Five years ago today, I launched this blog with a post to Facebook that alluded to big things happening in bursts of late night inspiration.
Which probably meant I was up to the wee hours fretting over the details of what was “Rural Route 2: The Life & Times of an Illinois Farm Girl”. That is how many of these posts over the course of five years happened. In the stillness of the dark night, I sat in the computer’s glow and typed. Writing was my therapy. Eventually I realized folks were reading and connecting to some of my stories and thoughts. Blogging opened a whole new world of connections.
Initially, I thought all I should share was farm ‘stuff’, but being a mom, kid ‘stuff’ dominated my days. You have embraced the farm boy and farm princess with love and support. Their launch of Bubba-Bug Popcorn started as an indulgence of an entrepreneurial dream and has become a real business, thanks to you. You have shared in their first days of school, first days in the field, first time showing cattle . . . so many firsts that have morphed into normalcy around the farm. My Farmer continues to do what he has always done – farm. But now he is used to hearing about a post or picture before he actually reads/sees it. A while back he coined our couple’s mantra, “I farm. You talk.” And so we go . . .
Speaking of farm, you’ve read much about that as well. From basic posts on how equipment works to the day my dad shipped his last load of hogs, my family has been on board with my random requests for pictures or my oversharing of more private moments. You’ve been with me in triumph and in loss. I am forever grateful for those days when you dropped a comment just to show you were present. Thank you.
I’ve used this platform for my share of ranting. Talking about farming seems to be significantly more difficult than just farming. The wealth of opinions – wrong, right or the other – available online has certainly offered many opportunities to engage in conversations that felt very jr. high-like in nature. But this was my blog, so debunking Dr. Oz’s claims about agriculture more than once was my prerogative. As were the times I called out companies for what I felt were misguided marketing stunts via useless food labels or nasty ads (Dear General Mills, No Feel Good w/ Mr. Seed, Everyone makes mistakes, even John Deere).
While those posts received traction from readers who were knee-deep in their fields already, they didn’t do much to reach beyond the farm choir. So, I turned to sharing harvest meal menus for a few years, and posted often about volunteering. Serving as the county’s ag literacy coordinator certainly gave me fodder for the blog and connected me to Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom. Together we’ve coordinated travel for Flat Aggie these past years and have learned so, so much about our fellow U.S. and Canadian farmers and ranchers. I’ve rediscovered my love of learning. #agnerd That’s me! And have tried to focus more on the amazing agricultural landscape that covers our nation.
Very often – actually all of the time – I feel small in that landscape. So many farmers, ranchers and agriculture professionals are sharing the story of our food, fuel and fiber in amazing ways on multiple platforms with videos, snaps, pictures and stories. A few years ago, inspired by Barbara Walters’ list of 10 Most Fascinating People, I started to share my own list of people and groups I found fascinating in the world of food and farming. I hoped that you would see those folks and follow along on their journeys or find inspiration in their stories.
Just to prove that life on a farm really can be more than the farm, I tip-toed into more personal topics like making the bed (read it) and faith. I shared The True Story Behind Perfect Pinterest Pictures and photos for #WordlessWednesdays, which usually had many words attached. Of course, 4-H and FFA has always and will continue to be a popular topic here.
Lately, though I’ve had to rest. Life sweeps over us in waves and sometimes we can keep our head up and other times we have to fight to stay afloat. For a long time I always fought like crazy to keep my head above water. It was the only way to get through the day. But in the last six months I decided to drown – figuratively, of course – and let life wash over me. It became rather freeing to say ‘no’ or not commit to certain things, including weekly posts on the blog.
However, just penning this impromptu trip down memory lane reminded me why I started writing again five years ago and why I want to continue. You’ll finally be reading a bit more from me in the coming months, maybe the coming years. Thank you for making the last five so rewarding. Here’s to the next.