Fun on the Farm by author Katie Ganshert

Dear Readers, I have a treat in store for you. Today’s guest blogger is Katie Ganshert! She’s a wife, mom, and an award winning author whose first book came out in 2012. She and I share the same wonderful publisher and editor. If you’re not familiar with Katie, I think you’ll be grateful to learn of her. If you are familiar with her and her books, you’re probably smiling right now in agreement with me. Here’s Katie:

farm

When I tell people I live in Iowa, I often get the question, “Do you live on a farm?” I understand why. Here in Iowa, cornfields abound. But I’ve never lived on a farm. In fact, I was born and raised in the Quad Cities, a metropolis area that boasts roughly 400,000.

Despite my “city girl” upbringing (I give all you large-city folk permission to laugh at my verbiage), I have my fair share of farm-related memories.  As a little girl, I loved taking family road trips on the tickle hills to McRengo, a small farming town in Iowa.

What are the tickle hills, you ask?

That’s the name my brother and I gave to the undulating back roads, because the up and down motion would tickle our tummies.  The town isn’t actually called McRengo, but that’s how I pronounced it for a long time. Perhaps my little kid mind was confusing my dad’s hometown (Marengo) with my favorite fast food joint (McDonald’s).

My dad and his nine siblings grew up on a hog farm there. Every single time we’d visit, I’d plug my nose. As you can imagine, hog farms don’t smell the best. My dad, however, would inhale deeply and say, “Smells like money.” I’m thinking that’s a declaration only fellow hog farmers will understand.

As an adult, I have fond memories of those visits—playing in the hay bales with my cousins. King of the Hill, or King of the Hay, was our favorite. Tractor rides with Uncle Mike. Watching my dad and all his siblings play football or Wiffle Ball in one of the large fields. My brother and my older cousin, Travis, used to climb up into the barn loft and tell me and my younger cousins that we were too young to come up.

“How old do you have to be?” we’d ask.

“Six,” they’d say.

Funny how the age requirement went up each year. I’m not sure we ever made it up there.

Eventually, the farm was sold, but the memories remain.

And now I get to watch my son make those same memories. Only instead of driving the tickle hills to McRengo, Iowa, we take family trips to a dairy farm (pictured above) in Argyle, Wisconsin—where my sister-in-law, Heidi, and her family live.

For Brogan, my five-year old son, there’s nothing more fun than visiting that farm—snowmobiling and sledding in the winters.

calf huts

Roasting marshmallows in the fire pit next to their horse field in the summers. Running through the corn, pretending the distant sound of lowing calves are dinosaurs on the hunt.

corn field

Riding way up high in a combine with his cousins while Heidi’s dad combines the wheat.

combine

My favorite story might be one that is too far back for Brogan to remember. He was staying with Uncle Matt and Aunt Heidi for several days. They ended a fun-filled, exhausting day at the fire pit. Three-year old Brogan was too tired to walk back to the house on his own, so he hitched a ride on Uncle Matt’s shoulders and ended up peeing on his perch.

“Don’t worry, Uncle Matt. It was only a little bit,” he said.

Thankfully, Uncle Matt is a good sport.

I love that Brogan gets to have a taste of country living.

I also love that I have two farming experts who are a phone call away. Both my dad and Heidi were immensely helpful when I was doing research for my debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, which is set on a farm. They patiently answered my naïve city-girl questions. Heidi and Matt brought me on a tour of their dairy farm, teaching me the lingo and telling me about their daily tasks. Because of them, I was able to bring the setting to life. Or at least I hope so.

I’m not sure it’s fair that we get to experience all the fun of country living without any of the hard work. Heidi and her younger brother get up at three-thirty every morning to start their chores. They have 130 cows that need to be milked twice a day, every day. Sick days and personal days don’t exist. It’s a lifestyle I admire. One I know my son will grow up admiring as well.

Question for You: Do you have any farm-related memories?

Katie4

Christy Award finalist and Carol Award winner, Katie Ganshert lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime soon. You can connect with Katie and learn more about her books by visiting…

Her website: www.katieganshert.com

Her author Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieGanshert

Book Giveaway:

Katie is giving away a copy of her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, to one lucky winner. This book was nominated for a Christy Award in the contemporary romance category, and won a Carol Award in the debut novel category. To enter to win, simply leave a comment on this post.

If you are reading about this giveaway anywhere other than my (Cindy’s) website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to the website by clicking here: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/2014/02/26/fun-on-the-farm and then leave a comment at the bottom of the post under the words “Leave a Reply.”

wildflowers from winterOnly comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway.

The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, March 5th at noon Eastern Time. The winners will be chosen using Random.org and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.

As always, please remember that all of my giveaways are limited to US residents only. For a complete explanation of the terms and conditions of this giveaway, please visit my giveaway rules and FAQ page.

Helpful info for first time commenters:

  • For your protection against web crawlers gathering your e-mail address for purposes of spamming, please do not put your e-mail address into the body of your comment. Only write it in the field provided. That way only I can see it. Your e-mail address will ONLY be used to contact you if you win.
  • When you leave a comment, you may see a note that says your comment has gone to “moderation.” That means it is in a holding place until either my daughter-in-law or I can approve it. That keeps spammers from being able to post a comment. If you comment while we’re away from our computers, we may not get to it until the next day.
  • The first field in the commenter form asks for your name, feel free to only give your first name.
  • The second field asks for your e-mail address. Please be sure to type in the correct e-mail address so we can contact you if you win.
  • The third field states: Got a website? This is simply a question. You may leave that field blank. If I could, I’d remove that field, but this is a WordPress comment form, and I can’t hone it to my liking.
  • If you’ve been notified that you’ve won and you’re unsure about giving your postal address by replying to an e-mail, I welcome you to send the name of the item you won and your postal address through the Contact Cindy page of this website. We keep good records, so we’ll be able to verify your information and get the item in the mail as soon as possible.
  • Please be aware that I aim to get the items sent as quickly as possible, but at really busy times it can take up to six weeks. (I don’t have a staff. But I do have two daughters-in-law who help when they can. But they each have a life and professions not connected to my writing and giveaways. What?! <big grin>

Congratulations to the winner of the previous blog contest. Brenda H. won autographed copies of all four books in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.

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