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.
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.
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.
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! 

48 Hours In Just 48 Seconds

Other than farming, I pretty much love talking about food. Well, and my small child!
One thing that is important when it comes to food is freshness. We have all been to the grocery store where certain produce seems picked over and all that is left is something that looks like it may have been sitting there longer than a few days. 
One thing that you might find interesting is that it takes 2 days for fresh milk to make it to your dinner table. This video from Midwest Dairy sums up 48 hours in 48 seconds. And gives you just a small glimpse of the hard work that dairy farmers put in every single day!

What I Have Learned Being A Farmer's Wife

When I first married my farmer I don't think I ever fully realized how the past I had before him would be so helpful in my future with him.

I have always been involved in the Ag industry. It started with 4-H and showing horses and sheep and then moved on to FFA when I was in high school. And then everything just flowed naturally to college. It felt perfect for me to head to Purdue University and pursue a degree in Agricultural Education.

I was completely involved in everything I could be that involved agriculture. Then I met my farmer and moved to the farm. And I everything I had "learned" was now something I could apply every day. And for once I felt like my past, my present in education, and my future with my farmer came full circle.

And every day I find myself using all my skills and knowledge from my past to apply them to what is going on on our farm. But, there have also been quite a few things I have learned. Ok, may a whole lot of things.

1. Timing is everything. On our farm the livestock have to come first. And that is a concept I get, for sure. But, one thing I didn't really grasp right away was the timing of the crops. My hubby tells me stories of combining through the night to finish the last field before an early ice storm came in. And I have stayed in the grain cart until well past midnight to try and get as much done as possible before we were going to have a full day of rain. And sometimes the timing isn't perfect. Sometimes cattle get out right when you are walking out the door on your first date in a month.

2. Learn how to do it all, if you want it done soon. My husband and I always seem to have a list of projects that we want to do around the house. Well, ok, maybe my list is a lot longer than his. And since the farm pretty much gets all our time, you can probably get that our home projects are always done last. Luckily, I have a degree in Agricultural Education, which means I took a lot of classes in relation to agriculture. And shop classes, mechanics, electricity, and welding, are all classes that I have taken and being able to have that knowledge is pretty handy. So having the knowledge of power tools is super helpful, especially when I am dying to build and hang shelves downstairs in our basement.

3. Dinner or lunch will rarely ever happen on time. So, be prepared to reheat or keep warm.

4. Dinner will also almost always be requested to be in the field about ten minutes before the noon hour and you have already laid out spaghetti on the table. So, having a back up in the freezer is ideal. Hamburgers work great.

Delivering lunch to the field.

5. When you are asked to help for just a little bit be sure to pack a bag. With water, a snack, toddler toys, bottles, sippy cups, diapers, wipes, and pretty much anything else you can think of that you might need for at least half a day. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked to help for a little bit, only to end up being at the farm the rest of the day and night. Which is fine if it's just me. But, when you add a little one in the mix you always have to have a bag ready.

6. During harvest or planting pretty much plan on doing it all. Sometimes I already feel like I do it all around our house. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, maintenance, painting, small repairs, but during the fall and the spring it's pretty much essential to know you are on your own. And that means wrangling your child everywhere you need to be. When Ellie was a baby I took her to a few different Ag related events that I needed to be at. She has sat quietly sleeping in her car seat during business meetings I have had or conference calls. It's imperative to be prepared for those seasons!

Having a meeting at South Dakota Soybean with my crawler.

I have learned so much being a farmer's wife. But, more than that I feel like I have truly contributed. I have good ideas and I really value that my hubby listens to my ideas and respects them. And even more importantly, I have learned that as a farmer's wife I am always, always learning. Every day is a new adventure and I learn something new about our farm and why we do things a certain way nearly every week.

My advice to any future farm wives...Always keep learning and always keep asking questions!

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.

Are You Easy To Love?

I don’t know about you, but I chose to enter and continue the relationship with my farmer because I loved him. He loved me. I felt cherished by him. And I loved being with him and loved our relationship and how he made me feel. And he made me feel like I was the only woman he would ever look at again (He still does, by the way!). 

One thing that I find myself asking as the years go by is whether or not I am easy to love. After being together nearly six years and married five of those years it’s safe to say that the “newlywed bliss” has kind of worn off. And those little nuances that sometimes seem cute in the beginning aren’t so cute anymore. They are more annoying. Being home with a 2 year old that is going through a very interesting stage, to say the least, it’s hard to not be crabby when my hubby comes home from the farm. 

The Bible says to love with action and truth. And that is something that I take very seriously in our marriage. I try to love with action every single day. 

If you are looking for ways to love with action here are a few you might find helpful. I have these exacts verses written down in my Bible so that if I am ever struggling in our marriage or ever feeling disconnected from my husband I can reference these verses and remember these sayings to guide me. 

These are ten simple ways to love with action and truth. And before you know it you may find yourself easy to love. 

Trust In A Relationship

Trust to me is one of the biggest parts of a relationship. And being married to a farmer that is gone a lot means that trust is pretty vital to the relationship. 

Trust is something to establish early on in your relationship. I am guessing many of you have experienced hurt before. Or at least when my hubby and I first started dating we both had. We had both been hurt in the past in situations where trust had been broken. So, needless to say that was one of the first conversations we had. 
Trust and honesty go hand in hand. The first time a lie is shared, even if it’s a small one you knock away a little bit of that trust. Have you ever had anyone in your life that you have caught time and time again being dishonest? Eventually, you stop believing them. You stop trusting them. You find them unreliable and most likely will choose to move on. 
It takes time to build trust, sometimes years, but only suspicion to break it down. 
Sometimes I feel like as a farm wife I get asked a lot about how I feel about my farmer hubby being gone all the time. In any other situation where a husband works long hours every day of the week and for months at a time is at work more than he is at home, things could seem a bit off. Well, maybe a lot off. 
But, one thing I am sure of is the trust in our relationship. I trust my husband because of the relationship we built before we were married. And I know we are honest with one another. Before we were married I saw him work on the farm through every season. There is no doubt in my mind I know where he is at midnight on a perfect starry October night...In a field trying to keep his eyes open. 
But trust isn’t just about monogamy. It’s also about trusting someone to care for you as you care for them. You are entrusting them with your heart, your feelings, your desires. And you are trusting that they always will have your back and will always be by your side. 
Being married or dating a farmer can sometimes be a bit daunting and if you don't come from a farming background it can be really hard to learn to trust your farmer. 
As Ernest Hemingway said “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
And finding yourself in a relationship with a farmer and establishing that trust together is amazing. And although farmers may work long hours and be gone for what seems like forever. They are also the person you can trust to be your support, even if they aren't physically there all the time. I know my farmer in only a phone call away and when I feel like I could use some of his support I call him up and we chat for awhile. 
Remember Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to. 

Acts Of Service

In case you missed the other posts about The Five Languages make sure you check each one out and make sure you take some time to see what your love language is too! 

Quality Time

I sometimes wonder if every Farmer’s love language is Acts Of Service. When I am helping my husband fix a tractor, fence out a field, or even clean up a shed I feel like he is sometimes at his happiest. And I kind of wonder if my brother in laws are the same way…

Needless to say the guys on our farm love having their wives around to help. With anything. Is your farmer like that? Quality time is spent on Acts of Service?!

If you think your farmer’s love language is Acts Of Service the best way to his heart is for you to show up to the farm with your work clothes on and simply ask “What can I do?” or “Where can I help?" Helping them do their farm chores and working along side them is going to show more love than buying them a new shirt in town. I only use that example because sometimes I do come home with things from town for my husband and he just doesn’t get as excited as I would like him to. But, after our daughter is down for her nap and I show up outside with my work clothes on ready to help him with whatever he is doing he gets pretty excited!

If your farmer’s love language is Acts Of Service you might hurt his feelings if you are willing to help out everywhere else and with everyone else and not with him or her on the farm.  I know when I spend a lot of time volunteering within the Ag industry or am gone at conferences or speaking engagements my husband gets a bit anxious for me to get home and come back to the farm. 

Before our daughter came along I showed up in my work clothes a lot asking "What can I do?". Now those times have changed a bit. Those times don't happen nearly as much, and they rarely happen with me being alone. These days I get myself and our daughter dressed in our work clothes and show up and say "What can we do?". Even if it is something as simple as picking rock or helping him put a part on in the field I would say my farmer appreciates it. 

Receiving Gifts

This could potentially be everyone's favorite Love Language. We have already covered Words Of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. But, who doesn't love anything to do with gifts?!

I know I love gifts, but it isn't just what I need to maintain our relationship.

If your love language is Receiving Gifts it's safe to say you love getting gifts and you do not forget special occasions.

Anniversaries..Birthdays..these are days you won't forget. And you expect your loved ones to remember them too!

You might appreciate when your farmer heads to town and brings you home something a little special. Whether it's a milkshake or a movie, it's a little something to show you how much they care.

These pictures are my husband and I both trying to be sneaky trying to take photos of things that we know would be perfect gifts for each other. However, we both seem to forget that now with us both having iPhones we can see eachother's pictures!

Now, I have went to town and brought my husband things. Like his favorite candy, a new work shirt, new socks even, and I don't get much of a reaction. I get a thank you and a smile. Now, when Christmas rolls around I always get him one gift that I know he really, really wants. It's normally a big one and most likely an expensive tool. I spend all year listening to him and saving money without him knowing so I can buy him whatever it is he has talked about the most. When he opens that gift on Christmas he normally gets really excited. The first year we were married and I bought him a DeWault Miter Saw I thought he was going to die of shock.

He might forget that I do have a degree in Agricultural Education and I do have to teach shop, so I do know my tools...but I also know my man and am real good at observing him in stores and jotting down various notes later that night in my prayer journal (so I know he won't accidentally see them!).

If your significant other loves receiving gifts, forgetting your anniversary will break their heart. Even if it's something as simple as pulling a few wildflowers on your way into the house from a long day in the field. They will love it. My husband brings me rocks. Because he knows I think they are neat and I despise planting flowers around our landscape only to have our two dogs destroy it. So, when he digs up rocks in a field he keep a pile somewhere and when we have a spare moment he drives me by the pile and asks if there are any I would like.

Even the smallest, most inexpensive gifts are still gifts. Still thoughtful and still require an act of love.