Monday, January 26, 2015

Everything Old is New Again: A Blog Anniversary

I went along for the ride last week when Randy delivered a load of our hay to a feedlot near Dodge City. As we neared Spearville, I saw the wind turbines dotting the prairie, and I pulled out my camera to see if I could get a decent photo through dirty semi windows.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an old-fashioned windmill at a farmstead and clicked the shutter quickly, hoping to capture the old windmill juxtapositioned against its newfangled "cousins." We were going 60 miles a hour down Highway 50, so I didn't have a lot of confidence that the photo from a dreary day would be worth saving. I literally had time for one click of the shutter as we rumbled by. But, later, when I looked at it on the computer, I was glad to have this contrast of old and new.

This weekend, I celebrated my fifth "blogiversary." I first published Kim's County Line on January 24, 2010. During those five years of writing, I've published 1,268 posts. Earlier this month, the page views on Kim's County Line topped 1 million. (Some of those people likely Googled something and my blog happened to show up on their feed.) But, still, 1 million views was a milestone for this homespun little blog.

When I started, I didn't have a plan. At the time, my sister, my daughter and my niece were blogging. (They have since quit blogging. Maybe someday, they'll try it again.)

I've always been a writer. I remember "writing" my first story at a women's church meeting in the basement of the Byers United Methodist Church. My mom handed me a little notebook and I scratched out a few words and pictures on the lined sheets of paper.
With Kim's County Line, I've substituted my crude hand-drawn illustrations with clicks of the camera shutter. But the writing - in one form or another - has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I even chose it for my profession.
Like those wind turbines on the plains, blogging is a relatively new way to share thoughts and impressions through writing. But, as new as it is, I've read some articles saying that Twitter is overtaking blogs. The short 140-character blurbs seem more attractive in this fast-paced world, I suppose.

Back when this area was settled, many a pioneer farmer or farm wife wrote in a journal or diary. There was no backspace button to delete a whole line of type. There was only pen on paper.

These days, I usually say that my blog is a mix of farm, family, faith, food and photography. I am certainly no Pioneer Woman in terms of blog followers or page hits. It can be frustrating if I play the comparison game. Comparison is never healthy, though it's human (at least this version of human struggles mightily with it). Some days, I do question the time and effort I put into it. But, then I consider: What is gained?

I think writing has made me more aware. For some of the posts about farming, I've approached the task like the reporter I am. I've "interviewed" my farmer and written down his answers. I've asked the questions and listened carefully, instead of halfheartedly, so I could answer the "whys" and "wherefores" of a modern farming operation.
 I used this photo of a sunrise after a 2007 ice storm as my first blog header photo.
I've noticed the beauty all around me, and I've taken thousands of photographs to document the magnificence of simple things - of rainbows and ice on fences and sunflowers along ditches and baby calves nestled against their mamas. And I've come to realize how precious these little glimpses of time are.

I look at Kim's County Line a little like a modern-day journal or diary. Maybe, someday, I'll have a great-grandchild or even a stranger know a little about life in the early 21st century on a Kansas farm. But instead of finding it written in cursive on a paper page, it will be documented in the photos and words captured in one little piece of the internet. 
Each quarter, I've published the blog posts and photos into hardcover books. I didn't want to lose all that work and the family history if the internet some day decided to eat Kim's County Line for lunch. The 20 books make a pile more than a foot high. I'm running out of room on the TV cabinet shelves.

Perhaps writing about our life on a Kansas farm helps us see into the rearview mirror but also keeps us looking ahead to the next day or week or year. There is value in both, I think.
I do thank those of you who visit my little spot on the internet - whether it's every time I post or just on occasion. Thanks for joining me on the journey.


  1. Happy Blogiversary! I look forward to reading your blog and often find myself drawn back to memories of my childhood. It is a great way for me to remember my roots and keep up with what's happening a couple of states away. The photos of the windmills and turbines are great. Terry and I took an ecovacation in Kansas a few years ago. The wind farm near Spearville was one of our stops. The juxtaposition of the old and new jumped out at us, too. Keep the blogs coming.

    1. Thanks, Debora. I appreciate your encouragement!

  2. Happy 5th Blogiversary!! What an awesome achievement! I am impressed by your one million views! That is an amazing number, and one that we definitely need to get excited about. Although I haven't been on the journey with you for the full 5 years, the insight into your life on an American farm over the last couple of years has been very interesting and I thank you for sharing it with us all. I love your writings and photography. May you continue to find inspiration to share and write for many years to come.

    1. Thank you, Lynda! I have enjoyed getting to see a glimpse of your farm life in Australia. I find it interesting that we have so much in common, though we may call crops and equipment different names sometimes. The love of the farm is definitely a common thread - whether in the middle of Kansas or from your farm in Australia. I value your friendship across the miles.

  3. Congratulations on your blogiversary, Miss Kim!
    Farm: Keep up the good ag-vocating you do.
    Family: It's always fun to see picts of your Grandkids and hear your family stories.
    Faith and photography: Simply Inspiring. I love your insight of life, faith and the pictures that accompany your thoughts.
    Food: Your food posts always look so yummy and the ones I have tried didn't disappoint.

    1. Thanks so much for taking time to enumerate the ways my self-imposed "goals" for the blog have touched your life. It means a lot to me.