A half-share from Sleepy Hollow Farm, submitted by owner Suzi Sevcik.

Community Supported Agriculture

I’ve been geeking out for the last two weeks when I discovered Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Kewaunee County. I got so pumped, I wrote a story about it in the Star-News.

It is a way to bring locally produced, fresh and home-loved fruits, vegetables, chicken, eggs and more to your table. From being literally cooped up in an apartment since last June, I learned that your own garden space is hard to come by. We moved in too late to do a community garden, and our urban garden was a major fail.

CSA, however, takes local farmer’s produce and puts it on your table. You pay for 16-18 weeks of fresh food upfront and each week you pick up your bag of food. If you are lucky, your farmer will add recipes and tips for processing the food so none goes to waste. But, if not, a quick search will give you the info you need.

Eli and I are considering getting into partnership with one of the Kewaunee Co. farmers. All of them are non-certified organic farmers. No certification because they would rather teach their members about where and how the food is grown rather than spend a lot of money on the government certification process.

Here are the three I wrote about: Sleep Hollow Farm, Lotto’s Lazy Acres and Clario Farms.

I think this is awesome and the point of the article was to get the word out about this type of farming, because it is not very well known in the area. Let me know your CSA experiences, I know it is very popular in the Madison area.

Oh, and if you want to read it, here! CSA in Kewaunee County

Thanks for reading,

Alyssa B.

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15 Things You Learn After College That Have Nothing To Do With The “Real World”

In a desperate attempt to hang on to my beloved college memories, I am making this list. I’m already getting memory-flies (butterflies thinking of my fave memories… in case you didn’t get that.) When I say the “real world” I mean your time NOW after you spent the last 16+ years becoming educated so you could make a living.

1. If you move away from your college town, making friends is like trying to cure a zombie from being dead. You don’t know the local places to go, let alone find your way around. Your new co-workers/neighbors, depending on age, may or may not want to converse with you or hang out. FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT! When you go to college, making friends takes as much as saying hello to a classmate, now its all about something I still haven’t figured out. Thank goodness for Snapchat, or our true college-sister-homies would be lost to us, right?

Thing is, this is me.

Thing is, this is me.

2. Music that you listened to in your dorm, walking to class or grinded to in da club brings back those perfect, embarrassing, lovely moments you experienced oh so long ago. Whether we realize it at the time or not, those melodies will keep us in those moments.

3. Being in bed at 8:30 p.m. or earlier becomes a priority. I have no idea how I could stay up so late those countless nights. I think we are trying to make up for those lost hours on our pillow after we graduate.

This is how I look sleeping.

This is how I look sleeping.

4. High school kids become the worst. YOUTH! They know nothing. I can’t explain it, they just seem so much worse than we were as younglings.

5. Drivers will piss you off so much! It was not until after college I started to realize how many people drive too fast and don’t use their blinkers. Jerks, I’m nosy and want to know where you are going!

I stopped flipping people off, I'm scared I'll get beat up at a stop sign.

I stopped flipping people off, I’m scared I’ll get beat up at a stop sign.

6. The morning news somehow becomes important. No matter how much you hated the news, you find yourself compelled to watch or listen while prepping for the day. (How did I become so boring?)

7. Being so involved with my extracurriculars in college, I now find myself thinking of things I can do so I don’t feel so lazy! I picked up crochet, holiday wreath making, reading for pleasure, yoga, craft beer/wine exploration, running 5ks and I went fishing once. All of these things were non-existent those four years in college. I did drop the partying/hangovers, which was a 3x/week thing. No longer seems appealing.

Normal weekend.

Normal weekend.

8. Imgur. What are this? Yeah. It’s pretty fantastic. Check it out if you need some emotions of any kind.

9. From watching an excessive amount of Say Yes to the Dress, I’ve learned some women pay more for a wedding dress than what I have accumulated in student loan debt. My college education is not worth some women’s white gowns. Dumb.

That dress is probably 20K or more.

That dress is probably 20K or more.

10. Making sure your younger siblings graduate from their educational adventures becomes important. You need them to succeed, so you can be awesome together! Also, it’s more fun to be poor with someone else.

11. If in a serious relationship, it seems like things happen you would have never expected in college. Apartment shopping without your bestie, but with a weird guy with great hair? Consideration of getting a pet, together? Figuring out dinner, each and every night, again, together… ? Talking about financial/relationship/permanent location futures becomes interesting. Finding out this bugger is the greatest person in the world, yeah, I think I can get used to that.

A-Simple-Path-To-Knowing-Love

12. I called my Mom just about everyday while in school, now she texts me. The woman texts me and emails me. What the what? Why Mom, why? I think I annoy her by calling. My Dad also started using a cellphone. That was the weirdest text I have ever seen, to say the least. They are growing up so fast.

13. Spring break is no longer a thing to look forward to, depending on the amount of paid vay-kay you have. The 10-day trip to Florida or Arizona don’t seem as important as taking a few extra days during the holidays.

<3

<3

14. Facebook trolling becomes essential to finding out how your more dislike peers are doing now. Also, Twitter starts winning over the good ole FB. Tweets are quippy, fun and just better because we are always trying to start a newly trending hashtag. Retweets>Likes, all day long.

15. College was awesome, and now you are here, which may not be as exciting. I’ve learned a positive attitude, a friend or two that are dealing with the same situation and a promise of many new adventures is just enough to make the transition worth it. I miss my school, the friends, the cheap beer and the experiences I was a part of, but now it is time to stop ya mopin’ and make this life just as good as the last.

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-Alyssa B.

America’s Dairyland

What do I care about? That is the question that is asked throughout this video, showing that in all walks of Wisconsin life, the agricultural industry and practices contributing to it are found.

My goals have always been to inform people about this huge industry so they know how, where and when their food was made. With this video and other passionate people, we can reach out to our neighbors and talk about what we all care about.

I couldn’t have put together a better video promoting Wisconsin agriculture. At this time, I am working to inform my readers about local ag related issues, and I want to know what you are doing to inform? Let me know in the comments below!

I found this on the Alice and Dairyland Facebook page.

Alyssa B.

Journalism and the Olympics

With all of the tweets and photos from those lucky journalists who have the opportunity to attend the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, I thought it seemed like a good idea to talk about sports journalism.

To pick up on the “Journo Resource Project” I had started late last year, today I want to talk about Grantland. Founded by ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Grantland offers a different view at sports reporting. Stories are less about the stats and more about what the reporter sees and knows. There are more personal intrepretations of athletic happenings from the writers.

Now, I personally do not read a lot of sports stories, but like a lot of people, I am a huge sucker for the Olympics. My younger self wanted to be an Olympic gymnast, but then I got really tall, so I changed my mind and wanted to do the triple jump on the world’s stage. Well, that didn’t happen either.

I just adore the amazing things that happen at the Olympics. Winter sports especially are so fascinating with the figure skating, snowboarding tricks and overall designs on their outfits.

Naturally, I have been following up on the events and hoping to catch some event during America’s prime time on NBC. Twitter and Facebook have been great tools of reading and seeing the different feats that happen while I’m sleeping. Thank you to the journalists who are there and working hard to bring us these treats.

Grantland has a lengthy article about Sochi, including information on the opening ceremonies, the scenery and athlete chat. You can read it here. Reporter Katie Baker did a killer job. As for my opinion on her style, it is excellent. Less on the negative of hotel conditions and how creepy some think the polar bear mascot looks. (It was overkill on these two topics.) I know, it may not be as perfect as past Olympic events, but come on, the Russians are doing an overall great job. (Remember, in MY opinion, and what do I know, I’m not there.)

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As for Ms. Baker’s story, I loved it. I like this style of sports reporting. In my work, I cover both news and sports, and I let sports fall to my last priority. My editor noticed and suggested we work on bringing more to our sports readers. Lately, I have been working on including more feature stories on the local athletes in our sports section. We are trying to introduce the fans to the kids they see on the court.

Sometimes, it angers parents or friends of those who were not featured. That is the hard part. I mean, there are a lot of athletes, and they all deserve praise for their hard work. How do reporters cope with not including everyone, no idea. I haven’t figured it out.

I do think that new media is starting to move towards more exciting, inclusive and in depth sports reports, and I think this is what we need. Stats are informative, but understanding a person, atmosphere or situation can be informative and entertaining to readers. Let’s try and follow the Grantland way.

I also cannot wait to see more of team USA snatch up those medals!

God Bless America!

Alyssa B.

The Tough Stuff

Most days, after a giant cup of coffee and a hug from Eli, I get into the office at a ripe 7:45 a.m. I usually feel and look like this:

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This is a happy reporter, in a swag-tastic sweater.

A positive outlook on life, the prospect of gaining some great news coverage in the next 8-10 hours and the promise of a boyfriend back home. Charge on professional journalist! Dig the dirt!

Some days, sometimes before I get to work, or shortly after I get there, maybe in the middle of the day, sometimes long after I have returned to my cozy home, I’ll get an email, a facebook message or worse, a phone call, from an unhappy reader.

Unhappy Reader = unpleasnt situation.

No matter how hard journalists work, how far we travel or how late we stay up, there will be someone upset with how you project these experiences on paper.

One of the hardest lessons I have been trying to learn over the last few months is to let it roll. I have mastered, or I think I have, sending appropriate and diplomatic responses via phone or internet to my unhappy readers. And don’t think I respond to every comment or situation that comes around, but I do respond to things that are incorrect in my stories.

Negative comments are rare in the small communities I work in, but it happens, but I have no time for that. I also know I make mistakes, and I do face situations where I need to fess up and fix the problem. I have loads of time for that.

Yet, when calls or messages are received and percieved in obvious anger, yelling or meanness,  I have some inhibitions on letting that go. Situations become resolved, but anger lingers.

To journalists, interview subjects, neighbors, family members, CEOs, public servants, strangers, co-workers, children, people who work at Apple and Joe Buck, my message to you is to be nice. You never know how it may make someone else feel, even when you are right and mad and want to tell someone off.

My hope is that we all have someone we can talk through our frustrations with, so we don’t inadvertently alienate the rest of the people we interact with.

I know the problems, mistakes and yelling will not end becuase of one blog post, but it feels good to get it out.

Now, let’s gather our inner Leslie Knopes and Liz Lemons and be awesome, so we can look like this…

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Frizzy haired and stuffing our faces with delicous salty treats!

Have a good weekend and be nice,

Alyssa B.

Alice In Dairyland

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let my friends know, I am applying for the 67th Alice in Dairyland position with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in the Division of Agriculture Development.

This is something I have always wanted to do, and I just sent in my application.

If I were to go on and have the honor of promoting Wisconsin’s vast agricultural culture, it would be a huge blessing. If you want to learn more click here for a video of the current Alice, Kristin Olson, on NBC 15 in Madison. Also, if you want to read another cool blog, follow her travels around Wisconsin at this address: http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/alice/

Wish me luck!

Alyssa B.

My Love of History (ians)

Happy Friday!

Today I wanted to talk about an interesting group I have encountered while working on the journalist trail. That is the dedicated group of people who work at the Kewaunee County Historial Society.

Arletta Bertrand, Tom Schuler, Jerry Abitz, Nellie De Baker and Richard Dorner. These five people have opened me up to new ideas, research techniques and a new passion for history.

Here we have Edward, Tom, Jerry and Nellie! Adorbes, right? Arletta is hiding behind me when I took this, but she is just as cute!

Here we have Edward, Tom, Jerry and Nellie! Adorbes, right? Arletta is hiding behind me when I took this, but she is just as cute!

I have met with each of them a few times now for quite an array of different topics, and I just can’t stop thinking about what they do and the passion they have for their home’s vast history.

When talking to them about something at the History Center, I find myself becoming fully engrossed with whatever the subject. At some point I then I have to drag myself away from them, unwillingly. Each of them are so fun and interesting!

The cool thing about each of them is that they travel the world to look for information about their family histories! What? YEAH! (So cool, she whispers…)

I hope that we can become closer friends, even though they are mostly double my age. Luckily for me, the History Center is less than one block away from my office.

I find them to be a great asset and perk to my job. So, Arletta, Jerry, Tom, Nellie and Edward, thank you. I can’t wait to publish next month’s story about the History of Kewaunee County, becuase that means I’ll get to see most of you!

Alyssa B.

To see more about thier work, visit them online! http://www.kewauneecountyhistory.com

An Apology and 2013 Reflections

Happy 2014 blogesphere!

To start out this happy occasion of another year gone by and a paid vacation, I wanted to hit up the blog. I know I have been long absent, sort of ditched some projects, and haven’t updated on the farm in a while, and for that I am sorry. I could make up excuses that would be understandable such as, “We have been so busy preparing for the holidays,” but really… I have been enjoying not looking at a screen, and I’m lazy.

As for the farm, all is well. The silo unloader and barn cleaner have not frozen up in the frigid below zero Wisconsin weather. The barn is completely full of animals, keeping the barn warm and cozy. Our big brown swiss is still working on pushing out a little baby, hopefully a baby girl. I’ll share pics when it happens! Cas is loving the snow!
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2013 was one hell of a fantastic year. I mean, there were struggles, but without them, you are not living.

As for the good stuff, I am still falling madly in love with my boyfriend, Eli, because of his amazing tolerance for me and his striking good looks. I have the most supportive parental duo. Bob and Marsh have not yet failed to show their love and support for my first career choice of journalism, which is very far from farming. As a family that is part of a generational tradition, support when one goes awry, is something to behold. That also includes the love of my mom’s two sisters. Without family, you are nothing.
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Nathan, you know I love you, brother. We are the coolest cats around.
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I miss college, becuase of my friends. Having them next to me in class, waiting to hand me a beer as soon as I show up at their house, and feelings of pure comradarie, I miss that.

With taking a marketing job straight after graduation, I had the opportunity to befriend Eli’s now sister-in-law, Ashley. Her existence in my life is just fabulous. Her outlook on life and constant positivity is exactly what I need in a friend, and I’m glad to consider her my first post-college friend.
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The rest of Eli’s amazing and accepting family has also been something that I cannot believe is real. His mom and dad are truly my parents, but just with different names. It’s uncanny how alike they are. His three brothers, have been nothing but kind and accepting, yet still find ways to poke fun at me. Their wives, INCREDIBLE. They are creative, fun, and all around fabulous individuals, and I am so greatful to call them my friends. And I love all of the children. Jeez, how did they all turn out so dang adorbes?
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Work, work, work. I now work. 40+ hours a week. My work is gathering, disecting and writing. I like it. I hate it. I love it.

I have met some intresting, creative, funny, hard-working people. Kewaunee County has a lot of things going on, and I have yet to be done with anything. However, as horrible as a constant working state sounds, there is no greater satisfaction when that paper is published with my words each and every week. Some people appreciate them, some people hate them. The best thing I have learned it to let the bad stuff roll, no point in stressing over one person’s opinion.

Another thing about work, I work with some pretty cool people. Deb and Pam, thank you for watching my back. Warren, the ultimate editor, thank you for being the best supporter, encourager and most intersting person I have ever met. Warren has published books, that are for sale on Amazon… what a bad ass. I’m just starting to read them :) #mykephoenix

Warren also is a testament to living life to the fullest. This guy has accomplished so much, and has so many interesting qualities, I don’t know how I got so lucky for him to want to hire me. Thanks. (And, if you ever read this, I am not sucking up. I seriously feel this way. You became my hero when you handled the Joyces situation.)

And one last thing, my friends. As much as I miss the ones that are closest to me, I know they are not going anywhere. Celebrating New Years is something that should be done with friends, and I did. My night consisted of being with Eli, of course, but we were in the company of a few others including my editor-in-crime, Megan. We are going to do big things yet, O’Con.

But as I was out and about, it just so happened, in some way talked to the other friends that mean the most to me. Alycia, Abi, Nicole, Dylan, you are the best friends I have ever had. I was with them all in spirit, and thinking about the New Years past that I had spent with each of them.
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God has given me so much, and my goal for this year is to remember to thank Him for the relationships and happiness I have. There are so many in the world who are in need of something I have, paving the way for another goal, of volunteering.

There is so much about this life that is good. Eli and I are slowly building something great together, wish us luck as twenty-somethings exploring this life.
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Thanks for sticking with me, and read more books!

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My life, old sport, my life… my life has got to be like this [Raises index finger diagonally upwards] … It’s got to keep going on. -Jay Gatsby

Happy 2014,
Alyssa B.

Curious about News story types, this guy knows it all.

For this week’s Journo Resource Project, I didn’t necessarily focus my attention on an item and my work, but rather exploring how many journalists work.

Number eight on the list is Digidave: Journalism is a process, not a product blog. Author of the blog, David Cohn, has written for Wired, Seed, Columbia Journalism Review and The New York Times among others. Yeah, he’s pretty good.

I read his latest post, about the different archetypes of news stories. He explains classic ones, and more contemporary ones. It is amazing that I can almost think of a story I have written that fits into the 10 “New Tropes” Cohn presents.

Read all about it here.
http://blog.digidave.org/2013/10/the-archetypes-of-news-stories

Looking at what he has to say, I was trying to think of another trope that some stories fit into. I came up with…. Amazing Athletics. I know this could be found in the one about reporting stats, but not really.

I spend a lot of time reporting on high school sports stories, and some of the things these teens accomplish is truly amazing. From throwing seven touchdown passes in a game to averaging a 2+ handicap on a golf course, I have had a chance to see some amazing things.

Some may think that high school is just a way to prep for college and pro sports, but think about it, this is where student athletes sometimes find who they are, what they want to be or even turn a corner in their lives for the better. When students work hard in the gym, on the field or whereever, they work towards personal goals and accomplishments that are overlooked by many.

This week, we received a complaint at the paper, as a normal process, but this one kinda hurt. It extensively explained how we did not do a good enough job covering a specific school sport in the area we cover. That struck me as stange, considering I am in correspondence with all coaches after every game that is played or every race that is run, and there will always be coverage in the paper. I was an athlete in high school, and I know how important it is not to overlook any sporting accomplishment.

I plan to focus on sports as much as one reporter can.

In conclusion, I know that this was jumbled and a mess, but remember the students, journos, athletes or not, that accomplish something important to them. It makes a difference.

Thank you for sticking through that with me. Much love,

Alyssa B.

P.S. Look for me to share a blog of a friend of mine soon, she recently went through a traumatic experience and I think everyone should hear it. As soon as she posts, I’ll share to show my support. Also, expect a farm report later this week!

What Now: Rihanna

I just heard this song on the radio yesterday, and I can’t get over it. It’s just wonderful. RiRi seems to have something special here.

Also, I can’t believe that this song is almost a year old and I just heard it.

Speaking of, I knew about Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” two years before it was popular! Aka: Three years ago. Yes, three!

You win some, you lose some. The music industry is goofy.

Look for some fun in journalism and a farming post before Monday!

-Alyssa B.