Celebrating the Farmer In My House: Write 31 Days

national farmer dayNATIONAL FARMER’S DAY

Oops, I missed National Farmer’s Day.   Did you?  It was 3 days ago.  I’m sure I’m not alone as most of us didn’t know October 12 was the day to honor farmers.  The profession was first celebrated back in the 1800s, but no one has an exact date.  October does seem fitting in celebrating National Farmer’s Day as it is in the midst of harvest.

It was originally known as Old Farmer’s Day.  Hmm.  We could have lots of fun with that title around my house.  I’m married to a farmer.

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Did you know more than 80 percent of the world’s food is still produced by family farmers?  More than 500 million family farms manage between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land, the U.N.’s “The State of Food and Agriculture 2014” reported.

I know I take my food supply for granted.  When I run out of milk, eggs, beans,  even cookies, I run to the store and replenish my supplies.  Sometimes I even complain about the long lines, high prices and variety of food available in my stores.  How about you?

So, even if we’re a few days late, let’s thank a farmer today for putting food on our tables.

Did you kiss a farmer today?  I did.

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31 days of Joy

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World Blog Tour….Here I Come!

A dear, sweet friend of mine, Ingrid Lochamire, invited me to do a World Blog Tour.  The idea intrigued and terrified me.   Ingrid is an inspiration and encourager to me and I absolutely treasure her friendship.  How could I say no?  She is a direct answer to prayer from God in this season of my life.  I have only known her for about 3 years, but I have learned much from her and am in awe of her love for our Lord Jesus Christ.   Thank you, Ingrid, for your kindness, outgoing personality, insight, and friendship.  To see why I love this woman, she reveals her heart in Reflections on the Journey at:  ingridlochamire.com.

The World Blog Tour asks us to answer a few questions.  So here we go…

What am I working on?

I am currently working on a journal about my relationship with my mother.  She became sick over the last year, and I have become her caregiver.  She has been living in my home for the past 4 months.  I thought the journal would be about our relationship; I wanted to capture my mother, and everything she had to give, before any disease took her away.  And yes, it is about our relationship –the good, the bad and the ugly — however, her illness has taken many forms, and the diagnosis has been illusive to a long list of doctors.  The journal has been about survival, hers — and mine.  I’m not quite ready to share that journal.   Maybe some day…

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My blog is about people and things I love, yet it has a little different flavor because of my history.  I just celebrated a 40th wedding anniversary with my high school sweetheart.  For 35 years of our marriage, he was a Certified Public Accountant.  We lived in the suburbs of a “larger” Indiana city.  But a few years ago, he decided to become a farmer.  Much of my writing has been inspired by that career change and our move to the country.   Does the name Zsa Zsa Gabor mean anything to you?

Why do I write what I do?

Even though I am relatively new to this writing thing, putting thoughts on paper has long been a passion of mine; something I was interested in exploring, but never found the time to do.  For years, a couple of books about writing have called to me from my bookshelf.  Books I had picked up in some quaint small town bookstore on vacation.   But recently I was challenged in an online Bible study to do a blog hop.   After one blog post, I was hooked. I often write about something that happened years ago.  I don’t have a lot memories; my brain just didn’t store them.  Writing helps the preservation process — these things I shall not forget.  I also journal about current happenings in my life as I don’t want these memories to fade as others have.   My writing is about me and for me.  Think therapy.  But if I can inspire, touch or help anyone, I give all the praise to God.  He takes our burdens and blunders, and if we are willing, uses them to provide healing.

How does my writing process work?

I rely heavily on inspiration.  I may go weeks without putting “pen to paper”, and then something just starts rattling around in my head, and I have to start typing.  My writing is raw — nothing poetic from these keys.  I just try to be honest and transparent.  Honesty comes naturally to me; transparency not so much.  So writing is my release.  The way I share my heart.

Next on the World Blog Tour...

I’d like to send you to a fun blog about rural life:  Rural Housewives of America.  Follow their link at ruralhousewives.com.  The blog started after one fun, lighthearted post went viral.  Their vision for their site is a venue for rural women to share their stories of joy, success, failure and fear.  The contributors to this blog are hand-picked by the co-hosts,  Jenny and Katie, and represent an amazing group of strong, independent women of the rural world.  From farm wives, to girlfriends, daughters, mothers, and friends, follow along with our amazing journeys living the rural life.

I Did Not Marry A Farmer

imageI had the first date with my husband when I was 13 years old.  Well, almost.  The story actually goes like this:  My 8th grade best friend called me on a lazy Sunday afternoon, wanting me to go to a movie.  An hour later, a car pulled into the driveway, and my friend and her boyfriend were in the front seat with her mother (of course, we were not driving yet), and in the backseat was another boy, her cousin.  What?  She didn’t say anything about boys!  She knows I already “like” a boy at school.  I was instantly mad at her.  I was also rather awkward at the age of 13, and didn’t know how to talk to boys.  So consequently the next two hours were uncomfortable for all of us.  I was irritated at her for a week, and didn’t give the boy another thought.

As a sophomore, two years later, I started attending the consolidated high school, and I saw the boy again.  What?  “That boy” was now a hot-shot tennis-pro senior.  Wait.  I know him.  He knows me.  We went on a date once.  I was smitten.  Unfortunately, he was dating another girl.  So as I patiently bided my time, I memorized all the halls he walked between classes, and I walked them too, even if it meant I would be late for history.  Is that stalking?  Maybe.

One day, at the end of first semester, it was rumored that he and his gal had split up.  So on that very day, when I walked down his hall, I actually raised my eyelids and made eye contact with him for the very first time.  I smiled, said ‘hi’, and kept on walking.  He must have been doing some stalking of his own, though, because when his buddy offered to set him up with a blue-eyed blond, he guessed it was me.  We started dating that Friday night, January 21, 1972, and have been together ever since.  We got married two weeks after I graduated high school.

After he finished college we moved to the city where he worked as a certified public accountant.  We had 4 baby girls in the space of 13 years and enjoyed living in the suburbs.  Life went pretty much as expected for about 35 years (there are many stories to be told, but they are for another time).

Two weeks after the unexpIMG_0120 - Copyected death of my husband’s older brother, suburbia took a surprise turn.   Coming into the kitchen that morning to get his coffee, my husband said, ‘I would like to take Jerry’s place back on the farm’.  Whoa Nellie!  Seriously?  But almost as soon as I said it, I thought, ‘yes, of course that is what you should do’.  He had been struggling with accountant work.  He was bored and itching for a change.  My husband had been raised on a farm, and he IS that boy on the billboard sign:  You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.  Yes, that is what he should do;  that is who he is; who he has always been.

So I did not marry a farmer.  But I do find myself married to a farmer.

The “busy” times of farming are suppose to be spring and fall, but truth be told, life on the farm is always busy…there is always something that needs to be done.  20131010_143829 - CopyMy husband is working harder than he has ever worked in his life, but he is happy and fulfilled in what he is doing.  And even though I have done my share of complaining, I like this new adventure.  We are a team, and I knew, in my heart, this move was the right thing for him.  And if it is the right thing for him, it’ll be the right thing for me.  We are figuring it out and making it work.  That “other life” seems far in the distance now — it’s like he has always been farming.  It is who we are; who we were meant to be.

 

We didn’t exactly move “back to the farm”.  Our new home is still in a neighborhood, however, it is very rural.  We live in a small town of about 700 people, and most of them still travel by horse and buggy or bicycles.   We are in the mid-west and reside in the heart of an Amish community, Shipshewana.  Farming and buggies — it seems as though I have stepped back in time.

Instead of pictures of our home farm and equipment, I thought it would be fun to share pictures of how our neighbors live and work.  The Amish do not use modern equipment to farm — no tractors or combines!  They use the original “horse power”.

Here is a peek at my “rural America”.  (click on pictures for a larger view)

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Baling-Hay

It is common for Amish families to bike into town

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Every Amish home has a gorgeous summer garden — complete with beautiful flowers as well as yummy veggies.

Buggy

This is what the “parking lot” looks like for a summer fish fry.

Yep, it’s free, and plentiful — grab a shovel!

Pumpkinvine Trail -- Old railroad tracks converted to miles of beautiful bike/walking trails

Pumpkinvine Trail begins about a mile from my house: Old railroad tracks converted to miles of beautiful bike/waling trails

flea market

Our little tiny town is renown for hosting one of the largest flea markets in the country. People come from all over on Tuesday and Wednesday to find the bargains or attend the auctions. Very fun!

Ice sculptures are carved every December 30 in our quaint downtown area.

I’m Up for the Chaos — Bring on the Grandkids Again!

Not only are the windows overlooking my backyard covered with fingerprints, there are numerous nose prints here and there on the glass as well …which makes me smile.  Grass clippings and dirt stick to my bare feet and I kick a toy tractor out of my way as I go for my first cup of coffee.  The house is quiet.   I thought I would relish the peace this morning, but the lack of noise is almost too loud.

Grand20131014_115834children have kept me hopping for the last four days.  The busyness has been constant.   An old croquet set and a couple of jump ropes were discovered along with sidewalk chalk, frisbees and several other forgotten toys .  Little boys talked me into setting up the tent so they could have a “headquarters” for an afternoon of detective work.  We unboxed Barbies and Polly Poc20131010_143829kets for one child and created bean fields out of blankets so the other two could harvest with their toy combines.  Little hands got sticky with glue as paper plate scarecrows took shape.  And Batman asked several times, “did I scare you, Gramma?”.    We took an afternoon to meet up with Papa, riding in the combine and soaking up knowledge about corn and beans.  Those inquisitive minds asking so many questions about farming.  They love the red combine and wait anxiously all year for it to “wake up”.

And between all that activity, those small bodies were crawling up on the bar stools again and again, waiting to be fed… like little birdies.   Seriously?  You’re hungry again?  My kitchen is now devoid of any cookies, donuts or fruit.   I mi20130829_120037ght also be out of bread and cheese.  I’m not ready to take inventory and commit to a grocery run.  I want another cup of coffee first.

I’m feeling a little blue as I savor my last few sips of Pumpkin Spice Blend.   I once had four little ones of my own.  I lived the chaos.  But I have gotten soft and lazy… and self-focused.  Caring for little ones doesn’t leave much time for reflection.   Life is crazy.  Life is about them.  There is barely time for a shower!  Survival is the goal on many days.  It is easy to forget the mayhem of the day-in and day-out of mothering.  I commit to pray more for my daughter.20131012_135225

As they covered me with hugs and kisses last night as they said their good-byes, I breathed a sigh of relief.  However, at the same moment, bittersweet emotions brought a lump to my throat.   So glad to see them…  so glad to send them home.  Am I allowed to say that?  I guess, as Gramma, I am.

So, yes, the windows and floors are dirty; my cupboards are bare.    And a few toys yet need to find their shelf.   My bones are a bit weary.  I need a break today.  And quietly, as I go for my final cup of brew,  I grab my calendar and mark off the days until those little kiddos are running through my house again… because I sure do miss them today.