Sunday, March 13, 2011

Woman In Ag Conference

I'm trying to catch up on some things that I had meant to blog about a while ago. I am going back chronologically in my pictures and am going to write a few posts that I meant to write earlier, but just haven't done. I'm not sure exactly why I haven't had time. This is suppose to the the slow part of our season.

Any way, first on the agenda is the Woman in Agriculture Conference in Kearney that I took part of on February 17th and 18th. Platte Valley Bank of Morrill generously offered to pay my way to the conference, including lodging and the conference fee, and I graciously accepted. Heck yes, a chance to get out of dodge for a few days, see son #3 (Chris & Katy, his girlfriend), eat food that is prepared by someone other than moi, stay in a hotel and watch HGTV on CABLE TV. You betcha!

The conference started on Thursday morning, so I went down Wednesday. Kearney is about 290 miles from home, a little south and a whole lot of east of here. The thing about Nebraska, is that it is a long way across our state. Mind you, we live 4 miles from the western border of Nebraska, almost in Wyoming. It's about 660 miles to Omaha, which is on the eastern border of Nebraska. One good thing about I-80 and traveling across the state is that I think we have nice rest stop facilities along the interstate! When I go east I take HWY 26 to Ogallala and then get on I-80 and continue east on the interstate. I love the drive along HWY 26. If I would have had more time, I would have stopped and taken pictures of some of my favorite places like Ash Hollow, but I didn't on the way there. I did make one stop on the way back. I'll share that in a bit.

Along the way, I saw tons of Canadian geese, not an unusual sight for Nebraska, especially since my route followed the North Platte River. I also saw a enormous flock of snow geese by the Museum of Military Vehicles just outside of Lexington. That pond that is just to the west of that helicopter was just chuck full of snow geese. I told myself that if the snow geese were there on the way home, I would stop and take a picture of them.

I "borrowed" this picture from the museum website. Those of you who have driven I-80 have seen this helicopter. I wonder how many of you have actually stopped at the museum? I know that my friend/neighbor has stopped with her kids, because I saw pictures on Facebook. Looks interesting, but not THAT interesting to stop and do by yourself.

As I was making my way across this great state in which I have lived 25 of my 45 years I thought about the countless times I have traveled this road. It seems as if not much has changed. My favorite houses along the way are still there. (I love looking at houses, do I have a house fetish?) If you travel with me sometime I will point out each one along the way. There are a few new ones that have been built in recent years and some of my old favorites have gotten face-lifts! I love following the North Platte River and crossing it along the way.

Oh wait, this isn't a post about driving across the state of Nebraska...

So anyway, I arrived at the hotel in which the conference was located and also in which Platte Valley National Bank had so graciously put me up for the next two nights in. I checked in and moseyed on down to my bunk for the night. Oooo, nice! So this is the Holiday Inn in Kearney! Oooo, I like! Fancy-schmancey! You can click on the link to check it out if you want to. I took a few pictures of my room for you, but didn't get any of the lobby.

Oooo, comfy! Ooo, la, la, I like those little sash things on the pillows.
Cute, cute, cute way to dress up a pillow without a sham.
Keeping idea for future decoration possibilities.

Are you serious?
I can choose between "soft"...

... or "firm" pillows?
I may never want to go back to the ranch!

ooo, nice big screen!
Is there HGTV?
Yes, SCORE!!!!

psst... notice the phone to the right of the mirror?

"Hello, this is room 121 and I ran out of toilet paper.
Could someone please bring me some?"
hee, hee
What do you need a phone in the bathroom for?

Me taking a picture of me in the bathroom!

After I got settled in I called Chris to let him know that I made it to Kearney. Before I came, we had made plans that I would take Chris and Katy out to dinner that night, since it was the only meal that was not going to be provided for me through the conference. So, I went over to Chris' place to meet him and Katy.

It does a mother's soul so much good to walk into her son's, single, living alone, no roommates, apartment and to find it so nice and clean! All those years of boot camp upbringing and household chores really must have sunk in... either that or dear Katy cleans up after you, dear son!

We went to a nice Italian place for dinner, can't remember the name of it, so I can't do a review of it and besides I didn't take any pictures of it. I didn't want to embarrass Katy with the obsessive, compulsive picture taking. I really like her and don't want to scare her off. Hee, hee!

After dinner it was back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and a soak in the hot tub. I was so full from dinner that I didn't think that I wanted to swim so I told Chris and Katy I would just go with them and sit by the pool. But after watching them go down the slides, I was headed back to the room to put on my suit and join the fun!

The Slides!
The green one was open and the yellow one was enclosed.
I don't think I've ever done a slide where you are enclosed in it.
It was freaky fun and fast.
I can't remember which one was faster,
but I hit the back of my head as I was coming down one of them
because I was going soooo fast!
I might have even screamed like a little girl...
I don't remember because it was so scary fun!

Here comes Katy, so fast the camera couldn't focus on her!

Up goes Chris.
There were tons of stairs to climb.
By the time I got to the top, I needed a break,
not only because my legs were tired of climbing
but because I was so dizzy from going around and around in a spiral.

Here comes Chris!
He's so fast it looks like he might slide right up and over the side of the slide!
Be careful Christopher!

Chris and Katy exiting the pool.
Katy in shock at how fast the slide was!

I didn't make the kids take a picture of me.
You can thank me for sparing you the embarrassment of seeing
me in a swimming suit!

Had I not had to climb those stairs to slide down the slide, I would have done it way more times than I did. It was fun. After the slide, we went to the whirlpool. Ouchie mama, man was it hot at first, but after we adjusted to the hotness, it felt oh so good!

When we were done swimming and boiling in the hot tub we headed back to the room where Chris and Katy watched a little HGTV with me and then took off. I managed to stay up half the night watching HGTV and around 3 am I woke-up and turned off the television. Dan the Man would never let me do that at home! We don't even have cable or satellite television, let alone a tv in our bedroom.

The conference was held right in the hotel so I didn't have far to go. The first morning started out with registration, delicious caramel sticky rolls, a guest speaker and various workshops.

The first guest speaker was Gloria Schaefer. What a wonderful speaker to open the conference! She was funny, encouraging and genuine! I didn't get a picture of her because I didn't have my camera with me.

We then attended three workshops of our choice the rest of the day, one before lunch and two after. The workshops were numerous and hard to chose between. From business feasibility, to estate planning, parenting, computerized farm records, genetics of beef cattle, to landscaping... The workshop I enjoyed the best was called "Livestock Producers, PETA, HSUS: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Animal Welfare?"

They provided us with dinner, which was very good, followed by entertainment by the Kearney Area Barbershoppers 1733 Chorus. It was kind of ironic that the entertainment was a barbershop chorus since Dan the Man and I had just listened to the Sugar Valley Barbershop Chorus at a valentines day dinner that our church put on. I love barbershop chorus music. I think I like it so much because my stepfather was in the Sugar Valley Barbershop Chorus for as long as I can remember. He had a beautiful big booming voice and loved to sing. He use to sing to my mom all the time. I will always associate the song "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" with barbershop choruses.

The best part of the Kearney's group program was when they sang Lee Greenwood's song "Proud To Be An American." I love that song and always get a huge lump in the back of my throat when I hear it. When they sang the final chorus of "And I’m proud to be and American, where at least I know I’m free. And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today. ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA" the whole entire room stood up. Wow, it was almost too much for this military mom to handle and I had to bite my lip to keep from crying.

The next morning consisted of breakfast and another guest speaker, Lynette Brown. Oh my gosh, she was hilarious! She told stories of her farm life as a wife of a dairy farmer. She refers to her husband as "Farmer Brown." Sounds like Farmer Brown and Dan the Man are very similar in many aspects. Hee, hee.

Lynette Brown

After Lynette's speech we had two more workshops and then lunch. The conference was closed by Georgeann Wearin. Some of you who live in Western Nebraska might know her. She is from Hyannis, NE and is a free-lance writer with regular columns in the Scottsbluff Star Herald and The Fence Post. I loved her and could relate to her stories on so many levels!

Georgeann Wearin

This was the 26th Annual Women in Ag Conference.
There around 400 women in attendance.
There were a few, like maybe 5 women there who had attended
every one of the 26 conferences. Wow!

The only down side of the conference...

Notice the expiration date on these chips
that were served for snack one day.

What a fun two days. Thank you Platte Valley Bank!

Geez... that was a marathon post. Are you still with me? Who wants to hear about the drive home?

I don't see anyone holding up their hand, so I guess I'll save those pictures for another post.

The End, and aren't you glad?!


  1. Sounds like a great break from the routine! I love going to conferences if they have interesting sessions...... The slides looked fun!

  2. A good conference can be so thought-provoking and entertaining. I just about exploded at the first good conference I ever attended. There was so much to learn and so many people to meet! I wish there were more options for continuing learning opportunities like that in general!