Friday, February 20, 2015

What Life and Sunrises Have in Common

1. They start out small.

2. They grow slowly.

3. Things seem to stay the same.

4. Slowly they become  more beautiful and show unique characteristics. 

5. You feel like you are waiting in the same 
spot and just want things to move faster.

6. Anticipation for what's to come grows.

7. We get a peek of what could be.

8. We question what's to come.

9. We have expectations and wonder if we will be disappointed.

10. Suddenly the light dawns and things become clearer.

11. The light and wisdom grows.

12. You don't notice the progression at first.

13. Light and life moves quicker.

14. They become so bright it's hard to see.

15. You try to enjoy the moment because you know it won't last long.

16. You look back and try to remember what it was like before this.

17. You wonder if the best is in the past.

18. The process is over and you realize there is still beauty.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Puppy Drama


It seems drama follows me around - uninvited. I would love a boring day.

Son #1's Golden - Bella decided to have Valentine puppies. This is her third and last litter. I've been there for all of them.

We discovered at the first birth she likes to have them backwards and we lost one because the bag broke before the puppy was totally out and it drowned - so to speak. She had eight - one died.

A year and a half later we were at it again. We assisted and had to "help" remove puppies right and left. She had 11. Eight of the 11 were born back feet first - all lived. But I wonder if she was left alone if that would have been the case.

Fast forward to today. She had her first four pretty much on her own with no problems. Puppy #5 was born fully formed but dead. On the heals of that one came #6 and we had to help that one. In fact, he was quite lifeless and Son#1 sort of breathed life back into it. He's very small but is fine.

When #6 came so fast, it created an issue with the placenta from #5. The dead puppy was out but the placenta was still inside. We wanted to leave things be so the placenta would be delivered. We waited but no placenta. Then Bella chewed the cord free and we disposed of the puppy. We just assumed the placenta would come.

We waited two hours and Son#1 thought for sure there was more puppies but none were coming. She was contracting but not really pushing hard.

I called my herdsman/vet and he said to clean her off with betadine, don gloves and try to reach up and pull the placenta out.

Son #1 pulled out the placenta and immediately another puppy arrived - dead. We're guessing something happened with him being so far down in the birth canal, not sure, but he didn't make it. Once the placenta was removed and the puppy that didn't survive arrived #8 arrived. Once again he/she (can't remember) needed to be coaxed to life.

At this point there were six alive and two that didn't make it.

My son was fairly certain he felt two more.

Twenty minutes she started contracting again but she wasn't pushing. The bag was intact so we just watched and waited. She just didn't try at all to deliver this one. Finally, the bag broke and we saw back feet and a tail coming. We didn't want to lose this one, so we carefully "helped". He was one big boy and we don't know for sure, but we doubted he would have been born quick enough to survive.

So that was #9 with 7 alive.

Son#1 thought he could feel another one, but she didn't contract and we even got her up and she went out to go to the bathroom and she came back and laid down for the puppies to nurse.

I waited another 45 minutes and nothing was happening so I left. We all thought she was done.

Son #1 was taking a nap in the room two hours later (been up since 4 AM) and he woke up to her licking and licking. Sure enough another puppy was coming. But, the bag was broke, the back to legs were out, lifeless and covered in very dark liquid - like the other puppy that died. Both he and Daughter-in-law thought he was dead. They waited about 10 minutes and then since she wasn't doing anything they carefully pulled the dead puppy out. Daughter-in-law was crying and my son felt terrible. As they held it, Son #1 thought the puppy moved his leg. So, they started rubbing it, having Bella licked his face and I'm sure a few prayers went up. That puppy that was laying lifeless inside Bella was revived.

They are calling him their Miracle Puppy.

Now there are 8 puppies as cute as can be squeaking and crawling around looking for food.

My son said he thought for sure when he felt that last one that there was one more. We are pretty sure he was wrong, but who knows.

All in all it was a nice Valentine's gift for them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine Helps for Guys

This picture is my idea of a Valentine's gift. When we were remolding our kitchen, daughter-in-law #2 blessed us with this yummy treat. A gift from the heart.

As far as I am concerned Valentine’s Day is a money grubbing man-made holiday to line the pockets of savvy businesses that work on people’s emotions. Can you believe I wrote that?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting flowers, candy and gifts. I just prefer they be given because the giver wanted to, not because the calendar said to. I’ve gotten candy and roses from Farmer on Valentine’s Day, but some of my favorite gifts have been the wild flowers he brought home from the barn. Sweet lilacs in the spring, Peonies and Wild Roses in the summer are what I prefer. Why? Because, as he walked towards them, he thought of me and took the time to bring them home.

Now, for you men, if you really want to give that lady of yours a treat, I have some home grown down to earth suggestions. Ladies, you’re on your own.

1. Put the toilet seat down.

2. Shut the cupboard doors.

3. Throw your dirty clothes in the proper place, not inches away.

4. Keep bodily noises and eruptions to a minimum.

5. Please don’t scratch in public.

6. Close your mouth when the pretty girl walks by.

7. No deep sighs and rolling of the eyes when you are shopping with her.

8. Go into the store when you go shopping with her. Waiting in the car doesn’t count.

9. A trip to the hardware store to pick up that part you need does not a date night make.

10. Just because you don’t care what you look like, doesn’t mean she feels that way – she’s the one looking at you.

11. Hair comb-overs are outdated, ridiculous and a traffic hazard.

12. Hair belongs on your head, not coming out of your ears or nose.

13. Toothpicks are to be used. They have a purpose and short life span. It is not your job to roll them around in your mouth and chew them to death.

14. If you get separated from your wife in public, use your cell phone to call her when you are ready to leave. A sharp shrill whistle should be reserved for the dog.

15. When in doubt, fall back on the roses and candy. At least she will have something to enjoy.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Perfect Valentine's Day Gift for Farmers and Farmers at Heart

A perfect gift for Valentine's Day for you and your Farmer/Farmer's wife, Farmer's girlfriend/boyfriend - Farmer's anything!

This is a great statement to make about our honorable profession and calling. Wear it with pride.

Click on the buy now button on the side bar to order.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Farmer's New Year Resolution

So, are you making any resolutions this year? January 1 is approaching and there is a lot of pressure resting on that day. Many are starting with a renewed vim, vigor and determination. Diets are planned, bad habits are shoved to the side and good intentions are thicker than picky on a porcupine.

The definition of resolution is:
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.

2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.

There is a lot of optimism and hope flying around this time of the year.

Optimism is a necessary element that runs through a farmer's veins. As important as oxygen.

In the past forty years of farming together we have watched army worms march through fields, acquired lake front property where a corn field should be and felt the premature brown grass crunch under our feet. But, we're still here.

It rained too much, not enough, too hard or too fast. It's been too cold, or way too hot. But, we're still here.

We watched newly sewn alfalfa fields wash away into the road and witnessed the corn curl up and die from extreme heat. We've worked through sick animals, broken down equipment and eaten enough dirt and dust for a lifetime. But, we're still here.

We've survived sour milk prices while paying healthy feed, seed, fuel and equipment prices. We've put out fires of the physical and emotional kind. But, we're still here.

We feel called to tend the land God gave us and will continue to until he changes our minds.

It's that "but" that keeps us going. With every year and every challenge the song that plays in our heads - "There's always next year."

So, while most people jump on the optimistic parade of roses float, we ride the dust covered optimistic wagon on a daily basis.

The wagon trail has been bumpy and full of ruts, but, man oh man, the views and lessons are incredible.

A new born calf wobbling on his new unused legs, freshly plowed earth, an early morning walk down the lane, tiny new corn plants breaking through the crust of the ground, lightening bugs - God's fireworks, are all boosts to our immune system.

Lunches eaten on the tailgate of the pickup, walking home under the stars and late night ice cream runs are rewards.

Even now as the brown earth sleeps under a blanket of snow, hope lies deep within a farmer's heart. While thawing out frozen water pipes and fingers thoughts of tilling the soil are close. While wading through knee deep snow the contemplation of making hay is a companion.

While paying year end bills and trusting there will be enough to cover what needs to be met, hope reigns.

So, while some of you may be making New Year's resolutions that may last a few weeks or maybe even a few months, a Farmer's resolutions lasts a lifetime.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Red Velvet Cake with Creamy White Frosting

We are celebrating Son #2's birthday and he will say his birthday isn't over until he's sick from eating too much Red Velvet Cake. Most of the family agrees. Here is the recipe and I must say it is worth getting sick over.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together 1 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 C Crisco.

Add and mix well 2 eggs and 1 t vanilla. No matter how hard I try I always drip and dribble the vanilla down the bottle.

Add and mix 2 T cocoa and 1 oz. - 1 bottle of red food coloring. Mix slowly to begin because the cocoa will poof all over.

Isn't it lovely?

Add and mix alternately 2 1/2 C flour and 1 C buttermilk.

This is the fun science project part. Add 1 t soda to 1 T vinegar and watch it fizz. Add it to the mix and stir in thoroughly.

Still a lovely sight.

Grease two 9 inch pans and then line the bottom with parchment paper to help the cake release easier after baking.

Set the pan on the paper and trace and cut.

I'm not sure what these strips are called but they are in the baking section at stores like Michaels. You wet them, then wrap them around your pans. Somehow, magically it makes the cakes rise level. You know how you always have a hump in the middle of your cake? This makes the cake nice, level and easier for stacking.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes - I think. I always go by sight and testing. Remove the cake as soon as a toothpick comes out clean. In fact, I remove the cake a touch sooner - I like moist cakes. Do NOT over bake.
 White Creamy Frosting

Cook on the stove 1 C milk and 3 T flour. Stir and cook until thick and bubbles. It will look like wall paper glue - but tastes much better when added to the rest of the ingredients. Let cool completely.

Mix, mix, mix, mix and you get the idea - mix like crazy 1 C softened butter, 1 C sugar and 1 t vanilla. Add the cooled mixture to the beaten sugar mixture.
See how fluffy?

I throw it in my wonderful Kitchen Aid and walk away for awhile.
To make clean up easier when frosting cake, place wax paper or parchment paper like this.
Slather a nice layer on the first cake.

Add the second layer, frost and carefully pull the paper out to expose a nice clean plate.
Perhaps you will add this "eat until you're sick" tradition to your family. Wear sweat pants or other pants with elastic waist to make this process easier. Enjoy.

Celebrate the ordinary

Today is the only day you have. Don't wish it away, worry it away or plan it away. Your ordinary days add up to life.

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