A Farm Girl’s 401 on Farming

Life doesn’t always take us in the direction we want to go.

If you would have asked me twenty years ago what I wanted to do with my life I would have shared with you my dream of farming. I was young, but I had it all figured out.

Because it’s tradition for the first son (or only son) to inherit the trade or legacy of a father, I knew my brother would inherit all the farm stuff from our father. And, that was okay. I went to school and got my degree in accounting. I’ve been keeping the farm books since I was seventeen.

My plan was to work alongside my brother on the farm, I’d do the bookkeeping and care for the young cattle and he’d do the milking and we’d both raise our families.

Sounded like a great plan right?

Maybe you’ve seen those commercials lately for the farmer match maker dating site: Farmersonly.com (note: I have no affiliation with this site, I’ve just watched their commercial on Television one night.)

That’s how I saw my life. Living on or close to the farm, working the land, tending the animals, and marring a handsome farmer.

As the daughter of a dairy farmer , naturally, I assumed I’d become a farmer’s wife.

Then I fell in love with a mathematician.

IM000378.JPG
              My other half

Do you hear life laughing at me?

Not only did I marry that mathematician, he was also allergic to animals, including my beloved horse and the cows.

Can you hear the laughter now?

Yep, the joke was on me.

For years, I followed my husband from new jobs to other states so he can teach and get his teaching certifications and degrees. Yet, all the while I kept telling myself I could live without the farm.

Who was I kidding?

Not me.

Not anymore.

While you can tie down and try to pen up the farm girl inside me, it can’t be contained for long.

Because no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop being who you are or yearning for what it is you’ve always wanted.

Deep down– farmer’s daughter,  farmer’s wife, — it makes no difference. Being a farm girl is who I am. Farming is in my blood. I might have been born in a hospital, but  my parents brought me home and raised me on the farm.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: you can take the girl from the farm, but you can’t take the farm from the girl. Go ahead share tweet this to your friends. 

Sometimes we all need to return to our roots.

Sometimes we need to stop asking, “What if” and instead formulate the “How.”

It’s like falling in love and courting your future other half. The answers will come as you need them. Just rely on your heart and the faith you hold inside you to be your guide.

A Quick Dame DIY: Lunch Note Napkins

Not every child has the same experience when they go to school. Some like it. Some don’t. And especially for the younger ones, many have trouble adjusting to leaving their mother’s for that long of period of time.

Kiddo #1 was the later. The first few years of going to public school were the hardest on her… and for me. As a mom, it pains you more sometimes than your child in learning to manage the period of time each day of separation.

There were too many days to count that I carried my child into the school kicking and screaming because she didn’t want to go, and I walked out, got into my car, and sounded worse than one of the cows in the barn bawling.

Not all of us dames have the same circumstances that would able us to solve this scenario easily. I wanted nothing more to take my child back home. My husband and I discussed the possibility of home schooling, but with this child and at this time in our lives, this was what we felt best.

Then the wife of our pastor heard my distress and gave me one of the best ideas I’ve ever been given. Our pastor’s wife did this for her children, and so I tried it for mine.

Each day I packed my little one’s lunch I added something special. Not a snack or piece of candy, but a note of encouragement… on a napkin.

lunchnapkinsblog

I can’t say it solved the problem, but kiddo#1 and our other children as they became school aged have no come to look forward to Mom’s silly drawing and little notes written on their paper napkins in their lunch boxes.

Some day, I plan to figure out how I can get these printed and share with other kids at school who get free lunches and don’t necessarily have a parent that is able be the shining light to give them a little ray of encouragement in their life right now.

I’ve even done this for my husband when I pack his lunch, too.

For now, I just take a napkin and a pen or marker and try to come up with something witty and encouraging. By the time my kids are starting to feel the toll of the school day pulling at them, they can open their lunches and get a reminder of how special and loved they are this day.

I try to write and draw something different for each of my kiddos, and something that works with their different personalities. One of these days, kiddo #1 has promised me drawing lessons. Apparently, I’m better with words than drawing on napkins.

Go ahead, try it. What is your herd packing for lunch today?

 

A Life Worth Living For

Her name was Sloppy. She was the only cow in the barn that pressed her nose down on the ball of the water bowl then slurped the water with her tongue.

Not only did she make a mess splashing water everywhere, you could hear her drinking from the other end of the barn shed.

She hadn’t been ‘Sloppy’ in weeks. She was the dame who laid down and gave birth to that bull calf last week.

A Life Worth Living For

For the couple weeks and this past week, she drank from a bucket that was placed in front of her and filled until her thirst was sated. She’d lay, chewing her cud, and keeping her chin up.

I clung to the hope that, while she could not stand on her own, she still ate, drank, and made manure like all the other dames in the barn.

Hope is one of those things that no one should easily let go of, nor give up.

Every day, Sloppy was picked up and put on her four hooves to stand. Without assistance she was unable to hold herself up. Her one back leg was stiff and useless. I wonder how many massages it would have taken to regain use of it. However, the number doesn’t matter. I was only able to massage her hip and leg once, but I tried.

Trying never hurt anyone. But we knew before I tried that chances were slim. That’s why I asked her to let him live.  She could have choose to give up and her calf would most likely have died with her.

Her bag never filled with milk. She’d done what she could that morning to bring her calf into the world, and now he frolics amongst the other calves.

I wish I had a happy ending to Sloppy’s story, but she simply couldn’t hold on any longer.

Yesterday afternoon, Sloppy slipped peacefully into Heaven’s green pasture.

Yet, I can’t help wondering if I would have been able to stay there at the barn longer if she wouldn’t have improved more. I’m told the answer is no, but there’s always that what if that lingers inside you. Though living on a farm has taught me that farm animals can come and go, It has always brought me grief when one of the cows dies.  Usually not that often, but often enough that like a beloved pet, you mourn them.

Sloppy was more than a number on the farm, she was one of the dames, and she’ll be missed – slurping noises and all.

 

There is a new cow in the barn

She came to us with no ear tag. Just a sticker number on her back.

caramel cow

My son bestowed her with the name of ‘Caramel.’

There’s nothing wrong with naming a cow after your favorite ice cream topping, right?

We don’t know much about Caramel, only that someone put her in a trailer and shipped her to the auction. There she went through the ring and was sold to the highest bidder, which just happened to be us. She was then loaded onto my dad’s trailer and he brought her to the farm.

Talk about having a long day.

Imagine leaving home in the morning not knowing where you were going and by supper finding yourself in a new place. A new herd.

Distressing.

Reality.

There are some of us who are born and are buried in the same place. We spend our entire lives in one place. Dairy cows aren’t much different. Once in a while, however, some of us may leave home. We see the world and leave traces of our journey through the friends we meet and the people we impress.

Some of us return home.

Some of us join new herds and find new barns.

No matter what the circumstance, I believe people come into each others’ lives for a reason. Whether they stay for the long haul or a short while, the impact of knowing them is priceless.

Here on the farm, cows aren’t much different. Some come, some go, some travel and some never leave.

Welcome to the farm.