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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

Around the Farm – Through A Child’s Eyes

This time of year it’s natural to be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Calendars are packed solid with parties, pageants and programs. Our shopping lists grow like weeds and we scramble to capture the best deals and stretch our hard earned cash in the spirit of ...read more

Stray Kernels – The World Looks Different From Here

I was 18 and working a summer job at an agricultural research facility. Bouncing down a grass alleyway between test plots in a pickup with the field station’s assistant manager, I remarked that I hoped to marry a farmer. I can still hear Rick’s voice clearly in my mind. “You don’t ...read more

Green Thumb – Gardening on the Internet

This web has more than spiders. Sometimes when I search for information on the Internet I feel like I’ve jumped into a landfill. Where should I begin to dig? With next year’s gardening season in mind, I recently searched for “lettuce” on Google. It came up with 80,500,000 results in 0.7 seconds.  ...read more