About wagfarms

Mom to 4 busy boys and passionate about all things agriculture!

My letter to George…

My dearest little boy,

I am certain you know how much I love you. If I have said it once today, I have said it a hundred times. You have taught me so much about life, but you have taught me even more about love. I have learned from you to not take time or life for granted, for we never know what tomorrow will bring.

For the last five years I have held you in my arms and protected you from everything that I could. I asked questions when I wasn’t satisfied, I have demanded action when I thought it was needed, and I have fought for what I thought was right for you. And it’s been worth every sleepless night and every tear-filled moment.

George, summer 2010, before we had a diagnosis more than "failure to thrive." This picture sometimes makes me cringe...wishing I could go back and cheer myself on...pushing harder. But you know what they say about hindsight.

George, summer 2010, before we had a diagnosis more than “failure to thrive.” This picture sometimes makes me cringe…wishing I could go back and cheer myself on…pushing harder. But you know what they say about hindsight.

I have spent so much time ensuring that you have a long life…and now it’s time for me to let you live.

Kindergarten. I wasn’t sure this day would come. They’ve said from the beginning that we can’t take the little things for granted. That there’s a chance that some day we’ll have to start over – you may need to learn things over and over again. They’ve warned us about regressions and delays. But they weren’t prepared for you.

They do not know your spirit. But I do.

This is the George that we know and love...he just needed a little help getting to this point. We sometimes slip, and it's  not all roses, but that smile and those eyes make it all worthwhile.

This is the George that we know and love…he just needed a little help getting to this point. We sometimes slip, and it’s not all roses, but that smile and those eyes make it all worthwhile.

You will get on a bus this morning and start a new chapter. And I will have to fight against every fiber in my being to keep you safe with me. The world does not know how to protect you like I do. I can tell them all they need to know, but that does not mean that they will understand what’s on the line. But you will show them.

They will see the light in your eyes, and they will understand. You are not just a little boy going to kindergarten. You are hope. You are love. You are life.

Yep. This pretty well sums him up.

Yep. This pretty well sums him up.

My dearest George, you are meant for great things. Your story was written before time began. You will touch people in ways that they won’t understand for years to come.

You are going to school to learn so many new lessons. But what they don’t know is that you will teach so many as well.

You have faced adversity and tribulations that many could never imagine. And yet, you continue to trust with a loving heart that so freely gives that it sometimes takes my breath away.

Kindergarten. Such a big step. I’ve worked so hard to ensure that you’ve been growing. I forgot that it means that you’re also growing up.

This is what love...and hope...looks like.

This is what love…and hope…looks like.

I do not know what the future holds. And I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t scared. And I’ve always promised not to lie to you. Even when something may hurt. And as much as this hurts me, and as unsure as I am, I know that I can not hold you back. Even if I wanted to.

My dearest little boy, as you walk into that school tomorrow, I can only hope to be half as strong as you are. And never mind Mom if her eyes are a little damp, and she holds you just a little longer – I’d hold you forever if I could.

I know it’s just the first day of kindergarten – but I think I know what it feels like to have sent the first mission to the moon. I’ll rest easy once you’ve landed back home.

I love you, little man – to the moon and back.

Mom

It doesn’t take distance

I recently traveled with my boys on our first “real” vacation. It was a blast, and I have to thank Miss A for planning 99.9% of it. I seriously do not know what I did to deserve her, but I thank God every day that she’s been in our lives.

A vehicle of love and fun...no matter where we're going!

A vehicle of love and fun…no matter where we’re going!

After returning, I started thinking about the trip and what it meant to my family. And then a comment was made to me that really got me thinking – do we really need to get away to love each other?

Now, hear me out before you judge what I’m saying.

I love my boys dearly. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. And they knew that, whether or not we went away on a vacation. Our relationship did not improve, nor did it change, just by leaving the farm. All that the vacation did was give me some amazing memories and removed a few distractions. It didn’t strengthen my love. It didn’t change how I felt. It wasn’t a magic cure-all.

Because it doesn’t take distance to know how you feel. Your heart knows…whether you travel a mile, or 1,300 of them.

The same can be said for anyone in a relationship, whether it be husband-wife, sisters, friends, etc. You don’t have to go anywhere to make someone feel loved. Does it feel good to sometimes “get away” from it all? Sure. But it shouldn’t change your feelings towards the people you’re with. No, going on a vacation just relieves a few of the pressures. It eliminates that nagging feeling that there’s something else you “should” be doing. It makes it easier to just enjoy the moment. But it doesn’t change the heart.

Do I love my boys more now that we’ve returned? Nope. But I don’t love them any less, either. My love was never based on the place where we were located.

Because the distance between two hearts is no greater than the space you allow.

Modern day muckraking

Pardon the pun. But really, I couldn’t resist.

For those that may not be aware of a little “episode” that occurred recently, it appears as if a group of employees from Muck boots may or may not have held a fundraiser for HSUS. The details are still up in the air, and it appears as if the story is changing regularly. But to tell you the truth, it’s not the details that I’m worried about.

What happened following the photo being spotted by an agvocate was what I would call a complete social media fall out for Muck. Some claim that the backlash was unfounded and unnecessary. Others are ready to throw out their Mucks for other brands. (I, personally, have already fallen in love with my Bogs, although my hubby owns a half-dozen Mucks.)

My Boggs keep me out of the deepest of doo-doo...Muck may need some of these.

My Bogs keep me out of the deepest of doo-doo…Muck may need some of these.

So why the mudslinging? (Seriously, this stuff just writes itself.)

For those not involved in agriculture, or those in ag that don’t understand, let me explain…HSUS has made this personal. There is no wiggle room when it comes to companies that choose to support this particular organization. (Which, by the way, recently lost favor as a charity.) And these types of social media blasts go a long way in limiting HSUS’s power and bottom line – no matter how you look at it.

Everyone I saw was pretty respectful and asked their audiences to do the same. But all of the sources that I saw requested that people reach out and ask the tough questions. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s what we need to keep doing.

If we don’t stand up, ourselves, against those that are willing to attack us on our home turf, then how can we expect others to do it for us? I can almost guarantee that Wayne Pacelle hasn’t slipped on a pair of chore boots in a long time…if ever.

Muckraking…a term used for anyone that employs investigative tactics to try to right a wrong, especially in the corporate world.

Perhaps if more companies are aware of the problems that are associated with HSUS, more will step away from this money-grabbing, farce of a charity. When donating to help animals, local is the way to go.

Sorry, Muck boots, for the puddle you found yourself in. But I’m guessing it’s a lesson learned – and a valuable one at that.

Because, trust me, HSUS isn’t going to come to your rescue. They don’t even rescue those they raise money for…and that’s a dirty shame.

You are who you are

I’m almost in tears sitting at my computer. It’s been almost three months since I’ve wrote on this blog. Three months. Wow. I cannot tell you how hard it was to not sit here and type. You have all become my friends…my family…my confidants…my support. For some reason, sitting here, typing, I feel free. I feel relief. I feel myself.

But I quit for awhile.

Never again. At least not intentionally.

It’s not like I was sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. School let out. My boys played ball, I played ball, my family had a few medical crises. You know, summer stuff.

Big Bro even tried his hand at pitching.

Big Bro even tried his hand at pitching.

Oh, the medical thing? Eh, no biggie. Just an aneurysm or two or three in my mom’s head. Oh, and my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer again…and possibly spots in his lymph nodes and his colon. All is pretty well now. Six weeks of radiation in three days will help matters immensely…if you can handle it.

And did I mention that my oldest nephew got married? And I’m still going to school full time? (16 credits for summer quarter)

And the most important activity of all…I took my boys on our first ever real-life, trip-away-from-home-not-family-event related. And they loved every minute.

A trip to the zoo..."camels" that looked an awful lot like goats and breeding season. Stories and memories galore...did I mention Scooter opened up the window in the car wash? Yeah.

A trip to the zoo…”camels” that looked an awful lot like goats and breeding season. Stories and memories galore…did I mention Scooter opened up the window in the car wash? Yeah.

George and I...proof that you can live with your heart outside of your body.

George and I…proof that you can live with your heart outside of your body.

Yes, I had a busy summer. Like most parents and people that enjoy their community. I got involved in our local Bountiful Baskets co-op. We had our county fair. I started going to a boot camp workout class.

A boy and his pigs. EJ is our true-blue farmer.

A boy and his pigs. EJ is our true-blue farmer.

But not writing was hard. I love to write. It’s as natural to me as breathing. And when I hit publish on a post, it’s hard to explain the feeling, but it’s like hitting an RBI in a tie game.

There’s a real reason why I quit writing for awhile. And it had little to do with my schedule. I am one of those people that thrive on pressure and crunch time. But what I do not deal with well is criticism and critiques. Especially from those that are supposed to be the most supportive.

I would have to say that over the course of the last two summers, I have learned a lot about myself. And I am grateful for every lesson I have learned. There are many that I need to thank for teaching me those lessons, some that have done so with encouragement and opportunities, and some that have done so through other means. Whatever the case may be, I have become a better person. And for that, I’m grateful.

I am back – blog world. I hope you are ready for me.

Chickens on a plane

I just can’t get away from it. Really. Even in a plane.

I was fortunate enough today to have some things go wrong, and then right…and I ended up sitting in the front if a plane to Atlanta. Yes, the fortunate seats up in first class.
It’s a long story, but it involves a 1 a.m. bedtime, a 2 a.m. alarm and a 3 p.m. flight. No, I didn’t make any mistakes. Just trust me on this.

The irony in it is that I’m on my way to BlogHer Food, a conference for bloggers interested in food. And if farmers aren’t interested in food, then we’re in the wrong business!

But I digress.

I’m on a plane. In first class. They serve a meal. I choose a southwestern chicken salad. In my neck of the woods, the very word “salad” means lettuce. I was expecting spicy chicken on a bed of lettuce. I got avocados, beans and corn. Hmmm…not quite what I was thinking. I have tried to convince myself that I like avocados. I mean, they’re good for you, and everyone else seems to enjoy them. But it hasn’t worked.

So I enjoyed what I could. And saved the amazing-looking cookie for last. And I was eating one of the best cookies known to man-kind…(I was starving at this point), I noticed the ingredient list.

I just shook my head. Listed, towards the bottom of the list, were the words “cage free eggs.” Really? Is that necessary?

Let me just say that I completely respect those that raise chickens. I remember our flock when I was growing up. I would never…and I mean NEVER do that again. Methods have improved. Technology has improved. My heart is warming up to it. I still don’t want my own chickens…but I’m warming.

But whether or not my packaged cookie at 30,000 feet contains one cage-free egg? Not a concern of mine.
I personally know a few people that raise chickens…and eggs. I’d rather leave it to the experts.

When it comes to food, there are choices all around us. And I couldn’t be more grateful.

And I have to say that cookie was amazing, and the egg had little to do with it.

20140517-090744.jpg

I am attending BlogHer Food thanks to a sponsorship from Monsanto. But don’t worry, all thoughts, crazy travel incidents, snark and any other catastrophes are all mine. Unfortunately.

The years go by

Time flies when you you’re having fun…right?

It’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago my little George turned 5. How is that even possible?
It seems like just yesterday I was spending countless hours at various physicians, trying to nail down what was going on…wondering where his road would lead.

Yet, here we are. Five.

For those that don’t know, or maybe haven’t been following along, or are new to this blog, 5 is a magic number for my George. It’s an age that science said he more than likely wouldn’t reach. It’s an age that should have brought more issues and concerns and perhaps a little more doom and gloom.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

George broke down the door of 5 and is rarin’ to go. He’s excelled at preschool and may need some advanced work when he hits kindergarten in the fall. Kindergarten. A dream I dared to dream.

It seemed like eons ago that I wrote about finally realizing I needed to give George a life. Not just health…a real life. One filled with friends and experiences and ups and downs. And since then, I started living too.

Do I still worry about tomorrow? Certainly. I don’t know of a single parent that wouldn’t. But why borrow the trouble of tomorrow against the miracle of today?

My guard is still up. I read about the measles outbreaks across the country and the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. I do what I can to protect George from the known issues that he may face. But I could never fully protect him. There are too many unknowns. Too many variables. So I must use a little common sense and balance.

Five whole years. It seriously feels like a lot longer than that. But if we truly lived by the adage that “it’s not the years, it’s the miles,” George would be older than most.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. My greatest blessing just so happens to come in a dynamite little package that keeps thumbing his nose at what the experts say. Just goes to show that the greatest Expert of all doesn’t follow a scientific journal.

And I am grateful for that.

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A new tool for bugs

I was hoping to blog all about planting last week. Really, I was. But I didn’t. Because we didn’t. And this week is looking bleak. Rain and cool temps…not a farmer’s friend this spring. But it helps us make sure we’re prepared for planting, and it helps us check out new tools for the year.

Like the 20/20 Precision Planting system we’re going to be using (which I promise to write more about later)…and a cool new website that has quickly become one of my faves: http://www.insectforecast.com/

Technology is cool, but sometimes you just simply need to know what’s happening, and what’s heading your way. And this site does just that, in a way that really does amaze me.

Soybean aphids hatching risk...information that makes my inner-Geek-heart flutter.

Soybean aphids hatching risk…information that makes my inner-Geek-heart flutter.

First of all, the research part of this site appeases my inner Geek. And as much as I dislike bugs, I like to know about them. Weird…I know. The site doesn’t just assume that I know. It shows me what I want to know, and gives me the information that I so love to learn.

Cool. So cool.

So how does this possibly help my farm? Simple. It’s another tool that alerts me to what’s going on around me. Because sometimes we get so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities that we lose track of things. For instance, did you know that it’s May already? Yeah. Me neither. Where did April go?

But eventually spring will truly get here, as well as warmer temps and outbreaks of bugs. And that’s definitely something we need to stay on top of…our crops depend on it.

Another tool for the toolbox. And a hearty THANK YOU for those that made it possible.

This site was brought to my attention by someone wanting me to review it. Which I did. And I think it’s amazing. The thoughts above are definitely my own, since no one else words things quite like I do. You know what I mean.