Katie Pinke / Agweek Publisher
In early August, I ventured to Farmfest in Redwood County, Minn. and toured a hops demonstration area with the Minnesota Hops Growers Association. As a barley farmer's daughter, I know a little about growing malting barley but had never seen hops or visited with a hops grower. Hops are the flower that adds the bitter taste and aroma to beer. The popularity of growing hops has grown as the craft beer industry has grown, creating a demand for locally grown hops.
Do you visit farmers markets? It hasn't been a regular routine of mine but through the years I like to visit different farmers markets when I travel. It's interesting to see the variety offered at farmers markets throughout the country, from rural, small-town markets to large city markets.
It's time to go for a crop tour drive and anyone can do it. Farmers drive and look at their own crops. And maybe they're looking at the neighbor's crops, too. Farmers get out, walk their own fields and inspect with agronomic knowledge to know what to do next. Whether you're farming or not, go for a drive this time of year to see the fields.
This month, Iris Westman turns 114 years old. Iris doesn't want attention or notoriety for her age. But for me, as her great-great niece, I want her story and legacy to live on for our family's future generations.
In past years, we've purchased a county fair shown beef steer for our freezer and have a year of eating the quality meat provided by them.
My former colleague and friend, Ted Quanrud passed away earlier this month. His self-written obituary, published in the Bismarck Tribune, is worth the read as a lasting tribute to his wit. As his obituary said, "He did not die after a heroic struggle with some ailment like terminal hangnail or chronic dandruff, but from doing too many things that he shouldn't have done too often and for too long despite numerous warnings from members of the medical community. As an erstwhile colleague once said of him: "he's not the sort of man to say 'hold the anchovies."'
"We have too many jobs to do this summer." said our 11-year-old daughter to me this past week. She was sitting on the dining room floor with silk floral stems around her, working on the beginnings of a 4-H flower arranging project she had planned, practiced and prepared to exhibit at the county fair. I said, "You don't have to do all those projects you planned if you don't have time." She quickly replied, "No, I love these jobs!"
My husband, Nathan, and I purposefully try to choose and give experiences over "stuff" as gifts. But as the kids get older, the experiences over gifts becomes a greater challenge. We are running out of ideas and always looking for a new experience that we haven't already done to share with our kids.
You may have read recently about a St. Louis County, Minn., commissioner questioning county employees about $147,000 in purchases made through Amazon by county employees, for county use. The commissioner's delivery was unrefined, but in the midst of his brash emailing was a clear message to which I subscribe: let's spend our public, taxpayer-funded dollars locally with those who pay taxes, in the businesses that support our local economies, where our people live and work.
I have zero tolerance for any type of abuse. Domestic abuse. Child abuse. Elderly abuse. Drug abuse. Alcohol abuse. Animal abuse. Our society has become conditioned to hearing about it. You might have experienced abuse of some sort firsthand. In the past, when animal abuse videos were released, I would watch them and immediately react via social media. Now, I no longer publicly react.