Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day Ten: 10

I have come to realize I must be getting used to this farm wife life when it took me more than a few minutes to come up with my list of "unusual things on the farm."

Because they're not weird to me anymore. We just do things differently around here.

So, in the spirit of the number 10, I give you the Top Ten Unusual Things Found on Our Farm.

#1 This:
Twenty points for the friend who knows what this contraption is...and don't say "something dusty," it's a losing battle my friend.


It's a Boot Warmer!!

For several winters, Joe has had to deal with cold, wet boots. We have what we call "the little porch" where you first come in off our deck. It's where we keep shoes, umbrellas and whatever lands on the benches I so carefully chose to look neat and they don't. Sigh. Anyway, finally, Joe decided to bite the bullet, fork out the 40 bucks and enjoy toasty tootsies this fall and winter.

Don't you own a boot warmer?
Now don't you want one?
I'm going to try it out this winter, after a snowy run for sure.

On to #2
Pick ups without tailgates.

It's no surprise that I am a freak about my car. It's a losing battle because of our road, but I like a clean car, a non-scratched car, even a bumper stickerless car. I had two clings on my windows in college, one for my sorority and one for the Illini, and after they left a barely visible square on my back window, I swore off of those things.

So when we bought our farm pick up truck, I was startled. It came without a tailgate. Like, not even a place to discuss a cling on the back. Sans tailgate. Nada. Nothing.

Joe was not phased. I was completely baffled. Aren't we missing a part?

Well, there's a method to this madness. Although Joe's pick up bed is generally filled with stuff, the reasoning is livestock and all the stuff it entails to heave up into the bed of the truck. Joe's reasoning to my chagrin at our seemingly "trashy truck," was that it's ease of use, makes sense, and is less obnoxious than having to lift and lower the tailgate 9000 times a day.

I still think it's strange.

Dogs in the bed of pick up trucks.
This is not super unusual around here. Our late dog Sadie loved to have her hind legs on the bed of the truck and her front legs up on the toolbox right behind the cab. She loved the wind in her fur, but I was for certain she would fly out the back...because we didn't have a TAILGATE!!

However in #4, there's different school of thought:
Farm dogs who appear to be passengers in the truck. This was also disconcerting to me. I know, I know, I'm not a dog person, so I never saw the lure of having a loose animal in the car at all, but there's a lot of loyal breeds who sit alongside their farmer as if they're the partner. And, really, in many cases, they are. That's what's hilarious. Duffy, our neighbor/landlord's dog is their third child. He sits in the truck stately, like he's the copilot. It's hilarious.

Moving onto the crop side of things...
"Dead" corn in the field.

Now, people, we are not gardeners. We are not harvesting sweet corn. We are grain farmers. This entails an entirely different set of harvesting properties than harvesting lettuce, broccoli or sweet corn. I was reading a Facebook conversation about this question, and thought it probably is confusing to the non-farmer eye. Our corn in the field appears to be dead, brown, and long past its prime. But, fear not! It's perfect! We need it good and dry and dead looking for the basic reason that it needs to be stored for a lengthy period. If it's good and dry, it won't get black and moldy, and thus be "unservable" to our animals, let alone put in people's food. So, dead corn for field corn = good.

Piles of "white stuff" in the field in the fall.
Nope it's not yet another conspiracy to make my life dustier than it already is. This is not an accident either, nor is it applied haphazardly. This is lime, and while those of you who are more aggie than me can come up with a more scientific explanation than me will probably be horrified at this layman's term, it's a pile of good stuff that's applied at a "variable rate." This is usually, for us, anyway, applied by an expert, and applied only where needed. They do soil tests and pH tests and all that to ensure they're not just spreading lime where the wind blows it. Once again, if you were just a casual observer who jumps to conclusion, it may look haphazard, but once again, before you consult a non-agriculturalist, believe me, it's not hurting us. We're trying to be good stewards of the soil and take care of it.

Now onto stuff that I know more about...Farm Fashion
For real.
Joe has several pairs, and while I did too in the 90s...oh Lord never look at my Senior Barn Dance photos. Yikes..he wears them, for real. Often.
This horrified me at first, as I was trying to fight the hillbilly aspect of farming, but in the summer and the winter, they do serve a purpose, and cut down on my laundry load. In the summer, Joe wears them, especially holy ones (not on Sunday, even...har, har), because of the coolness factor. No restricting waistbands. However, he does always wear a shirt underneath. We're not Moonshiners, people, we're farmers.
Winter wear: Bib overalls are typically purchased a few sizes larger than the normal size. Like myself, gearing up in the winter months for a snowy run, it's all about layering. Joe layers a pair of bibs over a hooded sweatshirt and lined jeans, and he's toasty warm, with good pockets, and the clothes underneath could potentially be worn again. Score one for my laundry load!

The Bandit Look
This was a look that got a less horrified reaction from me, rather a big laugh. In the winter months, Joe uses a handkerchief, you know, the red or blue bandanna type, and ties it over his face and stocking cap in order to work outside without losing his nose skin or freezing his face off. I would prefer to offer him a nice scarf, but when he starts explaining what could potentially splash in his face during calving season, I put away my leopard print infinity scarf and call it a fashion loss.

Speaking of calves. Number 9 is something I'll never get used to. I like a finished basement. I had one as a child, crave one as a mother of four, but will never probably have one thanks to my 1871 house and #9: calves in the basement.
Yes, calves in the basement has happened more than once.  Joe doesn't want this to happen, as it means that the calf is not nursing well or lost its mama or needs to be warmed because it's sick, etc. However, it's a necessary aspect of our farm. I won't ever be used to it, but it does create a sweet photo op and a great memory for my kids.

#10 Blurred Property Lines (less Robin Thicke, but just as annoying)
This is a little odd, because it's common sense to me. However, living out here for seven years, I have come to realize people tend to think the country is no-man's land..and tend to do strange things out here.
Case in point, last night. Our dog, Walter, was barking, which is not a surprise, as he hates nighttime critters. However, it was a weird bark, and a loud car had just passed by, so Joe got up to investigate. Not wanting to leave my Modern Family rerun, I stayed at home. When he came back, Joe was fired up. There were two kids, just walking down our road in the dark of night, having been left by their friends to find their way back to town. One was in a t-shirt, and both were seemingly stupid. Seriously? Don't these kids know that it's dangerous out here? There are hunters and farmers and, unfortunately, probably drunks traveling down our road on a Saturday night to get to take the back roads to the bars. Plus, PUT A COAT ON! 
We've had our own case of CSI: Yates City, where a car, with just rims, no tires, had been drug out to our road. Joe found it early that morning, nervously checking it out before calling the cops to tell them he had come across it, and that his boot prints were ones of investigation. One case of domestic dispute later, and the car was hauled away. 
This list goes on and on: dumped dogs, thrown out trash, cars making donuts in newly worked ground, stolen tools, hunting where you shouldn't be...the country seems vast. It seems like maybe it's not owned property, but as a county resident, I know who owns what and where. It's all someone's, and not everyone's, and while we tend to be nice and let folks fish and hunt and drive around and criticize and analyze our life, it's still ours. My family's. Someone else's family's. Like a piece of property with a house in it in town, our ground may be hundreds of acres long and wide, but the guys know it. The farmers check it, care for it, and don't want anyone to mess with it, and heaven forbid get hurt on it. May seem territorial, but if you invested as much time and money in a piece of land, you'd be irritated with punk kids doing stupid things on your property. 

So, with that, here's the of today. Fortunately, it's ever-evolving, thanks to my increased knowledge of farm life and jaded view of "normal." Here's to day 10!

Linking up with Holly's challenge here.

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