Thursday, July 30, 2020

End of the Summer Checklist

August. How can it be August already??? When I think of August I think of the Iowa State Fair and the start of school. Without the state fair this year the next thing on my list is school, which means summer will be officially over. Then the next thing you know it will be time to start getting things ready for harvest season. There is already a chopper box getting worked on in our shop. Before I get too far ahead of myself I decided to make a top five to do list everyone should do before summer ends.

The number one thing most farmers like to do when they get a free moment or even if it is while they are traveling from one farm to the next is to road farm. Road farming is driving around and looking at the crops while comparing fields. It involves slow speeds with lots of gawking and swerving while looking at the crops. I usually offer to drive so the farmer can get a better look. I’ve learned to drive slowly and just agree with all of his ramblings about whether I think that hay needs to be sprayed again or if I see the yellow tint to the alfalfa leaves. The next thing on the list that you can even combine with the first one is going to get some ice cream. Some of the best ice cream shops are only opened during summer and you have to make sure to get your share before the season ends. You can bet if I’m driving while road farming we are stopping for ice cream every chance we get! I have learned to bring my own cash because Farmer Dad’s often forget to bring their billfolds or if they do happen to have it with them, there is probably only a dusty dollar or maybe two in it. Another thing on my to do list for this time of year is to watch the aerial crop duster spray. They are just starting to come around right about now. I love watching them fly over low and turn and come back. The next must do summer thing is stop and buy lemonade from a stand set up in a yard in town anytime you see one. Nothing better than getting a cold glass from a youngster and asking them about their day. My brothers stopped at a stand set up on a corner in Miles last week after checking cows. Best lemonade ever from a cute little five year old. Last not but not least and if you haven’t already, be sure to eat some locally grown sweet corn. Nothing beats a hot summer day and delicious sweet corn. Shucking the corn on the picnic table while drinking some fresh lemonade just sounds magical to me!

These are only some of the amazing things Iowa has to offer during the summer. While this summer may look a little different then most, that doesn’t stop me from making the most out of it because before I know it I will be stuck behind a desk at school again. Last week I was in Fort Dodge at the state softball tournament. If you didn’t follow along on social media, be sure to check it out on the Northeast website. Have a wonderful week, enjoy the rest of your summer, and be on the lookout for road farmers! 

- Kesley Holdgrafer

State-Bound Rebels!

This farm girl is headed to Ft. Dodge! It was all smiles over at the Goose Lake Softball Diamond on Monday, July 20th as the Northeast Rebel Softball team punched their very first ever ticket to state. The Rebels played Iowa City Regina in the Regional Finals and won 2-1 in a true pitcher's duel. This is the Rebels first time in school history to make it to state in softball to compete and we couldn’t be more excited and proud to be traveling to Ft. Dodge for the state tournament July 27th-31st to represent our great community!

If you were at one of our games this year, you would have noticed the energy levels for our games and our team was unmatchable. For each game we had a theme and would decorate the dugout accordingly and wear silly outfits during batting practice. You could catch us in the dugout wearing funny hats like cheese heads and cowboy hats with crazy light up glasses and even wigs with a scuba mask. For the regional final game to make it to state the theme was “Christmas in July” and we went all out. We all came wearing Christmas sweaters and T-shirts, Santa hats or silly tree hats to batting practice. Not only that but we decorated the dugout as well. We had a miniature Christmas tree all lit up and of course a magical Elf on the Shelf watching over us in the dugout with paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.

As you can surely tell, my Northeast High School softball team and I are super excited to be headed to the 2020 Girls State Softball Tournament being held for the 50th year at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge, IA. I am even more excited that I will get out of a couple days of cattle chores and baling. If you get the chance to road trip out and watch us or keep up with us on social media making history, be sure to also check out our fun dugout entertainment along with the great softball being played. Go Rebs!

 ~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Ice Cream!

Nothing beats ending a long hot summer day of hard work with some cold ice cream. July is the heart of summer so it makes perfect sense that July is National Ice Cream Month. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This year that day is on July 19th. There is nothing better than a great excuse to eat ice cream. I will be celebrating with ice cream treats all month!

Everyone loves ice cream and in America the average person will eat approximately 23 gallons a year! Everyone also has their all time favorite spot to get their ice cream from as well. Whether it’s a local ice cream shop, a favorite gas station, or even a well known fast food place. What sometimes gets forgotten is the also delicious homemade ice cream and the great family time spent watching and waiting for it to mix.

Every year I feel like there are always hundreds of new unheard of flavors to choose from. Did you know you can buy cilantro and lime ice cream or sour cream? After making the decision of which new flavor to try, then you realize there are also multiple ways to serve your ice cream, in a bowl, as a sundae, in a shake, a malt, multiple toppings, dipped in flavors, the choices go on and on! Even a simple cone can get confusing as you can also choose a sugar cone, a frosted cone, a waffle cone or waffle cone with frosting and sprinkles. So many decisions!

If you couldn’t already tell, ice cream is one of my favorite treats of summer. No matter what kind you choose, enjoy National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day by splurging on a delicious cool treat at your favorite spot. I know I will! 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Talking With Your Hands

If there is one thing I have learned from living on a farm and being surrounded by farmers for seventeen years is that farmers love to talk. They love to talk to each other about everything from the weather to detailed stories about their many farming experiences. From years of just sitting and watching these conversations develop and grow I have noticed that farmers love to talk with their hands. Both hands. No matter what type of conversation it is their hands are always moving. Their hands are the illustration to the great story that they are telling. Some stories even become a complete aerobic workout!

If they are giving you directions their hands are most definitely moving while they are talking, pointing, and describing each and every turn. They are pointing out the turns you will take while the other hand will represent a house or a shed that you will turn by. Before you know it a map was just made in the sky by the motions of their hands.

It’s crazy because even while the farmer is on the phone they still talk with their hands. I don’t think they quite understand that the person on the other end of the phone can not see their silly hand motions. Where things get really interesting is when the farmer is talking on the phone while driving. Somehow they still manage to talk with their hands even if it is just small hand gestures while still holding onto the wheel, and I just hope they are not driving a stickshift! They might need another hand to accomplish all of that.

The next time you witness farmers talking, step back and take a minute to enjoy the entire story. The hand gestures, the detailed directions, the weather forecast predictions, the specifically explained description of the broken part they need right away and of course their opinion on the markets! You can learn a lot by just sitting back and listening to their conversations. I often wonder if they could even talk without their hands? Of course they could, it may just not be as entertaining!

~ Kesley Holdgrafer