#30for30 Recap

So here I am-to the end of the 2 years I gave myself to complete my #30for30 project. And I’m not quite done. 🤔 but regardless, I press on towards the mark.

This project has been more fun and more involved than I thought possible. When I read back over my list-so many good memories! Click the links for the original post. Without further ado:

1. The Mini Garden Mania that began that day remains strong. My sisters have gotten into creating our own clay accessories and my love for these miniature scenes continues.

2. Our family trip to the Grand Canyon/ Colorado was quite memorable. Helping my mom cross this off her bucket list felt really good.

3. The Plunge from the snow capped mtn runoff into the Hot Springs in Pagosa Springs was quite noteworthy. I had no idea that I’d get the opportunity in March, ’16 and again in June ’17

4. Celebrating my cousin at the Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast was the perfect excuse to visit a local B&B. I think about it everything I go past. What a beautiful place.

5. I’m so glad we survived the Color Run. This project really stretched me. I wish I could say that I learned to love running and I feel great and have ran ever since. But that is not the case… moving on 🙈

6. And the Poultry Project did not eliminate the fear of poultry. The chickens moved on to new owners and the ones who did not succumb to a ferocious hawk are living happily.

7. Another highlight was the reason to ” Cross the Atlantic” with my dear friends Rachel and Jenny.

8. And we rode a Ferris Wheel aka the London Eye. I enjoyed the “top of the world” feeling even though I’m not a huge fan of heights. And Yay, I didn’t die!

9. Spelunking was a fail. We wandered up and down Round Hill in the poison ivy and pouring rain and never even found the mouth of the cave. I guess I can be thankful that we were outside the cave wandering instead of inside the cave wandering. But this one remains incomplete.

10. Making my own piece of Pottery was another learning experience. I wonder if I’d be more efficient since Em has taught me to sculpt things out of model clay. Somehow I doubt it, but a girl can dream right?

11. Swimming in the Ocean in the full moon was awesome. The air was warm and the water was warm and I felt like I could just swim the path of the moonlight And eventually arrive at the moon. But I resisted that urge. Otherwise this would be the end of this project.

12. The details for watching the Sight and Sound show Samson was another unexpected blessing. Friends randomly invited me along-unaware that it was on my list. Bless y’all ☺️

13. Running a Call with Emily was another experience I treasure. This is another type of running that I’m afraid I’m not cut out for 🙈

14. Writing a book got more exotic as the year went on. I love Farmer Stan and his antics, but the actual involvement with Widow Hazel‘s story was fascinating to watch come together. I’m also thoroughly enjoying the conversations that are transpiring because of this project.

15. And the Epic fail: Watching a Launch I must admit, I’ve been seeing different updates from Wallops Island,but somehow, I just don’t have the courage to pursue this one again…

16. Another fun cousin day was Basket Weaving. As I’m working through my list of experiences I’m seeing that somehow I’m involving a lot of the same people with my projects here… thanks for being such good sports! Luv y’all 😍

17. Duck hunting is another one that is only partway completed. Kerry and Em took me hunting one afternoon, and I got my VA license, and KJ got a Canadian Goose. But sometime I want the complete face paint, bird dog experience.

18. Ringing the Salvation Army Bell is something I’m really excited to do again this year! We also included a version of a 19. Random Act of Kindness by giving out certificates for soft pretzels. What a fun evening.

20. Visiting 3 oceans in 1 month at various spots on the globe was another challenge. Really everything about the trip to the water in Cambodia was surreal. Especially the hitchhiking part. But we made it to our destination and the list continues:)

21. I remember studying about the Southern Cross in 9th grade Earth Science. This Constellation is visible from the Southern Hemisphere. So when I learned that you could see it from Nicaragua, it became high on the list. Bless Deborah for researching it out for me. I will always remember stopping out in the middle of nowhere with such a fun group of friends and gazing at God’s handiwork.

22. Bussing thru Central America was another outstanding experience. We’d planned it for almost 2 years and I’d kinda given up hope that it would actually happen. In the end we almost waited too long, because our bodyguard got all distracted and is preparing to become a married man… So excited for you, Mervin! And after all the years we’ve traveled together-what a grand finale!

23. The Silo Singing was a special evening of worship. I’m so blessed by friends who’ve came alongside my list and helped make things-like this evening become reality. 💞

24. The main reason that this is the first time I’ve published my list is that I wanted to be able to change it. Exotic things like the Eclipse were not in the rough draft. What a neat experience! I’m crossing my fingers that I will be present for the 2024 Eclipse. But hopefully we will alter our travel plans a bit from what this itinerary was. Sitting in traffic for hours is a downside.

25. Travel by train. Maybe because this was the most recent adventure and it’s still fresh on my mind-but it was such an incredible experience! More details here

To be continued:

26. Piece a quilt- this project is well underway- stay tuned!

27. Jess’s Quick Lunch- can you believe I’ve never eaten a Jess’s hot dog? I need to grab lunch locally someday soon 🙂

28. Prison Ministry- Application is in for January’s Renew Hope Program with WeCare.

29. Knitting- Wilda has sweetly agreed to teach me to knit- winter project coming up 🙂

30. “Pick your own Sunflowers” Seeds are purchased and waiting for me to have the time to instigate this program. Somehow last summer I ran out of time- hopefully next year will be better!

And that’s all folks. Somebody asked what I’m going to do after this series of projests are completed. I don’t know- maybe I’ll get over my “projectivity” (Apparently Em hopes so- lol)

Or maybe some other idea will present itself. Time will tell. But either way-

May the adventures continue,


John Deere and Germany

I remember counting up the sides in second grade. We were almost all farm kids, except for Val who’s dad owned a little Ford tractor- which immediately put her on the opposing team, and Alla who chose a side based on color preference. But, even with such faulty reasoning, the John Deere team still had the lead, and I was an unwavering supporter.

A lot has happened since second grade, I hope I’ve grown a bit in my reasonings. I still find myself in an occasional good natured debate, the lines aren’t always so clear anymore. Regardless, I remain an unwavering supporter.

A week with John Deere in Germany has done nothing to hinder that support.

I still can’t believe I got in on the adventure. One sunny day in September, Father came on the radio and I heard about two words “Jeff” and “Germany” and I was on board. Every fall, John Deere hosts fly-ins for their Forage Harvester customers, and so we went.

Our group was small and delightful. We represented a handful of states and our leadership team did an unbelievable job at making sure we were well cared for.

We traveled by train most of the time- which was a big thing for me since I’ve never traveled by train (and incidentally train travel was #25 of the  #30for30 project.) The train glided along at a high of 152 mph and we rode in comfort after Nick (one of the JD guys) spent 10 minutes evicting locals from our reserved seats. The only stress point was that the train occasionally came in backward from what it was supposed to be, and our group of 25 plus luggage would wind our way over hill and dale, through a number of coach cars, past the dining car, and around until we found our reserved section. But it was a very positive experience.

Can you tell that we were running over 100 mph when I snapped this pic?

Other highlights from the week included:

-Agritechnica Read about that here

-Exotic, lengthy dinners. Somethings were amazing and others 😬 Well… 😏 The breads were so delicious!

But some of the meat platters- like sausage that is mildly raw, and blood sausage-hmmm. 🙈 The jar of mushed chicken liver is what almost did me in. To add insult to injury- I thought I’d get rid of the taste/texture by sampling the garnish of parmesan cheese, only to discover that it was horseradish. 🤨Regardless the food was really a fun culture experience!

The three versions of trout were also interesting. I must say that I’m not particularly fond of the trout mousse.

The “Tarte Flambee” experience was quite memorable. Envision really thin crust with a wide variety of toppings to choose from, baked in a wood fired oven. I made the mistake of calling them pizzas. 🙊 Ooops. The typical group eats 2 Tarte Flambees/person. Not sure if I held up my end of the deal or not, but I tried.

-Touring multiple John Deere plants and learning what all goes into creating a piece of equipment that we appreciate so much. Definately it was an honor to spend part of the afternoon with several of the engineers of the machine discussing ways to improve, answering whatever questions we had, strengthening relationships between the farmers and the JD Team-it was really personable and so much fun.

-Staying in a very neat old hotel- The Landschloss Fasenerie was a rambling old motel that had a charm all its own.

-Experiencing lots of typical European weather…

But still seeing some sunshine!

– And spending a leisure morning in Mannheim before our afternoon flight. We found a beautiful old church from the 1730s,

And watching the activity on the Rhine River.

But the best part was being with them

Danke /Thank you, to our friends at John Deere, for giving us such a wonderful experience. I’m not sure there is any way to improve on our adventure. I’m so thankful to have you on the team.

Blessings to you,


The World Wide Farming Community

I stood on the overlook and surveyed the zoo below me. A buzz of uncounted foreign languages filled the air. People rushed from machine to machine exclaiming, discussing, learning. Their attire sported as much variety as the languages they spoke and the countries they represented- men in sports coats and ties, men in the traditional German dress- brown or sage green pants that came to the knees and wide suspenders, men whose colorful turbans spoke loudly of their culture.

For one brief moment, I felt like a genuine country bumpkin as I watched the crowd, but just as quickly, reason presented me with a fact: I was a country bumpkin in the middle of country bumpkins.

This past week, I was honored to be included in a group of farmers from the USA who flew to Germany with John Deere. We spent 2 days at the World’s largest week long Farm Show, Agritechnica, which boasts of approx 450,000 visitors from all over the world. I was totally blown away by the event- 26 exhibit halls with machinery from all over the world. I learned so much- What do you know about sugar beet harvest, and the machine that digs them out of the ground and the machine that carefully gathers up the piles of beets at the end of the field and transfers them onto trucks heading for the market?

Sugar beet equipment- life and toy size

Sugar Beets waiting to be gathered out of the field

How many varieties of seed potatoes are you familiar with?

And did you know that there are tractor companies all over the world? Mother mused “If our school children only knew, they sure could argue about more than John Deere vs Ford or Fendt.”

There was one thought that stood out to me at the farm show, and it was reiterated as the week went on: It’s easy to understand agriculture on our farm’s level. My dad spends countless hours imparting these truths ☺️ “This is what works for our operation. These are the seeds that we feel like will make the most yield, this market is the most profitable, these are the sprays that provide us with the highest quality product.”

But for one brief moment- I felt like my eyes were opened to ag progress on a worldwide scale. Here were people from all lands who-for generations- knew all about the challenges of our profession. Just like my family spending day after day, year after year embracing the task at hand- the unpredictable weather, the disappointments of unstable markets. They understand the commitments of the task- that sometimes long hours are required, and social gatherings skipped altogether. They understand that feeling of standing at the end of the field and watching a much need rain move in across the thirsty crop. There are so many variables in the agriculture community, but our differences pale in comparison to what we have in common.

As I watched the worldwide farming community coming together to learn and make decisions for next years crop, I couldn’t help but feel excited. We each play an important part. Together, as farmers around the globe cultivate their portion of this beautiful land- we will feed the world.

And honestly, after trudging countless miles exploring the assorted variety of the world’s agriculture, my feet were dead. But my heart was full.

I am so thankful that God gives us the privilege of farming this beautiful land and watching the miracle of each new crop take place. And with each crop- comes the ingredients for countless meals for our neighbors around the world .

I hope I never take it for granted.


P.S Another thing to never take for granted: Fresh Nutella/Banana Crepes from the mini crepe truck. Oh My. 😍

The Arrival of Water in Dry River

Click Click Crunch Crunch

Click Click Crunch Crunch

We picked our way carefully down the trail, my darling sister, crutches in tow, and I. We took our time-stopping to watch the clouds float past. We exclaimed over the colorful leaves and noticed the green moss growing on an old stump. We propelled-carefully-up a bank that was steep enough to give Mother a heart attack (had she been on hand to witnessed the feat). And we set up camp.

Aunt Kathy had called the night before and sounded the alarm that “the river’s coming down”.

All of my life I’ve lived within 5 miles of Dry River. Boasting of “containing the greatest fall per foot east of the Mississippi.” (Any idea what that scientific term is?) The river has provided countless hours of entertainment-learning to skip rocks, swimming, catching minnows… When my dad was much younger and more confident in his swimming ability (or less aware that he couldn’t swim) he went tubing with some friends down Dry River during flood stage. *editors note: not advised

But the most unique feature of this river is that it lives up to its name and goes completely dry.

The locals tell me how the control dams up in the mountains have changed the ways of the river, and the wall of water that races downward among the rocks, rushing to join its comrades and head for the sea.

But regardless, though subdued, it still happen. And after the weekend rain, the waters arrived again.

We met it Monday night pushing a wall of brown leaves ahead of it. Seeping along filling in all the fishing holes and crevices as it came. But it was way up stream from where Emily could watch it.

Deborah reported that it crossed the slab at 11:00 that evening and was “amazing” but some of us have a self inflicted 10:30 curfew. 🙈

Tuesday evening was Attempt Two. After Em got settled, I hiked up to meet it and timed it as moving forward approx a foot per 30 seconds.

I returned to report to Em and we sat on lawn chairs and watched a lively game of squirrel tag on the far shore. We enjoyed the music of Muddy Creek beside us and imagined how neat it would be to watch the two river collide. And although we had all evening, the sun sank below the ridge before the river made its way past Em’s lawn chair. 😔

So we will try again.

As I witnessed the transformation of the riverbed-I was enamored. The initial water slipped in silently, under the river rocks, changing them from dry and dusty to dark rich color. And soon swallowing each rock completely. Within moments that dry riverbed was alive with singing as the water rushed along.

I couldn’t help but compare this to tendencies I admire in people dear to me. 💞

Isaiah 44:3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;’

Praise to the Creator who can take the dry riverbed of our lives filled with boulders of pain and crevices of disappointments and send water of grace to create the most beautiful song..

May my life be filled with this!