Tall Girls Rejoice - Work Pants

Thank you to Duluth Trading Company!  I finally found work pants that are long enough!  I ordered Slim Leg Cargo Pants and Boot Cut Work Pants both in a 35 inch leg length.  

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So long short pants!

First of all, it is amazing to be able to order pants in a leg length, not just a pant size.  Secondly, I had more than one choice! And then, equally importantly, when they arrived they fit and they looked good too.  They are constructed to be worn by women; I like the “curvesetter” waistband which is subtle and keeps you covered. Double bonus: there are also lots of functional pockets and the fabric repels water.

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So, what does that even matter?  Of course, I could just make do with some men’s work pants and get on with things, but everyone knows the saying “dress for success” for a reason.  How you dress impacts your physical ability to do a job, as well as so much more. It impacts how you feel about yourself as you work and how others perceive you.  I appreciate having durable pants that fit so that they are not a catch or trip hazard, AND so that I feel put together enough to hop out of the combine and go directly to town to pick up the girls at daycare.

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And, for those of you who shop for the other hard-working people in your life, Duluth has a wide variety of extended sizes to help make sure we can all work safely and look good too.  Check out their Big and Tall (my hubby loves the longtail t-shirts with 3 extra inches of length) and their Trim Fit selections, not to mention women’s pants with inseam lengths 29-35 inches.

Happy Shopping!

Growing Up

I recently attended my first Welcome to Kindergarten event; in September, my oldest child will be off to Kindergarten.  Although anticipating that change leaves me with a strange feeling, it also gave me a chance to reflect on my priorities, parenting style, beliefs about education and role as a teacher.  This classroom visit really reminded me of the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum (excerpt here).  It reminded me that kids know and understand fundamental truths. And that we could all use as a reminder to live by these truths; they still apply to adults… I went back to re-read and Fulghum reminded me of a few truths that kids know, and that I would do well to remember:

Put things back where you found them. (Things that belong to people or things that belong to Nature.)

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  (Ditto)

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. (No one can do it all by herself – no matter what it is.)

Wonder.  Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup.  The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. (Appreciate the awe and mystery of the universe.)

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.  (Oh, how easy it is to lose this – it has to be intentional or it can quickly fall away.)

(Italics are mine)

Welcome to Kindergarten is supposed to be an opportunity for children to get a taste of their new teacher and new environment.  However, it ended up being a big learning, or re-learning, day for me as well.

Knowledge is meaningful only if it is reflected in action.
— Robert Fulghum

Mother's Day

You are never too old to need your mom.  

For our Farm Femme Mom who spent countless hours, modeling, coaching, listening, advising, guiding, prompting, supporting, working behind the scenes, driving, financing, and providing a much needed kick in the rear... THANK YOU!  Thanks for teaching us how to raise our kids.  Thanks for helping us to learn when to hang on and when to let go.  Thanks for teaching us to be kind to ourselves.  And, for so many other lessons... Thanks for being the best mom you could be every day.

Love you Mom!

Click through the gallery to see how our Mom taught us to be Moms... and how to spoil grandkids in just the right ways.

Well Read FarmFemmes

I love to read! 

Generally speaking, Karen is more of a fan of non-fiction that I am.  However, she started me on some non-fiction at Christmas and I’ve been continuing the trend... My current reading list is:

Braving the Wilderness – The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone (Brené Brown)

The End of Average – How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness (Todd Rose)

Originals – How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant)

As you can tell from the titles, the theme of my reading lately has been about embracing your true self, and seeing the value in our own individuality.  This week, as we celebrate International Women's Day, my hope is that we can see the value in continuing to advocate for women's equality and celebrating women's achievements.

A colleague of mine often talks about two kinds of books: window books and mirror books.  Window books are a way to see out into the world, while mirror books are a way to see a bit of ourselves in the stories of others.  Whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction, window books or mirror books, I hope you find joy, power, inspiration and affirmation in your reading.


Let us know what you are reading, or what you would recommend, by commenting below.

Keeping Kids Safe on the Farm

Farm families have a long tradition of being multi-generational operations, where kids work alongside their parents.  While it is important, and often unavoidable, to involve kids in the farm, it is equally important to remember that they are kids.  Kids are impulsive, impatient and curious.  Often non-farm safety tips sheets or booklets say that a workplace is no place for kids, and that is the end of the conversation.  However, I know that is not realistic on our farm, and I am guessing that our farm is not unique.  So I would suggest a more realistic approach to educating kids and keeping them safe while they participate in farm life.  Here are some ideas of how to keep kids, and everyone, safe.

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1. Dress for Success - Dress for Safety

High Visibility clothing – We all have to get dressed before we go outside (I hope!) so we may as well choose clothing that is easy to see.  Put on your reflective gear or bright orange, green or pink t-shirts or hats.  Those of you who did the math after my birthday last week know that I am a child of the ‘80s so I have no problem bringing back the neon!  Also, remember that size matters.  I love hand-me-downs, but kids clothes that are too big are catch or trip hazards.

Cover your feet – “Summer feet” are a wonderful part of childhood, and there is a place for running around bare foot.  However, when you are by equipment or in fields closed-toe shoes are a must.

2. Communication – Knowing what others are thinking and doing keeps us all safe

Know who is in your space – when you enter a work site, know who is there with you and what jobs they are performing.  In our yard, we set out big orange pylons by the driveway any time the girls and I are outside so that everyone knows to be sure to include us in their headcount as they move around the yard.

Work time – The girls and I spend a lot of time talking about when it is safe to visit dad and when dad is busy working.  We have to continually talk about when a space is a play-space and when it is a work-space, because in reality we have spaces that function as both. 

3. Team – When we are working together, we can work safer

Ask for help - Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.  This can be counter-culture to traditional farmer folk-lore, so it needs to be an intentional part of your team’s safety culture.  Kids who see their role-models working together in order to be safe are more likely to make safe choices themselves.

Be real – Adults sometimes forget that kids are kids.  In an effort to teach kids life lessons about responsibility, the cycle of life, hard work, dedication or any number of other important values we can forget to let kids be kids.  Of course, working on the family farm is a great way to teach values and life lessons.  However, adults are the ones who need to step back and set the parameters around safety.  We need to set “future farmers” big and small, up for success, and safety, by asking them to help in ways that are realistic - physically and developmentally.

We all love our kids and we love to farm - working safely is a way to protect the way of life we love for the next generation.

Past safety posts:  

Safety Teresa strikes again October 3, 2017   

Kids and Farm Safety April 11, 2017

Get out your 2018 calendar

Continual learning is essential in farming and there are lots of great learning opportunities for farmers and farm extenders.  No matter if you are a mixed farmer looking for an event with something for all aspects of your operation or if you are a farmer interested in diving deep into a niche opportunity, there is an event for you.

Here are a few events that you might want to consider in 2018:

USA

1.  Global Big Data Conference - Santa Clara CA (January 17-19)  Karen is speaking!  

2. FarmHer - Grow By FarmHer tour (February 20-23) and I am FarmHer ( Kansas City MO June 25-27)

3. AgPhD - Baltic SD New Technologies Clinic (February 23) and Field Day (July 26)

4. Commodity Classic - Anaheim CA (February 27 - March 1)

CANADA

5.  Ag Days - Brandon MB (January 16-18)

6. Ignite FCC Young Farmer Summit - Winnipeg MB (February 7)

7. Canada's Farm Progress Show - Regina SK (June 20-22)

8. Ag in Motion - Saskatoon SK (July 17-19)

9. Manitoba Farm Women's Conference - Winkler MB (November 18-20)