Saturday, October 22, 2011

Swingin’ on the Porch

The front porch of our home, so many, many years ago was a play place for Hubs’ grandfather.  His grandfather and great aunt were born here in the house we live in.

A little history for you…when we were first married, we lived in a nice mid-sized tenant house on a nearby farm.  It was just perfect for us.  We fixed it up a little and lived with it’s imperfections, as it was an old house.  In fact, I guess you could say we sort of loved it’s imperfections.  It was down a long lane, with only Amish folks for neighbors, which was a little unnerving, because I wanted to know I could call my neighbors on the phone in the night when I was terrified.  Which never occurred, so not an issue, but yaknowwhatImean…..  seven or so years into our marriage it was time to move into a different school district to be “home.”  Our oldest was entering school in a year and we HAD to be in our home district!  Multiple generations of this family went to our home district, so it was unthinkable that we wouldn’t!  :)   So, we moved into my Hubby’s parents’ home and they moved to a new home.  This made our kiddos the sixth generation to live here in this house.  Now THAT is awesome!  Hubs and I knew from the day we got married and lived in that little tenant house, that we would want to raise our kids right here in the country, right here where their history was.  Right here where are roots are.  It’s pretty cool when two people agree so whole-heartedly on those important kind of things, ya know? 

lloyd in swing

So when a cousin brought us this photo she had found of Hubs’ grandpa swinging on our front porch, I was elated.  My baby plays right there in that spot. In the footsteps of his great grandfather.  Though I never met him, his grandfather was a kind hearted, genuine man with a love for farming and a heart of gold.  Many people say that my husband resembles his grandfather in many ways physically and in temperament.  He must have been a great guy then!


I am thankful for all that Great Grandpa did for this family and for this farm.  I am thankful for the path that he established for our family and for the integrity that he engrained.  I wonder what he would think of farming in 2011?  I know he farmed with no cabs, no air conditioning, no gps and no variable rate technology.  How things have changed in 100 years!


Maybe I ought to go sweep the inch of dust off that old porch floor now and read a few blogs out there on my iphone?  Grandpa would be pretty amazed at that I am sure.

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Snapped from a phone camera, but lovely indeed.  This is dry corn being loaded into a semi to be taken to the elevator where it is sold. This is how the farmer gets paid!  Yeah!  Sometimes we put corn that is a little moist into our bins and use these enormous fire breathing dragons to push air through the bins and to dry the corn.  I’m positive that isn’t how my husband would explain it.  I am sure my explanation is more fun though.  Someday, I’ll get a good picture of those dragons when they are running and post it.  There are three on top of each other and at night when they are all fired up, it is freaky.  Freaky, fire, loud! 

Farmers can also take their moist corn to the elevators and have them dry it.  They have to pay the elevator to do that though, so it cuts into profits.  We have to pay to dry it too and propane isn’t cheap, but it must be cheaper than the elevator… I’m guessing.  Also, it allows us to make our own hours and not be constrained by the elevator hours.  Sometimes we want to keep harvesting and the elevator people want to go home after a 12 hour day and have 2 hours of a life.  Well, we don’t roll like that.  During harvest, we have no life…right girls!!?  We call ourselves Harvest Widows for a reason! 


You can see the steam rolling out of the dryer from behind these bins as the sun is setting and the grain is moving.  Beautiful.  There’s a theme to this blog I am noticing.  Beautiful.  That’s it. Beautiful bounty. sunset bins

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Our Neck of the Woods

I snapped this one early in the harvest season.  I just thought it was a gorgeous photo depicting life around here.  We live smack in the middle of an Amish settlement.  That means we have several Amish neighbors and our kiddos have Amish friends that they go to school with.  Actually, we have Amish friends too.  I think, don’t quote me on this, that there are almost as many Amish people round these parts as English people! Pretty cool huh? 


A common traffic situation around here involves a buggy or two or three or four, an Amish person on a bike, my ultra cool vanster, a semi, a piece of equipment, a flatbed hauling lumber and maybe even a tour bus.  It took me a very long time to get used to seeing buggies and so many bikes on the road.  The road apples were tough to get used to as well.  My kids don’t know any different!  How neat?  It’s just how life is for them.  They aren’t used to seeing roads without horse droppings on them! Ha!


Another difference I had to get used to was our uncontrolled intersections in the country.  Where I come from, SOMEONE had to stop at each intersection and you knew when it was you because they put a STOP SIGN IN FRONT OF YOU!  Novel idea!  I was blowing intersections around here for quite awhile before dear hubby enlightened me to the idea that most intersection don’t have stop signs either way.  WHAT?  That seems nutso to me! 

Wait, why did I move here again, horse poo on the roads, bikers and buggies and no stop signs?  Young love, oh ya, that was it!!

Now that it is old hat, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I count my blessings every. single. day. No place like home!

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Friday, September 30, 2011

A Poem About Friends

A friend of mine, her hubs drives a truck.

Because of this, I had the luck,

To meet and to have much,much fun.

Grocery shopping was our first run.

Coupon queens before it was so cool.

The kids all go to our little school.

This friend of mine is so very nice.

She helped me get control of my spice.

(cabinet that is.)


I’m no poet, but we sure did have fun organizing my cabinet.  Does that make us boring?  Welp, tis what it tis!



We have a Amish Bulk Food store in our area.  It is called Beachy’s Bulk Foods.  I love it.  Something I love is ANYTHING in bulk.  Sams Club is my happy place by the way.  Beachy’s sells any spice you could want, in bulk, for cheap.  So I have lots of spices to organize.


We butcher our own pork.  So I had to get every pork seasoning they have.  Which is 4: maple, Italian, mild and smoked.


My nice friend made fun of my home spray.  The stuff smells great when you burn food and need to hide the smell.  Like today!  I burned the corn I was feeding the field crew. Blech! Stink! Room spray to the rescue.  Then it smells like grandma’s kitchen full of oatmeal cookies.  See, I’m a realist.  I need room spray. (as a side note, I got a text from a very nice guy that works for us driving an auger cart.  He liked my burned corn. Or…..maybe he felt bad for me:) 


So now, my room spray along with my play dough making oils have a nice organized place to be in my spice cabinet.

And the world is a good place.  Thanks to my friend.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

“How To” Time

This is how you can tell if the kids had a good day playing outside.IMG_7376

I gotta say, it kinda grosses me out. 

If upon foot inspection you are not sure they are having fun…..IMG_7375

Just take a look at their faces!


Then you’ll know.


Crazy kids.

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The Big One That Didn’t Get Away

Our Oldest Boy got a special treat this year.  It is a sort of right of passage.  A newish tradition in the family.  When the kids get to be “a certain age” (like the age they are not in diapers and ready for the trip,) they get to go with their grandparents for a few days to their cabin in Canada.  A few years ago our oldest daughter took her turn. This year was HIS year!  He traveled up north with just MiMi and PaPa. 

(Something I love about this boys is, he only took PaPa’s ipad.  That’s it, that’s enough entertainment for the 15 hour ride in a truck!)

In this family, it’s a long running tradition to vacation at these two small cabins on a an island is southern Ontario Canada. My kids are the fifth generation to do so.  The beauty of this place doesn’t come from the lavish accommodations or the 5 star restaurants, but from the sheer beauty of the land and the lake and from the act of doing the same activities as so many generations before have done. 


7-11 jace big fish

The fishing was great this year.  This is a northern my boy reeled in. 

He is shown here with our number one lake guide, my FIL.  He is the third generation of his family to call this place his home away from home.  He takes our friends and family all over to experience the grandeur  the lake has to offer.  The fishing, hiking, site seeing and history of the lake are astonishing and he has a passion for sharing it with others.  He especially wants to instill in our kiddos the same love for the lake that he has.  (p.s. I think it’s working.)

Our oldest boy had an absolute blast with his grandparents this summer.  Don’t think he missed us a bit.  The feeling wasn’t mutual, but the experience for him was well worth mama’s lonesome heart. 

That proud little smile makes it all worth it! Great catch!

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Boots and Toots

My husband sent me these pictures the other day from his phone.  I gussied them up a little and thought you all might enjoy them.  When thinking of a title, Boots and Toots just naturally came to my mind.  It’s pretty descriptive our lives around here.  It’s dirty long days full of dirt and mud, it’s the boots and chaps and cowboy hats, wait that’s a Garth song.    It rained a little here the last few days and the sun hasn’t shone much to dry things out, so we are a little soggy (and apparently slap happy.)


These are Justin’s Redwings while he was hauling grain to or from a field in a semi.  While his brother is mostly a combine man during the fall, he is kind of a man with many hats.  He’d say he’s Da Boss (actually no he wouldn’t, but I can’t get that Saturday Night Live skit off my mind.) It’s a bit harsh for on here, but you can google it.  You may find my man in the pit where they dump the grain to be dried, or in a semi or a combine or maybe running for parts.  He likes my blog and is always sending me photos.  He’s sweet like that:)

muddy boots 2

This semi is a Kenworth.  It’s a bit oldish I think.  But  that makes for a great interior shot.  Cool huh?

  muddy boots

The Baby is REALLY into getting semis and tractors, combines, passing cars or any type of vehicle really to toot their horns.  We see alot of this…see the little arm going up and down asking for the passing semi to toot it’s horn?!  Adorable!


Toot! Toot! Happy gloomy, breezy fall day!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

It’s a Tricked Out Ride

Meet a new member of our team.  No, not the nice guy in the photo.  This guy is Luke, and he isn’t really new.  He’s established.  He’s here, he’s committed, he’s a great guy to have around the farm.

I’m talking about this tractor.  I’ll admit I don’t know everything about what goes on around here, but as far as I know, this is our first track tractor. 

luke with tractor

This year she is pulling Luke’s auger wagon.  She’s easy on the eye and she’s also easy on the ground.  By having tracks instead of regular wheels, she spreads out her weight and causes less compaction in the fields.  This is particularly good if the ground is a little soggy.  Which let’s face it, sometimes it is. 


Isn’t she a pretty tricked out ride for a cool young guy like Luke?track boost


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Combine View


Here is the other third of our operation…my sister and brother in law.  What a nice couple.  She loves to golf.  He loves her, so he golfs with her.  If I were guessing, I’d say it isn’t too much of a hardship for him:)  But I hear that she is quite a good golfer!  She’s got the clothes for it.  That’s as far as I get into the golf judging.  You look good girl!  lee-and-cory 

These days there is no golfing with your loved ones, no shopping at the mall, no hanging out and eating junk food on a Saturday night with the fam.  Well, unless it rains, then you can eat all the craptastic food you want.  These days, my brother-in-law just does this….

auger from combine 

Up and down or maybe back and forth.  Cut it, dump it, keep it going.  I’m guessing he does this for at least 14 hours on an average day.  Average, not long. Average day during harvest.  That doesn’t count the time blowing the combine off with a leaf blower each night and getting back to the farm to his vehicle and managing all the other stuff.  I’m talking up and down and back and forth here people.

This is the view from a combine cab looking at the auger wagon as it dumps.  Usually this is done “on the go.”  The combine keeps harvesting and dumps at the same time.  My guess is, this combine is stopped, cuz I’m going to venture to say that harvesting, dumping and taking a picture with your phone would be a bit dangerous.  Just a guess.

So keep em rollin’ bro!  We are just shy of 40% done with harvest as I type.  So keep ‘em going, I’d like to hang out and eat cheetos with your brother again soon. 

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Playing Trucks

My boys play trucks all the time on the carpet in the living room, on the rug in their bedroom and occasionally in the dirt outside.  The big boys play trucks too, it’s just that their toys are a little more expensive and a little bigger to boot.  If you have never stood beside a running tractor or a semi that is warming up, you ought to.  The engine will put the shakes to ya!

airal of semi loading

Just a few quick pics today of semis loading dry corn.  This corn has been processed through our drying system and is at the proper moisture to go to the elevator.   


It’s a pretty constant flow of semis in and out here.  It’s kind of orchestrated, if you can make semi loading sound kind of pretty….ya, not really working for me either.


They load, they drive, they dump, they come back and do it again!  It’s an important job around here and we have a few good guys that get er done for us!

arial 2

This guy’s all loaded, pulling his tarp over to protect his precious load and he’s off!

Happy Fall Ya’ll


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sasquatch Spotted in Rural American Corn Field

This is what harvest looks like here…..friends and family and kids enjoying the season.  That’s a bit sappy, but true.  I am loving the coming of fall more and more each year.  As the kiddos get bigger, they are able to enjoy the work and the bounty and the harvest and the equipment and the excitement all for themselves.  These photos are from this weekend, of my two big kids plus a friend of theirs. 


Here’s the kicker, Mason’s dad and uncle are some of hubs’ best friends in life.  They have real jobs, but love to spend their free time in the spring and fall here with us.  They bring their wives and kids to hang out and ride and play in the corn stubble.  Thanks for the pics guys!

There was word of a Big Foot sighting in one of the freshly harvested fields by some passers by in cars.  I have a sneaking suspicion it was three imaginative kids, having fun with nothing but corn husks and a few fallen kernels to play with.  There is also word that a new corn husk bowl was invented to cook corn for the people of the prairie, or was it the space aliens that landed in the field to take over our planet? Either way, childhood imagination was flourishing here this weekend.


At harvest on the farm, people gather, people eat, people work, people become family.  It’s the way it should be.  I am so grateful to be a part of it.



Our oldest daughter rode for a long time with her Uncle in the combine.  One can only image what the conversation was like.  I do know, that several tootsie rolls were consumed. 


This combine is stopped, you surely don’t think we’d turn three grade-schoolers loose with a Mountain Dew, a piece of expensive equipment and field to harvest do you?  We limit it to two kids at a time, and you need to be at least 8! 



Here’s  Mason and the big kids again.  I think technically they were checking a bin to see how much more corn could be put into it.  Playing from sun up till sun down with zero toys and zero electronics on a beautiful fall afternoon?  Awesome!

kids in shucks

These Dudes were spotted and apprehended, charged with impersonation of Sasquatch.  Book em’!

Happy Harvest to ya’ll!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Successful Farming

Look what arrived in the mail the other day!

Look really close, it’s like Where’s Waldo with a bad iphone 7

A little closer now….see him?  That’s my husband, right there in the “N!” Right there on the cover of Successful Farming.

photo 4

I should tell you, he’s not there because he is such a successful farmer (but he’s our cover boy!)  Thanks for being such a great provider for our family Justin.  We love you. 

Here’s the background story about how he landed the cover of Successful Farming and his brother landed the spread! 

We use Channel seeds.  We have been long time customers of Channel, dating way back to BEFORE they were called Channel.  They used to be DEF Seeds (back in the good ole days) then they were Crow’s and Midwest and NC+ and now they put all three names together=Channel Seeds. 

Our family has had friends in the company for years and years and years and years,  dating back to the good ole days.  We also drive a fancy semi they call a mobile classroom for them to farm shows, field days and other ag events in our non-farming seasons.  So, because of all of these friendships over the years, they asked us if they could borrow the face of my handsome hubby and his brother to shoot some ads.  We of course said “you bet!”  because we just like to try new stuff like that!

photo 3

So when my third child was 7 days old, and it was 108 degrees out here on the prairie, out comes a slew of photographers, ad people, wardrobe gals and caterers to our farm for 2 days.  Did you hear me say I had a 7 day old child?  However, if you know me much, I don’t want to miss out, so BRING EM ON!  This was a blast. 

The other guys in the ad were seed salesmen and they even hired a guy, they called him “the talent.”  I think technically all 5 guys were “the talent.”  He was the just “the paid talent.”  We were totally doing it just for the pure fun of it! 

What a fun time “the paid talent” guy must have.  He gets called to do all kinds of commercial shoots and he’s a fireman by day.  (I think, if I remember right, but I’d just given birth to our third bundle of joy 7 days earlier and goofy things happen to you when right after you have babies.) His wife and kids did ads too.  They were just average nice looking people with a cool sideline job!

This is a  shot from inside of the magazine.  The guy in the “G” is my hubby in this one, and the guy in the “S” is my BIL.  Aren’t they naturals? 

photo 2  

Hey guys, keep looking like you are SOOOOOO interested in that seed guide!  Keep it up for like two straight days with a smile on your face and sweat running down the small of your back. You’re doing great!


It is fun to try new things and these guys were troopers.  What a great memory we have of this experience and now, quite often we get a seed guide  with our guys on it, or go to the farm show and there they are, hanging in a display.  This must be how Angelina Jolie feels to be married to Brad Pitt.  Wink wink. 


Have a great fall day!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Love A Rainy Night

It was a bit drizzly here the other night, so one would think that we would have a cozy family night, where the guys get out of the field early and snuggle on the couch eating popcorn and drinking iced-tea.  Well, let’s just say, that is one of many-a little dream I had to let go of when I married into this family (God love em.)  Because that is SO not what happens around here.


The drizzle did bring harvest to a halt, but then instead of heading for showers, these guys blew and greased and cranked and adjusted till the cows came home.  the line up








Had to sneak in one of Baby Boy.  He’s a farming nut.  jd, bm

Enough of the 1960’s photos.  This is Aaron and Luke, they are our number one auger cart drivers.  You gotta be good to drive a huge tractor next to a moving combine and 1) not spill grain and 2) not swap paint.  I should point out, I have NEVER EVER been asked to drive an auger wagon.  Wonder why?


Hi Aaron, smile a little next time um kay?  He really is a nice guy:)


Hubs’ brother is a combine operator. He’s like the King on his throne.  It’s the only place to be during harvest.  Each night these puppies get blown off to prevent accidental fires.  They also get their windows washed, to prevent accidental……well, I guess just to be tidy.


During the taking of these pictures I almost had a little freak out.  I committed a sin, I climbed on the combine to snap a quick pic and BIL started it up.  Man this mama can run and jump like the dickin’s if need be!  Good to know. 

So much for the cozy, rainy night in front of a fire.  Actually, I promptly went in, ate a bowl of ice cream and crawled into bed.  They can grease, blow and adjust all they want.  I’m more a comfy pants, take advantage of the opportunity to be lazy kind of girl myself.  Somehow I knew I never really did fit in around here.

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