• Fran O

    Surviving the college years

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 1, 2015

    This is the sixth consecutive year I have had one or more sons in college. Currently our twins are juniors in college. One is attending University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is double majoring in dairy science and agronomy, and the other one is a student at UW-River Falls majoring in agronomy and soil science with an emphasis in soils. My 23 year old son graduated from UW-Madison in May 2012 with a degree in dairy science and is working for East Central/Select Sires in the Madison…

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  • Fran O

    4-H is a Great Youth Experience, Pass It On

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 2, 2014

    For 100 years, Wisconsin youth have been benefiting from 4-H. On Oct. 30, 1914, Linn 4-H Club in Walworth County became the first 4-H club in Wisconsin. 4-H has been going strong across the Dairy State ever since. That's the first reason to celebrate 4-H in October. The second reason is National 4-H Week is Oct. 5-11. According to the Wisconsin 4-H Office, there are 35,162 4-H members in Wisconsin today, which is pretty similar to the number of 4-H members there were 10 years ago in…

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  • Fran O

    Great Weather, Fantastic Shows!

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on August 22, 2014

    Hats off to Wisconsin State Fair officials and the 2014 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days show organizers for both holding extremely successful events last month. Super show Wisconsin Farm Technology Days held in Portage County near Stevens Point was the most organized show I have ever attended. Everything from the field demonstrations, to the farm tour, the ride and drive area, the vegetable harvesting tours and the Extension exhibits, to Tent City and even traffic and parking was…

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  • Fran O

    It’s Time to Count Our Blessings

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on November 14, 2013

    Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is just around the corner. Families and friends everywhere are gathering to share great food and celebrate the good things in each of our lives. It’s also a good time to re?ect back on the year and count our many blessings. That may seem hard in a year plagued by a cold, wet spring and summer drought, but there are still plenty of reasons for Wisconsin farmers to be grateful in 2013. Weather woes Farmers across much of the state battled cold…

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  • Fran O

    State Fair Was a Record-Breaking Success

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on September 12, 2013

    Ideal weather with mild temperatures, low humidity and very little rain no doubt helped boost attendance at the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair, but diverse ag and educational exhibits, big-name entertainment, great carnival rides and a wide variety of food were the main reasons the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair tied an attendance record that dates back to 1969. More than 1 million people – 1,012,552 to be exact – attended the 11-day fair from Aug. 1-11 in West Allis. That's…

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  • Fran O

    The End Of An Era

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on August 11, 2013

    This summer was a lot like any other for my family with most of July and the first week of August focused on preparing for and attending county fair and state fair. But unlike other years, this was the last county fair and state fair my sons will show at. My twins, Matthew and Nathan, are 19 and will turn 20 in November, so their 4-H and showing careers have come to an end. They began showing registered Holstein dairy calves at the Fond du Lac County Fair in 1998 when they were…

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  • Fran O

    It's Time To Install Central Air

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on July 15, 2013

    My mother always cautioned, "Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it!" I think all of the rain we have received this year is a direct result of too many of us wishing and praying for rain much of last year. I think we must have prayed a little too hard – that's my theory at least. According to Bill Bland, University of Wisconsin Extension soil and water conservation specialist, Wisconsin will get warmer and wetter in years to come, so get used…

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  • Fran O

    The Challenges of Gardening are A Lot Like Farming

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 25, 2013

    Flower gardening or vegetable gardening is as much of a challenge this year as trying to plant corn or soybeans and harvest first-crop alfalfa! The cool, wet spring has now given way to a hot, wet summer. With all the rain we have gotten and continue to get, it's hard to keep up with the weeds in both my flowerbeds and my family's vegetable garden. Last year, the problem was a lack of moisture and too much heat. I watered and watered and watered and still I don't think my…

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  • Fran O

    It's Spring! Get Out And Grow Something

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 28, 2013

    I've loved flowers since I can remember. While cut flowers are nice, I admit I get more enjoyment out of watching flowers bloom and grow in a flower bed or flower garden. I'm no expert at flower gardening -- I am learning as I go. In my flower beds, located on the south and east sides of our house, I grow my favorite perennial flowers and plants -- roses, irises, tulips, daffodils, jonquils, peonies, purple cone flowers, black-eyed Susans, mouse-eared coreopsis, hydrangeas, tiger…

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  • Fran O

    What A Difference A Year Makes

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     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 25, 2013

    A year ago, we were basking in 80-degree temperatures in Wisconsin on the first day of spring – double the normal high temperature of 40. On the first day of spring this year, we were greeted with a low temperature of 5 degrees in east central Wisconsin and the high temperature barely made it above 20 degrees – half the normal high for the first day of spring and 60 degrees below what we had in 2012. Only in Wisconsin could you have temperature swings that great from one year to…

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