Friday, May 25, 2012

Febreeze Please!

One of the great things about summer and living in the country is opening all your windows and having fresh air fill up your house.  Seth likes our house to be cold at night, so to enhance the air flow into our bedroom, he set up a box fan in the window.  I have to admit, it makes a pretty relaxing place to snooze after a long day of work.

The other night, after we laid Eli down for the night and getting ready for bed ourselves, Bristol started to get wound up.  She kept running to the window, whining, and sniffing around.  This is unusual behavior for her...well, at least at night time it is. (Once she hits our bed she's sprawled out, on my side of course, and won't move until we drag her out the next day before we head for work.) Earlier in the evening, we saw a big raccoon walking out of our barn and heading for the ditch, so we just figured he had made his way back to our yard and she saw him.

We were walking around the house, locking the door and turning out the lights when our house began to fill with a horrible horrible smell. It could have been one of those death traps set in The Hunger Games, it smelled so bad. I started running around the house trying to figure out where it was coming from. Obviously I checked the baby, then asked Seth, "WAS THAT YOU?!!" (which for some reason, he was really offended by.) When we got to our bedroom the smell only got worse, as if it were the source.  And it was...

A skunk was right outside our bedroom door, hence the reason Bristol was going nuts. It had also decided that he needed to spray right in front of the fan in our bedroom window. So not only did he make it stink outside, he then located himself so that the smell could be shared with not only outdoor critters, but indoor critters too!

After lighting about 300 candles, spraying 3 full cans of room spray, and then rubbing the latest Bed Bath & Beyond lotion into our nostrils, we finally got some sleep!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Beach, a Beer, and a Baby

Yesterday we had a beautiful afternoon at Lake Ted. Ok, so "Lake Ted" really isn't a lake. It's the pond between 2 cornfields on my in-law's land about 3 miles away from our house.  However, this pond is Ted's (Seth's dad) baby and he loves it.  When Seth was in high school they had a big platform at the pond that they would jump off of and have pond parties.  We had to tear down the platform a while back, and Ted decided it was time to rebuild a new one.  Last year, the first level was erected, but between house building, planting and harvest, it just didn't get done! 

Pretty impressive, right?! It doesn't look that high from here, but it seems REALLY high when you're on the top!
Well, now it's done and after a long day at work yesterday morning, we decided we needed to blow off some steam and have our own mini "pond party." I had Eli in his adorable little baby swim suit, but the water was a little too cold for his liking, which stinks because it takes me about 20 minutes to wrestle him into those little swim diapers because he kicks his little chubby legs so much!

Dad, Ted, Mom, and Eli on the "beach".  We still have to spread the sand, but it will be so nice once its done!

 After getting sick of listening to Seth call me a chicken, baby, and various chants of, "Do it for Eli!" I did finally muster the courage to jump off the top platform which is about 20+ feet from the water's surface. 

I jumped. I screamed. I conquered.

Seth is crazy and dives from the top!

Then I attempted a dive off the lower platform and though I didn't belly flop, I chest flopped. (Have I mentioned I have a 4 month old baby...I'll leave time for all you mom's out there to say "ouch!")

 All in all, we had a great day followed by frying fish and dinner with family and our wonderful neighbors over at our house later on.  Just another day in paradise!

Bristol swimming laps in the pond...she slept really well last night!

Telling Bristol that swimming time is over!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Legend of the Black Thumb: Part 2

Alright, its been about a week since the initial disaster of my "landscaping" was addressed. I owe you all pictures of the progress I've made! We started by weeding and tilling all the dirt (while accidentally chopping up some existing plants).  Then we planted some canna bulbs that a neighbor gave me last year that we dug up after the first frost this fall. 

I didn't want to spend much on our flowers, especially since I have a track record of killing everything. So besides our existing plants, I got a couple more hostas, black eyed susans, some annuals, and some ferns to hang.  Last year I got hanging planters and due to my lack of commitment to watering and the drought we had, they dried out and turned into tumbleweed. 

Look Mom! No weeds!

Anyways, here's my progress! I'll post more pictures once everything is in full bloom and my cannas are up and covering the crumbling veneer on the porch!

Finally looking presentable!

Some of the plants we got from our Mother's Day adventure, including the bee balm, black eyed susans, beardstongue, hostas, and something else I can't remember but it attracts hummingbirds and that's all we cared about!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tractor Tuesday

Land and man power are only some of what goes into a farm. None could be done without help from the machinery in the tool shed.  I should make it clear right now that we are a RED farm. For those of you who don't what this means, there is a huge difference between farming with red Case IH (International Harvester) tractors than using something less advanced and with less quality such as green John Deere equipment.  Its a big deal and farmers across America literally get into fights at bars because of this rivalry. Its sorta like Purdue vs IU, Hatfields vs. McCoys, Mac vs. PC. I'll sum it up in one statement:

"If it ain't red, leave it in the shed."

Anyways, I thought it would be good to introduce you all to the equipment behind the farm.  Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on farm machinery, I am just going to be explaining it from a "farmer's wife's" view. 

Today's featured tractor is the 400, also known as the Steiger.

The 400 in all her mighty glory...isn't she pretty?

The 400 is the draft horse of all the tractors. Its the biggest of all the tractors on our farm and its also newest addition to the family.  What is special about this tractor, besides its amazing power, is that it articulates, or "breaks in the middle"...or my mother-in-law would describe it as "SON OF A B....!" because of her experiences driving the old steiger when she was first married to Seth's dad.  It's great if you're used to it, but if not, you're suddenly realizing that you're peeing your pants because you're about to run into something. When you turn the steering wheel your front wheels don't turn like they do in your car to guide you to one direction, the whole front half of the tractor swings around and turns in that direction.  Its hard to explain...

Anyways, as a female, I personally enjoy the 400 for a few reasons. It has the best vent placement of all the other tractors. It also has GPS and auto guidance which means if you're driving, all you do is push a button, sit back and read your book while the tractor does all the work.  Some cons about cupholders and the buddy seat doesn't bounce, so when your husband is driving too fast and hits the end rows in a corn field, your tailbone breaks in half while he bounces along in his nice cushy seat.

There you have it! The 400! Big Bertha!

Hope you enjoyed a little look into our tractor family!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day: Part 2

Happy Mothers Day! I had a special day not only because it was my first Mother's day as an actual mom (last year I wasn't even aware I was pregnant, so it doesn't count!), but also because I got to spend it not only with MY mom, but also my maternal grandmother.  Mom and I drove down to gool ol Greenfield, Indiana to my grandma's cattle farm where my Aunt and cousins were all there to celebrate the special day!  Eli got some cuddle time with his cousins Kelly and Debra, his Great Aunt Kay, and my Mamoo.  Mom and I got a good look at the calves, and Eli got to meet them too! Hope all you other Mom's had a great day!

My sweet Mamoo having some quality time with her grandson
I found this cool tack box out in the barn.  Boyd is Eli's middle name, and I love that this box was probably painted by my mom or one of my aunts.
This yellow farm house has been through a lot...and it made a great place for lots of cousins to play!

Mom, Eli and I

Mother's Day: Part 1

This year is my very first Mother's Day, and I wasn't really thinking it was that big of a deal, or really that exciting. However, its not even officially Mothers Day and Seth has completely blown my socks off!  Thursday evening I got home (I'm gone from home Wednesday morning through Thursday night to save on driving time) and was dreading all the cleaning I needed to do in the house. I had about a million projects started, and as any other mom with a 3 month old knows, its not easy to get anything done without being interrupted. Seth saved the day by asking my Aunt Julie to come and clean the house. I love that he did this as a surprise, or else I would have been stressing out, trying to get the house clean so she could clean it. (Isn't that dumb, yet so true for most of us?) Anyways, it was such a wonderful thing to walk into a beautiful, sparkling, clean home. Fresh sheets on the bed, scrubbed floors, clean carpets, and she even arranged all of Eli's toys in his pack n' play!

Today, Seth took me to this amazing tree nursery called Spring Creek. For my mother's day gift, I was to pick out a tree to plant at home. Not just any tree, but this tree would be planted the year our first child was born...and the next time we have a baby, we will be planting a tree in the year he/she is born as well. Pretty sweet, huh?

 The owner, Joe, greeted us and began to show us all of the beautiful trees. We ended up walking the whole nursery and picking out some plants for the yard as well (not before promising Seth I wouldn't kill them)

How gorgeous is this? It was such a peaceful place
Joe helping me pick out some plants for our hummingbirds.We got some Bee Balm, Hysop, and Beardstongue. We also got some black eyed susans for the front yard too

 Joe is really knowledgeable about trees, so all we had to tell him was the direction the tree would be facing and he had a handful of trees for us to choose from.  Our options that I can remember were red oak, silver oak, autumn blaze, field oak (which I was tempted by since that's what Kate Middleton had in Westminster Abbey for her wedding), tulip, some evergreens, and some others that I don't really remember.

We unianamously voted for the Tulip tree for many reasons, but mainly because it will provide shade and its the state tree of Indiana!  Even better, they were having a 20% sale, so we got a lot of stuff for a great price.

Family picture at Spring Creek!
Tada! Here it is, planted in its new home in front of our house!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Farmer's Wife Mother's Day

Flowers, candy, jewelry, breakfast in bed, homemade cards from the kids, spa packages, etc. are the usual gifts most mom's recieve.

Not for this mama!

Seth decided my first mother's day needed to be celebrated in true farmer fashion.  He came home this afternoon from work and told me to shut my eyes and hold out my hands. Check out all the awesome loot he brought home from when he stopped by Farm Credit Services on his way home!

Hats, potholders, record books, outdoor thermometer, fly swatters, umbrellas, and envelope openers!
What more could a woman want, right?! Actually, I did get really excited about most of this stuff, especially the envelope openers since we always seem to be missing those!

I'll be doing a bigger Mother's Day blog tomorrow, but I thought this little surprise from Seth merited its own shout out! :)

To all the Farm Mom's out there, what were some of the best gifts you ever received for Mother's day?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Legend of the Black Thumb: Part 1

I am a horrible gardener. I can take care of babies and animals, but not plants. People who tell you to get a plant and if you don't kill it, then you can get a puppy....they must not know me.  Last year I managed to kill all but about 3 types of flowers in my landscaping. Which brings me to another point, I probably shouldn't call what I call landscaping "landscaping." Its more like "the dirt in front of my house that I dig holes in and put bulbs in and water and then cuss at every day because of how bad it looks.  Last year we just waited to see what all grew because it was our first year living in the house, and we were pleasantly surprised with mums, tulips, lillies, and some other perinnials.  Seth's grandma was known for the beautiful flowers she cared for while she lived in this house, and I have a feeling I'm letting a lot of people down with how it looks right now!
For the sake of inspiring anyone else who hates gardening, I am going to post these embarassing "before" photos.

Not so great huh?
Don't mind our crumblign porch! I'll be planting some canna bulbs to cover it up!

 I've made up every excuse in the book to avoid working in the yard because I dread it so much. This year, I'm going to try again. To make sure that I do, my mother-in-law is on here way over as we speak armed with a hoe and spade to help me figure out this mess! Here goes!

Photo of the Week

Future farmer, sitting on the porch swing watching the beans grow!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kitten Catastrophe!

Because I work at an animal hospital, and because my coworkers know I live on a farm, I often get "volunteered" to take unwanted cats from clients.  It doesn't happen that often, and please don't think people are being cruel.  Its usually the case where they have taken care of a stray out of the goodness in their hearts, and then this stray has kittens and they realize they got themselves into trouble.  Last year I had three of these cases and they all had quite different stories.

The first cat I adopted was a sweet little black momma cat who I named Betty. She came to me with her 4 kittens who decided to live in the fruit tray of an old refrigerator in our tool shed.  Unfortunately, one night a raccoon killed all of the kittens but one. The one kitten left is an adorable little male tiger kitty, which Seth affectionately named Tony Stewart after his favorite Nascar driver. 
Tony Stewart...he's a little shy

The second adoption case I got was not such an enjoyable experience.  One of the Doctor's I work for unknowingly volunteered me to take a stray cat and apparently this cat was quite wild.  The doctor told me "there's a cat for you to take home. Oh, by the way, I couldn't get it into a cage, so it's loose in the food room." I walked into the room expecting it to be a challenge to catch this cat, however, nothing could have prepared me for the ninja cat that would jump from shelf to shelf over my head.  After 10 minutes of huddling in a corner while this crazy cat (dubbed Wilma) sank its claws into every surface possible in the room, including my scalp, I decided it was time to man up.  I grabbed a blanket and threw it over the cat who was between 2 bags of dog food and scruffed her until my knuckles were white.  Either the cat was A. mad or B. afraid I didn't have a tight enough hold on her so she decided to turn her head and sink her teeth into my arm (I'm gonna go with option A.) When I got home with Wilma, I tried to move past our fight earlier in the day and nicely let her out of her cage into the nice warm tool shed. As soon as I opened the door, she ran out and headed straight for the corn field, but not without turning and hissing at me before heading into the abyss. When my arm puffed up twice its normal size with pus oozing out of the bite wounds for 5 days, I didn't really care much what her fate was.

My last cat case were two mamma cats who both had kittens.  They were living in our cellar, but as soon as it was warm enough, Seth was sure to kick them outside.  This spring I noticed one of the mama cats was pregnant again.  The other day she was waddling around looking as if she were about to pop.  The next day I couldn't find her so I assumed she was off somewhere having babies.  I was cleaning the house and decided to be a good wife and burn the trash, a chore I normally leave for Seth.  As the fire began to take off, I started to hear tiny little mews. The kittens WERE IN THE FIRE! After pulling my eyes back into their sockets, I began a heroic quest to save the poor kittens.  I can happily say that all 5 kitties came out unscathed from the fire, however, the poptart box their mom had put them in did not survive the Great Fire of 2012.  They are adorable and look just like their dad, Tony Stewart. They now reside in a box on the porch and they are doing fantastic!

2 Second Veggie Salad

I can't take credit for this deliciously simple salad, but I'll share it anyway! My soon to be sister-in-law brought this salad to our family Easter and I fell in love with it and at how simple it is! Here's what you need:

Pepperoni (I like to use the "mini" pepperoni")
Cherry tomatoes
String Cheese
Italian dressing

Oh, and a bowl. That's probably pretty obvious.

Now all you do is cut up your broccoli and cauliflower heads (or be lazy and just buy a bag of it like me!), then mix in your pepperoni, tomatoes, and sliced string cheese.  Then drizzle (or pour depending on how health-concious you are) the Italian dressing on top!

There you go! Chill in the fridge for a bit and enjoy :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

You know you're a farmer's wife if....

I found this randomly on the internet and had to share a few of my favorites!
You might be a farmer's wife....

  • If your second vehicle is still a pickup
  • If your husband has ever used field equipment to maintain your yard
  • If you’re in the habit of buying foodstuffs in bulk
  • If taking lunch to the field is as close as you get to a picnic
  • If your tan lines are somewhere below your shoulder and above your elbow
  • If you’ve ever called your husband to supper, using a radio
  • If being taken out to dinner has ever included a talk by a seed corn dealer
  • If your driveway is longer than a stone’s throw
  • If you have a yard, but not a lawn
  • If you have lots of machinery and each piece is worth more than your house
  • If the leaky barn roof gets fixed, before the leaky house roof
  • If duct tape is always on your shopping list:
  • If the neighbor’s house is best viewed with binoculars
  • If the directions to your house include the words, "miles," "silos," "last," or "gravel road":
  • If the tractor and the combine have air conditioning and an FM radio but your car doesn’t
  • If your storage shed is a barn
  • If you measure travel in miles not minutes
  • If your farm equipment has the latest global positioning technology and you still can’t find your husband
  • If you consider "hot dish" a food group
  • If your husband says, "Can you help me for a few minutes?" and you know that might be anywhere from a few minutes to six hours
  • If you've used the loader to reach the windows when they needed washing
  •  you know the difference between field corn and sweet corn
  • If your job in town is considered a farm subsidy

  • These made me laugh so much, especially because none of them are at all an exaggeration!

    Welcome to the Farm!

    Hi everyone! My name is Marla, and I am so excited to start this blog. I plan on writing not only about the life of a farmer's wife, but also share photos, recipes, crafts, funny stories, and whatever mishmash of things I can think of!

    I wanted to start this blog because I love the life I live, but I don't always feel that people really get it or necessarily respect the hard work and sacrifices that go into it. I don't want this to be a place where I make everyone feel guilty for not living on a farm or make myself into a martyr because of the things I've given up. I just want it to be an uplifting and fun insight to what this life is all about.  Don't get me wrong, I don't always love being a "single mom" during planting and harvest, nor do I love it when my husband gets me out of bed at 2 am because he needs a part for the tractor.  However, I absolutely wouldn't trade this for anything and I'm so blessed to have what I do.

    Because I often get sidetracked and go off on tangents, I thought I'd make my "About Me" a little easier on us all by questions you may ask!

    1. Where are you from?
         I grew up in a rural town in Indiana with my wonderful parents and 2 older sisters (who abandoned me to live in Florida!) I love being the "baby" and loved growing up in the country.
    My sisters and I at the lake in Minnesota. I'm the one on the left (yep, that's a gun!)

    2. Why did you start this blog?
        Funny things happen all the time on the farm and I always want to share them with my family and friends. I also am so inspired by the amazing women I have come to know in the farming community and wanted to showcase their lives as well.

    3.  How did you get involved in farming?
        My mom's family owns the oldest Angus cattle herd in Indiana. It was something that she and her three older sister shared with my grandpa.  I loved spending time there when I was little and my Mamoo still remembers me telling her when I was young that I was going to marry a farmer.  During high school I was very involved in our FFA chapter and then of course I went into the college of Ag at Purdue.  Between my freshman and sophomore year I worked at a historic farm at a state park where everything was done as it would have in the 1800's.  At this point I had experience with cattle, but not horses.  That summer was when I fell in love with the only breed of horse I will ever love: Belgians. I had so much experience that summer and because we had to do everything by horse or hand, I gained a huge respect for where food comes from and the hard work behind it. To this day, nothing is more relaxing than milking a cow, more exciting than pulling a calf, or more rewarding than shucking acres of sweet corn by hand.

    4. Where did you go to school?
        I am a proud 3rd generation graduate of Purdue University. I went there to study Animal Science and after receiving my bachelors, I decided to go on to Vet Tech school.  I loved college and everything about it besides studying.  I miss the professors, classmates, sorority sisters, football games, and bars so much!
    My parents and I at my graduation with my B.S. in Animal Science. Fun Fact: My mom and dad both studied Animal Science at Purdue...where they actually met was turned into an office where I later worked as an assistant to the Dean.

    5. How did you meet your husband?
        I met Seth through two sisters that were in my sorority.  They lived just a few miles away from where Seth grew up and knew he would be a great match for me.  Seth was studying to be a surveyor and we hit it off pretty quickly over some delicious drinks at our favorite bar.  Over our years of dating I got more involved in the grain side of farming, and I love learning from my husband.

    6. Where do we live and do we do anything besides farm?
       Seth and I are a very driven couple. In our one year engagment I finished school, we planned a wedding, survived a planting and harvest season without me giving back the ring, gutted out (to the studs) and renovated the bottom part of his grandma's old farmhouse in Kewanna, IN.  I also started my job as a vet tech at a clinic an hour south of where we live, and Seth started a job as a surveyor an hour north of where we live.  About 4 months after we got married, we found out I was pregnant, so we then gutted out the top level of the house and got ready for a baby! We both stay busy with our jobs, and I give Seth huge credit for working full time on top of operating the farm.  Thank goodness for family or else we would never have all the things we are so blessed with!

    7. Do you have any animals?
       Yes! We have a one year old dog named Bristol (after the Nascar track in TN) and a lot of barn kitties.

    8. What do you do for a social life when you live so far away from town?
       Our social life is pretty awesome, I have to say.  We have tractor pulls, county fairs, and various backyard parties to attend all summer long. Harvest is the best because everyone is out and about in the field and the driver of the combine always wants some company. We play a lot of Euchre and my favorite game ever, Dirty Dog!  Sand volleyball, weekends at the lake, and dinner at the Fulton Feedbag always make for good memories. Though all these things are good and well, the social highlight of our entire year revolves around lawnmower racing. It's amazing and if you haven't gone to one, please come! I promise you it will be a once in a lifetime experience!

    I hope this gives you a little insight into who I am and about this blog!