Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 Days...

of accountability.

of documenting.

of potentially complaining.

and rejoicing.

and writing.

and writing.

and writing!


Did I seriously link up with Mrs. Holly Spangler to do this? Amidst the finishing of harvest? Amidst some big changes that are presenting themselves (no, I'm not expecting, moving, or checking myself into the looney bin).

Yes, I did, and yes I will blog about an agricultural topic each and every day for the month of November.

Because Holly is my friend, mainly, but also because this blog has changed and morphed with our relationship with our farm life and the busy-ness of our business as well as the season of life. Read: Jack is currently not on my lap, but I did get my hair cut yesterday (chopped, mind you), and he was on it for the majority.

Good times.

Not times that lead themselves to much heavy-hitting agricultural advocacy.

So today is a day that I will start. And my topic is...

drumrolll please...

Life on our Farm.

I know, big shock...but I feel like I can touch on a lot of different sub-topics, and, let's be realistic...we've got a lot going on, and a good thing going, so why not beat a dead horse??

Anyway, it's Halloween, and there's a combine and a grain cart still going in our bean field. While I know that we are close, there's no cigar yet. 2012 is the year that will not end. Between weather delays and other factors, we're still going. We're always still going around this time, but the potential of a quick harvest was enticing in August, sounded super in September, and became just a myth in October. Our yields have been surprisingly good in some fields and not-so-surprisingly not-so-good in others. My hope that this post will be the only one of the 30 with me contemplating the end...I hope to know by tomorrow or the next day when our end date will be set.

That's my hope.

So today, while we're trick or treating, Joe will be working. He's hoping to meet us in town, but you never know. So if you see a softball player, Monster High Girl, Abbie Cadabbie, and a LumberJack out...give us a wave, and maybe offer to take a kid with you...I'll need all the help I can get!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Did I Just SAY?

Oh my, I wish it was drier...



Seriously, wasn't there a post here, and here, and here, here, and possibly here that alluded to the fact that we need moisture...rain, sweet, lifegiving, bill paying rain????!!!

Well, yes, but that was before we needed to get our crops out.


No wonder I have a weird stomach...

Anyway, we have had a good stretch of wet-ish days, so our harvesting has been limited. We still have quite a few acres to finish, and it's hard on the guys, the kids, and, most importantly (ha, ha) me to continually start stop, wait a day, start, stop, wait two days.

It's getting to the point where I'm finding myself praying every night to bless our family, keep us safe, bring peace to earth, and for heaven's sake...get the friggin' 2012 crop OUT!!

Is it possibly blasphemous to put friggin' in a prayer?

Well, you pray for my soul.

Anyway, this year has been nothing but interesting, for sure, and my attitude has been nothing but impatient in regards to the craziness of the weather, but the seasoned farmers will explain to me in a rather calm, slightly condescending way, that this is the way of this livelihood, so I better just get used to it.

So, while the continuous tractors in the driveway, then out in the field, then back to the driveway makes Jack one happy toddler (yes, he's now a toddler), it makes for this mama to pop Tums like they're going out of style.

Pray for my soul...and my stomach!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Neighbors? What Neighbors?

Growing up in town, we had neighbors. My brother and I had kids our age to pal around with, old ladies down the street to mow lawns for (well, he did...I watched). Neighbors were easy to name for us: Lindsay and Corey, Ruth, Jessie, Matt and get the point.

However, the term neighbor around here is a relative one. My girls have an idea what having neighbors is like, thanks to our "town friends," but yesterday, as I was getting dinner ready for a neighboring family who just had a baby (neighboring, meaning, three miles up the road and over), my girls were inquisitive.

Not just because I was actually organized and getting dinner, sides and a dessert ready before supper time without weeping over the stove, but because who were these people? Where do they live?

And, the most poignant questions:

What neighbors?
We don't have neighbors!

Well, technically they are not side-by-side neighbors, but I am realizing that in the country neighbor is really a word with a fluid definition.

Neighbors are folks who farm next to our fields. Neighbors are houses about a mile away, who wave as they pass our house. Neighbors are people you help when you're shorthanded, or, in one case, have a fire and need extra tractors and hands.

Neighbors are not defined by geographic location and property lines in the country.

They're defined by relationships.

Sure, Craig and Tammy and their kids are not our next door neighbors, but Joe and Craig share the love of livestock and farming, and Tammy and I can commiserate about having little kids, and their kids may ride our kids' bus some on the same sports team, dance at the same recital. It's all relative out here, all relational, not one bit geographical.

I like that idea, but it's something I am still getting used to. There are times I crave my kids to have friends to rides bikes with, and I wonder what it would be like to just waltz over to a neighbor's house after dinner. Sure, country living is quiet, there's a lot of space, but it can be lonely sometimes, and unless you make a concerted effort, neighbors can just be folks who share a zip code, fence line, or maybe a gravel road, but not a relationship.

 However, shouldn't being neighborly be less limited to geography, and more concerned with relationships? relationships?

 Answer: yes.

As country folks, we have to make a lot of effort to talk to neighbors, but that makes the conversations, gatherings, etc., more worthwhile, more intentional. That's a good thing, right? It makes these relationships we have with our neighbors are way more important than  geography.

So, I will try (note the word, try) to be more neighborly. I will try to get out in my 'hood and get to know the folks. Maybe that will make me more organized with dinner preparations....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Day of Rest?

It's Sunday, so that means that we've been to church, and now we're onto the relaxing Sunday afternoon where families watch football, play in the yard and take a nap, right?

Well, kind of.

Obviously, it's in the thick of harvest, and our family, although a God-loving, church going and faith centered one, we do work on Sunday. Usually, we start later, and some times we take it off, but if stuff is ready to be harvested (or planted, depending upon the season), the guys are working.

Early in our life on the farm, this didn't bother me as much. Maybe it's because I had two fewer kids, and not as many church duties, or maybe because we were just starting out, and this is what I thought we had to do, but lately, working on Sunday has been a tough moral dilemma for me.

It's another day, and that isn't right, right? Or am I just behind the times on this one?

Shouldn't we get a day of rest?

Shouldn't we enjoy the company of our families around a nice, leisurely meal (hopefully prepared by the good folks at Pizza Hut...which, I guess, they're working on Sunday, so maybe not) and a board game? Shouldn't this be a day where the equipment gets a rest, and our minds and bodies can recoup?

Isn't that in the BIBLE??

Well, yes, but because of the nature of our livestock, Joe can't take a day off from chores, so there's at least a couple of hours there.

So, here's my question to you: what's your thoughts on working on Sunday? Is it a sacred, no work, only rest day? I know some things have to march on, but do you have any day that you consider a "day off?"

I'm just curious, I guess, as I know we have friends and family on both sides of this dilemma.

Enlighten me, dear readers. What are your thoughts?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bringing Swishy Back

Yes, it’s my second blog of the day, and yes, it’s my second play on a song title title.

So sue me...and maybe you will, if you're Justin Timberlake.


Anyway, the weather has definitely changed, and while other agricultural writers are generating blogs on hard hitting topics like the affects of a frost on the crop still needing to be harvested or the implications of the rain or lack thereof still…

…I am writing about swishy pants.

Yes, swishy pants.

And this is why I am not a paid, hard hitting agricultural journalist.

Anyway, do you notice that when the weather changes to cooler temperatures, one seems to break out more stretchy, comfy lounge wear? In my case, it’s a pair of really old track sweatpants that have been through three track seasons, four pregnancies, and countless laundering.

In Farmer Joe’s case…it’s his swishy pants.

I tease him every time he breaks them out that he can’t ever sneak up on me because they are not only the least flattering piece of clothing he wears, but also the LOUDEST.

He claims he’s just bringing swishy back.

Now, maybe it’s because I was on multiple sports teams in high school, in the 90s, and there was a huge amount of swishy issued to us in various shades of unattractive yellow and in various degrees of tapered legs. Or, maybe it’s because I HATE being able to hear myself move in my clothes…clothes should be seen, not heard, am I right?...but I loathe the swishy pants, and this message has not hit the agricultural front. Joe has received various windbreaker jackets from seed corn or chemical companies, and continues to wear them.

Swish, swish…

We noticed last week at the high school football game that even the refs had busted out the swishy pants instead of the white knickers.


Nothing says I give up more than swishy pants, in my book.

I’m sure my sweats are just as unattractive to Joe as his swishy pants are to me, but at least you can’t hear me from rooms away as I am headed toward you.

At least my bad fashion choice is silently unfashionable.

Every Day I'm Shuttling...

Well, in my very amateur, just-looking-out-the-window, and based upon the consumption of sack lunches and Nutty Bars opinion, harvest seems to be about half over for us.

Very scientific, don't you think?

Anyway, life during harvest is a lot of juggling, running around, alone time with the kids, meals on the go, and wanting to make plans only those plans are generally weather dependent.

My kids are resilient to this up and down. They are used to having to jump in the car and take Daddy here, pick up Grandpa there, run a meal here when we're on the way there. We spend a lot of time in our car.

I didn't realize how my kids have become so accustomed to this shuttling around until yesterday, when we had a little friend of Amelia's with us. She is a very observant, inquisitive child, and on the third trip to take Joe to the field (yes, Katie...sorry, three times...ugh), she asked, "Why is Amelia's daddy leaving again?"

The poor kid, strapped in a car seat, had been with us the first time as we picked up Joe in one field, to drop him off at our house to get another piece of equipment, only to be picked up at another field to need to be brought back to that field another time.

Every day I'm shuttling...

To Amelia and Jack, however, this shuttling is just white noise. They take this time to spend precious few moments with their dad, notice tractors in the field, and listen to Radio Disney (and now they have to know who's singing what song...thank you, XM Radio.). Amelia's little buddy is a town kid with a dad who was a farm kid, but now has a town job. Her rides have a purpose, and it's not just to shuttle someone back and forth, they're to go someplace, get out, and get some business done. My kids are used to mindless, quick car rides, and I have become used to their ease of getting in and out and not wondering why Joe was going to different fields. They understand.

That's amazing, really, when you think about the age of my kids.

Anyway, while all moms and dads are shuttle services for many different reasons, most of them involve getting to a point and getting out. My kids, however, know that some times you just have to get in the car to basically buckle up, ride for 10 minutes and get out again.

Thank goodness none of my kids get car sick.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Country Girl Can Survive

So, if you're married or dating, or have any sort of contact with another human being, you realize that there is a certain give and take in a relationship. Certain things are done by certain people. While my expectation as a young married gal was that Joe would be in charge of cleaning the garage, when we moved to the farm, that expectation went out the window.

So, being OCD, I took it over.

I can't stand for my kids and their toys and my strollers and the freezers to be covered with dust at all times. Even if it's just for a moment, I like the feeling of a nice, swept, orderly garage...and then a car drives by, and one of my kids wants the one ride-on toy that's way in the back of the neatly arranged toys.

But, I digress.

I knew the garage needed to be cleaned, but I hadn't gotten to the guys have been working behind my house lately, and what's the point.

However, I noticed on Saturday morning, as I came home from running, a funky smell was coming from our garage.

Now, our garage is detached, and not the fanciest, by any means, but it generally doesn't smell.

However, by Saturday afternoon after the third birthday party drop off, it was really ripe. I wasn't feeling the best, so I ignored it again, chalking it up to Joe's boots or something.

Sunday, Joe noticed it.

That's when you know it stinks. He doesn't have my crazy sensitive sniffer, so when he notices it, I figured something should be done.

Monday, we were gone, but when I came home, still pulling into a stinky garage, I mentioned it casually to Joe that maybe he could take a look around...

he didn't bite.


So today, this country girl literally pulled up my rubber boot straps (because who wants to wear anything but something that can be hosed off if there's something nasty to remove?) and started unloading our garage. In the midst of the red dog (and if you've forgotten about what that is, read about it here), there were these brown pebbles.

Lots of them.

If this was a mouse, which ohdearlordpleaseletitnotjumpoutandrunacrossmyshoes, this was a monster. As I swept, I sniffed, and behind my chest freezer, there it was...something fuzzy.


I am not one to do something like this myself. Thank the Lord Joe was still around this morning, and armed with a shovel, he extracted the fuzzy monster from the back of our freezer.

Also known as a bunny...the ones that eat carrots and deliver eggs on Easter... but need I mention that they SHOULD NOT DIE behind my freezer?

Joe transported Mr. Rabbit to the field for its final resting place, but I didn't want to even see where went or what it looked like. I just wanted it gone.

 Did I mention at that point, Amelia and I were hiding behind the car?

I know, I's a bunny, but you smell one and then find one in your garage, amongst your cozy coupes and jog strollers, and then go all Animal Rights on me!

Now, I know that it wasn't going to hurt me, as it was obviously dead, thus the odor, but I'm not really big on dead varmits. I'm pretty much a wuss when it comes to that type of stuff. I can handle the cleaning up after the dog; I have learned to understand and clean up after the dirt and grime and dust of farm life. But way.

Once again, I have been tested to see if I'm cut out for this farm living, and at about 10:30 this morning, I wasn't sure I was.

But this country girl did survive. We have a swept garage, rid of stink and rabbit carcass, and I am one more step closer to being more outdoorsy than before.

That is, if you consider being outdoorsy, having your husband handy with a shovel and your pest man on speed dial.