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One of the most treasured items that I have from my childhood is my grandma Patty’s pasta maker.  I was feeling very sentimental during the holiday season and really missing the traditions of my younger years and spent quite a bit of time thinking about memories made with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  All of the reminiscings made me think about that old pasta maker.  So I dug it out and announced to the girls that we were going to have some Christmas Eve fun!

When we gathered at our family Christmases when I was a kid we would traditionally have chicken noodle soup or chili.  I decided we would continue this tradition in our home, but that we would make our own noodles.  We had chicken leftover from a whole chicken that we had roasted and homemade noodles would be the perfect addition to our homegrown chicken for a Christmas dinner of homemade chicken noodle soup.

The girls were excited to get to use the pasta maker and I enjoyed showing them Grandma’s signature on the bottom and telling them how I used to run slices of bread through it just for fun.  I have seen grandma’s signature on it several times, but this time it made me wonder why she had it labeled.  Did she take it to a large gathering where they made lots of noodles? Maybe a church or family gathering?  Not sure, but it did make me wonder.

The girls quickly got in the groove of kneading together our ingredients. My job was to roll the sheets of dough out and then they took turns running the dough through the machine and then laying the noodles on the table to dry.  I won’t deny that there were a few arguments over whose turn it was to run the crank on the machine and a bossy older sister telling a younger sister that she wasn’t laying the noodles out correctly, but even with that we still had lots of fun and made some memories. 

I have included the recipe that we used for our homemade egg noodles here.  We decided to make a double batch so we would have some extras for beef and noodles sometime this winter. Do you have any special meal traditions around the holidays?  Have you ever ran a pasta maker?

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How long does it take you to drive 26 miles in Iowa?  Not very long compared to driving 26 miles in a big city, right?  Have you ever paid attention to what was in that 26-mile drive? My job in education takes me on the roads quite often and one of the schools I frequent is a 26-mile drive from dropping the girls off with Grandma to the door of the school. It was on one of those drives late last summer that I started to really contemplate my why, why I share my stories, why I post and share on social media, and why I write in general. My why? There are stories to be told and I want to make sure they are told with facts once they appear in the social media feeds or inboxes of people all across this country.  I give you 26 miles of agriculture.

The Drive

I know people reading this may not live somewhere where this is their typical 26-mile drive.  That is okay, you are the reason I compiled this piece. You see, where I live, you cannot drive 26 miles without seeing, breathing, hearing, and smelling agriculture.  It surrounds us. The men and women working to feed America surround us. You may not see it in your everyday world, but I do. As you take a look through these photographs please know that behind each photograph are men and women that work in the business employed that supports agriculture in some way. 

The Stories

Part of the reason that I want to help others tell their stories if they don’t have a platform to do so is that I don’t want those stories to perish with them when they leave this earth and move on to greener pastures. We need them to stay here for the next generations to read, see, and understand just what went into the operations and businesses that feed our world and provide employment for so many.

The Photographs

To get my point across I decided I was going to share 26 photographs with all of you that were of the things I see on my 26-mile drive. There are way more than 26 photographs that I could have shared with you and that doesn't even count the countless number of semis and trucks I meet each daily that are absolutely related to agriculture. Some days were sunny on my way to work and some days they were rainy on my way home, but I think it just confirms the fact that that is what people working in agriculture deal with every day. I present you with 26 miles of Agriculture in 26 photographs.

The bins on my parent's farm which is my starting point after dropping my kids off.
I need to count all of the seed dealer signs along the 26 miles, there are probably about 26 different brands for farmers to choose from.
John Deere Dealership
Pioneer Dealer
Landus
Chicken Processing Plant
Parts store that we all know gets used often during the busy seasons of the year.
A steer that was peering at me as I was pulled over on the road.
Veterinary clinic
Farmers Feed and Grain
A lonely grain cart and tractor stalled from rain that fell the night before.
Lime is often spread on fields. Farmers do their very best to care for the soil.
Farmyard filled with many tools necessary to do daily work, a manure spreader, hay rake, water tank, and hay racks.
Hog building
Sheep grazing
A sign seen often at many farms along the stretch of road.
Case dealership
Bean head for sale, this head is used to combine soybeans.
Bin setup where grain is dried and stored.
Cornfield that is just waiting to be combined.
Dealer signs
Hay bales that have been wrapped with plastic, this preserves them for feed in the winter.
Quarry where people can get rock for driveways, new buildings, or projects.
The site of the Cedar Valley Engine Club. The club is doing its part to preserve history.

Farm, Agriculture, Ranch Friday

While today’s version of Farm, Agriculture, and Ranch Friday wasn’t about a specific person it was about specific people.  The 26 miles of people that do the work, day in and day out.

I look forward to sharing more stories with you on Friday's to come. Know someone that you feel should be interviewed for Farm, Ag, Ranch Friday? Fill out this form to make your recommendation.

From the gravel road,

Jen

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