Transformation Tuesday!

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1 year ago today I made a HUGE life altering decision and had Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Mexico. 115 pounds lighter my stomach wasn’t the only thing I left in Mexico.  I also left behind the old me with some bad eating habits, a very painful knee, and sitting on the sidelines while watching my kids ride bikes.89B4806B-2282-4661-8A5C-FA9FBA92D396

It has not been an easy path!
No one tells you that strangers and family will grant themselves permission to critique your physical appearance. *Thanks for noting that my hips aren’t as wide.
That navigating the grocery store will cause you to forget that you no longer eat donuts and then be sad when you get in the car and realize you can’t have it.
They don’t put in the book that your hair will fall out and your son will flick the extra skin under your arms like a game.
You are told how great it will be when you buy smaller clothes!  They first time I bought new jeans I was excited!  The 3rd time I bought smaller jeans I was wishing jeans didn’t cost so much…

BUT don’t let that get you down!
I am stronger, healthier, and happier!
Mexico kept my stomach and they also kept my title of: “the fat friend”, “the girl with the pretty face”, they kept the pain in my knees, and some of my lack of self confidence.
Mexico can celebrate that they took my stomach and gave be back a life lived full and well; serving my family and others, working on the farm with more ease, and running full steam ahead to see what other adventures life throws our way!

Grandma’s Pants

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Isn’t it amazing how small things can hold great comfort?

Today I am home with my youngest. She started running a fever in the night and woke up this morning feeling even worse. I just scrubbed puke out of the carpet…

However, now we are snuggling on the couch. Curious George is on the TV, there’s a bucket next to me, and we are snuggling under a quilt that has been dubbed “Grandmas Pants”.

It is this heavy and cozy quilt made of old polyester pants my husbands Grandma made for him more than 20 years ago. Whenever anyone in our home is not feeling well they automatically choose this quilt to snuggle under.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to really know his grandma, she had end stages of dementia when we got married and she passed away a few days after our oldest was born. Knowing her children and grandchildren though I can almost guarantee that she would be happy that it provides comfort when we are feeling down.

So here is to a day snuggled on the couch with my little girl in her footie pajamas, with a cup of coffee in my hand and feeling cozy under Grandmas Pants!

What are some things you find comfort in when you don’t feel well?

Flat Aggie Visits for Dry Bean Harvest!

We are excited to have a special visitor for dry bean harvest that started this week!

Flat Aggie!!

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Flat Aggie journeys across the continent visiting farms and ranches, collecting great pictures and even better stories.   I’ll let him tell you what he’s been up to this week…

Hi Flat Aggie here!
This week I’m vacationing at A Little House on the Farm, it is located in the Thumb of Michigan. Did you ever notice that Michigan is shaped like a mitten?  If you look for the Thumb part, that is where they farm; surrounded by water on 3 sides! The climate here is warm in the summer and early fall, cold and snowy in the winter and cool until the lake warms up in the spring.

They plant corn, wheat, soybeans and dry edible beans.  Dry edible beans come in many different colors but they plant Navy Beans and Black Beans. Navy beans can be used to make bean soup and baked beans. Black beans are used in a lot of cooking and some salsa’s.

Beans are usually planted in early to mid June and harvested mid to late September. The farmer said they were blessed with an early planted spring this year so these beans were planted between May 30th and June 6th.

 


There are a few ways to harvest dry beans. On their farm they “pull” the beans.  Which means they use a Pickett rodder to bring the beans out of the dirt by their roots and put them in windrows. You can see in the picture that there are rods that bring the beans out of the ground, spike like teeth that pull them up to a conveyor and then the conveyor puts them in a windrow.

 

They do this in the morning and evening when there is still dew on the plants to help keep from splitting open the pods(also called shelling) while they get moved around. You can check out a drone video of them pulling beans right HERE.

In the afternoon when the windrows are dry the beans are perfect for combining.  The combine will harvest 2 windrows at a time and separates the beans from the pods, stems, and leaves. Check out a video HERE.

 

Once the beans are in the combine they are unloaded into a truck using a special belt conveyor that is gentle on the beans and helps keep them from getting split or cracked. You can watch a video of them unloading HERE.

After they are loaded into a truck they are taken to an elevator where they are sold to companies that make yummy food for us!

 


Did you know Navy beans got their name because of the frequency they were served to sailors at sea?!

You can find out more information about A Little House on the Farm on their FACEBOOK PAGE.  Their kids are always doing something silly!

You can also find out more about dry beans at the Michigan Bean Council. 

If you want to find out more about my adventures or even host me at your farm click HERE or on Facebook!

 

A Farmer’s Wife Harvest Prayer

Sharing this from The Fit Farmer’s Wife because its perfect!

We are about it enter into Dry Bean harvest and its an exciting busy time.  I run one of the bean puller and Farmer pulls beans, runs the combine, and keeps track of everything.  I pray for him daily but even more so during this time as he gets tired and works so hard for us.

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A Farmer’s Wife Harvest Prayer

Dear Lord,

Please watch over us during harvest. During the busy. During the crazy. During the parts runs, the harvest food runs, and elevator runs. During the fast paced on the go unloading, and the slower than slow break downs. Grant us the weather conditions that allow us to get harvest done in a timely matter. Guide and protect all of us during this season.

Help my husband to be safe always. Give him reason and time to think and somehow, enjoy this busy season. Cover him in your grace and blessings. Allow him patience during the breakdowns, because we know they are enviable. Allow him quick reflexes and thoughts when he has to think on his feet. Allow him the love and strengththat he needs to function during this busy season.

Help our children to understand why dad is busy, can’t tuck them in at night, or can’t be home for dinner. Guide their little hearts and bless them. Help them to understand this season and grow up with an appreciation of the farm and knowing how hard their daddy worked to provide for us. Help them to remember and cherish this season, as a time to harvest.

Help me as a wife, Lord. Help me to stay strong. Give me the strength to pack the coolers, help with the homework, clean the house, do chaff filled, dirty laundry, prepare and think of easy harvest meals, and somehow allow my heart peace during this crazy time. Help me to find time for You and for me. Even though I go to bed a tired, and alone woman at night, I know You are there protecting our family. Watch over my husband during the late nights and early mornings, and grant us the rest we all need.

Most of all, thank you for the harvest season. We know it’s tiring and seems endless, but it is just a season. And with You, every season brings a time of hustle, crazy, tears, and also joy and blessing. We are so blessed for this harvest, for this season, for our family, our love, and for You. Please lead, guide and direct us, during this harvest season, and in Your perfect timing and love.

Amen.

Source: A Farmer’s Wife Harvest Prayer

 

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food!

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I am SO excited!!!  My small town has this amazing Farmers Market throughout the summer.  It is full of local vendors as well as vendors that come all the way up from Detroit and they offer an awesome variety of food, crafts and art.

This coming Saturday we are hosting an event called Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Event.

We will have a booth set up for people to stop at and submit questions that they would like to ask directly to a farmer.  Then at 11 am we will have a panel of 3 farmers take the stage and get those questions answered.

This idea came about because I was at a farm conference this winter where we had a panel of consumers and we submitted questions to them to learn what they know about food, what they think about farming, and what they want to know about where their food comes from.

It is shocking for someone connected to agriculture to sit and listen to these normal people who work, have families, and buy food to see that they have NO IDEA what we do, how we do it, and in one case really thought that we might be trying to poison them.

But, what I really learned is that they have questions!
They want to know where their food comes from. They want a face and a name to go with their Frosted Flakes and Baked Beans.

The average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm. In fact, farm and ranch families make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population. The United States today has more bus drivers than it has farmers!

So here is our chance!

Come to the Farmer’s Market on this Saturday morning August 19th!

Ask questions, meet a few farmers that grow your food, learn HOW we do it, and WHY we do things a certain way on each of our farms!

We would LOVE to have you and we would love to meet you!!!!

 

P.S. You are always MORE than welcome to ask me questions here!

 

Wheat Harvest

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Wheat Harvest from above

It has been an exhausting week here at the Little House! I should have gotten on a post up earlier but I have to be honest with you, I was just plain tired.

IMG_5242Wheat harvest is always hot and this year it seems like its been one of the dirtiest too! Farmer has had more changes of clothes this week than in a while!  He said it seemed like all the extra greasy jobs happened this week.

When the rain came this weekend and cut us off from finishing the last wheat field we grabbed the kids and went to a festival before church.  Yesterday we picked all the produce from the garden, went up town and played a game Putt Putt golf and then I came home and took a 2 hour nap.

This morning the kids got their goat walking in and a trip to the library. Then we went to town to run errands and meet my dad.  He took Luke home with him after work to spend a few days getting spoiled and helping my parents get some projects finished around the house.  As I said on Facebook earlier this week, our family is really blessed to have such wonderful grandparents that can pick up the slack when we are in our busy time.  My mother in-law has been picking kids up from daycare, feeding them supper and getting them to bed for about 5 days straight. She is a Godsend and a wonderful example of a FarmHer.

We are still waiting for our last wheat field to dry out a bit before we finish up our season but in the meantime that garden I mentioned earlier has been in over drive!  So far I have frozen 21 cups of peas, 4 packages of radishes, and 14 cups of green beans.  I am currently waiting on my beets to finish boiling and also have about 15 pickles cut up and ready to go.

Gardening is not my first love, as a matter of fact it is kind of an farm garden(Everyone on the farm shares all the produce) and unless I walk over to it I sometimes forget that it is there and needs tending.  This year the weeds got a head of me and it’s not really pretty, but it is also still producing plenty to eat!
We currently have a few more peas, lots of pickles, some beets, and the tomatoes and sweet corn are about to start ripening!

What is your favorite treat from the garden? What do you do with it?

PS: When we are super busy in the field I still manage to get some funny updates on Facebook so follow me HERE too!

Motivation Monday!

 

 

With an extended 4th of July last week and all of our extra visitors it has been a long weekend of catching up both on the farm and in our personal lives.

I fielded a lot of questions from friends and family over the holiday about what’s going on with my weight loss. People wanted to know what I’ve been doing, how much weight I’ve lost, and if I feel better.

** I’m doing GREAT!
** I have lost approximately 110 pounds.
** With my gastric sleeve surgery I basically have to eat a very high protein and low carb diet.  It’s not too bad to follow but I love me sweets and need to make sure I focus on protein and veggies before any treats get on my plate.  By then I’m usually too full to indulge more than a small bite. My tummy will not tolerate bread well (I think it swells up in there and makes me uncomfortable) and I can’t do anything carbonated (bye bye my beloved Crown & Coke)

** As far as exercise goes, I walk about 10 miles a week and do Pilates twice a week.
I do have more energy but don’t realize that I move a bit easier unless someone points it out. Farmer notices the most because he sees me working and climbing in and out of equipment.
How much more weight do I have to lose? Only time will tell. My body will probably find its comfortable weight in about 30-50 more pounds if I can get there…

I’ve been lacking a bit in the motivation department lately and so I’ve signed up for a few 5K walks to keep myself on task. I did a Glow Run a few weeks ago and beat my previous time by about 4 minutes!  This coming Thursday I’m doing a Wine Run (If you survive they reward you with a glass of wine) and hoping to beat that time too!

Farming and weight loss are very similar in the fact that you really have to be self-motivated and able to stay on task without a “boss” telling you when and where to do things. When we need to get things done on the farm no one is here saying “You should go fix the sprayer.” or “If you don’t get out and get the beans cultivated instead of going to the parade you are going to lose yield”

I have always been very proud and in awe of my farmer’s work ethic. I know this weekend that he would have rather sat around the bonfire telling stories with his sisters and family but he sucked it up and finished the last of our dry bean cultivating. *Which was a good thing because it rained and field work is on hold for a while again.

It’s the same reason I try to get up and go for a walk or go to Pilates class.  There is just no way to get healthy without making the commitment to myself and making it happen.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

 

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

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Photo Courtesy of: codecanyon.net

If you are NOT a farmer you may have noticed that some of your outdoor plans have been cancelled due to rain…
If you ARE a farmer you may have noticed that some of your outdoor plans have been cancelled due to rain…

While we have been fortunate in our small part of the world, the majority of the areas around us have been hit very hard with LOTS of rain.  Anywhere from 5-10 inches in the last few weeks!  We know… you would think that rain would be good for crops. But, this much rain has been too much.

Dry beans are really a big worry right now. They just cannot take excessive rain. There are already talks of considerable losses in the dry bean industry. Some farmers have had to face replanting while others, with standing water, are concerned about the nitrogen that was lost in corn.

So we are praying that we get some good heat and sun to dry out the fields enough farmers can get back in to manage crops.  On our farm right now we are attempting to find dry bean ground that is dry enough to let us cultivate.  We use a row crop cultivator for weed control and for “hilling” up dirt around our beans; which makes it easier for our type of harvest.

In other Little House News we have been keeping busy cutting up some wood for our summer camping, doing some rainy summer camping, and playing with our goats.  Yesterday we also poured some cement for a bin project we are going to be working on later this summer.  I think our Faith is going to be a great Farm Mom someday, check her out raking dirt and carrying her baby  in the backpack carrier!

Summer Has Finally Begun!

Today is officially the first day of summer break for our family and to celebrate in style we initiated our kids (and a neighbor kid) into a farm kid tradition that is as old as time…

Picking rocks!!

Well, this isn’t the first time our kids have picked rocks but as a parent I have to say that I think this is the first time we’ve managed to pick a whole field without any meltdowns and actually get some work done! Even if the girls managed to put more “pretty rocks” in the cab of the backhoe than they actually picked…  Picking rocks is character building and a great workout for your arms and legs.

Growing up I lived in the country, but after 2nd grade I no longer lived on a working farm.  That didn’t stop my parents from teaching us all about hard work though!  Splitting wood all summer long, working with our 4-H animals and having to stack wood in the basement for an hour when friends came over before we could play.  Then there was baling hay and picking rocks with the neighbors.

The best part was always building forts in the hay mow and getting to climb up the bale elevator to the loft. The not so fun part was always how HOT it was and taking a shower after baling hay was a painful experience if you forgot to wear the right clothes.

My good friend growing up was so upset about picking rocks she always swore up and down that if she ever married a farmer he would be required to own a rock picker! **She didn’t end up marrying a farmer**

So to celebrate getting our work done today the kids are getting to relax and watch a movie this afternoon, Farmer is out spraying corn for weeds, I’m about to tackle the mountain of laundry and tonight we are taking the kids 4-H goats to get tagged for the fair.

** Stay tuned for that rodeo!

What are some plans you have for your family this summer?

 

 

You Know It’s Planting Season When…

 

I ran across a picture I posted on my personal Facebook page a few years back and I’m sharing it with you today.

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We were in the midst of a very busy planting season and some how a ketchup bottle fell out of the fridge and I was so tired and busy it took me 3 days to actually get back around to cleaning it up.

It’s been a crazy planting season here but we were blessed with decent weather and our corn, soybeans and dry beans are all planted.

Here are my reflections on How You Know It’s Planting Season:

** The weather app is your new best friend or worst enemy
** Clouds induce paranoia
** Changes in weather forecast can make your farmer come unglued
** That extra Twinkie in your lunchbox can brighten your day
** The kids want to know when dad is coming back
** Everything breaks. Everything.
** The parts department at the implement dealer is on speed dial
** You measure your day in acres not hours
** If you manage to wash and dry the laundry you are too tired to put it away so you sleep under it
** Seed from the current crop are rolling all over the laundry room floor
** Tempers are short
– Like when we decided to take make a quick stop with the kids to get ice cream but on the way there the field we were waiting to get dry was ready.  There was a long line and Farmer almost came unglued.

 

God Bless the grandmas who pick up the kids, the wives who deliver hot food to the fields and hold the fort down, and the farmers and farmHers that sacrifice time with their families to feed yours.💕