Saturday, August 23, 2014

Girl In A Country Song | I'm not THAT girl!

I'm a fan of today's country music. It has a bit more pop, more rock and eclectic tones that make you want to sing along. Male country vocalists have taken the spotlight the past few years with most current hits and trendy songs. I think this is about to change.

Check out the video from Maddie & Tae, Girl In A Country Song.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

8 Things Learned from Living "On The Go" for One Week

In my current role, I am constantly traveling. I am either meeting up with people, attending events, riding along with coworkers or visiting farmers/growers independently. This past week, I primarily visited growers on my own.

I believe one of the best ways I, and many others, learn is by doing. Don't just show me what that means. Teach me; allow me to try it and execute it myself. I retain that information or learn the task much quicker. It has been trying and invigorating, with highs and lows. Nonetheless, it is preparing me for a territory of my own in a few months.
8 things learned from living on the go for one week
Reflecting on this past week, I have pinpointed eight valuable things learned from living "on the go" for one week. 

1. Plan your schedule ahead of time.
Making appointments with farmers can be difficult. This is their busy time of year. I plan my schedule as much as possible to save on wasted drive time and by meeting with people who are in close proximity on the same day or two. My Outlook calendar has become my best friend by keeping me organized with reminders and addresses for appointments.

2. When your schedule changes, be adaptable.
Since people are very busy, things come up. Schedules change, technology issues occur and not everything goes as planned. I have learned to adapt. Sometimes spending an extra hour at a grower's house trying to resolve an issue with their computer builds an even stronger relationship, no matter how frustrated you might feel when things aren't going smoothly.

3. Never solely rely on a GPS.
Moving from Ohio to Indiana, I figured I would be fine navigating this new state. Surprise! I have gotten lost more times than I can count, even with the use of a GPS. Back country roads and rural landmarks can be more beneficial in finding my way than inputing an address into a computer. Always have a backup way to find your location, whether it is a paper map or by calling the grower and asking for directions.

4. Pack snacks and water to go.
I have been attempting a healthier lifestyle by eating less processed and "fast" foods. Unfortunately, that is even more challenging when staying in hotels and not having fresh groceries. Now, I always carry at least 2 bottles of water with me and pack some granola bars, fresh fruit and veggies in a cooler for a few days. You don't always have to get a meal from a restaurant. Stop at a grocery store for a package of hummus and vegetables, fresh fruit or even a pre-made sandwich. The cost of those foods is comparable, if not less, than purchasing a meal from McDonald's or Wendy's.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm tired of fighting... I give up.

Forward: This post is hypothetical and meant to provoke thoughts and solutions. Please do share thoughts via the comment section below.

The past few days, I have had a headache. My mom always says I get stressed out too easily and that causes them. Well, this time, I agree.

Image courtesy of Getty Images
You may have heard on the news about the toxic algae levels in Lake Erie that caused Toledo, Ohio to issue a ban on drinking tap water (article by The Weather Channel). This is devastating. Not only did this impact my family, who is only 20 miles from Toledo city limits, but it created struggle for 400,000 city residents.

The water looks disgusting. I'm sure it can't taste any better either. Growing up, my parents always expressed how dirty the lake was and that some other local water sources like the Maumee River weren't much better. I never had to worry because we had a well for water--until a few years ago. We joined "the general population" with city water. Going to college and now living in Fort Wayne, Ind., it never phased me that drinking tap water could be harmful. However, I have found there is something more threatening than the risk of poisoned water.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's #FairFriday | 7 characteristics taught at county fairs

Urban and rural dwellers alike agree that a fun summer event is a local county fair. The aromas of greasy fries, the echoing voices of announcers across the grounds and the ceaseless smiles seen on fairgoer faces combine for a vibrant environment. Growing up, I lived for those summers. Through 4-H, FFA and Junior Fairboard, I kept busy preparing for that one week of the year. Reflecting on this week of the Wood County Fair, it has been four years since I was prepping animals in the barns, blending milkshakes and riding around in the opening parade. If there is a valuable lesson to be learned, attending and participating in county fairs build character. Here are seven characteristics built at county fairs.

1. Family pride.
I began showing cattle at age 8. To do this, I needed lots of help from my parents and family to ensure not only my safety, but the safety of my calves. Show persons build relationships not just with their supporters before the show ring, but create stronger bonds with our family members. Weihl Farms has always raised Shorthorns and being proud of our culture has developed through exhibiting animals at the fair. Children and young adults who don't raise their own, but purchase livestock from other breeders, feel this same passion and connectedness among family because of the fair. The photo above is my dad and I showing heifers in open class from 2008.

2. Responsibility.
Proper management of animals includes their health. We
don't just wash them, take care of their hair and clip them
to make them look "pretty". It also keeps them healthy.
Taking care of yourself is important. But taking care of another living creature is a responsibility. Feeding, watering, grooming and training animals can seem daunting, but is often rewarding for show persons in 4-H and FFA. Responsibility is a key characteristic you will see in young individuals at county fairs. The students learn the process and often the business and results. Take a look in the FFA projects building. Woodworking projects, crops and produce are also examples of how responsibility plays a role in youth development. Junior Fairboard members also have a large responsibility during fair, ensuring shows run smoothly, exhibitors are taking care of their animals and guests are enjoying the fair.