• Holly Spangler

    Bring It On

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 31, 2011

    There is nothing in the world like the smell of freshly-turned…

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  • Holly Spangler

    4-H Changes Lives? Communities?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 28, 2011

    I've been working on a speech for a group of 4-H volunteers, and in the course of my research I came across a fascinating little study. Did you know research has actually confirmed that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H? Now this won't come as rocket science to many of us in agriculture - we've long known the benefits of 4-H – but it is kinda nice to see it confirmed by a scientific study. The…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Our First Female Master

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 24, 2011

    This week, Linnea Kooistra became the first woman to be named a Master Farmer in the award's 86-year history. Wow. (We have a children's book at our house called "Lily's Purple Plastic Purse." One of my most favorite lines from it: "Wow. And that was just about all he could say about that. Wow." I think it totally applies here.) I handled the awards portion of our banquet and I warned Linnea ahead of time that I wasn't sure I would be able to introduce her without getting choked up…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Character and Destiny

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 22, 2011

    Borrowed from the blog of my friend, Anne. And it's on my mind today as we prepare to celebrate our Master Farmers today. Because when I think of people who watch these kinds of things, I always think of Master Farmers.  Watch your thoughts because they become your words. Watch your words for they become your actions. Watch your actions because they become your habits. Watch your habits because they become your character. Watch your character for it becomes your…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Don and Dorothy's Excellent Adventure

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 18, 2011

    This is Dorothy. She went to town last week. But she came home! (sorry, salebarn joke) Dorothy belongs to Jenna. This is Don. Don belongs to Nathan. He went to town, too. But he came home! Don and Dorothy, though new to the farm, made their debut at our kids' elementary school last week. Nathan's kindergarten teacher got the ball rolling, asking if we could bring them to school for all the kids to see. Mrs. Sims, you see, loves stuff like this. In a few more weeks, she'll…

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  • Holly Spangler

    There's Colostrum in the Fridge

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 13, 2011

    I went away this weekend, to the Hearts at Home conference in Bloomington and a quick overnight with a dear friend I've known since kindergarten. Which is to say, we stayed up far too late talking for two women in their mid-30s who needed to get up and function with society the next morning. But that's OK. Somehow, we still have topics to discuss that we haven't already thoroughly covered in the past 30 years. And can I just tell you how nice it was to sleep in a bed I didn't have to…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Do You Like Your Job?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 9, 2011

    "It seems like you like your job? Like you're really passionate about it?" These were two questions asked of me by one very sweet young woman last week at the second annual Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference. And there's really only one answer: absolutely, unequivocally, yes. I have been blessed with an amazing career, and have been so fortunate to find a field and a job where I can combine the skills God gave me with a true passion for agriculture. The whole thing…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Eagles, 24/7

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 7, 2011

    After I posted last week about the eagle in our front yard, Randy and Sharon Parks shared a link to a 24/7 live streaming eagle cam. Check it out here. (Note: there's a 30 second commercial before you get to the eagles.)   My daughter has accused her grandma of being borderline obsessed with these eagles ("Grandma's watchin' the eagles again.") but the whole thing really is fascinating. It's the brainchild of the Raptor Resource Project, which has directed a camera at an eagle nest…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Soaring on Wings

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 4, 2011

    Earlier this week, John ran in the house and told me to grab my camera: there was an eagle in the field just next to the house. I did and we all huddled at the window to watch. He was 150 yards away or so. Or maybe 50? Or maybe 250? I'm not so good with estimating distance. He was a ways out there. Far enough that my 200 mm zoom lens really didn't pick him up all that well. Still, he was huge. We've seen more and more eagles around this part of western Illinois the past few years. They're…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Calving Tricks, Courtesy of our Readers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 2, 2011

    So I was feeling a little sheepish about yesterday's blog post. I didn't mean to come off as a whiner, especially when my friend, Jennifer, pointed out that her family once calved out 350 heifers one spring. Dude. 'Cause we're not even remotely operating on that scale, and whining about being up three times in a week to pull calves rings a little hollow in comparison. However, that little blog post brought in a wealth of suggestions. Like from cattleman Joe Webel, who suggested night…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Calves. 2 a.m. Colostrum. Boo.

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 1, 2011

    So it’s 3:30 in the morning, and I’m sitting here in my kitchen heating water to defrost a bag of frozen colostrum, with one eye on the cow cam. John’s in the barn trying to convince the heifer that just calved that she should care whether her calf lives or dies, which she doesn’t seem so much into right now. And mostly, I have just one question: why do the heifers on this operation think they need to pop out a calf in the middle of the night? And by “pop…

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