Monday, August 27, 2012

Pedicures, Pork, and Photographs

What's better than getting away with your girlfriends for a weekend?

Coming home to 3.5 inches of rain!!!


But you've heard enough about rain and the lack thereof, etc., etc., right?

Well, I have, so there you go.

This weekend I was so, so lucky to go up to Galena with two of my good buddies to celebrate Kathleen's big birthday coming up (I won't tell you her age, but it has a four and a zero in figure it out). Between the three of us, we have ten kids, so getting away without our little friends is tricky. So, on Friday, when they came to pick me up...we were like girls en route to a slumber party.

We made our way across river country where the  flat, dry land where we live became hilly, even drier land. It was really pretty, but we're all in need of a drink. I was, however, able to shut off my farmer's wife mentality to enjoy big girl dinners where I ordered an eggplant dish (my husband's skeptical look was nowhere to be seen, so what the heck), and wear a dry clean only dress with the realization that no one but myself would be to blame for splatters!
Kathleen, Me, and Rachel

 Don't we look so fancy?

So we continued the celebration, girly-style, with massages, manicures and pedicures, and another delicious meal at this ah-ma-zing restaurant called One Eleven Main. Not only was it in this fabulously restored old building with exposed brick, major hardwood floors, and a beautiful open staircase that led to the equally fabulous lounge, it was also hailed as just really good, really fresh, really local food.

I have found myself becoming very aware and quite skeptical of such restaurants. I mean, seriously, not all restaurants have the accessibility to really good, truly (as in just a few miles away) local produce, meat, etc. However, all across the brick walls were poster sized photographs of the farmers who were providing the ingredients for the night's menu. Yes, the night's menu, not just the special, but the menu was so fresh, it was fluid, ever-changing with the season and availability. Underneath each photograph of sleeveless t-shirted, jeans clad farmers in seed corn caps were their names and hometowns, most of them just a few miles from the downtown Galena area.

It was fabulous.

And, if it was just marketing, it was excellent marketing. The pork I had that night was fabulous, and from just across the river in Dubuque, Iowa. But it wasn't the meal in itself that got us all talking about how I should blog about this restaurant (and the fact that Kathleen feels like she is not mentioned enough here...ha, ha!). We were all so intrigued at the attention to detail and how they stayed true to their mission.

In their literature, One Eleven Main states, " Local Flavor Cuisine” showcases regional and local meats, cheeses, produce and specialties. Our special relationships with farmers, growers and producers allow us to literally bring ingredients from farm-to-table within hours of harvest."

You could sense that they had pride in their farmers, but not in a fru-fru or fake way. The server knew her stuff. She explained the whereabouts of the items on the menu when we asked. The food wasn't intimidating or weird, so farmers like my husband and dad and father-in-law would feel like they would not only enjoy a good meal, but not feel like they were just being trendy. Some times "eating local" can just be a facade for "eating trendy," and folks who are producers of the food are turned off by the trendiness. 

I loved it.

I want a restaurant around here to feature not only a steak from Joe's cattle, but a huge picture of him beside one.

Maybe I was just relaxed from my massage and pedicure, or maybe I was just able to truly focus on what I was eating and where it was coming from, because I only had to cut my own food (imagine that!), but this restaurant has the perfect blend of advocacy and avante garde.

However, they didn't have Elvis (a.k.a. Johnny Vegas) like the place across the street, but that's another story for another day...

Oh my...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My girls left for school just a few minutes ago, and while it's great to know that they are loving it, and admittedly, I am loving having just the two little ones, a schedule to keep, and less people to feed at lunch, yesterday, I was anxious before the bus came.

Standing at our big windows in our family room, I watched over the top of the corn for the dust to roll, signifying the bus's arrival.

Our traffic pattern allows us to notice cars traveling our road by the amount of dust that is atop the corn...I know, a glamorous and fancy way of seeing who's coming and going. Not only does dust signify a car or bus or tractor, but we also note who and what is traveling on our road by the sound that is made. Different rumblings signify different vehicles and visitors, and Jack's chubby finger pointing and a "Papa" often times means the rumbling of the wheels is something big.

Cattle notice this too.

Just this morning, as I was enjoying the peace of two occupied children, two children on the bus and the Today Show, I heard the rumbling of the trailer, Joe's livestock trailer. It was empty (I know by the sound...and aren't I getting good???), thus made a really hollow, really loud sound. He used the trailer yesterday to move the calves from their mamas in order to wean them. I tend to sympathize with the cattle during two times, calving and weaning. We have a connection as mothers, and when I saw the cattle start to run to the gate, following the rumbling of the trailer, my heart sank.

They're looking for their babies.

Those poor mothers have bawled all night, looking, calling, waiting for their babies.

Seeing the mama cow run to the gate this morning made me feel so sad for her, but don't take this as a post that is meant to make you feel like calves should nurse forever. They shouldn't. Joe is a good cattle man, and this is the best way for our animals to wean and prep to become mothers and replacement heifers for the next calving season.

This mama's waiting made me realize that although it's hard and strange and scary to let your kids/calves go, it's necessary. Even though Josie is small and slight and five, she's on the bus, making friends, exercising her independence. Anna did the same, and she is so strong and confident when it comes to school and other unfamiliar and new experiences, I learn from her how to just go in, be confident and do your own thing.

The calves are doing the same thing. While the mothers will spend a few days waiting and worrying, the calves, although a bit confused, are playing at cow school. They're hanging with their friends, enjoying the crisp morning, and will some day be reunited with their mothers. They're receiving good feed, good grass, water, and plenty of space to graze, and the mother is just basically worried because that's what we mothers do. We run to the gate when we hear a rumble. We worry at lunch time that our little ones can open their yogurt without spilling. We wait at the window, watching for dust.

This waiting is all done in the name of love.

It's different with mothers. We're more emotional. We're more sentimental. Thus, I am glad that I am not the one sorting and moving calves from their mothers. It's a natural and normal thing to do. It has to be done. Just like school has to start, calves have to be weaned. The calves may be confused, and the mothers concerned, but, in the end, they'll be okay.

That is a truth that I should remember as I watch for the dust roll in this afternoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On Being Concise

This morning, it rained.

I know...this should be a happy, ohmygoodnessitrainedpraisetheLord post, right?

Well, it kind of is.

However, at the moment that it was raining, a good soaker by the way, Joe stood at the window, pleading. I stood at the kitchen sink, head in my hands, peeking through my fingers as I watched my tree in the front yard sway.

Oh Lord, please let it rain, but, for heaven's sake, no WIND!!!

Thankfully, we seem to be unscathed. The winds came, maybe bent a little corn, but as of noon today, we have had an inch. Still only 12 more to go to make up the summer's deficit, but it's a start, right?

I knew from the start of being a farm wife, my prayers would be different. I knew that we were at our maker's mercy for a lot, so I better get good at praying and fast. However, what I have learned from this year, is that being concise in my prayers (for example, Heavenly Father, bless our farm with rain, but no winds over 15 miles an hour, no hail, no driving rains, and by the way...) is just going to drive this already-on-the-edge woman even more crazy! If I were to continue to pray like that, I would never be satisfied, never be content, and always be disappointed.


As I stood in my kitchen this morning, I announced that I might not be cut out for this farming stuff.

Well, duh...I don't think any of us are, really. No one should be so dependent upon concise requests without feeling really crummy most of the time.

So today, after our rains came, without wind or hail, I realized something, we're missing the big picture. While we worry about how the rain is coming down, we forgot to rejoice in the fact that it was, in fact, coming down. Pasture ground doesn't care if it's windy, right? Just that it got a drink so that it can start to produce it's cool weather grasses (Did you know that there are two types of weather and warm weather?? I didn't until this week, and have been sharing this knowledge to all who care (and those who don't) to hear!). That's something, right? I'm ignoring the corn that could have had some damage today, and am rejoicing in the fact that we have rain in our rain gauge, I used my rainboots to go out and get the mail, and that for once,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Legacy of "Ol Red"-- Guest Post

 **A guest post today from Farmer Joe, our resident cattleman.

I have been a lot of things in my life.  Professionally, I’ve been a teacher, a teacher “coach”, and an educational consultant for Ag Ed programs throughout the U.S.   I’ve been a grain farmer, and had a short stint helping out a crop insurance agent for a year.  I was even offered a job to work for a U.S. congressman for about 20 minutes.  At home, I’m a dad, a husband, brother and son.  But the one thing I have been for the longest amount of time?  I’m a cattleman.   30 years ago this coming November, my Dad and I went to pick out my first two purebred heifers for my 4-H projects.  I was hooked on cattle, and the amount of responsibility that my Dad bestowed on me at a young age taught me lessons that I’ll use no matter what industry I work in.  I had my own herd within our cattle operation, and between the cattle and working for Dad and Grandpa on the hog operation, I generated my own income through my teenage years that I used to pay for things that I wanted and needed- like a car, gas, and a college education.  I was careful with my money because I knew how much work it was to earn it.  And I didn’t want to ask anyone to give me money that I didn’t earn.  Too bad more people didn’t grow up with a lesson like this…..

After college, since I was away from the farm, I had sold off most of my cattle.  I remained interested in the cattle business and always hoped to be back in it as soon as the opportunity presented itself.  On the day before my wedding in 2003, my dad arrived at my house and presented me with a nice card and a used, but reconditioned fence post-hole digger- The manual kind where you dig a post hole by hand.   One of the handles had been replaced and Dad had sharpened the tips, and had given the metal a fresh coat of red paint.  Someday I will devote the appropriate amount of time to the significance of this particular gift, but for today’s purposes, the contents of the card are more relevant.  As our wedding present, Mom and Dad wrote in the card “Welcome back to the Cattle Business- take your pick of the cows.”  Needless to say, I was touched and very pleased.  Of all the things I’d done, I wanted to get back to our family’s farm and raise cattle alongside my dad the most.

The cow that I picked was a 4 year old that we called “Old Red” (not to be confused with the heifer referred to as “Psycho Red” who, for obvious reasons, is no longer at the farm…..).    While it did not work out for us to relocate back to my home farm, I was able to find a pasture to use when we moved to Farmington six years ago.  “Red” was the lone survivor of the tragic Memorial Day lightning strike that eliminated the rest of my small herd, only two weeks after moving them here.  Time to start over.

Later that year, I partnered with my current landlord on a grain and livestock farm, and have since built a cowherd of about 135 cows, of which 12 are my own purebred cows.  All of them were bought, or born into the herd except one:  “Old Red”.   She was a gift.  She was passed from my home farm to where I am now.  She’s a legacy of the experience of what I learned working alongside my dad, grandpa and brother, and as an 8 year old 4-H kid, and from the place where I learned how to do whatever it takes to insure the health and comfort of my animals.  Where I learned what it means to be a stockman.  She’s a symbol of the generations of Webels who have made the livestock industry their livelihood.

“Old Red” is the quintessential “Boss Cow”- she’s in the lead anytime the cows come in for feed.  She’ll push away any younger cows in her way at the bunk.  And she’ll always walk right up to me in the pasture, put her head down, and expect to be scratched behind the ears.  She has raised several nice bulls that we’ve sold, but I haven’t kept any of her heifers for my herd.  “Red” isn’t the best cow I own- in fact, she’s not as good as the other purebred cows that I’ve went out and bought over the years, but she’s probably the most meaningful and symbolic cow that I own.

Sadly, 2012 is a year of decisions.  The drought has burned up the pastures, and I’ve been feeding my winter feed supply since the 2nd week of July.  I have more cows in my purebred pasture than I can feed for the winter, and I have some good replacement heifers to add to the purebred group for next year as well.   
Unfortunately, the time has come to sell “Old Red”.  I don’t really want to- I think I could get her through a couple more years, but there just isn’t enough feed for all of the cows.  So next Tuesday, I’ll load her up for her last trailer ride on our farm and haul her to Fairview to the sale.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been more sad to sell an animal in my entire life.

Red’s last calf on this farm is a nice little heifer.  She’s not quite as good as the other heifer calves in the purebred pen, but she’s acceptable.  I think that just for the symbolism, I’ll keep this little heifer, and give her to the kids.  Maybe she’ll mean as much to them someday as Ol Red has meant to me…..

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mixed Bag

What is wrong with me?

I have been living...surviving the last few years of having small children at home, all the time for this day to come.

Now, I'm kind of sad.

No, I'm not going back to work.

No, I'm not sending my kids to a boarding nursery school (even though, yesterday, I was considering it).

My two big girls are headed to school on Friday. Both of them. Together.

Although I am super excited for Josie to start her new chapter, and Anna is ready for the big move to second grade, these two are my helpers; they're buddies; they're peas-in-a-pod, despite glaringly obvious differences.

I have overheard a lot of conversations about the bus, about walking into the building, about where to go, lunch, recess, everything. They are both excited, and Anna has taken the responsibility of making sure that Josie knows everything in advance, and I know she'll be there to help her little sister.

Still, these two...

All of my children are obviously special to me, but when we just had the two girls, Joe was still traveling a little for his other job, and we were a threesome. Constantly on the go, we did everything together, and, thankfully, they have carried on that camaraderie, wanting to be with each other, play together, and missing one another when they are apart. With the four kids, we are more of a divide and conquer type of family, or a stay at home, because it's too much for the little ones type of family. Having more than two or even three kids throws a lot of curveballs, both ones you can hit homers off of, as well as those that make you shake your head. My two oldest girls have been able to learn a lot of skills, people skills, life skills because we are part of a big family, and those skills will help Josie push through those big school doors and take on kindergarten like a pro.

So, why am I weepy today? Why do I not have the heart to wake her up, despite the fact that it's nearly an hour past when school would be starting? Why did I want to sell them, strike that, give them all away to anyone passing by yesterday?

It's a mixed bag of emotions I am having, poor Joe, right?

I guess that's parenthood, right? We relish the little moments, hoping to hold on to those memories and not forget, but also pressing forward, pushing through those difficult toddler years, just counting the days until all are in school.

I've always been a "next, please" type of gal. I think I just made Joe nervous worries, my dearest, I'm pretty steadfast in that department... Let me explain: I have always enjoyed the stage in which I am currently residing, but have also always loved planning, thinking, considering the next phase of my life. As a high schooler, I couldn't wait for college, and as a college gal, couldn't wait to be a real adult...that kind of thing.

I think I'm that way with my kids...when they're baby-babies, I can't wait for them to respond, and then to talk and then to walk, but once they start to be kids, I have found that my "next, please" attitude starts to give way to a mom who is screaming for her kids to stop growing up so fast. Anna, independent and confident, used to be a bossy and clingy toddler...I don't miss that, but where's my little girl? She's at my shoulders. Josie, my fuzzy haired spitfire of a baby is now laying out her outfit for the first day and has her bag packed at the door.


Now, I am fortunate to not be out of the baby phase as of yet...lucky me, right...I just had to pull Jack out of the shower in the back bathroom...sigh.

Where was I?

Oh yeah...waxing poetic about my babies growing up.

Anyway, this is not very agricultural today, but don't we all deal in seasons? Farmers deal with the harvest and planting and cattlemen deal with calving and weaning, so do parents. We deal with the sleeplessness and toddler craziness and now school days. They're all great and exciting and bittersweet.

A mixed bag.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn

I feel like I have been sweaty for a year.

This summer started in March and although I love a good sweat, I mainly enjoy the grossness of our body's cooling mechanism after a good workout, a hard run, or working in the yard.

Sweating as of late would happen as I was walking to the car, or while walking to get to the mail, or as I would set the kids up in front of the corn to get a picture taken for our corn growth journal.

So, today, when I woke up, bleary-eyed thanks to sick children, I stepped outside to feel the coolness of the morning. It was so cool that Joe had to wear a sweatshirt to chore, Josie chose her fuzzy boots to wear to play outside, and I am currently wearing jeans.

I love wearing jeans, and, thus, I am so happy.

In fact, we're all in a bit of a better mood today, and I think it's not only because I am denim clad at the moment, or just because of the fresh air blowing through my open windows. I think we're all a little nicer today because, although we love pool time, sprinklers, and running around the yard on a summer's day, the coolness of today signifies there's going to be an end to this dry, hot year.

That's something that has gotten me through this crummy growing season, and that's thanks to my mom. She mentioned the other day that although it's dry and hot and yucky, seasons are not permanent. We are not permanently going to be sweaty. We are not going to be permanently dry, and I think God has given us a day like today to remind me that this season will pass.

To everything turn, turn, turn...there is a season, turn, turn, turn.

Didn't you feel like singing that with me...possibly holding hands, around a campfire, in late October...when it's permanently cool around here?

Okay, maybe not.

Regardless of whether you're humming along or not, today is a day that the kids (minus Anna who was doing "real work," a.k.a. chores) were happy to pose in front of the corn. It's a little rough, but we have an ear, and that's something.

Enjoy this day...I know I will.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Understanding the Differences in Rain

Today's forecast called for 50% chance of rain, which is, thankfully, slightly better than the 30% the other day (which meant none). However, today's sky has looked promising since my 6:00 AM run.

Streaks of rain in the distance created a really beautiful scene as my running partner and I headed out of town. However, no drops fell on us, other than the beads of sweat that always seem to stream down my face, arms, get the drift: I'm nasty when I come home.

So the rest of the morning it was cloudy, even becoming darkish rain-is-eminent cloudy, but still nothing. Anna was happy, as she is en route to Cartville with her grandma, and was hoping to get some quality time on a go-kart before it rained.

But it still hasn't.

It's nap time here, and I just stepped out onto the deck, where there is a smattering of raindrops (Josie calls it "glitterish") on the dark finish. Not enough to even make my freshly flat-ironed hair go back to curly.

Not enough to even call it a rain.

Yet, before my grocery bill became dependent upon good, soaking rains, I would have considered today a rainy day. It spit a few drops and has been cloudy. That's considered rainy, right?


Rain, especially during a year such as this, is crazy important. And good soaking rains are especially necessary for not just our crops, but especially our pasture ground. The grass isn't as green and lush and plentiful as it usually is, thus, making grazing a trick and a scheduling nightmare for this lady who likes to get away once in a while. We're feeding hay like it's December, and it's August.


What I have learned in my short time as a farm wife is to never complain about rain...unless it's a wet year, or your harvesting, or your hay is down, or anything else...and to never assume what we have had in a day's time is enough or the right amount.

So, in general conversation, if you ask a farmer about rain, you will get a long complicated answer. And it's not because rain is a complicated thing, it's that rain affects everything on a farm, whether its corn, beans, cattle, grapes, apples, cotton, whatever one grows. It doesn't just affect plans to go to the pool or a ball game, it affects animal's nutrition, crops and their potential and farmers and their moods.

And, oh does it affect one's mood.

Friday, August 3, 2012


So today Jack took two steps.

Yes, very exciting. However, if you’re doing math quickly in your head, you probably noticed that he’s a little over 14 months, and in comparison to my other three kids, it’s about four months later than the first kid, three later than the second and two months later than the third.

I know, I know…a mother shouldn’t compare her children to others, especially fourth children to the three other ones, especially seeing as those other three are girls.

However, if you’re like me at all (and if you are…Lord help you!), I’m constantly comparing myself, my kids, my life, my hair, my everything to those around me. Now, I’m not psychotic, Single White Female-ish about it, I just notice others. I wonder. I consider. I marvel. I question. I applaud. I say, “What the heck?”

I’m sorry. I wish I was one of those people who didn’t care about what others were doing, saying, wearing, what their kids did at preschool, didn’t do at tumbling, and could do at the baseball game. I wish I didn’t compare. I do, but I think it’s a sickness or something…

I compare, alright? There, I said it, and admitting it makes it okay, right?

However, I have noticed that I’m not alone in this comparing…this judging as some of you would like to call it, which sounds really harsh and mean, which I would like to think I am not. I just consider it observation, but that’s digressing.

Farmers are just as bad.

They are constantly wondering during planting season who has started. During harvest, who is done is a big concern. Lately, it’s who has received how much rain and when said rain has occurred.

Constant observation, constant wondering, constant comparing.

It’s exhausting.

I have come to realize this from my worry about Jack walking. I know, I know, most kids don’t walk until well over a year, but my other three did. They were happily toddling around at their first birthdays. There was a baby at the hotel last weekend, just 13 months running the hallway. RUNNING! What the heck?

With my boy, I wasn’t alarmed, per se, more thoughtful about it. And today, when Jack took his first few unsteady steps, I was bathed in a sense of relief.

It’s exhausting to be constantly comparing people, places and things. Believe me, I know…I’m about as good at comparing as I am at shopping, and that’s good, ask Joe.

But, in the spirit of comparison, I am seeing that farmers, especially during the tough years, are just as bad as me worrying about Jack’s gross motor skills. They are concerned, constantly questioning, comparing, wondering, observing, and (gasp) judging.

Not only is this year wearing on us by the heat and the drought, but the concern, the worry, and the comparison of other farmers, their ground, their corn, their beans, farmers who are like us, similar in practices and average yields, is wearing on the guys. Our corn growth photo journal we started is now slowing down, as it would in any year, because of the natural cycle of corn growth, but also because it’s kind of depressing. To actually go out and take a picture and compare it to the rest of the pictures we have in our minds from the previous years is hard to swallow right now, partially because of our own feelings, but what would the neighbors say is also in the back of my mind, at least, and I think in the guys’ minds, too.

I can sense it…I’m an expert.

So, as I breathe a sigh of relief that Jack can walk, and will document it in his baby book (I have it on a post-it…with the date, so don’t worry), I will also try to remember that old mantra that I need to repeat.

Who cares???

Because, like teaching a baby to walk, there’s nothing I can do to speed him up or slow him down. He’s a KID…and similarly, the farmers need to realize that some folks get rain, and some don’t, and while we are fortunate, still, we must realize that this is out of our control.

Ugh, I hate that.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dear Joe,

Once in awhile, I feel as if I should address the fact that you are the main reason for this blog, and since it's our anniversary, seems like a good day to write you this note.

You are a good sport, Farmer Joe.

You are the butt of a lot of jokes. You are the source of some of my pent up frustration, which then is aired out here, in cyberspace for all to see. This life we have created on the farm is full of unknowns, second guesses, and times when we just want answers.

But we're here. Right now, in a place where our kids can learn lessons that make up the very fabric of who you are as a person. We chose this life together, and even though we started our married life off in a very different place with very different occupations (and note the plural form of occupation....), we're here now surrounded by blessing upon blessing that started with our day, nine years ago. Our choice to get married and to include agriculture and kids and moving and job changes and job quitting in our life plan has allowed us to do so much more than what we see from day to day.

Just like a wedding, the details seem to bog us down. We (well...I, mostly) worried about place cards, table settings, flower colors and eyeliner application on that day. Today, we worry about rain (and lack thereof), markets, and feed rations. But the big picture is clear, and something we hardly seem to discuss, because we know we're okay. We're focused on the right things, the same things, and once in awhile, I need to thank you for allowing me to not worry about big things like the fact that you'll always be here, helping me, understanding my hysteria now and again, and raising our kids in a manner that works best for us. Your occupation is the reason we are able to be here, raise our kids the way we want to, and have you pursue something that is in you, something that has always been important to you.

Because that's the big picture, right Farmer Joe? Regardless of how many times I gripe about country living and farming and all the things that go with it, our big picture has always remained the same. We're in this together, and have been even though our path sometimes seems unclear.

I love you, Joe, and have since we started this journey together, even before the big day August 2, 2003.

The day it rained, and I was told to not complain about an August rain...

That's ironic, isn't it? I should have known rain would punctuate most of my life based on that day.

Happy anniversary, Farmer Joe. Here's to many, many more.


Check out this happy couple! Joe missed the ginormous shrimp at our cocktail hour because of pictures like this. Sorry, again, my love!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This Is Why We Aren't On Vacation

A week's vacation is not in our cards this year. Despite the fact that we have four small children who sleep terribly unless in their own beds and the whole I'm not working thing, this is the real reason we are not somewhere in the mountains, or at Disney World, or on an island:

 This is how Farmer Joe spent his morning, feeding hay.
 This shouldn't be. This time of year should be the time when we can leave for a few days without a lot of concern...the cows should be on grass, lush, green grass, and I should be somewhere with my feet in sand or something. Check out the customers already, too. These two friends need a snack!
Joe is trying to keep up with the demands of the herd. This year is different. Note the brown pasture. Note the scrubby looking ground. Note my husband's expression...he wishes the captions of these photos to be "it's too damn early to be feeding hay!" (and photographer friends, I know there's pole in most of the picture, but I was standing on my front porch, shoeless, at 6:45 this morning, with a baby banging on the storm door. You try to get a good picture...)

Ahh yes, the drought, remember that? The bane of my existence this year. The reason I am praying at night. Not just for the crops, but now there's a well issue in the back of my mind. What if we run out of water?

Holy smokes.

This weekend, we were able to get away for 24 hours, to Champaign to visit some friends and our beloved church and college stomping grounds. Thus this picture...

Our friends were discussing watering lawns. We saw lush lawns, being saturated by ticking sprinklers, and we rolled our eyes. Joe's response to this is we can't water the other thousands of acres, why should we do the one we live on?

Good point.

However, as a townie, that's what you do. You water. You water grass, flowers, and play in the sprinkler without batting an eye. You never worry about running out, because that's not generally a concern. But now, as a country mouse, I am starting to get concerned. We have friends who have had to start hauling water. We have ponds our cattle use as a drinking source and a pool to cool off on a day like today that are starting to recede and dry up. It's bad, folks, and we aren't even in the worst part of the country.

So, when you're praying for rain for us, pray for us to be able to get away, too, because unlike a desk job in an office building, when you're at home on a farm, you're still usually staring out at the brown pasture and hot crops.  And that can wear on a person.