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Years in the Making

Plants on the dining room table and fish everywhere. I couldn’t be happier.

Mini waterscape in an oil pan.

After years of research and design, my husband is starting to live out a dream… aquaponics.

Talk and dreams became motivation with this last Christmas present. I have had Rodell, LLC for a few years with a DBA for my photography and for Christmas I added Rodell Aquafields for him. Since then, we have been slowly growing our aquatics collection ranging from bamboo and little fish in a bowl to now a 115 gallon tank enhanced with a hydroponic system.

Tank and filter system.

I have been so impressed with how he has been able to go from a design in his head to the reality of pipes, pumps, and tanks all successful on the first try.

He is now more than halfway through the building phase and about ready to transfer the seedlings from the dining room to the hanging and floating containers that will produce multiple times the harvest of traditional gardening and use 10% of the water.

Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, peppers; salad and salsa forever. Farmer’s markets here we come, but in reality, it will probably just be a good diet and gifts for the neighbors this year.

Hanging drip system to be filled with plants.

The dream is land and greenhouses as far as you can see, tanks of aquatic critters, and tilapia on the table everyday. It goes beyond that still to grocery stores, restaurants, and a storefront.

This amazing method of food production has the potential to be zero waste and water and energy conserving. Solar panels, chickens, and organic fertilizer production.

Someday, someday we say to each other, but it is very exciting to see someday happening now.

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A Cherished Day

I love where I’m from, but even more so, I love my family. Western Nebraska hasn’t been the sole source of information for my life, but my upbringing gave me a solid foundation and a springboard.

I say a springboard because I have an incredibly adventurous mom. I am grateful to have inherited her best qualities and I have never been afraid of “becoming my mother.” I hope I do.

My mom worked hard to make sure my two brothers and I had an understanding of the world and all the options and opportunities it offers. The year after I graduated high school, Mom encouraged me to study abroad. I was excited at first, then terrified. By the time June rolled around and I was facing getting on the plane alone to live for a year with a family I had never met in a country where I didn’t know the language, my mom had changed my mind and grown my confidence.

Remember how I said she is adventurous? She joined me the last month of my stay in Peru and we traveled the country together on trains, planes, and automobiles. We hiked to Machu Picchu, stayed in a hut in the rainforest, and swam in the Amazon River. We had a big adventurer together that month, and though this day was a small adventure, it was very significant.

On this adventure with my mom, we visited Toadstool State Park and the surrounding area. Just my mom and me.

I was getting ready to go overseas with the Air National Guard and was a bit nervous and not in the best mood. My fun-loving mom fixed that by running through my shots of the sod house windows below. It’s one of my favorite moments with her. She helped me forget how nervous I was and, again, instilled in me confidence in the days leading to my departure.

Through the Sod House Window I and II truly show the beauty of Western Nebraska and places you in a mindset to imagine living in a sod house. The hardships to get there were treacherous and the isolation of the land challenging, but the beauty around astounding; something not many take the time to see.

On the way home, Mom spotted a giant female snapping turtle. The kind that seems to smile at you but has no problem biting off your finger. She was very old and at least a foot and a half wide; draped in moss from the nearby lake and contemplating crossing the road. We stopped and moved as close as we were comfortable to avoid the reach of her long and hidden neck and I caught the moment shown above.

This is only one great experience in my life I have had with my mom and she is always finding ways to create more. I am so grateful to be her daughter and have her love of adventure.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to my phenomenal mom and all the other mothers out there dominating motherhood.

My mom always knows what to do to make “it” better.

By the Artist

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Chosen Bonds

I don’t remember exactly where this was taken, but I do know what it reminds me of.

Framed Reflection

You see, relationship is the most important thing to me in life.

This photo gives me a feeling of comfort. It reminds me of camping with my best friend and her family at The Pits in Bridgeport, NE.

The best part of relationship is celebrating each other. The hardest is watching the other face challenges. We have been lucky. Even though life has given us some doozies, I feel we have celebrated more often than not. In 34 years, since 1987, that’s a lot of celebration.

I had no idea at five years old, when she moved in to the house caddy corner to ours, we would still be friends at almost 40 and with no sign of slowing. I can’t even clearly remember a time she wasn’t part of my life.

There’s a strange and strong bond that forms when you choose your sister. She has always known when to call and what to send to cheer me up, support me, or just make the day better. I think she is the better friend of the two of us…she would likely say I am. That’s just the way we are.

Born two weeks to the day apart, we celebrate our birthdays more like friendship anniversaries. Everyone needs a friend like that.

My ultimate goal in life, if I accomplish nothing else, is to terrorize the nursing home with her.

Even though I know her favorite flower is the daffodil, just like my mother’s, I still occasionally give her roses in the favorite color we share; yellow signifying friendship.

By the Artist