We moved back to the farm in April of 2012 newly married with a very narrow vision of the future as far as careers. I was about to celebrate my one year anniversary with a company that I loved but I also knew that commuting an hour one direction was unrealistic in the long term. This became more evident as we found out that we were expecting our first child. There were no sizable towns on my drive so the first question became daycare and the second became do I find a new job?
I’m sure I’m not the only crazy hormonal pregnant lady who breaks down to their husband about these types of solvable problems. I started to search, but jobs in the field of agriculture are hard to find around our area unless you want to be an agronomist or sell seed. I wanted to do neither. I spread my search to banks and other financial institutions with little luck and held onto hope that something would open up with my current company.
Through many tearful conversations with my husband of trying to find daycare we decided that for now we would do what we could. My husband would head one direction to drop off our firstborn while I headed the other direction to work. Extra miles, but it was reality. Fast forward to December of 2012, I was 7 months pregnant and still lost. The uncertainty of it all and knowing how far I was going to have to drive was eating me up. Just as I was about to call it quits, God stepped in. A fellow coworker had the opportunity to take a position in her hometown cutting her commute time from thirty minutes to five. The good Lord helped me through the interview for that position selling and servicing crop insurance. I knew little about the insurance industry, but knew that the change was needed for our growing family. I would say this was a little divine intervention for both my coworker and me.
Looking back the jump from credit to insurance was a little daunting, but would I change it? No, absolutely not. I have been afforded so many neat opportunities while fueling my passion for education through customer outreach and activities like Ag in the Classroom. Know that just as one door is closing or you are not sure that there is hope you need to leave it out on the table. Some things are out of our control. Bless the good Lord that he knew what I didn’t.
When I started blogging I really wanted to share farm life with all of you and I soon realized that in order to share farm life I also needed to share my heart. If you have read some of my previous posts especially this one you know that my roots in agriculture run deep. This passion does not shut off, it does not get old, it only grows.
Attending conferences with other “aggies” only spurs that passion and creates a desire in my heart to share what I love even more. So today step back and think about what pushes you in your life, where does your true passion lie?
Mine is in educating others, specifically women about the wonderful field I get to be part of in my day job and when I get home. Agriculture is much more than farming, it is more than dairy cows, more than farrow to finish operations, more than a man dressed in overalls. The career possibilities are really endless, they can be on a farm or they can be in a high rise in the city. My intended career path was to provide credit to farmers. I wanted to be a banker for farmers. Little did I know God had a much greater and somewhat unexpected plan for me...
Does planting season change anyone else’s family dynamic? It is such an exciting time, but it is also difficult on our kids. A whole winter of Dad being home for suppers turns into meals on wheels or no sight of Dad except for the early mornings. We start to hold onto those short breakfasts together and look for extra snuggles where we can get them.
Our four year old daughter seems to have the hardest time transitioning, we ran into the same issue during harvest last fall. More issues at daycare with not using words to express our frustrations. This stresses me out but I also know that it is a time for me to slow down and spend extra time with the kids. I can let the dishes sit in the sink until they are in bed and if they ask for just one more book at bedtime I’ll do it.
Here are my tips and reminders to myself for surviving the widow season of planting:
The list could go on and I would love to hear your survival tips. Also a special shout-out to all parents who find themselves a one person parenting show as the other spouse is busy providing for their families. Farming isn’t the only sector that has widow seasons, so embrace it and provide a helping hand or a listening ear for others who face some of the same challenges.
Seriously exhausted. Whoever said you get your energy back in the second trimester does not have kids at home. Still pinching myself that we have a four year old in the house as well. We did her height measurement the other day and guess who accidentally wrote 3 instead of 4 on the board? Don just laughed at me and shook his head. I think it is half pregnancy and half not wanting her to to grow up. Why does it all go so fast? I’m sure summer will be here and gone in the blink of an eye.
We are all getting spring fever as MN is treating us with weather in the 40s. We had our first thunderstorm of the year last night. Seems a tad early. I keep reminding myself that we will get more cold spells so don’t get too used to it. March will be our true test. If the weather stays like this it will be another early year of field work here in the Red River Valley. If it cools down I will break back out the parka, but I will have to button above and below this growing belly. Fashion at its finest. ;)
Still busy at work and trying to follow through on my goals for the year. Really slacking on the blogging twice a week, but I will get there. Until then here we go:
1. What’s for supper: Used leftover roast to make stuffed Philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers. One of our favorite meals and uses for leftover beef roast. Had a side of brussel sprouts and buttercup squash. Our squash from the fall are keeping well and are such a treat.
2. What am I listening to: Nothing in particular.
3. Weather: As I stated above, seasonally warm and a good way to catch a cold.
4. Weekend plans: I might need to work some on Saturday, but other than that a pretty laid back weekend. Wanting to make a double batch of these cinnamon rolls. We usually make them into caramel rolls, either way this dough recipe is one of the best I have found. When we double the recipe we should be able to put 3 dozen rolls in the freezer. TRIPLE YUM!
5. Watching: Too busy and priorities.
6. Boy moment of the week: We continue to learn how different boys are from girls. And by different I mean crazy energetic and rough. We should have known what we had coming for us with four nephews prior to our sons birth, but I don’t know if we fully believed how crazy they can be. ALL. THE. TIME.
7. Girl moment of the week: Four year old sass. She’s so sweet and care for others but knows how to lay on the sass fairly thick.
8. Recipe of the week: Finally made this sweet and sour chicken over the weekend. Don has found his second love.
9. Reading: I restarted The Most Excellent Way to Lead by Perry Noble
10. Farm moment of the week: The warm weather. Tile pumps are running and like I said, SPRING FEVER.
Enjoy your week and a look at the sweet cake for our f.o.u.r year old.
*all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and are not endorsed
Do you know what makes me terribly happy and a little sad at the same time? Watching our littles grow up. We will have a four year old in the house next week and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Mixed emotions for sure!
Being a parent opens your eyes to a whole new world and it is true that you don’t remember life before kids once you have them. I am totally ok with that, even if it means bag under my eyes or getting poo on my finger accidentally when checking for dirty pants. It doesn’t take long to learn parenting hacks and what really matters and how to fight your battles. Looking back over the last four years makes me nostalgic, a little sad, but mostly happy. So this is for you baby girl, what you have taught your momma in the last four years:
1. Smile - your heart is sweet and your smile makes my heart happy. Those big baby blues with that cheeky grin brighten any room, a constant reminder that we all need to smile a little more.
2. Tune in - not to the TV or to our phones but to you our sweet children. These are the moments we will never get back and I sure don’t want to miss them.
3. Pray together - watching you say the Our Father makes my heart swell. I love answering your questions about God and hearing your inquisitive mind at work. It truly leads me to want a better understanding of God so we may better serve him as a family.
4. Spontaneity - From impromptu dance parties to crazy stories, life is never slow with you. As a planner you and your dad have taught me to live a little more on the wild side, including leaving the house with dirty dishes in the sink. ;)
5. Listen - the things you remember astounds me. Your dad and I will talk about something and three weeks later you can repeat our whole conversation back to us. The true gift of listening with full attentiveness.
The list could go on but I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about the fact that you will be four…and in preschool in the fall. Here is to staying little baby girl but growing all at the same time. Mommy and Daddy love you!
Sat down thinking I was going to write a post and then I turned on Fixer Upper. Is anyone really surprised that I was side tracked by Chip and Jo?! I was just thinking about the little things in life that keep me on track and looking for the positive and you know what? I feel like Chip is a good example of what we need to be. Not afraid to show our silly side while getting business taken care of.
I was working at the office on Saturday morning with high expectations for the looming stack on my desk. To say I didn’t get much accomplished was an understatement. The systems I needed to use weren’t working, I was having to do excessive calculations by hand. This was followed by a meeting that went longer than expected. I got home feeling defeated and my husband brought me right back to where I needed to be. He said “that’s one more policy done than you had when you went in this morning.” He was sooooo right. He looked for the positive while all I could see was the negative. Isn’t this part of the reason God places people in our lives? To bring us right back on track and to keep us honest. We are in a class at church together and just tonight we discussed surrounding yourself with people who you want to emulate. Again glad he placed my husband in my life to reign me back in.
And with that here is my Tuesday Ten:
1. What’s for supper: We had spaghetti. I have been back on track with meal planning and love the meal planning pages in my Heart of the Farm Planner (https://www.heartofthefarmplanner.com). Even better there are freezer inventory pages. (insert praising hand emoji)
2. What am I listening to: Catching up on EntreLeadership. This is my favorite podcast hands down. So many things to pick up on even if you aren’t an entrepreneur.
3. Weather: We got some nasty snow rain mix today. The roads were not treated so pretty icy but nothing a good Minnesotan can’t handle.
4. Weekend plans: We are road tripping with another couple to a college friendswedding. So fun to be able to reconnect with our friends from our NDSU days.
5. Watching: I think you already know the answer. ;)
6. Boy moment of the week: So many new words, he just keeps melting my heart. There are talks of transitioning to a big kid bed soon with a new bundle arriving in June. This makes me really want to spend extra time snuggling with him. They are only little for such a short period of time.
7. Girl moment of the week: We have been experimenting with dressing ourselves lately and the results…while I bet you can about imagine, pretty psychedelic. We were floral on floral on floral yesterday. She looked like a fresh breath of spring.
8. Recipe of the week: Looking at trying some sweet and sour chicken. I’ll report back.
9. Reading: Not sure I am going to make my goal for the year, I need to pick one up and get to it.
10. Farm moment of the week: Teaching our little boy to say John Deere and my sweet parents bringing a bottle lamb up for the kids to see. My Dad typically watches the kiddos on Wednesday but with lambing he takes a couple weeks off. They were worried the lamb would be too big by the time we return to our regular schedule for the kiddos to enjoy.
I tried writing this to words about a week ago and the words were not there. True proof that his timing is always better than mine whether I choose to believe it or not. He has a way of teaching us like no other teacher. He knows the right time for all things in life even when they do not seem fair, right or just. In 2016 my word was Trust, which somehow perfectly leads me into my word for 2017: PATIENCE. Last year was about letting things go into his hands fully knowing that he can handle my ups and downs. The struggle with this is not knowing how long the ups or down will last.
Trust and patience are true reminders to me that no matter the hectic schedule he has a plan much greater than mine. This plan may take seconds to play out or years. He is the only one who truly knows. As a person who embraces new challenges and wants to be challenged I sometimes struggle with patience. Wanting to advance in my career while putting a family first is at the forefront of this struggle. I am a learner and growth junky. This does not always pair well with patience. Letting things happen at their own pace is a hard for me. The time we have here is limited and being committed to his timing will continue to teach me the act of being patient. His timing may not always seem perfect to us, but I believe he is always teaching us even if the lesson is years down the road. The patience to ride out the tough times will teach us far more than we can imagine.
Learning the act of being patient will also guide me in my home life. Letting the kids be little and savoring the extra book at bedtime instead of mentally going through my to do list. Snuggling on the couch with my husband instead of folding clothes. The patience comes in savoring this time. I rarely stop moving when at home but I am beginning to wonder what I am missing as I focus so much on the to dos instead of the right nows. So here is to a year of growth and understanding that his timing is far better than ours and that patience is so much more than staying calm while asking your three year old to put her socks on for the umpteenth time.
Almost two weeks into the New Year and life has kept its pace. January through the end of March are crazy busy for me with crop insurance deadlines equaling extra time at the office while savoring the minutes at home with my family. I recently watched a video that Dave Ramsey put out specifically on accomplishing goals in the New Year. His words of encouragement on making your life better lead me to this weeks Tuesday Ten. So here it is a look at my goals for the upcoming year:
This list makes me very excited! I wasn’t sure if I should stop at ten, but if these items are getting crossed off faster than expected I can add to it. I get asked how do I do it with a young family, a full time job, a farming husband and I tell people it’s life. My blessings are wide and deep. The craziness is eased by extra hugs and kisses from a two year old and a four year old that begs to help me lay out my next quilt top. These goals will hopefully allow me more time to do the things I love while spending meaningful quality time with those closest to me. So here is to a year of crushing goals and loving hard.
We are in a cold spell in Minnesota right now (queue polar vortex) and I am wearing ALL the layers. Thank goodness for autostart and garages. My husband would tell you the same, but he would add a heated shop and tractors with cabs to the items he is thankful for.
In the winter farming slows down on our operation in the sense of time in the field. Winter equals time to fix equipment, tax planning, continuing education, budgeting, and researching inputs and their costs for the upcoming growing season. There is no doubt that winter is somewhat slower, but it is busy in its own sense. At our farm we take Fridays off to make up for the long hours worked during the growing season.
Our biggest equipment maintenance for the winter is on our beet lifter. It takes four guys about three days to get it tore down to the bones. We fix what we can on our own and the grab rolls are sent off the farm for yearly maintenance. The grab rolls purpose is to clean the beets and feed them through the lifter. Depending on the workload of the remanufacture business the grab rolls can be off the farm for up to two weeks. Once back they are the last item to get put back on the lifter and it usually takes a day. Winter work is typically slower so there are a few added coffee breaks and side conversations that add to project timelines. Maintenance will continue the remainder of the winter on other pieces of equipment and trucks as well as hauling stored grain to elevators.
I know as grain farmers our winters are slower than livestock producers which makes me appreciate that sector of agriculture even more. Growing up on a small sheep operation gave me a glimpse into how hard these livestock producers work year round. No matter the temperature the animals must be fed and watered. There is no week long vacations or time off. The animals need tending, daily.
More or less all famers work hard regardless of the time of the year. I’m forever thankful for the seasonality and ability to enjoy suppers around a table or in a tractor. The ability to watch sunsets from the top of the grain leg or from our living room windows. In the case of livestock producers, watching new life enter the world during lambing or calving seasons. No matter the season, life on the farm carries on.
Holy smokes it's 2017 and I haven't blogged in ages. A new year always brings about resolutions. I'm not really a fan of resolutions, but I am a fan of setting goals and choosing a word to live by and pray over for the year. More on that in the days to come.
Back to the New Year. Our New Year's Eve was a low key evening with family and plenty of food. My sister made a delicious white choclate mousse served with fresh fruit. I could have ate the whole bowl, it tasted like a mix of homemade ice cream and homemade pudding. It also made me want homemade tapioca pudding. For the main meal we had hoisin wings, cocktail meatballs, meat and cheese tray, cold veggies and dip...the list does go on but I will spare you. My husband teases that I picked up the genes from my mom's side of the family where we make enough food to feed those invited times three. Needless to say the leftovers are an added benefit to not having to cook much this week. With that here's another edition of the Tuesday Ten.
1. What's for supper? I somewhat answered that above. Some leftovers and tonight I used leftover ham to make a rice, vegetable and ham hotdish. In typical fashion I made enought to feed an army so our leftovers have grown yet again.
2. What am I listening to? Nothing on a consitent basis, but I would like to get back into listening to podcasts.
3. How's the weather? COLD, this weekend brought about 6 inches of snow followed by a dip in temp and an increase in wind.
4. What are our weekend plans? Enjoying time at home before my busy season kicks in. Busy season = Saturdays at the office.
5. What are we watching? Fixer Upper.
6. Boy mom moment of the past week: Learning lots of new words and testing the limits. He broke one of my favorite decorations this week when he knocked it off the dining room table. I need to remind myself that objects are not as important as those little hands accidently braking them. ;)
7. Girl mom moment of the past week: Enjoying sips of coffee with her dad in the morning.
8. Favorite recipe of the week: My sisters white choclate mousse! I don't have the recipe YET, but hopefully soon.
9. What am I reading: The back of my eyelids. Whoever said you get energy back in the second trimester must not have been chasing two kiddos around.
10. Farm moment of the week: It's pretty quiet on the farm, working on the beet lifter and budgets (really that is what the guys are working on, I'm a spectator and a third ear when needed).
I'm Lisa, a farm wife, mom and old lady at heart (or my husband tells me so). Agriculture, quilting, and baking were my first loves and now I get to enjoy them with my family!