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Monday, May 25, 2015

Our Own Indy 500 Here on the Farm

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

I have to admit, I felt just a tinge of that green devil as I saw all the fun camping and race pictures feeding through Facebook yesterday.   Here's what our very own Pit Crew looked like after helping Dad and Gpa fill the bean planter.......

....but we started the weekend off clean.

We rarely get to relax like that this time of year, at least not as a family.  The girls and I did scoot off for a bit of fun Saturday in West Lafayette,  We discovered these newest street art projects on the West Side.  I believe the theme is "Lions and Tigers and Bears~!"  The one Lion and one Tiger, though, I believe reside across the river.

All Fired Up fun......

Lupper (Lunch/Supper) at Scotty's and then we saw Pitch Perfect 2......

but yesterday was more work focused.

This is the sunrise that travelers saw as they made their way to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.  It's also the same sunrise campers woke up to, and farmers judged the sky and weather by.

After church and a parts run, the girls and I headed out to pick some more asparagus, but we had to have our own little version of a Pit Stop to help Tall Guy and Grandpa load up the bean planter.

Guess which one was on graphite duty on this first pit stop?

After wading through some very tall grass, finding a good bag full of our favorite veggie, and saying, "Hello!" to Mr. Crane,

we had a call to come back and help with the planter again.

Tink's turn with the Graphite bottle.....Gpa is trying to giver her a few, uhm, pointers????

Did I mention that it was EXTREMELY windy out on the Ridge and Prairie?  Sheesh!

We might not have clocked a pit stop in and out in under 10 seconds, it was more like 10 minutes, but working with the good ol' "Many hands make for light work,"  we helped the planter get back in the field in pretty good time.  As I type, we have one more bean field to plant of ours, one possible replant on 80 acres of corn, and about 100 acres of beans in the next county south to get in for a friend.  Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  Say a thankful prayer for those who are serving our county and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy these moments.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fuel Up to Play 60 in Action

After learning the basics about Fuel Up to Play 60 in yesterday's post, I thought I would share some insights from three people who have implemented this program at their schools.

First up is Caren Walker, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Klondike Middle School.  Ms. Walker has worked with FUTP60 for five years. She describes how she got her fellow teachers and school on board with the program:

     " [I]collaborate with the PE, Health and FACS teachers!!  Get everyone together and brainstorm what you’d do with X amount of money, then brainstorm how your departments could work together to promote health, nutrition and exercise with your students.  I also contacted the Food Service Director for our school’s corporation and got her on board since I needed her to supply some of the information for the grant (amount of milk consumed, etc)."  

Below Ms. Walker and two other teachers accept a check from Diane Ruyack and Mary Nicholson, Indiana's Fuel up to Play 60 Leaders from the Indiana Dairy Association.

One of Klondike's most successful activities was a tailgate party before a KMS football game, "It was a huge success with parents and the school community loving this activity.  We will do this again is we receive a grant for the next school year since there was some cost to this activity."

A bit farther south from me is Crawfordsville, where Angie Frost RD, CD works with the Crawfordsville School Corporation to give the students there healthy choices for their school meals. Here is her opinion of the FUTP60 program:

       "FUTP60 has helped us reinforce our message of healthy eating and physical activity. As a Registered Dietitian and sutrition educator for a school corporation, I love how the programs teaches kids that healthy eacting and physical activity have to go hand-ih-hand so they can be the best they can be in the classroom, on the field and in health. The lessons learned from this program also trickle into the family home as well. For instance, after a taste testing a, student went home to tell her parents about the hummus and yellow bell peppers that we tried during a lesson. The mom, who had never tried hummus was skeptical but bought some hummus at the store and is now hooked and loves all the flavors. During a class celebration, the same mom brought hummus and veggie strips to share bringing the lesson full circle!"

Here are some pictures of Crawfordsville students learning about the new "My Plate" by playing a version of corn hole, a beloved game here in Indiana.

My Plate has a regular dinner plate divided up in to the five food groups that every meal should try to include.

At our wonderful little school, Sacred Heart, Teresa Gretencord, our P.E. teacher at the time, joined with Fuel Up to Play 60 to help students become more active.  From the money she received, she was able to purchase small pedometers for all of the students. Her goal was that they would become more conscious of how much activity they they did or didn't have in a day.  They recorded their steps every day, and then at the end of grading periods, they would total them up to see just how far they walked.  By the end of the school year, they were surprised to see just how many miles they had accomplished! By the map of Indiana posted in the front hall, the kids saw those miles turn in to trips to cities and towns around the state!

This push to walk evolved to a morning walking program that we still have.  Several of our students are car riders, and they get to school before the classrooms are open.  They all now know to drop their coats and bags in the gym and start walking until the 8:00 bell rings.  It's a great time for them to chat with friends and catch up on the latest news.  Sometimes you will see much younger siblings walking with their big brothers/sisters.  This program is a great way to get the kids out of any morning sluggishness and jump start their brains for a productive day!

Our principal, Mrs. McPherson, evens joins the kids in the morning walk.  It's a great way to get to know kids and see how their day is starting.

So, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program for kids 1-15 and beyond.  Teachers, dietitians, and parents see the great benefits from students being more active and eating healthier foods and snacks.  Is your school involved with FUTP60? For the schools in Indiana, Mary Nicholson would love to talk to any one interested in learning more about the program.  Her contact information is nicholson@winnersdrinkmilk.com.  As a farmer, a mother, and a former educator, I am completely behind this program to help our kids eat healthy, whole foods and exercise every day.  This is a win-win team effort.  I hope you will consider joining the team.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do Your Kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

Have you heard of Fuel Up to Play 60?  Do you remember seeing commercials about this program while watching your favorite NFL team play?  This is a great program for kids, schools, and families, and it is available to all who sign up to play.

So do your kids Fuel Up to Play 60?

What does that mean exactly?

Fuel Up to Play 60, FUTP60,  is actually a nation-wide project taken on by the American Dairy Association (ADA) and the National Football League to encourage kids, schools, and families to prepare and eat healthy meals and move at least 60 minutes a day.

I know it's hard for us to get our heads around the fact that some children arrive at school without eating breakfast.  You've heard the assertions from doctors and teachers that students learn better with a nutritionally balanced breakfast to start the day.  It's also hard to imagine kids not wanting to go outside to play until the crickets start chirping and the pinks and oranges fill the western sky.  With the busy schedules we keep and the easy accessibility of games on phones and tablets/iPads, however, kids just don't get enough feet to the ground time.  In some elementary schools, P.E. is only taught once a week.

The ADA and NFL came up with Fuel Up to Play 60 to provide students, teachers, and parents motivating and life changing activities to promote and ingrain healthy eating and exercise habits. How do you learn more?  Just go to the national website:  http://www.fueluptoplay60.com/about/  At the bottom of the Home Page, there are several links.  Click on the ABOUT link, then click on "you can help bring Fuel Up to Play 60 to your school."  There is a very clever letter that involves kids in taking the initiative to get their school involve with the program by helping them create a letter to their school's principal or teacher.  Here's a bit of the letter to see just how Fuel Up to Play 60 will help get a program started in a school:

"When we sign up for Fuel Up to Play 60, our school gets:

• A free School Wellness Kit with a Quick Start Guide, banners and removable decals we can hang around school and other planning tools for adults and students

• Access to an online Playbook with ideas for spreading the word and challenging kids at our school to eat right and stay active. The Playbook includes “plays” or Action Strategies that help students and adults bring the program to life. Plays include fun ideas like a Milk Moustache Booth, Menu Makeovers, Trivia Contests, Schoolwide Walking Club and In-Class Activity Breaks.

• Access to the Fuel Up to Play 60 Online Tracker where we can log and track our healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

• Opportunity to engage in Challenges for a chance to unlock digital rewards (e.g., badges) and win other cool rewards."

In Indiana, we have our own state website:  http://winnersdrinkmilk.com/ that will help implement Fuel UP to Play 60 in our schools.  Indiana Dairy Council works closely with the Indianapolis Colts to encourage kids to eat well and get up and play for 60 minutes a day.  There are even grants up to $4000.00 that schools can apply for to help get programs started.  Other states have their own programs as well.

As I've read more and more about this program's foundation, I really like how it puts students' health first and encourages them to share their new found fun with their friends.   Tomorrow, I will share with you perspectives from two schools and a registered dietitian that show the benefits to children in FUTP60's program.  In between times, ask your kids if they know about Fuel Up to Play 60.  If they know about it, listen to what they have learned.  If they don't know what it is, take some time to look at the links above to see how your school can join in the movement to eat well and play. Check out the Free Downloads under the Order Materials on the Indiana site.  There are several tools to help you promote good health at home.  Come back tomorrow to learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 #FuelPlay

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Dairy Association Indiana and the NFL’s Fuel Up To Play 60 Program. Through a series of posts, I’ll be sharing information about Fuel Up To Play 60 and how you and your kids can get involved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hey There Lover Boy!

Hmmmmm....... Looks like our eight special heifers have a visitor.  Why are these eight ladies special?  Tall Guy culled them out of our beef herd to become breeder cows to start our little cow/calf operation.  Who is their visitor?  He's a gentleman from a few miles west;  I think we will call him Bubba the Bull.  Bubba has an exciting two weeks or so ahead of him.  He gets to meet these ladies up close and personal so that in January or February we will have the calf part of our new little venture.  Let's see how their first date is going shall we?

He seems to like the food here.  That's a good start.

Awww....Looks like he's bashful or playing hard to get.

Oh look!  This young lady has discovered Mr. Bubba and has decided to introduce herself.

What?!?!?!  Smooching behind the bleachers already?  We may have a hussy on our hands.

Now the rest of the ladies, in a true act of female "inquisitiveness," have decided that our hussy shouldn't be the only one to have Bubba's attention.

Good Grief!  Is there a kissing booth going on back there?

Mr. Bubba has decided to take a stroll around his vacation home, and the ladies don't want him going away lonely.

These four seem to be the most bold  and forward of the eight.

Dinner for three????  Guess it's not considered a crowd in the World of Moo.

Here they are, up close and personal.  Who do you think he will "service" first?  I wonder if there is something weird about watching bovine mating rituals?  It is important to make sure everyonen is getting along and getting friendly.

Bachelorette #1?

Bachelorette #2?

Bachelorette #3?

or Bachelorette #4?

I will keep you up dated on any fraternization that I see in the weeks to come.  No, I won't be taking pictures of it all, but I will let you know if he was successful in his efforts.   

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Hard Is It to Drive a Tractor? (or Move over Captain Kirk and Scotty)

I have added another job to my laundry list of "Things I Can Do."  Until this year, I haven't been out in the field during planting season, unless you count bringing food and running for parts or graphite! It is a lot of gadgets to have at the tips of your fingers, and it's a big tractor pulling two attachments, but with the right directions, it's not too difficult to drive a tractor.  Now I get to sit in this seat, kind of like the chair Captain Kirk sat in as he guided the USS Enterprise, and for a Trekkie, this is sooo cool!

Driving this tractor

After my trusty "Scotty" checked over the bearings and gave me a few rounds in the field to make sure I knew what to do, he deemed me ready to drive.  It does help that I have already driven other tractors, but each one is a bit newer or different from the others, and disking is different that pulling a grain auger wagon.

We are a minimal tilling operation, and this field had gone two years without any ground work.  We discovered some "varmint" damage along a couple tile lines.  Time to disrupt their habitat.  By varmints, I mean mice.  No endangered species were put at risk.  We flagged a few for Grandpa to check out.  This light turning of the soil will also help wet spots dry out.

HEY!  Welcome back Grandma and Grandpa!  Our little snow birds came home to roost last week :-) I've missed having someone to tease and engage in lively conversation! 

So this is my front view:

And this little screen tells me where I am going.  Now don't judge me because I am using the auto steer.  I'm out there driving the tractor so TG can haul grain, and I am pretty darned busy checking to make sure I am "lightly" disking the ground and looking for varmint holes to flag.  I think I did more swiveling in that chair than Captain Kirk fighting off Klingons or Chubby Checker doing his thing.

It's a shaky picture, but the whole goal was to keep that flag (the pinkish colored object just above the round red bar) in line with the whitish bar you see.  I could give you all the technical terms (maybe), but in short the white bar is the hydrolic cylinder stop that controls how much of the disk goes into the ground.  If you can't see it, then the disk is all the way in the ground and too deep for what TG was wanting.  You have to keep an eye on it because after a bit down the field, it all starts to settle, so there is a bit of switch flipping that goes on as I traveled up and down the field.  After a few rounds, I got into a rhythm, and every turn was easier.

Now, since TG was on the road in the semi, I really considered asking if I could have this Scot be my Scotty while he's on the road....

Oh.My.Gosh!  Don't tell TG, but this guy could beam me up any time he wants to!  (Hey, He swoons over Sandra Bullock so......)  Whew! I need all of you Outlander fans to talk to me about Sam and Claire!  I am on my second go round of the books.  I simply fell in love with this story, and I am thrilled to say that the series on Starz is very respectful of the story keeping all the great lines and a wee bit steamy moments true to Diana Gabaldon's books.  I was reading them in the combine last fall, and polished the last one off over the winter.  Sigh.....

So in conclusion, it's not too hard to drive a tractor IF you take it slow and pay attention.  Remember, every tractor is different, but most of the basics are similar.


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