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Stray Kernels – Responsibility: Opportunity or Burden

Earlier this year, my husband traveled out of state for several days for a family emergency. This complicated my already-shaky morning routine. We usually split the tasks of taking care of two dogs and making sure our kindergartner is ready for the school bus. So the first morning he was ...read more

Green Thumb – Springtime in the Garden

As gardeners, we have been patiently or perhaps not so patiently waiting for April and May and the beginning of the gardening season. We look forward to enjoying some of our old garden favorites but will also be interested in exploring new gardening trends and the new plants for this ...read more

Around the Farm – Planting Patience

Years ago, my mom received a coffee mug as a gift. All the adults hooted and hollered over it like it was the funniest thing ever. On it, it read, “God, grant me patience and I want it right now!” As a kid without a care in the world, I didn’t ...read more

Stray Kernels – Maybe We’ve Got It Too Good

When I was a teenager, my grandmother told me the story of how her brother got hurt on the farm as a boy. I don’t remember the details, but I know it wasn’t an injury that should have been life-threatening. I remember hearing the words “lockjaw” and “tetanus” and that he ...read more

Around the Farm – Multi-Hybrid Planting with Seed Prescriptions

Although the fundamentals to planting have generally stayed the same from when my grandfather farmed to now, a lot of things have changed – or progressed, as technology has. One of the bigger developments in the modern age of farming has been the ability to plant more than one crop ...read more

Ask a Master Gardener About Trees

Questions from University of Illinois Extension, DeKalb County Horticulture Help Desk   When winter finally ends we are eager to get out there and begin our planting projects. Mosquitoes, heat and humidity are a distant memory. We are excited about the new season and know it will be better than ever. Some of ...read more

Stray Kernels – Arm-twisting & Gratitude

January and February are intense months for me. Not gonna lie—sometimes my heart sinks when I think of all that needs to be accomplished during these months. Reaching 3,000+ elementary kids with meaningful Ag in the Classroom (AITC) experiences is a hefty project with many moving parts. Promoting the program to ...read more

Around the Farm – Roses & Thorns

Did you know farmers account for less than two percent of the American population? We’re a minority and we’re getting smaller, not larger, and with that come some challenges. When my oldest kids were younger (they’re now in high school) we’d play a game called “Roses and Thorns” during our evening ...read more

Stray Kernels – The (hidden) growing season

I’ve been discouraged by the unrelenting dull chill of winter. In these dark months, it seems like day after sunless day is raw and barren. The trees are gray and stiff. Shriveled brown stems lie limply in pots and flowerbeds that danced with color a few months ago. Fields that were ...read more

Around the Farm – Analyzing Farm Data

Farm fields have varying soil types. Some soils are more productive and others are less – so how can a farmer know where to plant his best seed and how much to plant? Data analysis. Like other industries, farming is competitive and data analysis is crucial for optimizing decision making for ...read more