The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

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.




Wheat Harvest Anticipation

It’s getting closer and closer to the 2014 wheat harvest for everyone in our area.

As we anticipate the beginning of our 2014 wheat harvest here at Baldwin Farms, here’s a little video I created  to help get you ready for our harvest as well.

Think of it as a pre-game warm up 🙂 .


The Kansas wind has been blowing these last few days, which is helping dry out everything from the wheat to the soil.

There are reports that the combines are beginning to fire up south of us, and local elevators are reporting that farmers are beginning to bring in wheat samples to test moisture percentages.

Last year I wrote about why we have to patiently wait until the conditions are just right to begin harvesting our wheat and why it’s important to run test cuts and take wheat samples in to get tested.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

While we’re waiting, the guys have been doing maintenance work on the machines to prepare for harvest.  We’ve also been busy in the kitchen baking cookies and other sweet treats to deliver to our crew once they begin cutting.

Wheat harvest is one of my most favorite times of the year.

Luckily, since school is out by the time harvest begins, I get to experience wheat harvest in all its glory!

To me, it’s an extended holiday.

Family and friends come home to help.  Some take vacation days.

Multiple generations spend time together working toward a common goal of getting the crop in.

There’s stress like summer storms that threaten the process.

There’s great anticipation as we complete a cycle that we began the previous fall.

And there’s a real sense of community.

Everyone is focussed on the same thing and everyone has a job and responsibility to help make this process run as smoothly as possible.

Be sure to subscribe to Alive & Well in Kansas to get the latest on what’s going on here at the farm this summer–including the latest from harvest.



We’ve also created a Facebook page that you can “like” to follow the latest updates from the farm.

Be sure to "like" the page for updates

Be sure to “like” the page for updates


Feel free to join us as we prepare for harvest!




Aside from wheat, our farm produces corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum.  Grain Sorghum–also known as milo– is harvested in the fall.  I don’t generally take a lot of pictures of this harvest because I try to stay away.  You see, milo is itchy.  Very, very, very itchy!

Just a few more rows to go!

Just a few more rows to go!

Kansas is the top producing grain sorghum state in the country.  It is a cereal grain known as the “camel of crops” due to its heat and drought tolerance.  In Asia and Africa, grain sorghum is used for human food consumption.  In the U.S., however, it has generally been used as livestock feed and is increasingly being used in ethanol plants.

As I was driving home from school this year I caught a nice little segment on NPR about a “revival” of sorts concerning the growing importance of  grain sorghum and how farmers are including this “ancient grain” in crop rotations due to the fact it requires less water.  The story also discussed how there is a rapidly increasing market for this grain for American food consumption because grain sorghum is gluten free.

Nu Life Market, based in Scott City, Kansas, is helping get this grain to the tables of American consumers.  Their facilities mill grain sorghum and package products including Sorghum Bran, Whole Grain and Pearled Grain Sorghum Flour, and Pearled Sorghum.

Since the Whole Grains Council has identified Sorghum as the June Grain of the Month, I thought I’d give it try.

I used a recipe that Nu Life Market has on their website for a Pearled Sorghum Strawberry Salad–although I made a few minor adjustments.

The results were positive–even a teenager liked it!  With that being said, I’m adding this to my rotation of summer salads.


Pearled Sorghum, Spinach & Strawberry Salad

  • 1 cup White Pearled Sorghum Grain (from Nu Life Market)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Water
  • 6 cups of Fresh Spinach Leaves (I used a 10 oz. container of spinach)
  • 2 cups of Strawberries (Not going to lie, I used the whole 16 oz. container–I have no regrets!!)
  • 1/4 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of Honey (Blaze Fork Honey–straight from McPherson County, Kansas)
  • 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Sunflower Kernels 

The Run-Down

Add 1 cup of the pearled sorghum to 1½ cups water.  Cover, and bring to a boil.  

Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, remove the lid and allow excess water to evaporate off while cooking for another 5  minutes. 

When the kernels are soft and fully cooked, remove from heat and mix in 1 tsp of olive oil to cooked sorghum kernels.  Cover and place to the side until your salad is prepared.

To make the dressing, chop ¼ cup of strawberries (approximately 3-4 large strawberries) into small pieces.  Add the ¼ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, pepper and chopped strawberries into a small bowl and whisk.

Slice the remainder of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the spinach leaves, sunflower kernels, pearled sorghum and dressing.

Serve immediately.


The recipe said it makes 4 servings.  I think I could have fed 6-8 people with the amount of salad we had.

I served the salad with grilled chicken breasts that were sprinkled with garlic salt while they grilled.

Adam serves on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program board and has come home from many meetings with some interesting recipes.  This summer I plan to try some of them out and share them with you.

If you’re looking for a simple, yet “different” salad this summer, you might give this recipe a try!



I’ve been focussing my attention on my family and school responsibilities for the last few months. Since I’m almost officially on summer break, I’ll be back in full swing with new posts and a lot of photos very soon.

Here’s a sneak peek…


If you’re on Facebook, feel free to “like” the Alive & Well in Kansas Facebook page.

Until then, here’s a little video to help brighten your Wednesday. Oh, to be young again!




Zero to Eighty

The weather in Kansas has been wacky. 

So, what’s new?!?


Yes, it is winter.

Yes, I expect snow.

Yes, I expect ice.

Yes, I expect nostril-freezing wind chills.

But, eighty degree temps?!?


It is MARCH, right?!?

It is MARCH, right?!?

I’ll take it…I guess.

As I sadly stare out my window from my classroom after fielding requests from students all day long to have classes outside.


The problem is we’ve had some really, really freezing temperatures lately followed by warm, crazy-like weather.

It’s confusing.

One week ago it was literally freezing.

Today, I’m overhearing kids say they should’ve worn shorts to school.

Zero to eighty in a week.


I don’t think the wheat likes it either.

The snow that came with the below-freezing temps has helped the wheat by insulating it.

Snow keeps the wheat insulated from the cold.

Snow keeps the wheat insulated from the cold.

The problem is that when the temps rise, the snow melts, and then another front blows in with freezing temperatures which leaves the wheat vulnerable.

The warm temperatures have melted the snow leaving the wheat vulnerable.

The warm temperatures have melted the snow leaving the wheat without any protection.

Adam and Dwight scouted fields on Friday.

All I can say is that we’re hoping the wheat bounces back after this last cold, freezing spell…

…And that the temperatures stay above freezing.

Although the wheat can’t seem to get away from the crazy, inconsistent weather, Adam and I were able to get away for a few days and go to Del Mar, California, for some meetings.

Getting his feet wet in the Pacific for the first time.

Getting his feet wet in the Pacific for the first time.

Dwight and Cindy were able to go as well.

For a farm family, getting everyone off the farm at the same time is a nearly impossible feat.

But we did it, and enjoyed our time in sunny Del Mar.

Breakfast in Del Mar.

Breakfast in Del Mar.  Look, Mom, no wool socks!!

The time change left us waking up long before the sunrises.

Surf's up, farmer dude!

Surf’s up, farmer dude!

I found it funny to see the birds, the surfers, and the Kansas farmers out on the beach every morning before the rest of the coast was awake.

Since we’ve been home, Banks and I have been anxiously awaiting calving season during the below freezing/freezing/above freezing temperatures.

Eat your food, cow, and then have your calf already!

Eat your food, Cow, and then have your calf already!

Today we hit above 80 degrees.

Look, girls, here comes more chow!

Look, girls, here comes more chow!  Look, girls, I’m not wearing a jacket!!

I suppose this warm-up has its positives.

We finally had our first calf of the 2014 calving season late last week.

Our first calf of 2014.

Our first calf of 2014.

Isn't she pretty?

Isn’t she pretty?

Two more calves have shown up in the last 24 hours and I’m guessing they’re going to keep on coming.

The first bull calf of 2014.

The first bull calf of 2014.

Hopefully the temperatures stay nice and warm for these little guys to keep showing up and to give the wheat a chance to break dormancy and begin to grow.

After all, drastic temperature changes can shock our plants and animals.

We don’t want sick calves and we don’t want dead wheat.

I say bring on spring!

And for heaven’s sake, let’s keep the temperatures consistent.

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