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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

His and Her

 There's something I need to put out into the atmosphere (or rather the "blogosphere"). It's a topic that weighs on my mind and pocketbook, frankly. Let me explain:

 Now, I'm no stranger to craft and fabric stores. It's true that the employees might know me by name, they might even know the names and ages of my children.

  Yes, I occasionally splurge. Lately though, I've been so very good! Only going in with my 40% coupon or buying the 1 thing that's on sale and then stopping in the next week to get another thing on sale that I WILL use, that I DO have plans for.

  Yet I get teased by my Farmer. Tales of my splurges are grossly exaggerated and I am made to feel guilty. I look at a skein of yarn I bought for $2 on sale and think, "maybe I should have bought 4 cucumbers with that money instead."

 But folks, now... now...

   ---- THE GUILT STOPS HERE.------

This was my splurge 2 weeks ago:

fabric: 40% off for Christmas presents
yarn: 30% off for Christmas and wedding presents
 
Farmer told me there was an auction he wanted to go to 2 days ago. He's been needing to replace the big Deutz tractor and there was something up there that caught his eye. Normally, Farmer has a set number in his head on how high he'll go and he sticks to that come heaven or high water, but this time... he splurged. And not 5 skeins of yarn splurged either.  He called me up and said he bought this...
 

 
 
No folks. This tractor won't replace the Deutz, as you can see... not enough power. It'll replace a different tractor; one I had no idea Farmer wanted to replace (and one I'm not quite sure he knew he wanted to replace either).
 
 
My Splurge:

His Splurge:

'Nuff Said.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chicks Dig My Tractor



Baby O' Mine has a onesie that says, "chicks dig my tractor"... I have conflicted emotions about that article of clothing, but the past week it's seemed entirely appropriate. Let me explain:

There are 125 chicks occupying our porch and chicken tractors, the majority being broiler chicks. In an effort to not do more than 1 run of chickens this summer (they are high maintenance, stinky things), we decided to up the number (we typically just do 50 or so a few times in one year) and call it a day.

  Farmer built 2 new chicken tractors with a design he likes better. I've yet to move them so I don't have any thoughts on them yet. He also switched to using a nipple waterer. I have yet to care for them while they are drinking from it so I have no thoughts on those yet either. Notice a theme here?

To everything there is a season and this season ain't chicken season for me...





The rest of the chicks are layers. Why do we need layer chicks, you might ask? Well, let me tell you a little story about farming with one's family...

Part of the issue with my father-in-law's health declining is that one never knows if he can be trusted to do what he says he's going to do. For 2 days he said he was taking care of the layers and gathering eggs. Farmer didn't check up on him, thinking it was something to keep his Dad busy and help him feel like he was contributing. After a couple days, Farmer saw the coop door opened and went up to shut it... only to find no chickens in sight. We think they were a tasty meal for coyotes, as there were no feathers in sight (coyotes often drag their meals away). The end.

So we are starting at the beginning, but at least they are cute beginnings.

 
 
And for a side note: As friend so rightly put, "How can chicks be so cute, chickens be so ugly, and decorating one's kitchen in the theme of them seem so right?!" Something serious to ponder on throughout the day for you...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One Year... Almost

  It's been almost one year since I've last written... I believe that classifies me as a "blog loser". A title I suppose I am okay with because a lot has happened in one year.

   Farmer and I procreated once again. Yep, a 4th son and 5th child to add to our help... except he's caused a lot more trouble than help so far. But he's cute and smiley and has the gift of a hypnotist. He casts his eyes upon us and we stop in our tracks to gaze at him as he coos and tells us all sorts of baby secrets. I don't know how I get anything done around here with those eyes on me.... oh yeah, I don't.

   
 
 
  The other big news is that Farmer quit his job of 10 years to farm full-time this summer and work part-time in the fall. Between caring for his parents, our family, farming, pumping wells, and working; it was getting too much. Something had to give and I'm thankful he decided to keep us around and lose the job. :) I can't tell you what a blessing it's been to have him home every night and not dog-tired when he's around us. And he looks 8 years younger already.
 
  I hope to jot notes and farm/family updates on here a bit more often as I miss the writing (if I can classify what this is as writing). Pregnancy brain fog has lifted, newborn brain fog is fading, and clear-headedness seems to be on the horizon... coherent ramblings are always a plus, it seems.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Church and Community... A Woman's Stream of Consciousness

 We love our current church. LOVE it! The worship, the pastor's sermons (we learn sooo much weekly), the connection our kids feel to leaders and teachers, the outreaches the church is involved in constantly amazes me... so what could possibly be the issue?

 Well, it's 30 minutes away. Definitely not in our community.

 While that may not seem like a big deal to some, Farmer and my hearts have become passionate about creating a sense of community in our... community. We feel like it's something that is really missing in our culture. It's such a transient one and while it's so very nice to be able to get in your van and drive and distance not a big deal anymore, we feel it's also taken away from our communities and the connection of those around us. There's always gotta be pros and cons to everything, right?!

 That is a big topic though and one I don't know if I can put into words the right way. It involves a motto of "If you don't like it, help change it!" though. But my thinking hasn't quite figured it all out yet (haha), so I'll stop there.

  But I'll try to put into words what is on my heart for this subject... and MAYBE I can sort through my ponderings a little more by doing it...

  When envisioning our future, being a "pillar" of the community has always seemed something to strive for. But we can't be that if we aren't actively IN our community. That seems pretty obvious, but can be harder to put into action than it seems.

  This year we enrolled our older boys in our local school. Now, more than ever, it seems wise to start investing in the community our children will grow up in. Their friends will be from there, their sports teams will play there, etc.
  Even though I volunteer at our amazing Children's Hospital, it was time to start volunteering on a more local level too. So I joined the PTA... my first year and I'm a little nervous, but I think it will go well. Farmer is getting back into his former FFA Alumni Club to start helping them out this year.

  But it doesn't seem like enough.

 I just have this feeling that we should be going to a church that is closer to us. When I brought this upto Farmer, he was quick to agree (the distance is what gets him). One that consists of our neighbors and those that surround us during our everyday lives. One that will include my children's classmates and other school parents. One that reaches out to ----------- (insert town name) and nearby people, with their unique problems and issues.

 Sigh. It's rough though. We love our church so much. But they've set a high bar for showing Christ's love, sharing His message, and kindness to it's community and nearby ones. One that convicts Farmer and I to do the same in our own. 

 We are starting to visit some nearby churches. We know we will never find one like our current one (each church has to be unique), but we are searching for one close to home. One that we can be a part of, that we can serve in, one that reaches out to it's surrounding people, etc.  There is a very small church near us (in fact, it's the church my husband grew up in) that has struck a chord with me. Everyone knows everyone there and has been very welcoming. It's one that makes me think we can grow into it.

But we are still praying for guidance and visiting around.

I just spoke on the phone with my sister in another state and her and her family just went through the EXACT same situation. They are now attending a small church 5 minutes from their house. She was so encouraging. It made me feel as though I'm not alone in all my thoughts.

So I guess I wrote this post to try to sort out my own thoughts and, to let any of those who may be going through the same thing, know you are not alone either!

It's a big subject, but I feel like I'm working my way towards something good. And relying on Jesus for guidance, brings peace.

That's all for now folks...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last Year's Canning List Revisited and Thoughts

It's amazing what spending 1 day at home can do for... a home! After a whirlwind (and I mean whirlwind) month my house looked like it had been through... a whirlwind. Okay, I'll stop repeating myself now... couldn't help it!

As I finished sorting toys, tipping couches over to clean under them, organizing shelves, cleaning upstairs, I paused to look at my canned good shelving... I've been needing to count how many jars of canned goods I have left from last year before I started this year's venture of canning. As fate (or messy, artsy children) would have it, a pen and a small notebook lay on the floor at my feet.

It was the most satisfying chores I did that day.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So this is last year's list: 2013 List

    What we BARELY went through and will not need to can any of this year:

beets (Farmer was on such a pickled egg kick during canning season, I was sure we'd use them)

jams (my kids just want honey on everything and because it's so good for them and free, I cater to them!) though I did do some strawberry already

dried fruit

    What we didn't go through as much and will reduce this year's canning amount:

applesauce... fresh applesauce is just sooooo amazing and I made it all fall, my kids got spoiled on it and griped about canned applesauce.    -I do plan on trying my hand at keeping apples through the winter though... my mother-in-love offered up her basement as an experiment lab

    What I wish I canned more of:

peaches (though our state lost ALL their peaches and are having to get them trucked in, which makes for a pricey peach). If I can find the place that sells them for $25 a bushel that an Amish lady told me about, I will can just 4 bushels though)

green beans

carrots

salsa (I still have some jars left, but I used it very sparingly and I think bought some from time to time... silly me!)

     What I wished I would have canned, but never got around to:

pinto beans

kidney beans

tomato sauce

    What I got perfectly right:

spaghetti sauce

freezer corn (though with our plot of corn we may get more... which is great!)

freezer zucchini

freezer pumpkin puree

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                        Stay tuned for this year's Canning List and the start of an adventure!





Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pitchfork

 You remember the shit shovel I got for last Mother's Day, don't you? (if not, click here).

Well, Farmer really outdid himself now... this was my Mother's Day/Anniversary present this year...


Thoughtful Farmer broke the handle of my old one (let's just say there was a 7 month old calf charging my sweet man and in self defense, he knocked the calf out cold... he recovered, but my handle did not) and, as a friend pointed out, "He must really love you if he bought you a new pitchfork and not just a new handle." Heartwarming, eh?

Cleaning out this lower barn is proving to be quite the sweaty, dusty workout and I pray we don't come down with "farmer's lung" the 3x a day I am in it (the kids come with me usually 2x). The pitchfork really has been invaluable though.


 So while it wasn't a pedicure and flowers as I'd been hoping (can I get a "word" for farmwife feet?), I'm pretty pleased. And I'll be spending some of my egg money on the above mentioned this Thursday. Even farmwives want pretty feet. And a break.

Most can't picture me in a zebra printed chair, reading a celebrity magazine, and being pampered, but, oh, it's a too infrequent joy of mine. But I pick Allis Chalmers orange toe polish because that whole "you can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl" line. It's true.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Some Farm Highlights

It's been so long since I've last posted, I kind of don't know where to begin. To begin where I last left off seems impossible and too overwhelming, so a bit of randomness seems much more in order.

This past week, much like the previous 4, was full of goings-on. It's kind of foggy when it began, but I have become farm parts runner and children runner and errand runner and that involves a lot of... running. Consuming days and leaving me with the "what the heck did I do today or yesterday or the day before that?" as I stare at my disaster of a home in the evening. I asked Farmer if we could have someone come and help deep clean the house with me or take the kids to a babysitter so I could do it uninterrupted, but his firm, "No, you are capable." leaves me feeling a bit of shame.

Everything gets piled on top of something else and new summer projects come rolling in week after week. It's good... and chaotic with a hint of drowning.

Why did I think all of this would get easier when the kids got older? Sigh. I guess when people would look at me with my 4 hooligans, aged 4 and under, and say, "You must be so busy! How do you do it?" I assumed that that meant it gets less busy as they are older. I was wrong. Boy howdy, was I wrong.

Enough rambling...

Some recent farm life highlights:

-Sissy, our holstein, is fresh now. I'm amazed at how much more milk holsteins give vs. jerseys... and how much less cream there is. Farmer is still training her to go in her stanchion nicely so until then he is doing the milking. His mom was gored by a holstein with horns (much like Sissy) years ago, so this is why he is so cautious about it.

-Our first batch of meat chickens went to the butcher last Friday. Farmer was just going to drive up and then come home to do some work, then have me pick up the frozen birds later, but he ran into Cardhawk, who was also processing his birds. They found themselves giddy with no wives, no children, and no work, so they spent the day frollicking (that's how I like to picture them, at least) the county... visiting lumber mills, Amish ware stores, and I think a petting zoo. Crafty Lady and I were a bit on the jealous side, to say the least. Farmer's peace offering was a horn of colby jack cheese, 2 1-gallon mason jars, and a box of 1/2 gallon mason jars. He was forgiven. And now it's my turn for a break!


-The garden is planted... not how I want, but it's planted. I hate planting so much (am I allowed to say that and still be a farmer's wife? I do love to weed, but it's because I can see my work immediately.) and Farmer had no time to help me plant, so he put sweet corn in the corn planter and planted it all in corn. I have a few tomato, green bean, and bell peppers planted, but it looks like I'll be buying beans and tomatoes to can off the Amish again. I'm not apologizing... even though a farming friend lit into me about it. I can only do so much before having a mental breakdown... and I'm close. So this is all for the good. Better to buy veggies and be sane for the husband and kids than to be straight-jacketed mama in an institution.

-Corn is planted and Farmer is anxious to start cutting hay. Rain, rain, go away this week, come again next week. I don't feel like talking about all the field stuff though. We rarely see that man as it is. What's his name again?

-I fixed our push mower!... then I broke it again. And when I saw "again", I mean for the 3rd time THIS mowing season. But now I know how to put on new propeller blades so I don't even need to inform Farmer when this happens the next time. And I'm not kidding myself, there will be a next time. I get all my pent up frustration out when I mow every week, so I mow and I don't stop... t posts, rocks, 3-seater swing hooks... just keep mowing. heeeehehehheeeee. Scared yet?

-Trying to lean on Farmer less and less (with a happy heart still... albiet that doesn't always happen) as he gets more and more busy, so I'm also trying my hand at the weed whacker too. And trying to fix the: shop vac, the clothesline, and the vaccuum. Wow, I'm hard on things!

-Been perfecting my skills at the pitch fork. The kids and I are still hard at work cleaning out the big barn that has decade old hay in it. It's a slow process. But I bet I can beat you arm wrestling. :)

-The kids and I and some friends went strawberry picking last week. Guess what's sitting on my stove? Strawberry jam of course! We don't go through a whole lot of jam (the kids prefer honey on sandwiches), but it's nice to have. The first canning session of the season! Yay and eek!


   That's all the update for now. Lots more going on and hope to get back into writing in this online journal here, but I have some embroidery work to get to and, as I sat down to write this week's ever expanding to-do list, I realized the above has been on there for 3 weeks. The same for mopping, but who the heck wants to mop after these long, summer days? Embroidering infront of an air conditioner? Yes, please.