No nap for Me

Thank the Lord, we got rain Saturday morning. Not a whole lot…but it definitely made a difference. 
After church today, the girls and I were scrambling to get socks and jackets to go “help” him feed when his phone rang.

“Hello? Uh-huh. Oh. Ok. I’ll be right there, mmmBye.” 

The girls and I had all noticed the change in his tone and were all waiting to hear what was wrong.

“A semi truck ran through the fence at one of the rented farms”

Ok. There are worse things than building fence.

Once we got there, it appeared it was going to take a while for the Lowe’s truck to be removed. It had gone off the right hand shoulder, over corrected, jack knifed and gone off the road through the fence. No one had been hurt. 

Jack-knifed truck in the fence row.

So we had some time to kill while waiting. Lynn took the girls in the cab tractor to go feed a bale of hay, and I took the ancient 4-Wheeler to check on the cows in a different pasture.

A horse is so much more reliable.

I did get to see a day old baby calf, so that’s cool.

When we were done we talked to the Lowe’s manager, the unhappy driver, and the firemen who were there because the truck was leaking diesel. The store manager said “Yeah, we will have it moved in half an hour”

So we went to another rented farm to feed the heifers there. Because of the limited hay supply there is a bunk full of fermented corn byproduct. It is the byproduct of making sodas like coke. The cows LOVE it, and it is nutrient dense. Caroline loves the smell. 

“Mama, this smells better than perfume!”

Claire rode with Lynn on the tractor and I walked with Caroline to open gates. Lynn offered the use of a 4-wheeler but after using the old one at the other farm, I declined. I’d rather walk.

Caroline chattered and I was trying to listen… and then I realized we had gotten in between a heifer and her calf. She wasn’t happy, and she was headed our direction head-up, fast.. Uh oh.

 Caroline isnt quick or agile and neither am I. Had it been just me, I wouldn’t have ran – but being that I had my kid…I chose to err on the side of caution.

I saw a fence gap where the wire was loose and tucked Caroline up under my arm across my back, ran over to it, held the wires open and shoved her through. Then I wallowed through after her. 

Safe! Heifer is checking out her calf.

No longer perceiving us as a threat, the first-calf heifer retrieved her baby and we booked it back to the gate. Whew! 

We got back an hour later and the truck was STILL where it was when we left so I got my father-in-law to take a family photo…since we were all as matching as we ever will be. (My friend Julie gave the girls a couple Carhart jackets her kids had grown out of…perfect farm kid present!)

This might be the only “matching family photo” we ever take.

Finally, 4 hours after the kids nap time was supposed to start we had a clear space to fix the fence.

Claire has the no-nap-crazy going on here.

It was a process that was going to take a little while so we put the kids in a truck to keep then out of the road.

We only had two pairs of fence pliers (or any kind of pliers) so I became the “fence clip hander-outer”

When the overtired kids started throwing all the things that were IN the truck cab OUT the window I let them out to run in the field a minute.

The clouds in the distance are plumes of smoke from the wildfire

Finally after 5pm we got home and reheated leftovers for dinner.

The fire smoke from the back pasture when Lynn and I went to check on those cows when we finished with the fence.

No surprise that the girls went to bed early tonight.

I’ve rarely seen them so tired.

Lynn is snoring on the couch and I think I’ll turn in soon too. We all count on our usual Sunday afternoon nap, but today it wasn’t to be. 

But -we spent the day together…and together is our favorite place to be.

Have a great week friends!

Walland fire

The sight is grim. Nothing between us and the raging fire except a mountain full of a whole lot of dry, dry vegetation . It is a helpless feeling.

At this point it’s a few miles away. Saying prayers for those of our neighbors right in the path.

What a good long hard rain would be worth to so many right now!

Our farm is entirely too close to this fire.

Still dry

That’s not fog or smoke. That’s dust. 

This particular drought is limited to the southeast. That is good news for consumers.

Today when I took Claire to see Lynn and his dad working (Caroline was playing at a friend’s house) I was amazed at the powdery dryness of the dirt. I felt like I was in a Western movie set in the desert. 

Commerical cowherd headed to eat hay

What struck me about this is how the scenery matched Lynn’s dark brown jacket.

Usually when we need jackets outside we need mudboots too. But not right now.

Claire riding with Papaw. You can see a glimmer of pink in the cab…thats her sitting on his knee.

It will rain one day. I’d like nothing so much as for it to pour for a week. But at this point it’s too late in the season for any helpful growth. 

Election day

I took the day off today. 

Since I early voted it was just me, the wild/feral children and a long to-do list.

I told them to put some clothes on, thinking that I could wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt and at least run errands in comfort. 

THIS is how they marched out of their rooms. 

Seriously kids. How am I going to blame my slouchy look on you when you dress all cutsy and stuff?

Ugh. Makeup and real pants it was for me. 

We got some stuff done (calf starter picked up, bills mailed… you know regular boring stuff) Then I pulled into Lowe’s to get some supplies to fix the fireplace. The kids have been working diligently to pull the bricks up one by one. I didn’t think they had it in them to actually destroy BRICKS but they proved me wrong.

My sweet little delicate flowers tore this apart. Told you they are feral.

I hear them tussling in the back seat, but hey, what else is new. I pulled into my parking spot and look in my rearview mirror to see how things are lined up and here’s what I see.

Me “Why are you out of your seat?” Claire “Because I want to. Because we not on road”

Le sigh.

I put them in the buggy to contain them, then I returned something left over from the kitchen remodel. As usual I told the kids what we are there for…so maybe they can help me remember, even though I have a list.

Here’s the list I have them

  1. Paint
  2. Hacksaw blade
  3. Several things of calk 

If you know my children, you know I just made a mistake.

They like to talk loudly.

“Mama gotta buy paint!” Claire hollared at a stranger

“Hacksaw blade! Wwwooooohooo Hacksaw blade yaaaaahhhh” Caroline sang loudly as I neared the middle of the store.

Caroline again…”several tubes of calk. Several means a lot”

“Calk! Hey you Calk!” Claire joined in the song. 

Uh-oh.

Several people looked our way startled.

Ok. Think about what inappropriate word it sounds like my precious-innocent-angelic-child is yelling. If you can’t figure it out, go ask a teenager.

Me “shhhhh kids”

But it was too little too late. And now they think I’m embarrassed because they are being loud. These girls dont know about bad words other than “butt” or “booger”. Much to my horror, they increased their volume because they can smell fear. 

Caroline “Yeah! Mommy’s here to get a WHOLE BUNCH of CALK! WHEEEE! Who can help my Mommy find CALK?”

Like a background singer Claire was sitting g in the buggy and waving her hands back and forth in the air singing “Calk calk calk calk calk”in a high pitched singsong voice.

Now people really WERE looking our way. Definitely not my imagination now. Several smirks, a couple of disapproving head shakers.

I briefly considered abandoning the shopping cart and making a run for it. But…not wanting to completely abandon my kids in a public place I decided not to.  Besides, singing loudly in a store is all they knew they were doing, and that’s a relatively minor offense.

But then I remembered bribes! Ah ha! “Y’all want to go out for eats?” 

Instantly the singing stopped.

Them “Yah yah yah!!”

Me “Then you have to be quiet and let me think so we can hurry” 

Them *giggles and nudging each other* “sshhhhs!

So we had McDonald’s for lunch. I consider that $11.55 fast food meal money well spent.

Drought 

I’ve not written anything lately because my heart has been heavy.

We are in drought conditions here. We also missed a record by a few days of  consecutive days above 90 degrees. We’ve even gotten water conservation advisory’s for household use.

That means instead of grazing pasture, cattle are being fed hay and have been for several weeks. Some years Lynn sells the extra hay he put up to help some people’s livestock get through the winter…but seeing as how hay is being fed much earlier than in a typical year we won’t have enough extra to share. Cattle prices are down this fall from where they were the last couple years…what that boils down to is it costs more money in inputs (hay, grain etc) to raise cattle that don’t bring as much.(because the market prices are down for cattle)

The grain harvest is finished, it has been so dry so long that they began harvesting much earlier that they ever have. (Grains are harvested once the moisture levels drop down to a certain percentage) Usually at harvest there is an atmosphere of exhaustion mingled with relief and the satisfaction of completion and a bit of jovial celebration thrown in when Lynn and his dad start filling up the grain bins with the corn and soybeans they’ve worked to grow since spring. This year it was different. This year there was no relief and celebration from a bumper crop..or even a  average yield. There is certainly still more than enough to get by with. 

 Instead of laughter filled tailgate picnics when we brought refreshments to the field, it was more of an eat quickly and go back to work affair. Adding insult to injury the awful grasshoppers seem to be more in numbers and greatly increased in size.(I hate grasshoppers.) 

Spending hours upon hours working on something only to be wholly reliant on something as fickle as the weather that isn’t favorable is disheartening. 

It’s hard to watch as the farmer’s wife. You want your husband to be richly rewarded for the long days, the seven day weeks he’s put in. Heck, as the farmer’s wife I feel like even  **I’ve** earned a plentiful harvest, with all the picking up the loose ends that comes with a farmers harvest season. To me a good harvest means Lynn has time to breathe and can relax more. A good bumper harvest means he doesn’t feel as driven to prepare for next year ahead of time. 

But that isn’t our year for that. And it’s not the end of the world. And the grain bins are still adequately filled. The income from grain and the cattle sales will, with continued good management be more than enough to fund all the farm endeavors next year. 

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. There is enough. We aren’t struggling financially to get by. Because great decisions made by my husband and father -in-law the farm as a business is in great shape. Years like this are planned and prepared for. Everything is fine. It is a good lesson in faith.

But weather effects the farm. And the farmer. And  by proxy the farmer’s wife….and we all know if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

So please if you pray, pray for much needed rain. And for good weather next year.  

After a long days work, Lynn is “pampered” by Claire making his hair pretty and Caroline snuggled up next to him to watch Andy Griffith.

Sundays are our days off.

Typically on the farm, they don’t start new things on Sundays. Still – livestock has to be taken care of, and loose ends have to be tied up.

We go to the early service at church, so that all that needs to be checked on after can be. A lot of the time the girls go play with their grandparents and I follow Lynn around while he works. 

Then the girls take a couple hours of a late nap, and we go back to the farm to feed the bottle calves, the horses and barn cats and follow Lynn around while he’s feeding cattle around the barn.

Tonight a call came in that a calf was laying in a pasture by the road on a different farm away from the cows. So Lynn went to check…and since us girls are always up for an “adventure” we tagged along. 

How many of us can you fit on a poor old 4-wheeler? Too many!

So after looking for the Mama cow, which was eventually located we went to fetch the baby. 

She needed help getting back with her Mama, although she sure didn’t think so.

She was a lively calf and didn’t want to be caught. So the girls and I moved away so as not to scare her so Lynn could chase her, catch her and put her on the 4-Wheeler and reunite her with her mother.

So what did I do? Take pictures of the kids…not that they were very cooperative. (I hope they were more cooperative on school picture day last week)

I love these crazy kids

This picture of the girls is minutes before the worst diaper explosion in over a year… I think I will need therapy to cope with it. Horrific.

After some toddler nudity on Claire’s part and some cringing on my part, we got life pulled back together and Lynn returned on the 4-Wheeler and we headed home for showers, supper and bedtime stories.
The video is of Claire on her 5th attempt to open the truck door. The previous 4 tries she opened it, but would swing from the handle while the door bounced open and then it would close again. So this is her 5th try. I’m sure there is a lesson in resilience in there somewhere. My favorite part is when she triumphantly says “I do it!”

I like sunset and old gates

Thanks for reading friends. Have a good week!

Help yourself to some eardrops.

Oh Claire. She a fiercely independent child. 

Her favorite sentence is “I do it MYSELF”

So I let her do it herself. A lot.

Get dressed. Brush her teeth. Set the table. Get herself something to drink. Zip her lunchbox… anything she can do, I let her.

So when she went in the bathroom this morning to brush her teeth, I didn’t think anything of it.

Until I had a few seconds of peace while getting dressed for work. Any mom of strong minded children knows that peace is terrifying.

I asked Lynn to go check on her. 

I heard him tell her “Stop. No. You don’t NEED eardrops” and I could hear a scuffle. 

I started hollaring “STOP!!! It’s GLUE” Because I knew in a flash what she had.

I had ordered some veterinary skin glue in case anything else needed minor stitches and I could glue it instead. Last night I saw the stitches were irritating the skin in my finger so I took them out and put some of the vet glue on it and some steri strips on it for strength underneath the bandaid while it finishes healing.

Yep. My two year old was trying to use Vet Bond as eardrops.

So so so glad Lynn stopped her before she got the lid off and poured it in her ear canal. So glad the lid was stuck because I was a little messy applying it last night.

Lord help us! 

(Shout out to hubby. It’s his birthday today. If you see him, sing him the birthday song!)

Harvest time

Because of the extremely hot and dry weather we have had here in East Tn, harvest started early.

Lynn works long days and comes home with no energy left, and parched from long hours in the sun with little to drink. (Don’t harass me about packing him a cooler…he won’t take it)

Since he’s utterly spent during this season, he doesn’t pitch in as much at home. Since I pick up the slack on that, I’m tired as well weekday afternoons.

But on weekends, when I am off work it’s easier on all of us. I had fair tickets and tickets to the football game today, but I gave them away because I’m behind on things that need to be done at home. It’s the little things that make it easier.

I have a pitcher of tea in the fridge getting cooled down so Lynn can have a tall glass as soon as he walks in. I picked up the house, so it no longer looks like hoarders live here. (except for Claire’s room, she destroyed that while Caroline and I picked up the rest of the house) I washed clothes so we will have something clean to wear next week. 

I took the girls to the grocery store, and must have scared some sense into them, because they acted like civilized children who had been taught manners.  

I still love this season, even though we are all worn down.

 You can almost feel a hint of cool in the air. There is a feeling of completion as they harvest the corn they planted in the spring into the bin.

If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it.

So last night I want to the farm with Lynn and the girls. Caroline has embraced the thought of “more work, more money” and has decided to hustle. Claire is undecided still, and chose to observe 

Hands on hips in classic “supervisor” posture.

When we got home I started getting ready for Lynn to grill some shish-ka-bobs. I reached in the “seldom used kitchen stuff drawer” and grabbed at the skewers, but instead grabbed a knife. It was deep enough to need a few surface stitches. 

We have decided that we need a personal family doctor on call.

It was a hassle to wait in the ER, but whatever. No biggie.

Until I start working on the computer this morning. GUYS. 

THAT IS MY MOUSE CLICKING FINGER!!!!! Not to be all dramatic…. But…..#dying here.

It so strongly reminded me of this Bible verse I memorized as a kid in the Awanas program, I had to share. I know it’s a lot of words, so I highlighted what was especially relevant to me today. It’s the last sentence. 

Man. Who would have thought a small cut on the side of a finger would impact my whole workday. But like the verse says since that one member is suffering, the rest of me is sure suffering with it. And dude, I am totally suffering! (I know I am a giant baby)

1 Corinthians 1For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not a single member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Since I am not a hand, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. 16 And if the ear says, “Since I am not an eye, I am not part of the body,” it does not lose its membership in the body because of that. 17 If the whole body were an eye, what part would do the hearing? If the whole were an ear, what part would exercise the sense of smell?18 But as a matter of fact, God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided. 19 If they were all the same member, where would the body be? 20 So now there are many members, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” 22 On the contrary, those members that seem to be weaker are essential, 23 and those members we consider less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our unpresentable members are clothed with dignity, 24 but our presentable members do not need this. Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. 26 If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.

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