Back-to-School

AUGUST.

The last full month of summer. It’s also the back-to-school month. It may be met with dread or excitement. Let’s work and pray for excitement. Let’s put our energy into making this an amazing school year. For everyone.

Our school systems are faced with the monumental task of not only educating our children, but also keeping them safe, feeding them, emotionally supporting them, and providing them with extracurricular activities – all on limited budgets. Meager budgets compared to many businesses.

Personally, this August, I choose to pray for and encourage:

The custodians – They have been working this summer to make needed improvements that can’t be done during the school year. They are the people left to pick up the pieces at the end of the school day, after night time and weekend events, and make the school a brighter place for all who walk through the doors tomorrow.

The bus drivers – They must follow the rules of the road, assess how much longer to wait for riders &/or their pick-up people, navigate poorly maintained roads in inclement weather, while also having their backs to their passengers that may or may not be respectful and causing all kinds of distractions.

The cross walk guards – Early in the morning, I see them in every kind of weather as I sit in my comfortable truck with the a/c or heat on. They smile and wave, helping families get started on their day or helping them move toward the after-school activities, while keeping an eye out for distracted drivers and other hazards.

The paraprofessionals and support staff – They observe recesses and hallways, provide encouragement and assistance to the students and teachers, and help substitute teachers navigate the day’s plans. They are often the (super) glue that invisibly fills the cracks.

The office assistants – The phone calls and messages start before your coffee has kicked in. Somehow you manage to learn where administrators, staff, and students are supposed to be at any given hour of the day. You probably know which kid goes where after school. You know who is sick or injured, who needs a kind word or band-aid to make it better, and also who just needs a kick in the butt firm word or two. Your ability to navigate the wide variety of parents from nearly non-existents to hovering helicopters is a skill obtained through countless interactions. With paraprofessionals and support staff being the glue, you are the stainless steel reinforcements.

The lunch ladies – you know exactly what kids (and teachers) have had a good morning. You know who needs a meal because they aren’t getting it at home, and who also needs your smile and encouragement just as much. You brighten and sweeten everyone’s day better than any cookie!

The teachers – The students enter your room with nervous anticipation. You may very well become the happiest, most stable part of their day. Your attitude will affect them. You are tasked with not only educating the wide range of abilities in your class, but you must also be on the lookout for each student’s social, emotional, and physical needs. You will spend your own money to provide fun, educational experiences for all, and the basic necessities for some. I know you don’t have an expense account, which is why you appreciate a Walmart or Amazon gift card with more gusto than a corporate executive appreciates their expense account.

The coaches and extracurricular advisors – The time and energy you put into this role is immeasurable. It often comes before your own family at times. You are tasked with finding each student’s strengths and weaknesses and the best way to improve on both. You also get to listen to the coaches in the stands. Everyone has an opinion, which they feel should be voiced. Loudly and on social media. Many parents and people in the community have the belief that the sport/season/record is actually more important than the education. The spectators are allowed to express their emotions and opinions. You are expected to always be positive. I know how you agonize over every play; the way it was supposed to go and the way it actually went. I know you get tired, but still show up with a smile the next morning for your students even though you couldn’t sleep the night before.

The administrators – You have walked in the shoes of your students and employees. You have to make decisions based upon many factors (of which, the public probably knows little to nothing about). You are up well before dawn, making weather-related and other decisions, while also fielding late night calls. Is it safer for students to be out in the elements or possibly facing no breakfast/lunch and child care? What does your board need from you? Your teachers and staff? Is everyone, everyone, prepared for an emergency? What emergency? Every possible emergency, of course.

The board – Serving your school and community, while often receiving a lot of negative feedback as your pay. You know what needs to be done, what should be done, what would be nice to do. You also know the financial bottom line. The regulations and rules. You are questioned, yet bound to not release certain details. Those details that would often quiet the complainers, but you just can’t go there. This isn’t your livelihood, but you care enough to get involved.

Our schools are not failing our kids. They are faced with navigating pandemics and scenarios no one could have imagined. Our schools are filled with human beings that have lives, personal challenges, hopes, and dreams.

If you wonder why I care, since my children are raised, it’s because all four of my husband’s and my kids are employed in the educational field. It’s because I have a granddaughter that is a future student and current Rams’ fan! It’s because communities without schools fail to thrive. It’s because I see the amount of revenue schools and their extracurricular events bring to our local businesses. It’s because these kids are our next leaders, our future.

I challenge everyone to be kind, be positive, be encouraging, to think before you speak. (Boy, do I sometimes struggle with that one! But, I pray to keep improving.)

Good luck to school employees, students, and parents. Rise above the nay-sayers. Make this year a great one!

Posted in Friends and Family, Positive Thinking, Small town life | Tagged | Leave a comment

On to spraying

After I got home from work, Clint pulled in to mix another load of pre-emergent spray. I rode along so we could catch up on the day’s news and activities.

All the corn and soybeans have been planted! Corn is coming up great! You can see it in the field in the background.

Spraying requires an applicator’s license. Adherence to the rules and regulations is required. Wind speed and time of day must be documented.

As you can see from the screens and monitors in the cab, there is a reason it is called precision agriculture. I am fascinated by it all!

Now, I will say good night with this photo of last night’s sunset.

Posted in #plant2022, Farming | Tagged | Leave a comment

Glimpses

Just some random shots of glimpses into our days.

New Olympic event – synchronized disking!
The “neigh”bors were watching! I love when we are at this field, so I can also watch them!
Tuesday evening was beautiful for planting.
My farmer.
Foggy Thursday sunrise.

Wishing you a happy day.

Posted in #plant2022, Farming | 2 Comments

Acre by Acre

Hawk or eagle?! The bird flew when I stopped to snap the pic. I think I see a white head, though!

Loading the planter tank from the tender wagon:

A moment’s solitude for the shuttle-driver and food-truck runner:

A moment’s break in the clouds:

#Plant2022 marches on, acre by acre!

Posted in #plant2022, Farming | Leave a comment

Before sunup to after sundown.

Planting soybeans began today.

On my way home this evening from errand run #382, I could see a rain cloud dropping a delivery. My dad would have said, “Someone is getting a shower.”

This someone also needs to get a shower! I’m grubby, to be polite about it.

It’s a gorgeous evening though. The patio, full moon, and my buddies.

We are missing our farmer, tho.

Someone doesn’t like those distant thunder rumbles.

The clouds are about to overtake the moon.

Good night moon. Good night all.

Posted in #plant2022, Country Living, Farming | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Friday, May 13

After work today, I was able to bring my farmer some caffeine and a cold treat. I felt he needed it since he has gotten a whopping total of 5 hours sleep in the past 62 (and still counting) hours. My treat was taking time to ride with him.

I loved that I was able to ride for the last hour of planting my mom’s corn.

After finishing Mom’s corn, I gave him a ride home so he could load up to start the next batch of spraying. I am hoping he is able to finish while it is still technically today!

Cheers to the hard-working farmers & their families.

I’m wishing you all a good night’s sleep.

Posted in #plant2022, Farming | Tagged | Leave a comment

Crazy Days (and nights)

Farming fatigue – it’s on!

April was cold, windy, rainy, and not conducive to farming.

May has blasted to record and near-record highs in Illinois. About 90 degrees this week.

Axel and Nacho, heading to work!

Can you see the humid haze in the pic below, taken about 6 am?

Yet, it is also exciting.

Imagine how excited this shed cat was when he finally crawled out from his hidey hole on the tractor to take a look! My farmer had been out on the tractor for about an hour and a half, when he saw this cat outside the tractor door! Note: The cat made it home safely and has been grounded from future joy rides.

Tailgate meetings are also important.

Sorry it is blurry. My camera lens steamed over when I brought it outside!

Hopefully, my farmer is home earlier tonight (or tomorrow morning?) than he was last night (this morning?). Going to bed at 2:30 am is for the young kids that don’t have to get up at 4:30 am!

Prayers for all the farmers and their families!

Posted in #plant2022, Farming | Tagged | Leave a comment

Aerial Crop Sprayers are CRAZY (but fun to watch!)

While looking for some pictures on an SD card, I found a bunch of pics I took early one summer Sunday morning in July. I meant to post them in a blog, but completely forgot, as life gets busy. Or as I just tend to get distracted. Whichever it is.

Hubby and I were drinking our coffee outside and heard the unmistakable sound of an aerial tractor crop sprayer. No matter that we both have watched these since we were kids, we are still fascinated every. single. time!!

So, although we awoke this April Fool’s day to frozen grass and skiff of snowy sleet on the ground, let’s “watch” a crazily-talented aeronautical acrobat on a hazy, humid July morning!

Whew! What a show it was!

My farmer is busy getting ready for spring planting. I hope you follow along for the ride.

Happy April!

Posted in Country Living, Farming | Tagged , | 1 Comment

What the smoke?!

Although it may look like farmers have recently turned into pyromaniacs, rest assured it is not without reason!

Here comes spring field maintenance.

With a recent spurt of gorgeous spring weather, many farmers are burning ditches, field debris, brush piles, and CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) ground.

These burn-offs are done before the main wildlife nesting/brood-rearing season that is quickly approaching. Burn-offs help establish a strong, healthy ground cover by eliminating noxious weeds. I will try to remember to post a follow-up picture when the new growth begins so you can see the lush, green habitat come to life.

Trust me, farmers’ wives are reminding them to be careful!

Prescribed burn of CRP ground.
Posted in Country Living | Tagged | 2 Comments

#harvest2021

It has begun!

Last year, I challenged myself to a post a day during harvest because it is such an amazing time of year. The changes in our rural, central Illinois landscape and weather in less than two months is somewhat astonishing. At least to me, it is.

Although I am not committing to a post a day, I will commit to documenting this year’s harvest via this blog. You are welcome to come along for the ride.

To set the stage, here is a scene from our front yard on August 30, 2021.

Fast forward two weeks and this is the field just west of the photo above, taken at dawn:

I hope you enjoy riding along with us!

Posted in Country Living, Farm Wife, Farming | Tagged | 2 Comments