Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just Ask a Farmer

“Agriculture is the science of applying all known sciences.”
What important message does the general public need to know about Agriculture?
I asked this question in class recently to generate a discussion. It was a rewarding experience to hear how the students felt about the public’s perception of Agriculture and what they really need to know.
Here are some of the responses that the students feel the general public needs to know about Agriculture:
·         Farmers are the biggest advocates for the environment and use best conservation practices.
·         Learn where their food comes from, how it is created, and the hard work that goes in to food production.
·         High food prices are not to be blamed on those that produce it.
·         The crops we produce supply more than food to the world.
·         Don’t take agriculture for granted.
·         Get your education from the actual people in agriculture not from someone’s opinion. Find out the facts from an actual farmer.
·         Learn how food really gets to your table.
·         Learn the difference between animal welfare and animal rights.
·         Farming isn’t easy. It takes education and management skills.
·         It’s not going away and everyone needs it to survive.
·         Farmers feed the world.
·         Appreciate where your food comes from.
·         If you have questions about Agriculture or where your food comes from just ask a farmer!
I was excited to hear how passionate they are about the career path they’ve chosen and that they are not afraid to share it. I was impressed how quickly they responded to defend agriculture.  They know the consumer is not getting the “right” information and understand how important education from the right source is.
“You see real ongoing, lifelong education doesn’t answer questions; it provokes them.” Luci Swindoll

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Generating your very own QR(Quick Response) Code

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

I just created my first QR Code, printed it out and it worked the first time I scanned it! It's easier than you think.
I used the Free QR Code generator at
I'm using QR Code Scanner Pro  on my Blackberry to scan these codes. There are so many different uses for them and you see them everywhere.
A QR Code (it stands for "Quick Response") is a cell phone readable bar code that can store website URL's, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data

Friday, September 9, 2011

What’s My Name?

Putting names and faces together in the college classroom while building community.

W hen you
E nter this
L earning community
C onsider yourself
O ne of the important
M embers of a group who
E njoys working and being together!

Getting to know over 120 brand new students’ names in my classes is not easy and used to take forever when you only see them twice a week. Several years ago I started taking my new students pictures the first day of classes. I would have them printed and then put their names with their pictures on pieces of paper by class. That helped a lot. However I knew there had to be a better way. Just a few years ago I came up with the idea of having a seating arrangement in my classroom and organized my daily sign in sheets accordingly. Well, I came up with a very useful idea for putting the students’ pictures next to their names on the seating chart/sign in sheets. I’ve been doing this now for a few years and it has been very useful in helping me get to know the students by name in the first few weeks. It doesn’t take me a whole semester to learn some of their names.
This is also a good way to bring community in to the classroom. The students get to know each other by name and face also. This year I waited until the second day of class with me to take their picture. It’s also the day I have them sign their name on a printed seating chart. After that I went around the room where they were sitting and took their pictures. This made putting the pictures in the seating chart document so much easier. I’m always looking for ways to improve in my classroom so it feels good when I find creative ways to make things easier and keep me organized.
Here is an example of an attendance sign in sheet that I’ve created:
My computer classroom layout:

Ten computers on each side of the room. Instructor station at one end, projected screen at the other.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Archiving Facebook Content, Is there an App for that?

Well it’s not an App it’s a simple tool built right in to the Facebook Account Settings.
Ever wondered how you could go back to some of your FB posts from several months ago? Maybe you wanted to remember how you worded something or what you may have shared during a certain event. Well, I have always wished there was a way to go back or compile all my Facebook posts and content so I could access them any time I felt the need to.
This week I stumbled on to a tool in FB that allows you to archive your content and download it so you have a backup of it and an easy way to look back. I followed through a few simple steps and now have easy access to content I’ve posted, including all my pictures I’ve posted over the past few years.
Now I have an idea for an App (maybe there is one already) that would actually publish your Facebook content in to a booklet format, kind of like a scrapbook or journal that you could have printed. Ok, you want to say: ‘dream on Bonnie’ but I know there is one for “publishing your Blog content in to a book to print like a journal” so this could become reality if the App isn’t out there already. If you know of an App that does this for FB I hope you will share it with me.
I hope you find this to be a simple, useful tool that will help you be more productive.

After this step it will take you to a screen that tells you it is processing your download and that it will email you when the download is ready. From the email you click on the link to download a Zipped file of your content. You will need to have Winzip installed on your computer in order to unzip the file and access the folders/files that make up the archive. From there you can move the folders and files to where you would like them stored. It doesn’t take very long before your download is ready. So if you don’t receive a notification you may have to go to your account settings and make sure you receive FB updates in your email. This whole process took me less than 15 minutes.
Good luck.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“95% of Farms are Family Farms”

Setting a few facts straight....
…about the public’s perception of Farming/Agriculture        
Check out this recent blog post that will help set a few facts straight about farming:

Getting The Facts Right

I like this post because it is easy to read and paints a truer picture about farming. Family farms are still struggling to survive even with the decent prices being paid for commodities. Just because the prices have been good doesn’t mean that farmers have become instantly rich. Losses can take years to overcome.
If you know a farmer or even if you don’t, find one, or follow one or visit one and ask them your questions about agriculture and your food supply. A farmer is the most reliable resource if you want “educated” and “experienced” answers about food production. They will not only tell you about what effects them, based on public perception, but how agriculture affects you as well. Get the truth.

Some related blog posts you might find interesting:

Debunking The Myth Of Family Farms

Blogging about the food my family grows on our farm and what your family and mine eat! If if relates to anything with food, family, or the farm, it might just be talked about here!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Backroads Garden Detour at BonnieVille

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.  ~Abram L. Urban

I recently hosted a garden party that was somewhat designed after a progressive type of party. A friend and I invited several of our friends. We started at my house with drinks and snacks, lots of socializing and we actually did go out and spend some time looking at my perennial flower beds while we sweated like crazy.
Then we loaded up and drove three miles over to a neighbor with lots of flowers and vegetable gardens on her place. They raise vegetables for a local grocery store and lots of melons and pumpkins, etc. to sell at a roadside stand nearby. She gave us a very detailed tour of her gardens. You could tell how proud she was and how much she enjoyed showing them off. I can relate to how much work it is and how good it feels when others are interested in checking it out. We have an open invitation now to stop by and if we want some of a plant she has and it's time to thin it she'll give us a slip.
After more sweat we loaded up and headed in to town to see my friend Peggy's beautiful perennial flower beds. She has lots of garden decor and pots. After looking over her gardens we enjoyed more drinks, snacks and socializing. I’ve been hosting garden parties and tours occasionally over the past 12 years or so.
Thought I would share a link to the pictures I took.
 I hope you can enjoy our party without being there.

No two gardens are the same.  No two days are the same in one garden.  ~Hugh Johnson

Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.  ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul.  ~Linda Solegato

As a gardener, I'm among those who believe that much of the evidence of God's existence has been planted.  ~Robert Brault

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Connecting and The Golden Rule

“Love they neighbor as thyself.”  Luke 10:25-28

There are many different ways to say the golden rule but the meaning no matter what the religion or culture is always the same. I was brought up on it, how about you?
Using the Golden Rule can save you from miscommunication, hurt feelings, etc… Remember most methods of communication do not allow body language, emotions, etc. and are misread. Texts, emails, online chatting, etc… do not show emotion and can easily be misinterpreted. It’s just words without facial expressions or body language.
For every communication method available there is a purpose. We have to decide which is most appropriate to deliver our message. I try to stop and think before I respond or post a message; who is it for, what is it for and is this method the most appropriate to deliver the message. Always keeping the Golden Rule in mind can be helpful.
A few of the many forms of The Golden Rule.:
"Treat others as you would want to be treated."
"Don’t tread on others if you would not have them tread on you"
Luke 10:25-28 Love thy neighbor as thyself.
25And one day an authority on the law stood up to put Jesus to the test. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
26What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you understand it?” 27He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’(Deuteronomy 6:5) And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ” 28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do that, and you will live.”.

I found some interesting information on the Golden Rule at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Embracing Today’s Communication Methods

Embracing Today’s Communication Methods
“No problem can be solved by the same level of thinking that created it.” Albert Einstein
In 1999, I wrote a thesis titled: Email: “Taming the Paperless Tiger.” I formally presented it several times to different audiences over the next few years.  In a nutshell I argued both sides, proving it could be a productive tool in the workplace. Email at the time had been getting a very bad rap and still it was the number one reason people ever got started using the Internet.  In 2011, it’s still one of the top reasons why people start using the Internet.
Today, it’s Social Media. People of all ages are getting online just to use Social Media. I frequently find myself pushed to defend Social Media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, Blogging) and usually it’s to people that have formed an opinion before becoming educated on using it as a business communication tool, a lifelong learning tool, a personal communications tool…(the list goes on), or before actually using it themselves!
Could it really improve your life personally and professionally? In my humble opinion, the answer is, yes. Embracing today’s communication tools with a positive attitude I believe it can improve your life not only on a personal level but in your professional life as well.
Watch this video showing the popularity of Social Media in today’s society both personally and professionally:
Check out the two year old statistics in this video about Social Media:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Connecting or Re-connecting...just do it!

June 27, 2011
“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”  -John Leonard
Online, snail mail, phone, or in person it really doesn’t matter. Re-connecting really is about picking up where you left off with connections you have made. At least that’s the way I feel about it. Coach Tom Osborne says when we are gone, it’s about the relationships (connections) we’ve made during our life time. Sometimes I have to remind myself it’s ok to be the one that attempts to re-connect with a long lost friend or relative or even an acquaintance that made an impact on that ‘moment’ when you met them.  I never regret making that first attempt to re-connect with those I may have met over 30 years ago or just yesterday, it’s always worth it. Better yet, it’s an awesome feeling when someone else makes that first move to re-connect with you.  It happened to me yesterday and it meant the world to me. One of my best friends(and bridesmaid) from 30 years ago who I haven’t seen in over 10 years stopped by yesterday.  I don’t think she realizes how much it meant to me.
We have the tools at our fingertips to make it easy to re-connect, so like NIKE says, “just do it.” You’ll never know if it will be one of those “pick up where you left off” moments until you do.
Mail a letter, Phone call, Text message, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Skype and of course there’s still email.

Friday, June 24, 2011


My first time...
 “Any idea that does not seem insane at first is not worth pursuing.” Albert Einstein
Do you remember how you accessed & experienced the internet or World Wide Web (WWW) for the first time? It was all about connecting, literally & figuratively. One of my first tastes of the internet was about the time it was starting its transition to the World Wide Web. It was all text based, no pictures or videos or hyperlinks.  I used a modem to ‘dial-up’ a bulletin board service setup locally by two of our high school students. Hence, it was the only free access available and very limited. I remember subscribing to a couple lists for topics of interest to me at that time. We also chatted about techie stuff. For the high school students it was mostly about connecting with others to play games and chat online. It wasn’t long after my first taste of the internet that I subscribed to AOL just to have email to connect with family. Dialup internet using AOL was my first email experience. There was a monthly fee of $9.95 just to have the service and you had to pay long distance phone charges ‘per minute’ that you were logged on! I had to setup my account to connect, send/receive messages and quickly log off. I read and composed my emails when I wasn’t connected (off-line). That was only the beginning of paying a monthly fee for Internet service and it was for the slowest most unreliable access ever! Remember, I lived in a very rural area with old telephone lines. There wasn’t a whole lot you could get done on the internet, due to the lack of speed and you were paying not much less than we are now for a high-speed wireless connection. So for many years dial-up was my connection to the world. When a local internet provider put one of their first rural wireless antennae up on a grain bin five miles from my house I was signed up and setup the very first week. Still wonder how I survived dial-up as long as I did.  Being connected with others and for information, is (or should be) a very important part of our lives. The internet/WWW has made it possible. Connecting; it’s how we survive, how we learn, and how we love.
Today the concept is the same and it’s called Social Media, ie: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Skype and of course there’s still email. All of them made possible by the internet/WWW.
Will you please tell me about your first time…?
Did you realize you were connecting to be connected to someone or something?
Oh, Déjà vu…we’ve come a long way baby!
Connections, Internet, email, World Wide Web, social media, wireless, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, Skype, chat, bulletin board