Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harvest, Hurrying and Home Runs

Are you close to done?
Are you done yet?
When do you think you’ll be done?

These are questions I have been fielding from friends and neighbors as well as asked myself. However, it’s still harvest around here. The guys are still rolling, putting in long days and nights to finish strong.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and even in the brief moments of conversation my husband and I have at the beginning and the end of the day, I can hear the glimmer of hope for a good finish in his voice.

It is interesting to me, and maybe it’s not just with farmers, but harvest and its progress is a barometer to Joe’s mood. When the going is good, busy, no break downs, etc., his mood is awesome.

Life is grand.

Couple this with the hope that the Cardinals, my husband’s beloved team, are in the World Series, and you’ve got the mood of the century.

Hustling around here is not only harvest related, but game-time determined. I am the runner of the family, but I saw Joe literally sprint from the truck to the shed the other day. Sprint. Joe. Yes, you read that right. However, you have never seen how much hustling around a guy can do in the dark when the satellite wires needed to be jiggled. Joe can leave a lightbulb that has burnt out for weeks, but when our DirecTV was out the other night, just minutes before the first pitch, Joe was out on our roof, wearing his headlamp, cursing the Satellite Gods.

Don’t worry, the wiggling helped, and the game was on…only to be lost in the end.


However, as of today, the series is tied, and like the end of harvest, we can taste a victory. We have had “end of harvest” talks: “When harvest is finished we’ll (fill the blank)  get away, get a recliner, get a haircut. I have a feeling that if (when) the Cardinals win the series, I can ask for roughly anything, and at least have it considered…don’t worry, my Pottery Barn couch is circled like the girls have circled the entire Toys R Us catalog.

They guys are demonstrating end of harvest superstitions as well. Just as the red Cardinal ball cap is worn now on game days by Joe, the word break down is not to be uttered, even in jest. Rain is welcome, but only to give the guys a little rest, and possibly fall enough so that the game can be watched. We are not to talk about frost or snow or the possibility of such until the last load has been brought in. I’m also not allowed to joke about Albert Pujols being injured, traded or whatever until the end of the series.

No wonder why I’m stressed out…

Anyway, we’re nearing the end, and that is great. I’m hopeful that the return of my husband will equal the return of my alone trips to the grocery store. With each Redbird home run, win, whatever and a bountiful harvest, nothing can stop us, right?

That is, until next season.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Find It Friday!

Well, it's Friday again...Whoo-hoo!! And it's time for another edition of Find It Friday! I feel like I should subtitle this post, "What dis?" as that is a question I am asked on a constant basis, and have been asked for about six years.'s today's find it:

Another fun find on my counter as I was cleaning up for Papa Dick and Grandma D'lo's visit this afternoon (Joe always gets after me for cleaning before his family comes, but I like to appear to be together.).

Do you know what it is?

Ignore the dust on the counter...I hadn't cleaned that part yet.

Is it an orange construction cone for an ant farm?


Guess again...

Think monster truck rallies, nagging wives, and noise...

Give up?
Do you care?
Are you still reading?



Why? Have we been to a monster truck rally recently? Has Joe heard enough of my constant nagging about putting his stuff away?

Answer: A surprising no!

Another subtitle for this find it could be Farm Safety: Hearing Edition.

Ask around...but speak up, because a lot of farmers have hearing loss due to many hours spent on noisy tractors, near unloading augers and possibly nagging wives...but we won't go there. Joe is trying to prevent this by using these ear plugs as he unloads grain carts. My hope is that he's preventing this so he can hear me say clearly, "Put these away so Amelia does not EAT THEM!!"

Anyway, I hope this Friday finds you enjoying life, taking in the nice weather (at least nice, crisp weather around here) by wearing a fun sweater or watching football, and hearing well.

And if you're around a farmer and he/she is unloading grain and not answering...don't blame it on aloofness, hopefully you can blame it on ear plugs!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laundry Detail

As a mom of four young children, wife of a farmer, and sweaty runner myself, laundry is an issue that needs to be addressed at my house, and often.

So, as a writer on the BlogHer's Life Well Lived panel, I have been asked to answer the following questions:

What are the biggest issues you face in doing the laundry? 


Do you have help from the family (why or why not)? 


What are the best time saving tips you have for getting the laundry done and put away with ease?

I'm laughing at my weirdness right now. Laundry is something that is a stress in my life, and when I step away and watch how it overwhelms, upsets and irritates me, that makes me laugh. I was even talking to a friend today, a fellow at-home mom, about the funny side of laundry. This mundane, necessary chore is something that causes me great strife at this moment in my life.

This is funny and sad simultaneously.

Laundry makes me stressed. That's funny. In a world where there's hunger and poverty and death and strife, I'm stressed about whites and darks and folding and putting away. That's sad.

What a life I lead.

Back to the questions: as I go about my life, ignoring the world around me and its problems altogether,  the biggest issue I have is trying to do this necessary chore without worrying too much about it. Once I start, I start worrying, fretting, fussing.

Will I be able to fold it all before it gets too wrinkly?
Will I switch loads in time for the wet stuff to not have to sit in the washer for too long?
Will I EVER have an empty basket?

I know, these are deep issues.

However, I must press on! While I do get a little help from my loving husband when he has icky farmy clothes (that is, only if the washer is empty, and if it's not...well, that's another source of stress and strife, but that's for the marriage portion of Live Well Lived), my girls and little guy are not as helpful as I should have them to be. They are good at wanting to sit down and fluff stuff out for me, but I'm Type A. I'm a freak. I like things folded my way, and I totally blame my parents for this. You see, my dad was in the military and was/is also completely a neatnik, so he had a certain way of folding his underwear and undershirts. Seriously. They fit a certain way in his upper drawer of his dresser, and I'm sure if I look in it today, the folding will be the same (right, Mom?).

Anyway, I should have the girls sort their clothes, and I should do a better job of having them not put things that are just sort-of dirty in the hamper, but I'm lazy, I guess. I just hamper it all up, sort it all out, and start my daily laundry pilgrimage. So, I guess my answer to the time saving tips is that I try to do it, switch it, fold it and put it away immediately. That is a trick, but it's something that has to be done. So, in my comment on BlogHer, I'm probably going to be fired because although I love to be organized, I have more time to be my comment here, and feel free to rebut my weirdness!


However, I know that this is a season in my life, and one day, I'll be 65 and wondering when the last time I did a full load, right? So, in the meantime, I'll continue to stress about this daily chore because I'm lucky. My life is pretty charmed, and if laundry is the biggest issue I face today, then it's been a pretty great day.

Tell me, world hunger and poverty aside, what are your big laundry snafus? Leave me a comment, and I'll love you forever!

And...just for fun and here to enter to win $250 in the Life Well Lived Moments contest!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beans, Beans...

They're good for your heart...

Okay, so don't finish that phrase.

We're currently in beans, meaning the guys are able to work at a reasonable pace. It also means that the tractor rides are more educational for Anna, as my dad (the former ag teacher) is manning the grain cart. She announced yesterday after riding with Papa Ted that she got to try one of the soybeans.

"You what?" I asked.
"I got to eat one of them, Mom." she explained.
"Huh." I didn't know how to respond. I guess I have been living under the assumption that all of our stuff is inedible in its raw form. I mean, that's what field corn is, right? But soybeans...duh, Emily...don't I eat roasted and salted soybeans because Women's Running Magazine tells me it will help build muscle? Isn't that what we're growing?

Answer: yes.

However, I have never been one to just mosey out to the field and chew on a soybean. I like them roasted, salted, and from our good friends at Good Sense Snacks.

So this got me to I missing out on a Farmer's Market opportunity? Should I be picking a load of soybeans, roasting them in my oven, salting them and packaging them up as Emily's Salty Soy Snacks?

Um, no. I don't have time to even make our regular dinner.

I know what you're probably thinking, "But Emily, don't you preach how your family helps feed and fuel our country?" Yes...I guess, however, I thought that our food and fuel had to go some where first and then be a food and fuel product. I hate to use the word processed because it has such a bad reputation in our society right now, but I guess I thought we had to take our crop out, have a little (gasp) processing, and then there you go.

However, after a conversation with my mom about "do we really feed the world?" I guess we do! How exciting! I know to all you farmers out there who read this are either sighing at my lack of knowledge or shaking your heads at my use of the "p" word, but, hey, my learning curve is still steep.

I guess I should be the one in the tractor with Papa Ted...maybe I'd learn something.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Find It Friday...Saturday Morning Edition

Okay, so I had really good intentions of having a picture to go with this post, but it didn't happen.

You won't believe what I found yesterday during my Find It Friday hunt: MY HUSBAND!!!

Yes, that's right, Farmer Joe is my Find It Friday subject.

Thankfully, we have slowed down for a spell, as the guys are harvesting beans, and that's a two(ish) man job. So, we were able to get away last night for dinner and a show (that show being Wicked, and although I know I'm truly behind the times this being my first time seeing it, I now see why everyone who does see it says how amazing it is. If you haven't seen it, GO!).

Anyway, I found my husband, despite still being busy and despite his beloved Cardinals playing in their hunt for the World Series bid while we were in the theater, in khakis and a good humor, sitting beside me, only checking the score during intermission.

My hope was to document this with a picture, however, I didn't, so take my word for it...we cleaned up nice for our night on the town. It's few and far between ( I just wrote "farm" for "far," is that Freudian or what?) with our life right now to be found alone, not asleep, out for the evening. However, tonight solidified that I married the right guy. I truly enjoy my husband, just as the person who he is, not just the provider, father, and butt of many of my jokes on this blog. I need to remember that when I wish he would put his stupid coffee cup in the sink instead of on the front porch.

I am hopeful that we continue to have a busy, bountiful, and not so hectic harvest that I will allow me to enjoy my husband, and not just his laundry at night.

Here's hoping!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Better Home, With No Garden

So I have been a fan of Better Homes and Gardens magazine ever since we remodeled our home. I loved to pore through the pages, dog-earing ones that I loved, laughing at the ones I didn't. I have even gone as far as written in to their "Save My Room" columns, entered to win a landscaping re-do, and even sent in our house  story, as I tire of reading the "we bought this random house and demolished it, uncovered hardwoods, exposed beams, etc." We did that...and wouldn't people want to read about how this is my grandparents' house, too? Well...not so much, as I got a lovely, "no thank you" email from them.


Anyway, I still read it quite religiously, however, find myself during this season doing a lot of eyerolling as their harvest themed rooms and decor are quite un-harvesty. Harvest around BHG is lovely, white, crisp and apple-y. Harvest around here is dusty, dirty, cobwebby, and corny (not har, har corny, but actual corn-y). Their white slipcovered furniture would not withstand the grain dust that is currently blowing into my house as I type. The guys are rolling now, in the field behind my house, and as the corn is harvested, the little red bits of the plant are sprinkled everywhere...including through the screens of my windows and onto my dark furniture.

Better Homes and Gardens would suggest that harvest is a time for enjoying the fall foliage, and this year is truly spectacular, but as any mid-level botanist would know, the dry conditions have caused the abundance of lovely colors. Which, for me, means a nervous husband during the month of August, and a completely and utterly obnoxiously dusty gravel road (again, see my dark furniture...what was I thinking??).

Life during harvest for BHG folks is leisurely, spent by their spectacular fire pits, roasting organic s'mores and fresh pressed cider. We are lucky to get a sandwich around here on the go, as meal planning has revolved around questions such as "will this heat up well?" and "could I stand to make this again at 9:00?"

Apples and pumpkins adorn tables and Better Homes and Gardens families frolic in the orchards showcased in the glossy pages of the magazine. My harvest attempts, not harvest activities, have included heading to the apple orchard with the four kids to only sweat through my clothes as I chased them down the U-Pick aisles. And then there's playing in the yard for us...which is nearly life threatening thanks to the grain carts and combine just feet from the girls' swingset.

You're probably noticing a theme...just as Virginia is for Lovers, Harvest is for Whining, and if you're a farm kid or a farm wife or a farmer, you'll know that this is a truly beautiful and bountiful time, full of worry, stress and sleep deprivation.

Don't let BHG fool you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harvest Realizations

I have had the pleasure of staying at home with all of my children for the past six years. I quit a job that I loved to care for little people whom I love even more. I am not saying that there are days...nor am I belittling those who have chosen to stay at work (there are times I want to be you), however, I have had a little bit of an easy road as a SAHM.

You see, Joe has been around. He worked from his office at home when we first had Anna and lived in town. He would travel a few days here and there, but that was do-able. Then, we moved to the farm, he quit that job, and became a farmer. His office is still on the first floor of our house (makes it sound like we live in a Taj Mahal, but really, just an old 2-story), and his "workplace" surrounds us. He's in and out through the day, allowing me to traipse around, grocery shopping alone on days when it's slow around here, as well as helping me get kids from here to there. I am lucky; I realize this. However, I am not saying that raising four kids under the age of six is cushy, it's just that we're a team.

However, harvest makes me realize how much I need my other teammate. I can't do this alone, all the time. I am not a good mom, and especially not a great wife during this busy season. My husband, after working all day, is greeted every evening by my exhausted heap of a self on the couch. I know, romantic, huh? I'm surviving, not thriving during this time, and to those of you who do this on a regular basis...KUDOS. This stinks.

The first few nights, even a week, are fun. The kids and I eat pancakes with chocolate chips, like Daddy hates, snuggle for stories on my bed, and I get to watch my fill of primetime HGTV. However, once reality sets in and I am the one who is giving all the baths, doing all the homework, and refereeing all the fights do I wish I would have gotten my truck driver's license. I wish I could escape to watch the combine do its thing, bringing in the crop that will pay for the online shopping I do because I can't take all four kids to the Old Navy Baby Sale (heaven forbid I miss it!!).

Anyway, I sound whiny, and I don't intend to, but harvest is wearing on me, and we are still in the same field we've been in since Friday. Yes, Friday. It's not that big, it's that down.

We are blessed with a bountiful yield average, even though the corn is going to be tricky to get out, so I need to keep that in mind as I grumble giving the fourth bath of the night. I need to remember how lucky I am, in February, when I don't have to wake everyone up, bundle everyone up, and go meet the bus. I'm not alone, I'm just lonely at the moment.

However, everything is temporary. This feeling of loneliness is as temporary as the pumpkin display I have on my front porch and the Illini's 5 and 0 record. Just as the pumpkins will be eaten by my dog and the Illini will soon lose, my loneliness will wane, giving way to wanting Joe to just get out of the house for an hour so I can watch HGTV without commentary.

This is all temporary. I can do this.