Garden time

There is some saying about how the cobbler’s kids get their shoes last. I forget how it goes.

It’s similar with the farmers family getting their garden put in. Of course, I could man up and do it myself… Or not. Come-on. Be reasonable people.

It may seem odd, but we do not live on the actual farm. There is no particular reason for this other that this is where we moved when we first got married back in 2005. In our minds was going to be temporary. But, it’s a good sturdy house and we’ve done a lot of living in it. 

We have about an acre. About half of it is our house and yard. In the yard is our garden. The other half of it is a sweet corn patch.

Today Lynn finally had a chance to till up the ground. 

Soon the girls will be selling sweet corn from this patch of ground

We don’t start seeds like tomatoes and peppers early (one day I want to have a little greenhouse for that…but at this life stage I don’t have the time for it) so I went to the Co-op and got some plants. 

While we were at the store Claire climbed in the middle of a windchime display and made a awful racket. She thought it was hilarious that everyone looked at her. I was less amused. 

We also got onion sets, cantelope plants, cucumber plants, a couple types of squash plants and a half pound of bushbean seed. I also got some herbs. I’m sure we will plant some more things as we think of them. 

Lynn had tilled up the garden first, so we girls got started planting it while he worked up the sweet corn patch.

It was the first year since we’ve had kids that I was able to accomplish it without giving up. The girls were finally helpful. Nobody ate dirt. Nobody cried. It was fantastic.

Planting the onion sets.
Official hole digger

They also planted the beans in the squiggly and randomly placed rows I dug for them. Lynn is much better at garden neatness and order, but hey he IS a professional after all. I’m just an amateur. And I’m fine with that. Beans out of a squiggly row will taste just as good. 

I’m looking forward to some fresh garden veggies. 

Happy Monday friends. 

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! 

Life and Death with baby chicks

The 4-H chickens came in to our office this week. I was available to help -so I did.

It’s a great thing I love chickens. Way back in the day I spent many hours memorizing chicken breeds, brooding temperatures and other fun tidbits. I also showed purebred breeds in fairs and at other chicken shows. (Obviously my social life as a teen was kind of slow) When the girls get a little big older I want to get a few hens to raise with them..But I digress.

After these 4-H chicks were all handed out to their respective new owners there was one group that was not able to be claimed until after working hours.  

I took them home for the new owners to pick up, since they live near my house. Plus, as a working parent myself, I totally get the constant logistics struggle that it is.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed “chicksitting”. Lynn was very VERY happy we were JUST chicksitting, and didn’t have new pets. 

Temporary setup. Dont ever use a heater like this for longer than you can sit there and look at it…it could very likely cause a fire.

One of the chicks was deformed, and it was obvious that it may not make it.  The girls asked why it wasn’t moving like and acting​ like the others. I explained to them that it was probably not going to survive the night. 

Caroline and Claire spend the bigger part of two hours talking to them and ever so gently petting them. They also sang sweet childlike songs to the deformed one to “help it get better”.

When the owner came to collect the chicks, my rascals bounded out mouths-still-stained-with-spaghetti-dinner to say goodbye to their temporary charges. Despite our best efforts, the deformed chick was struggling to breathe and its death was imminant, even to my girls. 

All the other chicks had pepped up significantly with the sugar water I had given them to revive them from their flight on a plane from Texas…And were merrily pecking and scratching at the box that they were in, warming. That made the difference between the healthy ones and the unhealthy one more apparent.

The girls paused. Looked at it. Looked at me. 

“Mommy. What wrong with dat one?” Claire whined softly, pawing me.

“Is it going to die?” Caroline asked quietly her eyes wide and sad. Being older, she has seen more life, new life and death on the farm than her sister has.

I explained to them gently and honestly it probably was going to die, and likely soon. And while that was very sad, it was not unusual for chicks to not make it the first few days of their lives.

Two glum little girls trudged back in. Caroline lost her appetite and could not finish her dinner. Claire cleaned her plate and asked for dessert. 

They perked up and moved on before bed, and it wasn’t mentioned again.

Until I picked them up from daycare today. 

The first words out of Claire’s mouth “How dat one chick?” I had to tell her big blue eyes that I had heard it died. 

She needed a long hug.

Caroline waited until we got in the car. “Mama. Did that sick chick live or did it die?” I had to tell her too, that it died before it made it to its new home. 

She needed a hug too. 

Sweet sensitive girls. I hope they always care about the welfare of lives entrusted to them. 

I hope they always care tenderly for life, because it is the right thing to do.

I hope they learn that caring might hurt, but being the kind of person that cares enough to get hurt is what makes our lives rich and meaningful.

I also hope that in the near future we can be three crazy chicken ladies (and maybe wear floppy hats, flip-flops and overalls) and raise a batch of our own healthy little chicks.

Have a great weekend friends.

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.

The talker

Caroline has taken a break from challenging my “mom-authority”.

Thank GOODNESS. 

(Claire has stepped up to fill big sisters spot, so don’t worry that I’ll forget how to work with stubborn little girls.)

Since we aren’t going round-and-round, I’ve noticed something…The kid is a talker.

We were working on the kitchen chairs.

 (I had tried to stain them, it didn’t work out so I stripped them and scraped them and she was helping me wipe off the dust. )

I looked at my clock when this conversation started yesterday. FOUR HOURS. Four solid hours of conversation puncuated only by moments of humming and singing and she had more to go.

I’m so glad she is smart enough to have that many thoughts. 

Now, if only my brain can keep up. Because at this point, it’s not!

 

Holding down the homefront

Claire had a haircut after work today and I got my bangs trimmed. Since we were a little later than expected, Lynn cooked dinner and I showered and bathed the girls. I’ve been fighting a cold so I was so happy to have him cook. Since we both work, we both have to pitch in some to get all the household stuff done. (So quit thinking I’m a big slacker)

Fried eggs, Fried potatoes and Mary B’s biscuits. That’s what’s cookin’.

After we ate it was my phone that rang instead of Lynn’s with news of a car through the fence. (The same fence that was run through the end of November by the Lowe’s truck) 

Ugh. 

It’s cold outside, and the girls are all clean in their jammies. (I said CLEAN, not CALM. Both clean AND calm would be a miracle)

 For half a second I wanted to pretend no one had called and go on and enjoy a family night all warm and snuggled up.

But then I remembered I have common sense (sometimes I forget that) and I hurried to tell Lynn before he jumped in the shower. 

He put his dirty clothes back on, and I gave him the super-cool stocking cap with a LED light in it that the super-cool-and-awesome Santa put in his Christmas stocking.

He’s off to fix the fence, and I’m here with the girls. I feel a little guilty to be warm and comfortable, with a belly full of warm food. 

Please people slow down driving. It’s slick out there and still pretty icy in spots. We saw a bad wreck with injury coming home today and now this person is through the fence….hopefully uninjured.

Hay Season

It’s hay time on the farm. Typically they bale hay (which is a feed source for the cattle in the winter when the grass is dormant) twice, maybe three times a year if weather conditions are favorable. They do round bales meant for cattle which are easier to move with equipment and only a few square bales for my horses because those are more labor intensive.

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Pic from Lynn at work

Since most farm work is seasonal, and like many farm related chores dependent on the weather – hay time means many things to our family.

It means long days for Lynn – who comes home covered in dust and equipment grease.

It means it is hot and muggy. And the girls get to play in the wading pool or sprinkler in the afternoons.

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Caroline is hanging the freshly laundered swimsuits out to dry, since the dryer makes the elastic brittle.

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It means we have FINALLY had a chance to get the garden worked and planted.

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It means the pop-up thunderstorms sometimes end the farming day, which frusterate Lynn but thrill me since sometimes he can come home before 7pm.

It means my work schedule has slowed down a bit and I’m almost down to “regular” work hours… I’m planning and preparing for summer horse shows, beef shows, the late summer awards banquet.
The work assignment I dread most all year happens this time of year, a week away from my family at 4-H camp. I don’t dislike camp itself and I think it is a fantastic opportunity to for the young people I am in charge of for the week.
My stomach churns when I think about spending a week 2.5 hours away from my girls who need their Mama especially at bedtime, and my Type 1 diabetic husband who is prone to low blood sugar at night. It just feels wrong to leave them.
BUT, my job is steady and provides good health insurance coverage for the family. And I enjoy what I do…It’s just the being away that bothers me.

Real official hay-season summertime is here. We’ve finished out first watermelon and the girls eat popcicles in their swimsuits. Sometimes we all pile in the tractor and ride with Lynn while he’s working for some family time.

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It’s a long hour, hot and sweaty, hard work rhythm of life – but it’s our life and for that I’m thankful.

Cow update

Going through the last couple days in reverse….
The cattle are ok. (Last post) They are past the waiting period the Veterinarians said to be in alert and all is well. The fence building/county and city worker stuff seems to have been worked out, so we shall see about that.

It was the kids last “official” day of daycare though they will keep going part time this summer, cause Mama’s gotta make some money!

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Kids. No longer babies.

Caroline is enjoying her very first sleepover with my in-laws. So far I’m ok. (I’m more than sure she is fine!)

Last, but not least mornings aren’t my jam. But the kids are pumped…they have started having parades before school. MORE COFFEE PLEASE.

TGIF!

Tired dirty kids

If only I had the energy these two do.

Running for fun

And as if that wasn’t enough

More running for fun

But they are sweet, and funny.

I don’t know HOW Claire doesn’t sleep all night.

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Picking wildflowers is a good way to pass time while waiting on our favorite farmer.

Caroline made me this picture. Notice she spelled “Love” LOB. I LOB it.

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My sweet Caroline.

We did get to spend time together outside and not working, so that’s a giant plus.

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Claire is getting braver

Some families take Sunday walks… Ours took a Sunday ride….

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My three favorite people and a really cool view
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I'm pretty sure the horses are supposed to herd the cattle...not the other way around

On one of the rented farms, we came across a field of these pear trees…and I got excited because pear pie, pear jelly, pear crisp, but after a quick search turned up this I was disappointed. Invasive species. Of course Lynn already knew that and had told me, but a girl can dream right?

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One of the not delightful pears

I cannot believe the weekend is over already!

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Kitty is entirely to patient

Have a great Monday friends!

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