Last Saturday, I had the privilege of hosting an Alumni Day for our Sigma Alpha chapter, Alpha Xi. As co-chair of the event, I also got to help pick the speakers and Jamie Johanson was at the top of our list. Last spring, I had a class with a great person who definitely has a passion for agriculture and is proud to show it. While I didn’t get to listen to her whole speech, I did get to tune in when she started talking about sharing our passion. She was the reason I started my blog last year, and after listening to her talk, I was ready to show my passion to the world once again.
My family is REALLY into the whole photography thing so I figured I would show my passion on Facebook, through pictures of the farm and what we do. Yesterday, when I got home for fall break it was too dark to start sharing my passion so I vowed I would start today. Within a couple of minutes, I learned that sharing your passion through photography was a lot harder than people let on. Without a smartphone, I set out with my own camera, only to find the batteries dead and of course, no extra batteries anywhere in the house. Luckily, my sister allowed me to use hers as long as I ‘was really careful with it.’ So I set off down the hill to find the horses, armed with a camera and a mission.
I had had that perfect picture running though my head. Everyone has seen one, the beautiful horse loping with their mane in tail flowing in the wind. After catching Chex, I realized problem number one: it had rained recently; therefore the beautiful shiny coat would not be involved in any of my pictures. On to problem number two. Have you ever tried lunging a spirited horse while also taking pictures? Practically impossible!
So once I realized that lunging a horse would not be the product of my photography passion, I moved on to a new ‘perfect picture’. The one with your horses ears in the bottom, showing where you are riding and the path ahead of you. I was almost successful in finding a ‘Facebook worthy photo’ out of these but I still wasn’t satisfied. I was ready to give up. I turned Chex back out and led Rowdy to the house to saddle up for a ride. After a long, satisfying ride, I took one last picture.
I realized that my passion can’t be made, it has to be found. And today I found it in a sweaty horse, tired from a good ride. Tomorrow I might find it in checking the cows, or riding the four-wheelers. Even though my passion changes, I’ll always know that I can find it in the wide open spaces that I call home.
As you have probably noticed, I haven’t blogged in a long while. Coming home last summer to two straight weeks of intense farm work and a drought that is still lingering in our pastures, it was hard to find the time or the energy to type. I have been considering getting back to blogging for a while now, but could never get that final push to actually sit down at the computer and open up my WordPress account. This last weekend has been that final big push. Attending Track 2 of the Agriculture Future of America Leadership Conference, I realized that I missed blogging.
We were constantly talking about Twitter and LinkdIN and I knew that I had to get back to blogging. Most of you have probably never heard of the AFA program, so I strongly suggest you check it out! Bringing together about 500 hundred college students for a four day weekend of leadership, communication and networking, it is the best conference I have ever attended. Not only did I get that push to jump back into social media, I also made a lot of contacts throughout our industry. While sitting in one of the sessions, we talked about communication of our story to the public, and how many farmers hide in their communities. I am tired of sitting back and hiding in my community. So here I am telling my story again! I guess I had to realize that I wasn’t blogging to get as many followers and comments as I could, I just needed to tell my own story and hope that one day, I will be able to influence the lives of others like this conference influenced my life.
Two weeks after starting, hay is finally done! This hay season was extremely hectic for my family because Bethany got selected for an international agriculture trip through I-CAL. (More information on that later!) Which just happened to fall right after her college graduation and in the middle of hay. Since we were missing a family member in our hay process, this year was a learning experience for me. My current experience in the hayfield consisted of a raking disaster and bringing water to whoever was working. I joined in the actual hay process only to put square bales on the elevator to the barn. But not this year! This year, with it being so warm earlier in the spring our hay went early and Dad had our smaller hay field cut and baled by the time, I got home from Missouri State University. Sunday, we broke the ‘day of rest’ rule and hooked up the tractors early to get all of the round bales hauled out. When the day began, I had no idea how to work the hand clutch on our 630 John Deere and I was scared of The Hill.
The Hill is the worst part of hauling hay with loose gravel covering a long steep hill on the only road to the hay barn. But by the end of the day, I was working the hand clutch like a pro and The Hill was just a measly bump in the road (not really, it still stresses me out a little).With the smaller field done, we moved right into the next field. Or should I say UP to the next field.
Our farm is full of steep rocky hillsides so not only did we have to conquer The Hill but we also had to go down another one before that. Before we could start hauling bales out, I got a lesson in raking the hay. After my fiasco of raking a couple years ago, I was not excited. Rounds later, I dropped Dad off and raking by myself ensued. I must say once I had the hang of it, I was the best hay raker around.
Not only was I raking by myself, but I had learned how to drive my Grandpa’s 444 International tractor; marking my hay education up to three different tractors. With hay season just now over, there are still more adventures to come!
For the first time in a long time, my weekend didn’t start with my sister and I driving home. Instead, I passed my exit following two Missouri State University vans full of my Sigma Alpha sisters headed to Rolla and Cub Creek Science camp for a sisterhood retreat. And let me tell you, I was not excited!
After dealings with a flat tire and a car battery that didn’t want to stay charged, I was ready to go home. After getting in our cabin ( with air conditioning, what a relief!) and having the usual camp food of hot dogs for supper, my night was turning out way better than I expected; especially after we went to the camp zoo. If I can’t see my own horses, the next best thing is exotic animals and miniature horses. After team building with Hulu hoops and noodles ( the colorful water floaty kind), I thought it was time for bed. But with twenty other girls in one cabin and a very intense game of Buzzword, I finally for to climb into my bed at one o clock. The next day we had a whole new load of adventures waiting for us outside our cabin. After another wonderful meal of camp food (this time it was pop tarts) we struggled into rope harnesses and helmets.
After we got the awkward harnesses tightened in a the right places, each sister got attached to the rope swing while the rest of us pulled them up. It was a pretty cool concept to know that your sisters alone are pulling you that high into the air. After the ripe swing, we all conquered an awesome zip line and ate our final round of camp food, ham and turkey sandwiches.
After some more team building after lunch, we found some shade for the closing remarks. As we sat there, I realized that I had a lot of fun. Which I didn’t think was gonna happen so that got me thinking about other things. Maybe I should try new things more and look at old things with a new perspective. On Sunday, as I worked my horses, (to my delight, Chex wasn’t limping!) I realized that not only do you have to give new things a chance but you have to be thankful for what you have.
If you live anywhere near Mid-Missouri, you know that this weekend was a complete monsoon. So, that means nothing exciting happened on the farm. Except for Chex is longer swelled up! With flooding and mud everywhere, I stayed inside pretty much the whole weekend, (except when Bethany and I went outside and got completely and absolutely soaked feeding everyone on Sunday).
Instead of doing exciting things outside, I tried catching up on homework. I ended up looking at Pinterest and catching up on all the blogs I haven’t read (I am the ultimate procrastinator!). Reading other blogs really gets me thinking about my life and where it’s going. So instead of finishing my homework, I decided that I needed a Bucket List! Doesn’t everybody? It may not be long but hey, I can always add new stuff! So here it is, after one day and couple of inches of rain:
- Washington DC- Its one of those places that I think each person should visit with their family and with Dad in the Army, it has an even bigger meaning
- Las Vegas- Another place I think every person should visit, but not with my family. 🙂
- Montana- I would love to see and even be a part of a ‘real’ ranch even if it is only for a visit
- Amarillo, Texas- Being in almost every country song, it has to be a pretty cool place
- Twenty Five Pinterest crafts- I am a new Pinterest member and I must say, my craft list is already overloaded!
- Finish my Desk- Three of us college girls are renting a house next year, and instead of buying a desk, I decided to build it. Currently, it’s only a stained wooden top though.
- Build a bookshelf- What can I say, I like working with my hands (and Markway’s never do anything easy!)
- Network- Last November, I went to AFA and made lots of friends my own age but didn’t make any industry contacts (which is VERY essential!)
- Get an internship- Goes hand in hand with networking
- Get a master’s degree… eventually- By eventually, this could mean in three years, five years, or ten years.
- Go to wine tasting- A class is offered at Missouri State University, just have to wait until 21!
- Learn to drive the boat faster- And by faster, I mean the fastest I have driven is just over an idle when we snag
- Go river rafting- Rocks, rapids and all.
- Go to a beach- And not have a plan for the day, just me, the water and what I want to do
- Learn to drive the truck and trailer- I want to be able to go to the arena when I want, for as long as I want
- Go skiing- Nothing like flying down a mountain to give you an adrenalin rush!
- Ride a mechanical bull- Again with the adrenalin (I’m an adrenalin junkie!)
- Learn to two-step- Technically, I know how to do it, I just suck at it.
- Journal- I keep saying it will happen, but one day I am going to make it happen
- Memorize my M number– Which is basically your Missouri State University social security number
- Connect with old friends- College has gotten in the way of my home life 🙂
- Show more gratitude- Doesn’t everybody need to?
My hope is to finish it by the end of my college career, but who knows! Any more suggestions?