Century Farm Appreciation Party Sum-Up

So, it was a while ago, but I thought it was time to talk about it.  The Century Farm Appreciation Party—smiley face.  My mother, who wrote this summary of it through her eyes, had been posting other posts about the history of the farm previously, like the fact that green tractors have always graced this farm (seriously, when I was little, a blue tractor pulled in the yard and my mom was all like, “Who the heck is that?” …we’ve since become friends with people who prefer red tractors for some unknown reason), telling about Grandma’s diary from her time at the U of M, and the history of the seed business here.  She’s a big agriculture advocate, and many of her posts are about the topic. 

Anyway, it was a hustle to get everything ready.  The nasty weather the Friday before so didn’t help anything, and some things just didn’t get done.  My mom poked her head in my room as I was contemplating getting up.  “Good morning, honey.  Here’s the stuff I picked up for you yesterday.  By the way, Pam is here.”  I nodded, but I was super confused.  Pam lives in the cities.  She got here this morning?  It was like, seven.  What time did she have to get up?  So I got up, and there was Pam, already helping out over in the shop (where the party would be).  I got dressed, put on my brace, and my brace wouldn’t work.  It was weird.  This hadn’t happened since last summer.  I looked at where it was flashing “error” (on the flashy noisy thing on my…”necklace”)—between the heel sensor and the brace.  Hmm.  Battery?  As much as I’ve had to deal with the crap put out by this thing, I am much better at finding out what’s wrong.  But why today?  I sent up a plea to the Lord, adding a complaint that this had to happen today.  But then I dealt.  Dad had to pick up fruit in town, and he had to stop a few other places.  At the hardware store, he looked for a battery.  Too bad it was a specialty battery that we couldn’t find anywhere.  So, mom started calling places to see if they carried the battery.  I was ready to make do and compensate all day.  I took over the calling when Mom had to do something else.  Finally, I called Radio Shack.  They had the battery!  “I’ve been looking everywhere,” I said in relief that it was actually somewhere in Marshall.  “Yeah, we’re the only place that carries them.”  (I got that, thank you.  I called everyone else already.)  So, when Dad had to go back to Marshall for something else, I told them that they had the battery at Radio Shack, and he picked one (more like three) up for me!   

People were showing up, and I was helping out where I could, too.  I helped to put signs up for the “Ag Olympics” we had in another shed.  Events included Bale Stacking (nine square bales), Bale Toss, Tire Flipping (a TRACTOR tire, that’s fun), Feed the Pigs (running two 5-gallon-buckets of pig feed through an obstacle course as quickly as possible), Water the Chickens (bringing water over by sponge only).  I wandered over there in the middle of the happenings and watched two farmers, friends of my parents, competing. Who knew that that farmers in their mid-40’s were so competitive?  Did I just say something about “their age?”  Of course not.  In yet a different shed, we filled a kiddie pool with wheat for kids to play in (you bet they did), a petting zoo of farm animals run by Marshall’s FFA (Lakeview’s FFA did the Ag Olympics stuff), and we had a 5-gallon pail filled with soybeans in which 5 tools or things were lost in it to find.  Really, it was like a farming experience, all the stuff we had.  (And we’re a crop farm—lots of equipment and seed stuff, and therefore a lot of sheds.)

Anyway, back to the before-hand.  Dad had gotten our family polos that said “Olson Organics, Cottonwood, Minnesota, 1913-2013” on them.  With his impressive Olson Organics logo, of course.  We might alter it to say “Olson Organics at Fairview Farm, Cottonwood, Minnesota”.  They can’t decide how it should be worded.  My friend Marissa came early, because she needed to head out home before any other bad weather hit.  I gave her a tour and she helped set up lawn golf kind of.  Two of my awesome aunts, Pam and Heidi, made another set of golf balls—you know, the kind where there’s a rope that goes through them, then there’s a golf ball on each end—they did a fabulous job.  The power point I had made was set up and playing on a wall, and the party soon began. 

The Dinner Club that Mom and Dad are part of took care of the serving food, and soon, everything was taken care of.  It was like a well-oiled machine.  Mom and Dad were engaged in conversation until I went to bed that night, and I talked to random people, as well.  There were seed buyers, seed dealers, equipment-people, people who have done construction on a shed of ours, neighbors, family, people from church, guys from the elevator and the co-op.  Basically, Mom and Dad created a list and tried to include everyone who was impacted by our farm, as well as everyone that impacted our farm.  Pretty sure she’ll write a blog about that, too.  🙂  Only about a third of those people could make it, but it was hoppin!  (Am I allowed to use that term?)  I myself drank like, three bottles of water and was super warm.  BUT, I talked to a lot of people—some of them I recognized, but seriously needed a hint when it came to their names, others I met for the first time, and yet more I knew pretty well.  It was awesome that my grandpa Kenny, his sister Fern, and Shi, part of that generation and married to Bob, could just sit at a table and people came up to talk with them.  History is great, and I loved that the three of them could be there for most of it! 

We joke that, “Oh, you couldn’t make it to this one?  That’s okay, maybe you’ll make it to the next one, in 3013.”  But seriously, I love the history of this farm.  In doing research and stuff for it, I have learned so much!  I’m even on a genealogy kick, and was elated to see on ancestory.com that my mom has traced the Olson side to southern Norway before coming to the U.S.  I can’t wait until someday my great-grandchildren may go through the same process as I did.  Remember, everyone, LABEL YOUR PHOTOS! 



P.S: My mom has a ton of pics on her posts, but they aren’t on my computer, so go ahead an wander over to hers if you want to check out some awesome pics from the day.  Also, be sure to check out this post of mine that I wrote about this farm, as well.

God’s Awesome Plan is ALWAYS Better Than Mine

It all started when a prof of mine asked if I was giving lessons this summer and added “(HINT)” at the end of the question in an email.  I thought I was going to be staying in Sioux Falls all summer, so I went right to work, contacting the right people to reserve space and get everything lined up at my school.  And then, I didn’t get any of the jobs I applied for in Sioux Falls, so I made the decision to be home for the summer.  I had already been in the works for arranging lessons in Sioux Falls, so I decided that I’d just commute.  It’s only a two hour drive.  Knowing I’d be home over the summer, I called the local music store near there and talked to the owner about giving lessons.  He said he wanted to meet me before recommending me to anyone, but that I could teach percussion and brass, as there was already a woodwind instructor there (himself).  “If there are lessons to give, you can give them.”  Well, that didn’t sound very promising, so I stuck with my decision to be in Sioux Falls, as well.  And then.  I don’t know many facts, but apparently an area middle school band director just left, so a few of his students were wanting summer lessons, so they called the local music store.  So far, I have one student in Sioux Falls and four at home.  I am alternating weeks there and here, choosing Tuesdays to be my lesson day.  Percussion is my main instrument, so I am doing that in Sioux Falls, but I am doing both percussion and brass at home.  I did take trumpet lessons last semester and I understand how all the others work (I’ve played them all, just not recently).  I am student teaching next semester, after all, and teaching all the instruments in lessons in the school.  And, I’m only teaching one non-middle schooler.  Have I mentioned that I want to teach beginners and middle school?  The one non-middle schooler is an adult who wants to refresh her skill and just get playing again.  I don’t know what that will be like, and I’m kind of nervous for that one, but seriously, things are just going perfectly.

When I look back on this last spring (was it spring?  It was like, winter, summer, bleh), I am kind of amazed.  I fought so hard to stay in Sioux Falls, but God’s way is always best.  Obviously, he didn’t want me there.  I even turned down a part-time job there because I felt that I was supposed to—first, because I thought I was going to get this last full-time job, but now, I realize, because I was supposed to be here.  God blows my mind all the time, and this situation is no different.  So much good has been happening here at home, and I’ve only been here for, like, two weeks.  As my last post talked about, I get to help out with this century farm party.  I’ve actually been helping out on the farm, and I’m really loving it.  My sister, Laura, was always helping dad out before, so there was little for me to do.  I know she’s sad that she’s not helping out on the farm this year, but I honestly don’t think I would get to do what I’ve been doing if she were here.  She is stretching out her independence, and I know that she is learning a lot about herself and just what it is to be independent in Sioux Falls where she is working this summer.  Laura, if you’re reading this, I love you a ton, and I am in no way trying to be mean.  I’m just in awe about God’s work.  My appreciation of this farm has grown as I’ve been learning about its history, and being able to help out in the ways I have been has certainly enriched this appreciation, as well.  My dad, and all the farmers in this family before him, is just awesome.  Seriously.  My sister Christina is working out near Rapid City this summer, so this is the longest time it’s been just me and the ‘rents since before Christina was born (really? that’s kind of crazy!).  I am keeping probably too busy, this being summer and all, but I love every moment of it! (God continually leaves me full of awe, which isn’t “awe-ful,” but only some.)

I hope all of you are having a great start to your summers, as well!


Saturday Smiley: The Olson Farm

Daniel and family (his sons and brother) in the corn crib at the Minnesota farm
Daniel and family (his sons and brother) by the corn crib at the Minnesota farm

Once upon a time, a man named Daniel moved with his wife and four children from Iowa to Minnesota.  In Minnesota, he bought a farm.  One of his brothers was already living in the town near the farm he bought.  After they had grown, his children moved all over, except one of his sons, Nuel, who took over the home farm.

Fast forward one hundred years from the date that Daniel moved.  TODAY!  Yes, that’s right.  Our farm becomes a century farm this year!  And while Daniel signed the deed in February, we are honoring the event this summer.  Nuel’s son Kenny took over the farm from him, and his other son, Bob, moved to a farm nearby.  Kenny’s son Jonathan took over the farm from him, and that’s my dad, so it is currently a four generation farm!  It’s really exciting.  And, because I’m home this summer, I’m helping to scan and organize old pictures in a slideshow and generally help when needed for the century farm party we’ll be having in a couple weeks.  Let me share some things I’ve learned:

Nuel's Sign

–          This farm actually has a name.  Daniel paid 50 cents for it, and technically, it still has that name.

–          Nuel began growing certified seed in the ‘30s.  That tradition stands to this day.

–          Daniel had an impressive ‘stash.  That’s a family trait, as well, as my dad and Bob’s sons all have great mustaches.  (Bob being Kenny’s brother, Nuel’s other son.)

–          Nuel and his wife, Myrtle, both went to the Ag School at the University of Minnesota in the 20s (currently the Twin Cities campus).  Kenny, Bob, and both of their wives went to an Ag School that later became the University of Minnesota Morris.

–          This farm has changed a lot since Daniel bought it.  Only two of the buildings that were here when he moved here still stand today.  Another, we tore down about a month ago. (The two buildings being the old corn crib and the house.)


– When you take a picture, label it so that future generations know the what and who and when of a picture. (Seriously, this stuff is important!)

– Basically, my family has been awesome for generations.  I so have proof.

I love family history, and I appreciate this farm so much more now knowing all of the history behind it.  I never completely understood why we didn’t have animals on our farm, but the rich tradition of growing certified seed is so worth much more!  My mom has been talking about all this awesome history on her blog, too, so be sure to check it out.  It has been SO MUCH FUN learning everything I have so far!  We’re having a Century Farm Party in a couple weeks, like I said, and we invited people that have impacted or are impacted by this farm in some way.  The list is quite long, but our farm has expanded over the last century, so there’s room for everyone.


This farm and all its history is the reason for my smiley today!  — Anna Olson (Great-great granddaughter of Daniel Olson)