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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Such A Different Life

I was recently visiting with some sorority sisters chatting away at what was going on in our lives.
It seemed very normal and then one of them said it,
"such a different life!"

I had started to ramble about our life, which includes the farm and all the lingo that comes with it.
Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows what farm life entails and the difference
that exists between city life and country life, until they say something.

I used to live in the city, so I get it.
But most people who live in the city have never lived in the country, so they don't get it.

They don't understand that my high heels never last as long because they get ruined
by the gravel, the mud and the dust.

They don't understand that having medicine and syringes in your house is totally normal.
I came home one day and the farmer told me a story about a cow that had some trouble delivering her calves and she had to be given some medicine.
"You'll just have to deal with this syringe being in your drying rack," he said.
(I like a clean kitchen.)
"Honey, I don't care.....glad the cow and calf are doing well."

City folk don't understand the farm laundry situation.
It's constant and never ending.
It smells....like manure and dust and hard work.
And the strangest things can be found in pockets, in the washer and on top of the dryer--change, knives, ear plugs, and castrating bands.  But when I find money, it's mine!

Folks that live in the city don't come home to a trailer full of cows in their driveway.
And understand where they are going (to the market before sunrise) and where they will end up (on my plate).

Most city folk don't get to eat the food they planted, nourished, watched grow and picked themselves. Unless they have a garden, which I commend them for, they just don't get to eat sweet corn standing in the middle of a field.

City folk don't understand that life and death can happen in the same place 
you live and work on, the farm.
And when you lose someone or something on the farm, "it's just part of it" and you must move on.  

Farmers and their families aren't really that different than city folk.
But in the grand scheme of things, we do lead such different lives.
I try to explain it the best way possible, explaining my lingo, the laundry, calving, 
the long hours, dirty floors, life, death and more.

However, this different life is one that I would never want to change, for better or worse, 
because I get to stand on heaven and below heaven with my loved ones every day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Celebrate the Women of Agriculture

Today, March 15, 2016, is National Agriculture Appreciation Day.
It's a day when all of us in agriculture promote our way of life and our work to others while getting some national recognition.  However, I won't lie, every day is agriculture appreciation day.  

I was raised in it, work in it and live in this way of life each and every day.
And the older I become, I realize just how much my parents sacrificed for our way of life.
My dad was the farmer and my mom was the farmer's wife who wore heels and worked in town.
However, she sacrificed just as much as he did.  

See below for an article my sister Sarah and I wrote for our local newspaper to celebrate agriculture and the women who raise their kids in it, work in it and live agriculture each and every day!


Many things change over the course of a year and even a decade; kids grow taller, the wise gain more wrinkles, we celebrate new life and praise lives as they depart this earth.  However, some things never change, like the core values of agriculture.  It's been the same for centuries.  As our first President George Washington, once said, 
“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man”.

Sure there have been significant changes and positive strides in the way we raise our animals, produce a crop and care for our land but the values are the same.  Farmers produce more with less land, less water, and less environmental impact.  But the core premise of agriculture has been a mainstay and tradition forever--work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing 
(especially with the weather).

Farmers work hard with their worn hands and calluses that stay with them for a lifetime.  They rise before the sun and many times don’t come home until the moon is high in the sky.  As kids, we liked to sleep in but our dad would come in and say, “Girls, you’re burnin’ daylight”.  He, as a farmer, was always ready to get up and take on the day.  
Working hard and long hours has always been a part of farming.

As farm girls one thing we have learned is that on the 8th day God created the farmer, but on the 9th he created the farm girl, the farm wife and the farm mom.  While our mom didn’t grow up on a farm, the values she taught us alongside our dad were the same--work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing.  As a young girl she wanted to own a piece of farmland just as much as our dad and she eventually got the chance to do so.

This month we dedicate and celebrate not only the farmer but the women on the farm.  We know they may not be the face of the farm or at the forefront of decisions or farm chores.  However, they do need to be appreciated for raising the farm kids, caring for the farmer, doing chores when needed, caring for a baby calf in her house, running errands in town, and feeding the family.  She is the woman who realizes her floors will never be clean and the laundry will never end.  She needs to be thanked for working with her children on their 4-H projects last minute, running kids to club meetings, and for buying their 4-H showing outfits while she watches them work hard with the integrity she taught them.

As we celebrate Agriculture Appreciation Month this March and National Ag Day on March 15th, we encourage you to learn something new about agriculture or reach out to those working in agriculture.  And as you are eating each meal, thank a farmer and pray for the farm women who also sacrificed to bring food to your table. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Celebrating Farm Life….Every Day

It's National Agriculture Appreciation Month!
However, we celebrate and appreciate agriculture and our farm life everyday.
Below is my most recent article from Farm Indiana.
Enjoy and remember to thank a farmer this month!


I was asleep in bed, enjoying the quiet on one of our cold, winter mornings when I heard the door open and boots stomping mud and manure all over the floor.  I was sure he had forgotten something—his coffee, extra coat or paperwork—and my peace was disturbed.  

“Hello dear,” he proclaimed “sorry to bother but where can I find some old towels?”  I took a deep breath, “We only have one and you used it on the dog.”  “Oh,” he stated “I found a newborn calf half frozen by the barn.  The mom had twins and I have got to warm her up.  She’s in the front seat of the truck now.”  

I sat up in bed, my peace no longer a priority, and yelled, 
“Oh no!  Just take our bath towels, however many you need.”

I worried about this calf all day and constantly asked for updates which I am sure were a bit annoying to my farmer as he tended to the herd and other daily chores in the freezing, windy weather.  However, I got a picture that afternoon that helped bring the peace I had felt that morning back to life.  Our niece and nephew were holding on to the newborn calf who was standing tall and looked warm and healthy.  
They had appropriately named her Frosty.

Frosty lived through that dreadful morning and now runs around the barnyard with the kids like a pet dog.  However my friends’ calf, so thoughtfully named Baby Flowers by their young daughter, did not make it through a similar dreadful day.  She stated that her little girl would be devastated by the loss of this calf who she had grown so fondly of in just one day.  I reminded my friend that her daughter would be okay.  Her daughter would come to understand the concept of life and death at an early age that many people don’t teach their children about until they grow older.  Her daughter would be stronger for going through the grieving process and learning to understand the emotions of what it brings to her outlook on life and the strength that sits within her.

We celebrate and grieve in one way or another on the farm almost daily—the loss of an animal, the ups and downs of the commodity markets, the joy in growing something on the land we own and the weather, oh how we celebrate and have grief about the weather.  

Life on the farm is full of both celebrations and griefs and it’s all very much worth it.  In my short life, I have seen calves and baby pigs die, diseases strike our family’s cattle heard, the fall of crop prices, river waters flood my family’s fields too many times and the sun’s heat dry up the crops.  I have watched my dad die on the farm that he sacrificed so much of his life for and celebrated his life on the same farm that his family continues to work on today.  I have witnessed the hard work our farmers give daily to their family farms and the strength and endurance to keep them operating for generations to come celebrating the good and bad each step of the way.

As we await spring to arrive and pray for a year full of good weather, steady prices and safety for our farmers, I am excited to celebrate Ag Appreciation Month in March and hope you will join me and learn something about agriculture and farmers.  And I thank Frosty and Baby Flowers for their enduring life lessons and reminders that farm life is worth celebrating every day.