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From the monthly archives:

May, 2012

We Appreciate All Teachers

We Highlight “ALL” Teachers This Month May is here! It’s a month I’ve always loved as the weather turns warm, the planting season is upon us, and many celebrations occur including May Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day. I know as children we don’t always appreciate our teachers, but during the week of May 7th, we all celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. What teachers stand out in your mind from the past? One of my most favorite teachers was Miss Spark. I still remember her from 1st grade as if it was yesterday. She was patient, kind, smart and so beautiful (as I recall). Then, flash forward many years and there was Dr. R., my Geography Professor. Oh how I remember him. For those of you who don’t know, I am “directionally challenged” so having my final exam in Geography requiring you to name hundreds of random places on a world map was not my thing. Not one of my more favorite teacher memories. Most of us can remember many of our teacher’s names and recall stories about them and ...

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Ryan Getting Back to Her Roots.

Countryside, Ill.- Growing up basically ‘out in the middle of nowhere’ has shaped Justine Ryan into the young and independent person she is today. She feels being a farmer’s daughter has its perks, especially when mediating her future. After leaving the rural community of, Wyoming, Illinois, Ryan is planning on getting back to her roots with the help of Cook County Farm Bureau. Growing up she was surrounded by agriculture on a 4800 acre farm about 20 miles north-west of Peoria, Ill. In Wyoming she was introduced to agriculture through her high school education and for several years was an active member of 4-H. Her brothers chose FFA, however, Ryan became a confident leader through Student Council and held a state office. Never letting anything hold her back after high school, Ryan left for Eastern Illinois University. Today Ryan is a determined junior with a good head on her shoulders. Ryan decided to attend EIU because of its size. She quickly fell in love with the Department of Communication Studie ...

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Life Lessons - Part 3

May 2012 In recent months, I have been writing about various installments of the life lessons I've experienced on the farm. These Life Lessons now help guide my life, influence my decisions, affect my thinking, and subtly control my behavior. These stories also frequently are used as examples when I'm trying to influence my children's behavior and choices (ineffectively but I keep trying). These stories have also served to be fun memories now, although at the time when they occurred, they typically were more likely negative in nature. Thinking about these lessons has been enjoyable to me, bringing a smile to my face on a number of occasions and I hope they will do so for you as well. Lesson six: Let wild cats stay wild! This little lesson is dedicated to my “little” brother, John! John is three years my junior and while growing up, was my partner in crime, confidant, cohort and sometimes my conscience. Consequently, we did nearly everything together growing up including working, playing, dr ...

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Did you know th...

Did you know that 80% of strokes are preventable? In the US, strokes are the 3rd leading cause of death. You’re probably asking yourself…am I at risk? Well, if you have 2 or more of the conditions listed below, unfortunately you are at risk. Factors such as age and smoking can double your chances of stroke, PAD, and other conditions. If you have two or more of the risk factors listed below, we recommend you participate in the screenings. Here are a few of the common risk factors for stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease, and osteoporosis: • Over 40 yrs. old • More than 20 lbs. overweight • Family history • High cholesterol • Cigarette smoking (past and current) • Diabetes • High blood pressure • Inactive lifestyle • Heart disease • TIAs (minor strokes) • History of broken bones • Women close to or in menopause On Tuesday, May 15th and Wednesday, May 16th CCFB is hosting stroke detection screenings for members to detect your risk for stroke in less than 10 minutes. Call 1-877 ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

A couple of weekends ago, my husband hosted a tour group at his farm. As his dad was walking the group of about 50 through the history of our third generation dairy farm, I leaned over to my husband to say “Steve needs to keep the natural disasters on the down low.” (Yes, I said natural disasters.) Shortly after my husband and I announced our engagement, a fire consumed our 120-cow stanchion milking barn immediately prior to the evening milk shift. Along with our friends and family, we relocated our entire dairy herd to an empty farm several miles down the road. As ashes settled and embers cooled, we opted to continue our family’s legacy with some minor changes. We added a parallel-double-eight milking parlor and a 150-cow barn with the best technology we could afford at the time. With more time came more cows. And with more cows came wrinkles and more buildings until one hot evening in 2005. As the summer drought continued to crispy-fy lawns, mine included, one tractor backfire started a stack of ha ...

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