The new year began with a few anomalies.

First, we had a Massachusetts family find our little Hamilton County New Year’s charity race online. It’s for the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center. They were doing 50 runs in 50 states, and we were honored to have them participate. Since we were part of their Kansas adventure, I hope we left them with the warm, friendly southwest Kansas experience.

Then, the first week of the new year, combines rolled in to cut a few fields of grain sorghum on the Greeley/Hamilton county line. It was the first time in more than 40 years combines cut so late. And they had to stop for a bit after the first day of cutting due to wet conditions.

The family historian remembers combines cutting in March in the early 1970s. So it has definitely been a while.

The third was I actually kept several of my New Year’s resolutions. I took stock late last year and realized my daughter had not seen me read a book of my own. And I was so busy caught up in her life, I hadn’t read a book in months. In the midst of preschool, play dates, library and errands, I made a promise to read five pages of a book each day in front of her. Five pages led to 50, and I have finished four books so far this year.

Several other bad habits had crept in while I wasn’t looking and slowly I am redirecting my energies to make sure I am taking care of myself, which, of course, means I am taking better care of her as well.

My daughter and I took a quick trip to Denver and visited the Denver Art Museum, the aquarium and the Nature and Science Museum. My favorite was the art museum, and it was so great to see kid-friendly activities at all the museums. Seeing my daughter’s face light up at the Wyeth exhibit at the art museum melted my heart.

Since this is Kansas Agland, you probably want to know how the wheat is doing. Well, the four or five inches of moisture last August, three or so inches of rain in October and 10 inches of snow in November have helped the wheat tremendously. The ground is mellow, which it turns out does not mean ‘60s cool as Donovan suggested in “Mellow Yellow.” And, yes, my husband shook his head as I shared my definition.

Mellow means soft wet and loose, good for everything growing. We have a few stand issues because there was no moisture near the time of planting. But the color is good as well as the moisture. And now is the time for decisions regarding fertilizer and weed control. You may remember last year we lost a huge amount of wheat due to disease. With 40 percent of our ground planted to wheat, I am excited and nervous about how this year’s crop will do.

Two to three inches of snow fell in the past night and the 40-mph, gusty winds are blowing it everywhere. And the drifts are a couple of feet tall. The roads are icy, snow-packed, and I can barely see the hood of the vehicle.

Writer and photographer Michele Boy is a transplanted New Yorker living with her husband and young daughter on their Hamilton County farm. Boy has recently been published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul – Volunteering and Giving Back.” For more from Boy, visit