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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unspoken Lesson from the Farmer:  Live.Your.Life

As I continue to daydream about what this blog might entail and what I want to share with you, I remind myself that I need continue to introduce you to my #FancyintheCountry world.  As I mentioned in my first post, Why Fancy in the Country, this blog is dedicated to my mom and my dad. Yesterday, as I made my way to work in the big city, I thought of a thousand things to share about my dad and how his influence has shaped my life.    Many of them are lessons, spoken and unspoken, that he taught me during his time here on earth.  

Lesson #1
"That's just part of it."

Lesson #2 is 
"Live Your Life."

What a lot of people don't understand about farmer's is that they are also people.  Just regular people who like to have fun and live their life just like the rest of us.  Even though their choice of fun half the time is sitting in a tractor alone for several hours planting or harvesting their crop in the fields or scouting their fields.  
It's their "little piece of heaven".

But farmers do like to have a good time and my farmer dad sure did.  He taught his farmer daughter 
and many of her friends how to do just that.  

Sometimes it consisted of packing a bunch of girls in his truck, grabbin' a bag of peanuts from Rural King and hittin' the road for the hog roast the boys were hosting down that country road.  Now I wouldn't say he necessarily thought it was fun to wait for his daughter and her friends (his other daughters) to change their clothes a million times, do their hair and make-up and then decide to do it all over again.  I would say he got in the habit of doing that, but the real fun came when he showed up at the hog roast to see those boys and share that bag of peanuts.  I could barely get him away from the roasting pig or the fire for a good picture.  

Sometimes fun consisted of getting home from a long day's work on the farm to find his girls on the back porch chattin' away and deciding to have a beer with them before hittin' the hay.  But then that turned into more than one beer and the idea that getting the gun out for target practice off the back deck was a good idea.....  So we lined those empty beer cans up to practice.  "You girls need to know how to use a gun.  Let's practice."  

And even though my farmer dad could barely sit still, he did like to have fun and relax in the water at times.  That was after the cannon bombs off the boat to purposely splash people, pushing people off the boat and annoying my mom by dunking her under the water.  He would then swim off by himself, relax and offer his peace.....

Dad was an avid sports fan and always an athlete ready to rough and tumble with that good Thomas defense and pushy elbows on the basketball court.  He loved to watch football, but I think he grew to love the tailgates with his friends and family even more.  He would always remind you, "even if the football team sucks, we can still have a good time."  
And we always did.

Every time I get sad about him being gone or those flashbacks return of that night on the farm when he died, I then hear him yelling in my ear, "Stop it.  'That's just part of it.'  I died but I'll see ya later.  Take 'er easy."

So then I remember, oh that's what I learned from him.  The saying that I always say to people.....


He sure did, and I think that's the second lesson he taught my mom, my sister, my friends, our family and myself.  Work hard to play hard, quit worrying so much, stop thinking so much and just let it be, go and "live.your.life.".....because "that's just part of it".

 And now that I am older and somewhat wiser, I realize that "Take 'er easy" is NOT "Take her greasy" but actually "Take her easy".  And that's what I am trying to do in this life.....remembering to "take 'er easy" and "live.my.life."  To find that "little piece of heaven" here on earth before joining him up above.

Photo by family friend, Rusty Kirk

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Whiskey in Hand, Hand in Milk

I was on a mission after work yesterday....to.get.a.pedicure!  That's it.  Once I got that off my list then I would be set, and I could get to the grocery store, rush around like a mad woman and try not to hit the random kids throughout the aisles and get home....for date night!  

Date night this time of year is pretty unheard of on the farm.  That is why I was speeding (I inherited my dad's lead foot) to get to the nail salon to accomplish my mission.  I texted Brett to tell him my plans before I jumped in the car and then got what was disappointing but halfway expected news, 
"I won't be home until 9:30 or 10:00 tonight.  Had to make a seed delivery down south.  Love you." 

Well shoot.....I was finally going to get to see him for more than an hour and have a real, long conversation with him.  We were probably going to go to one of our favorite restaurants in town for a bottle of good red wine and a meat and cheese board (yes, my farmer drinks wine and eats fancy meats and cheeses).  It wasn't going to be a night of "let's catch up quickly so we can crash" or having him endure a long list of "To Dos to Discuss" on one of my many post-it notes.  

But this time of year, the farm comes first.  The crops and the customers, they are number one.  
And "that's just part of it".  

But as I sat there and enjoyed my pedicure and then took my time in the grocery store I thought, "I am actually happy date night was cancelled."  I could get home and prep the food for a baby shower I am co-hosting this weekend, do laundry, pack, write a blog and do my nails (I let others deal with my toes, I always do my nails.....once a week.....my farmer husband thinks I am nuts.)

Anyway, I got home and was greeted with some packages.  Every time we receive a stack of packages I am reminded of another reason why I love living in the country.  The Terminix guy knows what's going on in your life without you really telling him.  Last summer, after being engaged for several months, we received this on our door after a routine check from our friend.  

The day I came home to that, I couldn't stop laughing and also felt very blessed that a complete stranger had the thoughtfulness and took the time to write a message for us.  And how did he know?  Oh, well maybe he saw these....

So I prepped the baby shower BBQ appetizers:  homemade pimento cheese, spiced candied bacon, and jalapeno poppers.  Now I have cut and diced those things before but apparently these things were pretty hot because my fingers were on fire!!  Great, I should have listened to my friend's mom about wearing gloves when cutting and cleaning these peppers.  
Why do mothers always know best?

So what was once a much needed date night had now turned into a normal evening during this spring planting season.  A tired farmer with his new tan walks in the house late at night, grabs a whiskey cocktail and endures his wife's "To Dos for Discussion".  The only thing not normal about this evening was that I couldn't mark things off my list quite so quickly because my hands were in a glass of milk trying to cool off from those jalapenos.  They better be the first thing gone at the shower or I won't be knockin' a kid out at the grocery store to get them anymore.

The best part about the night, really, was that he never saw the fancy things 
that were in those packages.....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Fancy in the Country?

It was the summer of 2005 and I was roaming the streets of Chicago with my sorority sisters.  One of the girls was meeting us on Michigan Avenue for some afternoon shopping and I was directing her where to go on the phone.  When she arrived she said, "so what suburb did you grow up in?"  I said, "I grew up on a farm south of Indianapolis."  With a stunned look she said, "wait, what?!  You grew up in the country?  Well then how do you know how to get around downtown Chicago?"  

That was it.....that is when I realized I was a little different.  I grew up on a farm in the country but could still enjoy the "big cities" and the fancy clothes.  And well, I did.  I loved high heels and all things shopping but truly enjoyed the smell of pigs, the joy of the cows waking me up in the mornings and the site of that tall green corn.

So after the years of contemplating how much to share about my "Fancy in the Country" life, I'm doing it, I'm taking the leap and starting a blog. Why?  Because every so often I like a good challenge.  And I am going to challenge myself to sit down and start writing and sharing about my life and all the things that bring me joy including those high heels and the cows.

And why today?  Well today is my mom's birthday and the blog in part is dedicated to her (that would be the fancy part).  She is the most hard working, strong willed, and passionate woman I know.  The woman who I thought was crazy for loving polka dots in the '90s, but who knew they would never really go out of style. I remember hating this burgundy polka dot dress she had with this ugly belt.  Well, guess what?  I have a navy blue one that resembles that same dress today!

My mom, otherwise known as MLT, taught me about being "fancy" in the country!

In college I had to introduce myself in a few words before my new, fellow interns.  Without really thinking I said, "I like to shop and shoot."  Clearly this is still the case.  

The second part of this blog, the "country" part, is dedicated to my dad, Tim.  My dad worked in the agriculture industry and was a farmer his entire life.  When he passed away from a farming accident in November 2009, it was like time stopped for hours as the harvest air came to a standstill and the clouds seemed to loom overhead.  But even though he is physically gone, dad gave my sister, mom and I was an appreciation for the quiet and calm of the country.  The phrase, "that's overrated" and our passion for agriculture and hard work among other things.  His presence is constant and remains with me day in and day out.  

Dad also liked to give me a hard time which always kept me on my toes.  "Katie, you think too much." or "Katie, now why would you do that?" were common phrases in our house and I am forever grateful for them.  When I was in high school, my parents and I went on a Mexico Mission Trip with our church and several other families and friends.  I turned 15 on the day we were mixing the concrete for the 3 room school house we were building.  Mom was nice enough to get me a cake and some flowers which somehow made their way into a trash can (all they could find I guess) and dad thought it was just hilarious.  Katie getting flowers in a trash can!  Well, they were the most thoughtful flowers
 I have ever received.  

I have always been a farmer's daughter.  And now as a farmer's wife, I feel like I have been blessed to continue to live in the country and on a farm.  While I still work in the city and love getting dressed for cocktail parties, I am honored to be married to a farmer who works day in and day out to care for our animals, the land we live and work on and the crops he grows for people around the world.  

And since dad's death, I have felt an obligation to tell the story of agriculture.  My sister, Sarah, and I have promised to do this in honor of him and all farmers in our great country.

When my mom gave me away to my farmer, I was holding her farmer's dirty glove along with her mother's Bible and some fancy flowers.  On that day I promised myself to challenge myself in this new adventure.  And this is one way I am doing it, sharing the story of agriculture and country life with a few fancy additions along the way.

I mean you never know when that fancy dress and colorful boots will get dirty doing chores on the farm.  As mom would say, "we can look for a new dress" and as dad would say, "that's just part of it."

1 comment:

  1. I like your "why" for blogging, Katie Mae. :) And your blog header is just delightful. :)

    Emily Grace