There's nothing better than an upcoming event to encourage a major farm makeover. Whether it's a graduation party, a breakfast or picnic on the farm or a field day, these events make us step back and take a look at our farm through another's eyes. We start seeing the piles of stuff that grew a little bigger every time we said to ourselves previously, "Oh, I'll clean that up later." On-farm events effectively turn later into now.

Glen's mom and dad use their machine shed for graduation parties, surprise birthdays and bachelor parties; with everybody pitching in, they can turn a working shop and storage facility into a ballroom in a matter of days.

We hosted a field day on our farm when I was in junior high. I'll never forget those endless weeks of beautifying our farm. The spring I graduated from high school, we worked for days on another complete farm clean-up. It's amazing how many I'll-do-that-later piles can sprout back up in a few short years. They're a bit like thistles: we hack them down and dig them up, thinking we've eliminated the eyesore, only to find new ones growing a little while later.

And just like those thistles seem to emerge in the same, undisturbed locations, so do the piles. Behind the milk house by the dumpster. In the corner of the machine shed. On the shelf by the tool box in the back room. They're undisturbed locations that make convenient receptacles for a variety of stuff that needs to be taken care of later. Mucking through those collections of homeless items is less important than a million other farm chores, so we tend to stop paying attention to the piles. After all, they're not bellowing or yelling because we forgot about them. It's that whole out of sight, out of earshot, out of mind principle.

Then, an event gets inked onto the calendar and suddenly those piles start screaming, "Clean me up, now!"

Our event was the filming of a promotional video for the Farm Service Agency's Farm Loan Program. We have worked with the Farm Loan Program since we started farming; our loan manager has become a valuable member of our advisory team. Without the Farm Loan Program's loans for beginning farmers, we wouldn't have had access to the credit we needed to start farming. When we were asked about participating in the video, we agreed, figuring that helping with a video is the least we could do to show our appreciation for their willingness to work with young farmers.

All we were told about the project was what day they were coming, what we should wear, and that they wouldn't be shooting any footage inside the house. So, with every location on the farm on the verge of being immortalized on film, farm beautification turned into our top spare-time priority. I'd like to say that our farm looks film-ready all the time, but, hey, who am I kidding. Maybe if you're doing a drive-by video at about 60 miles an hour.

You should have seen the lists. Mow the lawn. Cut down those thistles. Paint, paint, paint. It's amazing how much needs a fresh coat of paint when you start to look around. Throw that stuff in the dumpster. Haul the load of scrap metal away. Sweep the spider webs off the house. Rummage through the closets for something to wear. We were asked to wear work clothes for the shoot. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to see our real work clothes. We need something with no holes, no spots, no funky odors.

And, of course, most of our cleaning-up was crammed into the last two weeks. What's that saying? Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute. I realized after about a week of special assignments that nobody had explained to Derek, the young man who works for us, why all of a sudden we were asking him to come early, stay late and help with projects well outside the realm of his normal day-to-day work.

The extra work paid off, though. As the film crew rolled in, I took a step back, looked around and thought to myself, "Gee, this place cleans up well."