Wednesday, October 31

How Do You Do It?

In the mornings I often have time to quietly reflect on things from the previous day.
Things I have encountered, read or said.  Kind of like when I told Chuck his burp smelled like garbage.  That's to be on my "highlight reel" FYI.

I believe in introspection to the highest degree.  Thus I often feel a sense of guilt for oh, I dunno, the garbage comment for example.  It was funny though, and I'm still laughing.  But for the most part I look back and think of how I handled situations and if I could have done it differently. 

Would the outcome have been different?
Would it have mattered?

The biggest question I ponder is how to live life.  I mean, how do you do it? 
Do you "live every day to it's fullest"?
Are you a "regret nothing" kind of person?
Do you "plan for the future"?
"Dream big, act small"?
Are you a worrier?

I think I am in the middle of the mix.  Somewhere.  What I would really like to know is the answer.  I mean, should I live for today?  Dancing in the rain is fun at the time, but then you have wet socks, your pants are sticking to you're wet.  Yuck.

But you don't want to be that fuddy-duddy who stands by and watches everyone else, then when it's all said and done second-guesses their decision like, maybe I missed out on a life experience!
Then again they are sitting on towels and you're not.  Hmm.

Is it really worth going to bed angry to prove a point?  Should you make up in case there's no tomorrow?  Or, does making up mean giving in?  Hmm.

I'm a fast mover by all counts.  I mean if you're just standing there then you're probably in my way.  I have to make myself STOP collaborate and listen and be in the moment.  The father-in-law-on-the-roof-while-husband-is-facebooking-while-holding-the-ladder kind of moments.  Those don't just happen every day.  (And it's a good thing).

I have to give-in to the urge to dance Gangnam-style in the bathroom while Chuck gets ready.  Not just because I'm AWESOME at it, but because it makes him laugh and that's the best way to start the day.  Am I right?

Is there a wrong way to live?  I think living selfishly is the obvious answer.  Would living for the day be selfish?  I know what is waiting for me after this life, but what about those who don't?

This may be too deep for this hour, but these things are often on my mind.  I guess deep-down I wanna do it right.  Experience everything, but at the same time miss nothing.  That's tough muffin.  

So I guess my question for you is, how do you do it?  Do you take pictures remembering the moments, or are you left sitting on the towel?
Bet you didn't think there would be a quiz:).


P.s. Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 27

The Heart of a Farmer

As of late I have had a lot going on.  From the ladies in my head who won't stop interrupting me, to the ridiculous amount of heifers who have decided to calve atthesametime...there hasn't been much down time. 
WAIT!  I have to break to tell you about this thing that happened yesterday...then we will continue.

So, Tim and I were bringing a fresh heifer up to the dairy barn yesterday morning.  Now 99.999% of the time, which is like more than half, I back up to the barn, swing the gate open and they run into the barn at lightening speed.  (Then they hit the concrete and try to find the brakes).  Yesterday, we backed up to the barn, swung the gate open and she headed off the trailer...made a HARD right, bumped her head into the office door, which swung OPEN...and there she was...deciding whether or not she was going to run into the brains of the operation.  The home of the surveillance system.  The place where the computer, medicine, paperwork and everythingelse reside.  She stood there for 5 hours seconds, as silence fell on the world, my heart slowed, color drained from my face and I felt like I was going to throw up.  If you could imagine watching a train wreck, as it was happening, in slow motion...that would be quite the same I imagine.  Then, she changed her mind and ran back on the trailer.  I had to sit down.  Good grief.

Moving on...

During this past month I have done a lot of soul-searching, had an enormous amount of conversations with God, and overall tried not to worry about the future.  No easy task for anyone, right?  Throughout the talks I had had with Chuck, my sisters, my mom and Dr. Kirksy, one thing has become very clear to think differently.
Like waaaay different from non-farmer folk.  It really is the strangest thing.  Maybe people who didn't grow up on a farm don't see it much, but it's there.  We have this thing...this overwhelming sense of Hope that we are born with.  It's that "I can do anything if I try" mentality.  It's the inner entrepreneur coming out.  Like a silver lining around...everything. 
Sometimes I feel like Pollyanna (yeah, that's old-school) in that I am always trying to find the good.  My initial reaction to bad news is, "OK, now how can we make the best of this?".  Farmers don't give up.  We are born without the "quitter" bone.  I'm proud of that. 
We dream and we try, and if it doesn't work out at least we won't regret never giving it a shot.  That's what being a farmer is.  It's believing in something bigger, something greater, that even if we temporarily fail, in the end we have won.  We are self-made, and nine times out of ten our answer is "maybe" not "no". 
I didn't realize any of this until now.  Until my numerous conversations with people from all different backgrounds.  I have honestly never listened to someones idea and told them they couldn't do it.  Never.  Hey, it might not work.  They might crash and burn, but they tried. 
How many acres of corn have been planted that have gone to dust from lack of rain?  How many times has mother nature thrown a curve ball?  That hasn't kept us from planting or planning ahead. When the road seems to end, we start clearing trees.  We just don't give up.
There's a whole world of possibilities, and you don't have to be a farmer to realize it.  All it takes is having the heart of a farmer.


Thursday, October 18

Lessons From Mom

This past Saturday I left work early, and spent a couple of hours at the fall festival with my mom.  The Heat, you know her and love her.  She's without a doubt "awesome" all rolled up in a petite package.

While we were walking, browsing and chatting she said something that has stuck with me ever since.  She told me she had been talking to the ladies she works with about her kids and how she raised us, and she said, "I never really taught my kids how to do anything.  They picked up cooking, sewing, and any other activities like that on their own".
Say wha?

My mother, The Heat, honestly thinks she didn't teach us how to do anything.
I'm going to let that soak in.

OK, that being said, I' prepared to inform her that she is wrong and deal with the consequences.

My mother did not take me into the kitchen and show me how to make pie crust, cake, toast, frosting or chicken legs. She did not teach me how to perfectly decorate a cookie, or hem a cuff.  The Heat wasn't by my side washing windows, mopping floors or making my bed.  My mother did not fill out my college application, job applications or take my drivers permit test for me. She did not grab me by the hair and drag me out of bed so I would get up on time, she didn't quiz me on the books of the Bible or pressure me into feeling a certain way about the Lord.  My mom didn't teach me how to shoot a basketball, hit a softball or keep from getting a cramp when I'm running.  She wasn't by my side in dance class or dance auditions.  My mother did none of these things.


My mom sewed us little red bags with bears on them.  She made dinner every night, and let us help.  She took us out to eat and showed us how to be polite and quiet.  She made Malinda and I play together, which made us closer than sisters.  My mother always took us to dance class and watched every recital.  She never criticized us if we messed up or laughed at us when we looked ridiculous with our rosy cheeks and lipstick on.  She left us chores to do, because she knew we watched her do them and could repeat the procedure.  She left us lists of things to do because she knew, out of respect, we would do them.  She trusted us to be each others baby sitters, and take each other to school.  She always listened to our ideas and dreams, and never told us we couldn't do it.  She answered the phone when we couldn't figure a recipe out, after we took a hard test, when we thought we got a new job...and when our world seemed to be shattering.  She was the first person we called...for everything.  When she cried, we cried.  When she laughed, we laughed.  As we got older and saw how Church changed her life, we let it change ours. 

She's right.  My mother did not teach us how to do everything...she taught us that we can do anything.

If there is one lesson I have learned from my mom on how to be a good mom, it's the importance of loving and guiding your children. 

My mom will never think she is anything special, but there are at least 5 people who are a living testament otherwise.

I love you mama,

Tuesday, October 16

Nothing Like the Brochure

Have you ever gone on a trip and were thoroughly disappointed because the hotel you stayed in was nothing like the brochure said it would be?
That was totally yesterday.
Good grief.

I don't even know when it started its downhill spiral.
Was it with the machina no worky, first thing?
How about when it was brought to my attention that I put the wrong RSVP phone number on my friend's baby shower invites, that.I.already.mailed.?

Those are "no sweat" right?
The culminating factor was after lunch, when I chased a cow around the field.  No biggie, except for the the fact she had two feet and half a head sticking out of her.
She didn't think she needed to go to the barn, and proceeded to duck-and-dodge all across the field.
Occasionally I would get a hand on one of those slippery feet sticking out and try to dig my heels in, in an effort to slow her down.
That worked about as well as it sounds like it would.

I was left each time with slimy hands, and the dilemma of figuring out how I was going to pick up my water bottle that I tossed aside every time I caught up with her.

One of the more memorable events of the day was when my vet, Dr. K, came out and I stumped him.
I might be a little proud of that.  It's not often a large animal vet sees something new, trust me.
We finished our herd check and I popped the question, "what do you give a sick peacock?".
He fell silent, as if I had initiated a knock-knock joke and he wasn't sure if he was going to take the bait.

Then I showed him the sick peacock and he admitted that he had never even seen a sick peacock before.
FYI a sick peacock is a peacock that stands in one place for 6-8 hours on end.
It's an odd peacock.

I would say the turkey is still standing there considering the plan of action was to give it a 1cc shot
Uhhhh. Yeah.
It probably just needs a vacation.  I needs a vacation.

Speaking of needing a vacation, do you know how to get a kitten out of a baler?

Your initial thought might be to reason with it...sort of a hostage negotiation situation...

When that doesn't work, because we all know cats don't negotiate, you need to be sure that if you're going in you announce it so that you don't alarm the subject...
"Kitten!  Heeere is my hannnnnd!"

As with any rescue mission, positive reinforcement is necessary to keep everyone involved at ease.
A simple thumbs-up might be the ticket.

Finally, making sure not to put your body in harm's way, you dive in and make the rescue.

Cats are so grateful.

I don't even know where we would put a bale of kittens.


Monday, October 15


There once was a rough-looking cat,
Who's coat often looked like a rat.

He had miles of whiskers,
Never smiled for pictures,
And didn't once care where he sat.


One day after the milk he had drunk,
His brothers complained that he smelled like a skunk!

So Felix took note,
And glanced at his coat,
And discovered a bit of the funk.

It took him some time to decide,
Just which look was indeed his best side.

What's the point in a bath?!
Someone please do that math!
Give some reason before I abide!

His mother came to his aide,
Felix, what's all this trouble you've made?

He told her what had been done,
She then rescued her son,
And with her rough tongue she bathed.


 Monday morning cat's a good thing.


Monday, October 8


I try not to worry, try not to think about what could happen.  We live in a small town, not the big city after all.  Occasionally reality strikes and I realize that I have ignored silent calls for attention.  So silent that, unless you were looking for them, they easy go unnoticed.  

Men are the "protectors", especially in your line of work.  Who protects you?  Who erases the mental images from horrible, secret realities?  Who silences the noises from the helpless? 

Then it hits me.  I do.  

I, who so often am lost in my own world, with my own thoughts.  I, who think about the things that have happened to me at the end of the day, not the things you have seen.  Me.  Your love, your someone...your wife.

While it's so easy to ask, "what's wrong?", it's much easier to take the answer at face-value.  It's so easy to think it will get better, it will be OK.  Will it by itself?  Will it if looks don't linger after-the-fact?  Will it if I'm not looking for the clues? 

No, it's not a car chase or a showdown every day.  It's an ugly reality.  It's what happens behind closed doors.  It's what I don't see, but you do.  It's images, words, actions that cannot be erased from your mind.  They can't be taken back.  Nothing undone.

Patches are temporary.  Sewn with weak thread, in hopes of holding until they weaken and eventually tear...again.  Words are so easily used as bandages.  Words that come from mouths and not hearts.  Just to pass the time.

To be with you forever means to be strong.  Strong from the inside out.  Strength in emotions, feelings, thoughts.  Physically strong enough to hold you when you the thread gives way, and with a heart so strong it can handle months, years of ugly reality.  

I cannot make your days easier.  You have been put here, by God, to protect and serve.  It's your purpose, and something as natural to you as breathing.  I can be strong for you though.  So strong that nothing, not anything, can ever come between us.  We are one, and we will go through this life together. 

You and me.


Thursday, October 4


6 pounds of butter, 16 cups of cheddar cheese, 10 pounds of potatoes, 56 ounces of cream cheese, 6 pounds of broccoli, 64 ounces of macaroni noodles, 2 boxes of Ritz crackers, 20 ears of corn, 2 gallons of milk, buttercream galore and ONE broken crock pot=Wednesday.
Whew.  I'm spent.

Was it an early Thanksgiving?  Nope.
It was our neighbor Bill's birthday!!

Ever since we moved into our subdivision and met our dear friend Debra, who also happens to be our realtor:), I have been cooking Wednesday night dinners for her family.
Before you think I have completely lost it, you need to know she pays me.
There.  Better?

See, Debra has a, and she loves sit-down family meals in her home.  No restaurant.
I can't blame her.  More great memories are made from across the dining room table(not in front of the TV), than at Cracker Barrel. I have a part of my heart reserved for CB though, no disrespect. 

When I told Debra about how much I love to cook she asked if I could make a few things for her, thus began our food relationship.  Oh trust me, I have made plenty of things that she didn't like, but luckily the wins outweigh the losses.  Since she has quite a large family, I generally have to start the night before by making deserts and prepping food for the next day.  One oven=a lot of planning.  Even more when your crock pot just doesn't turn on and you have to resort to plan B.  Oh well, things happen.

One the menu for pick-up at 7:10 (an extra ten because of plan B) last night was;
-Mac and cheese (
-Broccoli cheese casserole (with Ritz crackers on top, because THAT is where it's at)
-Green beans
-Mashed potatoes (Tip in a sec)
-Corn on the cob (I have an awesome method for this, I'll tell you in a sec)
-Yeast rolls (duh)
-3-layer chocolate cake (with "Happy Birthday Bill" written on it bya4yearold)
-Cheesecake (Amen)
And banana bread and chicken salad for the week.

OK, so there are a couple of things I really feel like I need to tell you because they are helpful to know....
First, leave the shucks on!! When you are making corn on the cob the BEST way to do it (unless you're grilling it) is to leave it as-is, shucks and all, and throw it straight on the rack in a 350 degree oven.  Rack in the middle of the oven, don't touch it, don't worry for 30 minutes. I actually left my 20 ears in for 40-ish because I had a broccoli and cheese situation happening up top.  After 30 minutes, take it out, put it on a sheet, cover with aluminum foil, then shuck it when it's cool enough to touch.  Voila!!! Perfectly cooked corn, and it's easier to shuck!

Second, make a roux for pete's sake!  Velveeta isn't real.  Sorry to say, it's not.  It's cheese that can be left on a shelf, unrefrigerated, until the apocalypse and stillbegood.  Real?  Um,no.  If you're going to make anything with a cream or cheese sauce it's cheaper(and healthier) to skip the Velveeta and grab some butter and flour and make a roux.  Then add milk and cheese.  Then pour it over any vegetable no one wants and magically the veggies disappear!  You're a hero!

Third, you can make the mashed potatoes ahead of time.  Say wha?!  Yep, you sure can AND they will be good.  You won't resort to potato pancakes, or adding a little milk in them to moisten them up.  Promise, no crossies.  After you boil the taters, mash them(with a hand masher to keep the gluten more intact) and add butter, milk/cream/whatev, and cream cheese.  The cream cheese keeps them moist, so the next day all you have to do is set them out so they thaw a bit, then reheat them.  Why sure you can add a little more butter too:).  They may not be healthy, but if you wanted healthy you would be mashing cauliflower, savvy?

Those are 3 things I have learned that I wanted to pass along, in the event they may help someone in a potato crisis.  You're welcome. 

Disclaimer:  My stepson won't eat most of what I make, something about kids and fast food and smiley potatoes/velveeta shells and cheese/frozen chicken tenders etc,etc,etc.  I do have hopes that one day he will.  He eats the yeast rolls which is a start.  So I am not bashing anyone for what they prepare, just challenging.  I feel accomplished when I make something from scratch, and that feels good.  The end product may not be fluorescent orange, but I know everything that went into it.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Now to restock my fridge with food for my husband, so he doesn't have to resort to rolls and marinara sauce....again.
Still hearin' about that.