Physical Touch

In case you are just tuning in my last two blog posts have been about The Five Love Languages. Since we have had a lot of illness in our house this winter it seems I have spent a lot of time cuddling with our daughter and catching up on my reading. I love The Five Love Languages and I think it's truly the perfect book to help understand your partner just a little bit more.

I have already covered Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Today I want to talk about Physical Touch.

Now, let's be real, if you are a man reading this blog post the first thought that probably had to pop into your mind is sex. I am just being honest. For most of you women out there you may have thought about sex for a split second but you are really thinking about cuddling on the couch, sweet embraces, or holding hands as you grocery shop. All of these, including sex, are all considered Physical Touch and if your significant other's love language is Physical Touch they are all areas you should consider strengthening yourself in.

All acts of Physical Touch mean something to the person whose strongest love language is just that. Talking to them and gently touching their arm or lower back is reassuring. A quick kiss before getting into the car is super sweet and will make their heart melt on the spot. Reaching for their hand as you walk into a store is perfect. Even a quick squeeze of the shoulder in a crowded room let's them know you love them.

Something that doesn't work for those of you that have a love language of Physical Touch? Not being touched, or feeling like your partner is absent in that area of your life. And any form of abuse is wrong, but physical abuse would be unforgivable. Not to mention completely destructive anyway.

Feeling love through Physical Touch is important and something that as we grow in our relationships and marriages somehow takes a back burner. While Physical Touch may not be my love language I will say that even having my husband reach for my hand during a difficult moment in our life helps me feel comforted and loved. I draw strength on knowing he is there. And Physical Touch is a great way of showing that you are right there and you want them to know it!

If you haven't taken the test to determine your love language, please do. I actually think it would have been fun to take while my husband and I were in our early stages of dating. It really would have the set the groundwork for what we "needed" from each other!

Quality Time

In case you missed the first part of this series of The Five Love Languages make sure you see it here.

I am on a journey of re reading the book and also finding more ways to apply the principles in my every day life.

I seem to have tied in my love languages when I took the test. I tied with Words Of Affirmation and also Quality Time.

I can see this... as I love spending time with my husband. Love. Love. Love. It doesn't matter what we are doing, working in the cattle yards or cuddling on the couch. I just love hanging out with him. He really is one of my closest friends.

Spending a Sunday afternoon working in my calving shed putting up a new working chute. 

Quality Time is something we all appreciate, some more than others. Long car trips are things we really look forward to. Well, I do anyway.

It might mean having a buddy to run errands with during the week, sitting at home just hanging out and talking, long walks at dusk. These are all things you might appreciate if your love language is Quality Time.

Family Quality Time feeding the cows

Some things you may not like...being alone for long periods of time. I know I hate it. I always look forward to trips back home to visit my family or Ag conferences. But, it takes about two days in and I am already missing my farmer.

Hanging out in a group may get old. For me, this really doesn't apply too much I think. I love hanging out with our friends and I rarely turn down a chance to hang out with them! Especially now that we all have children, we never want to pass up that adult time!

When my husband and I first started dating all I did was sit in the tractor and ride around with him. Oh, how I miss those simple times! Now to spend some quality time it means hauling our two year old and at least one bag of toys and another of snacks!

If your special someone loves riding around in the tractor with you all day, conversation or no conversation, their love language might be Quality Time. So, cater to it! Enjoy just being their friend. And hanging out. Being together.

Here's to cuddling and long days in the tractor!

Words Of Affirmation

It has been a rough winter in our house this year. It seems we have gotten sick and gotten better, only to get sick again. 

We have both spent a good chunk of our time being sick. Which means for me lots of reading, relaxing, and taking care of my sick little munchkin. We have had lots of cuddle time which means the chance for me to pick up my favorite books and get a nice refresher. In the Five Love Languages to be exact. 
If you don't own a copy of the book or have never read it, I highly suggest it for any relationship! I know it has certainly helped me understand my farmer a little bit better!
Words of Affirmation. That is the first love language I want to talk about. It just so happens to be my love language. Well, one of my love languages. I am actually tied with Quality Time.  
One thing I love about my husband is he loves to shower me in compliments, most of the time. Even if it's something I do on the farm without him asking me, or something around the house. I also love when he encourages me. When he tells me I am doing a great job while running the grain cart or that the paint in our basement looks nice (even when I don't think it does!). 
One thing that I take pretty rough is when someone I am close with lashes out or says something harsh out of anger or simply having a bad day. It really hurts me and it's sometimes hard for me to forgive right away. 
My hubby really caters to my love language. Even without knowing it sometimes. He never, and I do mean never, forgets a special occasion. And every special occasion he writes me a very special letter or card with sweet words just for me. 
Makes my heart melt every single time! 
Finding your significant other's love language can really help you both when it comes to finding just the right way to say "I love you". 
To find your love language go to their website. I would love to hear what you think about the test! 
And I am looking forward to talking about the other love languages in the next few weeks. Next up...Quality Time. 

Milk Matters

I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge milk drinker. Not because I don't like it, but because I always choose something else. But, I am a huge supporter of all dairy products. And I want to make sure my daughter gets her milk. I know how important milk is for my growing girl, and if you don't have a lot of time on this Saturday here is a quick run down of what milk has to offer!

Milk has 9 essential nutrients to help you grow...

1. Calcium- Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth 

2. Vitamin D- Helps absorb calcium for healthy bones

3. Riboflavin- Converts food into energy 

4. Phosphorous- Helps keep bones strong 

5. Protein- Builds and maintains lean muscle

6. Potassium- Regulates fluid balance and blood pressure 

7. Vitamin A- Promotes good vision and healthy skin 

8. Vitamin B12- Helps red blood cells

9. Niacin- Converts food into energy

And if you have time to read more about milk check out

Where My Milk Is From

 This is a pretty neat resource for all you out there who may be dating a dairy farmer!

 Check out this website to track just where your Dairy product comes from.

I thought it was so cool I had to get all the Dairy products out of my fridge and start searching!
Then, when I was all finished I poured myself a glass of milk and said a prayer of thanks to all the Dairy farmers out there...Milking is a lot of work!

Being A Woman In A Man's World

Now, this post is for all you women out there. Women that have the dream of marrying their farmer and working along side him every day and can't picture yourself anywhere else.

Being involved in the American Ag Industry is typically two things. Being white and being a male. Welcome to your typical "man's world".

Back when I started just getting involved in the Ag industry, in high school, it was predominately boys. For ten years I have gotten the pleasure to see things change a little bit, not much, but we are always evolving.

It still isn't common to find women who are the matriarch of the family farm. But, they tend to be the glue that keeps the entire family and business together and running smoothly. Women are typically in the background and they do all the unseen work. Like the bookwork, paying bills, cooking three hot meals a day, raising children, picking up parts, giving rides…and the list can really go on and on.

It isn't typical to see women standing up and taking leadership roles in some of the large agricultural associations. But, this last year National Corn Growers had a woman president.

You most likely won't see women sitting next to their husband's learning as much as they can about building a new feed lot facility. But, at the last seminar I went to alone, I was surprised to see wives sitting along side their husband's taking notes and running numbers.

I obviously haven't been involved in the industry for centuries, but even just seeing a change over the last ten years is amazing to me and extremely motivating. It pushes me, as a woman, to continue fighting to be a part of a man's world.

When I first married my husband I would say that he let me work alongside him every day, and SOMETIMES took the suggestions I had and actually thought about them.

Now, I would easily say that when we discuss future endeavors we are together and listening to each other's thoughts and opinions. He truly makes me feel like I am on the same level as him, and that is so rewarding. Rewarding that he values and respects my opinion is such a wonderful part of our relationship.

It's one thing for a man to listen to what you have to say, it's another when you can see them ACTIVELY listening, asking questions, and engaging you to get your own thoughts on a certain project.

If you want to be a woman entering this man's world make sure you make it known up front. If you want to be like me and be beside your husband every day, working every single part of the operation make it known from the beginning. If you would rather do a few things here and there, keep house, cook, and raise children- make sure you make it known. If you want to stay in town and continue to have a career- do it.

In the beginning it was decided once I was done with college I wouldn't start teaching, I would instead join the farm. Before we had our daughter I worked with my husband whenever he needed me. Even if it was something as simple as cleaning out a tractor. I worked alongside him. Now with our daughter I don't get to work alongside him as much as I want to. But, I make sure he comes home to a clean house and a home cooked meal.

My husband is supportive of whatever career choice I decide to choose and as our marriage and relationship grows I realize more and more that I enjoy working with him everyday now, more than ever before. Because now I my opinion is valued in his world.

Fixing a feed bunk cable as a family on a Sunday. 

Sharing The Holiday Cheer

The holidays are pretty easily my favorite time of year, and I think it's safe to say my husband's too.

He may not admit it, but we both enjoy seeing all our trees set up, wrapping presents, looking at Christmas lights, reading the story of Jesus to our little girl…I think the holiday cheer is in full force at our house!

Since I married my farmer and moved 800 miles away from my family and friends we tend to schedule our holidays well in advance. We start talking about our plans for the holidays a few months ahead of time and plan accordingly.

Basically what we have set up is that we rotate. One year in Indiana for Thanksgiving and South Dakota for Christmas. Then we swap. Sometimes, like last year, we stay home for both holidays. It was our daughter's first holiday and we wanted to celebrate at home just the three of us.

Typically Christmas tends to be a favored holiday to visit for my husband. He loves Christmas. And that probably works out best since we started tiling our own fields and there is a good possibility we could be in the field tiling. Sometimes he gets a little stressed when we hear it has snowed 3 feet in South Dakota and we are in Indiana unable to help, but it works out.

My husband tends to only take one vacation a year. As a farmer it's really hard for him to leave the farm. He prefers to always be home. We don't really count visiting my family for a week over the holidays as a vacation…it's more like we don't get to see my family all year long so we cram as much as we can into seven days of holiday bliss.

This year I took the holiday planning pretty seriously. It's the first year our daughter will really be able to experience it and I wanted things that my farmer husband could also participate in, around his schedule.

One thing we always do is a Angel Tree family. This is something we can all participate in, and help pick out gifts for. Then we wrap them up and take them to our local business and they distribute. It is a really great way to spread holiday cheer, plus I really love taking the time to pick out something extra special. And my husband loves buying presents, it's a perfect family trip to town.

Another thing I did this year was really focus on the advent calendar. I wanted something timeless, fun, and still had the meaning for the season. This is what I did, and so far it seems to be working perfect! I share a little tid bit about the story of Jesus and then we choose a jar. In the jars I have things as simple as a sweet treat to driving to town to look at holiday lights as a family. This is something that if I am at a meeting my hubby farmer can manage on his own, and could even be a bit "helpful" in his choice of jars so that he could pick an easy one, like popcorn and a movie, since that will probably be his favorite activity in all the jars!

Holidays are such a fun time for celebration and being married to a farmer can sometimes bring more stress into an already stressful time of year. Especially when two years in a row you are moving snow on Christmas Day, just so you can feed the cattle. It happens, trust me.

But, the good thing is if you communicate your thoughts ahead of time and do other small things to celebrate the season it really helps be prepared for a blizzard on your Christmas Eve Dinner.

One thing we do in our family is rotate chores on the holidays, unless it's an "all hands on deck" kind of day. But, typically each man in our family has a Sunday for chores. When it's a holiday we rotate out the same way. This year, for example, we had Thanksgiving. This gives every person a chance to spend the holiday with their family. And if it blizzards then they load up their wives and kids to watch gates while snow is being moved.

Even if we are bundled up doing chores and trying to stay warm while doing it on Christmas Day it just matters we are together and celebrating our holidays being thankful for our livelihood.

Tiling A Field

Once I married my farmer I became more and more knowledgeable about what exactly happens on a farm every day. And I often say it's like little boys who had little toys and they grew up into big boys with bigger toys...And I mean that in the sweetest way possible!

A few years ago a tile plow was purchased around here and our Harvest that typically ends at the end of October now kind of extends into November with tiling

When you "tile" a field you are doing it in order to help with drainage. You mainly lay tile in spots that have poor drainage, which means a wet spot where water just kind of sits.

You dig a line in the ground and lay some tile in order to help that water move along through the field, rather than just sit in one spot. If you have spots in a field where water just sits it tends to mean you can't plant seed there, which means a loss in bushels per acre since that spot now does not have a crop planted in it.

The whole process to me is way cool. I think my husband thinks so too, especially since he spent so much time with the user manuals and attending classes to learn how to do it properly. It is so neat how everything has to work together just right to make it happen just right.

I have seen what happens when all pieces of equipment work perfectly, and unfortunately I have also seen what happens when they aren't working perfectly
Lots of steps..but this is how we do it.

We start by flagging the location we want to lay the tile. 

We roll out the tile to get ready.

The tractor that is then pulling the tile plow has to drive the line where we are going to put the tile. This links it into the GPS, so we know where the starting position was. This is a slow going process, as you normally run about 1.7 MPH. So, nice and slow.

Once you reach the end where you want to be you hit stop. That line is now in place.

In our case we have a line already set that we want to link into. Which means that the excavator has to come over and dig down to that line so we can "T" into it. Or add the tile we are getting ready to lay.

You then stick the tile into the top of the tile plow, it digs down the correct depth, in this case around 3 ft and lays the tile. You then continue to follow the line you just drove by following the GPS coordinates.

Now, we technically have three pieces of equipment linked up at any given time. The tractor pulling the tile plow, the tile plow, and the ranger that puts in the flags. And we give all that credit to GPS, making it happen smoothly and connecting everything together so we know just the right spot to lay the tile.

I am an advocate for technology and continuing to grow in Agriculture. I think this is one more example of being stewards of the land. With GPS we can ensure we put the minimal amount of tile needed in a field to ensure proper drainage and a worthy crop.

Keep in mind, farmers out there, I have simplified this process a bit because I think really getting into the nitty gritty can get a bit confusing if you aren't out in the field seeing it first hand! 

Thanking A Farmer

Kontz Family 
This holiday season I would say that I have a lot to be thankful for. This month I had the opportunity to write an article for The Hood Magazine here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's a free publication that I love to pick up whenever I get to town. I thought it was the perfect thing to share with all of you since we are entering the holidays and the season where we are reflecting on the past year and all our blessings!

As a wife, I know the way to my husband’s heart is right through his stomach. As a mom, I know that sometimes I have to let my little girl make a mess while I’m cooking, just so she thinks she is helping. As a farmer, I have a unique perspective when it comes to the food I put on my table. When you live and breathe agriculture every day, you understand the care and work that goes into providing the wholesome food that helps feed us every day. I spend my days working on our beef farm, blogging, raising our daughter Elliette, and cooking for the farm.

However, no matter what hat I’m wearing (wife, mom or farmer), it’s extremely important that my family always has a wholesome and nutritious meal on our table. This is especially true when it comes to cooking for the holidays.

The holidays hold a very special place in my heart, and are always full of excitement. Excitement to prepare my grandmother’s famous dishes that have been passed down for generations, as well as the excitement of starting new traditions like serving beef brisket for our Thanksgiving.
The holidays are also a time to share laughter, count our blessings and come together over a delicious meal. Actually, the more I think about it, food plays such a central role in all ofour lives. Whether it’s an everyday meal or a holiday feast, the dinner table is a place where we can all come together and find common ground.

As you sit down this holiday season with your own families, you can feel confident that your food was raised with great care. Whether you may realize it or not, a South Dakota farmer had a hand in growing the food that’s on your table. Your holiday turkey or ham was raised on corn and soybean meal that comes from our fields. The yummy cheese in your side dishes likely comes from a South Dakota dairy. As a grocery-buying mom, I am confident that what I buy at the store is safe and nutritious because I know that somewhere, there is a farmer like me, supplying that product.

More and more, I find myself being extremely thankful that my family has the opportunity to raise the food you put on your tables. This season, I hope that you too, will take the time to think about where your food comes from, and be thankful for the local farmers who help grow it.

My Dreams In Agriculture

Before I met my farmer I was pretty passionate about the agricultural industry. So passionate that I chose to go college and enter into Purdue University's College Of Agriculture in Agricultural Education. I was way active in Indiana Agriculture. Always busy with something.

Now way back in my college days I would have said my absolute dream was to settle down and marry a farmer and have tons of little babies to spoil and play with.

My dreams haven't changed so much. I have settled down, I have married my farmer, and some day we hope for more children if God chooses to bless us.

Beyond what I wanted my family life to be I also had a dream of being heavily involved in Agricultural Education. I knew I didn't want to teach at the high school level forever. I foresaw myself with continuing on with my Masters degree and even one day my PhD. And then I wanted to say home and be a farm wife and a someone's Mommy.

As life changes I have also had to adjust my dreams. Getting my Masters while chasing a 19 month old around wouldn't be easy, but I want to be a focused Mom. A PhD would be wonderful to have, but I'm not sure I would use it while my little ones are still young. But, I believe in continuing education and always believe in learning.

I spend my days doing whatever my husband needs on the farm. I also have a couple of bred cows that are mine to check on twice a day. And I have a beautiful little girl that needs guidance, all from me. I believe in play dates, trips to the museum, libraries, and lots and lots of play time and snuggles. I believe in teaching prayers, manners, and giving her a voice. I believe that I am the best one to give these to my little girl, so I put my other dreams on hold…but I am always learning and take advantages of days where I can simply go and learn at a conference. Whether it's about impacting with Social Media, or a recent day of buildings for putting cattle in.

Play dates at the Children's Museum.

I volunteer my time talking to producers about the benefits of using social media on their farms. I talk to consumers about how they can feel confident when making decisions in the grocery store. I blog about what it's like being married to a farmer, and how sometimes it can feel like I am a single parent.

Late night snack with Daddy after he got in from the fields.

My dreams are still the same, maybe one day I will have my PhD. But, I do know that now my dreams are my little girl, my husband, continuing to have a faith filled home, and raising my child in God. My dreams are volunteering all my spare time to talking to consumers and answering whatever questions they might have about modern farming practices. Blogging about my life. And I may not be earning a Masters while I do all these things, but I am certainly learning more and more every day. With every person I have a conversation with, with every discussion I have with my husband over animal welfare, and with every time I make a decision to be an active part of our family's life.

I continue to learn and share that knowledge. And I think that is a pretty important dream too!

Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.
Women who attended the Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.

The Hottest Topic In The Food Industry Part 2

A few weeks ago on my trip to St. Louis I was enlightened and completely intrigued to hear from some of the top people in the food industry talk about GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms). I blogged about it here, and today I wanted to talk about why I am so supportive of using GMO's on farms across America.

First off the process of getting a biotech trait approved is pretty intense. The USDA process takes 13 to 15 months for one biotech trait. And that trait is tested over and over and over. 

A trait is a distinguishing characteristic. Very similar to humans having brown hair or blue eyes. And a GMO's are plants with traits that are helping us farm more efficiently. For example, last year we had a little something across the Midwest, called a "drought year". It just so happened we planted a little something called a "drought resistant crop". Not all of our fields, but we did have a few. This drought resistant crop helped us to grow a crop with little rain because of that special little trait.

Now, this helped us during a drought year…but the another great benefit of having a plant with this trait is what it could mean for climates that are typically more dry.

Technology continues to improve. It allows us to plant our crops in all types of conditions. And this could mean growing crops in places of the world where the environment doesn't always allow.

It means growing more on less land. As the world's population continues to grow so does our need to offer more food to feed them.

It means protecting our crops from pest infestations so we will never have to suffer a complete crop loss because of bugs.

By the year 2050 the world's population is expected to reach 9 billion, which means we will need 70% more food. Biotechnology allows us to farm with less water, less fuel, less fertilizer, and less pesticides.

Biotechnology is sustainability.

Biotechnology is feeding the world.

Next post on GMO's I am going to be talking about the awesome things that are happening at the Danforth Science Center in St. Louis. There are some very passionate people working there who believe in biotechnology and sustainable agriculture.

Starting A Family With Your Farmer

Is about like getting married. It never seems there is a good time!

My husband and I have been married for four years as of last Thursday. Our daughter has blessed with her presence for 18 months.

I remember being pregnant with her two harvests ago. I spent my Fall in the grain cart out in the field. Sick, very sick. I had a pretty rough pregnancy, but it was so worth it.

And it didn't really go as planned. Ideally we had aimed for having a baby right at the end of November or May. This gets us through harvest and through planting seasons.

I will say that babies never come as planned, but I know that I am really glad we didn't have our daughter smack in the middle of harvest, because then I would have had a husband that would have been distracted I think. Especially since we were at the hospital nearly a week!

It just so happens that the day we were admitted into the hospital it started raining, and raining and raining. It rained so much we in fact had to replant some fields that Spring.

The day we got home from the hospital I remember my husband helping me into the house. Laying our little girl in my lap, kissing my cheek, and saying he will be home soon.

He then spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening feeding cattle and working on various projects. Work on a farm is never done, even if you do have a baby.

I remember sitting on our couch watching the sun go down, debating whether I should wake up our pretty little girl to eat or let her sleep. And being just a tiny bit sad that my husband wasn't here to discuss it with me.

But, I will say he was as supportive as he could be every night when he did come home and we also worked a pretty great routine out for the night shifts. He wanted to be a part of every moment and I love that. He was just as passionate about being a Daddy as being my Farmer.

I love watching my farmer with our daughter on the farm. It is one of her favorite things to do- go with Daddy. She loves all things farm, tractor, and cow.

You can't help but feel her joy for agriculture as she sees and learns everything for the first time. It is a nice reminder of the beauties of our industry.

My farmer and our farmer in making at a local farm show.