Friday, June 24, 2016

Looking back to summer breaks as a child……

As the school year winds down and kids are anxiously waiting to hear that last bell ring for summer break, it makes me reflect back on what my childhood summers looked like.

As a youngster we spent countless hours riding our horses up and down the dirt road, thru the creek, moving cows from pasture to pasture and swinging off the monkey bars. My first horse (really a pony) was named April and she was an ornery Shetland pony. I was around the age of 5 when Aunt would saddle April, slap her on the behind, and off we would go. Until one day something spooked her and she took off with me bouncing in the saddle. I held on for dear life even when the saddle came loose and I found myself under her belly, still hanging on. Eventually she stopped.

My sisters; Kendra, Amy and I spent most of our time making forts in the haymow, viewing  the sow’s and their babies as our movie theater, the loft we jumped out of was our trampoline, the stock tank was our swimming pool and the combine our jungle gym.

We did our fair share of pitching manure (sometimes even ending up in a manure throwing fight), working with our animals preparing for the fairs, and uncountable hours building fence in the hot summer sun fighting mosquitos.

I remember not having much growing up, but having everything we really needed. We learned to use our imaginations and creativity.  I did not even realize that I was being taught work ethic. My husband and I are trying to give our children the same opportunities. To go out on the farm, explore, build things, tear things apart, and fix stuff. Figure out how everything works; use their noggins and their hands.  The lifestyle is endangered.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Zach Graduating

My son Zach will be graduating from high school on Sunday, June 5th.  It is hard for me to believe his high school days are over.  It seems like just yesterday my mom was telling me how fast the next four years would fly by.  I remember rolling my eyes as if to say ‘whatever’.  As in most cases, she was right.  Of all his high school years, his senior year has definitely been the fastest. 
It all started last summer when we started visiting colleges.  We went to UNI first.  We had a nice visit, but I wasn’t crazy about the drive he would have to make.  Not that it was hard, it just seemed like it took forever to get there.  On our way home, I remembered him saying “that’s where I am going”.  I just nodded my head and smiled.  It wasn’t too long after visiting UNI, he decided to visit Iowa.   I was secretly jumping for joy as this is where I wanted him to go all along.  Not only am I a huge Hawkeye fan, I also new I could be to Iowa City in 55 minutes if he needed me. After the visit, he once again declared “this is where I am going”.  Perfect I thought.  Well, it wasn’t too long after the Iowa visit Zach announced he wanted to visit Iowa State.  I agreed even though I was thinking ‘why we would ever want to do that?’  We had made our decision (key word being “we”).  Once again, after the visit, on the way home he said “that’s where I am going”.  I have to admit the ISU campus is very nice, but all I could muster to say was “I am not wearing Iowa State apparel!!”  It took Zach 2 more visits to Iowa and one more to Iowa State to finally make the decision that Iowa was the place for him (whew!J). 

As his time at home winds down, I am realizing how much I am going to miss him.  He is my right hand.  As being my first born child I have given him a lot of responsibility and have expected a lot of him.  I think this happens a lot to the first born child.   I was the oldest in my family and as look back on my child hood I expect the same from Zach as my parents did from me.  He has been my back up babysitter, cook, housekeeper, yard worker and errand runner.  I can actually say he has changed more diapers than my husband. He recently told me that I am going to be lost when he leaves.  I hate to admit it, but he is absolutely correct and the one phone call a week he is allowing me just isn’t going to cut it!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

State Track 2016 #2

Per request, I will share with you some of my state track history.  My first trip to the state track meet was in 1984 as a freshman.  My event was the 400 meter hurdles and I finished 5th.  As a sophomore I came in 3rd and my junior and senior years I was the champion.  I also finished 3rd in the 100M hurdles my senior year.  Personal bests in each event were 62:6 and 15:6 respectively.  The fastest quarter mile split I ever ran was 57:6 and Ron Hunerdosse coaxed me into running an 800 one year to complete a 4x8 team.  That was hell….and I ran a 2:26.   Ouch!  (another memory)


If you could have seen me last Saturday afternoon watching the meet on my iPad, you would’ve laughed.  I yelled, I screamed, I jumped up and down and even cried from emotions that returned as if I was there yesterday….all of them dear to my soul.  So, you see, I do know how those kids felt on the blue oval….and it’s pretty darn cool. J

State Track 2016

To the high school athletes that competed at the Iowa High School State Track Meet this weekend, kudos to you.  I have awesome memories, old as they may be, of this meet and its grandeur.  So many competitors, so many spectators, so many fans and parents on the edge of their seats, wanting the ultimate for their children…….to win.  There is no other sport like track.  There are relays, medleys, field events and strategy, but it all comes down to who is the strongest, who is the fastest and who can maintain their cool under pressure.  You have trained, pained, sucked for air and hurt.  Hopefully you were at your very best in condition, at which time it becomes a mind game.  Regardless of your result, I bet you enjoyed performing in that awesome oval, on the spongy surface, in front of all of those people, many of them cheering for you not even knowing your name or your story…..a memory you will never forget.  Good job.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Calving Season

With spring comes one of my favorite times of year: calving season.  We started calving around the first of April on our farm.  We calve in a 40 acre pasture about a mile down the road from the house.
Calving season is going great.  So far, 33 on the ground and only one small problem that turned out well.  Almost every morning at 5:00am I jump on the four wheeler and go ride through the cows to see if any new babies have been born or if anyone is having problems.  At this time it is still dark and most the cows and calves are still bedded down sleeping.  It is very peaceful and I can ride by close enough to touch them and they just lay there as they are use to my routine.  It is a great way to start my day.  If you wait and go check them around 6 or 6:30 (just at daylight) it is feeding time for the calves.  Most of them will be paired with mom having their breakfast.   Shortly after they all head out to graze and enjoy the weather and sun on the nice days.

After work I look forward to that same four wheeler ride down the road to the pasture and a nice slow ride through the cows.  Fun to watch the calves play, or if you are lucky, a new calf being born. At this time the cows are usually wandering back up towards the hay and will bed down up there for the night. It is amazing the very consistent routine they have each day.

I wear many hats in my life, most of you know me as the banker or insurance agent, but my favorite hat is that of a farmer.  I love to be outside working, checking cattle, raking hay, mowing pasture and even fixing fence; though this is probably my least favorite job and the one that seems to have no end.  Put me on a horse, a four wheeler or a tractor and it is a good day.
I feel very blessed to get to live where I do and have the opportunity to do these things that bring me joy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

“The Buckle”

As years pass I find myself spending more time thinking back about memories of past experiences and how they have shaped me into the person I am today. Even though my grandfather Gail “Bud” Trier was taken from this world when I was 6 years old, I still have some memories that I can recall with him and look back and smile each time I think of them.
One of the top memories that comes to mind is the trips on Sunday mornings to “The Buckle.” I remember going there with grandpa and ordering a “Roy Rogers” to drink. I specifically remember one Sunday morning that the family rat terrier was in the car outside. When I looked out the dog had his front paws on the steering wheel and it appeared that he was trying to drive Grandpa’s car. Now as a 6 year old this was pretty funny! I don’t remember how often we frequented the Buckle on Sunday’s but at the time it seemed like every Sunday!
I also remember his garage and how occasionally there would be boxes and boxes of the sugar coated orange slices. I don’t know where he got them, or where they all went to, but that was a lot of sugar and a 6 year old’s dream! In the springtime grandpa always had a way of finding an endless supply of morel mushrooms. It seemed as if he was always bringing home bags and bags of morel mushrooms! As a 6 year old I was convinced he was the greatest morel hunter ever!
There were also many days spent with grandpa going from sale barn to sale barn. Whether it was Knoxville, Kalona, Keosauqua or a different sale barn, it seemed that if there was a livestock sale that day he was going to make it to it! On these trips I also remember him paying me a quarter to be quiet. I guess at the time I liked to talk! Although my wife tells me that nothing has changed. J

In the first six years of my life, my grandpa Trier left me with life long memories that I can always hold onto. I can’t help but think about how my life could be different if he could have stayed with us a little bit longer. Would I have been more of a livestock man? Would I be driving a Chrysler? (All I remember him ever having was Chrysler cars.) What else could I have learned from this kind, patient man? I know that I can only look back now and appreciate the time that I did get to spend with him. Grandpa if you can hear me up there, thank you for giving me these memories and for helping shape me into the man I am today.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Washington D.C. Trip

Last week I had the privilege to travel with a group of Iowa Bankers to the American Bankers Association Government Summit in Washington D.C. The Iowa Bankers Association asked me to go and take part in the Emerging Leaders Forum. At the forum there were over 200 emerging leaders from 44 states. The forum started with a networking lunch. This was a great way to meet some other young bankers from around the country. Some of the speakers at the forum were Rob Nichols, CEO of ABA; U.S. Representative William Hurd from Texas; Trey Maust Co, founder and CEO of Lewis and Clark Bank.  The forum covered a wide range of topics including cyber security, engaging policymakers in banking priorities and maximizing leadership opportunities, just to name a few.  Over all, the forum was a great experience. 
On the second day of the conference they had several great speakers during the general session. Probably the best speaker I heard while I was there was Dana Perino who was the Press Secretary for the Bush Administration and now works for Fox News as a Co-Host on “The Five”. Some of the other speakers on the second day were Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina, Representative Jeb Hensarling from Texas, and James Ballentine Executive VP of Congressional Relations at the ABA.
In the afternoon of the second day, I traveled with eight other Iowa Bankers to meet with our legislators and discuss key issues in the banking industry. During our trip to Capital Hill we met with Senator Ernst, Representative Loebsack, Representative Young, and Representative King. We were unable to meet with Senator Grassley and Representative Blum due to scheduling conflicts. Some of the key issues we discussed with our legislators were regulatory relief for banks, tailoring regulations to fit the size of bank, and equal tax treatment for banks compared to credit unions.
Traveling to D.C. for the ABA Government Summit was a great learning experience for me. I am very grateful that the Iowa Bankers Association asked me to go along. The best part of the trip for me was our trip up to Capital Hill to meet our legislators. I think it is important to stay in contact with our legislators to keep them informed on the key issues for our industry. If bankers are not contacting there legislators and letting them know what is going on in our industry, then no one is. Our legislators don’t realize the challenges we face unless we let them know. I look forward to staying involved in events like this in the future. I think it is an important roll at both the state and national level to keep our lawmakers informed about key issues to our industry. I would encourage more bankers to get involved. The more legislators hear from us, the more likely we are to see things change for the better.