Christmas in the Country 2015 Gift Reveal!

001-1Here we are again! It is time to reveal what was given in this years Christmas in the Country gift exchange! This is by far my favorite part of the exchange. Through all of the signing up, matching up, emailing, tracking packages and finger crossing, this is the part that makes all of that time worth it.

I really think this year was our best yet and I think I am beginning to see why. Being our third year, we have had several repeat participants. Each time they participate, we get to know them a little bit better and that knowledge of them and their blogs makes for better matching up of individuals.

This year we had 53 Bloggers; 52 women and 1 man. We had 19 states represented, stretching from Pennsylvania to Oregon. We had Bloggers who are dairy farmers, cattle ranchers, agricultural industry leaders, custom harvesters, agriculture teachers, extension agents, pig farmers, photographers, greenhouse operators, row crop farmers, poultry farmers, farm/country women and all around fantastic individuals. I also had three co-hosts who this could not of been done without! Thank you Jamie, Lara and Kirby for all of your help, all of your time and for just being there when I had a question or needed to run something by you. Thank you for everything!

This year we also had delayed packages, packages left in obscure places that took the receiver a day or five to find, a package that was returned to the sender by the shipping company, packages that arrived early and even a package that the family pet got a hold of before sending. I think we saw and or had it all happen this year! Through it all though, we could not of asked for better understanding and attitudes from all of the participants. Thank you to all of them!

This time Lori from Home on the Range Exchange had my name. I love the name of her blog and that she is from Kansas, a place I still refer to as my second home. Lori and I have more in common then similar first names. We both were born and raised on our families diversified farms; she is a fifth generation and I am a fourth. She is an Extension Agent and my mom has been in Extension for over 30 years. She too loves photography and is also very crafty. We both also love to cook. Didn’t I say something about making great matches this year…

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Lori sent me some great handmade items, an awesome little cookbook that I can’t wait to use and a pretty new camera strap that she also made. My current strap is just black and works great in the cattle lot or in the tractor cab, but is not very stylish for when I am other places. Now I am set!

Thank you Lori for the lovely gift you sent. You really did take time to get to know me and your gift could not of been more perfect. I wish you the very best in 2016 and can’t wait to continue to get to know you better!

Each of the 53 Bloggers will be adding their reveal posts to a special LINKUP that is open from now until the 12th. Check the linkup so see what I sent to Chelsea of Boilermaker Ag.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

 

 

 

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November Country Fair Blog Party

Country Fair Blog Party by Country LINKedWelcome to the November addition of the Country Fair Blog Party! A month has already passed since the last party and we are still in harvest mode. I wish I could report that the combines are tucked away for another year, but not yet. Soon I hope! The very wet spring and summer lead to a very late planing date for our soybeans, and they are just now ready for harvesting. Yields are not going to be as good as we hopped, but we feel very blessed to have gotten our fields planted and that there is a crop to harvest.

On to the Country Fair!

Here are my October Purple Ribbon Winners:

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LAURA UNEARTHED – Why I Want My Children to be Losers

“My girls need a desire to win, or they won’t try their best.  It’s okay to fail, but not to set out being okay with failing.  But, then again, I guess “winning” is achieving the goal you started with… so maybe I’d be a wise parent to not dictate the goal.”  – Laura

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NEBRASKA WHEATIE – Love in the Shape of a Red Balloon

“Maybe I feel a connection because of my own children. I can’t imagine having to go through what his family is going through – trying to figure out their new “normal”. The only thing that would/could get me through something as painful as this would be the knowledge that I would see him again one day. God says so.” – Tracy

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COOKING WITH CARLEE – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sheet Cake – A Guest Post by MiMi

“I did not want this to be like a cookie but rather a cake that tastes like cookie dough.  Cookie dough and brownie batter are two of my favorite things.  It doesn’t seem right to serve a bowl of cookie dough to your guests, so this cake was the best alternative.” – MiMi

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GIFTIE ETCETERA – When Kids Are Exceptional, But Adults Can’t Tell

“Kids are the same way. Some are so sweet. Others are funny. Each has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, regardless of disabilities and abilities. Sometimes, challenging kids make it hard to remember that. Sometimes, we don’t see the exceptionalities. We are too busy not looking or judging. It’s time to change that and start making the world a better, more accepting place, especially for children facing special struggles.” – Etcetera

Just like a local Country Fair, we have friends, food, family, farming, animals, crafts, cooking and comedy!

Be sure and check the link to this month’s blog party to see what great blogs link up. If you are a blogger, then please link up to three of your posts. It does not have to be new, just one you love or one that you want to share!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

Blog Party Link-up

www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

Be sure and check out my lovely co-hosts blogs!

Jan of Tip Garden  Nicole of Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom  Val of Corn, Beans, Kids and Pigs

The New Country Fair Blog Party

Country Fair Blog Party by Country LINKed

Welcome to the new and improved Country Fair Blog Party!

New? Yes!  

Improved?  We hope so!  

Still a party?  Of course!

Why the change?  A weekly party has been over whelming for us farm gals.  Between kids, husbands, farms and jobs we have found a weekly party harder to keep up with then we ever thought.  We want to keep the party going and thought the best way to do that is to have a monthly party.  The first day of every month we will post about a new Country Fair Blog Party.  Latter in the month, by the 15th, each co-host will share their favorites in another post.  You may still link up to three posts and you can choose from any that you have written in the past that might fit the theme for that month.

Theme?  Yup!  We have decided to give a theme to each month that we do the blog party.  The month of October will be Fall.  Link up a post about fall decor for your home, harvest, raking leaves, Halloween costumes, a local fall festival or baby calves.  The sky’s the limit!  October is also Pork month, so if you have a post about pork, link it up too.

How does one Link Up?  Adding a link to the party is really easy.  You find the little blue frog at the end of this post and click on it.  The frog takes you to a new page where it asks for the URL of one of your posts.  Be sure and add the specific URL, not just your blog address.  It then will ask for your email.  No worries, no spam! Promise!  Then you will need to chose a picture to go with your link.  Click add and you are Linked Up!  Remember you can link up to three different posts if you so chose.

Who are the co-hosts?  There are currently four co-hosts.  Nicole, Danielle, Taysha and myself.  We are looking for additional hosts.  If you are interested, contact one of us!  You don’t have to be a farm gal(guy) or an agriculture blogger to be a co-host. You just have to have a love of all things country!

Anything else?  Have fun with this!  Visit the blog posts and leave comments!  Interact with the bloggers!  Try one of the recipes or share one of the posts on your FaceBook feed!  Ask questions!  Again the sky’s the limit!

Don’t forget, if you are a blogger and link up a post(s) add the button to your post so that everyone knows that you are a participant.  Kelly from Old Blue Silo designed it for us and we think it is sooooo cute!  Just click on the image and grab the URL.

Okay, I think that is it.  If you have any questions, just let me know!

Here’s to a fantastic new Country Fair Blog Party!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

 

October Country Fair Blog Party - Fall

 

 

Why I Write

Two years ago I started this little blog called Country LINKed: where faith, family and farming meet.  To begin with I had no idea why I wanted to write other than the fact that I was being encouraged to tell our farming family’s story.  The response and feedback from this venture has been wonderful and at times over whelming.  I don’t take complements very well.  (I have no idea why!)  I really don’t, but I love to give them and try hard to encourage others and offer a kind word when I can.

When my lovely friend Julie from Pushing Forward with Grace asked me to participate in this Why I Write blog series, I quickly told her yes without really thinking about what I had committed too.  Julie asked me to do it and I was not going to say no.  (If anyone else would have asked me I would have said no, but Julie and I have a wonderful relationship as virtual sisters and I did not want to disappoint her.)  The more I thought about this project, the more I began to realize that Julie had indeed given me a gift by asking me to do this.  She could have chosen any of the many bloggers she has connected with, but she chose me.  ME!  A little farm gal/mama/wife who just wants to share what it is like being a farming family.  Thank you Julie for asking me to do this!  I hope I don’t disappoint.

I was given four questions to answer about Why I Write.  Along with writing I also love to take pictures and find that the pictures often inspire my writing.  Do to the fact that I tend to do things my way, does not make it right, just mine, I will also talk about photography and why I chose to invest so much time in it.  Here we go!

Why do I write what I write?

Tessa and Kitty

Every day I am blessed to be able to live, work and play on the family farm with those who I love.  I get to breath in the fresh air and watch the changing of the seasons.  I get to see baby calves being born and see my children’s faces light up as they run and explore in wide open spaces.  For me this is exactly where I what to be.  Others may not have the opportunity to see or do what I get to do, but they can come and visit my blog any time they want to read my words and see the pictures that I take.  For me writing and photography is all about sharing what farm life is like.  I started my blogging journey knowing that we as a family get to do some pretty neat things.  We of course have our struggles and heartaches, but when you get to witness the miracle of God’s creation every single day, you want to share that wonder and beauty with others. This is also one of the reasons I have my camera with me all of the time.  I take great joy in catching the little moments in life that make living great. Be it my daughters holding baby kittens, to my son showing his pigs at the county fair, it is the little things that make the best memories and I want to capture that.


How does my writing process work?

FPF #7 - Windmill

Process………………….well……………I am not for sure that I have one.  I am a list maker and a note taker, but when it comes to my writing I am very organic.  If the words are there then I type.  If they are not, then I wait for them to come.  I have learned that when my writing is forced, it is not as good.  When I am writing for others, the words do not come as easily either.  My photography does influence my writing.  Many times I will be taking pictures and realize that right in front of me is a story. Other times I am writing and don’t have a picture that captures what I am saying so I wait until the picture presents itself to have a completed story.  The main thing for me is to love what I am writing about.  If I don’t have a passion for it, then it will not be on my blog.

 

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

hauling hay

As an agriculture blogger I focus on family, day-to-day activities and the work that we do on the farm.  I don’t talk about hot topics and I don’t press issues. Others do that and do a very good job at it.   I keep my words light and easy to follow and leave the technical talk to the experts.  I want to offer a connection to ones roots and simpler times.  I also use LOTS of pictures.  I use my pictures to not only capture a moment, but to also evoke an emotion in the one seeing the photo for the first time. Good photography is simple.  Great photography takes time, talent and knowledge.  All things that I  strive for when it comes to photography and making my blog different from others.

 

What am I writing/working on right now?

Winter Coat 102

I have a Farm Picture Friday that I try to do every week and I am a c0-host for a Country Fair Blog Party that is also once a week.  I have many plans for posts, but don’t always have the words or the time, so they go unwritten.  The ideas that I do have I keep to myself.   When I do have a plan, and that is not often, I like to have everything done before I share.  I am always working to improve my photography skills.  I like to learn by doing, so I will play with the settings on my camera and just have fun seeing what all I can “teach” my camera.

 

That, my friends is Why I Write.  Now it is my pleasure to introduce you to Danielle from one of my very favorite blogs, High Heels & Shotgun Shells.  Danielle’s writing always brings a smile to my face and usually a tear to my eye (which is a good thing!).  She is a lovely young women who has fabulous style, a great sense of humor and is a very talented photographer.  Look for Danielle’s post about Why She Writes in the weeks to come.

HighHeelsandShotgunShells.com

As a kid, Danielle Beard Hayden grew up living a little bit of everywhere — from the metropolis of New Orleans, the suburbs of Tulsa and finally, rural northeast Oklahoma. Realizing rural America is where she truly belonged, she decided to make it her life’s work. Now, Danielle resides with her husband in northwest Kentucky on their newly formed cattle operation, occasionally venturing over to her in-law’s farm to teeter inside their chicken houses or to photo stalk their farm manager (her husband) as he works cows.

Professionally, Danielle is a freelance agriculture writer and photographer. Personally, you can find her blogging at HighHeelsandShotgunShells.com where she writes about her life and uses her urban-turned-rural upbringing to teach agriculture in a way she hopes any reader can relate too.
Blessings to you and to all who write,
Laurie – Country Link
This post was linked to the following blog party:

COUNTRY FAIR BLOG PARTY #25

Country Fair Blog Party by Country LINKed

Fall is fast approaching and it is my favorite time of year!  I love all of the sights, sounds and smells of fall.  Seeing the baby calves playing in the pasture, hearing the rustling of the leaves and smelling the crisp fall air are some of my favorite things about fall.  What are some of yours?  Have a blog post dedicated to fall?  Come join us for this week’s Country Fair Blog Party!!  With so much happening this time of year, (harvest, football, bonfires, calving, and festivals), we want to see what fall means to you!  Come share your blog posts with us or suggest your favorite bloggers joins the party.

Last week was again a great week full of FANTASTIC posts!  Thank you to everyone who joined the blog party!

Week #24 Grand Champions:  (Click on the champions picture and it will take you to the post.)

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Dirt Under My Fingernails: The Once and Future Fair

AGRICULTURE:  Dirt Under My Fingernails

“Farmers not only grown our food; they grow our future.” – Julie

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So Much at Home:  Faux Carmel Apples and Dreams of Fall

CRAFTS/DIY:  So Much At Home

“Popcorn, coffee beans, and a mulled cider candle make my kitchen look and smell as if Fall is in the air.” – Chris

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FOOD:  2 Kids and Tired Cooks

“I’ve been searching for a homemade vanilla cake recipe that isn’t overly sweet and this one just about fits the bill.” – Holly

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Kim's County Line:  A Symphony  for the Eyes

TRAVEL:  Kim’s Country Line

“She saw the camera in my hand, another appendage, it seems at times.” – Kim

Be sure and grab the URL for the button and logo that Kelly from Old Blue Silo designed for us.

Now, time to join week #25.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL from one of your blog posts, not just our blog address.

Add your email address. (No worries!  No spam!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.  (It helps if you already have your picture cropped with your blog name and post title.)

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

THE LOVELY COUNTRY FAIR CO-HOSTS:

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

COUNTRY FAIR BLOG PARTY #24

Country Fair Blog Party by Country LINKed

With school back in swing, things have began to settle down here in the Country.  We have gotten some rain, some heat and our first baby calf of the calving season!  The calves are coming and with it comes hide and seek.

This week’s Country Fair Blog Party is going to be fun!  We are looking for your posts about anything COUNTRY!  Country kids, country crafts, country recipes or country living.  Do you wish for the country life?  Find great ideas and new blogs here at our link-up.  Come to the fair and bring your friends!

Now, on to last week’s winners!

*This week was full of great posts!  We had a hard time picking champions because they were all excellent!  If you have a chance go back and look at all of the posts that linked-up and you will see why we had such a hard time.

Winners from week #23:  (Click on the champions picture and it will take you to the post.)

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AGRICULTURE:  Stray Kernels

“Thankfully, I find corn to be an endlessly fascinating topic.” – Rhodora

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CANNING: Belong With Wildflowers

“Feast your eyes on these simple pickles that taste heavenly and take about five minutes to make.” – Caitlin

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Country Fair Blog Party Link-up:  Mystery Loaf unveiled

FOOD:  Midwestern at Heart

“I thought I’d share how I made tonight’s meatloaf which was a bit different because I had to substitute ingredients I didn’t have for ingredients I did. Let me just say… YUM!” – Nicole

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TRAVEL:  Nebraska Wheatie

“As the afternoon turned to early evening, I decided to venture out into the wide open spaces again. (It had been pretty darn hot!) So, I took a short walk just to see what I could see.” – Tracy

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INDUSTRY: My Other More Exciting Self

“I write about some of the issues I work on in the office on a daily basis and hope that I also give you a better sense of what raising poultry means for the farmers I work for.” – Lara

Be sure and grab the URL for the button and logo that Kelly from Old Blue Silo designed for us.

Now, time to join week #24.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL from one of your blog posts, not just our blog address.

Add your email address. (No worries!  No spam!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.  (It helps if you already have your picture cropped with your blog name and post title.)

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

THE LOVELY COUNTRY FAIR CO-HOSTS:

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

Country Fair Blog Party #24

COUNTRY FAIR BLOG PARTY #23

Co-Hosts of the Country Fair Blog Parties; Nicole, Laurie, Tysha, Danielle

Welcome to the first BLOG PARTY from Austin, TX!!!  Here are all of your lovely co-hosts!  That is right, I finally got to meet all of the ladies at the 2014 AgChat Conference – Cultivate and Connect.  Nicole, Taysha and Danielle had all ready met, so I was a little behind on getting to know them better, but we made up for lost time and it felt like I have known them for years.  Thank you ladies for playing a big part in making my time at the conference so much fun!  (Stay tuned for future posts about what I learned at AgChat.)

Since we were all together at AgChat, we are extending a special invitation to those who attended to also participate in this week’s Blog Party.  We want your posts!  They can be about AgChat or anything else.  New to a Linkup?  Read to the end of the post and it will tell you how to join in on the FUN!

Now, on to last week’s winners!  Each co-host chose their own Grand Champions this week.

Winners from week #22:  (Click on the champions picture and it will take you to the post.)

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Kim's Country Line:  Snapshot Kansas:  Sandy Kansas

PHOTOGRAPHY:  Kim’s Country Line

“The three-week Kansas Cattle Drive was in honor of Kansas’ 150th birthday.”

I have been waiting to award a PHOTOGRAPHY ribbon and this post is very much a Grand Champion!

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2 Kids and Tired Cooks: Brown Sugar Muffins

BAKING:  2 Kids and Tired Cooks

  “This is our favorite Sunday morning muffin recipe.”

Kendall will be a 4-H member this year and plans on taking cooking as one of her projects.  This recipe will be perfect for a young baker!

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Kim's County Line: Kentucky Hot Brown Bake: The Brown HotelFOOD:  Kim’s County Line

“They don’t meet Funeral Sandwiches in our rating system, but I’m sure I’ll make them again.”

I have heard of the The Hot Brown, but have never had one.  Now I can try it!

(Be sure and grab the URL for the button and logo that Kelly from Old Blue Silo designed for us.)

Now, time to join week #23.  Here is how you link up to the Country Fair Blog Party:

Click on the little blue frog at the bottom.

Add the specific post URL from one of your blog posts, not just our blog address.

Add your email address. (No worries!  No spam!)

Select a picture for your thumbnail.  (It helps if you already have your picture cropped with your blog name and post title.)

Click on Done and then share with your friends!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me

THE LOVELY COUNTRY FAIR CO-HOSTS:

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link