Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Flat Aggie Visits John Deere

Dear Miss Allard’s class,
I am having so much fun in Iowa!! I have been to Atlantic, Iowa and Des Moines, Iowa as I travel around with my new friend, Stacey Pellett. She works for John Deere – the big tractor company. Her job is to teach the people that work with her about farming and agriculture, kind of like we are doing in our class!
Did you know that John Deere has created something called “Machine Sync” where tractors and combines can actually talk to each other? I took a picture next to a large poster that shows you a little about Machine Sync. Basically, when the combine is picking the corn or soybeans in the field, it can tell the tractor and grain cart to come closer or move farther away so that the grain coming out of the combine lands in the cart instead of the ground. Grain (Corn, soybeans and wheat) is very expensive they tell me, so it is important that we don’t spill any of it. 
I also got to sit with some of the people who are making these products. It’s kind of like video games… all of these things are made on the computer, so it was fun to watch them “code”. That means they are writing stories in computer language that make the tractors and combines do what they want them to do.

Not a lot of farming is happening here right now. It’s very cold (this morning the temperature was -1◦ F!!!). Brrrr… tomorrow it is supposed to snow between 10 and 12 inches. But, planting season isn’t too far away, so hopefully I will be able to show you some of my adventures in the field sometime soon.
I miss all of you and can’t wait to see you at the end of the year.
Flat Aggie

What do you think about this technology?  If you farm, do you use it?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pinspiration Projects

I've been wanting to share some fun projects that I have completed in our home recently. I think the crafty bug has been therapeutic for me the last few months. And I'm pretty happy with how most of them turned out.

These were just a wild idea I got about painting burlap. I like the longhorn more, the star less. I found some stencils I liked but they were small so I just looked at them as a guide and free handed the drawing. That is why the star is funky. The star will probably get replaced before too long. I need a table underneath, but I need to find a cheap one or con my mom into making one.

 I decided to do a smaller one for the kiddo's room. He loves it. On all of these I used old foam board from posters at a meeting. Canvas is expensive and I'm super cheap.

Then I saw those cool canvases with sayings. A search showed me that you could do these by using vinyl sticky letters and painting over them. I did two for my office. Less then $15 for the two of them. I think they are 16x20 each.

Then I got all crazy with some furniture. I started with an old credenza a friend was going to take to the dump. I was needing an entry table or a TV stand. It became a TV stand. But it was a ton of work trying to scrape off the varnish. If I had known about Annie Sloan then... Anyway I spent $10 on varnish remover and $18 on ACE's best paint. Took almost a week between all the steps. And the paint isn't going to hold up well to my toddler.

But that gave me the idea to give an old dresser of Dad's a makeover - in aqua! I love it. It lives in the guest room now. But it took lots of sanding and scraping. I wasn't able to paint the top because whatever layer it is just won't keep paint on. But I think it looks cool white actually.

Then I was officially hooked and found this night stand at a yard sale for $5. I tried out Annie Sloan chalk paint on it - which eliminates the need for sanding or scraping off varnish - and for 1/4 a pint of $40 paint, I have a cool new nightstand. The hubs isn't a fan of my color choice which is too bad since I had more paint to use. :) But the Annie Sloan paint - rocks! You can find it at some antique stores or look them up online to find a retailer near you.

                                                                          My newest furniture makeover will be a new addition to our bedroom. This vanity has been in my mom's storage/almost junk pile for years. But I've always wanted her to keep it. I've loved it since I was little. But I never had space for it in my room then or in my houses as an adult - until now. It is super old and belonged to someone in our family. But it was made with pretty soft wood and it hadn't held up well so I couldn't just clean it up and refinish it. So Annie Sloan paint to the rescue and - viola! I have a few more details to finish on it, but I think it looks pretty cool.

Then I got the idea to use some old foam board (Thanks to my Farm Bureau staff for saving me all those old posters) and make a letter wrapped in rope/twine. Well it took forever to wrap, needed way too much twine and was hard to do the edges. FYI this is almost 3 feet tall. So then I saw some cool faux tooled leather fabric and used it to cover the foam instead. I think I might add something still, but looks pretty decent for only costing about $6 to make. This at the end wall in our hallway.

I even got inspired to take an old chair in to get reupholstered. I went a little crazy with my fabric choice when she showed me the bargain fabrics. I can't wait to pick it up and show you all what it looks like!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting Married!! ... TODAY

Michael and I are getting married today!! 

Michael and I headed up to Tahoe last night and will officially be Mr. and Mrs. today!!  We opted for a small tiny ceremony in South Lake Tahoe on 2-22 (it has a nice ring to it and I'm sure Washington would be happy to share his birthday).  I am so excited and I can't wait to share pictures and give you all the details!!! 

 I would love to hear your marriage advice!!  What has kept your marriage strong and happy?  What would you tell a newlywed couple (us)? 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Outfit Post: Breaking out the Green Pants

It has been a while since I've done an outfit post.  I just looked over the last outfit posts and I wanted to cry ... I didn't realize I had gained so much weight. That would be another blog topic, but I have been working out lately!!  I'm pretty proud of myself - I almost finished Jillian Michel's 30 day shred.  I had one day left and I was so sick I took a break this weekend for 3 days, I didn't want to kill myself today since it is my first day back to working out and I am still a little sick, so I did level 1 instead of level 3 this morning.  Anyway, we'll talk about that later - on to an outfit post:
 I LOVE clothes - if I could make a career out of dressing people and making them feel amazing in what they are wearing, I would do it in a heart beat!  Just a pipe dream of mine...
I have been wanting green and red pants for a looooong time.  I am picky and cheap so I kept looking.  Then, one day looking through a JC Penny Black Friday ad I spotted a beautiful kelly green pair for only 10 dollars.  But, they were a Junior's brand and I am not a junior anymore.  I stopped by and tried them on anyway and they fit surprisingly well.  They didn't have the color I wanted and were out online also so again I kept looking and waiting.  Over Winter Break I found a pair (and by then I even went down a size) on a random trip to JC Pennys.  Then they sat in my closet for about a month.  I finally pulled them out to wear on an engagement shoot since I had nothing else to wear (you know the situation - a hamper overflowing with dirty clothes and nothing I like left to wear even though I have plenty of options).  Well, that went so well I decided to go for it and wear them to work one day.  That and I still hadn't done laundry ...
This is a lot of typing for an outfit post!  I decided to pair them with a black top, a blazer, and some black flats to tone it down and keep it professional for work.  I love the outcome!  Fun yet still perfectly appropriate for work. 

So, what do you think?  Do you like the green pants?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Flat Aggie visits Wag Farms

A simple hair cut around the ears helps us see the cow tag better. Notice how the number on the left is much easier to see than the number on the right? Thanks, Flat Aggie, for the help!
Head on over to Wag'n Tale to read his adventure with Val and her family.
Be sure to visit Val's blog, follow her on twitter, or like her page on facebook to learn more about her farming adventures. 
Thanks for the great adventure Val!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flat Aggie Learns About Aquaculture

Wow what a week!!!! I am Flat Aggie and I have been on most awesome adventure!!!!! I landed in Frankfort KY with Angela Caporelli, the Aquaculture Coordinator and Marketing Specialist for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. What a ride! I did not even know what Aquaculture was until I met my new friend Angela. Aquaculture is “The farming and husbandry (raising animals) of freshwater and marine plants and animals”  Pretty cool! I learned SOOOO much! Like the fact that aquaculture is the fastest growing form of agriculture worldwide today. Most of the fish and shellfish we eat in the US is imported and 90% of that is farm raised in other countries.  Here in the US we raise several types of fish and shell fish, but because it is relatively new, compared to cattle farming, we have a long way to go in some areas. But not research!

I started my adventure at the Kentucky State University Aquaculture Research Center.  This center is the bomb!  You know they raise all kinds of fish there and help famers throughout the world learn better ways to raise and feed these fish. Right here I met Shawn Coyle who is a researcher there and specializes in freshwater prawn and bass.

Here I am petting a bass.

Here I am with a fresh water prawn.
There are so many cool things to do in aquaculture. There is so much research going on that I was blown away!!!! You know, they are looking at the genetic make-up of all kinds of shrimp from all over the world to see what types of genetic markers will tell these guys what feed would be better or might make them able to deal with the cold in some areas…. Pretty cool I thought…

Here I am with some cool equipment.

I am by a recircultating system.

I was able to see tank culture, pond culture and also how some farmers grow fish and vegetables together in recirculating systems called Aquaponics.  This is where the fish pee in the water and the plants take those nutrients and use them to grow and then clean the water so it is healthier for the fish!
One of the researchers does real cool studies with Koi and selects genes just to get different colors!
It was an awesome day and I want to thank my new friend Angela for all her great information!

Look at these Koi!!!! Pretty cool!  I love aquaculture!!! Fish Farming rocks!!!
For more information on Kentucky State University Aquaculture Program check out their website.
Thank you so much Angela for taking Flat Aggie on this adventure!  It was fun to learn about aquaculture - I always love to teach my kids big words! 
What do YOU think of this adventure? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Flat Aggie Visits CA Foundation for Ag in the Classroom

Flat Aggie spend some time with the lovely ladies at the California Foundation for Ag in the Classroom office!  My kids were SO EXCITED to see Mindy posing with Flat Aggie since she came to our school the week before.  Take a look at his adventure on the CFAITC's blog The Fencepost
Are you enjoying the Flat Aggie adventures? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Year of the Farmer

I am not a huge football fan - but, I was rooting for the 49ers is yesterday's game.  I do however love the commercials.  This year, I wasn't very impressed - until this commercial came on.  I've heard the words before but together with the photographs and Dodge so proudly supporting farmers - this was by far the best commercial of the Super Bowl.  Check it out here to help raise money for FFA and to assist in local hunger and education.  Don't forget to share a badge on facebook and tell your friends to watch and share to raise money for FFA!!  See what I learned from my years in 4-H and FFA here
Proud to have a Dodge truck sitting in the driveway right now!
What was your favorite commercial?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Flat Aggie Goes Inside a Chicken House

  Hello! So sorry it has been a few weeks since you have heard from me.  I arrived at Ozark Acres Farm, home of the Griffin’s, just as an unfortunate accident happened with Grandma Griffin.  She is on her way to recovery! 

Julie Griffin, my eleven year old friend took me to the chicken house on their 330 acre farm in Northwest Arkansas.  Julie is a 6th grader at a middle school. 
On Julie’s farm, they have eight, 350 foot long poultry houses. They grow pullets for a major poultry breeder company, Cobb which is headquartered in Siloam Springs, Ar.
Julie shared with me that the chickens are 1 week old and they will stay on her farm until they are 21 weeks old.  They eat out of the feed track you see beside Julie.       You may notice a water line that hangs from the ceiling have a few chickens drinking from it.

Julie let me play in the chicken feed.  Chickens eat at ration of mostly ground up corn.  Julie likes to let it run through her fingers.
Look for me to report again soon.
Flat Aggie
Thank you Julie for showing Flat Aggie around your farm and letting him inside the chicken houses!