The Machine Shed Gardening Book provides many helpful tips about growing a garden.  Growing up in town, we had a garden big enough to provide some fresh vegetables for a few meals.  It was more of my dad’s project providing him some outside time after working in the factory than anything else.  We had enough tomatoes for BLT’s , potatoes, and green beans.  THEN, I married a farmer who grew up with a garden that provided enough to can!  In fact, my first visit to the farm – his mother and sister were canning carrots(which at that time I did not care for cooked carrots) – so guess what was for dinner that day???   Well, I began gardening too and learning the art of canning/preserving.  I find it a bit amusing today with the “new” movement in gardening – as my mother -in-law has been gardening for over 60+ years.  She is one of the people who could probably give much more advice on gardening than I will ever be able to .  Another person who is very knowledgeable and wise when it comes to gardening is Jacob.  For the last few years he has planned, purchased, and planted our vegetable garden with his sister’s assistance.  He likes to have help with weeding!!!  NOT FUN!  I just have to remind myself that it DOES TASTE GOOD IN THE WINTER and of course fresh from the garden.  BLT season simplifies meal planning and we can always do something with zucchini.

Essential advice for the gardener: grow peas of mind, lettuce be thankful, squash selfishness, turnip to help thy neighbor, and always make thyme for loved ones. ~Author Unknown

Spring Produce

Spring Produce

Many schools across the country are adopting the new trend of growing a school garden.  In addition to teaching  gardening skills using the hands on approach,  gardening also provides the opportunity to teach other skills.  For example,  a garden requires care, patience, responsibility, and guidance.  Following are a few links to gardening curriculum that I have seen used  in the classroom as well as with 4-H programs.

The Iowa State Publications site also provides many helpful resources and information about gardening.

Iowa State University Extension Publications

Growing in the Garden

Growing in the Garden Curriculum for K-3.

Where We Live

Where We Live curriculum for grades 4 -6.

Christian Gardening                                                                                                                                                  The Christian Kids’ Gardening Guide

Jacob Grandpa in garden

Jacob’s love for gardening began at an early age as the helped Grandpa B. in the garden.

Jacob with the champion jumbo zucchini at the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

Little Emily Garden

Emily with her first vegetable exhibits at the county fair.

Emily Cabbage Kristen

Waiting for the FFA Parade of Champions at the 2013 Iowa State Fair


One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

What I really can’t wait to do is PLANT FLOWERS!!  I have a huge stack of magazines with sticky notes and I am planning to make my shopping list this week!!  It is TIME to get serious about that!

Have fun gardening!!


A Day of Graduations

J & E Graduation


Family Grad

IMG_4120 (2)


On Saturday, May 17, we had the opportunity to attend not only one, but two graduations! Saturday afternoon @ 2:00 p.m. our son, Jacob Lee, graduated with a double major in Business Management and Accounting from Central College in Pella.  This summer he will be working for GrowMark/FS in their seed department.  In addition, he will be assisting us on the farm.  Jacob enjoys fieldwork, but he will do about anything else that needs done including grinding feed, feeding calves, hauling manure, and loading pigs; however, he doesn’t do much power washing.  Emily has way more hours in that department! Jacob has always loved numbers which is a huge part of farming today. Jacob and Emily plan to continue their sweet corn business (J and E’s Sweet Corn) this summer too.


On Saturday evening we were  able to attend the high school graduation of our niece, Heather, from Lynnville – Sully.  She will be heading off to ISU with Emily this fall.  The girls are like sisters.

We actually began the festivities of the day with a small celebration dinner in town.  Kevin’s birthday (1/2 century +1) was May 16th.  The last two years it has hit graduation! As last year we had Emily’s high school graduation.


Being gone all day  adds a different dimension to the day.  Thankfully we had eager volunteers – Kevin’s uncle and good friend to haul calves from the dairy and do the afternoon calf feeding.


I would like to share the following story that I had printed off from an e-mail that I received several years ago.


A young man was getting ready to graduate college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.

Curious, but somewhat disappointed the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible. Angrily, he raised his voice at his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house, leaving the holy book.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care things. When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart.

He began to search his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he read those words, a car key dropped from an envelope taped behind the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words…PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?

Congratulations and God’s Blessings to all graduates!




“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  Genesis 8:22

Planter at sunset

A beautiful spring evening!  This was our little boy (who will graduate from Central College today, May 17th) planting corn last week!  Jacob finished planting corn for us on Saturday, May 10th and planted his 4th sequential sweet corn for J & E’s Sweet Corn.  In addition to planting, we have started to get calves in (which means feeding 3 times a day), selling hogs, moving Emily home from college, hosting farm tours, and attending graduation parties.


Snickers Lunch

Please – just one more chip!


Snickers Sleeping

A good idea!



Lunch in the field!

These long days make us all tired.








It has been exciting to host a couple of school groups so far.  We eagerly look forward to two more next week!  Watch for pictures of these events in the next few weeks!









It looks like a beautiful day!  Have a great day!