Taking Time in 2014

At the end of each year we look back and every year it seems hard to believe that another year has passed, this year has been no different. This morning after I woke up I grabbed my iPad and flipped through pictures from this year and read some of my old blog posts.

This has been an interesting year to say the least.

The biggest thing that happened in my year is that I moved to South Dakota for an internship with Monsanto for 3 months. Moving to South Dakota, somewhere where I knew very few people, learning a business I wasn’t extremely familiar with, and driving 60 miles to church and the grocery store was definitely a new experience, but a great one. I learned a lot about myself, my faith, and the Midwest and its people. My love and knowledge of agriculture and the people that grow our food was increased. Through this I was able to make some great acquaintances and got to enjoy a different part of our beautiful country.

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 In 2013 I also planted my first two crops! This was huge for me. I had always wanted to be a farmer, when my dad stopped farming back in 2006 I didn’t think it would ever happen. This year it did! I planted a crop of winter wheat which I harvested July 1 and then planted a crop of soybeans behind the wheat which I harvested November 30th. I was fortunate that I had pretty good and I didn’t end the year in the hole, which to a farmer is typically the sign of a good year. Anna Leigh Peek

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 A surprise for year was that my Auburn Tigers did well. In case you haven’t heard we are actually playing for a national championship on January 6 (which will be my second adventure of the upcoming year). After going 3-9 last year, my expectations were not very high, ANYTHING would beat last year’s performance. I got to witness two Auburn games that will be talked about from now to eternity, the Georgia and Alabama games. After the Alabama game got to rush the field, which was something I’d wanted to do during my time as a student.

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I traveled to Texas A&M, Arkansas and Tennessee this year for ballgames. Traveling to games is always fun, I usually know people at the school so its great to reconnect and see their traditions, campuses and try their local eats.

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Midnight Yell Practice at Texas A&M was cool to experience with fellow College of Agriculture students

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Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium is the third largest college stadium in the country

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Through my invovlement in FFA and 4-H I have friends at many schools across the country and getting to visit with these friends is always such a treat. John I met through FFA and he is a Tennessee alum. Anna I met through 4-H and she is now a Texas A&M alum.

This year I was also able to see my favorite band, Mumford and Son in Atlanta. After seeing them I think I could go the rest of my life without seeing another one. Yes, they were THAT good.

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 As 2014 is all but here there are a few things I am going to work to take time for in the coming year.

1) To Say Thank You- For everything and anything. I have had so many people who have helped me this year and been an encouragement to me especially when I was in South Dakota and as I am trying to figure out what’s next after college. Between now and May I am going to need to thank a lot of people who have been instrumental in me making it through college.

2) To Exercise/Sleep- The last few months I have made a conscious effort to sleep and exercise more and what a difference it has made. Making time for it is key though. I hope to continue making time for sleep and exercise in the coming year.

3) Enjoy Nature- One of the things I enjoyed so much in South Dakota was the scenery and the natural beauty that I saw on a daily basis. I took time to enjoy it (after all there was nothing else much to do), now that I am back in my element in Auburn I haven’t taken the time to enjoy God’s creation as much as I should have.

4) Be Holy- Brother Greg Gravitt made a point during a Bible study a few weeks ago that really hit home. “Nothing in life matters. If He is with us, THAT is what matters.” So in the coming year as I work to finish school and decide where to go after graduation it will be easy to stress and potentially forget what is important. After all we are told to “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). I have no idea where I will be on December 31, 2014 which can be scary, but I’m not too worried about it. By making sure to remember what is important this year I will be taken care of:  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” – Romans 8:28

Best wishes in the year ahead. Thanks for reading in 2013. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I will always be Anna Leigh from Alabama (ALfromAL).

Anna Leigh Peek

Auburn, Aren’t You the War Eagles?

Auburn, Aren’t You the War Eagles?

When I tell people I go to Auburn, or am visiting at another school I often get the response “Oh Auburn, the War Eagles!” False. We are not the War Eagles. Sometimes this comment is made because they honest do … Continue reading

Whoop! Auburn Beat the Aggies and We Were There To See It!

When they announced the football schedule the 2013 season my brother and I started discussing how we could make it to College Station for the Texas A&M game. We booked flights in January and FINALLY the weekend arrived.

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We arrived in Texas and our first stop, being the conservative, American, Bush loving tourist we are stopped by the George Bush Presidential Library.

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I had heard to much about the Aggie Yell Practice they have each Friday night prior to home games. That was one item on our list of things to do we were not going to miss, we had been up a long time, but we made it to midnight.

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It was interesting, not many people could explain what was going on, but it was still something to see. They do not have cheerleaders at A&M, but have yell leaders who are male. They give signals to inform the crowd of the cheers. It was interesting to see and experience.

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Emily and I got up pretty early on Saturday morning to get prepared for the game and we left the house dressed up and ready for the 2:30 game. Driving through College Station on a game day was not bad, we just couldn’t figure out where the fans were. It was 11:00 and there was not that many people out, parking lots were not too full, a stark contrast from Auburn game days.

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It is 11am and there are not that many people, where is everyone?

Parking at A&M was frustrating, you could only park in a lot, their campus is huge, one of the largest land-wise in the nation, but you were not allowed to park on any grass, you had to pay to park in a lot. A&M’s tailgating reminded me more of what you would see at a NFL game, in parking lots, actually on tailgates of vehicles. We attended a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences tailgate, a great networking opportunity, and was able to meet up with a friend of mine, Anna, who is at A&M finishing up her master’s degree.

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We made our way to the stadium, the majority of the ~6,000 Auburn fans in attendance were in the upper end zone. Their stadium in in three separate sections the student section takes up one whole side and holds around 30,000 people! Very impressive, this is where their “12th Man” sits. Their students didn’t get there extremely early, but they were packed in around kickoff. To be 30,000 strong I didn’t think their student section was that loud, they got that way towards the end, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and sayit was the wind or where we were sitting, but I’m not convinced.

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In case you missed the game report, Auburn was able to hang in there with the Aggies and Ol Johnny Football. Auburn scored a touchdown with about a minute and 19 seconds remaining which was plenty of time for A&M to score again. The next 1:19 was the longest of my life.

It came down to a few seconds and a final down and as Johnny was tackled in the backfield, cheers of victory filled the air in the Auburn section. I am pretty sure I picked Emily up and swung her around. We screamed and hopped and hollered. It was great.


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I had previously been 0-5 on the road, now I am 1-5 so we’re making progress.

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I will never forget this game and I am so glad I will be able to remember it with Emily, Kira and Krista.

We stayed and cheered some more, sang the Auburn Alma Matter and then headed for the car. The entire time I was at Texas A&M we never had anyone give us  a hard time, be rude to us, bark in our faces, scream at us etc. It was such an enjoyable experience, the best away game experience I have had thus far.

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Few Last Highlights of the Weekend:

1) We got a great deal on a rental car for obvious reasons. We dubbed it the washing machine it had the motor of one and was about the size of one. Good thing we didn’t actually have to drive it to Texas.

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Emily Jones “Traveling around Texas with the two tallest people I know in the “washing machine.” #compactcar #tincan #cantstoplaughing #tallpeopleprobs #goodtobeshort”

2) BBQ- Texas Brisket….enough said. Everything else was good whether it was sausage or turkey. Tex-Mex was also great. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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3) We got to meet some great people, worship with the congregation out there which reminded me a lot of Auburn. A special shout out to Amy, Chandler, Emily and Taylor who let Emily and I stay with them.

Texas A&M has probably been one of my top 2 away games I have attended. It had all the elements of a great weekend. I have two more trips to games this fall so Arkansas and Tenneessee are going to have a lot to live up to. The experience was great, but coming home with a win over Texas A&M…. priceless.

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Mississippi State: One of Those Nail Biters

Last time Mississippi State was in town in 2011 the game ended on a very exciting and super close play. Auburn stopped Mississippi State from scoring a touchdown that would have allowed them to win on the one yard line as the clock expired. It was crazy.

Tonight was another one of those crazy games.

The day started out normally with tailgating and thousands of hopefully Auburn fans coming to the Plains hopefully for our first SEC in over a year. (Last year was rough to say the least). I was fairly confident Auburn would come out on top at the end of the day, but it was not an easy win for us at all. The first half was back and forth. The second half Auburn was behind most of the time and things were not looking too good for us. However it worked out that we gained possession of the football with just a few minutes left and drove down the field. It was so exciting and so nerve wracking all at the same time, all 85,817 people in attendance were on the edge of their seats.

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We were all just praying that Marshall played smart and didn’t throw any interceptions. When it came down to the last few plays QB Marshall threw an 11-yard game-winning touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah with 10 seconds remaining on the clock. Instant relief. Our conference loosing streak is over.

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A year ago today my friends Heather, Tyler, AJ and I went to Mississippi State and watched Auburn fall in Starkville so I didn’t feel too bad for their fans as they journey back to Starkville. I have made that long ride back after a loss, no fun there.

Games like tonight are the ones you remember the most, you scream and scream until you can scream no more. Shake that shaker until you can hardly raise your arm. When you cheer your team on to victory, its worth every minute of the 6 hours we students spend standing in that stadium on Saturdays. Every splotch of sunburn, every drop of sweat, and every raw throat from screaming. Its what we do during 12-0 seasons and 3-9 seasons. Win or loose we stand together and sing that alma matter at then end of the game with pride.

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After the alma matter is sung then of course go to Toomer’s Corner, victory in Auburn is celebrated no other way.

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Auburn Traditions 101: Eagle Flight

Eagle Flight Auburn

Photo taken by Auburn University Photographic Services

Before each home football game Auburn has one of the what I believe to the be coolest traditions. The flight of our eagles. The eagle flights have been part of Auburn’s pre-game festivities since the Auburn vs. Wyoming game in 2000.

Auburn Eagle Flight

Photo taken by Auburn Photographic Services

The eagles are used to promote wildlife conservation through a partnership with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Raptor Center. The eagles are unable to survive in the wild, so that is why the Southeastern Raptor center has them. The animals are like royalty and are given the best care available to them.

The eagle flight happens just a few minutes before kickoff. The eagle is released from the upper deck from a carrier and does a flight around the stadium.

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Photo taken by Auburn Photographic Services

It is not usually a complete circuit around, however the one we had Saturday night for the Washington State game was a great one.  When the bird is released the whole stadium shakes their shakers in a circular motion above their heads, and yells WAAAARRRR until the eagles is ready to land at the center of the field then the WAAAARRR is finished off with EAGLE HEY! I have a video below, it is not the best quality, but you can get an idea of what it is like.  It definitely gives you chills and it is amazing to watch such a majestic bird make its way around the stadium. I have yet to see anything else like it. It is definitely breath taking, and is known across the country. Our eagles were even used in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City a few years ago.

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Photo taken by Auburn University photographic services

*Disclaimer photos in this post were taken by Auburn Photographic Services, not Anna Leigh Peek*

Tailgate Treats – Week #1 “Crazy Good Dip”

It is finally here! In less than 24 hours my friends and I will be in Jordan Hare stadium cheering on the Auburn Tigers. Each home game weekend this fall I  plan to share one of my favorite tailgate recipes. This week has been a hectic one, the first full week of classes and we were having a nightly gospel meeting at church so this week’s recipe is one of the quickest and simplest ones I have. I discovered the recipe a few years ago on an online blog (I do not even remember which one it was) it is popular on Pinterest and popular in my kitchen. It is great if you need a quick tailgate food or even if company is on the way. So regardless of whether you are watching the game from home or traveling to your school to tailgate this recipe is always a crowd favorite.

All you need are 4 simple ingredients.

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1 Packet of Ranch Dressing Mix

1 Cup Cheddar Cheese (I prefer finely shredded)

1 3 oz. pack of bacon pieces (if you are feeling fancy you can cook your own and crumble it)

16 oz. of sour cream

First mix your sour cream and ranch seasoning, then add the bacon, and cheese. It tastes better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight. Even if you don’t it still tastes good!  You can make this  “healthier” if you choose to use  low-fat or fat-free cheese and sour cream.

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It is VERY simple, quick and does not require many ingredients. I like to buy a aluminum loaf pan that I can pour the dip in and that way instead of having to deal with a dish when it is time to go to the game I can just throw the pan away.

It tastes great with chips, crackers or even vegetables!

New School Year, Domain, Look, Series

I have successfully survived my “last first day of school”. I should have got my brother Brady to take my picture this morning before I left with my backpack and lunchbox, however it was 5:45am and I don’t think he would have appreciated it very much if I would have woke him. Needless to say I am very happy to be back in Auburn, I was able to have a turkey sub from BBQ House for lunch so it has been a good day.

Anna Leigh Peek BBQ House

 I started a few days later than the rest of Auburn students because last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

AgChat 2013

Photo Courtesy of Chuck Zimmerman

Since my major is Agriculture Communications I was so excited to be going to a conference that was all about social media and agriculture. I was able to finally meet folks I have followed on Twitter and Blogs for years now. We also had a swap on Thursday night where we swapped items from our state with others. I came home with some pretty awesome swAG.

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At the conference I was able to learn from some of the best Ag-vocates out there. I was able to learn how to use some social media platforms I have not really considered like Pinterest. I even learned a few tips about Facebook (I thought I had mastered the Facebook) I have been motivated to blog more and was even motivated that I now have my own domain (www.ALfromAL.com) and have left blogger to come to Word Press. 

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We had a great panel discussion there with guest panelist which included a mom blogger, nutritionist, blogger and a chef. It was a great reminder of why we were there, even though they are very educated individuals they still lack a great understanding of food and where it comes from and also shows we still have so much work to do. I have came home energized and hoping to do more blogging on food production and just more writing in general. So a few things to look for in the coming weeks:

1. Harvest Posts- harvest is coming up so why not show it? I hope to show how food leaves the field on its way to your plate. 

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2. Football Posts: Auburn Traditions / Fun Facts on Mondays and Tailgate Recipes on Fridays. There will also be travel stories at least from Texas A&M hopefully some other schools. 

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3.  Summer Internship- a few posts looking back on my experiences with Monsanto this summer in the Dakotas 

South Dakota Sunset Internship Anna Leigh PeekIt should be a fun fall and I am going to try to enjoy it as much as I can seeing that it is my last fall in Auburn as a student. Keep up with my adventures here!

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

In a few short hours 2012 will be in books and 2013 will here.  I’m thankful for the great year the Lord has blessed me with. 

In 2012 has consisted of…..




Auburn Football (and lots of it) 10 games to be exact.





 It was definitely not Auburn’s best year, but you make the best of what you have. Coming in to Auburn my freshman year when we won the national championship was very nice. This year definitely tested my patience with Auburn. The verdict is…I still love Auburn. I didn’t come here because of their football team I came here because I love Auburn and want my diploma to be from there. I’m getting a good education there and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

During football season there are always visitors in town. I was excited to see some of my friends from LSU this year. We were state FFA officers together in 2008-2009.  They were Louisiana State officers and I was one from Alabama. It was great seeing them. I didn’t know I would ever see them again when we finished our duties with FFA, but football has brought us back together the past 2 years. 



Traveling with the Auburn Tigers this year was quite an experience. Each away game several of us from church were able to pack up and travel to other schools. Its always nice to visit other schools and town, this year that was about the only positives considering that Auburn lost every single game on the road. Oh well…War Eagle anyway. Traveling to other schools definitely made me appreciate Auburn. 

This year also consisted of a little mud volleyball…


A little politicking… 



A little running…


A visit to friends out West. My first “real” rodeo…..



Introduced Savanna to Auburn…She’s in love came 2 weekends in a row. (Success!)


I got to hold a baby kangaroo. By far my post popular post on Facebook all year. 


A lot of ag-vocating….


Camping! 


Finished my eight year membership in the National FFA Organization



2013 will be a new year which I am sure will be filled with new adventures, friends, memories, lessons, knowledge, etc. 2013:

  • I will move off to intern during the summer
  • Begin my last year of college
  • Harvest my first crop (wheat) and hopefully a second crop (soybeans) 

So needless to say it will be a very exciting year. I do not know what all will come my way during the upcoming year, (which being a planner sometimes stresses me out), but I am reminded on the passage Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” with him I know all things will work for good. I hope the Lord blesses you richly in 2013. I’m looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve fellowshipping with other Christians and singing praises to the Lord as we to welcome in the new year. Until next year…..