The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

Here We Go!

It is officially wheat harvest for us!

My feelings about harvest this year have been a little different than years past.

I wasn’t as anxious about WHEN harvest was going to start this year.

I’m generally chomping at the bit to get harvest started so we can get finished.

I usually play a guessing game in my head to try and predict the date and time when our harvest will start.

I even included others in the guessing game last year.

But this year, I’ve had a lesson in patience.

We’ve all had a lesson in patience.

Big Time!

We got a boatload of rain this spring.

It just kept raining and raining and raining and raining and raining.

You get the point.

And with all of the rain, my husband wasn’t able to farm.

Don’t get me wrong, the man was still working like crazy to get the machines ready for spring and summer work, unloading seed orders, delivering seed orders, checking fields, and doing bookwork.

He just wasn’t able to get in the fields to plant, or spray, or furrow, or do anything else requiring a tractor in a field for a very, very long time.


The rain was nice though.

We needed it!

We desperately needed it–not as desperately as our friends to the west of us, but we still needed it.

And once we got the rain that we needed, we were ready for the spigot to be shut off so work could continue.

But it didn’t.

So we rolled with it.

What else could we do?

From my standpoint, there were two options:

1.  Get grumpy and stew about all of the rain, making life miserable and putting us behind until the rain stopped, or

2.  Enjoy each other’s company.

My family chose the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, we still had our grumpy moments–but they were short-lived.

We had breakfast together as a family on Saturday mornings–an almost nonexistent practice during the spring.

We ALL went to my nephew’s birthday party–something that is tough to make happen.

We went fishing together–we’ve never done that before.

Hitting a farm pond with their poles for some fishing time.

Hitting a farm pond with their poles for some fishing time.

We bought some kayaks and tried them out in farm ponds and corn fields.

For real!

Why, yes, that is a kayak!

Why, yes, that is a kayak!

Eventually it did stop raining.

It’s been warming up as well.

The fields have dried enough to get machines in them without rutting them up or getting equipment stuck.

The ground is dry enough to get machines in.

The ground is dry enough to get machines in.

The crops that we have needed to get planted this spring are now being planted.

The field work that couldn’t be done for such a long time is now being done.

And we’ve fired up the combines to begin wheat harvest.

It’s all happening at once, but IT IS happening and it’ll all get done.

Finally planting the grain sorghum.

Finally planting the grain sorghum.

We have a great week of hot and dry weather in our forecast until a chance of storms this Friday.

It’s perfect wheat harvest weather and we plan to take advantage of it!

Wheat harvest is happening, planting is happening, irrigation is happening, spraying is happening.

It. Is. Happening.

Let’s break on three…One. Two. Three.  TEAM!

Here We Go!



Apricot Pecan Crisp

Happy summer!  We’re going to skip the small talk about where I’ve been for six months and jump straight to today’s post.



I currently have an apricot tree that is full of fruit right now.


Having apricots is a special treat since my trees don’t produce the little fruit every year due to a number of conditions (like the weather).

Tiny apricots heavily fill one of my trees.

Tiny apricots heavily fill one of my trees.

They aren’t very big apricots.  In fact, each one is smaller than a ping-pong ball.

BUT, these little fruits sure are delicious!

So what do you do if you have tons of apricots on your tree?

If you’re like me, you either pick them and freeze them, or make some apricot crisp!

I had a lot of mouths to feed the other day at lunch, so I thought what better way to share these delicious fruits than to whip up a crisp.

And if you know me, I don’t like complicated recipes.

This is a seriously quick and easy recipe that will hit the spot.

For me, the results were unanimous; this recipe is a keeper!

Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and reap the rewards.

Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and reap the rewards of summer.

Apricot Pecan Crisp (serves 6 people)

  • Approximately 5 cups of halved apricots
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pecans

Preheat the oven  to 375˚F

Step 1.  Cut apricots into halves or quarters and place fruit in a square, 2-quart baking dish and stir in the granulated sugar.

Step 2. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, flour and nutmeg together.  Then cut the butter into the mixture.  Add the pecans and then sprinkle the mix over the apricots.

Step 3.  Bake in a 375˚ oven for 35-45 minutes or until the topping is golden.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy this piece of summer!

Easy, peasy summer recipe!

Fertilizing the Wheat

When I was a single gal living in town, I had big plans to have the nicest, greenest yard on the block one summer.  We won’t focus on how it turned out–especially since it barely rained that summer and I depended solely on rain to water my yard.

Regardless, that spring I went out and bought a decent sized bag of fertilizer and a handheld spreader.

I cranked, and cranked, and cranked, and cranked while I spread the fertilizer all over my yard.

I thought my arm was going to fall off, but I felt accomplished because I could tell where I had applied that fertilizer.

You could actually see the little white granules covering the ground.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Fast forward to 2015 and Adam has been pretty much doing the same thing except at a much, much larger scale.

He’s been busy spreading urea (dry nitrogen fertilizer) to some of the wheat fields during this first week of 2015.

Generally the guys like to apply urea to the fields in December, BUT it was too wet this year.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

So January it is!

I had a little boy refusing to take a nap yesterday, so I strapped him in his carseat and set off to see what Adam was up to.

I couldn’t help but imagine how muscular my arms would be if I used that handheld spreader to broadcast the urea on the area Adam was covering.

No, wait.  That’s crazy talk!

Adam was using a spreader that holds five tons of fertilizer.


It has all kinds of interesting functions that I don’t fully understand but gets farmers really excited.

And it requires none of my muscles, which makes me excited!

One of the functions that I do understand is that it has a variable rate dry spreader.

Basically, you can punch in some numbers which will increase or decrease the amount of urea that is spread over an area based on soil tests.

So, the areas that need more urea get more, and the areas that need less get less.

Isn’t technology wonderful?!?

You can also punch in a number and the spreader will apply a blanket application.

That’s what’s being done here.

THE Spreader

So while Adam cruised up and down this wheat field at 10 mph, the amount of urea was evenly applied.

Take a look at the aerial footage of how this all works…

We’re hoping it’ll now snow so the urea will get wet, dissolve, and work its way into the soil.

Once it’s in the soil, this will get to the roots of the wheat plants that are just hanging out in the fields during this time of the year.

It's on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

It’s on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

When the wheat comes out of dormancy and starts greening up in March, the fertilizer is in the root zone, and the wheat can grow big and strong.

The variable is that we need moisture to make all of that magic happen.

And if we’re going to get moisture, it might as well be snow.

And if it’s going to snow, it might as well REALLY snow!

Here’s to a lot of snow this next week!

For the sole sake of the soil and wheat, of course :)

Three Months Later…

Unless you follow me on Twitter or the blog’s Facebook page, August 22nd was the last time you heard from me.  We had started picking corn.  It would be the beginning of a long fall harvest season.

Fast forward three months and we have completed our 2014 fall harvest.


These last three months we’ve picked dryland and irrigated corn, harvested soybeans, hosted visitors, cut the grain sorghum, and sown the 2015 crop of wheat.

The final night of our fall harvest, before it began to snow.

The final night of our fall harvest, before it began to snow.

School had just begun when I last posted, and now we have just a few short weeks until our Christmas break.

The weather has gone from summer temperatures to snow falling on the ground.

Banks and I have delivered meals to the fields, graded essays, taken rides in the combines, attended football games, practiced the art of riding a bike, and shot a lot of photos and videos.

We also ran through bean rows on occasion.

We also ran through bean rows on occasion.

Some of those activities can be found online.

You see, I’ve taken to micro-blogging these last three months.

If you do have Facebook, feel free to “like” the blog’s page.  It’s been a way for me to post pictures and short explanations of what’s been going on at Baldwin Farms while I’ve been juggling work, a busy toddler, and wife duties.

Harvesting the soybeans on a crisp fall day.

Harvesting the soybeans on a crisp fall day.

As the temperatures continue to cool down, we’ll be spending more time inside.

More time inside should allow me to get back on the blog wagon.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving!

Corn Harvest 2014

Where did the summer go?  It seems as if wheat harvest just got done.  Oh, wait.  It did!

Adam texted me yesterday letting me know he was going to try and cut some of our dryland corn.  After school got out, Banks and I headed to the field.  The corn was ready to be harvested, so Banks and I hitched a ride in the combine and rode with Adam for a little while.

I took my camera with me, but ended up just shooting using my iPhone.  I also edited the video on my phone.  It actually took longer to upload the finished video to YouTube than it did to shoot and edit it!!

So, here’s 65 seconds of our first day of the 2014 corn harvest.  Enjoy!

The 2014 Wheat Harvest for Baldwin Farms is officially underway!

Between mechanical issues, unripe wheat, rain, and wet fields, there were moments when I wondered if we’d ever see harvest this year.


Wheat Harvest 2014

Wheat Harvest 2014

A lot of folks decided to join in my anticipation of harvest by playing a little guessing game.

The rules were simple:  The closest guess (date and time) as to when our wheat harvest would start would get some Kansas goodies sent their way.

We’d use the ticket from the elevator as the official timestamp for the game.

Well…we took our first load of wheat to the elevator.

So…we have a winner!

guess winner

And the results are in…

It's not pretty, but this was the first load of the 2014 wheat harvest.

It’s not pretty, but this was the first load of the 2014 wheat harvest.

You’ll notice that on June 24th at 14:57 (2:57 PM) we weighed in our load.

At 15:01 (3:01 PM) on June 24th we weighed out.

There were FOUR people who guessed that our harvest would start on June 24th.

  • Nicole Small guessed 4:56 PM.
  • Sonja Towes guessed 4:00 PM.
  • Kyle Leaf guessed 3:17 PM.
  • Christine Cawood guessed 2:47 PM.


Congratulations ALL four of you on your awesome guesses.

I’ll be in contact with all FOUR of you to get some Kansas goodies–including Kansas wheat products–sent your way.

Thanks for participating.

If you weren’t close this time, be sure to subscribe to Alive & Well in Kansas and be sure to “like” the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page.

I have a feeling you’ll have other opportunities to try again for some great Kansas products to be sent your way this summer.

Hint, Hint

Besides, I’ll be bringing you updates from our 2014 wheat harvest.

And who doesn’t like updates from wheat harvest?!?

Until next time…








Guessing Games

It’s a guessing game…

Wheat Harvest 2014

Wheat Harvest 2014

The 2014 wheat harvest has entered McPherson County, Kansas.


Combines are running in fields around the Inman area and the harvest continues to slowly move north.

In fact, there were combines running just a few miles south of us yesterday afternoon.


Our combines have yet to enter the fields to begin our harvest, let alone run any test cuts.

When will our harvest begin, you might ask??

Well, harvest is in our immediate future, but your guess is as good as mine!


That’s why I’d like you join me in the great guessing game that takes place every summer leading up to wheat harvest.

Here’s how to play…

  • Leave your guess–including the date and time– when you think we will deliver our first load of the 2014 wheat harvest to the elevator.
  • You can leave your guess in the comments below OR go to the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page and leave your guess there.
  • One entry person person, but feel free to share with your friends :)
  • We’ll use the ticket we receive at the elevator as the official timestamp.
  • The winner will get some yummy Kansas goodies (including products made from wheat) mailed to them.

Be sure to “like”  the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page  to stay up-to-date on the 2014 wheat harvest at Baldwin Farms and to see if you have the best guess.





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