sights were awesome. There was a small carnival/ food show going on just below the bridge which made it interesting watching the rides. They also had a helicopter that was going up and down giving rides. It would fly low past the bridge and wave at the people walking.
The plaques at the end of the bridge say that the bridge was awarded the honor of being the world’s most spectacular pedestrian bridge by Travel+Leisure. It also states the bridge is built of twin 203 foot pylons and that 80 steel cables support its deck. The placard also states the bridge itself is 2300 feet in length making it the nations longest pedestrian bridge.



My kids loved the opportunity to stand in 2 states at once!

If you are looking for a neat adventure in this area that is free of charge and offers spectacular views, check this out! It was a find we tripped on when we left the basketball tournament at the CenturyLink Center, and is easily accessed from the downtown area. It would cover a travel spot in both Iowa and Nebraska and one I would recommend seeing.

Until the next stop!

 

Iowa summer sights 2015, Willow township

Iowa brings a lot of beautiful things in the summer. Beautiful sunsets, the sound of the grasshoppers in the fields, the smell and sound (yea sound) of corn growing. For me summer in Iowa also means a break from routine and a chance to get out and explore. Like I had said in my previous post, my goal is to get my children out this summer and give them an opportunity to see some Iowa sights. The second stop we made was to the Willow township cemetery where many generations of my family are buried and where my Great Grandfather Edwin Adamson’s one room school-house still stands. I love history especially family history so what a great opportunity to show my children their roots.

The day was beautiful. Sun shining, no humidity and no rain, a first for us in a long time. We went to the cemetery on the Wednesday just after Memorial Day. I was able to easily find my Grandparents graves and right next to them my great aunt and uncle. I do know that there are many generations across the road in the “old cemetery” part as well, but I could not identify them or begin to know where to look. But I know they are there, and it is fun to walk among the headstones and try to identify family names I have heard growing up. My second cousin also has two children buried here. I always make a stop to see several other family friend graves as well. Walking through and seeing names so easily recognized as part of my past. Sheer, Burkhart, Smith, Shirbroun, Huffaker, all names I have stories and history with. What a great thing to show my kids. The school house shown above is the one my great grandfather attended. As the story goes it was used as a voting place for a period of time and it was then they added the handicapped accessible ramp. It is now not being used at all. Locked up we were unable to go inside but I have been told the original chalkboard is still hanging, the old voting machine is still in there and walking in is like going back in time. I wish we would have gone in.

The first two stops of summer have brought back good memories for me. I can only hope my kids (2 of the 3 were able to go) can look back and have happy memories as well.

Until the next adventure happy summer!