Not Alone

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Not Alone

As you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted anything since last March.  I’ve thought about it several times, but then I get overwhelmed about what to say and I overthink the whole thing and give up.  But today I don’t care.  Today I’m going to be me.  Since I moved to this farm just over 4 years ago, I’ve been trying so hard to fit in.  For one, my liberal views and hippie mama ideas don’t exactly mesh well with most of Pawnee County (though by the blessings of God I’m slowly finding some wonderful like-minded mama friends!).  And then there’s the whole trying to fit in on a farm with a farm family when you grew up on a paved road 10 minutes from town with a dream of either living in Africa or suburbia when you grew up.  Some days I feel incredibly alone.  Physically alone, but mostly alone in my thoughts, dreams, and passions.  Most days I’m fine and happy and thankful we live out here surrounded by God’s raw beauty.  But some days (or weeks) I’m not.  Being a stay-at-home mom is hard enough when you’re not isolated from the rest of the world.  But then throw in several dreary rainy days in a row and finding the energy and motivation to wash dishes, fold the laundry, and build play-do castles is just plain hard.

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This was my living room a couple weeks ago, and it pretty much looks the same today! And I have no idea what Eden Is doing!? Ha ha!

I guess I’m writing this to let you know it’s okay to have a bad day…or a bad week.  I get so sick and tired of Facebook and Instagram because sometimes that’s my only connection to the outside world and everyone looks so perfect and happy.  All the stay-at-home-moms are having the best day of their lives in their work-out clothes (with makeup) drinking their latte while their 3 year old naps for 3 hours.  I know that mama has bad days.  I only post the good stuff too…that’s why I’m writing this.

I’m writing this to let all the mamas know they are not alone.  We are not alone.  Even if you’re not a mom you are not alone.  I think everyone desires to be known deeply.  Everyone desires to have companions.  Unfortunately, there are times in our lives where those things are hard to come by.  I’ve tried really hard this year to be consistent in my “Jesus time” everyday.  I have been using “New Morning Mercies” devotional by Paul David Tripp and it is AMAZING!  God has been speaking to me in so many ways, but I have been so encouraged and comforted by knowing that God knows me.  The God of the Universe knows ME and He WANTS to know me…deeply.  Psalm 139: 1-6 says,

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

No matter how alone I feel or how badly I just want someone to “get” me or to care about the things I care about or actually listen and try to understand what I’m saying GOD DOES.  He “gets” me.  He knows my heart.

Another thing I struggle deeply with is wanting to please people.  I want so badly for the people around me to approve of me, to like me, to encourage what I’m doing…and what we are doing as a family.  I think a lot of us women (and it gets worse when you become a mom) struggle with this.  The good news is it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!   Galatians 1:10 say,

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 

I have to remind myself daily that it does not matter what others think, but what God thinks.  I could write an entire post about caring too much about what others think but I’ll save that for another rainy day. 

Bottom line is:  it’s okay to have a bad day, but remember you are not alone.  And mamas out there: y’all are doing a great job.  Do what is best for you and your family.  Don’t get overwhelmed by little comments your neighbor Sally said about you still nursing your 3 year old or about the fact that you let your boy toddler play with your makeup or tea set.  Will worrying about those comments/opinions matter in 10 years?  Nope!

Now that I’ve got that out and wallowed in my self-pity I’m going to go get something done around here…starting with washing the pee out of our queen-size bed sheets since we’re co-sleeping hippies! 😉

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We made butterflies during craft time! 🙂

Potatoes and Onions are in the Ground!

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Potatoes and Onions are in the Ground!

Written on March 25, 2017

I think I’m still recuperating from last weekend’s planting frenzy! When Chad got home from farmer’s market on Saturday we planted until dark, planted most of the day Sunday, and Chad took the day off on Monday (he’s doing taxes during tax season since he quit his full-time job last August) so we could finish up planting and play catch up on all the other things we need to do.

Though we planted onions in February I’ll start with potatoes.  A few weeks ago Chad asked me how many pounds of potatoes to plant.  We only planted 300 pounds last year and we sold out of them.  This year we have a restaurant in Tulsa wanting 200 pounds a week, plus we have to have enough for market and our buying groups.  I’m sure I told him to just plant the same as last year since I tend to become insanely overwhelmed at the thought of increasing the work we already have trouble staying on top of.  So when he brought home 18 bags of potatoes, which is 900 pounds, I may have literally shed a few tears and had a mild panic attack.  I’m not going to act like this life is a piece of cake, because my personality and farming DO NOT go hand in hand at all!  I really struggle with anxiety and not freaking out about all the things farming entails.  So the fact that our little farming business is growing faster than Chad, me, and little Eden can keep up  with is a bit stressful at times.  900 pounds of potatoes may seem like a lot to some people, but to many vegetable farmers it’s nothing!  I have to keep that in mind during my mini freak out sessions!

But in just one weekend we got all the potatoes in the ground without any trouble and it feels great to have that checked off the list.  Now, when it’s time to dig them this summer I’m sure I’ll be in freak out mode again! 🙂

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18 bags of seed potatoes: 10 gold and 8 red

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This sexy momma cut all the potatoes with this super awesome potato cutter!  Eden’s papa fenced in the yard so when he wasn’t watching her she could play in the front yard while I worked! 🙂

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Chad fertilized and tilled the ground for the potatoes.

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Normally I ride on the transplanter while Chad drives the tractor, but potato planting goes better if Chad plants and I drive.  Thankful for tractors and transplanters so we don’t have to use a hoe and shovel like we did 4 years ago when we were getting started!

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My rows aren’t the straightest but they get the job done!

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Nothing like planting with the gorgeous sunset to look at!

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You can’t plant potatoes without lots of selfies, right?!

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Day 2 of potato planting!

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We are finished!  900 pounds of potatoes in the ground! May God send rain and multiply the seed!

 

ONIONS:

We plant onions every February.  I’m not exactly sure how many we plant, but I know it’s four crates full.  4 years ago we planted them all by hand (which took about a week!), but we now we have two different transplanters.  We use the older one for potatoes.  Our newer transplanter is called a water-wheel transplanter and it has two tanks on the top that hold water.  The wheels make holes in the ground where the plant is to be place and water runs into each hole with the plant.  We use the waterwheel transplanter with everything except potatoes.  We were able to plant all the onions in about half a day!  Beats doing it by hand for a whole week!

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Chad tilling the ground prepping for onion planting.

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We also have a piece of equipment called a bed shaper that goes behind the tractor.  We plant the onions and many other things we grow on raised beds to help improve drainage and give better root development.  Also, if you look very closely you’ll see two rows of garlic coming up on the left side of the field near the fence.

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Onion planting is one of the few things we plant where we have to have a second person on the transplanter.  The plants are so close together that two people are needed to keep up.  My father-in-law is a trooper and helps us plant onions every year.  He really is the best!

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You can’t plant onions without a selfie! He really is good lookin’ though!

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Onion crop 2017 planted! Yay! 

Well there you have it!  Spring is in the air!  It feels so good to have our two biggest crops in the ground!  Now if we can stay on top of our green house and high tunnel we’ll be good to go in the produce department!

Miss Eden got to hang out with Nana and Aunt Beth while we were planting!  We sure are thankful for always having them to help out with her.  Chad threatens to strap her car seat to the transplanter, but I’m not sure how I feel about that! 😉

Chicken Chores

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Chicken Chores

Since Chad was out of town Sunday afternoon until late Tuesday night Eden and I were responsible for taking care of all the hens (with lots of help from Papa Dan, of course!).  Chad had the incredible opportunity to attend a meeting near Dallas with several renowned and large-scale poultry farmers.  He got home at 11pm last night and we stayed up talking until 1:30am…which is WAY past my bedtime!  But he was too excited not to share some of what he learned.  He’s floating on air right now.  I’m so thankful him and his two buddies were able to go and get refreshed and inspired together.

Since we don’t have broilers this time of year it’s not too difficult to take care of the hens (around 400 or so).  In the mornings we fill up a barrel on the tractor with water and grab a couple bags of feed and head down to their house.  Once their food and water is full, we let them out of their house to roam inside the net fence, which is currently on a nice green wheat field. (Though they hardly stay inside the fence…grrr!)  We do the same thing with our old hens, which are down in the field where our vegetables are grown.  In the afternoon we gather eggs (around 15 dozen right now), and then at dark we shut them into their houses until morning to protect them from predators.  I’m so thankful my father-in-law helped me take care of them all, especially with Eden running around picking up hens and chicken poop (ahhhh!)!  She LOVES to help with chicken chores, and has since day one!

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Eden’s new obsession of picking up chickens!

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She carried the empty water buckets to the tractor where I was filling them up.  She’s such a big helper!

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Of course I had to take an 8:30am tough farm wife selfie while waiting on the water barrel to fill up!  “I got this!”

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This girl LOVES her chickens!

Washing Eggs

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Washing Eggs

One thing I never imagined when I pictured my future life was my daily chore of washing eggs.  (Nor did I ever picture having over 400 hens either ha ha!)  I normally complain to high heavens about having to wash eggs!  I don’t know why I hate it so much!  It’s yucky…it hurts my already aching back to stand over the sink for 2 hours…and now I have to worry about keeping my eye on a toddler while my back is to her (if she’s not with Papa Dan).

But even though it’s still not my favorite thing in the world to do, something in me has changed a bit this week.  For one, I try to wash eggs in the morning while Eden is feeding cows with Papa Dan and Uncle Jake which is a huge help to me.  Plus, I’ve recently found this podcast called “The God Centered Mom” and it’s so good and refreshing, so I listen to it while I’m washing eggs.  And I’ve really been trying to find the positive in things, instead of always seeing the glass half empty (which comes very naturally, unfortunately).

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For one, those eggs are our income.  A few weeks ago we were getting less than a dozen a day and having to turn away our local customers, and we were not even taking any to farmer’s market.  People were not happy!  Within two months we’ve gone from 4 eggs a day to 10-12 dozen a day!  The most eggs we’ve ever gathered in a day were 11 dozen last Summer when our first batch of 200 hens were laying at their peak.  Now our new hens are laying 10-12 dozen a day and they are just getting started!  My first reaction when Chad brings in the egg baskets every night is to moan and complain, but that’s so silly!  Those egg baskets symbolize part of our livelihood, and I should be very thankful our hens are being good girls right now.

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Second, I should take pride in my role here on the farm.  I sometimes get very discouraged because I feel like I contribute very little to the farm since I’m focusing my attention more on Eden right now.  But guess what?!  Washing eggs is a huge contribution and I know Chad is so thankful I do it!  Washing, packing, weighing, and labeling eggs is a big chore that I can call my own here on the farm.  I’m not just a mom…I am a farmer too and it’s easy to forget that, especially in the Winter months when things are slower.

Thirdly, I get a great view out of my kitchen window and time to reflect while I’m at the kitchen sink each morning.  The picture of Eden sitting in the window is from last April when she was around 8 months old.  Before she was born I washed eggs alone in my house probably listening to Kelly and Michael Live in the background and staring blankly out the kitchen window.  Once Eden was old enough to sit up she sat in the window and watched me wash eggs every day.  It made that time so much more pleasant.  Now I miss so much the days when she was little enough to sit up there and coo and babble at me.  But now she’s a big girl and gets to get out of the house while I wash eggs.  As I mentioned earlier, I try to use that time to pray, reflect, and listen to something uplifting and encouraging whether it’s a podcast or music.  I purposefully keep the tv turned off during that time.

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Eden helping me wash eggs at 8 months old. 🙂

It might sound so silly to have this whole post dedicated to the mundane task of washing eggs, but it’s a significant part of my day.  And since we moved to the farm three years ago I’m forced to look out my kitchen window each morning and see the seasons change and the birds flee and flit, and reflect on how far we’ve come as a farm and a family.

My daily goal is to be thankful, not just about washing eggs, but about every thing in my life, no matter how mundane and simple it may be.  God has blessed us so much and he uses those eggs each day to bless me and bring me back to right perspective.

My hope is that this will encourage you to be thankful for the simple things in your life.  I complain so much.  Instead of complaining about having to wash dishes, I should be thankful I have clean running water, and food to put on those dishes.  I know it’s so hard in our society today to be positive, but if we put down our phones and turn off our tv and take time to reflect we can do it together!

 

The Boys in Her Life

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Almost every morning Eden’s Papa Dan and Uncle Jake come in and get her to feed the cows.  As soon as they walk in the door she goes running to them.  (And I definitely appreciate the hour I get to myself to do housework or simply read a book!)  We knew before she was even born she would be the light of her Papa’s life and that he would take her on many adventures and spoil her rotten with fun things to do around the farm.  It melts my heart too see her with the boys, whether it’s just her Papa or all three of them.  She will grow up not realizing her childhood is rare and special.  She will grow up with lots of adventures and “field trips” as I like to call them.  Whether she is riding in the combine or tractor, playing in the shop, or simply riding along in the truck feeding cows she is having the time of her life and making so many happy memories.

Yesterday I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air so I went feeding with them and I got to sit in the back seat and watch Eden as they fed.  It reminded me of when I was a little girl and fed cows with my grandpa in the winter time.  I will forever cherish those memories, as I’m sure Eden will.  Papa Dan lets her push the on and off button on the controller for the hay bed each time they use it and when Uncle Jake goes to open the gate she gets in his seat and knows to scoot back over when he comes back.  She moos and points to the cows when they come running and puts her hand on the window when the horses are near in hopes to pet one.  It melted my heart to see her yesterday, just like it does anytime she is spending time with one or all of the boys.

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Eden feeding cows with Papa Dan & Uncle Jake!

I know I say this ALL THE TIME, but I am truly beyond thankful she will grow up out here on this farm.  But I am even more thankful that she has three men that love on her and teach her new things each and every day.  They show her what hard work and discipline are, and teach her important values, plus she gets to have lots of fun too.

As I’m writing this all three boys are in here by the fire warming up for a bit playing with her and laughing.  She’s one lucky girl to have them.  And I’m one lucky mama that she has them too.

 

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This moment super melted my heart!  I took this picture from our living room window without any of them even knowing it.  I remember watching them for several minutes and soaking in all the love and attention she was getting.  All three of them (though Chad is hiding in this picture) were playing with Eden on the back of the drill. She was running back and forth and having the time of her life!

 

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Eden in the combine with Uncle Jake!

 

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I remember this day because it was the first time Eden rode on Chad’s shoulders while we moved the chicken house! Always new and fun things going on!

 

Reflections on 2016

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Wow!  I cannot believe another year has come and gone.  I’ve said many times that if you would have told me where I would be when I was 28 I would have laughed in your face.  2016 was a huge year for me, for us as a family, and for our farm.

Motherhood

Though Miss Eden was born in August of 2015, 2016 was my first full year as a mom.  It was the year my little baby turned into a toddler, where she learned to crawl, walk, and use her cute little mouth to “moo” like a cow.  It’s the year my little girl learned to give me huge hugs and slobbery wet kisses.  Waking up every morning to her big smile is the best part of my day.  I literally bring myself to tears at time thinking about her not being a part of my life.

2016 was the year I felt human again.  Because of Eden fighting my struggle with depression isn’t so hard anymore.  I have a wonderful reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard some days to find the motivation to do all the things stay-at-home moms do.  My couch looks so good from across the room, but most days I manage to do a pretty good job at balancing the baby, the house, and the hubs…oh and sometimes myself ha ha!

My hope in 2017 is to worry less about how clean my house is and to spend more time loving on Eden.  I also want to start making a daily schedule for us that fits time in just for reading/learning , playtime, nap-time, and even scheduled time for me to do housework, wash eggs, and cook meals.  We read books all the time, but she has lots of cool learning tools I want us to start sitting down and working on together.  I’ve already put all of those items such as her blocks, puzzles, and coloring books on a shelf in the living room next to the little table I cleaned up that Chad and his siblings had when they were kids.

Being a mother really is the best thing that has happened to me and I’m excited to see where it takes both me and Eden this year as we both learn and love together.

The Farm

As many of you know Chad quit his day job in August to farm full-time.  It was a big and scary decision for us all.  So far, it was the best decision we’ve made for the farm and the family.  All of our stress levels went down significantly.  Chad has been able to spend so much for time with Eden.  In 2016, we raised over 1,500 meat chickens and plan to raise many more this year.  We grew around 5 acres of vegetables and hopefully plan to do not too much more than that this year ha ha!  Well, I forgot we will have 10 acres of pumpkins and watermelons on some land a few miles from the farm! And we got 330 MORE hens, which really just started laying in the the past couple weeks. But if they’re laying 5 dozen a day right now on these cold, short days, they will be laying dozens and dozens of eggs in they’re peak!  Which means lots of egging washing for this mama!  It was a great year for the farm in 2016!  But there are some big things on the horizon and I pray and hope 2017 will be a huge year for us!  I’m thankful for my hard working husband who is so full of passion and keeps everything going.  During the Winter months he will be doing taxes at the local H&R block to bring in some extra money since farming is a lot slower this time of year.  Farming (no mater what kind) is extremely hard work and I don’t know about other farmers, but we hope and pray we have enough money to pay our bills each month.  But the lifestyle we get to have because of it is worth every long and sweaty day.  2017 begins our 4th year of farming and I’m excited to see where this journey takes us.  May we have a bountiful crop, lots of eggs, healthy chickens, many happy customers, and of course rain!

 

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So long 2016.  Here’s to 2017-a new year, a new chapter.  May I be the best wife and mother I can be.  May I love myself and be more patient.  May I slow down during the day to meditate and reflect on the goodness God has given me.  May I be more grateful and joyful and complain a little less.

 

***All photos on this post were taken by Samantha Siler at  JS Creations

 

 

Mom Blahness

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So my goal is to write a post at least once a week…maybe on Monday mornings.  Mondays are basically our Saturdays anyways since we are at farmer’s market all day.  On Sundays we have church and often do something with friends and family, so Mondays are our day to relax (or at least try to!).  Well, obviously I didn’t write anything on Monday…or Tuesday.  Chad keeps encouraging me to be consistent on here, but I just never know what to say that’s interesting to other people.  And then I read a blog post earlier this week from a fellow mother who writes simply about her life: her struggles, her hopes, or daily activities, but a lot about her feelings.  She talked about how she wishes there were more blogs like that because anymore they are  focused on one subject, like cooking, fitness, or finance.  It was encouraging to read the comments on her post as well.  People relate to feelings.  And I have LOTS of feelings!  So many that I could probably write two posts a day on here!  I think I’m saying all this because  I’ve been feeling a little blah lately.  I’m tired, have very little motivation, and have been rather negative ( Chad would agree!).

I’m pretty sure my problem is simply myself!  I am so hard on myself and have been my entire life.  I remember before I even got pregnant being so fearful that I would be a bad mom.  And the whole time I was pregnant I worried about the same thing.  I had BIG plans for being a stay-at-home mom.  And yes, I’ve done most of the “granola-hippie mama” things I intended.  But there are several things I just don’t have the energy to do.  Like make ALL my own food.  I was going to make Eden food from all natural products, but if I’m honest she probably ate a whole sleeve of Keebler club crackers today.  And I sometimes use Johnson and Johnson baby wash (instead of the natural stuff) because I have tons of it from all my showers.  And I let her eat pizza and chocolate pudding this week.  Eden has now watched 3 episodes of Baby Einstein today and originally I wasn’t going to let her watch tv at all.  Plus, I asked Chad if he would cook dinner tonight because I just don’t know if I can muster up the energy to do it.  And it’s so easy to tell myself I suck at life and that I’m a horrible mom and I’ve failed miserably!  I know what you’re thinking.  But I know I’m NOT the only mom who does this.  We are all hard on ourselves.  But we must stop it!  We can’t do it all.  We have to stop comparing ourselves to other mamas (and people in general).  And we must quit putting opinions from other people in our head, because most of the time they probably don’t even think those things about us!   If our children are alive, healthy, and thriving I think we are doing a pretty awesome job! 

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Eden Grace sitting on daddy’s lap at church on Sunday! 🙂

On top of beating myself up, I think I’ve been so blah lately because we basically do the same things everyday.  Eden and I sleep in, we eat breakfast, I wash eggs and laundry, and straighten up the house.  She takes a nap in the afternoon while I read or do housework.  Then we help daddy with evening chicken/turkey chores.  It’s pretty boring and repetitive sometimes.  I think it’s so easy for stay-at-home mamas to get in that rut.  Once my sprained ankle gets healed up and Eden’s hives go away (she had a reaction to a vaccine) we are going to plan 2 out-of-the-ordinary activities per week!  They might be on the farm or they might be in town, but that’s my new goal!  If we don’t keep it fresh I know we will both be miserable and bored.

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Poor Princess had an allergic reaction to her measles vaccine (yes we did decide to vaccinate).  So she’s in disposable diapers and clothes-free right now. 😦 

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Playing dress-up with the flower headband future Aunt Chelsea got her! 🙂

So if you’re reading this and your a mom please be encouraged to know you’re not the only one who is ridiculously hard on themselves and feels “blah” sometimes.  You are awesome and doing a great job!  Sometimes you just gotta give the kid her cracker and movie if that’s what will keep everyone sane and happy.  Don’t beat yourself up about it! (I’m talking to myself here).  And if you’re a stay-at-home mom (or even a working mom) who feels like your life is getting boring or repetitive go and do something spontaneous.  Chad and I are planning a hike for my birthday next month and I can’t wait!  Go on a picnic, put together a puzzle as a family, bake cookies, or go to the zoo!  Sometimes the simplest things make a difference and brighten yours and your whole family’s mood.

I know when I’m feeling “blah” or like I’m not the mom I feel I should be I simply grab my little princess and hug her tight.  She’s my whole world and I know I’m hers.  At the end of the day that’s all that matters.  So go find your little one and remind yourself of that! 🙂

Leap of Faith

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Well it’s officially been four weeks since Chad quit his job with Adult Protective Services with DHS.  As some of you know, it was extremely difficult for all three of us to have Chad working full-time and then coming home to farm just about full-time.  Plus, it was a very difficult and emotionally draining job.  No one should have to deal with the things he dealt with on a daily basis.  It was wearing emotionally and physically on Chad, which was wearing on us.  He hardly got to spend time with Eden during her first year of life.  Chad and I cherished our hour drive to and from market each Saturday.  We called them our “business meetings” because it was really the only time we actually had to sit and talk and plan.

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I am a stay-at-home mom and I do not currently bring in any extra income.  Yes, I do save us a lot of money by cloth diapering, nursing Eden, meal planning, and budgeting, etc.  However, we still have to have money, especially for my huge college debt!  And not to mention health insurance.  We just aren’t brave enough to go completely without.

We’ve been talking about him quitting for months, but we just didn’t know where the money would come from.  We make good money farming, but since this is only our third year of poultry and vegetable farming (we do have cattle too), we have a lot of expenses.  New equipment and hand-built chicken houses are not cheap!

We knew it was going to be a HUGE leap of faith.  Our spiritual life is a bit lacking I would say, but we needed to trust God more than ever if Chad was really going to quit.  We had to rely on Him to provide “our daily bread.”  And we knew it would be a day to day faith we would have to have.

We have both read books and listened to podcasts about life and being happy.  Chad listens and reads a ton of stuff about finances.  Life is so short.  Why work every single day and be miserable just to pay your bills and have health insurance when you can most likely figure out how to live frugally enough and create enough income to work from home and be happy and have a happy family.  Stuff and money are not the things of happiness.  (Read the Radical Homemaker by Shannon Hayes if you want to learn more on the subject.)

The last four weeks have been a whirlwind.  It’s been incredible having Chad home more.  Before, I had to figure out how to do everything by myself with Eden.  Washing eggs, cooking dinner, bathing me and her, cleaning the house, etc.  If Chad has the time or just wants to spend some time with her he does because he can now.  It’s glorious!  But things haven’t really been normal since he quit.  We’ve been playing catch up like crazy around the farm, and Eden had a huge birthday party we had to get ready for, and then on Friday I sprained my ankle so I’m needing a little extra help from him right now.

I am so thankful God provided us his job.  Though we’ve always had to live frugally, we knew we would have money each month to pay our bills and buy gas and groceries, and we had good health insurance.  Now we have to write ourselves a check each month out of the money we pray the farm makes for us.  We have insurance through healthcare.gov with an insanely high deductible.  Chad will be doing farm taxes with H&R Block during tax season and it looks like he will start doing some bookkeeping soon to bring in some extra cash.  We will be researching some Christian Health Shares too to see if they are a better option than what we have now.  Yes, it is stressful.  No, we don’t know if we will make it.  But we do know that we made the right decision for our family right now.  We will live one day at a time and pray for our daily bread.  Hopefully I can get some of our lovely produce preserved for this winter (once my ankle is better, of course!).  Now that Chad is here I might actually get to preserve some things without Miss Eden getting into trouble!

Eden’s Bible Story the other morning was about the Tower of Babel and it greatly spoke to our current circumstances. Here’s what it said, “It was a grand tower, but something was wrong.  The people were working only for themselves.  God had to show them they would always need His help to succeed.”  We can’t farm for ourselves.  Our business must glorify God.  Even the mundane tasks of cooking dinner and washing diapers are for God.  That is the attitude we must have.  I don’t consider myself to be a super churchy person, but her Bible Story greatly spoke to me that morning.  We can’t keep growing our business with us only in mind.  We must rely on God and not our own strength.

With all that said, I am excited about our family being home together a little more.  Chad is happier, baby is happier, and most importantly momma is happier (ha ha!).  I am so incredible proud of Chad.  He is one of the most passionate and hard-working men I know.  I know our little farming business will now be able to grow even more with him having more time, and our little family will have time to grow closer too!

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Farming is Not Romantic

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Farming is not romantic. I don’t mean romantic in the sense of love between two people. I mean it is not picturesque. Farming is hard, dirty, hot and sweaty, buggy, and frustrating as heck. You have to love it to do it (or love the man who loves to do it), or you won’t succeed. And even then, there will be lots of times you will fail. The thing with farming is that nothing is concrete or set in stone. Things break down, crops fail, and animals die. When you wake up in the morning you never know what the day will bring.

This is our third season of vegetable and poultry farming. And it is hard and frustrating right now. Chad currently working full-time makes it very difficult on top of the normal hardships of farming. Though we’re growing a lot and getting better, lots of things still go wrong. If it weren’t for Chad’s “never give up” attitude I would have probably thrown in the towel a long time ago. But I know deep down in my heart of hearts that this way of life will provide a good and prosperous life for us some day. And as I’ve written before, I am so thankful my children will grow up here on this farm knowing what it means to work hard and follow your dreams no matter what those around you think.

So for those of you who think the farm life is just idyllic and dreamy with a cute little family in their overalls sitting on the front porch you no nothing about the farm life. (And while I’m at it, the farm dating website most likely has no real farmers on it and if you think you want to marry a real farmer you need to know what you’re getting into first.)

So here is a list of the things that have gone wrong so far this season (most of them this week!):

  • Tomato seed is one of the most expensive seeds we purchase. Because our first planting in the green house did not come up we had to replant all 800ish plants. Most of them did not come up either, but thankfully we have great friends who gave us lots of tomato plants leftover from their farm. We later learned that our greenhouse material is too thick for enough light to come through, which was also why our pepper plants hardly germinated this year either. (Green house dilemma=one more problem to fix this winter).
  • Since we don’t have a very good water well to irrigate with we have to store water in tanks and use a pump to overhead water our crops.   Unfortunately, a small amount of fertilizer was left in the tanks and it burned/killed our pepper and tomato crop and about ¼ of our sweet potato crop. So after we thought most of the problems we had with peppers and tomatoes were solved, we still lost the entire crop! Yes, we cried. (Thankfully, our onion and potato crop this year was the best we’ve had yet!)
  • We ordered 100 turkeys a few weeks ago, but 30 of them died on the way here. Thankfully, the hatchery sent us replacements. Unfortunately, the barn cats killed all but 3 of the replacement turkeys over the past 2 days. (We cried again).
  • Our electric pump went out this week that we use to irrigate our crops.
  • Despite Chad’s best efforts of sealing up one of the hen houses, we’ve lost several hens over the past couple of weeks because of a possum.
  • We currently have a batch of 300 broiler chickens in the pasture. We lost around 20 today because they ran out of water and it was extremely hot. Chad was at work, and I didn’t think about them today because Miss Eden is sick and has had a fever all day.

I’m sure other things went wrong/died, but either Chad did not tell me about them or I just can’t remember right now. I’m not writing this so you will for sorry for us. I’m writing this because it has been a very long day and I need to get this off my chest. Sometimes it would be easier to quit. Sometimes I ask why in the world are we doing this. We can’t win for losing, and nothing is going right. But I know some day we will look back and be glad we kept pushing through. And we are teaching Eden to work hard and not to give up. If you want something you can’t give up. That’s why I love my husband so much. No matter how many things go wrong and no matter how many people think what he is doing is crazy and a waste of time and money, he keeps going.

No, farming is not romantic. But it is enduring. There are several farmers in my life, and I admire them all. No matter how broke down things get they keep going.

This evening as I was getting Eden to sleep I sang “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” to her. I know the lyrics to that song are true. God is taking care of us, even when things go wrong I know he is right here with us. I am grateful to have the peace to know I can put my trust and hope in Christ and know that everything is going to be all right.

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Eden & I rescued these 3 turkeys from the cats this morning.  Though I was frustrated as heck, seeing her with these baby turkeys melted my heart.

 

It’s Hard Not to Stress!

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Written Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I try not to stress about the farming side of things. Chad has told me over and over that he has everything taken care of. “My responsibility is Eden,” he says. When he needs my help around the farm I help him and if I absolutely need his with Eden then he helps me. His favorite line is “We’ll figure it out.” I hate it when he says that ha ha! When I’m in freak-out mode “We’ll figure it out” is not the answer I want to hear! I am thankful Chad’s parents can occasionally watch Eden if we need them to. This weekend was extremely busy and I’m so thankful they watched Eden for us.

On Friday we picked for market and on Saturday we went to market. That in itself is exhausting! The last couple weeks Chad’s dad has watched Eden while we picked, but since he couldn’t this week she sat in her stroller in the field. She fussed a little, but she was a pretty good sport! On Saturday after market we actually rested for a couple hours when we got home and that never happens. It was much needed to simply relax together just the three of us for once. On Saturday evening we transplanted a few random things, and then Chad got everything ready for our plantathon!

On Sunday and Monday (since Chad was off for the holiday) we planted, and we planted, and we planted. We transplanted 1,000 sweet potato starts, 300 lavender plants, and a few hundred watermelons. We transplanted a few other random things like peppers, tomatoes, and basil. Eden rode in the big tractor with Papa Dan while he planted soybeans and we planted sweet potatoes. She was in the air-conditioned tractor while we were outside in the open. And I thought it would be a brilliant idea to wear a tank top and no sunscreen, so needless to say I’m hurting pretty bad right now!

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300 Lavender Plants!  This is our first season to use the plastic mulch, and as you can it’s a learning process!  And so are making straight rows! ha ha 🙂

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1,000 Sweet Potato Slips!  Another issue we’re having is weeds!  But believe it or not, we are managing them better this year than we have in the past!

Like I said at the beginning, I try not to stress about the farm side of things. I try my best to focus on taking care of Eden, keeping the house clean, staying on top of laundry and diapers, and feeding the 3 of us nourishing meals. But. It. Is. So. Hard. Yesterday I was so stressed out about all the things we aren’t getting done and about how mentally and physically exhausted Chad is that I literally could not breathe. Yes, so many things are getting done, but so many things aren’t getting done too. And in those moments of stress I have to take a step back and look at how far we have come since we started farming 3 years ago. The things that have to be done get done and we are making it just fine.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is just a season in our life. Some day when Chad doesn’t have to work full-time more and more things will get done. The biggest thing I need to work on right now is to quite saying, “When Chad doesn’t have to work outside the farm…” this will happen, and things will be like this, etc. Because right now he does have to and this is the season God has given us. Chad and I both have to learn to make the most of this time, no matter how hard, busy, and stressful it may seem. Yesterday I reminded him that we are a team, and we have to handle this time with strength and love and set an example for Eden and give her a good and positive environment even now in the crazy. We have to show her that no matter how hard things may seem we can get through it like champs. We have to embody the now and the present and make the best of it. Yes, maybe the future will be better, and I hope it is, but we have to make the most of right now. I truly believe that no matter what our circumstances are we make the choice to be joyful and stress-free. It’s a very hard choice, but the choice is ours. I know we will look back on this season some day and laugh and be thankful because we came out of it stronger than ever. Hard work does pay off. And I know it will!

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Eden lounging in her stroller in the garden! She melts my heart!