Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30: Rule Follower

So it's the last day of Holly's 30 Day Challenge, and because I've always been a bed maker, in-the-line colorer, rule follower, I am sorry that I missed two days of the challenge.

One being yesterday, and it wasn't because I was at home with the kids with the power off...

that would be Joe, who I think is happy to be doing chores by himself this morning, as I was off gallivanting with some girlfriends in honor of one of them moving. We were off celebrating with shrimp scampi and Banana Republic, and Joe was dealing with children who are used to lights, TV, and running water.

Spoiled little children.

Anyway, all is well at our house, electrically, so back to my original thought.


I embarked on this challenge at a time when I was frustrated with our farming lifestyle. I was upset with myself for agreeing to this challenge because, even though blogging is something I like to do, committing to doing it every day, and making sure it was still entertaining and grammatically correct was going to be something that could become a stress. I'm a rule follower, however, and I agreed to do it, and I was going to do it, darn it! Even if that meant blogging in the midst of  interviewing for a new job, in the throws of the final days of  harvest, not to mention my already lovely, wonderful, but young was hectic. Even though I had to miss two days (and that drives me nuts), this challenge made me stop, sit down, and document all the great, funny, weird, and frustrating events that happen on our farm.

Let me recap a little bit November for you...

We finished harvest.
We gained a dog.
We sent a tractor to be restored.
We were on the cover of a magazine.
We didn't win a contest.
We have a friend who may win aforementioned contest, and that is awesome.
I went back to work (part time).
Josie had a birthday.
The weather changed to cold, and my hair froze.
The weather changed back to warm, and we're all confused at what day it is.
We had Thanksgiving, and realized we have a lot to be thankful for.
We will be welcoming lots of baby calves in the spring.
I had lots of opinions on bacon and turkey and PETA.

And that's just a few. 

Although the rule follower in me knows that I missed a few days, the rule follower in me knows that Holly's challenge allowed me to do more than just blah-blah blog for 30 days. Her challenge was more than just 30 days of writing. It was 30 days of noticing, noting, and sitting down and documenting all the events that were happening in our lives, big and small.

So, here's the end. It's appropriate, in my OCD, rule following personality that this challenge finishes up on a Friday. It ties it up in a neat little bow.

I'm thankful I accepted this challenge, and thankful that I'm done.

Holly's 30 Days on a Prairie Farm blogging challenge can be found right here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28: Preg Check


Not me.

The mama cows.

Yesterday Joe spent the majority of his day "in the southbound end of a northbound cow" (one of my least favorite phrases ala Joe Webel). The vet, the vet tech (who is a woman, a friend of my friend, and who evidently was keeping Joe in check when he was making comparisons between me and the cows...another not so favorite thing of mine!), and Joe, along with a neighbor's hired man checked another group of our cows, seventy, I think, to see if they were indeed pregnant.

This is quite a process. While I am well versed in the art of preg-checking myself...thanks to the good folks at First Response...cows are a lot less excited to be preg checked. Now, there isn't an enormous stick they need to pee on (sorry Mom, this is way too graphic), which is what I thought would be the case. It's a lot more intense. It's a lot more wrangling and getting them in the chute and then YOWZA...they're checked.

I'm making the cattle folks who read this roll their eyes at my lack of knowledge in this area, but really, I was surprised at how labor (no pun intended) intensive this process is. Joe spent the morning getting this group (because he does them in shifts, on different days) moved to the right place, settled, and comfortably close to the chute and corral where the preg checking would take place. Then, after lunch, the vet and vet tech and helper came and they had to do more wrangling and a lot of getting in these girls' business.

I will spare you the I don't even want to know!

Anyway, my point to this post is not to gross you out, but to congratulate another section of our herd on their big announcement(s). This is our commodity, and we need these girls (young and old) to produce so that we can keep our herd going. Joe is a good breeder, and works with not just the basics of caring for the herd, but also keeps their genetics in mind when breeding them. Bulls are chosen based on a laundry list of "good traits," and once the mamas have had one baby (thus becoming bred heifers...which I have been referred to...isn't that lovely?), Joe considers how they birthed, how they cared for their newborns, nursed, etc. before considering breeding them or selling them off.

It's a process.

I wonder if I was chosen by my cattle man based upon an annotated version of this list.

I don't even want to know.

Linking up with Miss Holly for her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27: Josie


Oh dear, sweet, loving, emotional, dramatic, loyal...and now SIX YEAR OLD Josie.

Today is our Josie's sixth birthday, and we are excited for the day, not just because the morning included presents, singing, and lots of delighted squeals, but that it is the culmination of Josie's birthday countdown. Since November 1st, we have been counting down as a family (mainly Josie) the days until November 27th.

And now it's here, and we've opened presents, sent her to school with a birthday snack, and will continue the celebration this evening.

Josie is our wild card, for sure. As much as Joe and Anna are peas in a farm-kid pod, Jos and I are more alike than not. From our body language (she likes her hands on her hips, too...not so cute when she's being smarty...which is another similarity, but I digress) to our expressions to our love of all things dramatic and sparkly, Jos is my girl, for sure. I'm not saying that I favor her over the others, I just understand her.

I get her.

She's like me.

As a baby, Josie was "sewious" (serious), as Anna would say. She was (and still is) the most moody of our kids. We sometimes even call her Jekyll and Jos because one minute she'll be on top of the world, and the next, she's whiny and grouchy and irritated.

Like her mother.

However, that makes her a fiercely loyal kid. Josie loves to be covered in friends, always making new ones, no matter where she goes. She is known throughout the kindergarten by all the kids...which makes me proud and nervous at the same time! She has no fear of adults, especially at school, and has been known to not only converse with the superintendent while standing in the lunch line, but also ask Anna's teacher while in the hallway how "Anna was doing in school?"

She's my girl...she could talk to a brick wall and get it to talk back!

It's such an exciting day. As a mother, I spend the birthdays of my children recounting the actual birth, and remembering all the firsts. It's a bittersweet day, as it began with all the joy a new Barbie and fur vest can bring to a girly six year old, and continues with me holding my sweet little girl, wondering who she will be and how she could possibly be this perfect.

We are so blessed to have Josie in our lives. Although she's the littlest in size of our crew, she's going to do big things, I just know it. It's in her. She's got that spark...

like her mother, right??

Happy birthday, Sweet Jos!

Linking up with Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series...even though I forgot yesterday!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25: Willing to Work

I have always known that the occupation known as farming is not for the weak: physically or emotionally. It is not for the lazy. It is not for the ones who are uncomfortable with unpredictability, situations one cannot control, etc., etc.

This is probably obvious to most of you.

However, it doesn't mean that those who are in the thick of farming as their livelihood enjoy unpredictability, situations beyond our control, Sundays when our husbands come home from church, continue to work, eat lunch and then leave again to work.

I am not faulting Joe. This is not a grouchy wife post where I'm really wanting him to read between the lines and put up the Christmas lights or rub my feet while we watch a cheesy Lifetime movie.

I hate Lifetime movies! I do love a good foot rub, however...hmmmmm..

I'm digressing.

I'm saying that farming, particularly large scale livestock farming, is not for those who enjoy hobbies, vacations, afternoons off, walks in the park, and the like.

It's a full time, all the time, job.

It's hard. It's frustrating at times not just from a scheduling perspective (have I mentioned that Joe and I planned on getting away some time before calving, and that's looking like maybe not until 2014. Sigh.), but from the perspective that it's Thanksgiving weekend, and although we have enjoyed time off to spend with family, while the banks are closed and the factories are for the most part still, Joe's still feeding. While I spent a nice Saturday afternoon with friends, Anna spent it at a birthday party, and the world seemed to be Christmas shopping, Joe was working on water tanks to get them to light so that the cows would have water. On a Sunday afternoon when one should be napping, he's off feeding hay, checking fence, and re-checking the water tanks.

Some times I think this isn't fair, but some times I also think it's self-inflicted, this lifestyle, this commitment to work. It's always been that a livestock farmer works his or her tail off no matter when, no matter what, so I should just get used to it.

Unlike my change of heart with the school bus, I don't see myself becoming okay with chores on early Sunday morning or Christmas or during crummy weather. I don't see myself wishing Joe could work more.

Not that I'm one of those crazy wives who needs to be with her husband 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I just wish we could have a weekend off, for heaven's sake.

So, with that, I guess I'll turn this bummer of a thought around and be thankful that I have a husband who is willing to work so hard. I should be thankful that he's not around all the time, watching my every move, as I teeter on chairs decorating the tops of the cabinets for Christmas (which makes him nervous). I choose to be thankful that he's teaching our kids the value of work, and how rewarding it is.

I guess I'll work on teaching my kids the value of vacation, and start saving for 2014!

Last week to link up with Holly and her 30 Days of Life on a Prairie Farm!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24: Frozen Hair and Fair Weather Chores

My hair froze today.

Honestly, I am like a science experiment. First of all, how does one sweat when one is running in 19 degree weather? And then, how does one's hair simultaneously freeze? Well, you run a long run and let me know if it happens to doesn't happen to my running partner, but she's not a sweater...and I sweat chewing gum while standing in a deep freeze. Either way,  I looked like Pippy Longstocking by the end of my run today. Or some crazy woman. Or a little of both.

However, while we were crazy enough to make the choice to run when it's on 19 degrees, Joe, like many livestock farmers, does not have the choice of whether or not the cows are checked and fed on cold days like today.

Anna, on the other hand, does have a choice, and when she saw my frozen hair (after I had been in the car for 10 minutes, it was still frozen), she decided she was staying home this morning.

I'd say she's a bit of a fair weather chorer, wouldn't you?

She's also seven, and smart, and if you had the choice, wouldn't you stay in your jammies and warm house when it's 19 degrees?

Not me...thus the frozen hair.

Anyway, Joe's out there, braving the elements, currently in the comfort of his warm farm truck, but still out there, and for that, I am awed at his dedication to his herd.

If only I could get him to transfer his dedication to putting up the Christmas lights today...

Linking up with Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm Series.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23: Who Are the Real Turkeys?

Did you read that PETA wrote a letter to President Obama in regards to the long standing Presidential tradition of pardoning the turkey on Thanksgiving?


Did you know that the letter included phrases such as, "Turkeys do not need to be 'pardoned'—they are not guilty of anything other than being born into a world of prejudice. They are innocents who should be respected for who they are: good mothers, smart birds, and interesting animals."


The head of PETA suggested that the Obamas enjoy a, "This year, we encourage you to forgo this event, which so many Americans find offensive, and choose a delicious, healthy Tofurky roast for your family's holiday table."


Ms.Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, also went on to say that President Obama, "understands so well that African-Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community have been poorly served throughout history, and now I am asking you to consider other living beings who are ridiculed, belittled, and treated as if their sentience, feelings, and very natures count for nothing."

 Alright, so I understand PETA, and while I do not agree with their principles, as I tend to think they're quite extreme, they are a group; they are entitled to their opinions, but HONESTLY...

it's a turkey.

Thanksgiving is a tradition, and again, while I am not oblivious to the fact that the Pilgrims may have not been the nicest people, and that there has been persecution of people and cruel treatment of animals in our world, isn't this lady kind of just stirring the pot? Shouldn't she be more concerned with the crushing deficit our country faces? Wouldn't a letter in regards to health care or social security be more along the lines of national concern?


let's worry about Tom Turkey.

I will state with great confidence that I will probably never be a member of PETA, nor will I believe that what they're doing is worth my time, but this crazy letter has to be addressed. Who is the real turkey here? I don't feel like I was insensitive or strange as I enjoyed my turkey yesterday amongst three generations of family. I don't think I was not being a nice person because I enjoyed all the trimmings, all the while enjoying also conversation and love of my family, and didn't think about the turkey's feelings and well being at that particular moment. (However, I am a meat eater...and thus, according to PETA, all that is EVIL and wrong with the world) I enjoyed spending time with my family, thankful for our health, and didn't worry about what the Obamas were doing.

Not that I don't care about the treatment of turkeys, or Obamas for that matter, but I just tried to focus on what should be focused upon on Thanksgiving.

Being thankful.

What a novel concept.

So, once again, my plea to PETA is to try to worry about something that is a little bigger than turkey pardoning, which is supposed to be silly.

Maybe I should write a letter to this lady and tell her to lighten the heck up.

I probably won't, because this is just seemingly ridiculous, but I think we all have so few big things to worry about in our society that some groups tend to forget common sense. Who cares what you ate, whether it was turkey or beef or pork or even Tofurky, my hope is that Thanksgiving for you was spent with loved ones, being thankful for living in a country where there's no threat of bombings (thankful I don't live in the Middle East, and prayers for them), being grateful for your health, something along that lines.

I'm thankful I ate lovely real turkey, and wasn't surrounded by a bunch of turkeys who were criticizing my every choice, when, in fact, I live in a country that was founded on such a freedom.

Again, novel concept.

So, my thoughts on this craziness is happy (belated) thanksgiving, and lighten the heck up!!

Linking up with Holly's 30 Days on a Prairie Farm today! You can find her blog, as well as links to others in this series here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21: Nothing

...but four kids home, piles and piles of laundry, and


Awww...I know, so sweet. And you thought this was going to be a grouchy post.

Seriously, today is a crazy foggy day, one that does nothing to inspire you, but considering it's nearly Thanksgiving, I thought I should take a minute to send out some thanks.

Obviously, I am so very, very thankful for my husband: material for so many posts, provider for our family, keeps me laughing and rolling my eyes at all times. I love you and all your quirks (like the pants and shirt that are on the back of the chair and not hung up, but who's caring today???). Thanks for supporting me in this endeavor...even if that means you're the butt of a lot of jokes.

Thanks also to my kids...who are not only quite possibly some of the cutest farm kids around, but also allow me to find out how to laugh more, worry less, and that things like doughnuts and the right color of socks are worth taking the time to consider. I love you all.

My mom is my babysitter, my grammar Nazi, and my idea bouncer-offer. I can't do what I do without her, and I'm so thankful she and my dad moved FIVE MILES AWAY!! My dad is my silent cheerleader...sharing my writings with his aggie-friends, and answering seemingly obvious questions without rolling his eyes. My in-laws, too, provide great material, advice, and always cheer my posts and pictures on with good commentary (sometimes left-handed, right, Rick??).

Holly...oh Holly. Thanks so much for being my friend first. You and John and your kids are who Joe and I want to be when we grow up...because you are older, right?? :) Thanks for setting the gold standard in agricultural communications, something I can never attain. Thanks also for taking such AMAZING pictures of my kids and allowing me to plaster them all over kingdom come, and, oh yeah, putting us on the Prairie Farmer cover!! I still owe you...

To Kath and Rachel and Amy...thanks for being my cheerleaders. Thanks for allowing me to vent when I need to (if you see me on the phone, it's generally to Kath...), meeting me at the crack of dawn to work out, run or whatever because of something crazy like calving or harvest (that includes you, too, Dannielle!!). I appreciate you guys, because when I moved here, I never thought I would find friends. Thank you.

DeAnna...thanks for putting me on the radio!! I have some listeners, as I am supposed to shout out to Brad, my Kitchen Cooked driver friend...but I always forget. Sarah, thanks for nudging me to do this, taking the time to put together our video, and including me in the Harvester.

Finally, dear reader, thanks for sticking with me, for sharing my posts, for enjoying my weirdness, celebrating our victories, and understanding our plight in this world. There's a lot of ups and downs, and my posts reflect that...sometimes good writing, some times bad...sometimes good weather, sometimes not. I appreciate you reading my posts, and know that you could be spending your time trolling Facebook or reading, so thanks for choosing me.

So, thanks so much for another great year. I hope I didn't forget anyone, and if I did, I am sorry, and thankful for you, too!

Happy Thanksgiving (eve).

Linking up with Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20: What a Beautiful Day...

... to haul manure.

Isn't that what you're saying, that is, if it is as nice where you are as where it is here.

However, that's what a nice day in the fall/winter often times signifies for a livestock farmer.

So, as we finished up lunch and were discussing who was going to be where and when, Joe announced he would be back in time to help with the bus drop off/preschool pick up/errands etc., because he was just going to spend this lovely afternoon hauling poop (well, he used another word, but this is a G-rated post, people).

Isn't that lovely?

Isn't that a nice mental picture...the week of Thanksgiving, it's unseasonably warm, you maybe thinking turkey, pumpkin pie, maybe a little shopping at the end of the thinks of manure.

This is the glorious life we lead.

Seriously, though, just like if you have a dog or a cat, you have to manage its excrement. Cows are no different. Not only should they not be trolling around in pasture of patties, manure is also a great natural fertilizer.

While this is not a glamorous job, for those of you non-farmers, don't worry, Joe uses a loader bucket and a tractor...we don't have a giant pooper scooper that he scoops by hand!

Maybe that was already obvious, but I thought I should add it!

Either way, enjoy this lovely day, wherever you are, and think of Joe...happily humming along to tunes as he picks up poop!

Linking up with Holly for 10 more days!! Find the rest of the blog fun from her series, 30 Days on a Prairie Farm here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19: Walter

So, remember the post a few weeks ago about the dog that we inherited?

Well, Walter, as he is now named (lovingly after the children's book, Walter the Farting Dog), is now a part of our animal family. While he doesn't get to go on chore rides with Sadie (our other dog, if you have forgotten) and Joe, because he likes to take off like a bandit when he spots something, and Joe would spend the entire time chasing, he is a part of our lives now...collared, tagged, and played with heavily by the girls.

However, last night, we couldn't find him.

A few weeks ago when our "hobo dog" (I picture him with a bindle) showed up, I wouldn't have batted an eye at him shoving off to another locale. I would have thanked him for his time, wished him well, and tied up his doggie bindle.

But last night, when he didn't greet us as we came home from our small group, nor did he come to Joe when he called him in at night, we started to worry. We, as in me, and me as in, "WHO IN THE HECK AM I??" Didn't I find this dog to be another mouth to feed, poop to scoop, etc., just a few short weeks ago?

Well, as I walked out this morning to run, and he didn't greet me, I knew I would be in for a tough conversation with the girls that morning. As I drove home from meeting my running partner, I started to think of possible talking points...I wasn't going to paint an unrealistic hobo-esque dog story, nor was I going to speculate he was possibly dead somewhere...I didn't know what to say to my sweet girls who love to play with this frisky little scamp.

Thankfully, Walter met me at the door of the garage, tail wagging, alive, not on his way, just happy to be with us.


Crisis conversation averted.

I guess I'm turning into an animal lover and a country girl...Who would have thought?!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18: Thankful, So Thankful

There are many times that I question why we live where we live, geographically speaking.

And then I have a mid-day like I did today, and I am thankful to live where we do.

So, quickly because I have pumpkin bread in the oven, small group to attend, birthday party invites to address, laundry to fold, and some other odds and ends to do, here’s my list.

*If we didn’t live 30 minutes from a Target, then my girls wouldn’t have the opportunity to ask me great questions like, “What does indescribable mean?” because of a song we heard on the Christian radio station. And, I was able to take the time to answer the question in great detail, only to be answered, “Well, I can describe Jesus…he’s the Christmas baby!”
Point well made.

*If we didn’t live where we live, I wouldn’t have to be truly diligent in my list making for a Target run…and if I do forget something big, like, oh…let’s pretend it was SNACKS for small group this afternoon…then I wouldn’t have been able to make pumpkin bread and smell up my house with that yummy cinnamony goodness that is pumpkin bread baking.

*If we didn’t live in the country, I wouldn’t be able to look out of my kitchen window to see my two big girls running through the freshly Turbo-chopped field, chasing the dog and getting excruciatingly dirty. My mantra for this to not drive myself crazy is, “I’m thankful; I’m thankful; I’m thankful.”

*If we didn’t live where we live, my kids would probably go to a different church. Instead, we go to a church in a neighboring community, where the kids don’t go to school together. Although this is sometimes annoying, because I would love for my kids to be around the kids they go to school with, we’re teaching them that friends can be from all over, and it doesn’t matter if they’re a Farmer or a Trojan. We’re all on the same basic team.

*Finally, I’m thankful for my gravel road. Although dusty and dirty and the bane of my OCD condition to keep my car clean, it announces the presence of a car with its dust and crackly sound, allows my life to slow down once I head off the hard road, and remind myself that nothing is perfect. Nothing can stay perfect, and I should be focusing on the things that I love and cherish and be thankful for them.

Timer’s dinging…bread done! Thankful for that!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17: Substitutes in the Show Ring

I really have no knowledge on this, other than sitting in the show ring as a young kid at the county fair just waiting for my dad to finish up as the livestock administrator (bookkeeper, results tally-er, announcer) so I could get a glimpse of the beef queen (yes, there was one, and yes, I wanted to BE her), and go and get on a few rides!

Anyway, showing cattle was a way of life for Joe in the summertime. In his teenage driving years, he would spent a lot of time driving from county fair to county fair, spending time in friends' campers doing heaven-only-knows what while they weren't showing. He was learning a lot about life and responsibility and as Holly wrote in her Day 13 post, a lot about healthy competition, which in my opinion, in the world of "participation medals" and other silly meaningless awards, kids need to learn that some times you win, and some times you lose.

Anyway, we have some heifers that are getting ready to be shown. They're of the right age (I think), look good, have a good disposition...and their talent is AMAZING (I kid, this isn't Toddlers and Tiaras, it's Cattle and Competitiveness). All joking aside, Joe would like to get some of our cattle in the show circuit this summer.

Only one problem.

Our cattle are ready, but our kids are not of the appropriate age.

Anna needs to be nine, and will only be eight in the spring.

So, we're left with a dilemma.

However, this is something I didn't know. We can get a local high school kid to show our cattle in different shows, kind of like a substitute teacher or designated hitter. Someone who we believe will be a good fit for our animals, allowing them to get experience, and also kind of help our little ones learn the art of cattle showing before it's their time.

I figured we would just wait until Anna was nine, but what do I know.

Anyway, Joe is super excited about this substitute in the show ring, because, showing cattle is a big part of who he is. He loves it. He loves going to sales, shows, talking about it, thinking about it. Just getting our toes in the water with this substitute show-er is something that gets him going. And, after a depressing year like the one we've had, we need something like that around her!

So, if you see me out and about at shows this summer (all you cattle showing folks who are probably laughing or cringing at this post) help me out when you see me, because I'll be the mom in the stands still looking for the beef queen (which I don't think is even still around ), and wanting to go on a few rides!

Linking up with Holly's 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16: And On That Note...

We know one of the finalists for the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Faces of Farming and Ranching!!! Well, actually Joe knows her...I have met her a few times, and have been wowed by her credentials, sat by her at a meeting, so I guess that counts as knowing her, right?

Seven degrees of Kevin Bacon standards...but I digress.

Anyway, Katie Pratt is her name, and agriculture is her game! Joe knew her as a state FFA officer ( in fact, both her sister and her brother were state officers...I think Joe secretly hopes our kids get this honor, but he'd never claim to have that hope, right, dear? ;) ), then as an employee of National FFA. Katie went on to not only raise an family and run a large farm in Northernish Illinois, but also, just this last year, won the National Discussion Meet for Farm Bureau...which is like debating, but about hot agricultural topics. She won this award...lucky HAWAII. She also has been a part of the USFRA's panel for their Food Dialogues in Los Angeles, which is a huge deal, too, as this is a rather exclusive panel.

In other words, she's WAY QUALIFIED and would be amazing at this position...kind of makes me even feel bad for feeling sorry for myself for not getting in the finals, as my last discussion meet was with Jack over syrup or no syrup on his contention being he did NOT need it, as who gives a 1 year old syrup...he won.

I rest my case.

Good choice, USFRA! Katie Pratt should be the Face of Farming and Ranching, and here's how you can help her, dear reader:

1) Go to USFRA's Faces of Farming and Ranching page here.
2) Become an educated voter and read the profiles of each contestant.
3) Realize that I was right, and Katie is the best candidate.
4) Cast your vote for her, where it says "vote." Now, you'll have to register, but it's no big deal, if anything, it's another email or two...and if you're like me, I just deleted about 75 emails from Banana Republic, American Girl, JCrew. and the like, so get over it!

Seriously, this girl is for real, and although did not sponsor this ad, she should...she would make an excellent ambassador for agriculture.

However, I still contend I had the coolest necklace in the mix!! :)

Linking up with Miss Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm fun!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15: Stars and Their Alignment

So I'm not a huge believer in "everything happens for a reason."

I think there's some truth to it, but for the most part, I believe God gives us a life, some choices to make, and we have free will.

However, there have been some times when I think God aligns the stars to cross to lead you to know which path to take. Take how Joe and I finally met, for example. We had a lot of mutual friends, went to the same university, had met a few times, and even had a few dates, but it wasn't until I walked through the doors of a church (the church that would end up being where we would be married and baptize our first child), the church I picked at random out of a phone book (because they had an 11:00 AM service....score!) right behind him that I knew I probably should pay attention to him! Ha!

Anyway, my dear friend Holly is in New York this week for the USFRA Food Dialogues. When she heard about it, she asked me if I could finagle a way to get out there, too, as she is also taking her sweet daughter, Jenna (it was her birthday yesterday...what a cool present!), and her equally sweet (I'm assuming, because Holly told me) mother-in-law. What fun to take an all girl road trip and also go TO NEW YORK!!! However, because Holly has a real job with a real expense account, and I, at the time, did not, it wasn't going to work.


Joe and I were chosen as finalists as the USFRA Faces of Farming and Ranching competition.

Which, we weren't.


I was really thinking we had a shot. I mean, we are young, we have cute kids, we are working hard to keep the farming and ranching lifestyle alive and instilled in our children...and plus, during the video...I sported an AMAZING necklace.

Who wouldn't want us?

Well, evidently USFRA didn't.

And this is not a post that is to discredit any of the folks who are the finalists, because, as my mother used to tell me (which annoyed me at the time, but did a great service to me in the end), "Someone is always going to be prettier, smarter and better than you."

In this case...all three, I guess!

No, after about 10 minutes of wallowing in my sadness of why they didn't pick us...I realized, the stars were aligned in such a way that this opportunity was not for us.

Because...I just got a JOB.

Like a paying job. A regular, have an office, do WORK job.

I know. Scary.

I'm working only part time, and it's going to be scary, as I haven't worked in nearly 8 years, but this seems to be a good thing for everyone...says the girl who has only worked 1/2 day.

Anyway, if the USFRA thing would have happened, I wouldn't have even considered this position, which is not only good for us, it's good for the greater good (re: I'm working for the United Way).

Stars aligned.

And I didn't fight them.


Guess I'm getting more mellow in my old age.

Linking up with Holly and her 30 Days on A Prairie Farm...and I'm too lazy to post all 14 of my other links, so if you need to get caught up, just look at my sidebar...You're smart, and can obviously read!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14: The Mercy of the Bus

It's official.

I have become a country mom. (And if you don't believe my sentiments, just a few short years ago in regards to the bus, and you'll see my change of heart before your eyes!)


This morning the bus was late, and there was a slight possibility that either Joe or I would have to take the girls to school. Now, I have been up, to town to run already, so it wasn't like I couldn't throw my kids in the car and drive the 10 minutes to town.

It's just that I have gotten so used to (read: spoiled) to our limousine, bus, service.

Honestly, who wouldn't want to wave good bye to their sweet elementary school kids, gripping a cup of warm coffee instead of wading through the sea of minivans during drop off?

My friend Kathleen would beg to differ, but thankfully, she's a city mom, and I'm now an official country mom.

Our children and their school timeliness are, however, at the mercy of the bus. Now, while I do know from teaching, you do not count a student as tardy if he or she is late because of the bus, but when the bus is 10, then 15, and then 20 minutes late, one tends to wonder...where's our driver? Where's the bus? Am I going to have to put my shoes on, again?

We have a threshold. If the bus is not here by 7:45, then we will drive our kids to school. Fortunately, we use the bus because its offered, convenient, and again, who wouldn't when you have two other kids in jammies who would also need to be shoed, bundled, and put in the car. Call me lazy, call me crazy, but once you have the opportunity for someone to come to your driveway, pick up your kids, and bring them back safely, then you'll see.

Anyway, the girls got there, maybe a hair late, but got there nonetheless, and that's good.

What's better is that I'm slowly embracing this country life...


Still linking up with Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm gig...check her posts out here, and links to other fabulous bloggers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13: Have Your Bacon and Eat It, Too

Mmmmmm....bacon (said in your best Homer Simpson voice).

Please tell me you've seen the t-shirts that say Peace, Love and Bacon? And what about those little e-cards on Facebook that say something witty about bacon? And what about bacon on ice cream? Have you heard of this?

Obviously, our society has a love of bacon.

Unfortunately, also our society has a hatred of large scale producers, and, thus,  the efficient, safe, scientific way to effectively raise hogs on a large scale to help Americans continue their love with bacon.


I just read on Prairie Farmer's Facebook page that Purdue University's Chris Hurt (who has been on Purdue's faculty since 1981, teaching mainly undergraduate livestock and meat marketing...who I am considering credible, because, for pity's sake, he had to do his thesis on something in regards to MEAT!), projects that "by this spring the U.S. hog industry will have lost $3 billion in equity."

Prairie Farmer's reaction: "Ouch!"



As in 3 billion dollars.

And here's the deal... high feed costs (which bodes well for a grain farmer, not so well for those who buy corn) are already causing crazy costs for those who produce hogs. While the demand  for pork is still high, there are still folks out there who don't understand the hog industry who are fighting for a lot of the mandates and crushing regulations and even refusal to purchase hogs from confinement operations. Generally speaking, these mandates and, well, crazy loud anti-confinement people base their opinion on emotion, not science.

Restaurants like Burger King, Chipolte, etc. are refusing to buy hogs raised in gestational crates (which don't google that, ask a real hog farmer what it means...because I did google its definition and boy do I regret it.). You've probably heard it, and that's fine to still go there, we're just a little ouchy about it because that means that my father in law has lost out on business because of these folks.

Is it probably not humane to put someone in a crate, yes. But, it's not A HUMAN. It's a HOG, who, research says, likes the feeling of being closed in. There's a science to it, and I don't have much knowledge in it, but knowing what my father in law does to keep his hogs safe, healthy, and happily producing so you can eat your bacon with your eggs (which, don't even get me started on eggs...oy), I know that he is doing nothing but the best for his animals, often times at the sacrifice of his comfort for his hogs. And mine..because sometimes he's late for a family dinner because of chores, and I get cranky when I'm hungry.

Honestly, friends, let's let the experts do the mandating. You don't see me walking around telling a surgeon, where to cut. I won't be fixing any plumbing issues...that's for a plumber. I try to not even tell my hairdresser what to do...she went to school to cut hair...I just have it, what do I know about cutting it?  We all are good at something, and most likely passionate about it, so let those who are truly in the thick of it make the decisions.

That way, you can have your bacon, whether you sprinkle it on your salad or your ice cream!

I'm still liking up with Holly on her 30 Days of Life on a Prairie Farm! Find her blog (which today, she has a picture of herself rocking some turquoise splotchy 80s jeans!!) and others right here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12: And Now It's Winter

So today it's less than 40 degrees.

Meaning, the high was less than 40 degrees.

On Saturday, I ran in short sleeves. Today, in a stocking cap and gloves and at least two layers, and it still wasn't enough.

Thus is the Midwest, right?

The change in weather reminds me that not only do I need to remember my kids' gloves and hats for school, and my warmer running jacket, but it will create a whole other ball of wax (and, consequently clothing) when it comes to winter choring.

Joe doesn't look forward to winter like I do. I like sweaters. I like boots. I like hot chocolate.

He sees it as a time when he wears three layers to only still be cold when he's checking cows and putting out hay. Granted, his chore tractor has a cab, but the work is still primarily out-of-doors.

So, the pile on my front porch, which during the summer generally consisted of a used travel coffee cup and a ball cap, will now consist of insulated bibs, gloves, a hat or two, a jacket and maybe a few sweatshirts.

Have I mentioned I generally sigh when I read home improvement blogs about styling your front entryway.

I would love to ask the lovely folks at Pinterest about how to fashion a gracious front entryway using messy bibs and muddy gloves.


My endeavor to be neat as a pin is foiled once again, especially since I am a livestock man's wife, but mostly during the winter months. It's impossible. We don't have enough space/time/effort to deal with the sheer volume of stuff that comes with winter choring. Even the kiddos require more layers, for school and for chores.

There are times that I wonder if God has a plan for me, and it is to get over my craziness of craving order, neatness and cleanliness, and in this plan to get over my weirdness, He gave me Joe...a livestock farmer.

So while you're enjoying your hot chocolate, trolling through Pinterest to get inspiration for organizing those cute hats and gloves and scarves, could you also check out if they have any suggestions for manure stained bibs. Then, send them my way!

Check out all the fun blogs that we are linking up with on 30 Days on a Prairie Farm right here

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11: Thanks

Just a quick one, as it should go without saying: I am thankful for all veterans today, but especially those who are in my family. We are blessed to not only have a family whose roots run deep in agricultural stewardship, but also in serving this country.

So today, thanks to Dad, Rick, Grandpas Mac and Bud, and Grandpa White. These are the closest ones to us, some are still with us, some are gone, but we are thankful you all took the call to service and fought for us.

Now, off to watch the weather change from summer to winter, tend to a sick child, and try to keep the rest from bouncing off the walls.

Linking up with Prairie Farmer's blog series, 30 Days on a Prairie Farm. Check out the lists of posts and other great bloggers here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day Ten: Doughnuts

It's a long standing, nearly unspoken rule in our house.

On Saturday mornings, I run my long run, and am to bring home doughnuts afterwards.


No questions or comments about how early or late I leave for said run. No questions in regards to the length of my run. Just one simple question as I am walking through the door.

"Did you bring doughnuts, Mom?"

I'm not claiming to be a crazy health nut, but I, for the most part, try to make good choices for myself and my kids. I also do not like doughnuts. Really. I am not a person who craves them, drools over Krispy Kremes, oogles over jelly filled creations, etc. I just don't like them. Give me my toast and Nutella, and I'm fine.

Joe, on the other hand, has never met a doughnut he doesn't enjoy.

So, when my kids became crazy doughnut lovers, like their father, I was not shocked.

However, this morning, as I walked through the door from a little 8ish mile jaunt, I was shocked, as my sweet baby boy, my inquisitive toddler met me at the door and proclaimed,


Oh boy...

I guess my husband's, and daughters' and now son's love of doughnuts will keep my long runs in business.

As long as the good folks at Casey's continue to crank them out!

Happy Saturday!

Linking up again with Holly and her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day Nine: Love in the Pasture

Ten years ago, on November 9th, I was just a young, single teacher with a nice boyfriend.

Notice I didn't say, a young, single teacher in a great mood.

Because on November 9, 2002, I wasn't.

I had finished up a week of parent-teacher conferences only followed by a day off of school spent with the children I babysat at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

I was tired, grouchy, in need of a nap, and instead, on November 9th, 2002, I was headed with my boyfriend, sweet, patient Joe Webel, to his parents' house for the weekend to celebrate his grandpa's birthday.

As I packed for the weekend, I received a call from my mom. Joe had visited their house earlier that day as he passed through on business, and Mom, recounting the dinner, said only, "Joe really likes you, Emily."


"As in really likes you, honey. He is so nice."

"Thanks, Mom, I know he likes me, but I have to go."

See? Great mood, huh?

So, anyway, as we traveled to Western Illinois from Eastern Illinois, I remember two things:

Joe was a little twitchy acting.

And I had Chicken Pot Pie for dinner at Cheddar's.

Nice memory, huh?

When we arrived, Joe hustled me into the farm truck, claiming he wanted to take me to a pasture where he had some of his cows to check. As we made our way by truck and then by foot through the hilly terrain, I noticed two more things:

Joe was really dressed nicely to do chores.

And he was sweaty...I had to get this dude in SHAPE...I mean, come on, I'm a marathoner for heaven's sake.

So, upon arrival to the pasture, Joe started to get all mushy, putting his arm around me, and talking about how this is where he pictured us, together, on a farm.

Talk about foreshadowing!

After a few more nice sentiments, I noticed two more things:

Joe was down on one knee.

And, he had the ring I had admired in his HAND!!!!

He was asking ME to marry HIM!!
To Joe.

Holy cow (literally, as they were looking on with great interest.). No wonder why he was sweaty! It wasn't the hills...that boy was NERVOUS!!!!

Obviously, I said yes, as it has been a decade since my sixth graders dubbed this engagement story, "Love In the Pasture" (I have the congratulatory cards to prove it!).

We have been through a lot, mostly good, had a lot of kids, moved a bit, considered careers, changed them, figured out who we are as a couple, parents, true adults.

And in this decade, I have again noticed two things:

Joe is the same person who I said yes to ten years ago: steadfast, calm, driven, loving, and happy.

and, I'm still grouchy some of the time...

no, that's not my second thing, even though it's true.
In ten years I have figured out that the location for the engagement was great foreshadowing for our future, but more specifically, was and is still perfect for who we are.

While my city girl friends laughed at my dodging cow poop to get to this location, and my students thought it was funny that cattle watched as Joe dropped to his knee, I now look at that as just about picture perfect.

Our kids spent a lot of time in the pasture. There's love there...our four loves.

My husband is out there now, tending to his herd. There's love in the pasture for our animals.

Our livelihood is in the pasture, and it all started with that day, ten years ago.

I'm so glad I finally said yes...did I mention that? I was so excited that I. Was. Getting. Married...I forgot to say yes.

Thanks for asking me, Joe...I am so happy to be your wife.

This is part of the 30 Days on a Prairie Farm Series with Holly Spangler, and there are some awesome blogs to check out! Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8: Old and New

In our operation, the farmers pride themselves on using cutting edge technology to best apply, plant, harvest, manage, market, etc. It is something the guys believe in, invest in, and continue to update. One could say our machine shed is full of pretty high tech stuff.

And then, deep within the sheds, amongst the track tractor, the combine that drives itself, and the GPS equipped planter, are little gems, little pictures into the past, ones that require a jump start or a tow when they need to come out of the shed.

Like this one:

I should have taken a picture of my dad using his John Deere 4020 to pull this little guy down the road. It was a sight, but it was also cold and rainy, and I was comfy and warm, so there you go.

Anyway, this is a John Deere 70, which some of you will know more about than me, and can certainly correct me, but this little guy was a jack of all trades. While it was generally considered a 4 plow tractor (which means it had 4 things that turned up the soil), my Grandpa Bud bought it in either 1954 or 1955 in Yates City (which is funny because there's only a convenience store and bars to purchase things in Yates City now) to basically do everything on the farm. While we have a machine shed full of tractors, each more specialized than the next, this little guy did everything on their farm during the mid-50s. Plowing, cultivating, pulling the baler, hauling did everything.

The thing that strikes me about this little tractor is that it is, in fact, little. All of our tractors, even Joe's smallish chore tractor, have not only bells and whistles, but SIZE. The new tractors require steps to get into their heated and air conditioned cabs, while this dude has none...well maybe one. This is truly a little engine that could.

The great thing about it, is that this is going on a spa retreat. This 70 is going to a neighboring farmer, who also does our custom spraying and scouting for us and leads the local 4H club. Mr. Emken will work for weeks, possibly months, cleaning, painting and restoring this 70 to its 1950eque glory. While we won't be using it to pull a baler or haul manure, it may make an appearance in a parade pulling a float a few times a year.

I think this is really fascinating, this juxtaposition of high tech and old timey. This is the beauty of farm life and lineage. We are constantly combining old and new, high and low tech, generation to generation.

That is something you just don't get everywhere.

30 Days of Life on A Prairie Farm Series
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four 
Day Five 
Day Six
Day Seven

And, Holly Spangler, the Queen of the Prairie, and her motherpost to all the other bloggers she convinced to do this with!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day Seven: Hacking and Harumph

No, we're not coughing...I'm just sitting at Joe's computer (as mine is not doing so well, and sitting in the trunk of my car. Why won't it get to Nerds on Call by itself?), and I started to troll through his Facebook page, forgetting that it was his, not mine, and came across a clip from Mel Brooks' movie, Blazing Saddles.

Which is neither PC nor serious, but funny if you're not taking life too seriously.

While this is generally not a political blog, as I'm not a super political person, I tend to believe that folks get too worked up about the election, and then gloat in the end, either outcome, either partyline, etc. Which in my humble opinion is annoying.

We're trying to fix that, at our house, as we explain it to our kids. We told Anna, our seven year old, this morning that President Obama was still the President, and when she started to protest, as she did not vote for Obama in the school's election (citing that she had to defend her choice on the playground against kids who said Romney was going to take away Cartoon Network...or PBS...either way, it's just spin and misinterpretation, right?), we explained to her that while she may have disagreed with the outcome of the election, he is our leader, and we have to be respectful of that.



Anyway, while we conservative Midwesterners are a little nervous at the outcome (did you see all the red in the middle, and then a blue win? Tell me when politics or anyone worries about the Midwest, and then I'll get more political), as more government sometimes equals more difficulties as far as agriculture goes, we're ready to move on, and I guess, gulp, move forward.

So enjoy this silly video, and while it's a little crude and crass, there is some truth to protecting phoney baloney jobs, which is funny and sad at the same time.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day Six: Polls in a Small Town

"It's Webel...W-E-B-E-L."


"Webel....W-E-B (as in boy)-E-L...I'm not from here."

"Oh...there it is."

That was the conversation I had with our electoral judge this morning at 6:20. I was sweaty from a run, clad in a hat and running tights, hoping not to make too much of a spectacle, looking (and smelling) so nasty.

However, when your electoral judge can't hear, nor are you from our small town, one can't help but make a spectacle when one is YELLING the SPELLING of one's name.

Ironically, I think I am distantly related to the dude, but whatever.

Anyway, Joe rolled in about 7:45, and he was voter number 100. There wasn't a balloon drop, but in Yates City, population (on a good day) 500ish, 100 voters by 7:45 is huge, considering last local election there were 80 voters.


We are in the midst of the election, obviously, and while we are just a polling place where 100 voters in a morning is a big deal, we are all still out, doing our civic duty and trying to make our voices heard.

Whether you're standing in line in the city or yelling out the spelling of your name, enjoy today...enjoy our right to vote, choose (kind of, but that's another post altogether) our leaders, and for heaven's sake get rid of all the Debbie Downer political ads.

Happy election day!

 30 Days on a Prairie Farm Series:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

and Holly Spangler's motherposts!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day Five: We're Done and Moving On

There's much to be thankful for around here.
First and foremost, we're finished with harvest as of about 7:00 last night.


I wanted Joe to take a picture of the last pass through the bean field, but it's so dark, you can only see headlights shining.

Thus the reason I am not a photographer...ever.

Anyway, no rest for the weary, as time still marches on, as far as the farm is concerned. So different from other professions, isn't it? As a teacher, my first day of summer break was spent going "AHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh..." Joe's first day of this non-harvest day: chores early and now hauling the last of the beans to the elevator. Not a lot of Ahhhhhh time on the couch, but mentally, he's happily moving on.

There's something about finishing anything that gives one a sense of calm, satisfaction, respite, accomplishment, and also a sense of moving on. Especially in this year of craziness, we're ready for another stage. Let's forget this year of ups and downs and drought and breakdowns and move on.

We're thankful to be involved in agriculture, but it is not for the weak, thus my mood swings when I'm just the one who has to feed the farmers, not operate anything!

So here's to another harvest in the books, and for moving on.


30 Days on a Prairie Farm Series:
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four

and Holly Spangler's motherposts!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day Four: Lost and Found

Well...there's a little bit more excitement around here, and no, it's not because the last 42 acres have been harvested and the combine has been put away for the year (that would be too much to ask for, right?).

Nope. While Joe is off pacing around the unharvested last bit, willing the ground and beans to dry, we're here at home, enjoying the company of a new dog.

As in, another animal.

Like, another life to enjoy, take care of, feed, clean up after...

can you tell I'm super excited.

Sorry all of you animal lovers out there. This little guy is a sweet, well mannered, calm beagle that came to the farm yesterday. However, have I ever mentioned that I am not used to animals? Have I ever shared that this whole world of pets and livestock and random animals that come to stay is rather new to me. Besides a few failed attempts at having kittens (only to be gotten rid of thanks to fleas and walking on my dad's pristine vehicles), a few goldfish attempts (aren't they all?), I am completely clueless to what it's like to own, love, care for and understand an animal. I don't think it's in me. It's not that I would abuse or mistreat an animal, I just don't have it in my genetics.

Joe, however, does...which I guess is good, because that means my kids have the love for animals.

So, I'm outnumbered, and after a trip to the vet this week to see if the animal has an identification chip in it and/or rabies, and then a week of asking around, we might be keeping Buddy as the girls have already named him.

I'm trying.

I'm trying to be excited that maybe our already crazy and high strung farm dog Sadie might be crazy and high strung because she needs a friend.

I'm trying.

I'm also realistic on two accounts. This is a nice dog. There's probably a lovely family who is missing their family pet. We've made a few fliers, thanks to our second grader.

I also remember, as a kid, coming out here to this exact house to find a new cat or dog that was dumped on the roadside. Yes, dumped. Isn't that sad? Even a non-animal person like myself knows that that is sad. So, I'm realistic that this dog might have just been left, and we're going to be his new family.

I'm trying to be okay with now scooping poop for two dogs.


Anyway, in this month of thankfulness, I should be thankful that my girls are so loving an caring and not a heartless Type A neat freak like their mother, and rejoice in the fact that we may have another animal to love on this place.



But, if you're reading this and are missing a lovely animal...please let me know!

Day One
Day Two
Day Three

and Miss Holly's 30 Days of Life on a Prairie Farm series that is causing all this crazy blogging can be found here

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day Three: Just a Leisurely Saturday Morning, Right?

So it's Saturday, and while the breakfast dishes are cleaned up and a few of the kids are dressed (well, if you consider a tutu dressed...which today, I do), Joe wins for busiest male in the house...and that competition is fierce, considering Jack's non-stop toddler job.

If Joe were a list maker, or one of those Facebook status updaters, those ones that list all the things they have done in a day, it might look like this...and again, it's only 9:15:

Up at 5:45.
Trucks started and checked.
Dog fed.
Coffee made (this is important).
Anna up and at 'em to help.
Our seasonal truck driver arrives.
Trucks rolled out and headed to Bartonville.
Trucks unloaded.
Breakfast at McDonald's (this is also important...especially when you're 7).
Quick stop home to drop off Anna, say hi to the kids, and make coffee again (this is again, important).
Dog called into the truck.
Cattle chores to start.

Did I mention that it's now 9:21? In the morning?

Good heavens...not that he should win your pity or a contest, but just remember as you're headed to soccer or football or to get the paper in your jammies at 8:00 on a Saturday morning, there are people out there, already enjoying the blessing of a Saturday morning so you can fuel your car, eat your Corn Flakes and enjoy a hamburger at the ball game.

Maybe hand him a cup of coffee or a Mountain Dew at 3:00 this afternoon...he might need it!
Happy Saturday!

And if you're's my other 30 Days of Life on a Prairie Farm posts:

Day One
Day Two

and linking up with Holly Spangler as well, right here!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day Two: Appreciating Expertise

So have I mentioned we have had a few breakdowns in the last leg of our harvest?

Yeah, I know I have.

But what I have failed to mention is that with a cell phone call, a parts run, and a repair truck's arrival, our combine has been back in the field, rolling without much delay.

Our operation consists of years of experience, expertise, ability to discover problems, fix little or big ones, but also the ability to know when to step away, lean upon the piece of equipment that is the source of issue, and make a call for help.

The amazing thing is, unlike a lot of industries, it seems to me that the customer service we receive from the agriculture industry from before the seeds are even in the ground to the time when the tractors, combine, semis, etc. help take the crop out, there's always a face with a first name, cell phone number, and a recognizable pick up truck that will pull in at a moment's notice.

For instance, the guys have become close (this week especially) with Andy Carroll, our repair man from Kliene Equipment. He's been here, whether first thing in the morning or close to quittin' time last night, tinkering, fixing, all the while pleasant and conversational to our farmers who are just almost to the end of their patience.

We appreciate this.

Whether you run green or red or blue or yellow tractors, if you have a good relationship with the service folks, salesmen, parts department, you're going to be loyal to that particular company.

Isn't that something we all believe in? Isn't that why we go to certain grocery stores? We frequent Hy-Vee because of the free cookie. I love Running Central because they help me find the right shoes, and don't mind that my kids may or may not dismantle their sock display while I'm testing them. I love the lady who cuts my hair because she tells me when I show her a picture yay or nay...and I believe her...and she waxes my eyebrows, which is something that not just anyone should do!

As consumers, you deserve a relationship with someone who is providing you a service. From the food you eat to the shoes you wear to the hair you're cutting, you should have a good enough relationship to appreciate and trust their expertise. If you don't, figure out why, ask questions, and possibly move on.

So today, we're hoping to have a big day. We're hopeful that Andy's fix will put the end to the annoying little things that have gone wrong. I am cautiously optimistic that we're close, but I know that with the end of Andy's visits, we will start to see Sam's truck (the salesman)...which I will try to appreciate this relationship as well...even though it could affect my shoe buying habit!

Read more from this 30 Days of Life on a Prairie Farm series here:
Day One 
and from Holly Spangler (the queen of this project) here

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Patience With a Capital P

Farm life is great, right?

We're living this life to ensure the health of our land, supply food and fuel for our country, and teach our kids great, big life lessons on our tiny piece of planet Earth.

We're actually on the cover of this month's Prairie Farmer magazine singing the praises of raising kids on the farm. Farming makes multi-generational relationships stronger, creates opportunities for responsibility for kids (as seen in Holly's blog today), allows so many life lessons to be learned and virtuous character traits to be fine tuned...

So why is it so DANG FRUSTRATING????

Because it tests everyone's patience.

A lot.

Like yesterday, we tried to be country and town folks when it came to trick or treating. As a town kid, I used to just roll out of my house when trick or treating began, met up with my buds from down the street, and visited neighbors, as long as I promised to be home by dark. Easy-peasey.

As a country kid, one has to be more patient, getting in and out of the car multiple times at neighbors' and grandparents' and relatives' homes before landing in town, only to have to unload stray costume pieces and coats and then, and only then, can you get out and about to trick or treat.

It's a process, and one that requires patience.

Which I didn't have much of by 6:00 last night, but that's another rant.

Anyway, the patience of the guys around here was being tested, but not the sweet candy-coated kind, they were being tested by the giant, green, angry combine kind.

Yes, a breakdown.

In the bean field.

With only a few measely (well, like 100ish) acres left in the whole dang farm to be harvested and then we can get this silly year over with.

While I realize my life is very easy as of today, considering the treacherous weather folks are having to endure up and down the East Coast, I also know that my big deal is still a big deal to me, and I wish for pity's sake this year could be chalked up to one of those patience testing ones, and I could move on to next year, which I know, without a doubt, will be a better one, right?

This year will go down as one that tested my patience, and I will learn from it, right?

Probably not, but I will try.

Either way, as a farmer or a farmer's wife, or a farmer's kid, you have to be patient. This breakdown caused a lot of sighing, then hustling, then considering, than banging around, then hustling, and now rolling, all the while making the guys' patience stretch very, very thin.

Farmers have to be patient, and, consequently, so do farmer's wives.

And for this farmer's wife, that's a NIGHTMARE!

So I think this life that has been laid for me and my kids is a test from God. I think he's trying to make me loosen my white knuckled grip on everything by giving me a lifestyle that you cannot predict like a bi-monthly paycheck. I think God wants me to see a life lead by patience with a capital P is one that accepts the late night, warmed up dinners with more dishes to do. He wants me to see that my kids can roll home on the school bus, change clothes and roll out with their dad or grandpa in a semi or a grain cart. Having patience with a capital P makes the challenges of this profession, like this year and its lack of rain, seem less tragic and more educational. Good stories...good for blogs...

Maybe I'm onto something.

I'm hopeful that even if I still try to be the control freak that I am, my kids will learn from our up and down and all around crazy farm life that patience with a capital P is the way to be.

Here's hoping.

Author's note: I am linking up with Holly Spangler for her 30 Days on a Prairie Farm series. Check our her Day One link here.