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Stray Kernels

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

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

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

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

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

Stray Kernels – Embracing the Gap

Soon after Breanna Holbert, the 2017-2018 National FFA President, gave her retiring address at the National FFA Convention in October, the video link was posted online. And then it was shared, widely. Upon seeing the link over and over again in my social media feed, I thought, “Wow. This must ...read more

Stray Kernels – Revisiting Our Objectives

I had a stickler of an elementary education professor in college. The most memorable feature I can recall from her courses (aside from failing a case-study assignment—it’s a long story) is how strict she was about our lesson plans. I remember hating having to write them because she insisted on ...read more

Stray Kernels – Fear of the Unknown

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I was afraid of sirens. So much so that hearing one made me tremble and worry. I’m not sure why, but my guess is that I learned from TV that sirens always meant something very bad had happened. So when I heard a ...read more

Stray Kernels – Belief bias, declinism and groupthink, oh my!

I was planning for an educator workshop titled, “Thinking Critically about Food, Farming, and Sustainability.” I had a vague notion we could explore how our food choices connect to what happens on farms, and how to critically evaluate sources of information about food. The workshop date grew near and it was ...read more

Stray Kernels – Trashed

It was a shiny, silver, late-model luxury car. I was following it east on the edge of Sycamore, a respectable distance back. Suddenly, an object appeared out of the driver’s side window and shattered on the pavement ahead of me. I swerved to avoid glittering shards of heavy glass.   I was ...read more