WW – Vote for a Farm Mom

It won’t be my words today, but a post from someone else…and all I ask of you is to go to the site and vote!

We Need Your Help this Mother’s Day!

Vote for National Farm Mom of the Year

Guest post by Meghan, Allie, Trent, Tyler, and Eric Blythe
This year for Mother’s Day we would like to honor our mom, Debbie Lyons-Blythe, as National Farm Mom of the Year. This title is determined by voting so we need your help.
You may know Debbie Lyons-Blythe as a blogger, rancher, and advocate. We know her as “Mom.” Parents often brag about their children, but let us reverse roles and tell you about how proud we are of our mom’s accomplishments.
I asked my four younger siblings and Dad to describe her. Over and over again I received the same answer… unselfish. Mom is unselfish. All of her efforts are focused on giving to something bigger than herself. She shares her story in blogs for the agriculture industry. She wakes up early and works long hours for our cattle ranch. She serves the Kansas Angus Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in leadership positions for the advancement of the beef industry. She volunteers for our community, and she goes above and beyond for our family. Mom embodies the spirit of American agriculture, and demonstrates the beauty of sacrificial love through the giving of her talents, her time, and of herself.
Please visit http://www.americasfarmers.com/farmmom/vote.aspx  to cast your vote for our mom, Debbie Lyons-Blythe. Don’t forget to complete the voting process by entering your name and email address! And please pass along mom’s story and the information to your friends as voting closes May 12th.
Thank you for helping us out with this Mother’s Day honor. We really appreciate your support!
Meghan, Allie, Trent, Tyler, and Eric
Now, just to clarify…I know Debbie. I’ve met her, I’ve had coffee with her and I admire her, look up to her and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her, both online and in real life. She’s an amazing woman with amazing energy, and I know that if she’s survived the craziness that’s her life, then I can too.
But that’s just my opinion. Check her out on your own…but I think you’ll find the same thing.
Good luck, Debbie! You deserve the recognition, and I’m proud to call you a friend.

Thankful Thursday – It could have been worse

This wasn’t the post I intended to write today. These weren’t the pictures I hoped to share. But Mother Nature has a funny way of deciding what does and does not happen.

Last night, shortly before I was planning to go to bed, the TV warned of a storm that was heading towards our area. They stated that it had heavy rain, some hail and strong winds. I joked on Facebook that it better go around, because I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a storm.

She showed me.

The first storm hit about 10 p.m., and although at first seemed to not be that bad, it quickly changed its tune. We had a lot of hail, wind took down sections of fence and spun our calf shelter, killing one calf and injuring another.

Hail out our door last night, storm #1.

I thought that was it, and went to bed, knowing there wasn’t anything we could do during the night.

And then at 4 this morning, another storm came through…bringing more hail, more wind, but thankfully, no more destruction.

In total, we received 1.15″ of rain, and a solid coating of hail. The pictures speak more than I can:

Drift of hail left yet this morning.

More hail…

Our trailer was “hailed.” 😉

This calf shelter is supposed to protect calves, not hurt them. But the storm last night rotated this shelter to the north 90 degrees, killing one calf in the process.

WW – Time Outside

The weather has warmed up again, and it finally quit raining long enough for the boys to enjoy some time outside. Last night was great, and although I didn’t get any pictures, even Boss Man took the time to play some ball with the boys. It made my heart sing!

EJ's first attempt at baseball...I love his face!

Scooter, getting ready for the big leagues this year! No more tee-ball!

You see, Mom. It hurts when I put my finger in my eye...like this.

I see you, Mom!

Our cows aren't the only ones that jump the fence!

Boss Man's college friend and roommate, Dr. J, stopped by for a visit.

Good Friday post replay

I wrote this post last year about Good Friday falling on Earth Day…and how my son mistakenly thought that was the reason he didn’t have school. Although today isn’t Earth Day, when you have a rough week, it’s a comfort to know that there are days such as Good Friday to give you hope and remind you of the sacrifices made:

 

I was all prepared to write a post today about all the things we do on the farm that celebrates the Earth, such as using our manure, using no-till whenever possible, using the water from our well to heat our home…then heat our shop…then to water our cows, etc. (That’s right, all the same water, I’ll explain it sometime.)

But as I was sitting down to type last night, I decided to check out George’s lab work that was done at Mayo. (They have a really cool set-up, where you can register to log-in and receive the lab results yourself. No more waiting for that stinkin’ doctor’s call!) Anyway, I logged-in and for the first time ever, and I truly mean EVER, all of George’s lab work came back within normal ranges! (Well, minus the Vit. D and iron levels, but those are diet/sunshine related, not illness/disorder, so they don’t really count.)

I’ll admit it, I cried a bit. For the last just-about 2 years, I’ve dealt with continuously feeling like something wasn’t right, that we weren’t on the right track, bloodwork continuously showed something off here or there, nothing fit together, etc. It was a whirlpool of nightmares. Since George was born, he has seen: three pediatricians, two pediatric geneticists, two pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric cardiologist, two pediatric endocrinologists, two pediatric neurologists, two dieticians, pediatric oncologist, pediatric neurosurgeon and several other various ER docs, nurses and staff. He has had: two colonoscopies, an upper GI series, multiple x-rays and ultrasounds, a liver biopsy, three MRI’s, an echocardiogram and two CT scans. He has given more blood for bloodwork that some people donate to the blood bank. He’ll be 2, and he’s been through so much, but is still such a wonderful little boy.

One of the things that I hear the most, when people hear about George, is that he doesn’t LOOK like anything is wrong with him. That’s always the problem. I wonder how many of those doctors blew us off because they felt he didn’t “look” sick enough. I know for sure one did, I overheard him tell the students that were following him those exact words. It went something like this, “And in this room is a 6-month-old male patient, case seems somewhat unremarkable. Mother has sought care at Mayo. Came in with fever, slight dehydration, etc. There’s no clear diagnosis, and I’m not real sure why they’re here. Their local hospital probably overreacted. We’ll keep him through tomorrow to satisfy the Mother.” (Needless to say, I requested a discharge immediately and we never returned to that set of physicians.)

We have so much to be thankful for.

This morning, Big Bro told me that they didn’t have school today because it was Earth Day. That sealed the deal for me. I’m not writing about our farm today. I’m not writing about how to recycle, or how to reduce your carbon footprint, or how to reuse your milk carton to make a mailbox. We should all know these things, and we should all be doing them. Every day. Period.

But today is Good Friday first. It’s a day that we celebrate all that has been given for us. The Blessing that was bestowed upon us so many years ago. And for me, today is a day of thankfulness.

Yes, I won’t be brushing my teeth with the water on, I’ll turn off lights where I don’t need them, our bulbs are already energy efficient. Those are things we do everyday. But today, I’ll spend extra time thanking God for those gifts that He has given. Including the ultimate sacrifice of His only Son.

Today is definitely a Good Friday.

These Boots were Made for Working

Not too long ago, the wonderful ladies over at The Real Farmwives of America asked if anyone would be willing to do a quick review on a pair of boots for “the man in our lives.” The funny thing is, that I had just talked to Boss Man about getting a different pair for him to work in…and so we jumped at the chance!

And boy, are they great!

Boss Man's new steel-toed Justin work boots...the verdict? A big win!

These happen to be steel-toed, yet they look so sharp!

Boss Man was working on the air seeder when his boots arrived...they went to work right away!

He loves how comfortable they are…and he keeps commenting how easily they are to get on and off. (His previous pair of work boots were lace-ups.)

Flexible and comfortable...two musts for a farm work boot!

Great grip, traction and still comfortable to wear.

Sometimes Boss Man is hard to veer from his routine…and lace-up work boots are definitely his routine. But I think even Boss Man was surprised by how much he liked his new boots. In fact, he liked them so much, he wore them out on Saturday night…and that’s something that never happens with his lace-ups. At least, not if he’s going out with ME! 😀

He loved how well they moved...even in some uncomfortable places.

No problems here, these boots were a home run!

And the best part of all? You can have a chance to win a pair! That’s right, thanks to the wonderful gals over at The Real Farmwives of America one lucky reader (or three!) will win their very own pair of workboots compliments of Tony Lama/Justin. Just head on over and enter now!

Although Boss Man was given a pair of boots, thanks to these great companies, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Young Farmer Friday

Just loving my day with the boys…and who can blame me? We head to Mayo on Monday, and that’ll be worries for Monday. For today, I’ll just enjoy what we have.

"Mom, will this be mine some day?"

A rare moment of stillness, and no one fighting!

George teasing EJ that he was going to beat him to the shop.

Well, he decided the reward wasn't worth it.

 

 

WW – Spring work…in winter?

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but Boss Man got a jump start on spring work by fixing fence this weekend.

It’s hard to believe that it hit 80 degrees in “winter,” but you won’t find me complaining…well, at least not too loudly. 😉

Fixing fence that was destroyed in last summer's storm.

The early-spring weather has let us get a lot of catch-up work done.

It's amazing what can get done when the weather cooperates.

The cows are watching, making sure he's getting the fence tight enough. Well, maybe they're actually hoping he forgets a strand!

How are you preparing for spring?

Calf in a cast

What happens when a 1200-pound-plus cow steps on its newborn calf? Well, lets just say that the calf isn’t usually a winner. But in this case, the vet was called in and so far, things are looking good.

He may be wearing a cast, but it's not slowing him down!

That’s right, we have a calf in a cast. He’ll keep the cast on until the first week of April or so…and while he has his cast on, he’ll be treated to a special pen in the yard, and will spend his nights next to his mother in the barn.

Broken legs don’t happen often on the farm, but when they do, it’s important to have them heal as best as they can, so the calf can walk normally and be able to stand and regain use of the limb. And so far, this little guy seems to be doing great.

Walking around, checking out his surroundings.

So what does it cost to have a cast put on a calf? Our vet bill was right at $200. Plus a little extra time for a few weeks.

And it was a great teaching moment for the boys.

And those moments are priceless.

 

March madness…North Dakota version

No, our March madness has nothing to do with basketball, and I’m talking brackets of a different kind…this March is madness with peewee wrestling and spring weather. And it added up to spending an afternoon digging out some water pipes.

Let’s start off with Saturday morning and early afternoon. Scooter participated in our local peewee wrestling tournament and managed to come home with a first-place medal.

The weather was so unseasonably warm, that I decided we should finish a project we had started earlier in the week. Our aging pipes had sprung a leak, which lead to a continually green patch of grass in our yard all winter. But as it was warming up, that green patch had turned to mush. We needed to work on a fix…and 70-80 degree temps in North Dakota in March is a great reason to spend some time outside, even if it is to dig a hole.

So, if we’re fixing a water pipe, one would think that you would call a local backhoe and have it done in a jiffy, right? That’s not the way we roll around here. Instead, Boss Man gave a few directions, gave us a rough outline of size, and away we went.

Me and my little sister, just digging a hole.

Yep, my little sister and I became excavators and dug out the hole that will be needed to fix our water leak. And I have to say, I’m happy with the work we did, and enjoyed spending the hour or so outside in the beautiful weather.

And today (Sunday), the weather has continued on its beautiful streak, cracking the 80 degree mark. Let’s just hope our temps stay above freezing, because all of those beautiful buds and new plants will be a hard loss to take.

Our rhubarb is up...and it's March.

By tomorrow evening, I'm guessing we'll have full-fledged leaves on our lilacs. These buds are busting at the seams!

Not a laughing matter

A few days ago, a close friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook, directing me to a conversation that was taking place on a specialized sheep page. The message was shocking, and laughed in the face of all we’ve been doing to educate and show consumers where their food comes from…but it was far from funny:

You are a Joke! a Fraud! you can not sell meat! What you are selling is wrong! Meat comes from the grocery store meat departments where they grow it for us to eat. You are one sick individual who says you will sell lamb meat from those cute fuzzy animals! you are gross! Milk comes in a powder that the grocery stores mix with water! Why are you lying to people! you are a sick person who claims to sell meat, milk and cheese that comes from poor helpless lambs!

And no, I can’t make stuff like that up.

So why does it matter? It’s just one loon out there, shouting lies and slinging mud at whomever will listen, right?

Wrong.

One of the reasons that agriculture is being slayed in the media the way it is, is that for too long we figured that people would “get it.” That they would understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and just leave us alone to get the job done.

That’s not the case any more, and I don’t think it ever will be…and shouldn’t. We want people to have a connection to their plate, we want people to understand the power of their input at the grocery store. But they also need to understand that farms are businesses, we provide a product, we need to make a profit and we prepare for the future as well.

There must be a middle ground, a place where we don’t raise our voices, don’t shake our fists and don’t make it personal…I just don’t think we’re there yet. I read a comment recently that stated that farmers need to remember that they are more than just a farm, they are people, too.

Our barn is dated from when it was built. That's a history we can't forget.

But I have to say, from a farmer’s perspective, that’s pretty hard to do. It’s not just a building and some animals, this is our heritage and our family name. It’s the work of previous generations, resting on our shoulders to see it through to the next generation. And it’s up to us to be the communicators to protect not only the future, but the history of our farms as well.

The way I see it, the fact that we’re getting responses such as the loon above, and the other slew of media backlash, must mean we’re heading the right direction.

And if we’re willing to be talking, we better be willing to listen as well.