We are planting!

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We finally made it into the fields and have been working on putting our corn in the ground!! Spring planting can get a little hectic because there is the working ground (my favorite job!), picking stones, putting nitrogen down and then the actually planting. We love it though!

This year we are pulling a rolling basket behind our field cultivator to help with lumps in the soil and will hopefully make a better seed bed for our plants. Pulling onto the road can be a bit intimidating for me because it makes my equipment about 80 feet long and you need to make wide turns into the driveways to avoid putting it in the ditch…

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As I was traveling down the road last week, about 1/8th of a mile from one field to another, a pick-up truck came up behind me and as I swung wide to make a right turn into the driveway he passed me on the right!  I was pretty mad because it was VERY dangerous and also illegal.

So in the spirit of keeping my family and yours safe on the road here are a few tips when driving around farm equipment!

 

 

 

Tips for Rural Drivers

  • Always be on the lookout for farm machinery. Remember it can unexpectedly turn onto public roads from a field or driveway.
  • Farm machinery typically travels at 25 mph or less, so be prepared to slow down in order to avoid a rear-end collision.
  • Keep a safe distance. This gives better visibility to both drivers and equipment operators.
  • Allow adequate time and distance for farm equipment to make wide turns.
  • Just because you see the equipment does not mean the equipment operator sees you.

Tips for Passing Farm Machinery

  • Be sure the machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows down and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator may be preparing to make a wide left turn. Likewise, sometimes to make a wide right turn, the operator must fade to the left.
  • Determine whether the road is wide enough for both your vehicle and the farm equipment.
  • Check for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road.
  • Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass and be on the lookout for oncoming traffic.

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Tips taken from: http://www.kinze.com/post.aspx?id=330

Spring planting is just around the corner!

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One of the wheat fields we sprayed today.

Around here you don’t need a calendar to tell you when it’s starting to get close to planting season.

First equipment starts getting shuffled around and those last-minute maintenance projects get finished up. Equipment gets hooked up to its corresponding tractor, then the weather app gets a workout speculating when a weather event will occur. Is it going to rain? How much will we get? What’s the temperature?

Then the field scouting starts or in my world “date night!” Driving by fields on the way home from town, hopping out with a shovel to check the moisture. Is it getting dry enough we won’t cause compaction? Calling customers for seed deliveries and coordinating drop offs start. Will they have enough? Will they change their order?

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Grace & Faith getting the gator ready for spring!

Lastly the excitement mixed with anxiety starts. It’s almost time! If we get a few more days of sun we could start! If planting in the corn belt is delayed will it cause a price increase?

It’s a promise of new adventure, growth, income and most of all God’s beauty. If its dry and we get in the fields early things can be fairly calm. This year things are not all that calm. A combination of low crop prices and unfavorable weather has increased anxiety in this house for a time. With low temperatures and lots of rain it has been a waiting game to see when it will be dry enough to get in the fields here. The north wind off the lake and more low temps are currently not helping the drying conditions though.

IMG_4565However, today we are able to spray our wheat for weeds and fungus! We grow Soft White Winter Wheat. We plant it in the fall and will harvest it in mid-July. Soft white wheat is ideal for baked goods that are not kneaded- like cookies, pancakes, pie crusts and crackers. Soft wheat has a very low gluten content, which, when used in baked goods that are not kneaded, results in a tender finished product. A lot of our wheat will end up in Jiffy pancakes, Kellogg’s cereal, and Goldfish crackers!

 

So the next time you are flipping some pancakes think of us!

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Photo credit-Thejoyofbaking.com

Love Grows Best in Little House’s??

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We have had a string of bad weather and cold temperatures. Spring shows up for a few days, we get outside, then the north wind blows and we are running inside for warmth again.

My house is feeling very hemmed in and I’m struggling to graciously live in our little house on the farm. I long for the day when we will move across the yard and remodel a different house that will allow me some breathing room. Those people on TV that want to move into a tiny house are crazy!

Now that the kids are getting a bit bigger I would love for them to have some space of their own.    ~And let’s face it, get them out of my hair a bit…

Luke’s farm set isn’t easy to get to because its parked under storage shelves filled with things that we use but don’t have space in the kitchen for. The girls have a deep freezer in their bedroom and no space to set up their dolls.  Because of that, everyone ends up fighting for floor space in the living room.  8’x8′ of floor is getting small for their growing imaginations and my patience.

We have gotten creative to maximize every square inch we have and we are busting at the seams. Seriously, if you have been to my house you should be impressed at the ways we have come up with to make it all work!

However, I am grateful for our little house here on the farm. It comes with positives and I am thankful we don’t have to drive to get to work every day!

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So in the spirit of being grateful here are 5 things I love about our little house on the farm:

  1.  Low heating costs
  2.  Less square footage to clean
  3.  It doesn’t challenge my decorating skills
  4.  It is easy to play a game of Hide and Seek!
  5.  We spend a lot of time together

I’m looking forward to some warmth, sunshine and the ability to send everyone outside! Do you ever feel like you just need some room?

We Bought a Zoo!

dogOkay, not quite…  We live on a cash crop farm which means that our main source of income is growing crops.  We grow corn, wheat, and dry beans.

However, anyone who knows me knows I can’t resist having some animals around. This week with the return of some warm weather we also welcomed some new pets onto our farm.

2 weeks ago our momma cat had 6 kittens on our deck and last Saturday we took a trip down to my older brothers and came home with 5 Nigerian Dwarf goats and a puppy.

That means we went from 2 outside cats and a deranged dog to 8 cats, 5 goats, and 2 dogs.  In less than a month we will also add a few chickens and a pair of ducks!

The kids are responsible for the care of our animals and have divided the chores among themselves.  Luke is currently in charge of all the dog and cat care, Grace feeds and waters the goats in the morning before school and Faith has to do goat chores at night. Luke and Grace will each show and sell one of the goats at the county fair this summer. Once school gets out they will be responsible for duck and chicken chores each day too.

Check out Luke’s little video he made about some of our animals.  He’s new to this but I think not a bad explanation for his first one!  More growing for both if us as we continue the blog.

With all our extra animals and spring planting around the corner stay tuned for more adventures at The Little House on the Farm!

I DID IT!!

This past Saturday my college sorority was hosting a 5k fundraiser. I was fortunate enough that Farmer could hold down the fort at home. So I jumped in the car took off for East Lansing to participate along with some of my sorority sisters!

Lisa5krockI have seen friends and acquaintances run 5k’s for years but have never participated in them. I don’t run and I didn’t have the stamina to walk 3.1 miles either…. But oh did I want too!

I’ve been working on me for the past few years and after a debilitating knee injury I had enough. Weighing more than I ever care to admit, feeling like crap, and wanting to be healthy for my future and my kids; I had gastric sleeve surgery in November.

Now, weight loss surgery is NOT for everyone! It was a big decision that was made with myself, my doctor and my husband. It has not been a magic fix to my weight loss. But, it has been (for me) a useful tool. My weight will always be a lifelong process and this is not a magic fix.

I started a few months ago walking a ½ mile and worked my way up to 3.5 miles.  It still takes me forever and it’s tough. I can do it though and each week it gets a bit easier.

So, Saturday morning I tied up my tennis shoes and enjoyed a brisk walk through Michigan State’s campus weighing 95lbs less than I did two years ago and really happy with my accomplishment of walking a 5k in less than an hour, 53 minutes to be  exact!!

I have a lot more work to do but getting to that goal gives me the confidence and excitement to keep pushing forward and keep working on it! Who knows, there may be another 5k in my future…

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1 Amazing Trip + 2 Crazy Experiences = 3 Days of Adventure!

After being incredibly touched by the last trip out to deliver hay to the Wildfire Relief area Farmer decided we should go again, this time together as a couple.

What an amazing experience!!  We arrived at the shop at 6:30 Sunday morning and loaded our bag and snacks into the semi and away we went.

Our little convoy consisted of 4 Semis, 2 Pickups, 9 drivers, 3.5 Spouses and 4 “drivers in training” all hauling hay to Colorado- almost 2500 miles round trip.

I rode with Farmer until the 2nd day when we got to Lexington, Nebraska.

Then things got crazier…
I have a farm wife friend that I only know from an internet chat group that lived nearby.  We met at a truck stop and I hopped out of the semi and into her Tahoe where she and her son followed our convoy the 2 hours to our drop off in Colorado!
Sometimes you just meet a group of friends that just “get you” and I am blessed beyond measure to have more than a few spread throughout the country! We felt like old friends and talked nonstop for 5 hours!  Now, I don’t always recommend that you drive to the middle of nowhere and get in a car with a stranger to drive even farther to the middle of nowhere. However, sometimes life is full of strange and wonderful adventures.

When we arrived at the ranch, in the middle of some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen, we were met by the rancher and his wife.  They were exactly as I expected. Kind, welcoming, and thankful in a way that was not full of any self-pity.

She offered to take us on a tour of the fire devastation. It was very humbling. The grass was gone and there was nothing to hold down the soil/sand so it was piled up in the ditches and water troughs. The fields were bare, and there were homes, trees, and equipment scorched and gone.

Their ranch lost 3000 acres of pasture land and they figure they will need at least 50 semi loads of hay to feed their animals before there will be enough land to start grazing on.
When we got back from our tour it was time to hit the road. With rounds of hugs, handshakes, and a few pictures we left our new friends and headed for home.

Spending 72 nonstop hours with my husband was a blast, hanging out with a fellow farm wife was amazing, but meeting the ranchers in Colorado and knowing that we could help a tiny bit was just fantastic!

May God bless everyone touched by the Wildfires!
All the hay and equipment going out is headed there by drivers who donated their time, driving donated trucks, hauling donated trailers, full of donated hay/supplies, fed and fueled by donations. Not one of these things possible without the other.

The heart of America’s rural communities is alive and well!