Basketball: A Way of Life In Small Town USA

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I know I’ve written about a lot of things that are happening in the agriculture world lately. While what happens in the agricultural world is still important to me, I think it’s more important to talk about how I’m adjusting to life outside of my hometown. Originally, that was what my blog was supposed to be all about. Somewhere along the way, I’ve fallen off course.

So to get back to where my life is at…

My family is extremely important to me. Always has been, always will be. I love my family more than anything in this world.

Another thing that I really enjoy is basketball. I’ve always enjoyed playing and watching games. From the time I was 6 months old, I’ve been attending basketball games at all levels.

I think it’s just one of those SmallTownThings. You simply play sports and show animals. Since the latter makes me sneeze uncontrollably, I took the athletic route. It’s like a town event every time there’s a home game of any sport. In my hometown, basketball games are especially packed.

While I enjoyed playing while I did, I’m glad that stretch of my life is over. I like playing for fun still, but things being on the line when you play, I don’t like that much anymore.

I’ve now passed the proverbial athletic torch down to my sister, Morgan. It’s kind of crazy how crazy I was about sports in high school. I would get fired up about a bad call and things like that on a regular basis. How I was in high school is NOTHING compared to how I feel at my sister’s games. I’m kind of a protective person so when I feel like someone is picking on my 5’7″ 11 year old “baby,” saying I get a little heated is putting it mildly.

I have enjoyed watching Morgan start school basketball this year. She has improved so much and I’m so proud of her. I mean she’s 11 so there’s always room to improve, but I think she’s headed off to a good start. She is going to love playing basketball as much as I did, I can already tell. She’s going to have a great SmallTownExperience because she will know what it’s like to feel the love of the fans in the stands when you’re playing on the court.

We’ll talk more next week. Until then, reach for the stars without forgetting about your roots.

Revolutionizing Farming One John Deere at a Time

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Everyone has something they get excited about. For most people in small towns across the united states, it’s when a new make of farm equipment is introduced. Everyone covets the person in town who just happens to “need” a new tractor or combine when the new make is scheduled to come out.

John Deere just released the launch of the new 6R Series Tractors. This series replaces the 6030 Premium Tractors. While added comfort is a plus for farmers, the appeal of the tractors is the versatility of the tractors for the amount of horsepower they have. John Deere has added lots of fun, new gadgets like a touchscreen display and Adaptive Hydraulic Cab suspension.

While new tractors don’t make everyone jump for joy, it makes this small town girl fascinated. There’s nothing like seeing a new tractor drive down the road outside of town. The way tractors have progressed in recent years, it has made the life of farmers much more comfortable. Harvest is cut considerably quicker with the improvements in horsepower.

Playing Santa to Your Santa Claus

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Christmas time is a great time to lay back, relax, bake cookies, spread holiday cheer, and do a million other things. My favorite thing is to shop for everyone’s Christmas presents. Now I know what you’re thinking, “She’s a female and she’s in a sorority, of COURSE she likes shopping.” Well I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good shopping trip, but the reason I like Christmas shopping is because I get to think about what I want to get each person on my list.

If any of you have farmers in your family, you know the struggle it can be to get something that’s useful and cool, like a socket wrench (I’ve always thought they were so fun to play with), for “your farmer” as my momma puts it. This year there are several things on my list to get the farmer in my life, my dad. Through the years I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily how much the gift costs, but the usefulness of the gift. The best example I can think of is a pocket knife. There’s no self-respecting small town guy that doesn’t have a pocket knife to pull out and use at the drop of a hat.

The most important thing to remember when you’re buying your farmer a gift is to keep it practical and make it from the heart. I know that sounds corny, but it’s the truth! If they know how much thought you put into their gift, they’ll think about you every time they use that tool!

What’s the Value??

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All across the country farmers are thrilled! The Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and Kansas City released data indicating that there has been a huge increase in farmland values that hasn’t happened in a few decades. Who knew the land that looks the same year in and year out could have such a great increase in value! While the major value jumps are in the Corn Belt, there is an increase in Oklahoma as well. I know the men at home are so thrilled to see things get back “to the way they used to be.”

I think the greatest thing about this increase is that it gives hope to the farmers. I know how discouraging it is sometimes to work hard for your crops to produce, but instead they burn up in a drought or get pounded away by rain and storms. This increase will keep some people going, and give them their drive back.

This is not only helping farmers, it’s helping ranchers as well. Ranch land is increasing in value as well. It’s not making the leaps and bounds that farmland is, but it’s getting there. Since my family does both, I understand how much this increase helps the agriculture community. With all the trouble and heartbreak that many farmers and ranchers were forced to endure because of the drought throughout Oklahoma this summer, this news is like a breath of fresh air.

Orange….I don’t know about this….

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Eggs are not my favorite thing in the world. However, being raised in a small town has forced me to eat them on more than one occasion. Through the years, I’ve grown to like different types of eggs, but I rarely crave them. When I do want eggs, I make sure they’re farm fresh eggs. Some people don’t care for them as much because of the bright yellow yolks, but I think they taste so much better. The first time I saw my mom crack them, I kinda freaked out! At home we use store eggs for cooking, and farm eggs for eating. What some people don’t realize is the benefits of eating fresh eggs. The dark yellow or orange yolks are a good thing that are said to provide you with a lot more omega-3 than commercial eggs give you.

Eggs are just good for you all around. They not only taste good (to most people anyway), but provide you with a lot of nutrients.  The thing that we think of the most when eating eggs is the amount of protein you are able to get. Eggs are also a great source of Choline, which is a key component in fatty structures of cell membranes and helps with various body functions.

The price of farm fresh eggs are sometimes a concern for many people. While it may be cheaper to buy commercial eggs from the store, the extra dollar for farm fresh eggs totally wins the battle. I know from experience that farm fresh eggs taste and make anything you eat so much better. If my mom makes eggs for breakfast on Saturdays when I’m home, I can always tell if we’ve ran out of “real eggs” as they’re called in my house.  If you have never tried farm fresh eggs, better known as “organic eggs” to some, I strongly suggest you try them! You’ll be in for a pleasant surprise!

Do I or Don’t I??

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Do I or don’t I? That is the question that many farmers ask themselves every time it’s time to plant again. Using fertilizer on a farmers crops can be a huge financial strain on farmers because fertilizer prices keep going up. There has been a huge increase in price over the past year. If a farmer uses fertilizer on his or her crops, the benefits may not outweigh the costs at the current time.

Just like with anything, there are pros and cons to using fertilizer. One of the pros of fertilizer is it gives extra nutrients to the crops to hopefully make them produce more. There are many reasons that farmers use fertilizers, but the main reason is for them to gain the advantage financially. Fertilizer helps crops grow. The better the crop brought in, the more money a farmer will make. One new way many farmers are fertilizing is using manure. It’s a great way to be eco-friendly and save some money in the process.

One of the cons of fertilizer besides the cost is the way fertilizer is how it can effect the environment. There are many chemicals in fertilizer, so many people are trying to go to a more organic way. However, many times, people get fooled by fertilizers that claim to be organic but are not.

Whether you are pro or con fertilizers, think about the economic restrictions that come with fertilizers. Fertilizers are expensive, but produce more crops. If you want to be organic, it costs even more to produce. It becomes a  matter of having a surplus of food vs. the costs of fertilizers.