There Is A Season

I don’t know about you but every now and then I find myself overwhelmed. With life, with my house, with my laundry, with my dishes, my never ending list of errands, and wrangling my small child. I am sure that at least one of you out there can relate.
As my little girl gets older I think my time in a day gets shorter and shorter. Ok, maybe it doesn’t. But, I definitely think she demands more and more attention. And I feel like I should give it to her. Who cares about that blog post? Who cares about the laundry? Elliette sure doesn’t and it’s just a nice reminder that sometimes when given the choice between doing laundry and playing ring-around-the-rosy, I should play it every single time. I only have my baby girl for 18 years before she is out of the house and making paths for herself. That time seems so minimal when her two little years have already flown by so quickly.
IMG_3779
All summer long my husband has been giving me the hardest time about the state of my garden. And I will agree. It looks pretty horrible. Ok, maybe not that horrible. But, still pretty weedy. I got some sort of nasty stuff on my tomatoes and my broccoli. And my green beans are sad. Real sad. My dill is completely out of control. Which is great, except I need my cucumbers to grow so I can make my dill pickles.
Today I spent a good thirty minutes chopping at weeds. And it sucked. And I just kept looking at the rest of my garden and groaning. When did gardening get so difficult? Or annoying? Or just one more thing on my list that is never-ending. When did it become more of a chore than something I enjoyed?
And then I remembered my little 2 year old. Who every single time I kneel down in the garden and start pulling weeds she says “Mama, I wanna swing” or “Mama, come check my kitties”. Or she has her little arms wrapped around my neck and giggling in my ears while I try and check on my potatoes.
I know some would say what about nap time? But lately my little angel has insisted on cuddling during nap times. And sometimes it’s really kind of annoying. But, seriously, my child wants to cuddle with me…how rude of me to not give her that time of my day. Especially since there will come a time when she doesn’t want to give me the time of day.
IMG_3073
A good friend of mine said something to me just last week as I was discussing the state of my garden, and how horrible it was.
She said a friend of hers has a great saying.
There is a season for everything. And this is not my season.
How true. This summer is not my season for gardening. I would much rather roll in the grass and splash in the pool than sit in my garden and pull never ending weeds. And for a perfectionist like myself it’s really hard to let go of that to do list. But, I have a new to do list. And that to do list is all about making a new to do list of a new season with my daughter. And spending every season enjoying my days with her.
Gardening can wait. Because soon there will be a new season. And you never know, that may just be my season.

Harvest On Our Farm

Is coming up soon!

Harvest on every farm can look different from the next. Farmers all grow different things and different seed types, which means those plants cam come at all different times during the harvest month. We plant various seed types that have different growing periods based on when we want the crop to be ready to harvest. For example, we plant an early seed variety because we chop corn silage and we need to get that done before we start harvesting our soybeans. Some farmers don’t chop corn silage, so often they start with soybeans and move on to corn. It isn’t common for us to even get to beans while we are chopping corn silage.
Corn silage is where we take the entire corn plant and chop it into tiny pieces. Check out this video I made a few years ago of our farm chopping corn silage.
After corn silage it’s typically a draw between soybeans and wet corn. Most of the time it’s soybeans, but sometimes it’s wet corn. I don’t have a video of us combining soybeans, but here is a few pictures I have taken through the years so you can get the idea.
blogger-image-1091619100
blogger-image--263957963 
Wet corn is something that is unique to a farmer that feeds the corn. Or has a big enough system to dry the corn as they combine. But, drying cost a whole lot of money. So, farmers that don’t feed cattle tend to try and wait for the corn to dry in the field as much as possible before combining. This is a video I made a few years ago of us combining wet corn. We combine the corn in the field with more water in it and then we pack it into a feed bunker and tarp it down to feed through the winter.
 
 
Once we get through corn silage, soybeans, and wet corn we finally get on into dry corn. This is kind of like the home stretch. Or at least I like to think of it that way. We are simply in the field moving from field to field combining and taking corn to town or sorting it in grain bins.
 
Then once harvest is over we dream about taking a vacation. But, the truth is the work doesn’t stop. We then start cleaning up equipment, servicing it for the end of the year, and getting it stored away to wait for another season. Then within weeks of putting one crop into the field we start picking out and buying next year’s seed corn.
Welcome To Harvest On Our Farm!

The Summer That Started It All

The last few weeks I have spent preparing. Preparing for the party that really is a milestone for us. My farmer and I.

In 2008 I made my very first trip to South Dakota for my husband and I to meet face to face for the very first time. It was a horrendous trip, I won't lie. I left around midnight. And it was a bit spur of the moment...ok, a lot spur of the moment.

I packed my bag and jumped in the car. What was supposed to be a 12 hour trip ended up being more like 18 hours. I drove slow at night and then I hit some awful traffic in Iowa and then in Minnesota blew my tire. Which isn't a problem, however, I had this new SUV and of course it had to have some cargo unit installed in the back which meant I couldn't get to the lever that would lower the spare down. So, I was stuck on the side of the road calling my mechanic grandpa to see if he could help me get around it.

While we were chatting this police officer pulled up and was not very friendly about me being parked on the side of the exit ramp. I pointed at my tire and he insisted I start following him to a Walmart right around the corner. I barely made it before they closed for the night. That took some time and then I was finally on my way.

I met my husband for the first time on the exit ramp by our house. He then had me drive to his parents just down the road so I could shower and then I went to his house, which is now ours. I then met just about every person that was important to him. I was tired. And all I wanted was a bed. But, it was pretty exciting, the rush of it all. Just meeting him, then his family, and then his friends.

It was the second year for what we now deem our "Annual Neighborhood BBQ". And the house was filled with people!

This year we celebrated the end of summer with the eighth Annual BBQ. It's hard to believe that I have been in South Dakota six years this month. So hard to believe. Time has flown by for us. We have been together those six years, married five years, a beautiful two year old little girl, and lots and lots of memories.

Every year we spend the summer readying our house for the BBQ. It's a really great deadline actually. To get all those house projects done before our big party at the end of July. Especially since in a little over four weeks we should be chopping corn silage.

This year I started cleaning, organizing, and shopping a lot sooner that I have in the past because now I have a very busy two year old. But, even when I fall into bed exhausted by the end of the night, I am so happy we have our party. It's a really great time to reconnect with our neighbors and our friends and to see how everyone's children have grown.

The party gets bigger and bigger every single year, as new people come into our neighborhood, or we get involved in bible studies with new friends. Or friends that live far away are back for the weekend for a visit. This year I would say we had around 50 people. And it was actually a relatively small year for us!

Every year as I plan for the party (I design a new invite every year!) I get excited to see our list of guests grow and it's such a warm reminder for how important it is to simply spend the evening in fellowship. The night is filled with laughter and children's happy screams. It's also really nice to see the farmers in our area enjoy a night off before Harvest!

A little dark, but a picture I took of us right after the first BBQ I helped host as we were newly engaged.
Life flies by it really does. Friends are in and out of our lives. Family sometimes lives too close of too far away. But, if anything I have learned since getting married, it's to stop and share life with others. And to simply enjoy those moments and to never taken them for granted! 

Sick Days For Farmers

Are few and far between.

It's safe to say that my hubby does the hard work of getting up everyday and working on the farm. I used to be right along side him, but then we added our cutie pie into the mix, and I spend a lot of my time with her. If any of you are moms out there you know exactly what I am saying! Kids are busy and the older our little girl gets the busier she gets. And she absolutely loves anything farm related.

One thing that is a bit tough is that the farmer's wife doesn't seem to get sick days. My farmer, he works through most of his being sick days. And if he does sit down to rest it's normally locking himself in our bedroom while my daughter and I play quietly in the rest of the house.  But, on the days I get sick I can normally convince him to take our daughter for a little bit of the day. Since she loves going to the farm remember.

But, I will say that being a farm wife and getting sick is normally not any fun. There are still chores to be done. There are still meals that need to be cooked for the guys. And a very, very busy little girl that wants all my attention. Some days I can't help but wish that my husband had "sick days". So that when the "stay at home" mom is sick. He can be around to take care of our girl and help with my chores.

But, one thing my farmer rarely ever even attempts to take is a sick day. We work from Monday to Saturday every single week. And honestly, even when it is our Sunday off, it seems we are working on something farm related on our own place. And those hours can vary significantly, sometimes quitting by 7. A good chunk of the year, well after 9 or 10.

It really stinks on the days when you are sick being on the farm. It doesn't matter if you are feeling like you are on your death bed or not. There are still animals that need to be fed. And chores that just can't wait.

But, when you are sick on a family farm it's wonderful having brothers around that can cover chores so you at least have a little time of rest.

Another great thing about being on the farm? There may not be a lot of sick days for your farmer, but on our farm at least, bring your kid to work day happens at least once a week. And that is something really special.

Thanking A Farmer

Kontz Family 
This holiday season I would say that I have a lot to be thankful for. This month I had the opportunity to write an article for The Hood Magazine here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's a free publication that I love to pick up whenever I get to town. I thought it was the perfect thing to share with all of you since we are entering the holidays and the season where we are reflecting on the past year and all our blessings!
 

As a wife, I know the way to my husband’s heart is right through his stomach. As a mom, I know that sometimes I have to let my little girl make a mess while I’m cooking, just so she thinks she is helping. As a farmer, I have a unique perspective when it comes to the food I put on my table. When you live and breathe agriculture every day, you understand the care and work that goes into providing the wholesome food that helps feed us every day. I spend my days working on our beef farm, blogging, raising our daughter Elliette, and cooking for the farm.

However, no matter what hat I’m wearing (wife, mom or farmer), it’s extremely important that my family always has a wholesome and nutritious meal on our table. This is especially true when it comes to cooking for the holidays.

The holidays hold a very special place in my heart, and are always full of excitement. Excitement to prepare my grandmother’s famous dishes that have been passed down for generations, as well as the excitement of starting new traditions like serving beef brisket for our Thanksgiving.
The holidays are also a time to share laughter, count our blessings and come together over a delicious meal. Actually, the more I think about it, food plays such a central role in all ofour lives. Whether it’s an everyday meal or a holiday feast, the dinner table is a place where we can all come together and find common ground.

As you sit down this holiday season with your own families, you can feel confident that your food was raised with great care. Whether you may realize it or not, a South Dakota farmer had a hand in growing the food that’s on your table. Your holiday turkey or ham was raised on corn and soybean meal that comes from our fields. The yummy cheese in your side dishes likely comes from a South Dakota dairy. As a grocery-buying mom, I am confident that what I buy at the store is safe and nutritious because I know that somewhere, there is a farmer like me, supplying that product.

More and more, I find myself being extremely thankful that my family has the opportunity to raise the food you put on your tables. This season, I hope that you too, will take the time to think about where your food comes from, and be thankful for the local farmers who help grow it.

My First Trip To The Farm

If you remember from my previous posts, this is the time of year I met my farmer face-to-face for the first time- down the road from our house on the exit ramp actually!

Anyway, my first visit to our farm was one of my first visits to what you might define as a "big" farm. And not just amount of acres. Family. Equipment. Commodities.

The first few days on the farm I spent it following my husband around with his (now ours) camera.

I basically was his pal around for the week, taking some time to spend with his family in between.

I remember my first visit seeming like the days were full- but not too full.

Now, when I moved to South Dakota just a few months later I moved right before we started chopping silage. And all of a sudden those full days became really, really long days. And nights.

There was a ton of running around, a lot of equipment getting moved, and a lot of caffeine-drive husbands.

And there wasn't any date nights for the first couple of months.

I remember being in awe of what my husband and his brothers had accomplished in such a short amount of time, and the relationship that they must have with their parents in order for them to all work together each day.

I remember my farmer telling me he worked every day of the week, but that didn't really sink in with me that first visit to the farm. It took a good year for me to realize that days off are few and far between- and they normally involve a visit to family.

If your first visit to the farm is coming up, bring your camera along and a listening ear. Make sure to ask lots of questions, chances are this is your match's pride and joy and something he is really passionate about!

Marrying Your Farmer?

Is there ever a perfect time for a farmer to get married?

Honestly, I'm not really sure. But, there is always the chance of picking the perfect time of year for your farmer.

For example. If you are marrying a rancher, who mainly has cows that are having calves from February to June, you probably shouldn't pick one of those months.

If you are dating strictly a crop farmer, you probably shouldn't pick planting season (April) or harvest season (anywhere from September to November).

We don't make a whole lot of square bales anymore, but haying during summer is still pretty busy whether it's square bales or round bales. 

If you are marrying a farmer that has his hands into a couple of different things. Like crops and cattle, like me, pray for a really perfect year and pick a day.

My husband and I were engaged in July and we were married that November. We had to work around numerous this. Snow, for example. In South Dakota it blizzards something fierce and not only would snow deter our guests, but it would also keep my hubby focused on moving a lot of snow from our cattle feed yards in order to feed cattle. This took out December to March. We plant crops, so planting season, that takes our April. And harvest season, end of August to October for us. We always set the goal to be done by October 31st and in the five years I have been here we have only one time not made the deadline, the year we got married. Go figure.

Tarping our corn silage pile this Fall. 

My husband didn't initially want to get married in November. And I understand, but we both agreed summer was just too busy with weddings already and it's hot. So, we quickly cut out all other months of the year.

And, personally I have enjoyed three years of having our anniversary, soon four, on November 7. It's actually pretty perfect. Dating during harvest is already terrible, and we are busy, and we don't spend hardly any time together. Since we are normally done by October 31, what a better way to spend our anniversary than celebrating the end of harvest and another year of wedded bliss?

So, when thinking about what day you want to be special for you the rest of your life, choose wisely and be conscious of what season it is on the farm because your farmer may take time for your wedding, but he probably won't promise to take time for your anniversary in years to follow!