Katie Pinke / Agweek Publisher
If you have kids, you know parenting is a learning experience. Life lessons often occur in the seemingly everyday moments. Recently, we had a teachable moment in our family. I asked our girls, ages 9 and 11, if I could share about it and they smiled and agreed. The girls competed in their first 4-H archery meet of the year this past weekend — and the younger sister beat the older sister. It wasn't even close. The older sister struggled and scored far below her personal best from last season. The younger sister exceeded her personal best from last season by 60 points.
Do you shop on Sunday mornings? I don’t. In fact, my home state of North Dakota is the only state with a law that doesn’t allow you to shop on Sunday mornings — nor does it allow business owners the choice to be open for businesses. Once the clock strikes noon, doors can open, but that’s only been allowed since 1991. Before then, the closed sign didn’t change on Sundays. Maybe it sounds idyllic to you because everyone goes to church on Sunday mornings. But that’s not reality.
It's a new year. Maybe you just joined a gym and are cutting calories — but I'm here to tell you it's time to bring back an old tradition that adds calories to your life, an art we've lost in this hectic culture. I say "old" ever so delicately because I turn the page from one decade to the next this week and enter my 40s. My mom reminded me of this tradition when she arrived in my kitchen at Christmas and said, "Katie, grab your pie cookbook for me, please." For a second, I panicked. Did I have the pie cookbook in my cabinet?
The words across the top of our fifth-grade daughter's word study and vocabulary worksheet said: "Being a Vegetarian." Normally, our girls put their school papers in the wire file folders hanging on our kitchen wall, but Elizabeth left this particular worksheet on the dining room table. She didn't mention anything about it, but she put the paper where I would find it right away when I came home. She didn't agree with it — and knew I wouldn't either. You can be a vegetarian. It's your choice. We teach that in our meat-eating home.
It's terribly stinky at our family Christmas Eve evening meal. Each year, the center platter dons a fish with a texture reminds me of Jell-O. Fish Jell-O for Christmas? It's technically lutefisk. Translated from Norwegian, lutefisk means lyefish, a dry cod that was soaked in a lye solution. The old, early ways of soaking dry cod in lye are gone, and I am told the quality of lutefisk is better than ever. Quality cod or not, I am making lutefisk, alongside a prime rib beef roast for my family's Christmas Eve dinner before we attend church.
The narrative of women in agriculture is often quieter and lesser told than of men. I've seen that change over the past 15 years of my career but there is still work to be done. I know of hundreds, women and men, who are working to change it for the better on many fronts. Women have always been in agriculture but not always independently, or right alongside their male partners and spouses, or leading. I know who many of these women are. I see them. I watch them live out their own stories.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 27 percent of Americans who purchase a real Christmas tree visit a tree farm to choose and cut their tree. Last season, Americans spent $27.4 million on fresh Christmas trees and paid an average of $75 per tree versus $21.1 million spent on fake trees, paying an average of $107 per tree.
Online shopping is easy. I can shop in my pajamas, using my phone in the comfort of my bed, when my house is quiet and everyone — even the dogs — is sleeping. I like to buy, not shop. I don't like perusing stores to price compare. I usually set out knowing what I'm looking for, so I want to buy it as quickly and easily as possible. Online shopping is convenient because I live 85 miles from a big-box store or shopping mall. But there are ramifications if you and I only spend our money shopping via the ever-so-easy Amazon or Walmart apps.
For farmers and ranchers, there's no time for getting sick. But just over a year ago, Colfax, N.D., farmer and business owner Cara Myers was diagnosed with breast cancer, just as harvest was getting underway. This year, she's back farming. I climbed in the tractor cab with her when she was driving a grain cart during corn harvest to talk about the year she's had and lessons from her breast cancer journey. Cara has been someone I have admired through the years. I met her and her husband, Jay, nearly 15 years ago on a flight to Las Vegas.
If you want to know where your turkey comes from this holiday season, get to know a turkey farmer. On our AgweekTV "Thankful for Ag" episode on Nov. 24, I'll introduce you to Chris Huisinga. Here's some of the backstory: After years of working corporate jobs, Chris and his wife Joy pursued a way to move their family back to Chris's roots of turkey farming. Chris has more than 70 years of turkey farming in his family history. To join that legacy, Chris and Joy started a new farm and put their first flock into an empty barn on Aug. 1, 2017.