Author Archives: Ginny Marie

Walking and Blogging

In one week, my husband and I will be walking 39 miles over 2 days during the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. I took a training walk yesterday and dictated this blog post into my phone as I was walking. The phone got some words wrong, as you’ll read below! My corrections and additions are in italics.

Today I have a three-fold purpose for my walking. First, I’m testing out my raspberry pink shorts to see how they hold up for a long-distance hike. Will the elastic band to stay up or will it drip (drop) down during a long walk? Secondly, I’m breaking in my new shoes. They seem to make the toes on my right foot curl up for some unknown reason. Finally, today’s temperatures are supposed to rise into the 80s, so I’m testing my feet and joints. (No, that wasn’t right, even though it kind of makes sense!)

As I walk I’m dictating my words into my phone. The words I just spoke with heat and urine. (Still not right!) No, endurance. Yes, my phone finally heard the correct word. (I wanted to test my endurance to heat on this warm day!)

The bike path I’m walking on is not well-traveled. It’s just me and the birds and some airplanes overhead. There are a couple other joggers and bikers on this week day but for the most part nobody can see me talking into my phone. No one can see my huge fanny pack which holds all my supplies and water bottle. And passing cars can’t look at my red and sweaty face and wonder if I’m okay. My fair skin turns beet red when I exercise and seriously, I’m okay.

ducks
My turn around spot

Sometimes my fanny pack makes weird noises: water sloshing, straps rubbing and swinging, and I get paranoid and turn around to see if a biker or runner is coming up behind me. Usually I’m alone. This trail also goes by factories and I often see workers taking a break or taking things out to the dumpster, and I suppose I could always just pretend I’m talking on the phone instead of dictating a blog post. I would much rather dictate a blog post, however, than talk to someone on the phone. I’m not much of a phone person plus, I’m out of breath. I suppose blogging while you’re walking does that!

A thought just occurred to me. I’ve been watching Star Trek Enterprise during my lunch hour and a lot of times, the captain is dictating his personal log to the computer while pacing in his quarters. That’s just what I’m doing now. I think I just wrote more now then I usually do in the same amount of time when I sit down at the computer and type. When I was the secretary, (my job during college) I would have to listen 2 letters on a dictation machine. Attorneys would dictate letters into their recorders and then I would have to listen and type out their letters. It was a huge pain in the butt. There was no talk to text like I’m doing now. I wonder, do attorneys use talk to text now or do they still dictate letters for their secretaries?

pedestrian bridge
The pedestrian bridge above Palatine Road

 

I’m nearing the end of my walk. How did I do? The path has become busier during the lunch hour. I decided to turn around at noon to make my way home. The raspberry shorts held up well. The shoes are still iffy. As for walking in the heat, it’s hot and humid but I feel good. I think I did about 8 my miles but mapping software will help. I briefly wondered how I could make my walk longer, but I’ve been out for over 2 hours are ready and I have things to do. I’m a mom after all.

(I walked about 7 and a half miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Not bad! And then I did a load of laundry.)

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Alert: Sappy Motherhood Post Ahead

It happens every year. I finish teaching preschool before my daughters are out of school, and that first day of summer vacation for me is rough. I always have a plan of getting so much accomplished on that full day all to myself!  And of course, it’s full of my usual tasks; getting a load of laundry done, loading the dishwasher, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

This  morning, I was loading the last of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and it hit me. Again. I miss my girls.

When I’m teaching, the mornings are so rushed that I don’t have time to miss them. Everyone needs to get ready for school, including myself, and then as soon as I send the girls off the school, I’m busy with my own classroom. When I get home in the afternoon, there a rush to get things done before the girls come home from school. It’s a luxury many working moms don’t have! Throughout all that busyness, I don’t miss my daughters.

Today, my first day of summer break, I miss them. Oh, I know once school is over for them they will drive me to the brink of insanity and I’ll wonder why I missed them during these few days I’m home without them. But for now, I miss them.

2016 Chorus Concert

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I see more in this photo than you do

When you look at this photo, what do you see? Do you just see an elderly woman?

Grandma
Grandma

That wasn’t a trick question. But when I look at this picture, I see so much.

I see her delicately fingering the brooch at her neck. It was a gift to her from my sisters and me. I can hear her laugh, as she says, “Well, I don’t know, this joke is rather crass but all the ladies at the old people’s home seem to like it,” as she proceeds to tell a joke that I certainly never thought I’d hear Grandma tell.

Her voice is in my head, as she tells me that in her later years she prefers to sleep in a little, and have some toast with jelly for breakfast. Her coffee is weak, but her cinnamon rolls are still as good as ever. It is one of my cherished recipes, written out in her own graceful handwriting.

I am baking cinnamon rolls this morning, so am going to try to tell you how to do it. It takes more than a recipe. It is a process.

Grandma loved all her grandchildren fiercely, and she loved her great grandchildren even more. She was a great blessing to us! Grandma died several years ago, but memories of her live on in all of her grandchildren.

Who’s been a blessing in your life? When you look at photos of that person, I’m sure you see more than what is apparent to the eye!

vintage Mother's Day
Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Ten Walks I Have Taken

I have walking a lot this spring. By a lot, I mean miles upon miles. At the gym on the treadmill, outside in the cold weather, outside in the hot weather, I have been walking. In April alone, I logged 101 miles! And I haven’t been walking alone. I have dragged my husband and kids along with me! (Well, Ed needs to walk since he’s walking the Avon 39 with me.)

Before I show you the details of my walking, I need to give a huge shout-out to all the people who have been supporting me in my walking. As many of you know, I’m training for the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer, and I’ll have to walk 39 miles during the first weekend of June. In order to walk, I need to raise $1,800. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve raised over $2,000! How thrilling! Thank you to all my awesome supporters!
Avon 39 Screenshot

My miles include walking:

10. on the treadmill at the gym: 3 miles. This is the most boring place to walk, but it’s the easiest way to fit 3 miles into my afternoon, especially when the weather isn’t cooperating.

9. to work and back: 1 mile. I’ve only walked to work twice, and I should walk more often! However, sometimes I’m in a rush after dropping off my girls at school and I’m afraid I’ll be late, or I want to run errands after work so I’ll need me car. I’m definitely going to try to make walking to work more of a habit!

8. to the River Trails Nature Center: 3.4 miles. In March, the girls and I walked to Maple Syrup Days at the Nature Center. We were able to sample some maple syrup and French Toast sticks, and Lily got a lesson in drilling a hole for a sap spile. The Nature Center is one of our favorite places!

Maple Syrup Spile Driving

7. at Burning Bush Park: 2 miles. This park is by our house, and the girls can play at the playground while I walk around the track. Three times around is one mile, and the most I’ve been able to fit in is six times around.

6. at Moraine Hills State Park: 10 miles. It is amazing to think that a glacier carved out a piece of Illinois and left a lake behind. In Illinois, where we mostly think of flat corn fields and not glaciers.

5. on the Chicago River Bike Trail and the by the Skokie Lagoons: 12.72 miles. This is the longest walk we took. It was a really cold day at the beginning of April. Because it was so cold, however, there weren’t a lot of bike riders on the trail. The hard-core riders go really fast and I get nervous that they will hit one of the girls. When the weather is warmer, we’ll avoid this trail!

Skokie Lagoons
Skokie Lagoons, on the Chicago River Trail.

4. on the Des Plaines River Trail: 6.75 miles. This trail isn’t paved, and is also used by horseback riders. This is right by our house, and we occasionally see horses. While we didn’t run into any horses this time, we saw evidence of beavers, which was very cool. We stopped by the River Trails Nature Center on our way home (which is on the Des Plaines River, by the way) and asked a Forest Preserve Ranger about beavers. He was very informative and loves talking about animals! (We have asked him questions before!)

Forest Preserve 1

3. on the Poplar Creek Bike Trail: 8.84 miles. Those of us who grew up in the suburbs remember going to concerts at the outdoor arena, Poplar Creek. I saw Peter Gabriel during his So tour, and it was thrilling when it started raining while he was singing “Red Rain!” (Fortunately, the real rain didn’t last and the concert went on.) The concert arena is no longer there, but Poplar Creek is actually a real creek with a bike trail! The trail itself is very nice, but part of it is prone to flooding and was under water even though we hadn’t had rain for over a week. We also stumbled onto the Lion Bridge, which was a nice surprise.

Lion Bridge

2. at Independence Grove, 7.5 miles. My brother-in-law met us up there, and he fished with the girls while Ed and I walked with my sister-in-law. The girls have been troopers, but they are getting tired of taking long walks with us! They adore fishing with Uncle Brian, however.

Independence Grove

  1. around Glenview Lake, 5.6 miles. We let the girls bring their bikes this time, and they rode ahead of us and played at the playground. It was a very cool day, but we were also able to get our walking in before the rain came!

Glenview Lake

Phew! That’s a lot of trails! I wonder how many miles I’ll walk in May?

The Golden Spoons

Stop by and visit the hostesses of Tuesday Ten, Lisa and Rabia!
For more Tuesday Ten, visit The Golden Spoons and The Lieber Family!

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A Tale of Two Farms

A cow with her calf at the Adams Farm
A cow with her calf at the Adams Farm

On Saturday, March 19, I had the opportunity to visit another Illinois cattle farm. Illinois cattle farms are not as large as the ranches out west, and they are mostly family farms. This farm tour was the perfect complement to the two cattle tours I have already attended, first to a cattle finishing farm and then to a dairy farm. This third tour was where it all begins in beef production: a cow/calf farm.

Sara Prescott was on our bus for the ride from Arlington Heights to Sandwich, Illinois, talking about her experience running a cow/calf operation of about 100 beef cows. The cow/calf farm is where it all begins in beef production. The Prescott farm breeds cows to have calves, which they sell to cattle finishing farms, and from these farms the grown calves are sold for beef.

Sara talks to a group of City Moms. Photo courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.
Sara Prescott talks with a group of City Moms. Photo courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.

Prescott Angus & Simmental

Sara isn’t able to walk out of her farmhouse to take care of her cattle. She lives with her husband and three children in town, and their cattle live on farmland rented from various landowners. One farm is a twenty minute drive from her house, the other is 45 minutes away. For a farmer, Sara spends a lot of time commuting!

Since her husband also works full time at a cattle feed company, Sara takes on a lot of responsibility for the cattle. During a typical day, she drops her two daughters off at school and takes her little boy with her to check on the cattle farms. They are lucky to be able to hire someone to help feed and check on their cattle at their farm near Lincoln, Illinois. Their cattle live outdoors year round. They own about 5 bulls to breed with their cows, which is done naturally (without artificial insemination). The cows are bred to have calves that are small in size, and so the cow usually has no difficulty giving birth to her calf. First time mothers sometimes need help bonding with their calf. Sara pays close attention to these cows who are about to give birth for the first time. She wants to see the cow get up and lick the calf right after it is born, to know that the calf is her baby. The calf should stand up about 15 minutes after it is born to nurse.

The calves drink their mothers’ milk for about 6 months. When they are 3 months old, they are introduced to solid food, so that the weaning process is easier for them. After the calves are weaned, they are sold to a finishing farm, where they grow and gain weight before they are sold for beef production.

Adams Farm

We got off the bus at the Adams farm near Sandwich, Illinois. The Adams family have been raising beef cattle for almost 60 years, along with raising crops. Their herd has 59 beef cows. Alan Adams used to think that he didn’t need to communicate with consumers. He was content to raise beef cattle as his family had been doing for years without taking the time to connect with moms like us. He changed his mind, however, and has taken a very active role in the City Moms program as he realized the importance of connecting with consumers. He took the time to talk with us about breeding, antibiotics, hormones and manure management on that Saturday morning.

Alan Adams speaks to us in his family barn. Photo courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.
Alan Adams speaks to us in his family barn. Photo courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.

Unlike Sara, Alan does live on his farm in close proximity to his cattle. The Adams family has several barns, and the cattle live in the barns during the winter. Around May 1, they are let out to pasture. The cows spend the summer grazing in the pastures with their calves beside them. While the Adams do lease some land, they also own much of their farmland. They use two bulls to breed their cows, and to breed their heifers (first time mothers-to-be), they use artificial insemination. Just as Sara does, they make sure to breed the cows to have smaller calves so that calving goes smoothly.

While farming may look a little different when comparing Sara’s farms to Alan’s, they also have many things in common. They are both caring farmers who have a love for livestock and take care of their animals’ needs to provide quality beef to consumers like you and me.

You can find out more about the Adams Farm here: Meet the Farmers: Alan and Joann Adams

Sara has written a wonderful article about the humane care of animals, along with other information about Prescott Farms. Read all about it here: Raising Families, Food and Awareness.

Moms Tour_Adams Farm 44
Out on the Adams Farm. Photo Courtesy of Illinois Farm Bureau.

Transportation, lunch, and childcare expenses were provided by the Illinois Farm Families and the Agricultural Support Association. No other compensation was received for the writing of this post.

 
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