Seasonal farmer spouse

If you are married to a farmer, you know this – we have seasonal spouses.

Fall- kiss them everytime you see them, because you won’t seen them much. Fall is harvest time, the time if year where literally you reap the rewards of a years work in the fields. On our farm that means corn and soybeans are being harvested, and a cover crop of winter wheat is being planted.

Winter – you see them more often… No crop emergencies, fewer equipment breakdowns and less calving problems to attend to. Most nights you can get through dinner without a farm emergency phone call interrupting – this is MAJOR, and fabulous, and I get too used to it every winter. They still work a lot (7 days a week, a lot) but not excessively so, at least for these workaholics we call farmers.

Spring time – as soon as the daffodils bloom, give ’em a big hug goodbye because the steady stream of 12-14 hour days is just beginning. Typically dinner is interrupted 3-4 times a week with urgent farm business. (I DO NOT like the inturrupting dinner part) Typically Lynn starts with vaccinating calves and doctoring the herds.Then he moves on to spraying fields to kill weeds. Sometime in there they sell the weaned calves. Then spraying the crop fields. When my Iris beds bloom, Lynn has started getting corn seed and working over planters readying them for the busy time of putting seed in the ground. 

Going with Daddy to “help” work on the corn planter…even
farm girls have to be fancy.

Every spring all of us have to readjust to the annual normal of Lynn working longer and harder. Because we have young children, every year is different developmentally for them, and it’s new parenting territory for us. As they get older, I think they will understand it more…And maybe the parenting gets easier. (I know that last bit isn’t true. All the experienced parents have told me that parenting never gets easier. But let me believe the lie that smooth sailing is ahead!) Since I am also a working parent, family logistics are kind of a mess during the spring time.

Without so much as a day off, spring rolls right into summer. As soon as the corn and soybeans are planted, the wheat is harvested and straw is baled.

In the middle of all this I finally get my garden in the ground…Which (despite my AS, BS and MS degrees in Agriculture) will not look nearly as good as the field crops. 

As soon as the straw is baled, then it is time for hay to be harvested. There is a first, second and if the weather is good a third cutting of hay on each and every hay field. The girls and I ride in the (air-conditioned) tractor with Lynn some because that is just about about the only way we can see him awake.

Towards the end of summer, if we are lucky there is about two weeks of a break. Cows still need checking, but the hay is up for now and the fall harvest hasn’t started. I try my hardest to get my farmer away from the farm for a few days of relaxation during this time. Because he rarely gets breaks, he will not relax at home. He doesn’t know how to. I’ve found if we get him far enough away, he will unwind a few days…And that has to be good for him. Without question it’s good for me, and the girls enjoy adventures as much as I do.

So that’s our schedule in a nutshell. That’s why you won’t see Lynn at a lot of things that families typically do together. No, we aren’t fighting – yes he really does work THAT much.

Have a great week friends. Stop and smell those flowers! 

Today is Sunday.

The girls and I did housework while Lynn checked on the cows today. He had a couple calves he wanted to check back up on. 

This cow had her bull-calf on the edge of the creek. When it was born, it slid down the bank into the creek. Luckily they were able to get it out before it suffered any ill effects. Mama cow and calf didn’t figure out nursing right away so Lynn put her in the nice dry barn so he could check on their progress. 

Both are doing well. This straw filled barn hallway is a peaceful place to start life.
In order to not disturb the Cow and her calf we told the girls to not talk around them. High pitched kid voices can upset tense livestock.
Claire volunteered to carry the empty bucket that we used to refill the cows big water bucket

Then Lynn installed something that ever-so-thoughtful Santa put in his Christmas stocking….A rain guage. Claire thought the drill was too loud…she might be a little dramatic.


One worker, one supervisor, and one dramatic ear coverer

Then Lynn checked on another calf and Caroline held the gates. Because she’s “Daddy’s big helper”

As usual Claire had a good time. It’s pouring rain now, glad it held off while we were outside.

Have a good week friends.

Farm Drama

I had an Ag Committee meeting at work tonight and didn’t get out of it till 8:30.

I called Lynn expecting him to be starting the bedtime process with the girls.

Instead his terse voice came through “Can you come get the kids at this rented farm? We’ve got problems, the City left out bentonite clay and the cattle have been in it”

Well, crap.

So out to the farm I go in my new work dress and only nice pair of comfortable sandals. (If you know farm life, you know stepping foot on a farm in nice clothes is a death sentence for those clothes to be nice and not stained anymore)

The City is installing a new sewer line, and parts of it go through this pasture. Since we (by we, I mean the family farm) have signed a contract with the owner, the City said they would let us know of anything being done before it happened.
Well, someone dropped the ball on that and apparently cattle like to eat bentonite clay. Lynn estimated that the small herd of about 30head ate about 800lbs.

You can see the pallets of the bags. The cattle gave torn into the bags, and if you get closer you see more is gone than you can see from this distance.

To put it in perspective, that herd of registered cattle is worth a lot more than three times my annual salary. (State job, 12 years experience and a M.S. degree…albeit I am a bit underpaid)

We didn’t know about the toxicity of what they had eaten having never had any experience with large amounts of bentonite ingestion before and called three Veterinarians. It being almost 9pm One didn’t answer, One said she was optimistic about it and One looked it up and called us back and said in small amounts it would be fine, but no one knows about such large amounts…keep an eye on them. (Thanks awesome Vets for calling back)

Lynn was in such a rush to get out there when his phone rang that he threw the pajama clad children in the truck barefoot. After they had got the cattle moved away from the clay, I brought the yawning (but thoroughly enjoying the adventure) kids home while Hubby and Father in law waited for someone to come move the pallets.

We don’t have a tractor there right now or we would move it….they don’t want to move a tractor down there at night because they might get hit by one of the vehicles that fly down that backroad. The keys to the equipment that is parked in the pasture was in the pocket of a worker who was two hours away. So the men are waiting for him.

I’ve got to be in Knoxville tomorrow morning for a 4-H event, so no sleeping in for my poor tired babies.

Grump 1 and Grump 2

We will wait, watch and pray all the cows, calves and the bull are fine. I’m encouraged by what the Veterinarians said.

Goodnight friends it’s past my bedtime!

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