Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Farm Visit

The email request was simple; two sentences that made me smile and get excited to again be able to reach out to someone interested in Ag so she could see for herself how her food is grown. "I’m an 8th grade history teacher from Washington D.C. and I’ve read about you.  I’d love to visit your farm and I’m up for a road trip if you are willing!”  If you have lived any length of time in Idaho, you probably know that Idaho often gets mistaken for one of the other “I” states as well as Ohio, but since she was a history teacher I was reasonably confident she knew where I was located. And I invited her to come on out for a visit to see what my life in Ag looks like, just like I’ve invited you.  

I was a bit nervous that my farm maybe would not measure up to the vision of what she pictured how a farm would look like.  I explained I didn’t have animals, other than the spoiled farm dog who thinks she is in charge of ranch security and 3 feisty chickens that like to run amuck and attack my garden.  Plus my farmhouse wasn’t the iconic white clapboard version but rather something that looks like a cross between a grain-bin and farmhouse. Amy assured me that a trip out West and seeing the wide expanse of land that didn’t contain pavement would be the highlight of her summer, as well as a lifelong dream.

And so the adventure for both of us began, as Amy let me plan her time here…. And boy did I fill up her days with tours and visits. I took a day off from my office job to personally take her to visit the Pacific Northwest Farmer’s Co-op and the Lewis-Clark Grain Terminal, the rest of her stay here was jam packed in hopes that it would hopefully quench her thirst for understanding all aspects of Ag. 
Amy and me at the Lewis-Clark Grain Terminal - watching grain being loaded onto a barge!
After Amy left, she texted me before she boarded the plane home, “I’ve met the most amazing people and learned so much more than I could have thought!  And regarding how our food is grown, well everyone needs to see this for him/herself.  Especially in this country since we take so much for granted. I’ll never look at flour or another grain the same way, as I can’t believe all the work that goes into  that bag of flour!”

It was wonderful sharing some of the magic of my life and how our food is grown, and I know I have been so very fortunate to have been a part of it.  But I must admit that I still miss certain aspects of my former Ag life.  And just a couple of nights ago I was talking to a very close girlfriend, who was also a former farm partner just like myself and I asked her if she missed the lifestyle. She said yes and we both agreed that once you live this kind of life that it changes you in a way unlike anything else….. and nothing will fill that void.  And as this is my 3rd harvest not being part of the farm, I have to be extra vigilant to be gentle with myself because it’s easy to have melancholy set in.  So I try to get extra rest, count my blessings, and keep my family and my sweet man  close by.

And speaking of harvest, well it is about 2 weeks early.  And that my friend is never good, because it means the crops didn’t receive the timely rains needed coupled with the extreme heat has pushed the plant to ripen early and yields will be affected.  What I’m hearing is that the winter wheat is hoped to be about average, but the spring wheat planted this past May is where the poor yields will be felt the most.  I haven’t heard predictions about the garbanzos yet – so my hopes are that they will be an average yield. In a drought year, average is good.
As always, thanks for stopping by, it means a lot to me.  If you have questions, thoughts, comments – I’m only a key stroke away at  And don’t forget to grab your latest issue of Home and Harvest magazine that will hit the stands on July 17th!  

Oh and make sure to check out the new farm dog…
LuLu the new farm dogette
Hmmm, can you smell freshly baked  Blueberry/Raspberry Oat Bars ???
Blueberry/Raspberry Oat Bars
actually I made 2 versions, one the original way (with white flour and butter) and then a batch using almond flour and coconut oil.  The second version was developed for my baby brother whose allergies to corn, soy, dairy, wheat make cooking a bit of a challenge.  Anyway they both taste yummy and are super easy to make. Recipe will be on the Dessert page.

All my best, Gayle

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