Ranching is a tough lifestyle to explain without walking a mile in our boots. So slip on my extra set of boots and take a walk with me, please. Make sure you pull your hat down tight.
It’s 2 am and the wind is howling as the snow swirls around the edge of the barn. You have various layers of clothes on but the cold still seems to camp out in your bones! A shower or clean hair seems like a distant memory at this point.
There is a thick layer of dried lamb slime on your coat and your gloves are crunchy from it. Trust me, you’re oblivious to it. There is work that needs to be done and no time to think about it anyway.
It feels like a lifetime since you’ve had a full night's sleep yet it’s only been three weeks but who’s counting?
You move as quiet as possible through the barn, speaking softly as you go. You try to reassure the girls it's just you again as you make the hourly check for new babies. One has dropped twins in the back corner and is talking to...
When I was younger, I would watch my mother with her back hunched, toiling over the soil that was prepared to be the nourishment for so many of our meals. We did not live on a farm or even lots of acres of land, but for most of my childhood, we lived in a suburban neighborhood, on a quarter-acre lot, in New Jersey. We had a garden that nourished our youthful, growing bodies.
The backyard was full of substantial amounts of shade, and so most of the gardening happened on the side of our house, making it's way to our front yard. Each season my mother would grow everything from okra to beans, tomatoes, and every bit of greenery I could think of. When we wanted to participate or were told to help my mother, our chore typically entailed clearing the weeds that consistently tried to take over the garden.
I have endearing thoughts of gardening because of my upbringing. Farmers' markets were typical Saturday events for us, on those days that my parents were not running around...
A Word from the Lord
About a year and a half ago, the Lord gave me a word: Deliberate.
Little did I realize how much this word then would change my life.
At the time, I was working nearly full-time off the farm for an international shipping company (think brown). While I loved my work, I was quite burnt out and longed to play a more active role on our farm. I grew up on a small dairy and missed being outside and getting dirty. I truly felt God had called me to be a full-time farm wife, but that is not where I was at.
As God would have it, I was able to leave my corporate job when my mother in law fell ill due to chronic hereditary disease. She would have to undergo dialysis treatments 3 days a week, and she was no longer able to maintain the bookkeeping for the farm (she is doing much better now).
At first, it was great- I was so excited to be home with my kids and husband and be able to help. The first several months...
When it comes to our physical health, we all have strategies to stay healthy and the physical parts of farming help with that, from chasing after livestock, carrying supplies and products to going up and down the ladder of bins and equipment.
Farming also comes with everyday challenges that are outside of our control. To help with those challenges, the importance of treating your mental health as you would your physical health is a generally accepted principle. Mental health is much more than one element of health.
Many people see mental health as only meaning not having symptoms of mental illness. Mental health is your overall psychological well-being. It means feeling good about who you are, having balance in your life and in your thinking and responding constructively to life’s highs and lows.
I was honored that Erika asked me to be a guest blogger. It is out of my comfort zone, big time!!! I have been asked to talk about our farm before, but have always thought, “why would anyone care to hear about our farm?”. But, people do.
I wish social media was always used for good. I wish people would listen, ask questions, and learn to accept some other ways that people live.
Have you ever wanted to share something on social media but felt a little apprehensive about what others might say and think of you? I know I have, a lot! Whether it's about our farming practices, son's showing animals for 4H or FFA, hunting, or being a police family.
I am an only child that was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a farmer. My family and I did a lot of traveling. After graduating, I became a flight attendant. “Red tips and red lips” was the motto. I laugh when I think about that now!!
My husband and I just celebrated our sixth anniversary this month which reminds me of the time when the “farm life” wasn’t my every day. We had no children. I didn’t wake up at 5:30 am to workout and enjoy my coffee in silence. I spent my days worried about me, myself and I – what I wore, my skincare routine, makeup and what I ate.
Now, I have never been much of a “health nut”. But, I vividly remember a time in my college years where I would reach for the “natural” or “organic” foods in the grocery aisle. It is because somehow, likely due to marketing, I thought those foods were better for my health in some way.
Even after my husband, a fifth-generation farmer, and I got married, I still didn’t fully immerse myself in the farm life. Nor, did I understand what amazing things we, as farmers, are raising and how well we are taking care of our land and livestock. I trusted the...
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” -Romans 1:20
The best thing about living and working on a farm is getting to experience all of God’s beautiful creation everyday! The older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty in His creation. Like big puffy white clouds in a perfectly blue sky.
Momma cows bawling for their young babies to come to their side. Putting millions of little tiny kernels of corn 1/2” under the soil and watching the blades push through the fresh, soft dirt just six days later. It’s all so amazing to me and I’m so thankful I get to witness it all! I LOVE farm life.
But what really confuses me is how a person could not believe there is a God who so carefully set this earth on it’s axis to orbit the sun...
Every family’s path and purpose looks different. Ours has been one that hasn’t given us much space to travel far distances for very long. We’ve been content with that. We would have if we could have. It’s not that we’re against those things. I’m a vagabond soul by nature. I love to GO but life has called me to stay a lot.
We always get asked, “How do you get away from farm life?” The truth is, it hasn’t always been like this. We’re 13 years into farming, and it took us years to be able to get to this point. I distinctly remember those early years of not being able to go somewhere more than a few days if at all. Sometimes, we just stayed put. For a wandering soul like mine who’s always up for an adventure, this was hard.
I learned a lot about contentment during those years and actively seeking adventure and gratitude right where I was. 13 years into this and we have a crew of incredible people who can...
Everyone thinks that butchering day is the saddest day on a farm, but I can assure you it isn’t. There is a melancholy cloud that settles on the place as the day nears but there are a lot of other feelings, too. Satisfaction, pride, fulfillment, and an odd wave of relief at having crossed a finish line that felt so far away on the day he was born.
People usually tell me that they couldn’t bear to butcher an animal they’ve raised since birth, that it would be too hard to say goodbye or too sad to never see them again. Some goodbyes are never easy, but the weight of butchering these animals pales in comparison to the pride of being able to supply people with something they feel better about eating, with meat from an animal who lived as wild and free as he possibly could, and who was sincerely adored from the day he was born. Meat from an animal who made this environment a healthier, more vibrant ecosystem for his brothers and sisters, for local wildlife, and...
Last weekend Father Brunkan gave that same knock me over the head message that I was needing to hear at the exact moment that he gave it…
Father Brunkan told a story of a little boy and his interest in a cocoon that a man had. The man had told the young boy not to touch or bother the cocoon. As time passed the young boy saw the butterfly inside starting to beat its wings against the inside of the cocoon. The young boy panicked and did the opposite of his instructions and broke open the cocoon to help the butterfly get out.
To his amazement the butterfly didn’t flutter away, instead, it dropped to the ground and died. The boy was embarrassed and sheepishly returned to the man.
The man explained to him that the butterfly NEEDED to struggle and beat its wings against the cocoon to build the strength to survive outside of the cocoon.
The first thing that popped into my head-Parenting! As parents, there...