I’m Headed to New Zealand

new_zealand_sheep_farm from ien-edu
Source: International Education Network

In less than a month, I will be on a plane from Indianapolis to Los Angeles, then from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, for a year on a working holiday visa.

The story of how I got here still amazes me. I had international travel plans before I took the job teaching, and two days after those plans crashed, I woke up and looked in the mirror, and the thought came seemingly from nowhere: What about New Zealand?

New Zealand was a country I had once been interested in visiting, but if I didn’t make it there, I would have been okay. So I said to my reflection, “Nah, that’s too crazy.” And I left it at that.  Continue reading “I’m Headed to New Zealand”

Livestock Judging and Baby Clydesdale Pictures

Along with my Spring Fest adventure, my April highlight was a first place win in the area livestock judging contest. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a winning livestock judging team, and now I can say I was the coach for one.

We were unable to stay for the awards ceremony, so never officially heard our name called, but heard the story later. When a team that normally won was announced as second place, the room fell silent. And when our chapter’s name was called, they said you could hear a pin drop as the question was asked, “Who? Who is this who won?”

So our team will be competing in the state livestock judging contest on May 21 up at the Purdue University Animal Science Research and Education Center. The top ten teams there travel to national shows.


On March 30, our first Clydesdale foal was born. Continue reading “Livestock Judging and Baby Clydesdale Pictures”

In Which I Eat Bugs, Win Second Place and Tackle a Friend in a Fountain

In Which I Eat Bugs, Win Second Place and Tackle a Friend in a Fountain

This blog post is part of a joint adventure I took with my friend L. She has written her perspective on her blog, It’s Raining Ink. So check out her thoughts on this crazy adventure, and then check out mine! (Or vice versa.)

L is a script writer, and she explores the world through plays. Over supper a few weeks ago, she was discussing her fascination with the idea of insects as a food source. And as a Purdue Boilermaker, there was only one reply to this statement:

“You need to go to Bug Bowl.”

As my former farm broadcasting supervisor told it, Bug Bowl began when some Purdue entomology grad students told him about their evening cockroach race they were going to hold on campus. Rather than attend alone, he broadcasted the event on the radio. Several people showed up, so the insect enthusiasts decided to start Bug Bowl to spread their love for creepy crawlies all over campus. Bug Bowl has grown into a university-wide celebration of spring as an event called Spring Fest taking place over a weekend in April.

So on Saturday, L and I headed north for West Lafayette and the campus of Purdue University. Continue reading “In Which I Eat Bugs, Win Second Place and Tackle a Friend in a Fountain”

Updates, Many of Which Happily Deal with Writing and Communications

Just thought I’d take this opportunity of a two-hour delay (a result of heavy fog) to write down some tidbits from teaching lately.

The most recent happenings were district leadership Career Development Events, competitions where FFA members give speeches or demonstrations, participate in a job interview, write a persuasive essay and more. Five of my students competed, and one won in essay! So he will be competing at state. When I read the essay the next morning before heading to work, I about cried because it was such beautiful writing.

Probably the neatest moment of that was when he was congratulated on stage, one of his best friends was standing there as a district officer, and the look on their faces as they shook hands was priceless. Continue reading “Updates, Many of Which Happily Deal with Writing and Communications”

Fish Sticks and Concrete: An Update from the Ag Shop

I’ve discovered that even though I can stay engaged at an all-day seminar full of talking and presentations as long as I have a notebook and pen, I hate teaching like that. I just don’t like talking all day. I’ve had a few days where I talk in all four of my morning classes, and I’m zapped by noon. So I’ve started planning better so I do less of that.

This morning, after presentations given by the high school students, I was asking how things went for them. As they were discussing, I gathered they did not enjoy presenting. One student asked, “How do you teach? How do you stand up there all the time?”

I appreciated the question and was, in a way, touched the student asked me. I thought, “I have no idea some days.”  Continue reading “Fish Sticks and Concrete: An Update from the Ag Shop”

Shorts for the New Year

Happy 2016! Here, it has been warm with a couple of days of extreme cold and slick conditions. There’s been only one two-hour delay, and I’ve only had to break the ice on the cattle water tanks once. The first day all winter I had to pull out my Carhartt coveralls was January 11. Weatherbug shows temperatures hovering around freezing this next week with a bit of snow on Wednesday.


Thursday’s class. Special note: All students in the following convo are male.

Student A: “Why do you still play VHS?”
Student B: “Because most of the videos she has are still VHS.”
Student C: “I still have a VHS.”
Student A: “Wow, do you use it?”
Student C: “Yeah, I watch Winnie the Pooh.”


Our baritone players were unavailable during the high school homecoming game last night, so I filled in.


It was a lot of fun, and I sounded a lot better than I did last year when I played for Alumni and Friends Night. That was encouraging. Continue reading “Shorts for the New Year”

Brownies, the Most Beautiful Marquee Ever and Almost Crying in Walmart

Brownies, the Most Beautiful Marquee Ever and Almost Crying in Walmart

We are at last into Christmas break. Yesterday was our final day before a week and a half of staying home and eating a lot of cookies. As always, I will have to do some grading, but I will at least be able to do so at my own pace, a little each day.

Monday was a nice, relaxing day at work because I stayed in one place rather than traveling between school buildings. Last week, I graded stacks of homework as students worked on their final projects, and I felt more at ease because I had all that done.

During third hour, my 8th graders were quite comical. Continue reading “Brownies, the Most Beautiful Marquee Ever and Almost Crying in Walmart”

I didn’t take a picture of the sunset tonight.

Written Tuesday, November 24. 

I didn’t take a picture of the sunset tonight.

And that’s an unusual statement for a landscape and farm photographer to make.

It could be said that the reason was I only had a camera phone and the focus has not been cooperating for the last few weeks.

But I have been making it work and certainly could have made it work again.

It could be said that I didn’t take the picture because the colors don’t turn out right on my camera phone. The brilliant oranges are dulled, the deep pinks are washed out, and the entire picture gains a harsh tinge of yellow that shouldn’t be there.

But I could have edited the picture on my computer.

No. The real reason I didn’t take a photograph was this: Continue reading “I didn’t take a picture of the sunset tonight.”