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THE SORTING PEN

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Jenny Schlecht explains how a "where are you" call led to an evening of protecting barn cats and hunting raccoons.
"It's pretty easy to forget that the rest of us can stay inside and not deal with these things only because there are people who willingly go outside every day and do the work. When you pull a package of hamburger or a steak from your freezer, remember the ones who raised the cattle and say a little prayer for their safety and well-being."
Jenny Schlecht reflects on the little irritants on a farm, like the dust from pushing cattle or unloading corn and how it can affect parts of day-to-day life.
Jenny Schlecht ponders the continuing legacy of her husband's great-grandmother, whose recipe continues to be used to raise thousands of dollars for good causes and whose progeny show up to help in the efforts.
The smell of the ranch in the fall is far more than just the manure; it's all the comforting things that farm kids grow to associate with home.
"I know 125 years isn't a long time in the whole scope of human history, but it's pretty impressive for this part of the world. What's more impressive to me is that the town hasn't just stayed alive but has recently found new and interesting ways to stay lively."

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As the summer waned, Jenny Schlecht thought she had won the battle against garden pests and looked forward to a feast of sweet corn. The area raccoons made sure to let her know that she was wrong.
It can be hard for farmers and ranchers -- and in particular those with livestock -- to truly take a break. But getting away makes you better at what you do.
The peach crops from the south have been slow because of a variety of weather problems, Jenny Schlecht learned. It was a good reminder that farming isn't easy whether you've got wheat fields or orchards.

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