Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back on the Farm

I went on the NAMA Ag Tour on Tuesday to visit west central Missouri and visit some agricultural operations. We first visited a hog farm that has been in existence since 1830, yes 1830! Holy cow (I mean, pig!) that's a long time to still be making a living for several generations, especially in pork production. They were super nice producers who really did take the time to share how they really care about their animals and want the best for them. They were a farrow to finish operation so they had their gestation barn, farrowing barn, nursery and finishing floor. Definitely different than some operations I had been to in that they still did things with minimal technology other than in their farrowing barn. They still fed by hand, ground their own feed and used boars instead of entirely artificial insemination. Here are a few pics of the cuties...

We then traveled to the Pence Airport where we saw first hand how agricultural aerial application works. It was pretty sweet! I don't know if a lot of growers around home use aerial application but they said about 60-80,000 acres in that area are usually covered with aerial application. These pilots have to go through some extensive training in order to be a certified pilot plus know their stuff when it comes to drift, what herbicide, insecticide and fungicide is which and where it can be used and when it can't be used. They also have to be cognizant of fields, obstacles, wildlife habitat and waterways. Not only all that, BUT these planes are not cheap to have or maintain. One of the Air Tractors costs roughly $1 million to get, and they only make a dozen a year in the entire United States. Pretty intense stuff, but I really thought it was cool to see it first-hand. Here are a few photos from that excursion...
We then went to our last stop, the Ray-Carroll Coop. This isn't just your run-of-the-mill county coop, these guys are HUGE! They do everything from seed selection to agronomic needs for your field to taking the grain you harvested and paying you for it (and they also have an ethanol plant right next door!)

In light of the recent Russell, Kan., grain elevator collapse this elevator is state of the art to ensure things like that don't happen. They make sure their grain is dried in a 4,000 bushel grain dryer before it even enters the elevator. They also have a 1,000,000 (1 million) bushel capacity ground bin, so their total capacity is around 4 million bushels, which is a LOT!

Just look at the size of this ground bin...

We then toured the ethanol plant, which is really  sweet smelling! :) A lot of people don't like the smell of fermentation, but it just reminds me of back home in Atchison.

They make fuel-grade ethanol and the by-product of that, DDGs, which are used for many livestock feeds. Here is our guide showing the two.
I have to say it was a long day, yet, I get so pumped to learn something new while in the field! It really, really makes you appreciate where you grew up and where your food, clothes and fuel come from. Go Ag!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm back! Now just hold me back...

Well I am back from the Big D with a HUGE goal in my heart! It sure was hard to contain myself yesterday while in the office working on a video script. I am not going to let you all in on my secret until it happens, but just know there's some BIG Godly visions going around in my head right now. And I just know it's in the daily discipline that God will grant me my dream. I got to play dress up on Awards Night, meet new friends and reconnect with some of my biggest mentors and relish in the BEST DARN COSMETICS and SKIN CARE COMPANY and everything this company has to offer women who really want to put God first, Family second and Career third. Thanks Mom and Dad for always putting our family first and instilling that's all we have at the end of the day to make us happy.

I also go to play a little on my mini-vacation at Sam Moon (a girl's best friend, seriously!), celebrate my best friend's birthday at Billy Bob's and drive the Pink Cadillac all the way home from Dallas. I cannot wait til our next trip to get bridesmaids and wedding stuff this fall (right, Julie?!)

Shout out to my dad yesterday for a very Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Welcome to the Big D!

I am on my way to Dallas, Texas, for the annual Mary Kay Seminar! Oh, and I DO get to ride all the way down in the PINK CADILLAC! I am SO excited to see what the company has in store for us this coming year, see my best girlfriends and get recognized for the year our team has had! I'm believing in positive, Godly new visions this week!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Salsa, anyone?

No, not the dance, but the glorious food (is it really a food?) It should be in my house or even its own food category like fats or carbs simply because I eat it so much and on everything.

This weekend I attempted to make my own. Right out of my own garden in fact. I used my 11 tomato plants, 5 green pepper plants, 2 banana and jalapeno pepper plants and the only onion I could get to make 26 pints of it! I should have enough of the veggies to get another two batches before the end of the summer and maybe even attempt spaghetti sauce! Todd's mom is amazing at showing me how to make things from scratch. No discredit to my mom (she's an amazing cook) and my Grandma Doris and my Aunt Deanna (they are the best darn bakers ever!). I just don't get to be around them all too often anymore.

So I sliced, diced and prepped the stew pot plum full of the abovementioned veggies along with some vinegar, a little salt, cilantro from my garden, and a premix of spices to make salsa. That cooked for about an hour on the stove to stew down and smell so delicious.

Then I took steaming hot pint jars, filled them to the just right capacity, put on the lid and cap and alakazaam, it's ready! Well, not entirely,  I still had to put the freshly filled jars back into a hot soaking bath on the oven for another 30 minutes to seal.

Then it was ready, and oh, boy was it good! I hope the people from the office enjoy this as much as they do the "At-office farmer's market" lady!