Five F’s of Fall

Summer is officially over… where did it go? That means fall fun is here! My favorite time of the year! Bring on the falling leaves, apple cider, and full moons! But the most important parts of fall are the 5 F’s of Fall!


Football isn’t just right without it being a little chilly, so fall weather is just perfect! Tailgating is in full swing you have the perfect weather for a game, crispy air in the morning but it feels just right come game time. You can wear your fall boots and cute sweaters to the game! But nothing beats the bonfires that night.  You share laughter, listen to country music and have a beautiful view of the perfect fall night sky with your friends.


Its harvest season! Fall is a busy time for farmers. Farmers share many moonlight dinners in the fields with their wife that she was happy to make. They are up at the crack of dawn and have many late nights getting the crops out of the fields before winter approaches. Combines are cutting in a staggered line and air smells fresh as the corn is being cut. Tractors and trailers are lined up at the elevator each night waiting to unload so they can make it home and do it all over again the next day.


In Indiana there are festivals all year round but fall festivals are my favorite. One of Indiana’s largest festivals begins October 10 and runs through the 19th. The Covered Bridge Festival is right around the corner where you can enjoy a wide array of shopping and other attractions like the historical covered bridges, Amish country and try the maple syrup. So before your schedule gets too busy be sure to make time to hit up at least one Indiana fall festival.

Four wheeling

My all time favorite thing of fall is to go four wheeling at the Badlands in Attica.  I love the adrenaline rush you get but also getting a little dirty in the mud.  All while riding you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you of the leaves changing and enjoy the beautiful weather.

But the best part of fall is spending time with your Family. All of the “F’s” would not be as fun if you did not have the ones you love around you to share them with.  Spending time outdoors enjoying the crisp fall air ,whether it be at a football game or at festival be thankful for the traditions you may share.


Farming isn’t only for Food

Bacon, milk, corn.. Everyone knows these products come from farms. But food is not all we get from farms. Many people are now aware that shampoo, paints, and even perfume come from farms, too.  Did you know that deodorant, medicines, and detergent wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for farmers? Traditional farm products (soybeans, cattle, wheat) are an important ingredient in many products we use everyday.

Below are more products that many don’t realize are made with an ingredient from a farm:

Health Care products: 

X-ray film, aspirin, latex gloves, ointments, diapers, vitamins

Beauty Care:

Perfume, blush, deodorant, soap, toothpaste


Polymers, adhesives, lubricants, solvents, detergents, foams, cement, wax


Footballs, Uniforms, bats, baseball gloves


Chalk, crayons, pencils, paper, paintbrushes, paint, ink


Antifreeze, biofuels, ethanol, tires


Did you know that only 2% of Americans are involved in traditional on-farm careers!? There are approximately 22 million people who work in the agriculture fields; this involves food science, packaging, tourism, and almost 200 different more!

So as harvest season is approaching and you’re lined up like a parade behind a tractor on the road, remember this: If it wasn’t for the person driving the tractor… You may not smell too great, may not have a college football game to enjoy, and you may have to always be in your birthday suit!

Not four years but for Life

As the first round of sorority recruitment is over, I’ve realized that my best experience thus far has been joining a sorority. Coming in as a freshman, I never thought that I would fit in; I rode four-wheelers and drove a truck. I was not the stereotypical sorority girl at all. My mom told me to try it, so I thought I would give it a shot. Never did I ever think that it would be one of the best decisions of my life.

Two years ago I accepted my bid from Zeta Tau Alpha, and I absolutely love it! There is never a dull moment in this house.  From the philanthropic events we participate in, to doing each other’s hair, to having our own dance parties, or the massive amounts of cheesy bread we eat! There is laughter being shared at all times.

Zeta is my home away from home. Walking into the house your always greeted with a welcoming hello and smile. Everyone is always looking out for each other and always has your back. I have met many girls that have completely different backgrounds and interests, yet they have became some of my closest friends.

At first I became part of Zeta Tau Alpha; now Zeta Tau Alpha is a part of me. I am looking forward to the next two years as a Zeta Tau Alpha at Purdue University and the rest of my life apart of this great sisterhood.

& Enjoy the Lake

  Labor Day Weekend, “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of their country.” So what is the best way to celebrate your hard work? Going to the Lake!

There is no better place in the world than relaxing on the water.  Listening to music and soaking up the sun, all while enjoying the beautiful view around you. You get a nice tan and never get too hot because you have the cool breeze blowing through your hair riding around on the boat. But if you do start to feel the heat, no worries just jump on in!

Go tubing, skiing and wakeboarding with your friends even though you may feel it tomorrow! Try to catch a fish for dinner or just go out to eat on the lake.

There is no dress code and you don’t have to worry about bringing a watch because you run on lake time! Enjoy the ones around you and share a few laughs. Take a nap, enjoy the sunset, and take a lot of pictures because these memories will last a lifetime.

So this Labor Day, put your feet up, take a break, sit back and relax, and enjoy the lake.

“Twas the night before the Indiana State Fair

After a long day preparing for opening day of the Indiana State Fair, my fellow intern Armenda and I crafted this fair-inspired re-make..check it out! 

‘Twas the night before the Indiana State Fair and all through the grounds, the only thing you could hear was Lynard Skynard’s rockin’ sound. Antique tractors lined up by Pioneer Village with care, in hopes that fairgoers would soon be there.

4-H’er’s were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of purple banners danced in their heads. And pigs in their pens and cattle at the tie-outs had just settled down for a cool summer night out. 

When out on the midway there arose such a clatter, I came out of the Glass Barn to see what was the matter. Away to the golf cart I ran in a dash, grabbed my camera and quickly turned on the flash.

When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but the midway arch sign lit up all bright and clear! Everyone was in awe of the bright shiny lights, but what they loved most was the new coliseum at night.

 I took one last look around this beloved fair before I come back tomorrow when the balloons will be up in the air.

Don’t Worry Be Happy

This week I attended Ag Media Summit, which is a meeting of ag industry’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers and ag communicator specialists. Going into the Summit I hoped that I would make a lot of great contacts within the ag industry, which I did and I could not be more thankful for  that opportunity but little did I know that the keynote speaker, Craig Zablocki (who was not in the ag industry) would make me think about life completely different.

He spoke about how people lead by example.. He did an exercise where he told everyone to make a fist and put it on his or her chin but when he said that he put it on his cheek. A group of highly educated leaders did not listen to him, but did exactly what he was doing on stage… putting their fist on their cheek. As he pointed it out the room was full of laughter.

His next topic was about children. He shared with the group that children laugh around 300-400 times a day! That’s is a lot of laughter compared to the adult who laughs only 15-20 times a day!  Children are not scared to say what might be funny in their head or how they are feeling at the exact moment even if it may sound ridiculous. They have courage to do anything.  They are not scared to speak in front of crowds or dance when they feel like it. They don’t care what others think of them. They are fearless.

baby pic

This got me thinking. He was right! Why do we care so much about what others think… why don’t we make ourselves happy? Why don’t we laugh more often? Why don’t we sing in the car more often? Why don’t we smile at strangers? Why don’t we just dance in random places? If you’re having a great day show it! Wake up with the attitude that you’re going to make it a great day! Lead by example have a smile on your face! Say good morning to your secretary or your professor. LAUGH! Why be stressed over something that you can’t do anything about? Start living your life fearlessly! What is the worst that could happen? He then went on to talk about as we grow older our lives as adults become very busy and stressful. We don’t take time to enjoy the moment in life we are living. We don’t take steps out of our comfort zones because we worry about what others think. We constantly worry about things that are completely out of our control.

Are you going to have a bad day here and there? Yes we all do. But don’t dwell on it. Its in the past. You cant do anything about it. Live in the moment!

Spend time with your family.

Be silly with your friends.

& Enjoy life.

Behind the Clover

As the county fairs in Indiana are winding down, many 4Hers are preparing for the Indiana State Fair or are just relieved that they got their project to their county fair and made it to the show ring.  Whether they earned a purple banner or just won a ribbon, they can say they completed another year of 4H.

There are many stories and articles you read about how 4H is a great youth organization. 4H teaches characteristics that a person can carry on through the rest of their life and teach the next generation.  It instills leadership skills and hard work. As a 10-year 4H member, I can completely agree with every article I read about these topics.  But I think that many people go unrecognized in this program.  Is it all about the kids… yes 100%. But who are behind these kids helping and supporting them to take on these projects each year?


If it weren’t for the parents, the youth program would not be where it is today.  Moms and dads are the backbone of this great organization. They help in so many ways whether it is with encouraging words, providing money to buy feed driving to 4H meetings or helping with your record book the night before its due. Many parents are your right hand man. They assist in anyway they can even if it late at night washing your jeans before show day.  When show day rolls around they are your biggest cheerleader in the barn. They make sure you have your boots and at least two clean shirts to show in. But for my brother… my mom always throws and extra in the truck. They are just as nervous as you while you wait in the holding ring. During the show, they can’t hold still! But win or lose they are still there for you. They always have something positive to say and are already planning for the next year.

So, Moms and Dads,

Thank you!

My parents and I after my 10 years of $-H.


Siblings are taken for granted. Siblings are the ones who get the short end of the stick. They end up doing all the dirty work… cleaning hog pens in the scorching heat, walking your pigs when your gone, or watering your livestock when it is hot out. They spend the early mornings and late nights in the barn with you when you both would rather be in bed. Even though they don’t always act like it siblings love helping out every once in awhile.  They look up to you and are always watching you when it comes show time, even when competing against each other.  They are behind you in the holding ring with your water sprayer and an extra rag just in case. Even though their encouraging words may not always come out the best way they just want the best for you.


Thank you so much!

My brother and I competing against each other my last year.


Where would 4H be without all of its supporters? It’s the extension agents, 4H leaders, the farmer down the road, or just a family friend. They are passionate about the program and would do anything for the youth. These people are awesome and don’t get told it enough! They go out of their way to make sure they can make your year in 4H as fun as it was when they were involved. Even though you are not their child, they treat you as you are. They will wake up at 4a.m. to take you to a show 3 hours away or take a weeks vacation just to be at the fair along your side.  These supporters are the ones that let you barrow their scales and let you use their barn to store your trailer. You can’t thank them enough for every thing they do for you.  If it weren’t for their guidance you would not have memories or the passion for the organization as you do.


Thank you for everything you have done!

Terry Miller, the one guy who actually wanted me to show sheep and if it was not for him I wouldn’t have! Thank you also to Gary Grice (not pictured) anything you want to know about pigs ask that guy!

Small Town Business Owners

It’s the lumber store, the local bank, or the car dealer downtown you know them. They are the ones that sponsor the trophy or plaque you win for champion in the breed.  They are the bidders at the auction who may not know the good from the bad in livestock, but they make sure every kid  is recognized for his or her hard work throughout their 4H project. They don’t do it for the glory and the fame; they don’t write a check each year to hear their name on their loud speaker for purchasing a pig. They do it because they are members of the community and they feel it is their responsibility.  These small town business  big and small- do it because they see how this 4H builds skills in the next generation.  To you it may look like a paycheck in the mail for your summer project, but to them it’s the satisfactory of knowing they acknowledged your hard work and efforts that you put into your project.

Small Town Business Owners,

Thank you for your effort and support!

My brother selling his pig in the auction at our county fair.

& of course you can’t forget the ones who love you the most… YOUR GRANDPARENTS!!

All four of my grandparents are always at every show! The ones on the right know nothing about livestock but always show their support!

If it was not for all of the ones above then you would not have the passion, patience, or love to teach the younger generation that you do today.

emma collage

“You can take the farmer out of the Farm but you can’t take the farm out of the farmer.”

My grandpa is soon to turn 80 and lives in the nursing home. He has been there for a little over a year, after we about lost him last summer. Although he has been sick for almost my whole life, he always is high-spirited and the friendliest man there is.  He could talk to anyone about anything!

Every one in Putnam County knows my Grandpa in some way. Even though no one can forget the last name Pickel! My grandpa was a livestock and grain farmer and also owned a sale barn in Montgomery County.  People still today remember my grandpa crying auctions. Everyone always says, “He could sell anything.” When the weather is nice out my grandma or mom will take him on a “drive” to show him that my uncle is still running the farm right. They take him by the farm where my grandma and him live and drive through the back pasture to check all the new calves. Then she drives him to the north pasture to check the other cattle to make sure everything is up to expectations.

The next stop is where my uncle lives which is the main farm. It’s where my grandma and grandpa raised my mom, uncle, and aunt. They have a lot of sheep and cows and a few pigs! Every time my grandma drives him up to the gate he starts hollering for the sheep so he can see them. The older ones always come running because they recognize his voice and they think they are getting fed. They soon are fooled.

My grandpa always complains about something my uncle needs to get done even if it’s “why is that bucket laying there” or “that cow looks sick wonder if Boyd knows about that.”  It’s just the little things he misses the most. He can’t stand being away from the farm or just being able to watch the crops grow in the fields outside of his window at home.

Although he may not live as close to the farm as he used to. Everyone makes sure he feels as if he is still involved in daily decisions. Every day my grandma brings him The Banner, which is the local newspaper and FarmWorld so he can catch up on his reading that he is missing. My grandpa calls my uncle everyday (more than once) to make sure everything is going good and to see how everything is growing. You could call him any day and he could tell you what corn was going for.

My grandpa is the “American Farmer.” He has worked for everything he has, even though there have been many battles along the way, he has never once given up. Although he is not there everyday, he still tries to help and is as passionate about agriculture as he was 70 years ago. He started a lifestyle for his family and it continues as my uncle is growing the 3rd generation on the same farm my grandpa raised him on.

3 generations