Why being a farm mom rocks

I have four boys…four rambunctious, crazy, wild boys. I thank God every day that we live on a farm, because I’m not sure town could handle them. Or maybe it’s that I’m not sure I could handle them in town. Without frequent visits from officers. And maybe child protective services. And calls from neighbors. And…well, I digress.

So how does being a farm mom rock? Let me count the ways:

  1. I get to deep-clean often. Like when someone brings in a bucket of toads. And drops them. In the kitchen. Near the stove. And fridge. And I’m too slow.

    The Toad Catcher

    These are what we found right away…a few had escaped.

  2. I get new utensils and dishes often. Mostly because all of mine disappear throughout the winter and don’t reappear until it thaws outside and they’re found it what used to be a snow fort.
  3. I don’t have to talk to them about the birds and the bees. They learn about it every spring, usually with commentary from their uncle.
  4. I know when spring is upon us. Because it’s warm enough to pee outside. With pants ALL the way down.

    Warmer weather

    But the best sign of spring? Outdoor bathroom is open for business.

  5. My kids will be expert drivers by the time the state says it’s OK for them to drive…just don’t ask me how they got to know so much.
  6. They understand the weather, and what it means to the farm. Rain doesn’t mean an event is ruined…it means the whole family gets to join in!
  7. Math is no longer some mysterious language that will never be used. They understand the importance of measurements (such as acres), area (field size), volume (bin capacity), etc. Math and science are definitely living and breathing on the farm!
  8. We learn creative problem solving – like how to get the wild barn cat out of the house without breaking everything.
  9. They also learn about teamwork – so Mom doesn’t find out about #8.
  10. They also learn about trust – and that a 3-year-old isn’t so good at it. See #9.

    laughter, children

    That little one on bottom left? Yeah, he’s not so good at secrets.

No matter what, these boys are my world. And I’m glad I can raise them in the best environment possible – our farm. They learn so much, but even more so, they learn how to become better people. They respect the land, understand hard work, and know where their blessings come from – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I’m sure I could add hundreds more, but I’d rather hear about your reasons why you love being a farm mom…or maybe why you’re glad you’re not!

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A sure sign of fall

I received this in the mail this week:

This is a landowner gratis tag. There's no charge for the tag, but it only allows me one deer, antlered or antlerless, and I can only hunt on the land we own or lease that I have specified on my application.

This is a landowner gratis tag. There’s no charge for the tag, but it only allows me one deer, antlered or antlerless, and I can only hunt on the land we own or lease that I have specified on my application.

Which means I’m anxiously waiting for the time to do this:

gun, hunting

Hopefully this year I’ll stay a little drier.

But sometimes this:

Not exactly what I "planned" to wear when hunting, but it works!

Not exactly what I “planned” to wear when hunting, but it works!

Which occasionally leads to this:

Apparently being a mom that hunts makes me weird. I can live with that.

Apparently being a mom that hunts makes me weird. I can live with that.

But can almost always lead to this:

I don't just hunt because I enjoy it. I also hunt to provide for my family.

I don’t just hunt because I enjoy it. I also hunt to provide for my family.

Which is much better than this:

This is a pile of deer carcasses that were collected from our hay yard a few years ago. Approximately 60-80 deer in this group. We had hundreds in our yard, and many died that winter. To make a long story short, our hay was too rich for their system and we could get no help in dispersing them from our land.

This is a pile of deer carcasses that were collected from our hay yard a few years ago. Approximately 60-80 deer in this group. We had hundreds in our yard, and many died that winter. To make a long story short, our hay was too rich for their system and we could get no help in dispersing them from our land.

What’s your sure sign of fall?

Just a glimpse

After a post that I wrote two years ago went viral, I’ve had a slug of comments from people across the globe. Most are encouraging and supportive, some are people with genuine interest in learning more, and a few are down right hilarious!

But then there’s the detractors.

You know what I mean, right? They point out inadequacies and make you feel guilty for not including everything. So here goes nothing…

A few have chastised me for complaining about my farm life, and have encouraged me to spend more time outdoors, standing next to my hubby than at the keyboard, lamenting about my spot in life. To those people, I must apologize.

I didn’t mean for it to sound as if I’m ungrateful or bitter or pining away at my kitchen table, dreaming of a moment stolen with my spouse (although, that does sound a tad bit more romantic than real life). My post was merely a moments entertainment, that somehow struck a chord with a few hundred thousand people, give or take.

And my moments spent with Boss Man? Well, I don’t usually publicize them. You see, those are my special memories, that I keep close to my heart and they keep me going when our worlds seem so crazy. But just to give you proof, here’s a little glimpse:

I'm on the cutting edge of blizzard fashion, I know.

I check cows…usually at night, mostly in the winter. He must love me, when I go out looking like this, right???

My husband's comment when I asked him to take a picture of us working? "If I take the picture of you, won't they wonder why I'm not working too?"

My husband’s comment when I asked him to take a picture of us working? “If I take the picture of you, won’t they wonder why I’m not working too?”

Cleaned up and off the farm...hardly recognize us!

Cleaned up and off the farm…hardly recognize us!

Pitching fresh hay in calf shelters. It’s more fun when you work together!

teamwork, farmwork

Working together…these moments mean the most.

 

A game of “I Spy”

Let’s see if you can spy what I am thankful for today:

Come Halloween, I'll be happy that these guys grew!

Come Halloween, I’ll be happy that these guys grew!

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A little treat for late-summer dessert.

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These guys are just hanging around, waiting to be supper!

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Sometimes life needs a little spice.

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A perfect snack, any time!

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Just starting to turn red.

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Coming soon to a pickle jar near me!

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A new addition to our garden…and a scrumptious one as well!

Is our farm “green”?

Recently I’ve had an influx of new followers on Twitter. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and my smart phone, I was able to be notified right away.

At first, I didn’t think much of it, but then I noticed that one had added me to a list. The list was titled “green bloggers.”

Come again?

My first response was, “Boy, are they going to be disappointed.” But then, with encouragement from some social media friends, I realized it was an amazing opportunity. How could I pass it up?

You see, “green” is another one of those terms that has been hijacked. It is defined so differently by so many, and yet, those that it means the most to (farmers), use it the least.

In fact, I was first offended to be called “green.” To me, it meant that I was more concerned about how my food got to my plate, instead of just being grateful that I could put anything there to begin with.

To me, it meant that I thought more about how creation began, and less about how it would continue to exist.

To me, it meant that I was willing to believe that God could use science to create cures for diseases and ailments, but He couldn’t possibly use science to prevent starvation and hunger for so many of His people.

But none of that is true.

Being green is an awareness, not an action. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. Being green is making decisions knowing that you’re doing what’s best for the next generation, based on what you know and your experiences. Being green is as personal as religion. Yet, being green is NOT a religion.

A lot of times farmers shout from the rooftops, that they are the original environmentalists. And although that is true, it doesn’t do us much good to keep reminding people…instead, let’s show them.

Actions speak louder than words. So let our actions speak for us.

Is our equipment larger than decades ago? Yes, but that means fewer trips down the field, less fuel and greater time savings. Do our fields have company signs on them? Sure, but it’s more for our information than anything else. That way, farmers know which brand, which variety worked best for the conditions that year. Kind of like labeling your garden rows.

ultrasound technology in calving

Technology can be very useful in farming, including ultrasounding for calving!

The biggest question? Is technology worth it? My simple answer is yes. Unequivocally. Technology allows us the opportunity to use state-of-the-art tools and equipment to use less fuel, less chemicals and be more aware of our impact on future generations.

But the best part of it all? The ability to choose. You can choose what does/does not work for your farm, your family, your table, your health. And that’s the most important advancement of all.

I no longer will fear the label of being “green.” Instead, I will embrace it. And perhaps, before long, my grass will be, too.

The crazy never ends

Someone once told me that our farm could easily have enough fodder for a show. I’ve tried to deny that allegation a time or two, but this week did nothing but encourage sitcom-like situations.

For example? Well, imagine a situation unfolding like this:

Skunk in barn. Farmer shoots skunk. Farmer has sick calf. Doesn’t think about skunk. Farmer does whatever he can to save calf, including putting hand in his mouth. Calf dies. Dawns on farmer that calf may have been exposed to rabies through skunk. Heads of both animals are sent for testing. Farmer waits to see if he gets a few weeks of shots.

Yeah, just a typical week around here.

On top of that, the stomach bug went through our house this week, landing at my feet this morning at 2 a.m. – but don’t worry, Boss Man helped me out by taking the big boys to church, and leaving me to fend with the 3-year-old. That was helpful. Kinda. 😉

The little dude in green and I were left at home today. It's a good thing he's NEVER any trouble. Ever. Right? I mean, if I say it enough, it'll be true.

The little dude in green and I were left at home today. It’s a good thing he’s NEVER any trouble. Ever. Right? I mean, if I say it enough, it’ll be true. Oh, and I want this type of weather back. Soon, please.

Just kidding. His heart was in the right place, and as a bonus, he did remember to bring the Sprite that I requested. Well, not really, they all remembered partway home. BUT they were smart enough to go back and get it, so that’s all that counts!

And now, to tackle the tough part of the week. I’ll be gone for a few days. Going to meet my mother at her macular degeneration appointment and then taking her back down to stay with my Dad.You see, Dad had to have the upper lobe of his right lung removed, due to a very aggressive cancer. I guess that’s what smoking for 60 years will get you.

I could talk about that for weeks, but I won’t.

I need to stay positive. Need to look forward, and help him recover…then kick his butt for putting us in this situation! (Just kidding, again. Apparently lack of sleep and sub-par nutrition makes me snarky. Or it’s just my personality. Whatevs.)

I’ll keep you posted on the progress, and if you could do me a teensy, eensy, weensy little favor and say a little prayer for the man that is responsible for half my DNA, I’d appreciate it.

And maybe just one for my sanity…or what’s left of it.

Where our water goes – farm efficiency

March 22 is World Water Day, and I thought it would be fitting to explain how the water on our farm works…it took me a long time to understand just how amazing our system is, and I am excited to try to explain it to all of you.

First of all, let me start with a disclaimer: I don’t really know the proper terms for what I’m trying to explain, so although my wording may be off, just hang with me. I’m not an expert, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m simply a farmer, a farm wife, a mom, trying to share a really cool piece of information. If you have questions, I certainly can attempt to answer, or better yet, find someone who can answer them!

Digging out the pipe to fix a leak...it's not really that far down.

Digging out the pipe to fix a leak…it’s not really that far down.

That being said, let me tell you about the water that provides for our family, heats our home, heats our shop AND waters our cattle…all at the same time.

We are fortunate to have a third-flow artesian well. That means that our water comes from deep within the ground. It is very hard water, but it’s an amazing source. We have done all that we can to ensure that our resource is not wasted, so we use it for many, many things.

This is our home...all supplied with an amazing source of water.

This is our home…all supplied with an amazing source of water.

When the well brings up the water, the first thing that many people comment on is that the water is warm. It comes out of the ground at about 72* F. No, I’m not kidding. When my kids have water fights in the summer, it’s almost like having a water fight with bath water. The biggest problem? You will never get a cold glass of water out of the tap. Ever.

Our well water actually heats our home. If you understand the wonders of heating systems, we have a heat pump (if you’re really interested in learning more, you can read about it from Wikipedia here). Basically, the heat from the water is transferred and forced through our house in the heating system. It’s a wonderful source of heat, and we never have to worry about propane, fuel oil, etc. The only downfall is that occasionally the system can be overtaxed, and can’t keep up (imagine when it’s -30* outside and 40 mph winds). We do have an emergency electrical backup heating system, but rarely need to use it.

The water not only is used to quench our thirst and heat our home, but then it makes it way to our shop floor, running through the coils in the cement, heating the shop to a balmy 42* in the dead of winter. It may not seem like much, but it’s an amazing improvement from the cold temps outside. Boss Man did put in a small furnace, to help keep the place warm when the big doors need to be opened several times a day.

So where does it go once it’s heated the shop? Well, we’re not done quite yet. The water then is piped down to our barn area, where it fills our water tanks and keeps our cattle satisfied. And remember the temperature that the water comes out of the ground at? Guess whose water tanks rarely ever freeze up? The continual flow of water keeps things running smoothly…well, most of the time.

And at the end? The water goes to a series of tanks, and eventually returns back to the earth…in the same condition it began.

An amazing cycle, indeed. And every day I am so very grateful for such an amazing gift!