Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week Five, or It Six?

I posted these pictures already on Facebook, but if you haven't seen them, here's week 5-6ish in our corn growth journal.

Joe is not super happy with the location in which I took these pictures, but beggars cannot be choosers, and at that time, Jack was not cooperating (thus the mode of transportation shown here, ahem...bribery), Anna was no where to be found, only to be found snitching a brownie before dinner, and the two middle girls just wanted to pose...and not nicely, semi-trashy, diva poses.

Just a typical American farm family, right?

Anyway, I decided to take a trip down memory lane this morning, and checked out my post from last year, just about on this date. My post's title was Water Conservation.

And I laughed out loud.


Oh what a difference a year makes.

While our corn is looking good: a nice rich green, lush and dense, we are also livestock farmers. While the college teacher/grain farmer's daughter in me still thinks summers are for swimming and vacations and relaxation as we watch the crops just grow, the livestock farmer's wife in me is SCREAMING for a dry stretch. We have hay that needs to be, well, everythinged...mowed, baled, raked, dried (not necessarily in that order). The end of June/early July should be a time when this is happening, and has already happened once before. Holidays in the summertime are generally marked with hay baling activities, not barbeques and pool parties, when you are a livestock farmer. The fourth of July is a good indicator of the "cuttings" of hay.

And we have hardly done any...sans the big chopping day, and some well timed (in between rain showers) baling on Joe's part this past week.

Our harried looks about hay are not just because of the weather, but because we are actually headed out of town...out of STATE (I know...take a deep breath for me) for a trip next week. We are trying not to focus upon the not-dones, but the fun that we will be having. I know that it's hard to step away from projects unfinished...thus my tendency to never sit down at night until all dishes/toys/laundry are put away.

I get that.

However, in this situation...HAY IS FOR HORSES!! We have a plane to catch!!

The good news is, we have a dry day today. We had no rain last night. It's humid and dewy, but with some breeze and sun, we should at least be on the right track.

If not, we have a lovely neighbor who I'm sure has a spare afternoon, between his own chores, kids, and cattle, who could help us out as we soak up sun, right?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hay Is Not Just for Horses...or the Weak

Oh the joys.

Haying season is upon us. Actually, haying should have already occurred, but since it's been wet, everything is off.

However, today is the day. Yesterday was the culmination of a lot of worrying and nashing of the teeth and threatening of not being able to go on our vacation (which is in a few weeks, and when I hung a paper chain as a visual learning tool for our kids... Joe freaked out). Hay was mowed. Hay is DOWN, PEOPLE...and the choppers are en route to work until it's done, even if that means that I am now the third base coach at the softball game...never mind that I haven't played since the early nineties...

So, hay is not just for's for those who are steadfast, strong, and okay with worrying about not just the precipitation aspect of the weather, but the list goes on. When one is haying, one must also consider (read: worry) about humidity, wind speed, temperature in the air and of the actual hay itself (ever heard of spontaneous combustion...welcome to haying). Joe does most of our hay mowing on an open station tractor, so he has to consider his comfort, to an extent, so sunscreen and a wide brimmed cowboy hat is a must.

Then there's the chopping aspect of it. Generally, we bale our hay in big round bales. However, we have some custom chopped, so not only are we at the mercy of the weather's conditions, but also the availability and timeliness and, heaven forbid, potential breakdowns of the custom choppers.


So, Joe's nerves are shot. He's ready to go...actually gone at the moment, and will be gone for the rest of the day and potentially into the night, but that's okay. He's strong in mind, and I'll keep him fed and hydrated as best as I can.

Haying is not for the weak, people, but boy do we need a vacation after this craziness!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Accepting the Challenge

Life is never easy on the farm.

Last year was dry. Remember that?
This spring is wet, wet, wet. Have I mentioned that?
So why wouldn't one also add in the challenge of acquiring a rather unique gift for a four year old's upcoming birthday?

Why the heck not? I'm up for a challenge, right? I've weathered some crazy seasons as a farm wife. Heck, I even gave birth to our four year old, Amelia, during one of our craziest springs, and you can recount that story here, if you're interested.

But, I'm digressing...

Amelia Jane is four today, and boy is she a jewel. Seriously. This kid has to be one of the sunniest, funniest, craziest, cutest, ball of joy you've ever met. Honestly. I know all parents think their kids are the sunniest, funniest, craziest, cutest...but perfect strangers even note her sunny disposition. Even in her newborn pictures, her facial expression was alert, full of surprise and joy. We think that might be  because she had two very inquisitive, very young older sisters, but I also think she may have rainbows running through her veins!

So, when I asked Amelia what she wanted for her birthday, I shouldn't have been surprised that she wanted something that would add to her character:

A Pink Ukulele.

Seems simple, right? Wouldn't that be at a music shop...but where is there a music store around here?
Couldn't it just be at Toys R Us?

So, my best attempt of finding it at my local Wal-Mart while I was also doing my grocery shopping was an epic failure.

Holy rain clouds on the rainbows...this was going to be a challenge.

However, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I was able to procure this lovely pink Ukulele, shipped from the great Aloha state itself, and this morning...well, you can see her reaction:

See? Rainbows. The girl bleeds rainbows.

Amelia has brought so much joy to our family. I tend to be moody, and can be a downer at times. Joe gets concerned, and, although rather even-keel in his personality, can be a bit of a worrier. Anna is the most serious of our kids. Josie is moody (where did THAT come from???), and Jack...well, the jury's still out, but he's another story. However, when Millie gets on the scene, my moodiness and his worrying, Anna's seriousness and Josie's mood swings, all seem to dissolve like rainbows in sunshine. Her smile, the way she still incorrectly says her "r"s, her swingy, perfectly straight hair (where did THAT come from??)...all of that makes her a perfect fit in our family's personality.

I know I'll have days when my sunshine girl is not so sunshine. I realize she'll be fourteen one day, not four, and that comes with a whole different set of issues. Today, though, I celebrate my sweet, full of sunshine four year old. She's just happy to be four, have a pink Ukulele and a new bike, and I'm just overjoyed to be her mommy.

Happy birthday, Sweet Amelia Jane! We love you!!