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An open letter to my husband, my family and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession. I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.  I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get. I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way. I see you looking up to those that have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.


I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.  I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground. I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working. 

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day's work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out. I smell the manure that you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.  I smell the fresh cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.  I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date. I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done.

I taste you. 

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends. I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families. I see you. We see you. I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way.  I keep it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road-

Jen

2

If you are traveling through Osage, Iowa and don't stop at Stan's Drive In you aren't just missing out on history, you are missing out on some of the best food and ice cream in North Iowa!

Stan's Drive-In opened in 1955 and is a staple of the City of Maples! At Stan's, you won't need to even get out of the comfort of your air-conditioned car to place your order. One of their friendly car hops will come to take your order and deliver your food or treat to your car just as they would have in the '50s. Some of our favorite treats from Stan's are the breaded pork tenderloin, cheese curds, and of course a chocolate shake! I think I am partial to drive-in's because my first ever job "off the farm" was as a car hop at Jim's Drive-In in Nora Springs. I was only 14 years old, but I learned so much from that job.

You can stay right at the drive-in to eat in your car or you can take it to go as we did on a recent visit. We took our food to one of my all-time favorite parks for a little picnic. My last memories of my Grandma Patty were at Spring Park. I remember we drove to the drive in for chicken, took it to the park for a picnic, played on the teeter totter, and drank from the natural spring. I love taking our girls there to do some of those same things. They are getting wise to my trick when I tell them to look real close into the spring to take their drink and dunk their heads though. 😉 I think I will keep trying, after all, it is a tradition.

What is your favorite item to order from a drive in? Have you been to Stan's and have a favorite?

From the gravel road-

Jen

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