Rural America Will Never Rest in Peace

Tonight while scrolling through my facebook feed I came upon this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf.

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Photo Courtesy of Kaylin Maree Schimpf Facebook

I immediately started to cry. This picture sums up our industry. What we are made of. Integrity. Humility. Courage. Strength. Passion. Pride. Dedication. Community. Adversity.Love. and most of all HOPE.

Reading the posts of the ones who have lost everything to the fires has lit a fire in me to share their story with the world.

I’ve discussed with multiple people, that if this fire had happened in a more urban setting where thousands of houses or so called “acres of houses” resided, that this would be a national headline story that would be plastered on news channels 24/7. Instead it happened in rural America where there aren’t as many houses but what many Americans don’t realize–is that the “houses” in this setting are cows-horses-sheep-etc.

I believe the uninformed American doesn’t see the true devastation this fire has caused. These people didn’t just lose their homes and some grass. They lost everything. Those cattle—that grass—-it’s their livelihood. Some of those cows could’ve been ones that have been passed down generation to generation  through genetics and replacement programs. Those cows may have been as special to that rancher as most dogs are to their owners in the world today.

We often get ran in the ground by misinformed consumers. Take the pain of losing a family pet and multiply that by however many head of cattle these ranchers had. That is their pain. What that misinformed consumer sees as a cow who is given antibiotics and never sees green grass is actually a cow that is taken care of like she is a pet.

I wish I could load up every single misinformed consumer and take them on a tour of the full process from the time the calf hits the ground to the time it is being served with a side of fries on their plate. We are open and willing to show them. We are open to show them how well we take care of our animals. I pray that when my children are my age that the gap between the consumer and the production of their food is much smaller then it is today. If we keep Agvocating I believe it will be.

After finding this picture posted by Kaylin Maree Schimpf I won’t lie I looked at most of her posts on Facebook. I don’t know this woman but after reading her most recent posts, I want to be her friend. Her and a group of people have been trucking hay into the panhandle. Her posts are powerful and meaningful. She begs drivers to be respectful to the CONVOYS of trucks hauling hay bound for these communities that so desperately need it.

The fact that there are CONVOYS of hay headed already into the aftermath of this fire speaks volumes as to the type of people ranchers and rural  Americans are. Our industry, our people, we are RESILIENT. I can’t even seem to find the right words right now to describe this glorious industry and the people it contains.

I read a post this morning from a lady who said she had stumbled across multiple ranchers who were already out of ammunition to continue to put the rest of their stock down that wasn’t going to pull through and the day was just beginning. Could you imagine? I can’t. I couldn’t imagine pulling the trigger on that many of my own cows strictly because that was better then watching them suffer. It would be hard but anyone in this industry would do it, if put in that situation—because we genuinely care for our stock.

I haven’t heard a number or percentage of cattle that has been lost to these fires. Like most ranchers, I don’t think they want to hear that number. I wish I had the financial means to help these ranchers but I don’t. Instead I will pray and use my words to spread their message to spread their story to those that need to hear it. I wish I could do more.

Today they had the first funeral for one of the men who lost his life protecting what he loved……I read the following story about his wife and his children. I cried yet again.

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2017-03-09/he-saddled-anyway-first-texas-panhandle-wildfire-victims-buried

Ranchers lost their lives protecting their stock yet they are still viewed as treating their animals with cruelty.

Young ranchers lost their lives….CONVOYS of hay headed to the aftermath of the fire…Ranchers having to put down what remaining stock they do have…..grass that is now just ashes…babies with burnt bodies missing their moms….momma cows bawling for their babies who they lost in the fire….

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Courtesy of Graham and Sons Cattle Co LLC

Pray for our country who doesn’t give respect where respect is due………

God knows if I saw a convoy of trucks headed west hauling hay…….I would be bawling my eyes out…..I would be crying for those who have lost everything and I would be crying because I am so gosh darn PROUD to be part of an industry that will bend over backwards for each other.

Rural America may be covered in ashes now…….but that won’t hurt our industry. What does hurt our industry is the misinformed consumer who makes their choices off assumptions and misleading information. I am begging anyone that enjoys a hamburger every now and then to open their eyes. If we gave up…..there would no longer be an american staple on the menu. It would be a sight to see if the American rancher disappeared off the earth and we were left to raise a calf from start to finish…..I think the world would be full with a heck of a lot more vegetarians because they wouldn’t have the tenacity to do what the American Rancher does.

So out of the ashes……will walk the American Rancher because you can’t stop them from doing what they love. They will face every adversity thrown at them and keep doing what they do because they love what they do that much. So the next bite you take out of a hamburger at your favorite restaurant–think of that rancher who just lost his son because he was tending to that burger you are eating—think of that rancher who just had to kill the last of his stock because it was the humane thing to do…….think of that rancher who has been hit with fire, disease, market prices plummeting , rain and storms, consumers bad mouthing his practices and just about everything under the sun…….think about how passionate she/he must be to want to continue doing what they do…….

THINK ABOUT THE AMERICAN RANCHER…..BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEY NEED ALL THE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS WE CAN GIVE THEM……..

 

 

 

Generations of Strength

Yesterday we all saw the news of the raging wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. As most of us in this area (Central MO), I’m sure we were more concerned with the weather coming in–and for good reason. After last nights storms passed through I got the kids back to sleep and then went to bed not thinking about the fires consuming the other states.

This morning I woke up to a heartbreaking story on my Facebook feed. The kind that made me cringe and left me with no appetite all day.

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2017-03-07/4-killed-overnight-texas-panhandle-wildfires

Four young ranchers were lost to soon. The story I read this morning was about a man and woman. Cody Crockett and Sydney Wallace. A third name was released this afternoon, his name was Sloan Everett. I didn’t know these individuals. I’ve read numerous stories on facebook and other media throughout the day about them . It has been said they were out trying to save their cattle. This evening I’ve also read reports of another man who lost his life due to the fire–Cade Koch.

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Cody and Sydney- Top Sloan-Middle Cade-Bottom Photo Courtesy of KCBD News Channel 11

 

I have to say I’ve never met an industry more wrapped around values, strength, gratitude and hard work. Farmers and ranchers often get a bad wrap for not taking care of their crops and stock as well as those who know nothing about the industry would like us to.

Just yesterday after reading dozens of stories about the avian flu found on a chicken farm in Tennessee I was in disbelief of the comments knocking the family farms and the way we raise our animals. Granted there were plenty family farmers politely responding to the comments and graciously asking those with concerns to ask us questions. Most of the comments were along the lines of the filthy conditions we raise our animals in and how we are about the money and doing anything in our means of making more money even if it affects the quality of their food. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

These four amazing individuals from the Texas panhandle- CODY CROCKETT, SYDNEY WALLACE, SLOAN EVERETT and CADE KOCH are proof of how well we take care of our stock. Proof of how much those animals mean to us. Granted, I don’t know the story. I assume they were out there doing whatever they could to let their herd loose granting them a chance at survival. I would like to think most ranchers would do the same.

I think those not involved in the industry can’t comprehend how much our stock actually means to us as farmers and ranchers. Most may just see a cow or a bull that they think is a cow. I personally see a certain cow that is maybe first to the bunk every morning or a cow who is an amazing mom. I have a cow that has such a huge spot in my heart because I raised her from a bottle calf. My father in law named her sugar and her tags in her ear read in huge letters- SUGAR and she is one of best mommas. Or the #8 cow who is spunky and full of life and has a white patch on her left side. 8904 who is the only white face cow who has a soft spot in my heart. Heck even the bulls have their own temperament and personalities.

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I pray so hard for the families who lost these precious people. They are husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters. They are someones everybody and it truly truly leaves a pit in my stomach. I can’t imagine what their family and friends are going through. I do know that we need to pray for them. Pray for them so hard.

Along with the lives of these individuals thousands of acres have been destroyed along with plenty of cattle ( I have yet to hear a figure). We need to pray for those who have lost either.

Outsiders looking in who know nothing about our marvelous industry may think so what, its a few head of cattle and some grass that burnt. It’s more then that. It is ranchers livelihood. Their passion. Something they may have worked for years building.

If it’s one thing I do know—those facing this awful tragedy will come out on the other side with their head held high. One thing I do know about farmers and ranchers is that we are strong. We work together to help those in our industry that need us. We face so many challenges–mostly due to weather and this strong wind did a doozy on some fellow ranchers this go around. So I urge you to pray, to listen to their stories, offer encouragement or help if possible.

Ranchers are generations and generations of STRENGTH. We will continue to provide great care for our stock that feeds the country even through the tough challenges we face.

Rest in peace dear ranchers. May God be with your families and friends and may he be there for those who have lost their cattle and acreage.

 

 

FarmHER in progress….

As a teenager, I considered myself a self proclaimed “Farm Girl“. Little did I know, what I thought made you a farm girl back then would be put to shame by what I know makes you a farm girl now.

Looking back I should’ve classified myself as a country girl. My grandfather farmed and my dad did as well until he started working off the farm when I was in grade school. My grandfather and uncle continued to farm. We moved to town and then back to the country when I was in fourth grade. As a child I remember being around cows but I didn’t work and interact with them on a daily basis. I remember driving my dads old ford pick up while he fed out of the back. I remember cows getting out and having to go with grandpa to go fix fence. I remember riding in the tractor with grandpa while he sang and drove along like there were no problems in the world. I remember driving our little three wheeler down the windrows of hay and grasshoppers plastering me. I spent endless hours catching frogs, fish and tadpoles. I was always outside and I honestly don’t remember watching much TV.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am, in awe of what made me think I could call myself a farm girl back then. The past 11 years has opened my eyes so wide when it comes to the Ag Industry. 11 years ago, I never would’ve guessed I would move away from my hometown. I never would’ve guessed I would be helping take care of 160 cow calf pairs and 21 heifers—driving a 36ft trailer and actually managing not to hit anything–running all over the country side picking up parts and moving equipment–wearing a ball cap and blue jeans everyday.

Kudos, to all those women out there who have worked on the farm from day one. Granted, if my dad kept farming I would’ve been right there with them. However, in some way God has brought me back to something that completes me.

This past fall, Seth took a job off the family farm and was working a little over an hour away from home. It was harvest. We had 100 cows calving, and it was crazy. It was crazy but awesome! Being out on the farm and caring for something that you have raised is such a rewarding feeling.

Granted, this has been one heck of a learning experience and it will continue to be the rest of my life. I wish I had a dollar for every phone call I made to Seth this fall when I was checking cows because I wasn’t sure what certain signs I needed to be looking for. Or if a calf looked off what the heck I was suppose to do. We lost 6 calves in just one group this fall. It was an awful feeling and I sometimes wonder if Seth had been there if we would’ve lost that many in that bunch. We lost two at the other place but both were stillborn and there wasn’t much I could’ve done. Its a live and learn lifestyle for sure.

Lately the kids and I have been feeding all cows for the most part on a daily basis. I love it. Kinze LOVES it.img_2298

Grady hates it—but he will come around. I’ve finally mastered feeding with the tractor and was getting in the groove. Then my dad let us borrow his truck which has a bale bed on it. I wouldn’t be lying if I said it looks like a circus has come to town when I am trying to feed with it. I’ve wasted more hay this winter then Seth probably has in the past five years. I am learning as I go, that’s for sure. You know its bad when your son tells your husband that mommy doesn’t know what shes doing.

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The cows have become my girls. I have one group that hold a special place in my heart. It’s disheartening how society thinks that we as producers don’t take care of our stock and are only in it for the money. I’ll leave that story for a different day.

I guess what I am getting at is how lucky I am to be able to do what I love everyday. Granted, cow crapped covered boots and jeans, ball caps, and silage smelling truck interior is not every woman’s cup of tea—it is mine. I am so happy I have found that. I know there are many laughs to come. For instance the day I actually get to help work cattle (in 11 years of being with Seth I’ve literally barely helped twice- and maybe there are good reasons for that, lol). I could shout to the earth tops how much I love these cows–but I won’t. When others smell cow crap, I smell money. When others see a “poor mistreated” animal I see a cow and her calf that I see and feed and check on, on a daily basis. I am so proud of what we do. What we, in the Ag industry do.

I know I still have a long ways to go. I will constantly be learning. Granted I hope I own up to my mistakes and learn from them. I hope I can bust fewer bales while transporting them. Become more efficient at raking hay. Speed up my time it takes to load 7 bales on the dump trailer ( I swear a 5 year old could do it faster). Feel more confident when speaking to others about our operation.

I will be the first to tell you I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to cattle. It embarrasses me that I’ve been around cows the past 11 years and only in the last couple have I become fully involved. What counts though, is now I have been given the opportunity to help–to learn by doing–to be a part of something I truly love. Granted I know only a smidgen of what I hope to learn over the years to come.

So 20 year ago was I a farm girl–HECK no! A country girl yes. Can I say that on the last day of February in 2017 that I am farm girl– HECK yes and I am PROUD of it. Hard work–dirty work–rewarding work has brought me so much happiness. I am a proud FarmHER and RanchHER. I have a long ways to go. In 20 years I can look back and laugh at all my rookie mistakes—heck even write a book, simply because there are so many.

So right now what seems to be a chaotic crazy cow woman can hopefully transform into a confident advocating cattle-woman. So stay tuned for my mistakes on this crazy roller coaster ride that these ladies are about to put me on……….

Gone are the days……

Lately, the world has become a scary place. Or lets face it……its been that way for awhile.

In my eyes, today’s society has stripped our children of their childhood. Technology has stripped them.

Granted, everyone is brought up differently and every family has their own way of life.

My childhood didn’t include endless hours in front of the TV watching cartoons or playing video games.

When I think of my childhood it brings a smile to my face and tugs on my heart strings. Today, driving back from my parents house looking in rear view mirror watching my children each holding an ipad playing their games as we sped down the road….. I thought to myself…….they are missing so much and it’s my fault, not theirs. I passed mini van after suv with dvd players playing in the backseat and my car was included in that category.

My family went on vacation every year. I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity. Of all those trips I only remember one, where technology played a part in the trip and that was my sophomore year of high school…..a VHS player in a van as we strolled down the road. Instead of my head glued in a cell phone or ipad…..I played car bingo…..or I spy with my little eye. I took in the scenery and mother natures landscape.

I don’t want my children to miss out on the little things, the important things all because I allow them to indulge in the meaningless things only for the sake of my sanity and plea of a quiet trip home.

This led me to think about how so much our world and time has changed and how it affects our kids lives.

Gone are the days of letting our child walk down the road alone to a friends house. Gone are the days of letting a child use the restroom by themselves. Gone are the days of leaving your children in your car while running into the gas station to pay for your gas. Gone are the days of sending our children to the mall or movies with friends and not having to worry that they won’t be gunned down by someone for no reason. Gone are the days where schools were the place kids felt safe and out of harms way. Gone are the days of letting a child have a childhood instead of forcing them to grow up way to soon due to demands from today’s society. Gone are the days of trusting someone you think you know to watch your children.

My childhood was filled with SOO many great moments.

Making a tepee out of bark and zip ties with my brother acting like we were Indians and expecting to run away to our imaginative camp some night.

Fishing with the family—ALWAYS getting my hook caught in my hair or someones shirt.

Putting on plays in the hay loft after spending hours trying make it the best we could.

Running the creek beds looking for animal tracks and trying to identify them.

Singing “This Little Light of Mine” around my Aunt Lenora’s piano with a handful of other kids and cousins.

Standing in a corner with soap in my mouth for singing “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus.

Skipping down the drive way with my grandpa singing skip to my lou……

Riding four wheelers through the windrows in the hay field……

Girl Scouts—-soooo many great memories with this group. We had amazing leaders. Singing songs….camping…..singing carols at the nursing homes… SELLING cookies of course.

4-H- making a dessert and selling it at the auction and enjoying that dessert with the person who bought it. All loading up in a livestock trailer and going from one family to another singing Christmas carols.

Riding in parades in support of my grandpa again supporting him for State Representative.

Showing animals…..cakes……photography……at the county fair.

Feeding cattle and driving while my dad feeds from the back of the truck.

Spending hours at church hanging out with the youth group and putting on the Christmas pageant.

Swimming in the pond…….not the pool.

The list could go on and on and on…. (kind of like how this post is getting).

Point being, what do they have in common? None of them include technology.

I will be the first to admit that I let my kids watch way to much tv and spend to much time on the ipad. It is the norm in today’s society but that doesn’t mean it has to be your norm.

The rest of the way home I thought of ways I could give my children those memories and moments that they would remember for years to come. Granted they are 2 and 4 and are just now coming into a time where they will maybe remember things. Even so, I want them to have those moments. As a stay at home mom, I use technology as an out or a time out from having to play with them so I can finish a household task or get two minutes to myself. It shouldn’t be that way. Tonight I vow to myself to do better. I’m not saying I won’t let them have it every now and then but I won’t use it as a way to occupy them from getting “bored”. There is a whole world outside for that. Same thing goes as far as having my nose stuck in my phone instead of giving them my full attention. I do it a lot, and I am trying to do better on not doing. Leaving my phone lying in the other room or putting it on silent all together.

Truth is, these are moments we can’t get back. These are moments I can’t get back of them doing something they are proud of and seeing the look on their face. Or moments they are missing of spending with me because they see my phone being more important than them.

The world will forever be changing…advancing…..technology will drive the continuing advancements the most. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but it is CRUCIAL that we don’t let it change us or our priorities or our family aspect for that matter.

So here is saying bye to the days of technology controlling my life, my families life. Here’s to saying welcome back to the days of bonding time…enjoying gods beauty work…..and raising my children like I was raised……with LOVE, FAITH, FAMILY, and FARMING. I may not be able to give my children the memories I have but I can give them moments to remember—it may not be a tepee made of zip ties and bark…….but it could be something even better!

Single Mom Syndrome

Harvest time is my favorite time of year. The smell. The dust. The sounds. The SUNSETS. That being said…..harvest time is my hardest time of year. During harvest most farmers’ wives become single moms. They are alone with the kids 24/7. They have to pick up slack of all the other things that must be done on the farm…..all while maintaining their normal duties as a mom. Every harvest I always find myself thinking about how strong and amazing single moms are.

This is the first year of harvest that I have been given a lot of responsibility. We bought another group of cows this past spring which has doubled our herd. Currently we have about a little over 100 cows calving. This past week there has been no rain in sight and this mom and kids were in charge of checking the herd. Checking cows with two kids is like trying to corral chickens whose heads are cut off. It is a sight to see. Kinze’s flipping all the switches and pushing all the buttons she can reach on the ranger. Four wheel drive goes on and off. Grady’s screaming because cow poop landed on his arm. Kinze’s smearing cow crap on her legs. Kinze somehow manages to wiggle out of her seat belt. Kinze rips the sheet with the calving list in half(I’ve rewritten this list 3 times so far). Kinze screams spooking a new mom. Cow runs off before I can see her tag number. Kids are sweaty and fussy as I load them in the truck. Kinze finally falls asleep as we turn to head home. Grady is complaining because he doesn’t want to go check another set of cows. I explain to him that’s how mommy and daddy make money to buy his toys. He tells me he doesn’t want any more toys. I secretly scream inside my mind…….We arrive at the second group of cows and the process starts all over.

This past week my husband has been out the door before the kids wake up and doesn’t arrive home until we are ALL sound asleep in bed. I haven’t talked to my husband in days. I mean yes we have talked but its simply because I’ve had calving issues or he needs me to go do something else for him. On my watch so far, we have lost two babies. It’s heart wrenching watching a cow bellow at her calf and look up at you like shes begging you to do something. I’m in no way an experienced cattle woman. I really am a beginner.

I’m not complaining, even though it may sound that way. Every job in life is challenging. Its how we handle it is what makes or breaks us in this world. I love that my children know more about the process of crop and livestock production then most adults do. I love that we see a cow and Kinze immediately starts screaming “DOW” at the top of her lungs. I love that Grady comes home from the field and gets his farm equipment all lined up to match what he just saw in the field. I love watching the sunset over the pasture with our livelihood staring back at me.

I have been blessed with an amazing mother and father in law that have already helped me out already so many times this harvest, which I am so grateful for. Checking cows by myself is so much easier…..and honestly it has become my “ME” time. I can’t count how many times I’ve already cried this harvest season out of frustration but hey I’m not ashamed. It’s tough but I am able to push forward because of the help I have. Without them….my life jacket would’ve already fallen off at sea and I would’ve been eaten by sharks….or in my case the ranger would’ve ran out of gas and I would be eaten by coyotes and buzzards….

Regardless……nothing beats watching the sun set on something you’ve managed to maintain for another day…..My kids may have eaten a bag of chips and fruit snacks for lunch that day……my house may be a complete disaster…..I may have realized I haven’t showered in three days……but my kids are still alive and healthy, our cows are fed and chewing their cud…..and me….my heart is still beating and I’m still able to breathe in the smells of harvest….and cattle………..or that could just be me I’m smelling.

Corn Cob Chaos

Planting season has arrived- earlier than normal. Most guys have wrapped up corn planting and are itching to start on beans. With the abnormal temperatures and dry conditions it seems as though things are earlier than most years.

We planted our 120 acres of corn (we have to start small) last week. I wasn’t around the day it was planted unfortunately, as the photo geek I am I  really wanted to get pictures.

Can I say I know every detail about the process of planting and all the mechanics and settings involved- no I clearly cannot. Though I can tell you, each year that passes I know more and more and sometimes take my husband by surprise when I know something he had no clue I did. The process intrigues me and I am more than willing to watch and listen to pick up things for the following year.

We are doing something most wouldn’t—planting corn on corn. Most rotate out corn-beans-wheat. The farm we bought had been planted in beans for five years so we did corn last year and had plans to do part in beans and all the rain last year changed the plans. So here we sit 2016 with 120 acres of corn. Input costs are high and crop prices are low—which scares the crap out of me but that’s what comes with farming–highs and lows–currently sitting at a low.

We have decided to go on the no-till route. Which simply means we go year to year without breaking or disturbing the ground with tillage. I never knew anything about this practice until I met my husband and can honestly say I don’t know the ins and outs but I am learning. It’s strange looking at all the fields that have been worked–turbo tilled–field cultivated-disc-etc and seeing how clean those fields look, and then look at our farm where there are corn stalks and trash from the previous years, which this year made it hard for Seth to even see his marker when planting.

I hope to update this blog weekly with the progress of the crops to share with those a more in depth process behind corn production—

Here are a few pictures of where we stand now. The corn was planted on April 16th and 17th—

This picture is from April 23. Let the progression begin-

Life…Accordingly

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At my last visit with my psychiatrist he asked me, “What do YOU want to do when your kids are in school?”

I stopped and thought and couldn’t seem to speak. Eventually I told him I hadn’t really thought about it.

Becoming a mom takes a lot from you. For awhile you lose sense of who you are, or at least I did. You are a cook, story teller, diaper changer, chauffeur, a live in maid, financial adviser, head of management and so forth…

I have always been the type where I have to plan everything and if something doesn’t go according to plan I freak.

When I graduated high school, the plan was to attend community college and graduate with my associates, get my degree in Ag Education at a University and get my Masters degree once I had accomplished all that. I would then get married after finding a good job and eventually raise a family. That’s how it all turned out right? Close, but not quite.

I’ve accomplished the Associates degree and completed another year towards a degree in Ag Business before being derailed by a freight train.

After all that knocked me down, I didn’t manage to get back on the horse (college) before we were blessed unexpectedly with Grady. It wasn’t until almost four months in that we found out I was pregnant.

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I’ve wanted to get back to college and take classes and it is always on my mind but with two children and a husband who farms for a living so far that has been impossible.

When my psychiatrist asked me that day what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I was dumbfounded. I hadn’t even thought, hey I still have a life to live for MYSELF. I am more than just a mom. The last couple of nights I have had even more difficulty falling asleep (dang farmers and their time change needs 🙂 ). Laying in bed, my mind wanders from A to Z but the last few nights it has gone back over and over to what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Here is what I’ve come up with as a list of possibilities:

  1. Write a childrens book to promote agricultural literacy!
  2. Go back to college to complete a degree in Ag Journalism and freelance for various ag publications.
  3. Become a certified vet assistant and work in a large animal clinic.
  4. To not go back to work and work a long side my husband on the farm and be basically a “room mom” at school, when needed.
  5. Open up a greenhouse and nursery.

Truth is, no matter which of these paths I take, or even if I don’t take any of these paths it’s important to do something that makes me happy. That brings joy and a sense of accomplishment.

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I am blessed to be able to stay at home with both of my children during these years that I will never get back. However, thinking of the future and what God has planned makes me excited. I love agriculture, love promoting it and living it. I hope it is included somehow in my future. I am sure it will be, being as almost anything you do or need somehow in one way or another relates back to agriculture.

I know raising kids is an accomplishment in itself. It’s probably the most challenging yet rewarding job out there. I know no matter what I do or don’t do as a career woman in the future, my children won’t care. They will remember the times we checked cows and “mooed” at ever cow out there, jumping in mud puddles until their boots were stuck in the mud, fishing in “their” pond, or just singing International Harvester at the top of our lungs as we drove to preschool everyday.

As much as I think I need to do something “career” wise to impress my children or satisfy my need for accomplishment, the truth is, I’ve already accomplished so much. No matter what God has in store for the future I am just happy being mom and enjoying it while I still can.

If I would’ve told my 18 year old self that in 10 years I would have two children, no college degree, and was a stay at home mom, I probably would laugh. Life hasn’t gone according to plan and it has caused me much chaos but I am starting to learn you can’t live by a plan. You can plan, plan, plan all you want, but you never know what is to come or what road blocks or blessings you may face.

What I can do, is look back at the life I thought I would plan for myself and smile and laugh at the road God has decided to put me on instead. Maybe he thought I needed time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Maybe he knew I was going through such a dark time and a little bundle of joy and the work that comes with it would pull me from my lowest of lows. Maybe he knew I needed a bottle calf this week to snap me out of my funk and remind me how simple and enjoyable life can be when you have something that makes you happy. Yes, it took a bottle calf to remind me of my earlier years. To remind me how much I love animals and the outdoors. God put her in front of me and just a couple days later decided he had another cow who would take her and give her the life she deserves. Just like that, my wake up call has gone back out to the pasture to live the life God has planned for her.

We can plan our life….or we can live our life accordingly. Planning can make for a nice life, a cautious life. Living life accordingly can be a challenge but I’ve learned to go with it and live day by day. Today I may be a stay at home mom but in 15 years I may be speaking at a women in ag conference about where I am today. So my new plan,  is there is no plan. I am open to whatever he has in store. For now I will raise my children until he tosses something else on my plate or takes something off it. I will be happy with the life I live and look forward to my future of living according to his plan.

California 2013 264

Farming is in the Blood

Here we are at 11:30pm. Really 12:30AM with the time change, well not quite yet but same concept. Anyways, I once again am unable to get my mind to shut down or wind down for the night.

My husbands family farm equipment auction was this weekend. I have only been around 10 short years compared to the lifetime Seth’s family has been involved in the daily operation of Olipharm Inc.

My husbands grandfather built this farm he has, from nothing except the help he had from his partner and what I would call his financial backer. Now most of you may think, well he was just relying on the money from the partner to make this all work. That isn’t the case.

His partner passed away a few years ago. In just the short time hes been gone, things have drastically changed for his families operation.

When I first met Seth, I thought he was lying about the acreage his grandfather owned and rented and the number of head of cattle he was running.  I thought it was all for show and to somehow impress me. Turns out he wasn’t lying. From the first date I had with Seth, he has never said a bad word about the man nor disrespected him in any form. He talks so highly of him. After being here, going on ten years I can easily see why.

He’s not a man who brags about what he has accomplished. He’s not a man that lives a luxurious life even though he has the means to be able to. The man just sold his truck at the auction this weekend and it had well over 200,000 miles on itas problem after problem. I feel as though most men who had to put up with as many problems as that truck had would’ve just went and bought a new one. He never did. In fact he bought a brand new farm truck for the farm. He could’ve easily driven it as his daily driver, but instead let the farm hand drive it full time. He didn’t buy fancy equipment or much new equipment. He knew how to keep his money tight and did so and you can see how that was an benefit when it came down to what he has built.

Many don’t realize the expense farming has with it. When I see a $300,000 house listed or even a $200,000, I think most people don’t realize, that to a farmer, one who buys new equipment that could easily be met with just a few pieces of machinery or just a brand new combine in itself.

We have always relied on the benefit of being able to use his grandfathers and uncles equipment which I know has allowed us to get where we are today. I don’t know how someone my age could start farming and make a living by just the farm without the help of an established farmer or family farm.

Seth’s father wasn’t a farmer full time when he passed away. He helped as much as he could on the farm after work. He is the grandson and nephew of a farmer, and that puts us in a predicament when starting out on our own. We have always relied on his grandfathers equipment to put out hay, mow rake and bale hay, and his uncle to plant and harvest our crop.

With his grandpa having the auction he did this weekend we were tossed out in the ocean without our life vests so to speak. We are truly starting our operation in the next months to come. Luckily we were able to purchase a rake and baler at the auction and are set for the hay season as we have been able to purchase a tractor and mower this past summer. It’s nerve racking. Its frustrating trying to beg for money at the bank when the chances of staying a float are up in the air. Luckily we found a few who were able to take a chance on us, and I know if we can manage to make it through the next couple of years we should be sitting in a much better position.

What has kept us driven and bound and determined to do what we can is to keep his grandfathers legacy alive. To not let something he has worked so hard for his ENTIRE life just fly out the window. You see a lot of family farms that are broken up when one generation passes away due to greed and the amount of money they are able to obtain. Other generations work together day after day to maintain a future for the next generation to come. I know some family acreage is sold to make money to make it through the tough times that come with farming. It kills me when that happens and I pray Seth and I are able to hold on to the acreage we bought last year to pass down to our little farm kids.

I hope we can look back in 50 years and be proud of what we have accomplished. I hope his grandfather is doing the same tonight. I hope he knows he has worked his whole life for something that most of his family is willing to continue on. I hope he knows he has a grandson who he has taught strong worth ethic, raising a crop, and the ins and outs of raising cattle.

As we go in to the next couple of months I pray I am able to help out more, and be the woman I want to be, the one who works out in the field with her husband, the one that makes me happy. I feel greatest when I have worked a days work out on the farm or just working and accomplishing something in general. That may be loading thousands of tires and square bales with my dad. Mowing thousands of hours with my dad. Hauling hay with my husband. Attempting to help work cattle (I’m not the greatest, but I will learn right?)

I want to be more involved. Mow and rake hay. Field cultivate. Haul more hay, etc. That is what makes me feel more like myself out of anything in the world (well besides fishing and gardening lol).

I want to be a farmHER just not a farm wife. I am stepping up the plate this year and I hope my husband knows that. I know there will be lots of laughs and tears as I make stupid mistakes, but I can only learn from them.

Up until this point I haven’t been able to be as involved as I would like because Seth’s grandfather and other farmers don’t believe women belong out working on the farm. When Seth and I first met, I mowed as much as I could at the farm even though his grandfather didn’t think I should.

I am not a girly girly. I would like to be at times. I haven’t worn makeup in over 5 months other than just mascara, and heck I’m probably not even applying that right. I look like a five year old when I try to use a curling iron to curl my hair, so those have been tossed in a drawer and have an inch of dust on them. If this puts things in to perspective- I have and wear more of a variety of hats than my husband. It’s just me. I am comfortable. Basic Tee, jeans, and lately more tennis shoes than boots. I always want to put make up on and a sexy outfit for a date night with my husband but then when I finally apply makeup and put on something I don’t normally wear I feel so uncomfortable and silly it sometimes ruins the night. When I get my hair cut, it has to be something that looks right when it is in a pony sticking out the back of a ball cap. That’s just me. I’ve tried to be the girly type, but that’s just not me.Heaven help Kinze if she ever wants to be a cheerleader or be the girly type, although already shes acts more like a boy than a girl, lol.

Regardless, I was raised in a farming environment, and Seth obviously was too. Our kids have the choice to be whoever and whatever they want to be. I just hope that with the farm life, the work load, work ethic, and memories they are able to at least enjoy the life we give them. I hope they are able to hopefully pass on the traits that our grandpas and families have given to us to their children.

Like they say you can take the girl from the farm, but not the farm out of the girl. Or in our case our kids may choose to leave the farm, but no matter what they will always have the memories, the work ethic, and knowledge of agriculture that our families have passed down to us. Farming is in our blood, and no matter how much anyone or anything tries to change us we will always have family traditions and the farming way of life pumping through our veins.

You Know You’re a Farmer’s Wife When…

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others.

Especially when you’re a mom or a wife.

I often find myself trying to imagine myself in another persons shoes.

What would it be like to have a husband, who works a nine to five job? What would it be like to live in town and not have to drive to town everyday? What would it be like to drive a mini van rather than my truck? How different would my children be if we didn’t live in a rural environment?

I can go on and on.

However, I wouldn’t change my life no matter how many things I imagined.

Today I was tossing around the idea of how the environment we are raised in, relays into every aspect of our lives.

I love living in rural america. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Often times people can sort of categorize others or themselves in to different categories…

Farmers, Ranchers, Rednecks, City People, Hippies, Gypsy’s, etc.

Today I spent a lot of time thinking about what makes me a farmers wife—other than the fact I am married to a farmer (that is first and foremost the biggest contributor).

 

You know you are a farmer’s wife when…

Instead of running clothes to the dry cleaners, you find corn kernels and bolts at the bottom of your washing machine.

You can tell whether a semi is a Peterbuilt or Kenworth when you pass it.

You can tell what truck is getting ready to go by your house by the sound of the tires or exhaust coming down the road….(not all trucks but there are a handful that I know).

You do a happy dance when it rains, but still feel bad for your husband if he has to get out and feed or it delays a day of planting or harvest.

All family events revolve around the weather.

Your kids first words include tractor.

Your wardrobe consists of flannel, jeans, and ball caps.

You drive a truck rather than a mini van or SUV.

Fall is your favorite time of the year- because of harvest.

You name your child after a farm implement **KINZE.

80 percent of your date nights with your husband involve riding in a tractor or feeding cows.

When you tell the kids to be quiet so you can hear the market prices on the radio.

When you find reading Farm Journal or the Cattlemans Advocate enjoyable.

You know the difference between- Asgrow, Chanel, Pioneer, Dekalb, Lewis, Producers Hybrids, etc.

The list could go on and on.

People judge and classify people all day long. The truth is, we are what we are, and no one can change that no matter how hard they try

love21

 

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