Friday, September 9, 2016

Summer--why are your leaving so soon?!?

          We are hanging onto summer for all that's left. It's September and we are still swimming in our pool, but not much longer I'm afraid. I think it's the Florida part in me to squeeze every bit of summer out. This season seems so far away in the cold winter; but is much more appreciated and looked forward too.

                   Summer on the farm moves fast. We start planting season around Easter and finish field work the first part of July. We are planting corn and soybeans and harvesting wheat in June/July then planting soybeans in those fields. Our summer break is the rest of July and August. Fortunately we made it to Florida for a good part of August for some much needed family vacation and beach time.

As summer is ending we are going good with corn harvest. After corn harvest is soybean harvest and planting of winter wheat. Our goal is to be finished by Thanksgiving. A good bit of winter is spent traveling to various national farming conferences and state meetings.

This week we had our first day of homeschooling for the year. I think that's why it's registering that summer is about played out. So far this week has gone well with a 1st grader, a 4 year old, and a 1 year old crawling at our feet. I look forward to a good year.

I realize we live a busy life and most don't know how we do it. Sometimes I wonder too. I think God somehow built us with the ability to accomplish what we need to.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Reflections on turning 3-0!'s just a number.
It's a new decade. The 20's are gone. 
To be honest it feels old.
 Thirty seems "grown-up" even though for the last almost 8 years I've been married and been doing plenty of "grown-up" things. Maybe it's because I remember when my Dad turned 30 and I have a son who is the same age as I was when he hit this age.
 As I reflect over the last 29 years I made a list of things I've done or experienced:
June 10, 1986 born in Versailles, KY (so not to be born a Hoosier)
3 years living in Indiana
2 brothers
2 parents
16 years in Florida
10 houses/moves; most large distance moves within Florida
6 years at  "real" schools
7 years homeschooled
?? children babysat
3 years with Girl Scouts
several years of piano
1 year of soccer
several years of gymnastics
1 year attending community college
3 years attending Bryan College in Dayton, TN
2 summers working in Seaside
3 cars
7 dogs (in 30 years)
4 cats (in 30 years)
? fish
2 countries visited (Belize and Mexico)
8 years (almost) married to a farmer
6 years as a mom
3 boys
unknown amounts of clothes and dishes washed
umpteen diapers changed
29 good years...ready to start year 30
As I think about the 20's ending it was full decade: college, engaged, 3 college dorms, 2 summers at the beach, graduated college, married, 2 houses, and 3 boys.
I hope the 30's are great but not as life changing.
30 is just a number and I've done a lot in these 29 years. I've been pretty blessed. It's exciting to see what the next 30 years will be; with 3 little boys it will be anything but boring.
At the end of the day it's just a number.
I'm still a mom so off to dishes, laundry, and cleaning up after boys. We are still in the middle of planting season so I'll do some farming today too.
I'm hoping for a dinner out with my boys this evening though.

Friday, May 6, 2016

This Kind of Love

                 When I married my farmer I became a farmer's wife. This transition was almost 8 years ago. A wife is a help mate, a sounding board for her husband, an encourager and friend. When I  become the farmer's wife that added a whole new dimension; I then became a business partner and co-worker. Day to day activities are different from a 9-5/40hr a week working husband because farming is a lifestyle. There are no set hours to farming; when there's work to be done you do it. We work side by side most days. I say I don't "work" but really I do I just don't get dressed for a desk job. I enjoy my "work" of running farm errands such as: meals to the field during planting and harvest time, getting parts from the tractor store, bank deposits, escorting equipment down the road to the next field, and just about anything else. The saying, "No one works harder than a farmer except the farmer's wife," rings true to me. My farmer does work very hard to provide for our family. I'm happy to be by his side daily in this journey.

                When our first son was born 6 years ago I added "mom" to my farmer's wife role. I'm still first and foremost a wife but now I have 3 little boys to tag along. On top of all the errands to run there is more laundry to wash and mouths to feed. And 3 little boys get clothes dirty quick and can eat quick too. They get boo boos that need a bandaid, muddy feet to clean, and toys all over the house. I wouldn't trade this part of my role though. I'm still in the "trenches of motherhood" with little ones under foot. It's very busy at our house. I'm fortunate to stay home with them. I also laugh at the stay-at-home-mom role because when we are in planting and harvesting of corn, soybeans or wheat we aren't "home" very much but out in the field helping with as much as we can. I’m fortunate to be able to see my boys' first and watch them discover the world. When we aren't doing field work my farmer stops in periodically to see us, keep up with bookkeeping, or eat a meal. We enjoy the flexibility of our farming lifestyle.
                As Mother's Day is approaching I think about the farm moms who put in long hours to keep the family going. They get up early and stay up late. These mothers have responsibilities on the farm and in the house; it's a challenging but rewarding role.  Moms come in all forms but we all have this Kind of Love for our kids.  If you are a farm mom, city mom or somewhere in between we all have this Kind of Love for our kids that is selfless and serving of others. I did not have an example of the "farm mom" but I did have a mom who taught me how to be a mom and wife.

I hope you all have a great Mother's Day! 
Enjoy this short video thanks to CommonGround called This Kind of Love made with some farm mom's across the country I'm fortunate enough to work with sharing our farming story. My boys and I open and close the video and are in a few more clips.

click here for This Kind of Love

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

God's Promise

Planting season started in early April and we pushed hard to get acres planted. We were successful in planting about half of our corn acres. The ground was getting dry and we were praying for rain. We had a little rain shower which gave us a 2 day break to rest from planting. We were back at it again and then in the last 8 days we have gotten 5 inches of rain.
One thing I have learned from living on the farm is to watch the weather. Growing up living in Florida it rained a lot but I never checked the forecast or radar to see how long it would last. When it rained; it rained. I've learned to be a pretty good predictor of weather. Ten years ago 5 inches of rain wouldn't have meant anything; now that means muddy fields.
We are now playing the waiting game; waiting on the sun to shine. Looking at the forecast there is still a bunch of rain in the next 2 weeks. Rain is great for the corn in the ground but not the corn still in the bag.
As I was in the yard playing with the boys this evening I saw a sign that reminded me of God's promise that he will never flood the earth again. This is a comforting promise and knowing we will get in the field again to plant. 

We have been able to watch the wheat planted around the house put on it's grain head.
Another thing I have learned from my 8th spring on the farm is that each planting season is different. It keeps life interesting. Farmers are at the mercy of the weather which is a risky game to play.
And for 3 of those springs I have had a baby. So we are planning birthday parties right now around this planting season. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016's what's for breakfast

As you can imagine with 3 boys grocery shopping is quite a chore. I don't frequent the "real" grocery often. We have a Dollar General just miles from our house where I can get milk, bread, and eggs weekly. I don't know what I would do without it. One thing the Dollar General doesn't sell is flour for biscuits. I made it to Wal-Mart last night and remembered I was OUT of flour. Wal-mart was almost out of flour too. Go big or go home.
When Walmart is out of smaller bags of buy the 10 pound bag.
 Since I had flour again I made biscuits this morning and thought I would share the recipe. It's so simple. This is a recipe my mom made when I was growing up.
3 simple ingredients.
2 cups Martha White Self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter flavored Crisco
3/4 cup milk
450 degrees for 12 minutes

Start with 2 cups flour.

Add 1/4 cup Crisco.
I've started just scooping some in and eyeballing it just cause I don't like to wash the measuring cup. Tip: if you happen to add too much the biscuits are just more fluffy. 

With a pastry blender cut up the Crisco into the flour til it's well mixed.

Add milk and mix just until the mix is wet but not too much or the biscuits will loose the fluffiness.

Side note: My mom wouldn't let us taste dough or batter with raw egg in it. I've continued this with my boys. I was allowed to eat biscuit dough so now my boys always come running for a taste of biscuit dough. And I may still lick the fork. 

Dump dough onto greased and floured pan.

Knead the dough a few times but not too much. You can dust it with some flour so it's not too sticky on your hands. Then roll dough with a rolling pin or press out smooth with your hands.

Cut the desired size biscuits. It wasn't til I was an adult I realized you normally don't leave the outsides of the biscuits. Mom did it this way so I thought that was the way to do it.
Tip: the biscuits rise better if you bake like this.
Bake 450 degrees for 12 minutes til golden brown.

Finished product! Yummy!

When you live on a pig farm; sausage is a good pairing with biscuits.

We eat biscuits a few mornings a week with eggs, sausage, or just jelly depending on how quick breakfast needs to be.
These biscuits are also good with beef roast or country ham.
I'm glad I learned to cook before getting married years ago; and I'm sure my husband is thankful too. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

National Ag Day, so what?

You may be thinking the same as my title. So what? Who cares about National Ag Day?
We have Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day, Mother's Day and many other days to honor certain groups of people.
Today is National Ag Day. What is Ag Day? It's a day to celebrate agriculture.
 Agriculture defined by Webster is the science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products. A few years ago I would have been in the "so what?" category. Now I'm in the "this is my day to celebrate" category. This day was created in 1973 to promote public awareness of agriculture in modern society.
Social media has become a great platform for many. I choose to use my social media to "bridge the gap" from farmer to general public. Since we are 4-5 generations removed from the farm I feel the need to help bring those who read my blog or see my posts on Facebook "back to the farm."
If you had asked me 10 years ago if I knew a farmer. I would have said, "Not really, my grandparents had a farm when I was a child." I hope now you can get a glimpse into our farm and be able to answer yes to that question if asked if you know a farmer. I also hope you feel comfortable to ask me a question about how we raise our corn, soybeans, wheat, and pigs. I'm proud to say I married into a 9th generation farming family. There aren't many occupations that have this long heritage. We do things quite different from the 1800's just like any changing profession. Technology has made things easier and changing with the times has become a necessity. I now have small computer in my phone which allows me to communicate with a world while we are planting corn. We are about to get busy on our farm and I hope to share with you the fun of planting season.
I think farmers are taken for granted because we are just 2% of the population. You need agriculture daily whether you think about it or not; from food to clothes, from shampoo to adhesives, from lumber to tires.
The sun is shining today and we are getting antsy to be in the field. I may not get my boys inside the house today. I'm not sure I want them in the house they are covered in dirt.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Where we've been this winter

Some may think winter is a slow time on the farm; since we don't have crops to tend to. Quite the contrary. There seem to be 2 seasons on the farm: field season and travel season. The spring, summer, and fall are our field seasons. We do manage to fit in a beach trip in the summer. The travel season is in the winter. Also in winter is the time to plan for next year. We have seeds and fertilizer to select for planting the next year. There is equipment to service in preparations for spring. Even though we get a bit of a "break" from the field work the pigs in the barn need our care year round.
 The past 2 winters we've seen our fair share of snow.
dressed for snow
This was Big C's transportation to the pig barn for a few days.
Another major part of winter work on the farm is selling the grain from the fall harvest. We feed corn to the pigs and the excess is sold at the grain elevator. Big C does a lot of the hauling; sometimes 3 trips in a day.

That's a pile of boys.

We do a good bit of travel in the winter season as well. We aren't traveling for recreation and vacation but business trips but they are enjoyable. The conventions and meetings we attend are in our state and some out of state. Just this "meeting season" we will have been to Orlando, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Louisville, Bowling Green, Morton, Illinois, Lexington and Washington D.C. Make you tired? This was all in 4 months. Makes me tired. While on these trips we have met many old and new farmer friends from around the country. We can network and learn from each other and how they farm in their state. I had no idea "farmers" attended such conventions. It's quite impressive and humbling to be in a room of 5,000 farmers at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Orlando.
This was at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Louisville in Dec.

While we were in Orlando we squeezed in some family fun at Disney World.
The boys are quite good travelers and look forward to hotel stays. They get to tag along on some of our trips. Farming truly is a family business and children are usually in abundance at these conventions. These kids are the future of our farms. Little C3 has a record of at least one hotel stay for each of his 9 short months of life. And not breaking that record anytime soon.

We were honored with a trip to the Outstanding Farmer Congress in Cincinnati as one of the top 10 National Outstanding Young Farmers. We met many farmers from across the U.S. and learned about their operations. It was a very intriguing and enjoyable trip.
I've been too busy living life this winter to blog about living life. I hope you are up to speed on us. We will be back in the field planting corn and soybeans and harvesting wheat.