Extraordinary Farmers

Over the years, I have developed a deep respect and admiration for the farmers who work every day to feed us all.

They are ordinary folks who face extraordinary challenges. Every. Single. Day.

One of my grandfathers was a dairy farmer in Wisconsin. My father-in-law was a beef cattle farmer in Upstate New York. In high school, I had the privilege of working on a produce farm in southern New Jersey.

I’m not sure I thought of it as a privilege at the time.

Yet, in spite of the sunburns, bee stings, mosquito invasions, mud, sweat, and aches – it became an important experience in my life.

I got to see three generations of farmers work every day to grow delicious tomatoes, peppers, squash, cantaloupes, watermelons, corn, and much more.

I saw decades-old tractors coaxed into life on a daily basis.

On occasion, I saw a biplane buzz across the treetops to spray the fields.

I learned to drive. The first time I ever drove a vehicle was when I had to back one of the farm’s pickups into a small barn.

Yes, there were even turkeys, ducks, and geese on the farm.

Frankly, you haven’t lived until you spend a day working with a half-dozen people, herding hundreds of ducks from one pen to another. (It’s like herding cats… only they quack.)

It was hard work. Long hours spent in fields and greenhouses.

And I value it immensely, especially now that I work in a role where I often write about agriculture.

So it is no surprise that I took a moment to watch this video about South Jersey farmers that I stumbled across during the course of my workday:


It turns out that the video creator, Kathleen Poliski, is related to one of my high school friends.

Ms. Poliski’s video is one of ten finalists in the video contest for this year’s World Ag Expo. The other nine videos are definitely worth a view, too.

Take a moment before January 30th, and vote for your favorite.

I’m partial to this one from South Jersey.



The Spirit of Z2H

There is no doubt. My blog has been a big fat “zero” in recent years. And I am very grateful that my good friend Harvey convinced me to join him in the Zero to Hero mission. Or “Z2H” as he calls it. (As a former Navy guy… ya’ know I love acronymns.)

But frankly, I don’t think I’ve achieved “Hero” status with my blog. Probably just “Ordinary” status. (See what I did there? I tied it into my blog’s theme.)

Still, I think that I’ve been following the spirit of the assignments. And I am excited about the future of my blog.

You see, I have been struggling to find time and energy to write, especially after spending the entire work day fighting a computer. Yet, I am optimistic that this blog is heading in the right direction. I’ve even started to reach out to some ordinary folks who are doing amazing things. Can’t wait to blog about them.

Plus, it’s been nice to read, comment on, and interact with other bloggers. (Wish I had more time to do more of this.)

For example, there are blogs like Deliberating Dave and Wandering Voiceless. (Excellent names, right?) There’s also my mom’s blog: Souls Under Construction.

That reminds me… I’ve got to catch up on some reading and commenting.

With January 2014 rapidly coming to a close, I don’t know how strictly I will be following the handful of upcoming Z2H assignments, but I’m certainly grateful for the help along the way.

Perhaps I should change the challenge name, at least for me, to Zero to Ordinary.

Hey Harvey… how does “Z2O” sound to you?

Those Pesky Little Details

Are you a trees or a forest person? Do you focus on the big picture or the small details?

I’d like to think that I do both, but I’m probably a “trees” kind of guy. And leaves. And branches. And bark. And those little tiny critters that like to bore holes in the tree.

You get the idea.

I believe that the small details are important. The little things in life do matter. Whether it’s spell-checking an email, making sure the checkbook is properly balanced, or ensuring that the mirror of a certain space telescope is ground and polished to the proper specifications… the details matter.

I just hope I can get my son to understand that those pesky details matter when he does his math homework.

But despite the title of this post, the little things in life aren’t always so pesky. Often, it is the little things in life that make a difference.

The little things can make the ordinary amazing.

Have you ever had a really tough day? (Duh. Everybody does from time to time.) But then, something little happens and changes your day completely. For the better.

Maybe it was a smile from a stranger. Maybe it was a note from your wife.

Earlier this week, it was a Tweet from a college friend who said my return to blogging inspired her to update a blog of her own, called Marion’s Mittens. It’s a blog she created to help sell mittens, scarves and more that are handmade by her grandmother.

Awwww, shucks. – I shyly look down and shuffle my feet. –

It made a busy and somewhat frustrating day so much better!

Side note: given that it feels like a zillion degrees below zero right now, Marion’s creations look very warm! Technically speaking, since details matter, I think it feels like a zillion-point-two-eight-three degrees below zero right now.

It’s true. The little things in life do matter.

I want that concept to be an important part of this blog. I’ve even created a category for this idea. I call it: “It’s the Little Things.”

What are the little things that have made a difference in your life recently?

A New Year… a new challenge

“Zero to Hero.” It’s a catchy phrase. It’s also a WordPress challenge that I’m accepting.

The guantlet was thrown down by one of my favorite and funniest bloggers: Harvey Millican. He posted on Facebook that he was joining this 30-day challenge, and he asked another blogger – Debbi, and me to join him. Debbi didn’t hesitate, and she joined right away. (She’s an amazing photographer, by the way.)

Alas, I didn’t see the Facebook post until after the challenge began. As soon as I saw it, I decided that I needed to use Zero to Hero as an opportunity to retool and refocus on this blog.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my laptop to power up. The battery died. Wouldn’t charge.

Yeeeee-arrrrrrgh. (Imagine me sounding like an annoyed Chewbacca.)

A couple days later, and I’ve finally managed to access my blog from my even-older desktop computer.

Yes, I know… who uses a desktop these days? I would have tried other methods of posting, but my wireless router doesn’t accept smoke signals and my carrier pigeons couldn’t find a Wi-Fi signal.

So, drum-roll please. Here is my answer to the Day 1 assignment which asks this ordinary blogger to Introduce Yourself:

My name is Wade Abbott. I’m a dad, a husband, and a bit of a geek. Okay. I’m a big geek. (Didn’t you notice the Star Wars reference earlier?)

Forget about Spring, Fall, Summer and Winter. I believe that there are only two seasons: roller coaster season and college hockey season. For a few glorious weeks in October and April they both occur at the same time.

All in all, I think that I am a pretty ordinary guy. And I’m okay with that. I think it’s the ordinary people in our world who are the most inspiring. They are the ones who make the world go ’round. They are the ones who need their stories told.

My goal is not to simply write about myself. Rather, I want to share the stories of ordinary folks who make a difference, be it in ways large and small. More on that later in this challenge, I suspect.

So, that’s the first assignment completed. Yet, I’m a few days behind, and I hope to attempt to catch up.

Frankly, I’m blaming it on the laptop.

… and More

Like I mentioned in the last post, this has been a blog about politics “and more.”

Now, I’m shifting away from the politics.

But what exactly is and more?


It’s more inspiration.

… and more about the little things in life.

… and more laughs. (Well, perhaps some “pun”ishing humor, anyway.)

… and more about the craziness of raising two boys.

… and maybe even more about the ups and down of riding rollercoasters. (Another pun?)

… and more discussion of those little acts of kindness we see every day.

… and more about the underdogs in the world.

… and more about how ordinary people show us all how to be extraordinary.

In our world these days, I’m convinced that we need a little and more in our lives.

Stay tuned… for more.

  • Welcome!

    I believe that we desperately need to hear the stories of Ordinary Citizens who make a difference in our lives, our communities and our world.

    Why not be Ordinary?

    Why not make a difference?

    Why not be Ordinary AND make a difference?

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