Monthly Archives: February 2013

Penultimate App

I recently found a really cool app that I have become very fond of.  I thought it could be used in various ways in the classroom – maybe to help a student depict a series of events or to come up with a custom logo.  The nice thing about Penultimate is that you can save it to Evernote, save the notebook page as a picture or export it in an e-mail.  It is sooooo easy to use.  In addition, it can be used as a handwriting tool to take notes and have them in a more custom fashion.




I find it easier to use with a Targus Stylist “pen” that allows you to more precise control over your movements within the app.  The pen also allows you to write in thick or finer ink….I quickly scribbled this down to share my artistic talents.  (Ha!  …note the sarcasm!)

Why is it Important to Use Social Media in Agriculture? Even Blog in Agriculture?


farm, home


Miraculously, since the Super Bowl, I have been sitting back and watching an almost amazing phenomenon happen in this country (or at least on the usually ugly social mediasphere).  {Now, this surprise might speak more to my very cynical view on how agriculture is currently viewed and will in the future, but I digress.}  You most likely saw it – the Ram Truck commercial featuring the late Paul Harvey.  In the commercial, a recording of Harvey at the 1978 National FFA Convention address “so God Made a Farmer” is featured.  They showed still pictures from amazing professional photographers truly capturing the essence of the farmer.  And if that were not enough for this agricultural educator, they finished with a black screen and finally flashed the FFA Emblem up to announce if they had 1 million hits on this video they would donate 1 million to hunger and agriculture education initiatives.  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.  Amazing.


Just in case you didn’t see it:  Click here —>  So God Made a Farmer…Ram Trucks

Long before this commercial aired it had been a favorite of mine and struck the same cords that it apparently did in many others….many others.  The amazing part to me is it effected others who have not ever stepped foot in a barn nor plan on it; without some hasty judgement of how terrible farmers are.  Somehow Dodge spoke to our ideals we intrinsically hold dear.  I see hope.  And maybe not where I saw hope previously.

I feel this is why it is so important for farmers/producers to be self-advocates. Historically, farmers have been very poor at this.  The “keep on, keeping on” mentality had to some degree closeted the industry from the public.  Of course in today’s world what is closeted and isn’t spamming your inbox with articles, of course can’t be trusted (note the EXTREME sarcasm here).  You need to tell your story in a thoughtful, “ever aware of your audience” way.  This is one of the reasons why I am writing this blog, to help and share information for aggies.  I hope the information provided here will help farmers and ANYONE get established telling THEIR story.  We could all use a little more community and a little less confrontation.



So God Made a Farmer
Here is my example of “So God Made a Farmer”.  I cannot write this nor listen to Paul Harvey’s address without thinking of them (and shedding a tear).  This is one of my 70+ year old Uncles still working his land.  In a year’s time, I am very comfortable saying they work the work of 10 men.  This is the benchmark of my work ethic.  And this is where my love of agriculture comes from….beginning and end of story.

Choosing a Blogging Platform…..Part 1

As I was stumbling around trying to figure out what the best blogging platform, it occurred to me that there are a few fundamental goals that need to be identified before you settle on a platform (or at least consider as you proceed).

1.  Who is your ultimate audience?

2.  How advanced is your “techie-ness”?

3.  Do I want to pay for the platform?

4.  What do I want my aesthetic to be?

As you consider these, it will come down to whether you want ease of use (at the cost of control of aesthetic and promotion) or you want more control with you doing the work!

Ease of use means they provide space for you to develop your blog on their hosting site; however you will have to use their free templates and service.  There are many choices and very good blog themes to work with, so don’t be concerned if you are just starting out.  So it is easier and quicker to use but you have limited options.  The inverse of this is a self-hosted software like  Here the website does not provide you with internet real estate to post you blogs.  You have to purchase a domain name and hosting space.  However, once you have these you are only limited by your knowledge.


Free Blogging Sites:






If you are like me and always seem to have to take the hard road, I used a hosting site and bought my own domain name.  The domain name cost me $15.00 through HostGator.  I than bought a web hosting plan through them as well.  They seem to come well recommended and some of the other sites just seemed pretentious.  {I also have to say that I had a question about downloading WordPress when I did it myself for another blog and they were BEYOND helpful.  I had a really great experience with them so far.}  You have the choice of committing as long as you want and paying what you feel comfortable.  The most complicated thing about getting this started is downloading WordPress to your site.  There is a really wonderful opportunity out there in Blog Your Passion where they will load WordPress for you.  The only request that is made is you purchase your web hosting from HostGator through them.  {They get a commission from HostGator – brilliant!!!}  They also have some really great tutorials to help beginning bloggers.  Here is the site for the free set-up.

So to sum this up; you can do one of two things starting a blog:

1.  You can go with a more user-friendly site which provides you with both internet web space and the software to start.  This will have limits on the creative base that you may want for your blog, albiet still a wonderful service.

2.  You can go with purchasing your own domain name, web space and downloading the software yourself.  This will provide you the opportunity have endless latitude in creating your space.


How to Begin Blogging…early steps….

I had always looked at blogging as some kind of self-absorbed conquest by other people.  However, over the last year, I have enjoyed reading many blogs that have helped me both in technology/e-learning and in day-to-day interests.  I stand corrected!  Blogging in many instances is a platform for people who know a little bit {or a great deal} about a specific subject to share what they know.  It is a ‘take it or leave it approach’.  I will share my learning process along the way.

One of the first things I did was to try to organize my thoughts.  In blogging, it is best to first focus on one major topic or niche.  That way it is easier for people who are interested in your subject matter to find you.  I am a lifetime learner, I love to learn about different things.  This is the biggest reason why I started two blogs (shameless plug here: At the beginning of this blogging journey, I felt very limited by thinking I had to just deal with one specific subject and what’s what MY blog had to be all about.  Not good.  So I began compiling information, ideas, and thoughts.  One of the best ways I found was through Evernote.



It is super easy to save material in many different forms {plus I think it is a cute logo with the friendly elephant – so you now have the memory of an elephant!}.  You can voice record ideas and save that within a specific topic note.  You are also able to take pictures and scan documents as well.  Everything is tabbed and is easy to navigate.

Evernote, how to use evernote


Here is just a screen shot of some general notes I have taken thus far.  They are all “boxed” for easy access and it give you a snapshot of what you have in that note in case you forget.


Evernote, How to use Evernote

To me, it is the easiest to use.  I had used others and they were harder to navigate and I lost material (beware of “notes” on your iPhone!).  I will post more about how to use the different functions in blogs to come!