Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ag Leaders take on Washington D.C.!

And we’re back!  The trip to D.C. was amazing, exhausting, educational, memorable… and germ-y.  My plane touched down a week ago, but I’m just now recovering from all of it!

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

Me standing at the Lincoln Memorial looking over the mall.

I’ve got a million photos (okay, 324) of our trip, but I’ll try to just share the highlights.  There were only two or three each day. 😉

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

We started with a night tour of the Monuments; Jefferson Memorial

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

FDR Memorial- this is actually one of my favorite memorials because of all the quotes.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

World War II Memorial, which was also beautiful but hard to photograph as most of the lights were out.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

The Korean Memorial which reflects your image in the etching of the faces of the soldiers.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

And the Lincoln Memorial.   Our tour guide said one of the “myths” is that Lincoln is using American Sign Language to finger spell his initials because Lincoln signed the charter for the deaf college, Gallaudet.  This annoyed me to no end because that would be some of the worst signing ever, and the letters would be backwards, and just no.  It’s not.

But moving on…

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

It wasn’t all play and no work!  This is us meeting with a staffer in the House Committee on Agriculture.  We met with our state reps and their staff, and spent time with one of our Senators.

We also met Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.  If you don’t know about their scams, check out  (Hint, they aren’t taking care of puppies.)  Wayne was a little late to our meeting because he was busy lying to Congress, but let me tell you, the guy could sell snow to an Eskimo.  It was an enlightening experience!

The guy on the far right is Congressman Jason Smith.  He took us on a night tour of the capitol (as in we finished a little before midnight!).  We couldn’t take our cameras in, but we got to go onto the Senate floor and see the signature in the desk of former President Harry Truman.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

We also saw Mount Vernon, and thanks to a favor from an ALOT alum we got to visit Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery during the off season.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

Usually we learn about Washington the General or President, but he referred to himself as a farmer, and he was a good one.  He used every resource he had, sold every by-product made, and had a farm bigger than most in the US today- 8,000 acres.  For comparison Marshall Farms rents, owns, and sharecrops a little more than half that amount and it supports two families.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

This is the round barn Washington invented to thresh wheat.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

And the cleanest manure compost I’ve ever seen.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

The trip ended with dinner in a tavern frequented by Washington and other founding fathers.

As fun as it was, I’m glad to be back– missed ya’ll! 😉

Categories: Agvocacy | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Leaving the Farm

Just a quick post today to say I’m not on the farm; I’m in Washington D.C. with my Ag Leaders of Tomorrow class! Hopefully I’ll be getting tons of great information to share with you, but first, a shout-out to the people who make it possible for me to be gone.  

That’s the USDA building. We’ll be there soon!

Thanks to grandparents who happily keep my flock of kiddos (Or is it a herd?  Yes.  Feels like a herd!), Daddy, who is taking care of the actual flocks and herds while Brett and I are away, and other grandparents who pitch in with the animals and make it works so Daddy can be with the kids some as well.  It might take a village to raise a child, but leaving a farm is even more involved. 🙂

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Realities of Farm Life

Many people want to do what we do.  A house in the country, taking care of a couple of goats, a flock of chickens, and a Daddy who farms is the dream of many American families.  Getting your own fresh eggs from the backyard seems so ideal.

This is the reality.

The realities of life on a family farm!

Because fresh eggs require live chickens, and live chickens must be feed and watered everyday, in cold, heat, wind and rain.  So then the chickens poop.  Constantly.

On top of that, life happens.  A few weeks ago I noticed the hens were going through a lot of water.  Then I realized why.  Their waterer, which rests on a heated base, was leaking down onto the base and seeping under the layer of straw and poo.  By the time I figured this out I had 9 inches of soggy, wet, manure.

It smelled just like it sounds it would.

The realities of life on a family farm!

First thing was to let the chickens out for recess.

The realities of life on a family farm!

Or that’s what they act like when you open their gate!

Then we shoveled all the manure into the wagon and wheelbarrow and took it down to the garden boxes.

The realities of life on a family farm!

Although nasty smelling and very heavy, sopping wet chicken litter is fantastic garden compost.  You have to plan ahead, however, because chicken litter can also burn plants.  It needs to decompose for a few months– which is perfect because our last frost date.

The realities of life on a family farm!

It took two days, but Brett and I finally hauled all that mess out of the coop and down to the garden.  Since the coop doesn’t have heat I don’t clean it out during the winter, using the process of decomposing to create a layer of heat on the floor.  We haven’t seen the bottom of this mess since last fall!

We’d usually fill the laying boxes and the floor with straw (the stem of a stalk of wheat) but we didn’t have a wheat harvest this year, so we used hay (grass cut in the summer and dried for animals to eat in the winter) the goats had already picked over.  Goats are seriously picky animals and won’t eat hay that’s been on the floor or that they’ve laid on.  Which means we have lots of extra. 😛

The realities of life on a family farm!

The funniest part was hearing those crazy girls after putting down their new hay.  They make So Much Noise!

“Cackle, cackle, cackle, did you see this new flooring?  It adds so much texture to the room, don’t you think?!”






Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

GMO Testing

Apparently I’m just stubborn enough to continue on with an idea, even after protest that readers don’t want simple, easy-to-swallow facts to make food choices!

I guess I just think maybe simple is good. 🙂

simple, easy-to-swallow facts for making food choices

Or maybe I just like playing with typography.


Categories: Food, Quick Fact, Technology | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

What You Don’t Know About Farmers

If a picture is worth a thousand words then the message a film can convey is simply amazing.  Which is why you need to see this movie.  You might be amazed what you don’t know about farmers.


FARMLAND Teaser Trailer 2014 from Farmland on Vimeo.

It’s available for purchase at Wal-Mart tomorrow, March 3, 2015.  You can also get it from Netflix on DVD (not streaming) or upload from iTunes, youTube, Amazon, and several other stores.

This is how food is grown in America.  FARMLAND documentary

I highly recommend it.

The documentary follows the stories of six young farmers and ranchers of all shapes and sizes.  There’s the “One Woman Farmer” growing produce in the northeast, an organic farmer handling everything from seeds to bar codes in the southwest, a poultry producer, a cattle rancher, hog farmer, and a row crop guy.  And their stories are real.

Really, really, real.

These are the problems we face.  These are the decisions we make.  This is what our life looks like.

This is how food is grown in America.

That’s not something you don’t want to know about.

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