Celebrate the Harvest

   By Sarah Thomas and Katie Thomas Glick

You have seen them, passed them or heard them. Some are green and others are red, there may be yellow ones too.

It’s harvest time. Farmers are in their fields picking crops they have nurtured since spring.

We lost our farmer in the middle of harvest. It was five years ago this Thanksgiving when the tractors were still rolling in the fields and the grain dryer was buzzing through the cold, clear night air. And to this day we still celebrate his life and we still celebrate the harvest.

For the farmer, fall is not about pumpkin spiced flavor drinks and treats. It’s not about taking selfies by the changing leaves or who has the highest score in a fantasy football league. When those leaves begin to change farmers are making sure their equipment is working properly, scheduling loads to grain elevators and making sure their livestock has all the necessities they need for the changing season.

Those monstrous machines you see in the fields and taking up much of the road and shoulder are called combine harvesters. Their job is all in the name; they harvest the crops. Combines are the most important piece of equipment in the fall season. You will also see tractors with a “big wagon” hitched to the back that runs alongside the combine. That wagon is actually called a grain cart. Its job is also all in the name as well. It carts grain from the combine which is harvesting the crops. And then there are semis. The grain from the grain cart is transported into the bed (back end) of the semi. The semi then gets on the road to deliver the grain to grain bins or silos back on the farm. From there, the grain bin stores and dries the grain until the farmer is ready to sell and transport it to a different destination, like a grain elevator or a livestock farm.

IMG_0993

In Indiana, our farmers have a variety of options for their corn and soybeans after the harvest. They can keep it on their farm and store in in their grain bins, they can deliver it to a country elevator by semi or a container yard for transport by train or even a barge terminal along the river for it to be sent down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and then be sent somewhere around the world, most likely China or Japan. They can load it by semi to be sent to a soybean processer to make soybean meal and oils or to an ethanol plant to make ethanol and DDGs (distillers dried grains which is used for livestock feed).

In Indiana, we plant a lot of corn and soybeans with other crops being grown throughout the year including wheat, sorghum, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.IMG_5939

In our state, we mainly think of harvest during the fall. However, there are so many other crops that are harvested throughout the year. Think about your garden and summer farmer’s markets. The agriculture family has stepped up our game in recent years in regards to educating consumers about where their food comes from and about the seasons in which they plant, nurture and harvest. The new documentary film “Farmland” follows several young farmers from around our country and highlights the various faces of farming and what the future of agriculture looks like. One farmer featured is a cattle rancher in Texas while another is an organic farmer in California and yet another poultry farmer in Georgia. All very different but all farmers working in agriculture with harvests that occur throughout the year. You can now watch “Farmland” on Hulu and step foot on these farms and ranches to learn more about agriculture and be a part of their harvest.

IMG_5937

As our Indiana farmers are in the thick of harvest and the month of November is a time to gather around the table with family and friends to celebrate, remember to give thanks for the food on your table. Give thanks for those that planted it, nurtured it, harvested it, took time away from their families to provide it for you and may have lost their lives when the combine was still rolling. Give thanks for the old farmers, the young farmers and the future farmers. Give thanks for the harvest because you are a part of it too.

IMG_0988

Advertisements

Summing It Up: II

20141014-112409.jpg

I haven’t had much time for writing. Well that isn’t true, I have been writing everyday. Turns out I got a teaching job as a writing teacher! So, not only am I writing everyday, but I am talking about writing all the time too.

I am a kindergarten, first, and second grade writing teacher at an elementary school in my home county. It is the perfect fit for me. I am enjoying and learning so much as a first year teacher. I knew this time wasn’t going to be easy, but I am constantly seeing the rewards and blessings from all the work. Teaching is quite rewarding. I am glad I didn’t give up my  dream of teaching and having my own classroom.

As a writing teacher I am teaching my young writers all about the writing process and what writers write about. I am so busy trying to get them to write and find ideas to write about that I have put my own writing on the back burner. Then I did a lesson about how writers can write anywhere and about anything. So, I decided I better get back to it. I need to practice what I teach. Here is a part II to a similar post I did “Summing It Up.”

Making: lots of lesson plans for my kindergarten, first, and second grade students
Cooking: nothing. Still working on getting the motivation to do this
Drinking: black coffee
Reading: over my lesson plans and state standards
Wanting: more time in the day
Looking: still looking for that road less traveled
Playing: lots of Red Dirt music
Wasting: thoughts and ideas not written
Sewing: knowledge into my students
Wishing: all my favorite people were in the same place
Enjoying: the changing leaves
Praying: for a safe harvest season
Liking: how things do workout for the better
Wondering: what the next chapter will be
Loving: my new teaching job, my students, staff and the community my school is in
Hoping: the weather stays nice so farmers can stay in the fields
Marveling: at these pictures I took a couple of weeks ago in Kansas
Needing: a good book to read. Suggestions are always welcomed!
Smelling: the beautiful fall days
Wearing: boots. Boot season is finally here!
Following: still trying to follow God’s plan
Noticing: people and times are changing
Knowing: I am blessed beyond measure
Thinking: I need to head west again very soon
Opening: new chapters in my life
Giggling: at all the funny things my students say and/or write to me
Feeling: still just dandy

To sum it up, stay tuned for much more writing! Have a fabulous fall day!

20141014-112435.jpg

You’re Gonna Want to See This

FARMLAND, a documentary about six farmers and ranchers in their 20s being stewards of the land. Award winning director, James Moll with the help of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has given this diverse group of farmers and ranchers a chance to share their story with you.

I grew up on a grain farm in central Indiana. I know and understand where my food comes from. I am confident in and trust the hands that grow and produce my food. To sum it up, I know what’s up in the agriculture industry. But for those who do not know or have questions about where your food comes from or more specifically who grows and produces that food, this movie is a must see for you.

Or if you are like me and know first hand what the life of a farmer or rancher is like, this movie is still for you. I felt like a cheerleader on the sidelines watching my teammates on the big screen. I couldn’t help but love that they were given this opportunity to share their stories.

During the month of October, Farmland can be watched for FREE on Hulu. Click here to watch.

So, to sum it up educate yourself or be a supporter for those hands that feed us. Watch it!

Head, Heart, Hands, Health

By Katie Thomas Glick and Sarah Thomas

Every year, we know when it’s coming. We can feel it in the summer air and we prepare our schedules accordingly for a visit back home to eat our favorite taco salad and pork burger, walk the livestock barns and reminisce about old times at the Morgan County Fair!

Growing up as farm girls, it wasn’t a question if we were going to participate in 4-H or not. We were participating in 4-H because it was in our blood. Our dad was an active member of 4-H along with our uncles. The question was what were our projects going to be, and how much money could we save to buy several lemon shake-ups each day of the fair.

And while it is a place to soak up the last bits of summer with your friends, enjoy midway rides or eat some fried food, the county fair means much more to some individuals in our community. For some youth in our county, it’s about taking a pledge, having responsibility for a project or an animal and being an active member in the community. The fair is a time for 4-H members to show their projects, make memories with their friends from around the county, and play a part in shaping their future—our future. As the nation’s largest youth program, 4-H helps shape young people into responsible and active citizens.

20140724-090316.jpg

This picture was featured in my home town newspaper back in when my Dad was an active member in 4H.

It was 1902 in Clark County, Ohio when A. B. Graham started a youth program for youth and adults to come together to learn and teach each other about agricultural practices. We now consider this the beginning of the 4-H programs in the United States. Now there are 4-H clubs serving youth members in rural, suburban, and urban settings all around the U.S. It is the nation’s largest youth program with clubs that spread over every state.

You may have found yourself walking into the fairgrounds and seeing that familiar four leaf clover with an H stitched on each leaf and thought to yourself, “What do those four Hs stand for?” When 4-H members make the decision to join a club or to be an active member in their county 4-H they take a pledge, they learn it and know it well.

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

While you may think that to be in 4-H you have to show some kind of livestock, this is completely untrue. Many 4-H members do have livestock projects but there are many that get involved in other ways. Be sure to visit the exhibition hall at the county fairgrounds to see other projects such as: photography, baking, sewing, electrical, genealogy, gardening and much more. All the 4-H members, in all areas, work diligently on their projects whether they are in the exhibition hall or the livestock barns.

The youth participating in 4-H make a conscious decision to take a challenge and be responsible for a project and along the way learn how to better themselves and their community. Therefore, we challenge you, as a former 4-H alumni or not, to visit the projects in the buildings and the barns and to learn something to better yourself. And along the way, you will help better your community by supporting our county 4-H members.

And as you walk to get your lemon shake-up or stand in line to get your favorite fair food, you can usually spot the 4-H members with some ribbons in their back pocket. We encourage you to talk to these members and ask them about their projects. They take great pride in their hard work. The hard work that has taught them responsibility and lessons that will be with them forever and that they will use in their community—our community.

Read more about 4H on my sister, Katie’s blog, Fancy in the Country.

 

Lessons On How to Eat an Oreo

My Dad loved Oreos. We ALWAYS had them in this jar labeled, “Munchies” because that’s exactly what he would do after dinner. He would munch on a couple of Oreos or a couple spoonfuls of apple sauce. It was weird but it gave him his sweet tooth fix I guess.

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of my Dad and me. I don’t know why because it goes to show even at a young age I was a messy eater. But Dad was always right there beside me so I could use his shirt sleeve to clean my face off. I blame that act on why I seem to always forget to grab a napkin when I sit down to eat. But I love how he is right there beside me, bent down to where it looks like he is telling me something. I am sure he was just sharing with me lessons on how to eat an Oreo. But then I bet he got tired of telling me how to do it, so instead he showed me.

Dad was always right there beside me if or when I needed him. He was there in all his silent yet very much known presence.

Dad was never critical of my mistakes or decisions. He never really told me what to do. He SHOWED me what to do.

The man was ALWAYS on the go and you just had to learn to keep up if you wanted to learn anything from him at all.

He was a role model in the truest sense.

He modeled how you should care for yourself, and for others.

Whether it was working all day long at the farm, Sunday nights, rainy or snowy days the man never could sit still for long. I remember during the winter months when there wasn’t much physical labor for him to do on the farm, he would go down to the basement and jump rope. Jump rope for what seemed like FOR-E-V-ER (read that in the voice from that kid on The Sandlot). And I could never get out of that jump rope session, especially during basketball or volleyball seasons.

“You need quick feet Sarah,” he’d say as I counted my jumps and he’d take a seat on the couch after he was done with his jumps and change the channel to AMC or TCM to find an old classic movie to watch. I remember asking if I should stop so I wouldn’t be in his view of John Wayne or Gary Cooper.

But no worries I was never in his way because he’d say, “Oh, you have quick feet now?”

So I would say nothing to him but start my new count of jumps.

Now that I am telling this story I should probably go pull out a jump rope and work on my “quick feet.”

He also showed me how to be strong…..

20140614-235812.jpg

And he showed me how to have a sense of humor.

20140614-235854.jpg

The thing that I took away most from my role model was how to treat people.

20140612-130819.jpg

He had such a way with people. Through his actions you could tell that he really did care about his friends, family and even strangers.

After he passed away, some of my closest friends and I were sitting in the basement drinking some Miller Lites and looking at pictures. One of the boys said, “You know when he asked you how you were, he was really asking because he wanted to know. And he’d listen.”

I remember sitting there hearing that statement and thinking, “man my Dad really cared about him and he knew Dad did too.”

The man was a great friend to have. He was there if you needed help or if you just wanted to have a good time.

He had friends of ALL ages. He could go to dinner with the camping group, otherwise known as “The Village”, but end his night hanging out with my sister, me and our closest friends. He was old and young all at the same time.

He loved going to Purdue Football games and meeting up with his college roommates.

20140614-235835.jpg

He loved going camping and to the Elks with the men from The Village.

He loved taking me to volleyball practice and starting a game of horse with some poor girl’s bored brother on an empty court.

He loved working along side his first friends, his big and little brothers on the farm.

20140614-235828.jpg

He loved sitting around a fire with my sister and her friends drinking Miller Lite and jumping over badminton nets with the boys just to show them he’s still got it.

He just loved being around people.

You want to know how I know he loved all these things? Because he showed up, asked how they were or how he could help. He SHOWED up.

My Father and I

To sum it up, thanks Pops for showing me how to eat those Oreos and so much more.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 12.37.25 PM

Read more lessons from my Dad here and happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there!

Dallas by Morning

Today my best friend is spreading her wings and moving to Dallas for a summer internship.

20140520-002544.jpg

I am beyond proud of her for taking this opportunity and doing something that she is passionate about. I also admire her bravery for leaving her home and every thing that she knows. I wish I had the same guts to do something like this. Hopefully I learn from her and spread my own wings one day.

I will miss her tremendously, but knowing that she is doing exactly what God has planned for her has comforted me. Of course I have hounded her on all the details about where she will be living, who she will be working with and how she will be getting from place to place. My best friend needs to be safe and in good company! I worry about her too much, we both know this, but someone has to!

This isn’t the first or second time she has moved away from me. Our friendship has definitely been tested by distance. She moved to Florida in 5th grade, but then moved back in 8th grade. After high school graduation rolled around, she decided to go down south again and attend a school in Florida. Both times were hard to be away from her.

I remember each time we were united, we kept repeating, “You’re here in real life!” Every reunion was more rememberable and special than the last and we just kept adding more chapters to our story.

I am so happy and excited for this new chapter of yours Kendra! Of course I will be making an appreance in it and will come visit you. Hopefully my trip will include a George Strait concert or meeting a rich oil man, but we’ll just have to see what happens!

You are so brave and I admire the woman that you are today. I am extremely lucky and proud to call you my best friend. Safe travels Kendra Shane! Love you!

20140520-002527.jpg

 

Summing It Up:

20140430-232030.jpg

Making: memories with my best friends while we all still live in the same state
Cooking: nothing and that needs to start changing
Drinking: water, milk, water, wiskey, water, beer, water, tea, and probably some more water
Reading: many many blogs
Wanting: my own general education classroom
Looking: for the road less traveled
Playing: Miranda Lambert’s new song, “Automatic” on repeat
Wasting: time trying to figure everything out all at once
Sewing: scarves and seed sack bags/purses in my spare time
Wishing: anyone who is reading this a fabulous day
Enjoying: time well spent with people that make me happy
Waiting: on a phone call or email about a job I applied for
Liking: that I can’t really sleep in anymore like I use too
Wondering: why I have 7 drafts in my “Post” section, I should probably finish those
Loving: how these words are making me stop, sit back and think about myself
Hoping: I get an interview for the teaching job I just applied for
Marvelling: at how quickly everything has turned green
Needing: a haircut
Smelling: the farm ground that is being worked and planted
Wearing: my new Michael Kors turquoise and gold watch
Following: God’s plan…well hopefully I am
Noticing: I have too many denim and white shirts hanging in my closet
Knowing: I am blessed beyond measure
Thinking: I need a new layout/theme for this blog
Bookmarking: articles I see in my twitter feed, but I rarely go back and read them
Opening: a new door or window hopefully soon
Giggling: during all the episodes of The Office I have been rewatching
Feeling: just dandy

I got this idea from a blog I started following recently, A Pretty Penny, go check it out!

Where’s the Farmer without the Farmer’s Wife?

With this week being National Agriculture Week I want to continue sharing the story of American agriculture. While I love AGvocating for America’s farmers, I cannot forget to thank the women who stand next to them, the farmer’s wife. The three most important women in my life are farmer’s wives. My grandmother was a farmer’s wife for 37 years, and my mother was one for 28 years until the day God made the call to take their Farmers to their heavenly home. My sister became a farmer’s wife just last year and many of my closest family friends are farmer’s wives. Through their examples I know exactly the kind of wife and woman I want to be.
IMG_4041

So, today I celebrate the women who stand next to and support the hands that feed us, the Farmer’s Wife. To sum it up, thank you for being farmers too.

Below is a poem inspired by Paul Harvey’s, “So God Made a Farmer,” written by Sierra Shea.
Scan-19

National Agriculture Day 2014

By Katie Thomas Glick & Sarah Thomas

When we sit down for a meal, it has become common practice to give thanks for those that have prepared the meal in front of us. However, do we go beyond those that have cooked the food to those that planted, nurtured and harvested the food? Do we thank our farmers enough for growing the corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables and fruits along with caring for our animals?

As sisters that grew up on a farm, we have always appreciated where we came from and the soil under our feet. However, after losing our father, Tim Thomas, in a farming accident in 2009, we decided to dedicate our lives to telling the story of agriculture. Today is National Agriculture Day and we invite you to learn something new about agriculture today and to thank a farmer. If you don’t know a farmer, pray for them as they prepare for planting in the coming months or send a good thought their way when there is too much rain or not enough. You can also show your appreciation by remaining patient as your drive behind a tractor traveling from field to field.

Farmers never have a day off–from planting the crops to caring for the land, worrying about the weather, staying up late in the cold to watch a cow have her baby calf to preparing for a days work before the sun rises and harvesting after the sunset. And the worry of the weather, it’s constantly on their minds even in the winter on how much snow will fall and replenish the soil in the their fields. We heard something true recently, “mother nature never takes a day off” and neither do farmers.

Today is National Agriculture Appreciation Day but really, to us and many others, every day is agriculture appreciation day. Every day the farmer gets up to tend to his crops or livestock to make sure they are safe and prospering for us. We are consumers, almost everything we use in our day starts with the farmer. We want to help consumers understand the work of the farmer.

Below are a few fun facts and websites we wanted to share with you as you learn more about where your food comes from and the families that grow the crops and/or raise the animals. If you have questions, ask a farmer or do your part as a consumer and research the facts before assuming what you hear is true. We have the luxury of having an abundant, safe and affordable food supply in the United States and we need to remember to thank our American farmers for their hard work and dedication.

Indiana Agriculture Rankings (According to USDA NASS)
> Ranks 2nd in tomatoes for processing (Red Gold is located in Indiana)
> Ranks 2nd in spearmint
> Ranks 4th in soybeans
> Ranks 4th in total eggs produced
> Ranks 5th for number of pigs
> Ranks 5th in corn for grain

Fun Farm Facts:
> According to the 2007 USDA Agriculture Census, 95% of farms are family owned and operated.
> One acre of soybeans can produce 82,000 crayons.
> In the U.S., we spend less than 10% of our income on food versus 18-25% around the world, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
> There are 29 different cuts of beef that meet government guidelines.
> A cow will produce an average of nearly 7 gallons of milk each day. That’s more than 2,500 gallons each year.
> For every dollar spent on food in America, the farmer sees less than 12 cents.

National Ag Day, http://www.agday.org
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, http://www.fooddialogues.com/
Common Ground, http://www.findourcommonground.com
Sarah Sums It Up, http://www.sarahsumsitup.com

53198446cd48a.image