I had the opportunity to visit Washington, DC twice this summer! Both trips were thanks to the Farm Bureau, and I had a wonderful time on both trips. The first trip this summer was back in July, and I attended the American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Communications Boot Camp. That trip was jam-packed full of learning and workshops, and we really didn’t have much time for sight seeing.
The second time was earlier in September. Farmer Doc and I went with a group of people from the Indiana Farm Bureau. Our main goal on this trip was to meet with our state senators and representatives, but we did have some fun time built in, too.
We spent the first day in meetings with American Farm Bureau staff learning about some of the legislative priorities for the rest of this year. To be honest, it was a pretty frustrating day. There are a lot of bills that still need to be voted on, but are not being brought to the House floor for a vote. It seems like election year politics are playing a big role in the House of Representatives not getting their jobs done.
But a bright spot of that day was the chance to get up on the roof of a 10-story building for a bird’s eye view of the city. Just like last time, I was struck by the construction and the number of cranes that dotted the skyline.
We did have meetings with Senator Lugar, Senator Coats, and Representative Bucshon. All the meetings went very well, and everyone was willing to answer our questions and listen to our opinions. But we still left frustrated with the feeling that not much was going to happen before the election.
So we participated in the Farm Bill NOW! rally, put together by the American Farm Bureau and a few other agricultural groups.
Look, mom, I’m an activist!
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman, a few Senators, and leaders of other agricultural groups addressed the crowd. The goal of this rally was to get Congress to see that passing the Farm Bill is important to everyone – farmers, consumers, everyone who eats. We were not asking for any certain provisions, just to bring the dang thing for a vote! What is most frustrating to farmers about this bill not being passed is that we don’t know what the future holds for us. The Farm Bill includes things like disaster assistance (for years where the weather is unpredictable, say, like right now), and crop insurance, and how much money will be spend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps). All we want is to know what is coming, so we can plan for it.
Okay, enough politics.
As I said, we did have a chance to do some sight seeing this time. Farmer Doc and I went on an evening tour of the city, and it was amazing! As wonderful as the buildings and monuments are during the day, it’s a whole different spectacle to see them lit up at night.
One of the places we stopped was the FDR memorial. This place was really wonderful. We didn’t have time to really explore the entire memorial. It takes up more than 7 acres, is is full of alcoves with waterfalls like this. There are a number of FDR’s quotes inscribed on the walls throughout the memorial.
One of the problems with taking a trolley tour at night is that the photos don’t always come out that great… This is supposed to be the Washington Monument… Hm. Guess I need to work on my low-light exposure techniques. And not take these photos from a moving trolley. Ah well.
We also had some time to visit the Museum of Natural History. I love the dinosaur bones, and the veterinarian in me did a lot of comparative anatomy while we were there. Wait… where are the eye sockets? His eyes were way down by his nostrils? There’s no way this guy had good eyesight…
Look at the scapula on the T-rex! What a weird configuration… I bet this really limited the movement of his arms. Although the bony plates in the front probably gave his chest better protection, since his arms can’t reach very far to protect himself…
Ah, and the Hope Diamond… Hello, sparkly! I could have stared at this beauty for hours… Farmer Doc dragged me away to the Museum of American History. That museum was not nearly as sparkly!
What did you do on your summer vacation?