my daily life on a cattle farm, my love of agriculture, and stories behind my photos

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Sun Sets on 2013

As the sun set on 2013, I reflected upon the year. It was truly an amazing year. I have been so blessed! Throughout this past year, I had incredible experiences. And, I have so many wonderful memories to cherish.

* 2013 celebrated the 70th year of my family raising Shorthorn cattle. It is a proud moment for the family. Hoping for many more years!

* Ran my best 3 mile time...23.40! I was SUPER excited!
* In January, I celebrated my 35th birthday. And, my dad celebrated his 70th in May!

* As my last responsibility as the 2012 IFB Young Leader Chair, I served as a Voting Delegate for Illinois at American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. It was an amazing experience sitting in the delegate session.

* At the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Conference, I received my pin as a retiring IFB Young Leader Committee Representative. It was such an honor to have served on the committee. Through Farm Bureau, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and experiences I've had. And, I have so many great memories and wonderful friends throughout the years.
* I joined the Illinois Shorthorn Association...my grandpa would have been happy :)
* Excited I was hired as a crop insurance adjuster with Diversified Crop Insurance Services!

* One afternoon, Paula Sands called me to be interviewed on her show, Paula Sands Live on KWQC-TV6. Overjoyed! I was pleasantly surprised! Tears of joy were in my eyes as she said many kind words about me and my photography. It was absolutely incredible! I loved being able to share my love of agriculture through my photographs.

* I was accepted into the Cultivating Master Farmers program. So excited to be the Class of 2015! Looking forward the wonderful learning experience!
* Most importantly, I regained a friendship. Through my involvement with Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders, I met Dale. Over the past eight years, Dale became a great friend of mine. We've had many great times. And, we have seen each other through some tough times. This year, our friendship became stronger. I look forward to many more years in making memories!

Jason Aldean concert at Wrigley Field in Chicago!

* In November, I was elected President of Illinois Cattlewomen! I am looking forward to educating consumers about beef, and the beef industry through Illinois Cattlewomen.
* I traveled to Brazil for the 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Ag Industry Tour. It was incredible! I enjoyed learning about agriculture in Brazil. I am grateful for the experience! And, I met some wonderful people :)
* My journal and photos were featured in the December-January issue of Farm & Ranch Living! I was so excited to share my love of agriculture and family farm! It was such an honor. For media outreach for Farm & Ranch Living, I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by WMBD and RFD. So much fun! My experience with Farm & Ranch Living was amazing! 
Best wishes to you in 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday on the Farm

frost on a fence post

It was a gorgeous morning feeding calves! Sunny and foggy...it was amazing! After morning chores, I enjoyed walking around the farm. So peaceul. I love taking photos on winter days...especially winter days like this! 

Monday, December 23, 2013


Coal...for those on my 'naughty' list!


3 tablespoons      butter
6 cups      marshmallows
1 teaspoon      mint extract
5 cups      cocoa krispies
1 cup      crushed chocolate oreos
black food coloring


Crush the chocolate Oreos. Add the crushed Oreos with the Cocoa Rice Krispies in a large mixing bowl.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add marshmallows and melt on low heat. Stir marshmallows until melted. Add mint extract and black food coloring. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the Cocoa Rice Krispies and Oreos. Stir until thoroughly covered.

Coat hands with cooking spray. Form lumps of various sizes. Place on waxed paper to set. Place lumps into a bowl to enjoy. Or, give as a gift. Label a paper lunch bag, 'coal'. Arrange the lumps of 'coal' in the bag.
a little bag of 'coal'

The lumps of 'coal' were really cute as a gift for my family! A little fun for Christmas :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday on the Farm

frosty farmall

It was a gorgeous sunrise as dad and i fed the calves this morning. Winter sunrises can be so spectacular! After chores, I ran inside my house to grab my camera to take this shot of the Farmall covered in frost!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our Cows Love Cornstalks!

My cows make me smile. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times. Throughout the winter we set out cornstalk bales as bedding for the cow herds to keep them warm. Dad and I set out a bale for a cow herd Monday afternoon. Our cows love cornstalks...and it shows! [note the bale moving and cornstalks flying in the air] Enjoy the videos :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Farm & Ranch Living

Farm & Ranch Living

It was almost two years ago when I was contacted by the Assistant Editor of Farm & Ranch Living. Lori asked me to write a journal for their publication. I was so extremely excited to be given this amazing opportunity! Tears of joy came to my eyes. It was such an honor to be chosen to write about my family farm! I love sharing my passion for agriculture. My family has enjoyed reading them in the past. It has been a blessing to be published in Farm & Ranch Living. I am extremely appreciative.

A version of my journal may be viewed at Farm & Ranch Living. I hope you have a chance to read the December-January issue of Farm & Ranch Living!

my journal for Farm & Ranch Living

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday on the Farm

the sun sets on cornstalk bales
It was a chilly winter day when I snapped this photo on the farm. The sun began to set on rows of cornstalk bales dusted with snow. It was quite pretty and peaceful.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Farmall 'FARM'

farmall 'farm"
I am really excited about this photo collage I created...Farmall 'FARM'! Photos were taken of the Farmall M my Grandpa Stevens owned and used on the farm. My parents now own the tractor. I love and take pride in the farm heritage.