Friday, April 24, 2015

what the picture doesn't tell: getting real

So, here's what's happening at my house right now:

Come 'ere lil chicken! I got a present for you!
What's going on in this picture? Well. I could say:

Ohmigosh! I love my chickens so much that I bake for them. Here I'm feeding them a loaf of homemade One Rise Baguette. If you'd like the recipe I can...what? You don't bake for your chickens? Are you serious? I mean, I'm totally not judging you...but...seriously? Don't you your chickens? I totally bake for my chickens!

I could be that kind of person.

But I'm not that kind of person.

Here's what actually happened.

This is homemade bread that I baked. But not for my chickens, because I don't bake for my chickens. I'm not even sure if that's really a thing, but it probably could be, because, people. In any event, the reason this is going to the chickens is because (deep breath) it molded. It sat in the cupboard too long. I baked it. Then the boys ended up with the flu. Then my husband was so busy with work I didn't even know when he was here and when he wasn't. Then I got a hair up my butt that I was going no sugar. And we forgot about the loaf. And it molded. And now the chickens get it.

End of (real) story.

Totally enjoying my mess-up. Totally.
 The point here is not to make fun of or judge people for what they choose to do with their chickens, goats, yarn, decorating, cars, ereaders, education, laundry soap, footwear, or anything else that people can (and do) toss judgment back and forth about.

The point is that we have this huge social network (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, whatever else the kids are using today that adults can't figure out, etc) and we need to use it to be real.

Real, y'all. Because real helps. It levels the playing field.

Me telling you that I baked for my chickens gives people unrealistic goals to fulfill. (That is, if they don't think I'm nuts.) Me telling you that the bread sat in my cupboard and molded because Life happened—now, that could bring people together. I envision a big communal gathering where people discuss all the awesome ways in which they totally messed up. I mean, wouldn't you much rather know that everyone else biffs it than sit in the corner thinking you're the biggest screw up of them all?

Just keeping it real.

So, hey. Think on all of this. And then go check your cupboards for anything that might be...molding. Then check the fridge.

Peace out. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

not a fairy tale: a love story

He pulls up with the tractor, grins, and says, "Today is the day you learn how to drive this."

"But I totally cannot learn to drive that."

He smiles and pats the seat. And I know I'm going to learn to drive the tractor because he's going to teach me. He will sit next to me and explain how to drive it as many times as it takes for me to get it. He will not yell. He will not tell me I'm stupid. He will not rush me. And he will not laugh...unless I do.


How can you be married to someone who works such strange hours? 
Who has such an unreliable schedule? 
Who works in that profession?
God. I could never do that.
I could never deal with that.


He teaches me how to shoot a handgun and how to use a chainsaw and how to cut up a chicken and how to back a trailer and oh, God, the patience that man has.


But doesn't it worry you? I mean, his job?
Aren't you kind of like a single parent, then? you even sleep in the same bed?
God. That's so weird. 
I don't even know how you stay married.


Rendering lard and smoking a turkey and snuggling on the couch.

Cutting wood and stacking wood. Bruises and smashed thumbs and sweating. Then sitting in the living room together and not needing to fill the space with noise because the quiet space isn't uncomfortable.

Smirking as the kids run through, hell bent on bringing their oddly comfortable chaos to our world. Seeing how much they look like him. And look like me. And look like us.


"Can you come to ___ with us?"
       "It's nearly impossible for us to commit to anything as a couple."
"Okay, we will do it a different day. What are your husband's days off..."
      "It doesn't really work that way."


Packaging lard. Brining the bacon, one week left. Planning the garden. Ordering chicks. Fixing fence. Building the raised gardens. Moving hay bales. Watching his face light with an idea of how to do things better. Dad, I can't figure out ___, can you help me?  Watching. Smiling. Loving.

Doing life. Doing life. Doing life.


"You know the divorce rate for law enforcement is like 70% or something like that?"
        "Yeah. I know."


How can I be married to someone with such a strange, unpredictable schedule? I can't even comprehend the question. Because, life. This is the life we've built together. The hours matter and the minutes matter and the time matters and it's all different than how life goes on Out There but it doesn't matter because we aren't out there. We're right here.

No. He can't always be here, but when he can, he's here. We can't always be together, but when we can be, we are together. We might be cutting through slabs of lard or splitting logs, but we're together.

I think people have lost sight of what together means.

This is not a fairy tale. This is a love story. And I'll choose it over a Disney storybook every single time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

change. it comes to everything.

Change. No one ever said it wouldn't come.

This is me after a community theater production, way back when I was 14 or 15.

Aw. How cute.

For contrast (and just to keep it real) this was me two weeks ago, bundled up to go out do evening chores.

And there you have it. Life. Change. You can't escape it. It comes to everyone.

And everything, too.

December of 2011, Farm Man Extraordinaire and I bought Clucky Dickens Farm...and every year here has been different. Some years we grow too much corn, other years we can't get anything to grow. Some years there are goat kids, other years there are piglets. In the beginning, my parents lived with us. Now, neither of them live here. I used to write from the kitchen table. Now I have an office. I used to be scared of skidloaders. Now I can totally use one.

Neither my husband nor I grew up on a farm, and we bought this place not really knowing what we were doing. We are learning as we go...and now I think the purpose of a farm is to maybe show how much, as silly humans, we don't know. How much there is to learn. How much we're not in control. Because life, it happens.

Change. It always happens.

So as I sit here enjoying the fact that the snow is melting and the plastic is coming off the windows and the woodstove is being shutdown for the season, I think on what this year is going to bring. I can plan and I can have goals but one thing is for certain: there will be change.

Because you can't tame a farm.

But a farm can tame you.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Scribbles, #128

 Sundays at this farmish place are reserved for Scribbles - short, random musings that collect while my mind has time to wander on this day of (supposed) rest. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own in the comments.

 1. The really cool thing about it starting to warm up is that suddenly you can give your barn a good cleaning.

2. I had a bit of time yesterday and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start cleaning out the winter gunk and getting ready for all that spring offers a barn. (Like, mud...but that's another post.)

3. I scraped chicken poo from the main floor (gotta love free range winter chickens), broomed old cobwebs off the ceiling, and swept. My barn was on its way to being lovely! Then I noticed that the barn windows were filled with yuck.

4. Knowing I only had so much time (we had places we needed to be), I found myself a little mini broom and flinged the stuff off the windows and from the sills. But there were all these persnickity things stuck to the sides—things that looked like nickel-to-quarter sized balls of yellow insulation. Dangit, they would not come down with the broom!

5. So I grabbed one and pulled it down.

6. Then I squished it between my fingers.

7. You guys, I'm pretty sure it was a barn spider egg sac. If anyone wants to prove me wrong, I would appreciate it. Because after I screamed and dropped it and wiped the sticky gunk off my hands, I considered that stabbing at all the window sills with a knife might be a better solution for today. (My husband disagrees.) I'm not usually bothered by spiders, guys, spider egg sack? All I keep thinking is trillions of little spiders crawling up my legs, into my ears and mouth. You guys.

8. Last night I dreamed about spiders vs. me and a chainsaw. Hey, don't judge. I think I won, but I woke up before I could find out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

farmgirls, romantic dates, and chainsaws

I'm trying to be more bold and learn things that in the past were easier to leave unlearned.

"Why don't I know how to use a chainsaw?" I asked my husband a few days ago when we were out cutting wood. Cutting wood generally means he cuts...

 ...and I stack.

 I asked if our next romantic date could be me learning to use the chainsaw. He said yes. So the next day, I got myself ready for learning all about the mighty chainsaw.

"I really wish I had a pair of scratch pants for you," Farm Man Extraordinaire said.


"Tough pants that you can't cut through. To protect your legs."

I would not be scared. I would not be scared.

Oh, that trusting act of him handing me the saw. The love he demonstrated by handing over his almost brand new Husqvarna 16" that he won on the silent auction at our church dinner. I get misty eyed at the thought he believed in me and that I probably wouldn't wreck it, or least not on purpose.

I sliced through the first log.

 I totally did it!

And then I said, "Well, I can see how a person could easily cut their leg off." Which might have been the wrong thing to say. But you know, honesty

I'm sure he wasn't worried. I mean, the hospital is only like...twenty minutes away.

But I kept going. I was totally doing it! And you know what? Cutting with a chainsaw is fun.

At one point we had to grease the bar, and because we didn't have a needle greaser we had to do it old school...which involved a larger grease gun, a finger, and a big mess.

"You know," I said, looking at the grease all over his fingers and the sawdust all over me, "this is probably our most romantic date yet."

He smiled and shook his head.

Sometimes I think he wonders if I ate a lot of paint chips as a child.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Scribbles, #127

Sundays at this farmish place are reserved for Scribbles - short, random musings that collect while my mind has time to wander on this day of (supposed) rest. Enjoy, and feel free to add your own in the comments.

1. While contemplating the larger mysteries of life the other day, I started making a list of things that I don't yet understand.

2. Ratchet straps. They are a thorn in my side. I don't understand them or how they work. I always have to wait for someone else to deal with them.

3. Hooking up a trailer to a truck? Seriously. Get someone else because I can't.

3.5. Running the tractor. The wood splitter. Taking a bullhead off a hook. Running a weed whip. Etc., Etc., Etc. Nope, can't do it.

4. Except there is a difference between not being able to do it and never having tried to do it. There is a difference between not trying to do it because it's easier to have someone else do it and just not wanting to look stupid because you don't know what you're doing.

4.5. And that's the point of my scribblin' today: not that we should feel bad for the things we don't know how to do (because there will always be things we don't know how to do), but that so much life is lost on people who don't try stuff just because they don't want to look stupid.

4.75. And if we're being honest, and I think we are, there's a lot of stuff I've just not learned how to do because I don't immediately understand them and don't want to look stupid learning how to do them.

4.80. Pride, y'all. It's so lame.

5. Having a farm will either freak you out...or humble you...or both. That being said, my new goal is that when I'm met with something I don't know how to do, I'm going to ask someone to teach me how to do it instead of just sitting back in fear of how I will look while I'm learning it.

Y'all - Be Bold. Look Stupid. Learn Something. And have a lovely Sunday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

farmgirls, clothes and their hate-hate relationship

So, the thing is...I really hate clothes.

Clothes are complicated—especially when you live on a farm—and ain't nobody got time for that.

See, when you live on a farm, it's necessary to have clothes for wearing to town and clothes for wearing in the barn. Never shall the two mix. And unless you're swimming in extra money, (which you aren't, because it all goes to the barn) there aren't a whole lot of choices in between. You're either dressed for barn work, or you're dressed for town.

Most of my clothes are kept in my dresser. My closet is known as the do-not-wear-things-in-here-unless-you-are-leaving-the-property-for-fear-of-ruining-them-because-these-threads-are-actually-unstained-and-maybe-sorta-kinda-fashionable closet.

 It is small, y'all. Because I hate clothes.

I'm not a fancy person. I'm totally not. I mean, if you creep up on me in the barn, this is what you're going to get.

Not quite farmgirl calendar worthy. But totally real.

Maybe the real problem is that I have a warped view of what's fancy or "good". Maybe this is best illustrated by the difference between my barn boots and my good boots.

Like, here's my winter barn boots.

Here's my winter good boots.

 See the difference? Or...wait....

Maybe the problem is that I need to go shopping. But I hate clothes. More than that, though, I hate spending money on clothes. I don't care about clothes. I've told my husband a few times that life would be so much easier if we didn't have to wear them.

He's still searching for the right way to answer that question. ;)
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