Farm Census

May 23, 2014 by

The USDA recently released its latest Census of Agriculture.  This census is done every five years, unlike the population census.

For all of us ag nerds, it was chock full of interesting information.  Here are a few tidbits:

 

- The total number of farmers is down, with the decrease in female farmers being greater than the decrease in male farmers.

- 70% of farmers now have the internet (up from 57% in 2007!)

- The average age of farmers is 58.3 years old

- 57% of farmers sold less than $10,000 worth of crops/livestock (This is total sales, not net profit.)

- 70% of farmers report that less than 25% of their income comes from farming

 

What do all these numbers mean?

 

For our family, they illustrate that farming is a very risky business (and not in the Tom Cruise underwear and socks kind of way).  And although things can change in an instant, FOR NOW, we are among the lucky ones.  We are safe.  We have a roof over our heads.  We can pay our bills.  We are happy.  We are blessed.

My husband is a 7th generation farmer.  That means we were lucky enough to have a bit of a head start with land and knowledge of the business side of farming.  The sad truth is that it is extremely difficult to get into farming without being “born into” it.  Land prices are sky rocketing.  Equipment costs are in the six-figure range.  That is why nearly HALF of farmers aren’t turning a net profit.  Talk about terrifying.  These are the people producing your food and growing the crops that make your clothes, fuel your cars, and become your craft beer.

The census shows that we aren’t all the stereotypical 80-year-old white male in coveralls who sits at the gas station drinking coffee and arguing about the weather.  Ok, some of us are.  But most of us have young children in rural areas where there aren’t always a lot of family, friends or TARGET conveniences of modern life.

We may be somewhat isolated but we want you, the general public, to know about our farms (and not just from a census).  We want you to see what we are doing, to know that 97% of us are family businesses, to know that we are just like you (but with a lot more corn and cattle).  Please ask us questions, read our blogs, tour our farms…just call first so we can change out of our coveralls. :)

The #1 thing the ag census indicates to me is that our numbers may be declining but our passion for farming is at an all-time high.

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Farm D-Day, Take 2

May 6, 2014 by

One of the most common questions people ask is whether life on the farm is very different from life in the suburbs.  The answer is yes and no.  Obviously, there are a LOT of differences (most of which are based purely on lack of proximity to EVERYTHING), but there are some similarities.

One big difference, however, was illustrated this afternoon.  As my kids and I were playing outside, we received a phone call from my husband telling us to get the dog and go inside IMMEDIATELY.

You see, today was Farm D-Day.  Or, perhaps I should say 2, 4-D Day.  2,4-D is a herbicide (aka weed-killer) that we spray on our crops.  (For my word nerds out there, it’s pronounced two four D.)  It is not dangerous to humans, just broadleaf weeds. :)  Broadleaf weeds can be anything from dandelions and clover to morning glory and marestail.  But my favorite thing it kills is ragweed.  Allergy sufferers, say it with me, HALLELUJAH!  Ragweed is the devil!

2,4-D isn’t toxic but it can give you a nasty headache if you stand outside in it long enough.  I don’t think people in the suburbs have to worry about clouds of brown chemical fog invading their backyard very often…but I don’t have to worry about my neighbor’s dog leaving brown land mines in my yard, so I call that a win for farm life! ;)

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Farm D-Day

May 5, 2014 by

One of the most common questions people ask is whether life on the farm is very different from life in the suburbs.  The answer is yes and no.  Obviously, there are a LOT of differences (most of which are based purely on lack of proximity to EVERYTHING), but there are some similarities.

One big difference, however, was illustrated this afternoon.  As my kids and I were playing outside, we received a phone call from my husband telling us to get the dog and go inside IMMEDIATELY.

You see, today was Farm D-Day.  Or, perhaps I should say 2, 4-D Day.  2,4-D is a herbicide (aka weed-killer) that we spray on our

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Twin Puff Quilts

May 1, 2014 by

Here are my final two quilts for the week.

 

Like I said with the Haley disappearing 9-patch quilt a few weeks ago, these two quilts hold a special place in my heart.  Not only are they my first twin quilts, they were created for the precious little babies of one of my best friends.  Obviously, I wanted these to be extra special.

 

Here are several shots of these gorgeous quilts and the story behind them:

 

Amalia front view

Amalia front view

 

 

 

Jackson front view

Jackson front view

 

 

 

 

To make it extra special, I used fabric from the bridesmaid dress I wore in their wedding as one of the puff fabrics.

To make it extra special, I used fabric from the bridesmaid dress I wore in their wedding as one of the puff fabrics.

 

 

 

 

Here is the bridesmaid dress in it's original state :)

Here is the bridesmaid dress in it’s original state :)

 

 

 

 

The silver fabric is the upcycled bridesmaid dress fabric :)

Amalia close up
The silver fabric is the recycled bridesmaid dress fabric :)

 

 

 

 

Amalia and Jackson's quilts

Amalia and Jackson’s quilts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Name Quilt

Apr 29, 2014 by

I have THREE new quilts to share this week!  Yay!

 

Today’s quilt belongs to my little princess, Elise.  Since her puff quilt isn’t finished yet, I couldn’t leave her hanging!  So I whipped up this ADORABLE (if I do say so myself) quilt instead. :)

 

Elise quilt

 

 

 

 

Name close up

Name close up

 

 

What do you think?  We love it! :)

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New Quilt!

Apr 3, 2014 by

Today’s quilt is another special one.  Ok, ok, technically they are all special rainbow unicorn snowflakes, but this one is extra special for a few reasons.

Not only is it my first twin size and first disappearing 9-patch quilt (click here for a great tutorial), it’s also made for a family friend.  Sharon’s daughter, Haley, is a softball ROCKSTAR, which means Sharon goes to a lot of games.  She wanted a quilt to take with her to sit on the grass or cover up with at night games.  (They assure me it does get cold in Mississippi…I have my doubts! ;))  Naturally, this quilt had to be done in team colors: red, blue and white.

Without further ado, here is the Haley quilt!

 

My lovely husband doing the honors

My lovely husband doing the honors

 

 

 

 

Close up of the disappearing 9-patch technique.  Please ignore any mistakes :)

Close up of the disappearing 9-patch technique. Please ignore any mistakes :)

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Tales of a Ridge Rat

Mar 31, 2014 by

We interrupt your regularly scheduled craft programming to bring you yet another glorious tale of life in Goofy Ridge.

 

Planting season is gearing up, so this week we had a chemical company come down and start spreading fertilizer.  On their way from one field to the next, they noticed a lady pulled over on the side of the road.  It appeared she’d hit a raccoon.  They told Adam they were going to go check on her.

Adam told them to do another drive-by and scope it out before actually stopping because that raccoon had been dead on the side of the road for at least two days.

Imagine the fertilizer spreaders’ surprise when they drove by and saw this woman, with her BARE HANDS, holding the dead, bloated, rotting raccoon.  They proceeded to watch her cut the tail off with a knife, put it in her car and drive away.

 

Seriously…WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?!?!

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