Did I click on the right link?

The small — but growing — number of readers who have subscribed to this blog or have been coming back for updates know it is a work in progress.

So they may not have been too surprised to come here and find a new name and look.  After all, I tend to often not like what I write and I’ve got time on my hands to fiddle with things. Also, the way I had been using my name in giant red letters as the blog’s name seemed a little over the top.

OK, then, but what the heck is Brome Hill?

It’s a tribute of sorts to my dad, Tom Steinbach, and I can’t think of a better way to name this blog.  If you read my ramblings in that newspaper whose name I still can’t bring myself to use, you are familiar with my dad. I wrote about him several times after he died in 2008 at age 69.

My parents, Tom and JoAnn, were farm crisis victims. After many years, they finally quit fighting to keep their farm in Lucas County and moved to Chariton during my sophomore year in college. Dad would have been 47 or 48 at the time. They started over with practically nothing, which is even more meaningful to me after losing my job at 45 than it was then.

The name Brome Hill is symbolic.

Brome grasses, more accurately known as Bromus, are in the genus of the grass family Poaceae. We didn’t know or care about that back then. All we knew was the stuff grew well in a field that Dad called Brome Hill. Each summer we would cut that grass at least two or three times and store it as silage for the cattle we fed.

We did it in the face of resistance. During some of the darkest days of my parents’ fight to keep the farm,  the loan officer they worked with at the bank wanted them to tear up Brome Hill and plant it to corn or soybeans, which, the banker hoped, would generate more revenue.

Dad wouldn’t do it, saying it would only erode the already poor soil on a hill that wasn’t good for much other than raising hay or grazing livestock. But he did plant maybe the first no-till field of corn in a 100-mile radius on Brome Hill one spring after taking off the first cutting of hay. No-till planting is common now, but you should have heard the neighbors’ comments about that first field of no-till corn, which was far from the main road and hard to get to, but they still came to look and laugh.

The name Brome Hill and what it stood for are things I’ve not forgotten — namely Dad’s willingness to try something different even though others laughed at him and his stubbornness when he knew he was right. Those are things I’d be honored to have people think about me.

For many years I had the dream of owning a weekly newspaper somewhere and naming my company Brome Hill Publishing. That will probably never happen and it’s a lot cheaper to start a blog than it would be to start a newspaper company anyway. And Dad would have appreciated that even though I never saw him use a computer and I doubt if he would have known a blog from a bog.


15 thoughts on “Did I click on the right link?

  • I am so glad you’re doing this. I think your pops would be quite proud. I know I am as a friend. Keep writing and I’ll certainly keep tuning in. You’re writing makes me feel at home and brings a big, honkin’ smile to my face.

    • Thank you, Cindy. My guess is that this works because, as a guy from Lucas County, I wrote slow enough that you can keep up — just a little southern Iowa humor …

  • Chris – you are a courageous young man. You helped me out several times over. What can I do to help you my friend.

  • Chris,

    I was settling in to follow your bold red banner, so my first reaction upon seeing the new look was exactly what you anticipated: Huh???

    But I do like it and look forward to what you’ll do with this approach. I’ve already linked it from Facebook and highlighted the part about your “Dad’s willingness to try something different even though others laughed at him and his stubbornness when he knew he was right.”

    And the next line: “Those are things I’d be honored to have people think about me.”

    We are seeing this character in you, and we like it!

    You’ve enjoyed some productive moments since your horrible Monday. I’m not alone in relishing the new facets you’re showing.

    Now I’m going argue gently against shrinking too low into the brome.

    You say the way you’d “been using (your) name in giant red letters as the blog’s name seemed a little over the top.” Well, maybe but maybe not.

    Steinbach isn’t Huffington, not yet. Or should I say Breitbart? I think you see where I’m headed because you saw virtue in the advice to add a bit of your bio and your brand onto your online persona at “that other place” where you lately held forth.

    The bold banner isn’t all bad, isn’t only about inflated ego, might even be make or break for some of the readers you hope to reach.

    Think about two blogs in two styles, maybe one red and the other green. I’ll bet you’d know which to use for what.


  • I appreciate this story of your father, and I appreciate his values. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed some conversations with him, too, as I always do with his son.

    • This commenter sounds like he must be a very handsome, smart man with good taste in women…and friends!

  • You’ve remodeled! Love what you’ve done with the place. What a nice way to christen it with a story about who has probably been the most important man in your life. Well done, Chris 🙂

  • Chris – I, like so many others, so enjoy reading what you write. There has to be a way to make money out of it…maybe solicit advertisers? 🙂

  • Love this blog. Makes me think of my dad who died back in ’89….especially the “stubborness when he knew he was right”. It appears your dad instilled some good things in you. I would like to think my dad did the same for me. Onward and upward Chris!

  • Please let me know if I may help with anything related to social media or blogging. When my former job at an advertising agency evaporated due to losing its principal client, I developed some skills that helped me recover. Good luck, Chris. ~ @mckra1g

  • Brome Hill. The story took me back to my youth when I stayed at my grandpa Bryant’s (mom’s side of the family) farm near Edina, MO where I was born 64 years ago. I stayed there during the summer months from late May to mid August. There were several times my dad would take me down in the early spring probably early April, to help grandpa sow Brome Grass into the pasture he decided to set aside for that year for taking up into hay for the season.

    I lived on that farm every summer between 1954 and 1963 when he passed away.

    Thankyou for the story.

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