Happy New Year from the Farm!

Where does the time go? It's been just a little over a month since my last post-- and while I missed writing, I loved giving my family the extra time through the Holidays. The Prairie Kids had an extra long break from school, and I enjoyed every second with them. I'm always a little sad when they have to go back after the Christmas break-- although this year, I think everyone was ready to get back on a *normal* schedule.... whatever that means! Before I move forward into the New Year though (and some really exciting things in store!), I thought I'd take a minute & recap the last 8 or 10 weeks here on the Farm. We've pretty much been on fast forward since the middle of July. Harvest started early, & ended late, followed immediately by Fall seeding & the myriad of other Fall jobs that normally occupy a 6 or 8 week period--this year crammed into a little over two, or left undone. When I sat down today, the calendars in my office space were frozen on Aug & Dec (my perpetual birthday calendar updated only because there are a whole slug of birthdays that month that I can't remember without a reminder). Calendars And my camera phone has 670 pictures to be downloaded & sorted. Which means more blog posts for you! Eventually. At the first of November, I jumped into the '30 Days of Ag Blogs' challenge with our 30 Days of Dirt Roads series. Thirty Days of Dirt Roads Except that it turned out to be only 10 days of Dirt Roads. Ya. Here's what I learned: #1 I love blogging, when I'm not pressed to keep to an exact schedule. Otherwise... not so much. Largely because our lifestyle doesn't lend itself to keeping an exact schedule. #2 My penchant for taking on projects without really thinking it through is alive and well. :) In November we were finally able to have our annual end of harvest dinner--which we usually do in October. It was a great time to bring everyone together & celebrate a safe, successful season. Notice there are only eleven of us (I'm taking the picture). All but two are related...and they might as well be, because the history between the families goes back so far. This is the definition of family farming. 97% of farms in the US are family farms. But ask the wrong special interest group, and our farm, 7 times larger than the national average (but actually below average for our area), would be considered a 'corporate farm'. You know, one of the ones being villainized all over traditional and social media for raping & pillaging the land and poisoning our world's food supply? We look like a pretty seedy bunch don't we? Global takeover plot going on right there at that table, folks. harvest dinner 2014Mid-November we were treated to a particularly cold snap for that time of year, with temperatures dipping down well below zero. Mid-November also brought an unexpected, unwanted outdoor water project... thankfully just after the cold weather, and just before Thanksgiving. photo 1 Any of you that follow along on Facebook saw a few pictures of the 4 day project, and I'll be sharing a few more in a blog post later this month. December found us hitting the road to follow the girls District 3-C basketball circuit, hanging out in high school gyms all across Eastern Montana. And it found me spending a solid week finishing up the year end books. The Holiday Season... Thanksgiving & Christmas, rolled by in a blur, with lots of baking, lots of cooking, lots of eating, and several festive gatherings with family & friends. And we topped it off with a fantastic New Year's vacation with some of my family at a cabin in the mountains. red lodge Because we live so far apart, and it's hard for us to get away in the winter (or really any other time of year), it happens very rarely, and was a time I'll treasure. Huge thanks to the gang who held down the fort at the Farm so we could make the trip. Which brings us here. To a New Year! To start off the year, we're rolling out a new Blog Series, 'Where Does My Food Come From?' It's our way of helping to make a connection between the food people eat, and us as producers. A way to show that farmers are not evil corporate tycoons,.... we're people, just like everyone else. We have the same hobbies, follow the same sports teams, serve on boards in our communities, and attend our kids' school activities.... just like everyone else. You can read more about that in my last post, and you can watch for the Series soon here on the Blog! [tweetthis]... farmers are not evil corporate tycoons,.... we're people, just like everyone else.[/tweetthis] Last week, we were thrilled to learn we've been chosen to team up with the National Wheat Foundation and 9 other bloggers from across the country as part of a Wheat Advocates Program. We're so excited to be part of this project! I'll be blogging several times a month on the NWF blog, as well as sharing the latest information about wheat on our own social media channels and here the Farm Blog too. The objective of the program is for 'the selected wheat advocates to lead and participate in discussions about innovations in wheat, including research, nutrition, safety, biotechnology and other topics' -- and we couldn't be more proud to have been chosen as one of the NWF Wheat Advocates! Make sure you follow along on the NWF blog 'The Word On Wheat'. At the moment, as temperatures plunge to -30F, we're pouring the extra feed to the cows, contending with frozen water in the stock tanks, & fighting with equipment that won't start. And we're already planning for a new farm year. The cycle is perpetual-- as continuous as the ocean tides, as reliable as the changing of the Seasons. There's comfort in the predictability, and at the same time, the promise of adventure as the cycle prepares to begin again. Our most sincere wish for all of you in the New Year is the warmth of home, the love of family & friends, and an abundance of gratitude for the blessings in your life. I'll see you soon on the Farm! -Shauna