Sunday, September 7, 2014

"There are two lasting gifts we can give our children - one is roots and the other is wings" Hodding Carter Jr

As summer has officially ended and we have had a few weeks to get back into the swing of being away from the farm at school each day, I was thinking about the things we do over the summer that I never thought I would do until I became a farmer's wife. I grew up a city girl. Some may even say I was a pool rat as I lived only a block away from the swimming pool in town and sometimes spent more afternoons there then in my house. Since this is my sixth summer as a farmer's wife, here is a list of the top six things for you -

6. Going for 'asleep' on a big RED tractor - Even when we first started dating and Mark still lived in the basement and then when we moved in together, I soon found out if I wanted to spend time with him I was going to have to learn to farm. One of my first experiences was helping chop corn - which involves many trips back and forth between the field and the bag to hook and unhook wagons full of corn silage then unload them into a VERY large plastic bag. It was such a fun day, by the end of it I was curled on the tractor floor sleeping! Now my girls have taken my turn on the tractor (and I believe all of them have fallen asleep in their daddy's lap - a place I am now a little too big for -at some point in time too.)

5. Pretending I have the muscles to 'throw' around some bales of hay and straw - Anyone who knows me knows that I have little to no muscles, but every summer I break out the ones I do have to help unload bales of hay and straw from the many wagons that make their way from the field into the yard. My girls have always liked to watch and now my middle one really wants to be big enough to help. (I hope that enthusiasm continues for the next five years until she is able to help!)

4. Mixing up 'milk' in a 5 gallon bucket (or two or three) twice a day - This was one of the first jobs I learned how to do on my own on the farm and now my six year old has done the same. This summer she had about a two week stint when she got up with her dad and learned how to mix up milk, fill bottles, and put the nipples on all by herself - I was not allowed to help with the preparation. It was neat to watch her take charge and learn how to do it on her own. You can also often find her up in the new free stall barn petting her favorite cow (605) or telling the cows what 'movie' is playing on the imaginary big screen she said was in the barn when her dad asked why all the cows were standing together on one end of the barn on a hot day!

3. Knowing my husbands mood by the weather outside - I am not sure I can ever count the number of times I have heard 'Did I ever tell you I hate the cold, snow, sleet, rain, heat, sun, clouds (insert any weather word here!) And because we live in Iowa we burn both ends of the candle. When the Polar Vortex marked extreme cold temps this winter the snowmobile goggles came out to ride the tractor when feeding the cattle and the calves needed coats, but last summer when the temp marked 100+ almost daily a sprinkler system traveled along the fence line to keep the cows cool.

2. Planning life around the cows - Cows need fed and milked two times a day 365 days a year - there is no day off. This includes all major holidays. Christmas has become the most interesting to work around. Last year we added making homemade cinnamon roll dough in the breadmaker and baking the rolls so we had something to do to wait for daddy - and usually stockings get dumped out to play with what is inside ;) I heard an idea from a friend about a scavenger hunt they do with their boys to make opening presents a little more exciting and I think that may make its way to out house next year and maybe even get us out to the barn to help daddy get done sooner! We are lucky enough to have family close enough to help if I can convince my husband he needs to have a little time away so we usually take at least one or two overnight trips in a year. And we also do some really fun day trips that I hope my girls will remember. One of the best I can remember is a day we took a ferry with van and all across the Mississippi on our way back from Cabela's in Prairie du Chien - the girls (and mommy) found it fascinating the van could float across the river. I hope these are the things my girls will remember when they grow up and have families of their own.
1. Watching my girls hold their daddy's hand as they follow him around and learn the 'way' of the land - It is pretty handy that we can walk out the door and find Mark somewhere working most all times of the day. (And on occasion he can take a break and join us for some fun as well.) They see him in action most all the time - as he never seems to slow down. (which has given me the idea for a different post - so stay tuned for that!) I am not saying that I did not learn A LOT from two of the hardest working parents when I lived in town, because I did. It was just that I did not live the job and that is what we do here. They can join in and help and anytime which not only makes us a family, but a family who works and plays together.

The 'tail' end - what do you like the most about where you raise your family? 

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