Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Farm Didn't Look Like Your Farm, Which Doesn't Look Like Their Farm, Which Doesn't Come Close to Her Farm...and That's OKAY!

Happy mid-planting season, everyone!

I would be remiss in wishing you all safety and good weather as you farmers continue your quest to get #plant2016 buttoned up.

However, amongst my farmer friends, blogs, recipes shared, articles in our FarmWeek, I can't help but once again see that our farm's picture isn't in the frame. Our farm's depiction, when we were "full timers," is quite different than shared by the smiling faces, meals in Styrofoam, and sweeping sunset pictures.

And that is OKAY.

Because that's farming. That's agriculture.

I'll spare you the details of farmers who never want to stop to eat, so when you have loaded three kids under four in the car in order to find the field only to realized that no one wants to stop, no way my car was going to make it to the back, and no way was I going to drag all that stuff out there on foot and how that affects your willingness to bring food out.


And that is OKAY.

Our operation runs on quitting and being done when it's time to be done, and going when it's time to go, so don't mess around with a nice brownie.

A pang of guilt and those all-to-familiar outsider feelings used to come up when I was first a farm wife. I felt like I was doing it wrong. Again, the code of farm wifery a mystery to me.

But that's not the case.

I'm doing with what I knew. Doing the best with what I had, and believe me, no one was scarred for life because of it.

Or so I think...

My mom was a farm wife, but only to a moonlighting farmer until my dad "retired" to farm. She worked full time, lived 30 miles from the farm's home base, and probably received the same, "I'll get it when I'm finished here" response. While I know some of you do the same, I saw how her role was at home, with her job and us, and when Dad got home, that's when the "farm meals" were held. But unlike my awesome friends who have mastered the "hand held meals," omelettes and oatmeal may not be cookbook material, blogworthy, or even worth mentioning.

Maybe that's why my dad has remained the same size since high school.

Anyway, my point here today is that I should take note and mark this revelation as I continually scrutinize the way other's farm, as you look at how agriculture and food production is changing, it's all relative. It's all personal, and it's because a majority of the time, a farm is being farmed by a PERSON.

And people are, well, people.

And that's OKAY.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And the winner is...


Karen, you left me a lovely comment, and my daughter Amelia chose your name from our hat!!

Could you please send me an email at

I'll give you more information about your fabulous Stella and Dot prize!

Thank you for reading and listening to all, and I'll be back later in the week with some planting updates! And maybe a story about the time I took all the kids to the orthodontist and then to Wal Mart and lived to tell about it!

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Gifts for Your Mother

Please say this title in your best Vanilla Ice voice.

Thank you.

Then, moving onto another 90s icon, we are now TOO LEGIT TO QUIT!!

Friends, we are coming to you on iTunes!! If you are a podcast listener or podcast broadcaster, you know that once you've made the leap and been approved by iTunes, you're pretty much big time.

or something like that...

Either way, my good friend and fellow farm mom Holly Spangler and I are back podcasting (and blogging! Read Holly's here.), talking about gifts for the (farm) mom in your life. If you would, please take a minute to find us on your purple podcast icon on your apple device (search Confessions of a Farm Wife), subscribe to our channel so you will not miss an episode, and give us a comment, a share, or just some sort of acknowledgement that you listened!! We are coming to you with a fresh podcast every few weeks, so GET EXCITED.

We have compiled a list of 15 gift ideas for the woman (farm or non farm) in your life. Included in the list are links, coupon codes, web addresses, Facebook pages, and even giveaways for our lovely readers and listeners!!

Now, onto the show and its links! Happy reading, listening, and shopping!

1) Rosebud's Designs and Apparel Kari Jo Kelso is such a great representation of the creative people we have on our list. She's originally from west central Illinois, but now is a veterinarian in Austin, Texas. On the side, she started designing t-shirts, starting as just a creative outlet, and it has since morphed into the beautiful ag-themed t-shirt and tote shop. Plus, it's named after her grandma, Rosemary "Rosebud," which is super cute. I have already ordered myself one and one for Anna, and I CAN'T WAIT for them to come. She has graciously offered Confessions listeners a 15% off coupon code good until 4/30. Just type LOVEMOM in the code box to redeem.

2) The Farmerette: Hailing from Minnesota, Carolyn is an 25 year veteran agronomist by day (and one of the few women in her field...thus the nickname, Farmerette!) and an entrepreneur by night. Always loving chemistry and science and needing a break from her twin boys (amen, fellow twin mom!), she started experimenting with making homemade chap sticks. As she kept creating, her shop now includes soy based chap sticks, body butters, hand creams, and the like. She has also offered our listeners a chance to win a gift basket with some of her goodies, such as FarmHER hand cream, cranberry soy sugar scrub, cranberry whipped body butter, and vanilla soy lip balm. To enter, please leave a comment below, or on Holly's blog as well for two entries, and we'll pick a winner on Monday!

3) Madi's Makings: I love this. Spending time at a cattle show, especially with small children, has made me realized that comfy seating and resting spots are of utmost importance. Enter our entrepreneur, Madison Flack. She makes chute hammocks. Genius. They are $50 plus shipping that will be well spent.

4) Erin Enhle Brown Photography:  Erin's work is beautiful and has been featured everywhere. She has everything from beautiful photographs to sayings to customizable pieces. Visit her website for more details-the work speaks for itself. But do it by April 27th to get it in time for Mother's Day delivery!!

5) Country Girl Creations: Kristen Emmonds is a fellow farm mom, first grade mom and friend of mine locally. She creates lovely custom or not signs out of reclaimed wood, among other materials. Her chalk paint furniture and frames are adorable. You can message her via her Facebook page, and she'll ship anywhere in the country!

6) Plants and flowers: no link for this one...just send your dude and kiddos to the nursery or grab a gift card for some pretty flowers, potted plants or other living things that I will inevitably kill by July. It's the thought that counts on this one for me!

7) Stella and Dot:  Look closely in this's my favorite necklace, from my favorite jewelry line, purchased from my favorite stylist, Elisabeth. She's one of those friends who always is wearing what I realized once I see her that THAT'S what I'm supposed to be wearing. And she's lovely. And she's a farm kid. I'm sure you probably have a Stella and Dot consultant around you, but if you don't, Elisabeth is great and helpful and GENEROUS!! She has graciously offered a bracelet as a giveaway. A lovely Illini orange bangle that the proceeds benefit the Every Mother Counts charity. I have it. Wear it all the time. Love it.

8) Origami Owl: I love customizable jewelry. Holly's family did an Origami Owl locket for their grandmother, and she'll explain the personal touches that makes it special in our podcast. So lovely.

9) Your Words Cuffs: Holly has one of these, and it is gorgeous. These are customized leather cuffs. Trendy with an element of touching. Love it.

10) Cinnamon Sticks: Holly has this, too... Sheesh, Holly, you've hit the jackpot here! Ha! These are rings with your children's names on them. While Holly has the national norm of children and her rings fit her fingers lovely, I think I'll just admire her stack, as I don't have enough finger length to pull this off. Six kids makes personalized jewelry a challenge!

11) Lenny and Eva:  My turn! I have one of these...actually two. Joe and Anna picked one out for me for Christmas with the "love" sentiment, and I bought another bracelet for versatility's sake. Customized sentiments, interchangeable bands, bangles, charms. Lovely.

12) Camelback Eddy Water Bottle: For the fit mom in your life! I love mine. The good folks at Certified Angus sent me mine, but I love that I can use it while running on the treadmill and not lose a beat in my gait...and inevitably fall on my face!

13) FitBit and RoadID: Tell me why Holly and I need a FitBit? Because everyone who has it, loves it, right? I do have a RoadID, and once we started talking about it, Holly laughed. I call it safety; she calls it an ear tag!

14) Young Living Essential Oils: My sweet friend Amy is a wealth of knowledge in this. I admit...I only have used lavender for my curls and tea tree for...eww...lice repellent (more on that another time), but Amy is willing to connect you to various ways to ramp up your health. She has a bath scrub giveaway too, so remember to comment!!

15) Woodkeeps:  Holly and I love JoAnna Gaines...really, who doesn't? She wears such lovely pieces of jewelry, and this Etsy shop is full of great options!

Well...there you go, friends! I'm so excited for you to listen to our podcast, comment, and share.

Check back here on Monday for the winners of our fabulous prizes!!

Happy shopping!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Highest Highs, the Lowest Lows, and Who Stands With You

So this week hasn't exactly been one that I have felt like I have been rocking at life.

Let's just say that when life hands you a present in the form of a child with some sort of issue that may cause you to want to burn your house down, contents and all, and that day happens to be your birthday, one of the most beautiful spring days in the history of days, and a Friday, you may just want to throw in the towel.

Moving on...we are now clear, and the upside is our house has been spring cleaned.


Anyway, if you've been a devoted reader, you may remember that our life is like any other: unpredictable. But for a person who finds deep delight in planning, this element of human existence causes great angst. Specifically in the past seven days, I have been able to truly be alone in my thoughts, vacuum humming in the background, and I have taken stock of the people around me.

My tribe.

Do you ever do that? Take a moment to savor the life breath that is friends? Make a mental note of those who can understand your idiosyncrasies, who will drop things and show up, who will counsel you, challenge you, support you, listen to you, cry with you, and make you laugh. Hard.

Side note: you men who are reading this may think this is not for you, but DON'T STOP. This will help you and the woman in your life.

I'm talking tribes, friends. I'm talking about people who will celebrate with you in the highest of highs and hug you tight during the lowest of lows.

This week has not been a stellar one for the Webels. Nothing earth shattering, just issue compounding upon issue. The usual juggling of life, coupled with Joe easing into his new role while still keeping the Ag teacher duties going strong, and things like the child sent home with her "issue" (not to be said above a whisper), and then things like a flat tire.

Stuff that makes for funny stories.

One day, but not today.

This stuff, for a type A, crazy mother of six who has to have a plan that is fool proof to keep the wheels (or tires) on her bus rolling, causes strife. And, because I am who I am, causes me to feel alone.

Loneliness is something I have struggled with my whole life. As a kid, I never felt like I had a bestie. Prayed for a homecoming date. Hoped to HECK I was accepted into a sorority. I never felt like I fit in anywhere, and, unfortunately, still have those moments. Where we live, the sheer amount of children we have, the fact that I am at home alone all day with aforementioned children all feeds my innate sense of loneliness.

This is not true, though. This has NEVER been true.

I am NOT alone.

This week was a stellar example of this. In the moments that I started to feel truly sorry for myself my inner core of friends was working on me, softening my heart to the hardness that loneliness tends to create.

These friends get me.

Do you have friends like this?

They are the friends who make the phone call that was perfectly timed. They are friends who offer to come and help during the yuckiest of yuck during the busiest of times. They support you in your career endeavors, even when there's really no "career" yet. They're the friends who take you to dinner and present you with the ONE THING that you have coveted, and it's silly and frivolous, but they GET YOU and all your silly loves in life.

Namely: Tory Burch.

Ahem, again.

Anyway, I encourage you today dear reader to take stock in your tribe. Invest in them the way they invest in you. Quit feeling lonely and find a friend (I'm talking to myself, mainly.). You may think that you're alone in this game of life that is a crap shoot of mess and vacuuming, but there are people there who love you, pray for you, and support you for who YOU are.

So today as I sit and write this, I am inspired by my tribe. I cannot express how much loneliness has been abated thanks to friends this week. While my life situation is not grim in the slightest, friends who empathize, sympathize and pass you a beer when you need it the most are ones that make you able to endure whatever is sent your way.

Today, seek out your tribe and thank them. Stand firm in the belief that they love you no matter what, and that they'll stand with you. And if they're my people, they'll always make sure I'm standing in cute shoes! Ha!
Exhibit A of how my tribe gets me.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Preview to Mother's Day Podcast!!

Hi friends!

Happy spring! It's finally consecutively warm and spring like. My kids were dirty and tired today from fresh air and no grass (still a construction zone around here!). Anyway, with days like today, my mind starts to wander to all things spring!

What says spring more than Mother's Day???

If your Farmer Joe, you're probably rolling your eyes because today is actually my birthday. He is easily stressed by the giving of gifts, which is unfortunate, as my love language happens to be within the gift category.

His does NOT.

So each birthday, holiday, whatever is met with the phrase, "I want you to keep your expectations at a low level."

Nice, huh?

Gifts stress Joe out.

Do you have a dude like that? Are YOU like that? How about birthdays for the other women in your life?

Well, you're in luck! Holly (read her preview blog here) and I are compiling the go-to gift guide for all the gals in your life! Even better, we're going to be podcasting about it next week! GET EXCITED!

Now, while we have been busily gathering some of our favorite things, we are always up for new and creative things. Are you a person who has a small business with goods or services that cater to women? Are you someone who would like to be featured on our blogs?

If you are, go ahead and email me at, and we can consider you for a spot on our coveted list.

Well, maybe the list isn't coveted, but still.

We are so excited about this, and hope that it will be helpful to you in your shopping season!

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Having Your Chickens and Eating Them, Too

So our town has a "What's Going On" Facebook page.

Do any other small towns, or big ones for that matter, have this?

Generally speaking, it's a platform for people to share community events, thus the name. However, on many occasions- many, many occasions- it's a space where people feel free to take their issues with the town, the school, dogs, cats, police, politics, etc., to the MASSES.

And friends, it is GOLD.

Facebook at it's finest, friends.

Last night, there was a thread about some rogue chickens who were running amuck in the residential areas of Farmington. A woman was genuinely concerned about these chickens, who are "street legal" to have in Farmington, but they were free range and eating her garden seeds.


Free range.

In town.

biiiiiiiiiggggggg siiiiiigggggghhhh


I get it. Fresh eggs are amazing. A fryer chicken tastes better. But SERIOUSLY. Free range in town. Now, I don't know the terms of having town chickens, but I can imagine that there are some regulations on how "free range" you can have them.

Again, no disrespect to those who want chickens in town. But let's be realistic here people. You can't have your chickens and eat them too, or something like that.

Can we all just take a moment to assess how we live, and how it may affect those around us? I was a person who lived in town. If people's dogs, cats, trash, whatever were roaming or blowing around in our yard, it's a nuisance. If I were in town and playing outside with my little kids, and a chicken came to hang out, I would be alarmed. Not because of a danger, just because I LIVE IN TOWN.

Also, are we still in Fulton County, or is this a third world country? When Joe was in his traveling days, he saw cattle roaming in the streets of India...among other things. If we let the chickens be free and wild, what's next? Outside hogs in the park areas? Goats instead of trash pick up?

I'm really kidding, but I feel like we're getting a little bit greedy. Our society wants to be all Green Acres with the convenience of living in town, but this is just insane.

So, those of you with town chickens, can I please ask you to consider getting a coop for your fine feathered friends, because it's starting to affect my productivity. I have spent way too long reading 65+ comments on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Food Deserts, First World Problems, and New Friends

Hi everyone!

Does anyone in the northern part of the world feel like it's never going to warm up? It's currently 50 degrees, and I'm considering opening the windows! In my driveway, the planter is unfurled and being calibrated. That's a sign that spring is coming, right?

With this dawn of a new season comes a fresh podcast for you to listen to as you're thinking about cleaning out the garage, picking up sticks or going for that run outside (can you tell what I'm thinking of doing???). In March, Holly Spangler and I recorded with our new friend, Natasha Nicholes (who blogs here. It's a beautiful blog, and she's an interesting, layered individual. Worth your time.). Natasha and Holly met each other as they were both on an Illinois Farm Families Farm Tour; Holly on the farmer side, and Natasha as the Chicago mom.

Being a person who ALWAYS wanted to live in the city, having Natasha on our panel that day was fascinating. It was a short discussion, but in the podcast, I learned that Chicago is a place of food deserts. The land I thought was full of choices, actually has a lot of pockets where people cannot find groceries other than from a convenience store.

So fascinating.

And sad.

We also discussed a few funny first world problems, and wound up leaving the conference as new friends.

And the crowd goes: Awwwwwwww.

Seriously, people, it's been a YEAR. One year since we last podcasted. I'm hoping to remedy that with some tweaking once Jack starts school next fall. Until then, enjoy this podcast of Confessions of a Farm Wife, On Location.

It may be another year, so listen carefully!"