Amanda Radke, Special to Agweek
Living in the Dakotas, winter is a big part of our year and our daily lives. I believe it's better to embrace the cold and learn to enjoy it than gripe for six months about how ugly, dark and miserable this time of year can really be. Winter offers a lot of joy if you take the time to look for it. With the snowfall comes an abundance of holidays to celebrate — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Mardis Gras and sometimes Easter.
Among the challenges faced by agricultural families is navigating the dynamics of a multi-generation family operation. Working alongside relatives, dealing with in-laws, off-farm siblings and different work and communication styles can be difficult at times, and problems are even more magnified when conversations about transitioning the operation to the next generation begin to take place.
I believe the barn is the heart of the ranch. Whether it's a traditional red barn with white trim and a hay loft or a more modern steel barn, the barn is where livestock are tended to and memories are made as a family. Every barn tells a story and within its walls, you'll often find that barns have a way of preserving our heritage and sharing the history of families who have dedicated their lives to agricultural pursuits.
You know what they say about New Year's resolutions — they are meant to be broken. We all start the new calendar year with great intentions, but according to Statistic Brain, of the people who make resolutions for change in the new year, less than 50 percent are still sticking to their goals by the end of the first month and a whopping 42.4 percent consistently fail on their resolutions each year. Now that we have the bad news out of the way, 2018 can be a fresh start and the year we finally succeed at our goals. So what do we want to achieve and how will we get there?
Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday may be over, but as we get in the spirit of the holiday season, there's one more day of the week we can celebrate — Giving Tuesday. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas gatherings, there's often a glut of gifts and baked goods, but what about those who won't have much under the tree this year? Giving Tuesday is a social media movement focused on helping those in need this holiday season.
My 17-month old son, Thorne Alvin, was named after two things that are important to my husband Tyler and me. Thorne is a nod to our love of nature, and we chose a tough name that will hopefully reflect the grit and work ethic that will be required of our future cowboy. And Alvin is a family namesake; my paternal grandfather's name is Alvin.