Thursday, May 29, 2014

Part Two: Better With Age

Yesterday I wrote about the heritage fern that had been passed down for at least six generations, seeming to symbolize the value of things that improve with age. 

 Don't you just love things that get better with age?

Agriculture has changed exponentially in the last fifty years, and it's become increasingly important for those involved in the production of food to tell their story to consumers. 

I mean, I have a real concern that some folks buy ham based solely on the fact that the brand name sounds similar to their first grade teacher's. 
She was nice.
Nobody did it like Mrs. Lee

And then there are the people so feverishly concerned with the minute amounts of natural hormones in their milk, that they forget about the birth control they've been on since they turned 19.
It makes my head hurt. 

And while we've aged greatly as an industry, we've also gotten better at communicating exactly what we do, day-in and day-out. 
Holiday or not. 
Drought or not. 
Flat tire or not. 

Let's face it - 
today's general consumers prefer an 
"open barn door or open pasture gate" 
kind of transparency into the production of their food
- and that's understandable. 

Why not see who raises the beef your family enjoys? 
Why not learn how your pork chop gained that juicy flavor?

And why not meet the guy who grows the grapes for your favorite summer wine?
I mean, he's gotta be a good time, right?
Here in Indiana, you'll soon have the opportunity to do just that -

Vintage Indiana: Where you can taste wine from nearly 30 of Indiana's 70+ wineries. 
More than 200 wines will be available for sampling on this single day in Indianapolis.
.......Yes, there are tasting limits. 
I just knew you were going to ask that. 

While viticulture may not initially seem like your typical tractor and pitch fork type of farming, it's a rapidly growing sector of American agriculture that can be enjoyed by all ages. 
All ages over 21, of course. 

Indiana wineries are opening the pasture - or vineyard - gate to each of you on June 7, and I hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to get a better look at Indiana agriculture. Wine glass in hand. With a few of your friends. 

And, can you image the people watching? 

Now, my Malbec is calling...
So if you'd like more information - including early admission passes (if 6 hours of wining just isn't enough) and sober driver details - you can find it here:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Part One: Better With Age

Following a Memorial Day weekend spent out of town for a wedding, I came home to an alarming site:
Granola bars scattered across the kitchen floor. 
A Bonnie Mohr print that was once on a tripod, laying face down in the middle of the living room floor. 

And worst of all: My beloved fern in pieces across the dining room. 

Confused and quite freaked out, I spotted the bandit still inside our home, laying under the kitchen table...DEAD. 
But before dying, of course, it left droppings all throughout our house that sat empty for three days. 
A Starling. 
In our home. 
Reeking havoc. 
And demolishing my fern. 
I removed the disgusting bird (while crying and gagging simultaneously) with pliers and bleached the place down. 
Our home looked better, but the fern was a mess. It was as though the dirty bird nested there all weekend. I was sick. 
Sick over a house plant, you ask?

This fern isn't just any house plant. 
It is a symbol of things that 
get better with age. 

When I was a young girl, we visited Bob and Ula Marie House at Wonder View Farm. The names may ring a bell - or maybe not. They were the couple that sold Momma and Dad their (our) first Shorthorn cows. Rosewood was one of the great ones that came from the House family and Wonder View Farm, and today her story lives on at BSG.

Driving down their lane that evening was like stepping back in time. A beautiful, well-maintained yard. A full garden. No weeds in site. A modest white farmhouse which stood with great pride. While the guys went to the barn, I remember that Ula Marie invited Momma and I inside their home to exchange some information for our Home Extension Club. Momma was a fairly young member, and Ula Marie was quite active. As we entered the home, I couldn't help but notice dozens of ferns in the back entry way. Ferns of all sizes, in several different pots. Momma raved over them, and that's when Ula Marie told us about the profound significance of these ferns. 

Bob (who, as I write this, is 85-years-old) had a great-grandmother who maintained a fern at her homestead and would give "starts" of that fern to family members. She would separate the roots and place them into a new planter to begin, or "start", a whole new fern. 
Pieces of that original fern were passed down through the generations and the original plant spanned homes, families and decades. 
In 1951 Bob married Ula Marie, and Ula Marie was given her own "start" to the family fern.
The array of ferns that I observed as a young girl in the House Homestead was just a small sampling of how much that fern had reproduced - and thrived - over the years. 
I was amazed by it. 
Weathered by time, change, location, atmosphere, various owners and more - these ferns remained a testament to the power of all things that are able to stand the test of time and get better with age.  

As a young girl, the story of that family fern certainly remained in the back of my mind. Because of the symbolism they held for family and time-tested durability, ferns became my favorite plants, and I've used them widely as a homeowner over the last six years. Each time I bought - or buy - a fern, with gratitude I think of Bob and Ula Marie House and the "start" they gave my own family in terms of Shorthorn cattle. 

Aspiring to have a wedding day - and marriage - where even the smallest details hold great meaning, at our wedding last August we had nothing at the alter but ferns. 
My bouquet was made of ferns and The Growing Tree

BowSankey Wedding Flowers Getting Watered

As a wedding gift, Bob and Ula Marie gave Cody and I our very own "start" to the family fern. A gesture of heritage, dedication, durability and things that get better with age. 

Soooo.....It was our "start" that I found in the middle of the floor Sunday night. Perhaps you now understand why I'm nursing this plant back to life after the bird of death has demolished it.

In a world where few things actually improve over time, I find myself holding onto this darn heritage house plant with the hope that I can give someone else another "start" as Bob and Ula Marie gave my parents in cattle and Cody and I in marriage. 

Few things get better with age. 
But oh, some things do. 

Your friends
Your favorite song
Your favorite pair of jeans and boots
Love you give and receive
Your judgement
Your 401K plan
Your confidence
Your breeding program and legacy
Your antiques
Clint Eastwood and Sam Elliott
And let us not forget the The Wine.

Look around you. 
What things in your life can - or do - get better with age?
Do you appreciate them as you should?
How can you preserve them?
How can you make them better for the next?
Or Protect them?
Or Pass them on for the next generations?

I encourage you to be the kind of person who enjoys the things that get better with age. 

Because quite frankly, you're not getting any younger. 

This is the first of a two part series. 
Read tomorrow for the second half of Better With Age!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Girls Need Girlfriends

I haven't always believed this, but I do so now - more than ever. 

Girls need girlfriends. 

When I was in high school I had two great friends.
One, an incredible gymnast. 
One, an awesome basketball player. 
Neither of which fully understood why I loved shop class and absolutely despised cheerleading practice. 
Guess I always figured I had better things to do, like break calves. 
Then I went to Purdue and decided to rush a sorority. 
No, that's actually not how that story goes. 
I decided to not rush a sorority and my older brother, Luke, called my dorm phone and told me that if I didn't rush, I would be missing the opportunity of a lifetime to interact with women such as Stacie Warner. 
He may have been right.
I cried....He hung up on me....I rushed. 
And joined Alpha Chi Omega. 
And found my greatest friends. 
And two of my four bridesmaids. 
And a sister-in-law who ending up taking Luke off of my hands. (Thanks, Betsy!) lifelong travel pal, Katie. 

For five years Katie and I have packed a bag (usually 5 bags between the two of us) and traveled around the country. 
We drove rental cars that seemed to operate off of go-cart engines. 

We hid in Wyoming country club bathrooms because we feared someone following us. 

We've traveled more than 4 hours at a time without a map or cell phone service. But we always had food in a cooler in the back. Wouldn't want to go hungry. 

For two Indiana gals: We've lived

And it seems we both knew that we'd learn much by traveling together, simply by the first stroke of a pen in our travel journal. 
I spoke these words, while Katie wrote:

I've learned the value in having a friend that encourages your strengths, compliments your weaknesses, can slap you across the face with honesty and also get you out of a bind in a hurry. 
In fact, I haven't always been so supportive of the role of girlfriends play in a gal's life - which is disappointing. 
But at twenty-nine, I sure do. 

This is why I understand that:

Great friends encourage your strengths. 

No matter where we go and who we meet in our travels, we instantly know to delegate the conversation based on what we know:

Lindsay: Livestock, writing, humor, American beer and wine....and anything pertaining to. 
Katie: Politics, antiquing, fashion, beer and top shelf liquor....and anything pertaining to. 

We use eye signals to field questions from strangers. We synchronize bathroom breaks so that someone can quote folks we meet in the travel journal while the other is away. 

Great friends compliment your weaknesses.

Katie is brilliant in terms of politics. She knows the who-what-where-when of anything regarding legislation, global influence and candidates. She reads several newspapers daily. 

I stopped this man at a Pacer's game recently and thanked him for his service to our state:

 Scott Swan, Channel 13 anchor

I mistook him for Governor Pence:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

The gray hair threw me off, I suppose. 
Katie is still my friend, regardless of how badly she wanted to crawl under a seat. 

Great friends slap you across the face with honesty.

At this age, they aren't trying to protect your feelings, your heart or your temper. Great friends - at this age - tell you what matters. 

I challenged Katie recently about why she was so hard on someone. Why did all of that petty stuff matter enough for her to act that way, I asked her?

Last weekend Katie drove us all the way home from West Virginia because I felt a bit invincible the night before. She didn't say much, but she yawned behind the steering wheel often during the west-bound hours leading us back to Indiana. That was enough for me to question why I enjoyed the bluegrass so fiercely the previous night. Humiliation works wonders. 

Great friends understand that no matter what, some things are better stuffed in the trunk. 

Last weekend's trip was the first we had taken since we met our husbands.
....In September of 2011 we ventured to Wyoming. 
In December 2011 Katie met Brett in Indianapolis
In January 2012 we met Cody in Denver together. 
In November 2012 Cody and I were engaged. 
In December 2012 Brett and Katie were engaged. 
In July 2013 she became a Glick. 
In August 2013 I became a Sankey. 
In May of 2014 Katie and I relaxed in West Virginia and celebrated married life - while our husbands built fence and planted crops back home, alone. 
We dialed home each day, revealing that we hadn't found much that suited us...
Except for every heirloom known to mankind since 1897. 
Last Sunday Katie dropped me off at home and helped me transport my purchases from 16 bags into four large ones, to mitigate the risk, of course.
That is just what great friends do. 
The media tells women what they should believe.
Facebook tells women what they should portray.
Twitter tells women what matters in 140 characters.
Pinterest sets the bar incredibly high regarding what women should be (in all of their spare time). 

Great friends remind us that we have earthly mothers, 
simple grandmothers, busy friends and bosses with expectations. 

Wouldn't you rather have four quarters instead than 100 pennies, in term of friends?

Thanks, Katie Mae.

 You're the best girlfriend the 17-year-old-me never imagined she'd need. 

See more of our travels here
And here
More here

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Be A Dandelion

I think that if I ever had to "come back" as something, I'd like to come back as a dandelion. 
Or my favorite pair of boots
But probably a dandelion.

A person can do a lot of thinking on a mower. 
Especially a mower that doesn't move too quickly because it is just getting out of rehab.

Something amazes me weekly as I board the Husqvarna Hog and prepare myself for 2 1/2 hours of bladed bliss. 
Have you ever seen anything so quick, persistent or resilient as a dandelion? 
I mean, have they nothing better to do than ruin our yards?

Sunday after I mowed down the (approx.) 15,783 dandelions, I began to gain this strange appreciation for them.
Yes, I'm serious.  
No, I've not drank Weed-B-Gon. 

Five Ways That Dandelions Are Better Than Me:

Number One. 
They accept others as they are. 
Alike or Not. 
I judge. 
I judge in a way a woman who sincerely enjoys learning in the pew every Sunday should not judge. 
I judge the guy in front of me buying lottery tickets and cigarettes. 
I judge myself via full length mirror. 
I judge the future based on the facts I only project myself. 
Who am I judge anything other than grocery produce?
We have not the same parents, mail carriers, shoes or debts. 

Number Two.
They are influential.
You tell one dandelion to grow, you better believe the whole darn yard is bound to make a synchronized statement because they have a common goal: To kill my landscaping. 
One dandelion: Admirable and innocent. 
A herd of dandelions: Comparable to a battlefield of haters. 

Number Three:
They don’t care about their looks.
Good hair day. 
Bad hair day. 
Half hair day. 
They show up just the same. 
They care not what the wind, rain or humidity do to their appearance. 
They do their job, unaware or influenced what others may think. 
They have a confidence far beyond external influences. 

Number Four.
They're not afraid to stand alone. 
No matter the place. 
No matter the subject. 
No matter the crowd. 
Hot air. Weed killer. Hail. Few things can cripple the knees of a dandelion and keep it down for along period of time. 
Trust me. I mowed this deal down 48 hours prior to taking this photo. 
This world would be a whole lot better if backbones were stronger than jaws. 

Number Five. 
They embrace change, no matter what. 
No matter the day 
Or phase
Or person
Or problem
Or mistake
Or loss
Or gain.
Dandelions move on, understanding change is necessary. 
They grow. 
They extend. 
They adapt to every temperature, sunrise, circumstance.
They rise again. 
They rise again, and much to my dismay, stronger than before. 

Accepting, Influential, Internally Sound, Confident and Growing. 

Be a dandelion. 

Or mow them down every week. 
Quite frankly, I guess I hope to do both. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Turning Thirty: A Shift In Priorities

Some get old. 
Some get wise. 
Some just get old. 

Someone asked a while back just how old I was. 
I told them 24. 
Didn't blink an eye.
Time. Flies. 
In my defense, 24 was a great year. I bought a house, took in a feral mutt I named Dixie and during a trip to Texas, was introduced to Malbec wine thanks to my friend Terri

A few great friends (and a brother and sister-in-law) have turned thirty over the last year and I've gotten a really good laugh out of it. 
They turned 30 and quite frankly, they got old. 
Like, had back surgery and became parents, old. 
They turned as old as Tim McGraw was when he sang, "My Next Thirty Years" - that's old. 
And maybe a bit trying to hard

But in the last two weeks, it's hit me, hard: I will turn 30 this summer. 
Does that freak anyone out as much as it does me? 
Yeah, probably not. You're not the one turning 30. 
But quite honestly, all the signs of 30 are present. 
Some tapped me on the shoulder as I entered my birthdate preparing for taxes.
Some hung around a few hours longer than they needed to on a Saturday morning after a late Friday night.
Some initiated a call to my beautician..."I want to go lighter than last time," I vainly told her, to cover up the strands of gray I'd found. 
But all signs were accounted for. 

As I walk blindly into the light that is the big 3-0, every so often I'd like to give a brief list of five things that justifies my aging this much. Do you understand that this is me justifying it?

Turning 30: Five Shifts In Priorities

1. Instead of weekend getaways to Reno and Vegas, Cody and I now align our schedules so we can both be home to breed heifers, watch heat, or to have just one of us home, in general to take care of things. We took a weekend off in March to go see George Strait in Nashville. At Tootsie's Cody looked over to me and said, "Might as well live this up. These trips - just the two of us - will begin to be few and far between."
With a smile of agreement, I gladly understood.
Kids? Nope. 

Old Saturday afternoons:

New Saturday afternoons:

2. I care what kind of Kleenex and toilet paper I buy. It's no longer a matter of price, its a matter of comfort. We're simply too old for Great Value. 

3. I care more about my lungs and eardrums than I do the bar we're at. If I can't see you or hear you, don't even start a tab. 

4. I bought a pair of White Mountain shoes. Which might not sound like much to you, but this signifies my recognition of the fact that my feet are an important part of my body and they require care. And so do arches. 

5. When CS and I consider a splurge, we now do mental math to reconfigure what that dinner at Flemming's would buy us, otherwise. 
"That entire night, fuel, prime steaks, drinks...that is about the cost of a new metal feed bunk"...we mentally evaluate.
We choose the feed bunk and grill out.

Priorities change, bodies change, places change, and for some reason I'm having a bit of a challenge accepting the fact that I would have started kindergarten 24 years ago. Or that in ten years I'll be forty. Or that the ads on Facebook are targeting me for wrinkle cream. 

On the bright side (because there always is one), I read somewhere that you're 26 percent less likely to make a New Year's resolution in your 30s, but if you do make one, you're 26 percent more likely to stick to it. 

Well in that case, to those lingering ten pounds: Bring. It. On.