Thursday, March 28, 2013

A New Season in Life... Spring!

Farming the rolling hills in Northern Idaho is sort of like life, you have hills to climb up or climb down or go around to get where you need to go.

We all have those "hills" in our lives and it just depends on how you decide to view your walk in life.  I've been reading some amazing books that talk about keeping a positive mental attitude no matter what.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out which direction to go, and yes, the struggle to make it to the top of the hill isn't so much fun, but very much worth the effort in experiences and lessons learned along the way. 

And so.... if you've read the past blogs about both my daughter and I suddenly finding ourselves single, well here is a brief update.  Kaitlyn bought a cute new (but old-looking Craftsman like) farmhouse in a neighboring town and moved into it the last week-end in February.  She is settling into her new life and home pretty well and is doing quite well in her MaryKay career.   But to be honest, she (as well as myself) will trip over a poignant memory or a what should have been....and a wave of sadness will splash over us,  but after shedding a tear or two both of us will usually end up laughing and once again brushing off the sadness and moving forward.  As for me, well I have been focusing on "Girly-Up House Projects" & started a new page on some how-to projects found on the page "S-Wheatie Pie Projects"  My other daughter, Jen and I are working to do a S-Wheat Farm Chick Vintage sale this Fall, so mostly I am found with a paint brush in my hand working on various projects.  I even am taking Country Swing and 2 Step dance lessons to prepare myself for a cousin's wedding in Montana this summer.  Just doing that all by myself  was a big step out of my comfort zone and I have found it is really fun. Plus I get to wear my red cowboy boots!  I also agreed to be a Marketing Committee Chair for Chicks n Chaps, a breast cancer fundraiser for an upcoming rodeo. In short, I keep myself pretty busy.

Both Kaitlyn and I  realize that we continue to be so blessed with the wonderful readers who offer their love, support and sometimes their favorite quote to stay strong,  such as, "Strength does not come from a physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will". Gandhi.  Which was sent to me by blog friend, Cheryl.

The Rolling Hills of  "Palouse"
And now for what is happening on the Anderson Farm.... well a couple of days ago as the ground was being worked, I finally "smelled Spring in the air" that heavenly scent of fresh dirt.  Yup, I am a total farm-chick nut who likes to smell the smell of dirt over anything else, just wish I could bottle that smell....

Farmers Jay & Joe have finished planting Spring Barley and Soft White Wheat down at the southern Tammany farm, and have now moved up to the Genesee farm.  This picture below is volunteer wheat from last harvest.  As the field rotation will be garbanzo beans, the farmers need to prepare the fields by spraying out the volunteer wheat and any weeds. 
Volunteer wheat from last year's harvest
And this is what was being done to the field.  I wanted to share what it looks like for a tractor in the field as it goes up the hills, down the hills or around the hills. 

Guessing this to be  a 45 degree slope

Cresting the hill

Starting the decent of the hill

The decent and moving to reaching the other side

Being on top of the hill

Even though I share what a farmer does, we are all American Heroes who go about our lives and jobs. mostly unnoticed.  So in my view, we are the great American workers, as we all do our jobs in different work forces, and here is a very worth while contest that I wanted to promote.  The Great American Worker Contest by Brawny. So hats off to all of you who do your job, just as I do mine.  Together we are what makes this country great.  P.S. if you are a reader and win this pick-up, please share the news with me!  And with that, MAKE TODAY COUNT!  All my best, Gayle 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today is National Ag Day and I wanted to share the following YouTube video.
if you can't view the video, click here)

And as you gather around your dinner table tonight, whether or not you personally know any farmers or ranchers, say a prayer for those of us in the business of growing America's food And should you see or hear something that concerns you about how your food raised, go to your State organization and ask them the questions or ask them to put you in touch with a farmer that is in your area.  Believe me, local and State organizations would welcome your questions.  For a listing, you can check out my other blog, Farmer, Inc The Real Story. that has many blogs of the real life people who raise our food, plus a link to the local, national or state agencies that can give you the true information.

Again, thanks for stopping by and I am always just a click away at   All my best, Gayle

Friday, March 15, 2013

"How to Talk to a Farmer" 101

Reading your blog is exactly like talking to you in person... was the comment from good friends, Eric & Karen, of whom I dined with the other night. Both were raised on farms, and although no longer are involved in the farming industry, they still like to stay connected via my  blog.  And they are not the only ones who want to stay connected with those of us who raise America's food.  So while I am working on my next blog, I wanted to share the following that I received as this is the exact reason why I take my passion for blogging and telling the Ag story, because I farm, you eat and want to know if what I grow is OKAY and SAFE.  (As always, thanks for stopping by & if you have questions/comments, I am only a click away at )  All my best, Gayle

And so... I am happy to share the following:  

As much as we love food, less than 2 percent to the population is connected to the people who grow it. But, talking to your farmer is not as difficult as you think. Farmer marketing pioneer Michele Payn-Knoper offers five ways foodies can spend 15 minutes a week engaging with farmers.


Five Ways to Spend 15 Minutes a Week Engaging the People Who Grow Your Food
LEBANON, Ind. – March 14, 2013 – Do you know a farmer? If the answer’s no, you’re not alone. Research shows we’ve never been more disconnected from the people who grow our food. Less than 1.5% percent of the nation lives or works on a farm, with the majority several generations removed from first-hand farming experience. But, farmer marketing pioneer and author Michele Payn-Knoper suggests it’s easier than ever to connect with a farmer.
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, “three in five Americans would like to know more about how food is grown and raised, but don’t feel they have the time or money to prioritize,” said Payn-Knoper, author of the recently released book No More Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation. “But in reality, technology can help fill the chasm between farmer and foodie.”
As the growing season begins, Payn-Knoper offers five ways to spend 15 minutes a week on average engaging with farmers:
  • Find them on Facebook. “Farmers are just as prolific online as the population in general, and many are active on Facebook. Like their pages, ask them questions and share your thoughts. They want to hear from you,” Payn-Knoper said.
  • Read and comment on their blogs or websites. “Similarly, farmers have active websites or blogs they frequently update. Many offer opportunities for comments.”
  • Twitter up. “Farmers also are on Twitter and frequently engage in tweet-ups with each other or consumers.” Twitter groups like @foodchat and @agchat facilitate the conversation.
  • Plan a visit with three types of farms. “Farmers increasingly offer on-site tours. Check their websites and take every opportunity you can. But, mix it up. Visit a small farm, big farm, produce farm, dairy farm, or ranch.”
  • Visit a farmers’ market during off-peak hours. “The proliferation of farmers’ markets makes it easier than ever to literally reach across the table to shake the hand that feeds us. But, plan your visit for either the beginning or end of the market – when farmers have the most time to talk one-on-one.”
No More Food Fights! is the first-ever book to speak to all sides of the food movement. One of North America’s leading farm and food advocates, she wrote the book after continuously witnessing the growing divide between farmers and eaters that she believes is causing confusion in the grocery aisles and placing the future of farming at risk.
No More Food Fights! is available in print for $16.47 at,, and other fine bookstores. Digital versions are available for iPad, Kindle and Nook. Learn more at

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Portrait of Idaho and its people

Idaho and it’s people are as diverse as its landscape, and when traveling to Boise in mid-February for the Governors’ award luncheon, I took a few pictures to show you what I meant. 

But first I have to share a very sweet and funny (I thought) story that I had happen to me as I was trying to explain about the different race of people…. I had volunteered at our church to help the 4th grade Sunday school teacher in making chocolate chip cookies.  I can’t remember the exact reason I was pulled into this or what the lesson was supposed to be, but as I was lugging my extra-large Kitchen-aid mixer, all the ingredients for the cookies to the church kitchen, I had an inspiration!   As I love to bake I had all the various kinds of baking chips on hand, not just chocolate.  So as the kids and I were adding in the ingredients, I explained sometimes when mankind needs to do something really cool and good, that it takes all of Gods people to do it, and with that I produced chocolate chips that I compared to the darker skinned people, the butterscotch chips and peanut butter chips that I compared to the various browner skinned peoples, and the white vanilla chips that I compared with the Caucasian people.   The kids listened intently and one little boy walks over to me, picks up a white vanilla chip and solemnly says, “these could be Norwegian people”!  Oh my gosh!  It took every ounce in my body to not laugh.  And yes there are quite a few Norwegian/Scandinavian people in Idaho, especially up North where I live, but we are not all fair haired, and blue eyes…  we also have a few  American Indian reservations in Idaho and there are the Basque population down towards the Southern part of the state and we tend to have dark eyes, dark hair and more of an olive skin tone.  Our colleges also bring in many foreign international students, so we have a bit of international culture that gets added to the mix as well. While Idaho may not be a melting pot of different cultures, I think we are a fairly friendly State.  Below are some stats on our population. 

2010 resident census population (rank): 1,567,582 (39). Male: 785,324 (50.1%); Female: 782,258 (49.9%). White: 1,396,487 (89.1%); Black:9,810 (0.6%); American Indian: 21,441 (1.4%); Asian: 19,069 (1.2%); Other race: 79,523 (4.2%); Two or more races: 38,935 (2.5%); Hispanic/Latino: 175,901 (11.2%). 2010 population 18 and over: 1,138,510; 65 and over: 194,668 (12.4%); median age:34.6.

Read more: Idaho: Map, History, Population, Facts, Capitol, Flag, Tree, Geography, Symbols |
And now the pictures will show that from where I live you will leave the rolling hills of good farm ground, drop down to follow the Salmon River as the road snakes through the mountain valleys, then climb up in elevation towards scenic McCall, Idaho and once again drop down in elevation as you reach Boise and the landscape changes from high mountains to sagebrush in the high dessert. All different, but beautiful each in its own way. Just like the people in Idaho.  So hope you enjoy the Idaho tour. 
The "rolling hills of the Palouse area" where I live
Heading my house, about 60 miles is the White Bird grade, en route to Boise.The original grade was steep with hair pin corners and you can still opt to drive it too.

On White Bird grade is the site of an Indian battle site.
Below, this river is a fun one and attracts many rafters that like to float the river. A world class adventure. The town of Riggins boasts several whitewater businesses that cater to the tourists needs to play on the river. 

Once past White Bird grade, you drop down and follow the Salmon River. 
The as you climb up in elevation, the land scape changes once again to mountain, trees and
 snow as you get closer to McCall, Idaho

Another view of the highway heading to McCall
Very scenic
McCall's lake frozen over
The annual Winter Carnival, with amazing snow sculptures
The  town swells to around 10,000 people for this fun winter carnival
Heading towards Boise, the land becomes more sage brushes and high dessert

Boise landscape, sagebrush is the normal site in Southern Idaho
As always, glad you dropped by and feel free to email me at or leave a comment.  I always love to hear from you.   All my best, Gayle

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Guest Post on Young Farmers

Not too long ago, I was thinking about the number of "farm kids' in my kid's class, and here is what is happening not only in my small farming town, but across America.  In the 1970s the farm kids made up about 2/3 or more of the class (based on Farmer Jay & Joe's class make-up).  When our daughters were in school in 1999 and 2006, it was about 1/3 - 1/2 of the kids in the class were farm kids, and now that my grand-angel, Miss B is in 1st grade, well .....she is the only one out of a class of 21 that is related to a farm!   The class below hers has 2 whose young daddies are full time farmers..... sort of scary... as our numbers are shrinking, but the demand for food is not.  With that I had this amazing press release and YouTube video sent to me and I want to share it with you.  So while I am writing my next blog, grab your favorite beverage or snack, put your feet up and take a moment.  All my best, Gayle.
click here if YouTube is not visable

Young Farmers Mobilize For Their Industry

Farmers feed your family, then take a second job to feed their own. It’s a sad, but true, reality for those trying to make it in arguably the most noble of professions, as over 70% of young farmers work more than 40 hours a week off farm to support their operations.
When did feeding the world become a pastime?” said Sarah Wray, a board memb
er with the FarmOn Foundation. “Nobody would expect a restaurant owner to run his establishment, not even break even and then take a second job in the oilfield, just to make ends meet for his family. But this is exactly what is being expected of farmers. “
No more. Farmers feed this entire planet, and it’s time the world paid attention! The FarmOn Foundation is calling on young farmers to stand up, tell their stories and show people their own farming reality through the Farm Voices project. On April 22, Earth Day, the organization is rallying farmers to use the power of social media and post a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience as a farmer, attaching the hashtag #FARMVOICES.
Young people have been at the forefront of every great social movement in history,” noted Wray. “The power of social media means that we now have the opportunity to effectively and powerfully speak for our own industry, directly to the audience we’re trying to engage.”
Too often, the agriculture industry has sat back and allowed others to have a more powerful voice with the public, rather than stepping up and telling their own story in a way that will truly speak to others. With the launch of Farm Voices, FarmOn hopes to mobilize a movement led by young farmers to create change and awareness with consumers.
Currently, 80% of the content found online about agriculture is not favourable,” said Wray. “That’s ridiculous and has a lot to do with the fact that farmers are not speaking up and being vocal about the industry they love. That has to change.”
While farmers have proven amazing stewards of the land, they have left the story of their industry for others to tell. But it’s truly critical for sustainability and success that this trend does not continue.
I don’t know about other farmers out there, but I’m sick and tired of groups like PETA trying to tell my story,” said Wray. “We take pride in our operations and the handling of our livestock, treating them with the utmost respect and care. It’s our turn. The world needs to hear the reality of the family farm.”