• Holly Spangler

    Here's the Point

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 25, 2011

    Show season is heating up, all across the Midwest and, honestly, across the better part of the rural U.S. countryside. The best cattle, lambs and pigs have been vigilantly selected. The careful feeding has commenced. The daily rinsing and grooming may have even already begun. Preview shows are about to be held, or have already been held. But really, all that isn't even the point. This is the point: This is Campbell Martin, getting a last-minute bit of advice and a pep talk from his…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When to Speak Up, When to Shut Up

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 20, 2011

    RECYCLED: In honor of Planting '11, I'm reposting this little tale of marker woe from last year, posted on April 22, 2010. Even now, I think of it every time I see a planter marker. I doubt my husband feels the same. Actually, he's probably forgotten. Actually, it's probably better that way. So earlier this week, I took lunch to my husband and rode a couple rounds with him, which was nice since it was the only time I'd see him in the daylight that day. Plus, it gave me a chance to…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Only Peanut Farmer in Illinois

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 19, 2011

    About a year ago, our oldest won a bag of peanuts, because she guessed there were about 400 peanuts in the bag. So we were eating a lot of peanuts. And at about the same time, my colleague at our Southern Farmer magazine, Pam Golden, ran a cover on her magazine showing a peanut farmer pulling a plant out of the ground. I showed it to the kids so they could see how the peanuts actually grow beneath the ground. Nathan, 5 at the time and ever the farmer, commenced to asking a whole lot of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When Are You Too Diversified?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 12, 2011

    I've been reading from A Corporate Tragedy, a 1985 book by Barbara Marsh that examines the business decisions that led to the rise and fall of the International Harvester Company. I don't believe it was a bestseller by any means – I found it on my bookshelf, an inheritance from a previous editor who appears to have received it from the publisher – but it holds some fascinating tidbits of business acumen, including accounts from senior executives and the decisions they made over the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Gaming for Farm Kids

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 10, 2011

    Our household's latest obsession: Drive Green. I wish I were kidding. It started at Easter. I'd found Drive Green through the Scholastic book order at school and bought it, on a whim, for my 6-year-old's Easter basket. The description promised you could "farm the heartland with genuine John Deere!" For Nathan, that's all we really needed to know. I was certain he'd love it, less certain it wouldn't be a cheesy mess but at $15, figured it was a small gamble. It turns out, it's kind…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Good Lead

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 6, 2011

    As the parent of three small kids, I've learned to write down the stuff they say. Like this gem of a conversation three years ago, as we pulled into the field to take supper to John. Nathan was 3 at the time. Nathan: “Dat’s corn.” Me: “That’s right. How did you know that?” Nathan: “’Cause. I know tings. God told me.” Or this one from a year ago: Nathan: "How will we know which one is God and which one is Jesus when we get to…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Fly Your Flag?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 4, 2011

    Monday morning, caught in a wave of patriotism over the U.S.'s defeat of Osama bin Laden, our neighbor, Jerry, called and wanted to know if John could get the flag back up on the grain leg. This was at approximately 7:45. John said he'd be glad to but last year's flag got shredded on an incredibly windy day last November. By 8:30, John popped back into the house for tools. Jerry had already been to town, secured a new flag and was back. Which meant John was about to make a trip up the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Broken Hearts for Flooded Farm Families

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 3, 2011

    Shortly after 10 p.m. last night, the Army Corps of Engineers blew a 2-mile stretch of the levee on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river, at Cairo. Folks like Benton farmer Kelly Robertson felt the blast 80 miles away. Water immediately began to flow south onto Missouri farmland, through bins, sheds and farm houses. The blowing of the levee took place only after much litigation. The breach was proposed in order to save Cairo. Reportedly, 2,700 homes could be saved from floodwaters by…

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