The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

Posts tagged ‘mcpherson kansas’

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!


Pearled Sorghum, Spinach & Strawberry Salad



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!



Makeshift Snow Shoes

It’s freezing outside today.


It’s also blowing which makes it feel even colder.

Like -12 degrees cold.


It also snowed last night.

Everything is covered in about 3 inches of snow.

It’s really pretty…until you go outside.

Even the birds are trying to stay warm today.

Angry Bird (Baldwin Farms Edition) Hand over the dog food and nobody gets hurt.

Angry Bird (Baldwin Farms Edition): Hand over the dog food and nobody gets hurt.

So with the below freezing temperatures plus the wind, we’ve decided to spend as much time indoors today.

I’ve been organizing a lot of photographs I’ve shot over the last 6 months or so.

Man, I take a lot of pictures.

Anyway, I was looking at some photos from two weeks ago when it snowed just before Christmas.

Banks does not have snow boots, but the temperatures were warm enough that we just had to get him in the snow.

So what do you do when your kid doesn’t have snow shoes?

If you’re me, you improvise and use plastic grocery bags from a recent shopping trip.

My name is Banks.  My parents didn't think I needed snow shoes this year.  Now look at me.

My parents didn’t think I needed snow shoes this year. Now look at me.

Banks didn’t seem to care much about what he had covering his feet.

He just thought the snow was pretty cool.

Luckily my daddy made a path for me with the tractor.

Luckily my daddy made a path for me with the tractor.

When we set him down on the snow he decided to take off and explore.

This is pretty cool stuff!

This is pretty cool stuff, man!

He’s a pretty independent little guy.

Banks, be careful!

WHOA!! This is pretty cold stuff, man!!

WHOA!! This is pretty cold stuff, man!!

A face full of snow didn’t seen to phase him though.

In fact, he went out past the tractor tracks–with the help of his daddy.

Let's do this more.

This is awesome!!  Let’s do this more often, man!

We didn’t stay outside for very long.

In fact, when we said it was time to go inside, Banks tried to get away.

I want to stay and play!

I want to stay and play!

I guess the kid thought that wearing two layers of socks, two layers of pants, two layers of shirts, mittens, beanie, jacket, shoes, and his double bags on each foot deemed him extra time outside.

Who would’ve thought a double layer of plastic grocery bags tied to a kid’s legs would make a little boy so happy?!?

All Farm Dogs Go To Heaven

When you introduce your home and your family to a cute, furry ball of energy, you rarely think about that animal’s final days.

As that puppy grows and chews through everything, it’s lucky to be alive some days after destroying shoes, furniture, gardens and a variety of other items only a cute, little pup can get away with destroying.

As the puppy continues to grow and mature it becomes a faithful, trusted companion.

And it’s only when that old companion begins to slow down do you begin to think of what’s next.

In fact, you pray that you won’t have to see him suffer and have to make the decision of doing what’s best for him.

You hope that in his old age, when it is his time to go, that he’ll just go peacefully.

Die of old age after living a long, good life.

This is the story of Tucker.

Tucker the Wonder Dog

Tucker the Wonder Dog

I didn’t know Tucker when Dwight and Cindy brought him home.

I wasn’t even in the picture yet.

But from stories, I know Tucker was such a small ball of red and white fur that you could fit him in your hand.

By the time I came along Tucker had survived his youth on the farm–something not every pup can do.

He’d avoided getting run over by farm equipment, kicked by cattle, bitten by snakes, killed by coyotes, and running off to fall in love.

Tucker had made it to adulthood against all odds.

After all, he liked riding on the farm equipment, chasing and nipping cattle, torturing snakes, fighting coyotes, and crossing busy roads to make, Ahem, “love connections”–with a registered Bull Mastiff, none the less!

After a trip to the vet, Tucker decided to sever his ties with his female friend and stayed closer to home focussing his attention on his jobs.

We've got a job to do before the storm!

We’ve got a job to do before the storm!

Tucker loved his jobs.

He obsessed over his jobs.

Luckily for Tucker, his jobs and his obsessions were one in the same.

Tucker’s sole purpose in life was to keep the cattle in line and to irrigate fields.

Tucker felt it was always necessary to let the cattle know who was “The Boss” on Baldwin Farms.

He felt cattle needed to be constantly reminded of this fact.



These are my cows and I tell them what to do.

Who’s the boss?  I’m The Boss!  Get it right, cows!

Whether cattle were being unloaded from trailers, being fed in the bunks, being chased back into their pastures, or being worked, Tucker’s job was to remind those cattle that he had supreme reign over them.

During certain times of the year Tucker would have to be put in the house so the calves could be worked peacefully without getting reprimanded by Tucker.

If Tucker was put inside and something was being done with his cows WITHOUT him, Tucker would whine and cry and mope and let everyone in the vicinity know that he was being denied his basic rights.

If the cattle weren’t needing to be ruled over, Tucker would switch his focus to irrigating the fields.

Tucker allowed Dwight to ride the four-wheeler with him to get to the irrigation.

After all, what lowly beast would actually walk to the irrigation?

Not Tucker!

Photo by Troy Wedel

Photo by Troy Wedel

Tucker would be faithfully by Dwight or Adam’s side as they would open and close gates allowing the water to flood the corn or beans.

Good job, boy!  You're doing it right!

Good job, boy! You’re doing it right!

Tucker oversaw the flow and control of the water.

I'm Tucker

I’m Tucker

Whether it was morning or night, he always insisted on testing the water by plopping his hairy body into a furrow or two and subsequently causing people like me to run far away from him when he emerged in order to avoid the inevitable showering of mud.

Come on in, the water's great!

Come on in, the water’s great!

It was also mostly during his times irrigating that Tucker also tried his hardest to control the wild toad population.  If it hopped, Tucker couldn’t resist torturing and eventually killing toads.

Even though the toads would make Tucker’s mouth froth, and he’d drool incessantly, Tucker just couldn’t resist them.

He was obsessed.

I think I see a toad!!

I think I see a toad!!

If you couldn’t find Tucker near the cattle or irrigation, you could usually find him napping near the air conditioner while gracing Cindy with his presence.  When Cindy worked in her office, Tucker would usually be at her feet waiting until the mailman or the  Schwan’s man stopped by the farm to gift him a treat.

Tucker was an absolute part of our family.  He was always nearby, if not underneath, the dinner table waiting for Dwight to toss him a sampling of the meal.

Tucker tolerated Rowan, Eli, and Banks.  The only time he’d intentionally approach the little boys was when they dropped food on the floor or when they had one of his chew toys.  Tucker’s response in both situations was to scoop it up quickly and then to get just out of their reach.

All of the boys--including Tucker.

All of the boys–including Tucker.

Tucker loved playing catch with anything that was thrown, but refused to let it go once he brought it back to his human.  He enjoyed a good game of tug, and would usually prevail.

Tucker didn’t live a life of luxury.  He slept where he wanted to sleep–usually on the wooden floor or the pebbles near where the cars are parked.

He never experienced a dog park, a gourmet doggie treat, or a Christmas sweater.

I doubt he ever made a trip to get his hair professionally done–even though he needed it at times.

He was a simple, hard working farm dog.

Safety first...and to avoid the truck from beeping.

Safety first…and to avoid the truck from beeping.

If he had Dwight to drive him around, Cindy to keep him fed, some water to lay in, some cattle to reprimand, and a snake or coyote to cross his path on occasion for added excitement, Tucker was happy.

Some people say animals don’t go to heaven after they die.

I’m not sure where I stand on that topic.

I just hope that one day we all find out for ourselves if they are there or not.

But one thing is for certain today:  Life on the farm for Tucker was heaven.

tuck and dwight in truck

Well done, Tuck.  Well done.

Fire Up The Combines, Boys!

It’s time to harvest the wheat in central Kansas!

After waiting as patiently as possible, the guys decided to run a test cut yesterday afternoon.  We had visited with others–and even received a text from a student–the day before saying their wheat samples were in the 15% moisture range.

That was still too high.

Based on the 2013 wheat discount schedule for our local elevators we want our wheat to have a moisture percentage between 13.51% to 14.0% to avoid being docked.

2013 Wheat Discount Schedule

2013 Wheat Discount Schedule

You’ll notice that we can also be docked for other factors like the test weight or if there is rye in the load.

So yesterday afternoon we sent a combine into one of the fields to run a test cut.

There sure was a lot of traffic on this dirt road!

There sure was a lot of traffic on this dirt road!

Cutting some wheat.

Getting a test cutting of some wheat.

Dwight, Adam, Banks and I then took the sample to the Groveland elevator to find out if it was “go time” yet.

Is it go time?

Is it go time?



They ran the sample and gave us this…


Moisture at 13.2%.  IT’S GO TIME!!

So we went home and started cutting the wheat.

We stopped to eat our evening meal and then loaded up a truck to send to the elevator.

Getting ready to go to the elevator.

Getting ready to go to the elevator.

Dave and Logan delivered the first load to the elevator.

Weighing out

Dave and Logan driving onto the scales to weigh out.

After getting weighed out, they received the scale ticket.


Getting the information we all want.

Well, what does it say?

Well, what does it say?


Here’s a close up.

The first load of wheat from Baldwin Farms was delivered to the elevator on…

Drum roll, please.

…Thursday, June 20 at 8:00 pm.

Thus, wheat harvest has begun!!

Congratulations to Troy W. who guessed the closest to the actual time of delivery.

Troy guessed that the first load would be on June 20th at 7:15 pm.

He even went a step further and said he thought we would have 13.75% moisture with a test weight of 60.

Pretty darn close, Troy!!

Pretty darn close.


Since Troy lives next to the field that we cut yesterday–and was possibly watching while we were cutting :)–I’ll save postage and hand deliver him some muffin mix.

I’ll ALSO be sending some wheat based goodies from The Old Muffin Factory to Sheena B. who was the second closest with her guess that we’d make our first delivery on Friday, June 21 at 1:37 pm.

Sheena, I’ll be contacting you to see where you’d like me to send your goodies to.


Good job, everyone!

And thanks for playing Guess and Wait.

That was fun!

I hope you felt the same level of anticipation I have every year leading up to wheat harvest.

Keep checking back with Alive & Well in Kansas to stay up-to-date with our 2013 wheat harvest.

If you haven’t already, feel free to subscribe to Alive & Well in Kansas.

You’ll get blog updates sent directly to your email–so you can enjoy harvest in a quasi-dust-free and air conditioned environment.

All you have to do is enter your email address under the email subscription located at the top of every post.


It’s that simple!

Until next time!!

The Rest of the Story…

I like football and all, but the main reason I watch the Super Bowl is for–let’s face it–the commercials.

There were some good ones and not so good ones this year. But the one that I woke Adam up to watch on the DVR was the Dodge Ram commercial “Farmer.”

The commercial used a portion of a speech that Paul Harvey gave in the 1970’s.

I’ve heard the speech before, but this time it really, REALLY got to me.

In fact, I was so moved by the commercial that I can’t sleep now and am tapping away on my phone using my left hand while holding my son with my dominant arm. I feel like yelling from the rooftop, “So God made a farmer!!”

Maybe it was the simplicity of the high definition photographs.

Maybe it was Paul Harvey’s voice that reminded me of my childhood.

Maybe it’s because my husband is an American farmer.

My farmer.

My farmer.

Maybe it’s because I hope our three-month-old son will continue our families’ farming traditions.

The next generation.

The next generation.

Maybe it’s because I’m lactating.

Regardless, the commercial spoke to me.

There might have been a few tears.

There were definitely some chills.

Check it out here…

I just want to thank Dodge for using their prime Super Bowl spot to spotlight the work of farmers for the masses to see while supporting the FFA and local programs.

The Ram brand has declared 2013 the Year of the Farmer and is trying to raise $1 million to support FFA and assist in local hunger and educational programs. By watching the video you are helping raise funds.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else Ram and their partners–including Case IH, STIHL, Bosch, Mossy Oak, and–have in store for us this year as they celebrate the American farmer.

And now you know the rest of the story.

And Then…

Hello. It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it?

Don’t worry, I’m ok.

I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been, well, it’s been months. I’ve been stuck trying to figure out where to begin because there’s been so many significant events that have happened since my last post.

I’ve been stuck trying to figure out where to start. I’ve decided I need to write something. Anything.

So I’ll begin here…

Dirt road walks...

Dirt road walks…

Back in May I announced my pregnancy.

And then wheat harvest began.

And then I disappeared from the blogosphere realm.


After awhile some of my friends started hinting that I was a blogger slacky.

I apologize for my absence, I was simply occupying my time with other important tasks and events.

For example, I took a lot of walks per doctor’s orders…

The more I walked, the bigger I got!

The more the mutts and I walked, the bigger I got.

And then I began inflating to epic proportions…

Heels don't fit these feet!

Barefoot & Pregnant: Heels don’t fit these feet anymore!

And then I played lifeguard at our very own private pool…

Stock tanks make the best pools in the summer!

Stock tanks make the best pools in the summer especially when it’s ridiculously HOT and dry!

And then I elevated my feet any chance I got…

Elevated feet while on vacation.

Appreciating hotel air conditioning while keeping my feet elevated.

And then school started…

Assignment board

Gosh, what is this teacher doing to us?!

And then fall harvest began…

Harvesting some dryland corn.

Harvesting some dryland corn.

And then I got bigger…

I got in the combines this fall with a little help.

I got in the combines this fall with a little help.

And then wheat sowing was in full swing…

Trying to get the wheat in before the baby's arrival.

Trying to get the wheat in before the baby’s arrival.

And then I got REALLY big…

Baby Baldwin's first experience with sowing wheat.

Baby Baldwin’s first experience with sowing wheat.

And then I delivered meals to the soybean fields that were being harvested…

Catching a sunset while delivering a meal to a soybean field.

Catching a sunset while delivering a meal.

And then I almost exploded…

2Days before Banks

Two days before Baby Baldwin made his appearance.

And then I fell in love…

Well hello there, little man!

Well hello there, little man!

And then I started lactating and gave up sleeping…

I make noise whenever I WANT TO!!

If I don’t sleep, YOU don’t sleep!

And then I cut back significantly on showering and preferred wearing hats and pajamas all day, and I became obsessed with poop, and pee, and other bodily functions, and potential temperatures, and breathing patterns, and sleeping patterns, and little sounds in the middle of the night…

I might’ve forgotten to brush my teeth a few times, too.

My apologies.

And then I started deflating, and sleeping more, and showering regularly, and venturing out…

We even voted!

We even voted!

And sometime during all of the craziness I fell in love even more…

Adam is such an awesome daddy!  I love that man!

Adam is such an awesome daddy! I love that man!

And now I’m back and I plan to share my new adventures of life as a farmer’s wife and momma to a little man.

The newest addition to the farm: Banks William Baldwin

Banks William Baldwin

This’ll be fun.
Won’t you join me?

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