A story to tell

For the last eight or so years, I have been learning about agriculture. I started out on a fall tour here inTennessee because my husband told me there would be food. Since then I have been bless to represent Tennessee as a final four winner for Discussion meet, the outstanding Young Woman, Brian and I were the Environmental Stewardship winners, the State Excellence in Agriculture Winners, and were in the Top Ten at the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture competition. Whew, that is a lot of stuff. Brian and I have also served on numerous committees through out the years. So, what started as a weekend trip in search of food has ended up changing my life in all the best of ways. I have friends all over the country and know more about where my food comes from. I am not afraid of modern agriculture and understand why farmers do what they do. So, now as a 4-H show mom, I am learning more.

Life never really is what you expect. I would have never thought in my growing years that as a Mom of three, I would love spending my time off wiping pigs butts. But I do. See it’s show time for Market Hogs here in TN. We just finished the regional show today and have the state show tomorrow. So while tired I am feeling truly blessed for Brian who has taught me his love of agriculture.

I love seeing my kids get in the show ring and try. Try, even when they have been so nervous that they have thrown up or just gotten run over by a pig. Life, real life, is best when it is worked for and earned. Not just handed to you. 4-H helps teach that.

I am blessed to have many helpers on this road and look forward to meeting many more, but the extension agents like our Very own Randle Kimes who go above and beyond to helps these kids shine in the ring are a priceless treasure. Randle and the men and women like him, give of the hearts, souls, and time. So to the families of the agents, especially. Mr. Randle Kimes family, thank you all for sharing these special people with us, so our children can grow up proud of what they have accomplished.

From a weekend looking for food, I have found my love of agriculture and the people in it. Farmers work long hard hours with very little thanks, and most never complain. The men and women of American agriculture give you the liberty of questioning now and why they raise your food. And somewhere in that job includes (for me at least) working tirelessly as a Dad to help his kids show.

I look forward to the future as I am continuing to learn both as a Show Mom but as also as an American agriculturist. Hope you enjoy the journey.

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Show on kids…

Posted in 4-H, 4H, Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Chores, Clay County, effective communications, Family Time, Farm, farmer's wife, farming, My Life, State 4-H, swine, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking time

Today was a busy day at my house. I worked till two this morning and slept in a bit. When I got up, my husband had taken my Mom for her doctors appointments and to Sam’s. So, I spent the morning straining the house, helping our two oldest with their home school assignments, and the we went to pick up my little man from 1st grade.

Once home from town, we went mistletoe hunting on the farm, and to “heat detect” the cattle for Dad as he was not yet home. We found a lame cow he needs to check in the morning. And then back to the house to make milk for the bottle heifer, and to start supper. Tonight was braised Cajun chicken with saffron rice and roasted squash with blue cheese and walnuts.

All in all a very full day.

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In the spirit of Christmas

I know that their are many things to do in this time of Holidays. And every year I seem to get less and less done. But this year I am beyond proud to share some pictures of the live nativity that our County 4-H kids did. They spent three long hours out in the cold with their animals.

Many heartfelt thanks go out to the organizers and to the other 4-H parents who helped make this possible.

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But by doing this, not only did these kids get to share the story of our Lord’s birth with others, they also got to spend so time sharing agriculture’s story too. By letting children pet and visit with animals they don’t normally get to see, those kids spread more than the Christmas story.

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Families…

The holidays always bring family together for meals and time together, and ours is no different. Brian and I are blessed to belong to very large extended families on both sides. Brian’s father is one of six siblings and his Mom one of three. My Mom is one of three and her Mom was one of six as well. So, juggling all the family get togethers can be fun.

But, what I have noticed throughout the season so far is that family can exceed the traditional definitions placed on the word. Family can be difficult even in the best of times and strait out awful at others, but what makes family great is that no matter what, family will be there. Even if being there in today’s world is a digital affair.

I think that the traditional ideal of family is going away, even in my still traditional world, and that makes me curious about the world my children will inherit. I want my children to grow understanding that “family” is a belief and a group effort, and not always a perfection. There will be strife and disagreement, unhappiness, and joy. There is never a right or wrong answer with family, but there is always love an acceptance of family. I want them to embrace times spent with family, to learn from their past, and grow towards their future.

My children come from a diverse past. Where I come from a suburban neighborhood with professional working parents (that were never home), Brian comes from a sixth generation working farm with involved stay at home parents. I hope that we can show our children some of both and teach them that family means accepting differences as part of the love of family.

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Springtime chores

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This is a link to my google plus account and the pictures tell a story about a daily set of chores better than I can in words. If you have a minute stop by and check it out.

Posted in Agriculture, Angus, Animal Welfare, Beef Cattle, Chores, Family Time, Farm, personal choices, social media | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Beautiful thought

A picture worth a thousand

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A great day off

Most of my days are spent as a full time Emergency Room physician and I have to say, I feel truly blessed to be able to love both my job and my workplace. But everyone needs something to do on their days off. So, I am a mom, a wife, a farmer, and a sorta chef. Oh and I am learning how to hunt too.

So, today has been a beautiful fall day here in Upper middle Tennessee. We started off with scrambled eggs and toast with coffee. I have to admit that my husband fixes breakfast- I am not my best till after caffeine. Then we were off to the barn to check in on our premie baby Angus heifer (girl calf). She was born in a storm about three weeks early to a first time momma cow, so we are helping them get established in this mommy thing. See, being early Momma’s milk took longer than baby had to wait for the milk, so we have been giving little bit some milk while waiting for Momma’s milk to “come in” as my husband and father-in-law say.

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On top of working with our little calf, we had an unexpected helper in the barn. Our middle child has had the stomach flu for the last three days. So, while she has finally felt better today (I am feeling very confident that school is in her future tomorrow) she was helpful today.

Next on our list for today was training squirrel dogs. Yes, sounds like a terrible chore. So, I spent a few hours waking in the beautiful sunshine with my husband looking for the ever elusive squirrel. We did not get any cause it’s too early to hunt squirrel with dogs – too many leaves on the trees.

Then we took our Blue healer and checked on all our cows. I think both the dog and my husband had fun.

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Now, everyone is home from school and its homework time. So, the sick kid decides she wants to taste the hot peppers that Brian got for me to cook with. That was funny.

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Then, family supper of farm raised beef, as hamburgers tonight with potato salad. Laughter and music all around too.

Then back to the barn for round two of bottle feeding baby calves. First our premie. I am sure my husband was wondering how many kids it takes to feed a little calf.

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Ok, so if you have never been blessed to try and get chores done with more than one child helping, I hope you get a chance to some day. Next we are off to feed our orphaned baby calf that we are raising on a bottle. She is almost a month old, and getting bigger every day. Tonight we thought we would see if she liked a halter.

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So, all and all I am very tired and ready for bed. But looks like I have to go read a bedtime story.

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Posted in Agriculture, Angus, Animal Welfare, Beef Cattle, Chores, doctor, effective communications, family, Farm, farmer, farmer's wife, farming, growing up, home, Life in Rural America, Mom, My Life, new calf, Perfect Day, personal choices, social media, Tennessee, work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Late

We are tired getting ready for our fall church hay ride. So not much to say tonight. Gonna let my pictures talk for me. IMG_2797.JPG

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Fry baby Fry…

Cooking for me is a hobby, a relaxant, a way to connect to my past, and a way to try to get healthy foods into my family all at the same time. While there are some aspects about cooking that I am better at than others, it is a process that I have come to enjoy. Turning on my music, dancing around my kitchen like Tom Cruise in Risky Business, enjoying music and family while the evening meal comes together, and then explaining the food to the kids and watching them (and sometimes Brian) try to wiggle their way out of trying something I made.

Tonight, was a peaceful time for me as I am still healing from gallbladder surgery. Listening to Clair de Lune on Pandora, and making diner with my great-grandmother’s cast iron skillet. It nice to be back into my regular habits and off all the icky medications that come with surgery.

So, tonight we had spiced Italian sausage and lentil soup, fried deer (harvest by my middle daughter on our farm), roasted new potatoes, and we would have had roast broccoli but I forgot and left it in the oven too long…

Oh well.

I love my collection of cast iron skillets, Dutch ovens, and cook ware that I have had handed down through the generations. I can feel the love and care in each piece, even if I am not as good with fried foods as my forebears were.

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We have a new twist on food at our home as well. I am having to learn how to cook for my oldest who is discovering that she needs to eat “Gluten free”. We have known for a while that she carries the genes that predispose her for celiac disease, and for the last several months she has complained that her “belly hurts”. It was a constant complaint. So, enter mom doctor experiment – go gluten free and lo and behold – less migraines and less complaining about her belly.

So, now we are learning gluten free, so tonight that means one batch of gluten free flour fried deer and one batch fixed the regular way with AP flour. I personally liked the gluten free batch better. And, the part about cooking that I don’t like – dishes, tonight that is the girls chore, so all in all a perfect evening.

So, new things mixed with old tonight here on the farm. Now time to listen to the first graders homework, if I can figure out the silly “Common core” stuff that passes for schoolwork these days.

Posted in cooking, effective communications, family, Family Time, farms, food, home, Mom, parenting, personal choices | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bounty of Fall on the Farm

Fall for most people brings images of falling leaves, pumpkins, Halloween, and Mums – and please don’t get me wrong – we love those things too, but a find today while I was going through some of my grandmother things … Continue reading

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