Thursday, October 30, 2014

THERE IS JUST SOMETHING ABOUT A DOG

There is just something about a dog.

When we were kids we had a German Shepherd.

His name was Tippy.

I was always a little afraid of him although he never gave me cause to be.

As a matter of fact he was very protective of my brothers and I.

Once my dad was going to give my brother a spanking in the yard and Tippy got after him so Dad rethought it.

I remember we had a man combining once and his combine caught on fire and he was coming off of the combine and Tippy started in after him and he climbed back up on the burning combine.

He never liked the man who delivered our coal and he really didn't like men in general.

Once we had a tobacco base leased at a neighbors and when we went to work there Tippy followed along.

They had a German Shepherd as well and it was white.

Tippy and their dog, King got in a fight.

Now granted we were the visitors and Tippy was the one who didn't belong there and I acknowledge that right up front.

When the dogs started to fighting the owner of the other dog, a woman started yelling, "Kill him King, Kill him.

I was a little girl but I remember that.

I was scared anyway but I can still see that lady in my mind she was all into it and I knew it was wrong to be saying that.

I was just a girl and I knew our dog was the one that didn't belong but I also knew we would have never hollowed out such a thing.

We were concerned for both dogs.

Dad took care of the dog fight and we took our dog home.

Mom and Dad talked about it and I learned a lot from listening. I learned a lot about being a neighbor.

Mark, the kids and I had a Blue Heeler, we got him at the pound and he was the best dog ever.

We named him  Bear but we pronounced it Bar.

When the kids were little we would ride back in the field in the truck to see the cows and he would follow along with us he would jump up in front of us snapping at flies or bugs or what have you.

Then he got to where he wanted to bite the tires while Mark was driving.

One day the kids and I were working in the greenhouse and Mark left, it wasn't wrong before he was back and as soon as he came in the greenhouse I knew something was wrong.

He had ran over Bar and killed him.

Mark cried and we cried.

We buried  him in the back yard.

We didn't have many dogs after that but Mark roofed a house and a man had a Beagle dog and he gave him to Mark.

We named her Mimi.

Mark hated that.

He said a man should not have to go to the vet and say out loud that his Beagle dog was named, "Mimi."

Mimi had Runt. Runt's dad was the neighbors dog.

Then we got Noah, Heidi's Chocolate Lab.

They are both getting old now and this winter is going to be hard on them.

Then Foxey came.

Liv picked her out on line and we went to the airport to get her.

Now that was a major deal for us, you see we just aren't the sort of people who pay for a dog and then drive all the way to Louisville, Kentucky to pick it up at the airport.

But we are those kind of people now.

We love Foxey in a way I would have thought was crazy until we became crazy.

Then Jessica got Charlene and she was so funny and cute  but she died in the summer and now Jess has Lucy Lou.

She called and face timed with her dad tonight so he could watch Lucy play and whistle to her over the phone.

When Olivia is here and Lucy hears her talking through the phone she jumps at the phone.

Long story short, dogs play a big  part in our lives don't they?

Almost everyone has a story about a dog,

They protect us and comfort us and they love us no matter what.

As I was typing this, Lucas came downstairs and looked out on the porch to see Foxey sleeping in a flowerpot,  he opened the door and told her to come in.

No she is sleeping in the foyer without a care in the world.

She is fat, furry, healthy and  happy.

I can't help but think as I look at her lying there that just like I said before,

there is just something about a dog.

What about you, don't you agree?

Do you have a story?


Saturday, October 25, 2014

We're A Family Farm, Not A Company Farm

I've been asked if we are a company farm several times so I thought I would just take this opportunity to say, No, we are not a company farm.

We grow chickens, broilers, for Tyson.

We are with the Corydon, Indiana complex, one of the top complexes in the country.

Now it is true that several years ago Tyson had company farms, there were some near us.

A company farm meant Tyson owned the land, the barns, and the chickens and they would hire someone to take care of the farm, often times it would be a family.

Well it didn't take Tyson long to know what most of us already know, a company owned farm just doesn't produce as well.

When they compared the company farms to the family farms the family farms by and large out preformed the company farms in both the quality of birds and the upkeep of the farm.

So they did away with all of the company farms and now all of their producers are family farms.
Well, in our area that's the way it is anyway.

What does it mean to be a family farm that raises chickens for Tyson or as some say, under contract?

It's simple really, it means we own the farm, we owned this place long before we ever started raising chickens for Tyson.

It means we are the ones who had to get the loan  and permits to build the buildings, we have to pay the insurance and the taxes on the buildings and the land, we pay all the utilities save a gas bonus Tyson does give us during the winter months.

Tyson does not own any part of our farm.

I guess to make it simple you could say they are paying us to use our farm, or to grow their chickens.

We don't own the birds, they belong to Tyson.

They belong to them but we care for them.

If the alarm goes off on a winter night telling us the birds, (Tyson always refers to the chickens as the birds), are  cold, Mark gets up and goes out to make sure things are taken care of so they get warmed up.

The same in the summer, if it is 90 plus degrees outside and the birds are big  and can't handle the heart, it isn't Tyson who is here keeping them cool, it's us.

If the pump goes down and there is a water problem it's us not Tyson who fixes it.

Sometimes people think that because you are a bigger producer you don't care for your animals.

That simply isn't true, oh now I know there are a few who don't do a good job, that is true of small operators as well, it's true in every profession.

But Mark and the other farmers that I know, and I know a lot of them are caring for their birds.

Sure they care because they are going to get paid for it, I mean if they don't grow well we won't make as much so we want them to do well because it's how we make our living , we're chicken growers but that isn't all it is.

They want what's best for the animals and they want to see their farm cared for in the best possible way. 

It is to the farmers benefit to see that his farm and buildings are kept in good shape.

He is building a legacy,  a homeplace, he has something to hand down, a family name to honor.

He wants to do a good job for Tyson and he appreciates the opportunity they give him but in his mind he isn't building Tyson, in his mind he is building a family and a farm and that family contributes to the community and the community to the county and the county to the state and the state to the country and that is why we are called the American Farmer, not the Company Farmer.

God Bless the Farmers the world over!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Did You Ever Know What It Was To Love The Land?

Did you ever know a place so well you could feel it and smell it even when you weren't there?

I have.

I think a farm has a great way of impacting a person that way.

I can still see the farm fields I walked in as a girl.

I can still feel the way the summer heat beat down on the pasture, drying the grass and packing the cow paths.

I can still see the hinges on the fence post that the gates swung on and I remember how it felt in the woods and the way it smelled in the spring, summer, winter and fall.

Not only our farm but my grandparents place as well.

They had a marvelous big barn.

There was a large wooded work bench or table with drawers.  There were wooden ladders going to the loft and a wooden peg with feed sack ties hung on it.  Lots of burlap bags and pitch forks.

There was a corncrib and a hand corn sheller in it.

The tobacco barn was tall and long and had rows and rows of poles that my uncles climbed up as they hung tobacco.

There was a tobacco press and a long table that them men worked at pulling the leaves off and grading each one.

The cows had a path to the pond and around the top of the bank.

There was a hand pump between the house and the pond and I remember going there with Grandma to get water.

It seems I can remember every detail of the woven wire fence that was outside the kitchen window and behind the grape arbor.

The porch was a cistern top and Grandpa would sit there and smoke his pipe or cigar in the evening.

I can feel it all.

It's crazy how a piece of land or a barn or even a shed can get into you like that.

How you can know and recall every part of it.

Now I hear my kids telling stories about this place, about our barn and our ponds.

They tell about playing in the loft and using sow crates to make playhouses out of.

Climbing trees and scaring each other in the woods.

This place has got into them the very same my childhood home got into me.

There is just something about a piece of land, or a pond or a barn, it is almost like your life blood.
It gets in you and it never leaves.

My dad always told us kids if a man has a piece of land he has something.

I know dad meant he can provide for himself, he has a place to belong, he has roots and a foundation.

I realize more each day how right he was.

I hope somewhere in your past or somewhere in your future you will be blessed to know what it is to love the land.



Friday, October 17, 2014

I've Been Trying To Decide What Kind Of Farm Wife I Am

I've' been trying to decide what type of farm wife I am.

I used to never even think about it.

I was just what I was.

Since I've joined the facebook and blogging community I've found out it isn't that simple.

Some farm wives are very active in sharing news about farm bills and defending us against all the wrong information that is being delivered via the social media, television and so on.

That's wonderful and I applaud them and enjoy reading their work and learning from them.

Some are very involved in farm bills and laws.

I am so impressed with them and their knowledge.

We are so in need of women like them.

Truth be told in the day and time we live in we couldn't hold on without them.

So that got me to thinking about myself and the kind of farm wife I am.

I will have to admit I felt  a little depressed when I starting looking at myself.

I thought I never went to college, I don't have  a "real" career, I've never traveled for the farm or met with a Senator.

So, like we are prone to do, I felt like a failure.

Then I got a message, actually I got several messages, all of them about the farm, all of them about husbands, and in laws, and children and the love of the land and supper time and caring for parents and family get togethers.

Messages about memories and clotheslines, kitchen tables
 and bushel baskets, and corncribs and falling asleep listing to the hum of the grain dryers.

We talked about the fear we have when our husbands have been out in the heat or the cold or the dark to long and about how we go out and look for them.

We talked about having to pull over in your own drive way for a semi load of chickens or livestock or sawdust or manure to go by.

We talk about the early morning sounds on the farm and the sounds of the evening.

We talk about God and about our Savior Jesus Christ, we share prayer requests and hurts and joys.

As I looked back over the posts of our page and the blogs we've written and the messages you have sent I think God started to give me glimpse of the kind of Farm Wife I am.

I think I'm representing the softer side of farming, the heart and soul.

Maybe I'm more about the farmhouse and the view out the kitchen window than I am about other parts of farming.

So I have decided to be okay with that.
I'll be okay with it but I'm still going to keep following these beautiful young, educated, capable farm wives of today.

I'm so proud of all of them.

You Go Girls!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Accidental Preachers Wife

You know how I love the Pioneer Woman.

Remember how when the show comes on  one of the ways she describes herself is as, "an accidental country girl."

Accidental leads us to believe she hadn't planned on it.

I'm often asked by others about being a "preachers wife" and it occurred to me that I'm an "Accidental Preachers Wife."

I hadn't planned on it.

I didn't sign up for it.

I thought I was going to be a farmer's wife not a farmers/preacher's wife.

Now one difference between the Pioneer Woman and this Preachers Wife is I think that while she hadn't planned to be a country girl she was okay with it.

I on the other hand became a preachers wife kicking and screaming the whole way.

I didn't want it.

I was afraid of the whole thing.

I didn't know how to do it and I didn't want to learn how to do it.

I wanted to do the things I had always done because it's what I did, not because I was the preachers wife.

I didn't want to listen to people brag on my husband and think to myself, "you know he really isn't that wonderful."

I didn't want to listen to people tell me everything they thought was wrong with him and have to act like a lady and listen.

I guess that's the same as saying I didn't want to listen to how bad he was because I knew he was really a good man.
Not perfect, but good.

I didn't want to have people mad because we talked to them about what was going on in their lives and then have people mad if we didn't.
Mad because we called to check on them or mad because we didn't.

When I had to make calls about food or other needs I didn't want people to ask me who I called first, so I learned to call alphabetically.

I didn't want people thinking things about our children or our parenting.

I didn't want people thinking I was a pushover or a takeover, hardnosed or weak.

I didn't want to be brought in under excitement and having everyone think you were great only a few short years later to have them think you were a mistake.

With all of that said, you would think, wow, who would want to be a preacher's wife.

No wonder I kicked and screamed.

But thankfully the story doesn't stop there.

When I'm asked by young preachers wives  about what to do and what to expect I have to be honest.
I have to tell them it will be one of the hardest things they will ever do.

I have to tell them how I have had times when I was flat on my face on the bedroom floor in prayer and tears

I have to tell them there were times I danced across the floor with joy of what the Lord was doing.

If I hadn't been that accidental preachers wife I would have missed so many blessings.

I would have missed chances to become humble and lowly.

I would have missed so many chances to serve.

I would have never met some of the best friends I've ever had.

I would have not had the chance to learn from those I've learned from and to be able to teach those I've been blessed to teach.

I would have never had the chance to see my husband grow into the leader that he is now.

I would have never watched him lead other men, men who were willing to accept the challenge to step up.

I would have never known the blessing of seeing sweet, young women become godly, maturing women.

I would have never known some of the precious children I have known and thrill in seeing them grow up.

I would have never known how to deal with some of things I now know how to deal with.

I would have never learned how to look back over it all and call it good, not that it was all good but that God is good and he heals and he fixes and brings about good.

I wouldn't be who I am if I hadn't stopped kicking and screaming and started loving and listening.

So after all these years I can finally say like the pioneer woman does, I can say it with a smile, "I'm an Accidental Preachers Wife"  and I've been blessed.

So for all you young women who find yourself married to a preacher, hang on it's going to be some kind of ride and you will never be the same.

You will be stronger and better.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crunchy Romaine Toss with Sweet and Sour Dressing


Here's the salad I told you I would post.

Crunchy Mix
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3-ounce package Ramen noodles, any flavor (broken up and uncooked)
2 cups walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp sugar, ( I upped this a little bit)

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts and the broken Ramen noodles.
2. Sprinkle the pepper and sugar over the nuts and noodles and stir to combine. Toast the crunchy mixture for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture begins to burn before time is up, reduce the heat to low.

Makes 3 cups crunchy mix store in air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Salad
3 cups Romaine Lettuce
1 red pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup red onion strips which is about 1/2 of  a small red onion
1 cup broccoli florets
4 TBSP Parmesan cheese.

Sweet and Sour Dressing
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce.

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients and blend in blender or hand held blender. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble salad, place lettuce in a large bowl and layer the other ingredients.
Sprinkle the crunchy topping and the cheese over the top.
Pour on dressing and toss.
Serve immediately

*You can make smaller salads right on to salad plates

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summertime is Hay Time

Summertime  is hay time.
 
The old saying, "Make hay while the sun shines" is certainly true isn't it?
 
All else goes on the back burner when the hay is ready.
 
Our very first wedding anniversary supper was put on hold because there was hay down and it looked like rain.
 
Usually the first cutting is before school gets out.
 
The weather is watched morning, noon and night and when it looks like it's going to be dry the hay comes down.
 
There is almost no better smell than hay drying in the fields.
 
We don't see as many square bales as we used to.
 
It's hard to get the help.
Someone to drive the tractor, someone to stack and  someone to pick-up, ideally two to stack and at least a couple of others walking the field but when that can't be pulling the baler with a wagon behind and a man on the wagon will get the job done.
 
It's a big job to stack a load of hay. There is a right way to do it, a safe way to do it. A well stacked load of hay or straw is not only pretty but something to be proud of.
 
Then there is the trip to the barn. You sit up on top of that high stack and the breeze feels so good hitting you as the tractor speeds up a little.
 
The weather reports are saying to stay inside they are saying it's to hot to be out but the farmer doesn't listen.
 
He not only goes to the blazing hot hay filed but then he goes to the smothering hot hayloft.
How do they take it?  I don't know.
 
My dad says he remembers after he and his brothers left home his dad bought a hay elevator before but before that he and his brothers had to throw them from the wagon to the loft. When the wagon was full it wasn't to bad but as it emptied and got lower the job got harder. One of the few job that gets harder as it goes instead of easier.
 
Once the elevator is going and the hay is  placed on it the motion is started and everyone needs to keep the pace. A hay elevator is a wonderful thing. It makes an already difficult job a little easier.
 
Just as stacking the hay on the wagon is important so is stacking the hay in the barn. Neatness counts. 
 
The day ends and everyone passes around the thermos of ice water, turning it up and drinking after one another.
 
Clothes are dusting and covered with bits of hay or straw and soaking with sweat.
 
Caps are pulled off and forearms are rubbed across foreheads and hands through hair.
 
Some of the men stand others sort of  bend down without their knee touching the ground  like you've seen men do and they talk.
 
They talk about how the hay is, how much they got, how the neighbors hay looks, when they will cut again, how the machinery all worked, about the kind of machinery they would like to have and the kind they used to have.
 
The talking slows down and finally someone calls it a day.
 
Everyone heads to their trucks or to the house whichever the case might be and another  hay season is either underway or done until the next year.
 
I don't think there is any other job that follows seasons like farming does.
 
Well the job of motherhood does, we have seasons with our children as they grow.
 
Maybe that's why farming and families go so well together, they understand each other, they respect the seasons of life and of nature.
 
You can't hurry from one to the other, you have to wait for each season to complete it's cycle and you have to do what each cycle calls for when it calls for it.
 
It's the only way, it's just how things work.
 
Family's and farms, no wonder they go so well together.