Author: Renae Vander Schaaf

If Nebraska Builds It, Will They Come?

Nebraska is working hard to make good on their state slogan, “Good Life. Great Opportunity.” This state began promoted tree planting in 1872, with the first designation of Arbor Day. Still based in Nebraska, the Arbor Foundation thrives and planting trees is celebrated worldwide. They also know their cattlemen are great at raising beef, and are once again adding the “The Beef State” slogan to some of their license plates. Nebraska is working to expand its agriculture base once again to ensure their economy flourishes. Representatives of the Grow Nebraska Dairy coalition are actively wooing dairy processors to their...

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Why Corn is Our ”Yellow Gold”

The fields have ripened right on schedule. Today I passed two farmers cutting silage in my two-mile trip to town. Any person interested in geometric shapes would be fascinated with the cuts through the fields are more parallel and straighter the last cake I baked and sliced. Yes, corn continues to be King of the Grains on farms especially here in Iowa. It’s hard to believe that at one time, wheat ruled the fields of the state’s early settlers. Growing small grains has become a rarity in this part of the state. When Iowa became a state way back...

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Before We Had Tractors: Artifacts from the Barns Museum

When we had time growing up to watch T.V. we didn’t hesitate to turn the T.V. on to watch “Death Valley Days,” “Wagon Train” or any other entertaining westerns of the era. These programs and books I have read always had me wondering if I had the grit and perseverance that the people who lived those years had. I was sure I did. I always thought it would be neat to be on a wagon train heading somewhere to begin a new life. I would surely be one of the practical ones and leave my heirloom furniture behind, packing...

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If We Lived Our Lives in Reverse, What Would We Do Different?

Would it make any difference in the way we live if we lived our lives in reverse? Just suppose we were old first and became young again. Would we enjoy the fact that we can do mundane, every day chores, because we know what it is like to watch others sweep our floors from our nursing home beds? Would we visit the elderly family members and neighbors more often, especially those who are house bound or in a nursing home? Or even just send a card or letter? Postage isn’t all that high when we realize how important mail...

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A Great Place to Visit: The Valley of the Green Giant

A couple months ago, business took us to our northern bordering state of Minnesota. Since we have gotten pretty good at combining business with pleasure, once our work was done, we pulled of I-90 into the town of Blue Earth which happens to be the center of the United States longest highway. The town’s name actually comes from the greenish-blue clay found along the river banks of the Blue Earth River which surrounds it. The mineral Illite gives their soil its blue hue. The famous Jolly Green Giant welcomed us. This sixty foot giant pulled me off the interstate...

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