Have you ever been at a conference or in a meeting where you wanted to stand on the tables and applaud those speaking? They lit a fire under you and you now have an increased level of gumption. That was me on Wednesday. The only reason I stayed sitting in my seat was because I was in the front row and didn’t want to cause a scene. But honestly I was surrounded by rockstars.
Whether these women worked in the banking industry, production agriculture, education, law, research, etc they all had a reason and a purpose for being in that auditorium. That auditorium has housed the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference for the last several years. This is hands down my must attend conference every year. The planning committee does a phenomenal job of lining up speakers and tying the whole day together. This year the theme was “Passion for Progress” and the panels of speakers on executive leadership and women’s affinity groups were on fire.
One of my biggest takeaways wasn’t new to me but I appreciated the way it was presented. As women we aren’t “just” anything.
We aren’t just farm wives.
We aren’t just moms.
We aren’t just insurance specialists.
We aren’t just directors.
We aren’t just agronomists.
I think you get the point. When we are in any given situation we need to believe that we are there for a reason. We all have a purpose and a calling. We need to throw the “just” to the roadside and own what and who we are. Here’s and example: I don’t actively help on the farm every day but I do bring warm meals to the field, I make sure my farmer has clean clothes, I pick up parts from the dealership, and I advise on crop insurance. I am not just a farm wife, I am an integral part of the operation.
It doesn't matter if you are sitting in a boardroom or standing in a corn field let your passion and dedication shine through. Your integrity, courage and humble confidence will carry you far. Learn who you are and trust in yourself. Surround yourself with mentors who will be honest with you, but can also see the things in you that you can’t see in yourself. Drop the just and OWN who you are and most of all be humble while you are doing it.
P.S. I geared this post towards women because well hello that’s me, but that doesn’t discount that this same message applies for men too.
After rapid firing questions to Mr. Farmer he thought it would be a good idea to do the same back. You can tell that he picked the questions...and really who says yellow is their favorite color?! Oops sorry spoiler alert. Apparently I think yellow is the bomb even though I despise wearing yellow, nothing in my house is yellow, I own NOTHING yellow. I think the question should have been what is your favorite color to wear, or what is your favorite paint color and with that I digress...
And to bore you even more here are my more well thought out answers:
Some answers changed and some didn’t or maybe the rapid fire felt like not packing the dishwasher correctly.
P.S. He also saved the document as "My Bae's Rapid Fire Questions" just to drive me nuts and get an eye roll...IT totally worked.
Sitting on the couch watching Hometown on HGTV wondering what my husband really does all winter. I have so many customers that ask what variety of wheat we plant? Where do you haul your corn to? Did your husband go to that meeting last week?
The more questions I hear the more I realize that I don’t know as much about our operation as I would like too. I know more about Joe’s farm down the road then I do about ours. I would hope other women involved in agriculture can relate. Do we really feel like talking about the farm when we get home at night? No, a big FAT NO. But, for some reason today I feel like picking his brain. Here we go rapid fire question asking….
My husband spoke those dreaded words tonight. The ones that no farm wife ever wants to hear…”I’m ready for spring!”
My first response, “So you can loose your winter weight?”
Good thing he knows that I am joking and good thing this conversation isn’t in reverse.
“No, so we can be outside. We can play with the kids, you and #3 can be out there with us.”
I’m still questioning his motives, does he really want to spend time with us or is he ready to leave the wackadoodle house of crazies? Who wouldn’t want to escape every now and then to a peaceful tractor cab with heated seats and a built in cooler. I can almost guarantee you that there is less dirt on the tractor cab floor then on our entry/kitchen floor. Luxury I tell you, pure luxury. :)
How do you talk a farmer down from this? Do you remind him it’s the end of January and we have a lot of winter left? Do you suggest he attends another meeting? Do you write him a honey-do-list as he seems to be bored?
Unfortunately none of these are the right answer….
The CORRECT answer is you remind him that it is the end of January and you have at least 2.5 more months of quality family time before tillage and planting. This includes eating supper together, playing go fish for the bazilyionth time, being beat in Candy Land and Memory by 4.5 year old, cuddles on the couch after kids are in bed. thinking of it this way makes my heart full. It’s a crazy life, but it’s our crazy life.
Three weeks out from choosing a word of the year and I get goosebumps thinking about it and here’s why:
Going into the New Year I had put little to no thought into what my word for 2018 would be. I had words in 2016 (trust) and in 2017 (patience), but 2018 seemed so distant. One evening I was scanning through instagram like any normal human being does these days and I saw many pictures with descriptions showing what everyone had chosen for their word of the year. At this point I thought “hmmm, will I do this in 2018? Do I pick a new word?” It didn’t take more than a day and the word deliverance popped into my head. All I could think is D.E.L.I.V.E.R.A.N.C.E!!! Oh no! For several days I tried to convince myself that there had to be another word out there for me….and why did deliverance sound so daunting in an end of life way?! I found myself googling deliverance to get a full grasp on the definition.
Deliverance: the action of being delivered or set free
At this point it started to make a little more sense. There were definitely burdens that had been set upon my mind and heart in recent months. The best way to heal these burdens? Asking in prayer to be set free from them. To reaffirm this, one evening I opened my bible to look at a verse, as I flipped through I paused in Chapter 19 in the book of Psalms. My heaviest bookmark had been stuck there at some point. The first bold heading I see on the page read “Prayer of Deliverance.”
No more questioning. No more wondering if deliverance was truly my word. There it was clear as day, affirming that His plan is greater than ours will ever be. I shared this tidbit with a coworker of mine and both of us sat in awe of his glory and capabilities. This same coworker came to me a few days later and mentioned that in his devotional he read with his girls the topic was deliverance. Another sign in a round about way? I would say so.
All in all what an amazing reminder that in the darkest times of our lives he is looking out for us and he will put us right where he needs us.
I have been more than absent from blogging lately and it bothers me but at the same time I know it was needed. Not that I have ever been a consistent blogger, but usually it is an outlet for me. A way for me to disconnect and let me mind go where it wants. Each season brings new challenges hopefully met with grace.
Farming continues to be part of our livelihood along with myself continuing to work off the farm. We are very fortunate to have what we have. The winter months (November-January) are our precious moments where we all get to enjoy meals together. There is no wondering when Mr. Farmer will be home, there is no cold suppers left on the table waiting for him far past bedtime, there is no single parenting. We get to be together enjoying precious well deserved time together.
Don’t get me wrong that the business of farming is teaching our children things we never would be able to teach to this degree if we worked in other industries. Our children get to see perseverance, grace, hope, trust, and patience daily. Some say farmers are the eternal optimists and I would have to agree. So as I make a commitment to share more of our real farm life with you, I ask for your grace as each season brings new challenges and with that a continued faith in God, our Heavenly Father.
Phew! I am so glad we have an extra farmhand here this week. Flat Aggie is visiting us to learn about our farm in west central Minnesota. I’ll let Flat Aggie take over to tell you all about his adventures on our farm.
Hi kids, Flat Aggie here! This week I am on a sugar beet farm near Wendell, Minnesota. The farm I am visiting is on the edge of what was once Lake Agassiz, they now call this region the Red River Valley. When Lake Agassiz was formed it left behind heavy clay soil, suitable for growing crops. Most farms here grow corn, soybeans, wheat, and/or sugar beets.
I spent the majority of my week helping with sugar beet harvest. Sugar beets are planted in April and are usually harvested in the month of October. These beets are different than red beets that you might eat at lunch or dinner. Sugar beets are larger and are white in color. The sugar beet farmers I was visiting are shareholders in a cooperative. The cooperative decides when harvest will start and when the beets can be harvested to ensure that they will keep in storage until they are processed. Once harvest has started many farmers harvest all day and all night to get the sugar beets out of the ground in a timely manner. It makes me tired just thinking about it!
The harvesting process can be lengthy depending on the weather and it takes multiple steps to get the sugar beets to their end destination. The first step is to remove the tops from the beets. A tractor pulls an implement that has paddles that spin very fast to remove the foliage from the tops off of the beets. Depending on the region this implement may be called a topper, a roto beeter, or a defoliator, but they are all the same piece of equipment.
Once the foliage has been removed from the beets a machine comes and lifts the beets out of the ground by pinching them. After the beets have been lifted out of the ground a series of rollers helps remove excess dirt before they are conveyed into a truck.
I couldn't believe the size of some of the beets. Here is a picture of me with one:
And here is a picture of one that is out of the ground:
Can you believe it?!
After the beets are in the truck we hauled them to a piling station. They will remain here until they are hauled to the factory to be processed into white table sugar or brown sugar. Samples are taken for each grower throughout harvest to determine purity, sugar content and tare. Some of the beets are stored outside in these piles until March. The best part of the day might have been the home cooked meal that was delivered to the field. I was STUFFED!
I don't know what to do with myself during harvest after the kids are in bed, which somehow leads to my baking obsession hitting overload. Ooo I should try that new recipe or that sounds delicious, but who am I kidding there aren't nearly enough mouths to feed for the baking that takes place. Thank goodness for coworkers...did I ever mention that my nickname at work is "Betty Crocker" due to the number of goodies I bring into share. I contribute to the freshman fifteen of our work environment, good or bad...
I don't know what it is but baking brings me calm and is a happy place. These late night sessions allow me to shut down the 7,685 tabs I have had open during the day, I can reduce it to 1 tab, 1 stinking tab! It's glorious, and if you were curious quilting has the same effect on me. Mind boggling I know, but really I will now get onto the good stuff, the layered heavenly good stuff.
Better with Butterscotch
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4.5 oz whipped cream/cool whip
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 regular package butterscotch pudding
3 cups cold milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together bottom layer ingredients; press into a 9x13 pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in cool whip. Spread over crust. Beat milk into pudding mixes until the mixture starts to thicken and has no lumps. Spread over middle layer. Spread remaining cool whip over the pudding layer. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate covered toffee bars. Refrigerate and devour ;)
And if you need more proof that I'm crazy, I make aprons to aid in this baking addiction and to give as gifts. Plus look at that toy kitchen mess in the background, mom's habits are wearing off!
OMG! Harvest is HERE and I am not sure where summer went. Any ideas?! Each year goes faster and I just want it to slow down. We know harvest is never far away when the Big Iron Farm Show in Fargo, ND is happening. It is a sign that soybean harvest is imminent. This also means suppers in the field or on the go. A lot of times the meals are cold but I do try to deliver warm meals when possible.
Either way I wanted to round up some handy items that we like to use for meals during harvest. For cold meals I really like these divide containers. Helps with portion control, the ability to pack a variety of items while not dirtying multiple containers, and they are dishwasher safe (hallelujah). Also waxed paper sheets and little snack cups are always helpful!
To keep cold foods cold we rely a lot on the coolers that come with the tractors, sometimes my husband’s tractor digs are nicer than our house. No. Joke. They definitely cost more. ;) If the tractor doesn’t come with said built in cooler we use this one. It’s deep enough to hold a couple ice packs, several pops/waters and enough food for two meals.
Warm meals are usually delivered after the kids and I have eaten at the house. I’ll put what I can in thermoses or I will wrap the containers in some towels to help keep them warm. We are fortunate that most fields aren’t more than a 15 minute drive from our house which helps with delivering a warm meal. I have also been known to turn on the heated seat to keep meals warm. This year I would like to give one of these bad boys a try. He can plug it in and have a slow cooked meal right in his tractor. I know he would appreciate the departure from another ham sandwich.
It’s not often that we completely stop for supper so I have to be mindful of what is good for on the go.This definitely does not mean there aren’t nights where a phone call happens and the conversation goes something like this:
Farmer: “Hi, how was your day?”
Me: “Piss poor, I need a beer and the kids…well you know.”
Farmer: “Ok, will you be out?”
Me: “Didn’t you hear me the kids are crazy and I didn’t plan supper so no you’ll have to eat when you get home tonight.”
Farmer in a very empathetic tone: “Ok, I love you.”
ME: “Love you too, if you find me in tears when you get home or passed out on the couch don’t be alarmed.”
I hope I’m not the only one that has a super understanding husband that puts up with my unnecessary shortness. Man I love him and for his understanding he should get a warm meal every night. Any other moms out there have tips for sharing how you juggle this craziness? I’d love to hear them as us crazy farm moms and moms in general need to stick together to survive!
*Opinions in this post are my own and not sponsored.
Summer is nearly gone and I'm not sure that I am ok with it. August has felt more like September so it will be interesting to see what shakes out weather wise in the coming months. We definitely need some heat to finish out our corn and soybeans. I do know this, we won't be harvesting soybeans during Big Iron like most years. One plus weekends in September will be ours with Mr. Farmer likely not having to work Saturdays and we always take Sundays off.
I start back at work next week and the later than usual harvest is helping with my anxiety. Harvest is always tough on the kids as it's single parenting, our daughter said it best "Mom, you need 8 arms like an octopus." My kudos go out to all of the parents who single parent around the clock! Here is a little update of where we are for the week:
1. What’s for supper: Lasagna - I'm taking advantage of having time to put meals together, this is a hard one to make when I am working unless I prep it on a Sunday.
2. What am I listening to: Old Dominion's new record.
3. Weather: Was cool but we will be in the high 70s low 80s this week and into next.
4. Weekend plans: Bridal shower, maybe the Minnesota State Fair.
5. Watching: Who watches TV in the summer?! Still trying to convince my husband to cancel our satellite TV.
6. Boy moment of the week: Starting back at daycare has been a little bit of a struggle, like peel his legs from around my waste. He politely says "no thanks" when we ask if he would like to go see his friends.
7. Girl moment of the week: Mastering our peddle bike this week. We had used a strider bike with her the majority of the summer and Sunday was the first day of the peddle bike and she has mastered it!
9. Recipe of the week: I have been in a canning frenzy with all of our garden produce and have tried a couple new recipes this year including one for green tomato salsa which is phenomenal.
10. Reading: I wish I was...
11. Farm moment of the week: August is pretty uneventful on the farm which is just how I like it :)
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!