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?

 

 

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.💕

 

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

Happy Birthday Luke & Faith

Very few moments in life will change you like the birth of a child.

The birth of these 2 was no different!

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Luke Frank was born May 2, 2009. I was sitting in the chair 30 weeks pregnant watching Spiderman 3 when my water broke. 3 hours later Luke was born via emergency C-section.  Because he was so little and our local hospital didn’t have a NICU, he was transported via helicopter to the NICU 2 hours away.  I was put out under general anesthesia so they brought him by my recovery bed and I touched his little hand in the box on his way to the helicopter.

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First time holding Luke at 8 days old.

We were separated for a few days and I met him 36 hours later. He spent 5 days on a ventilator, 3 weeks on a CPAP and 1 week using a nasal cannula.  5 weeks after birth we brought him home! There were a few early challenges but we have been SO blessed that he is a bright, happy, and healthy child.

Having a baby is a busy time in every family’s life.  Having a NICU baby during planting season here on the farm was a blur!

Faith Frances was born May 3, 2012. Our last but not least! Her birth forever changed me and the course of our family.  (Backstory Grace-birth number 2 was a natural regular birth)

I had been in labor on an off for 10 days. Even my doctor couldn’t believe I was still pregnant!

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Faith Frances 1 day old.

Finally my water broke at 6:30 in the morning and we were on our way to the hospital. My body was having a hard time remembering how to do the whole giving birth thing and just as things were getting exciting we had another emergency on our hands.  My uterus ruptured and Faith and I were both in danger of not making it out of this process alive.  For the 2nd time in my life I was being run down the hallway of the hospital for another emergency C-section.

By the grace of God my doctor was just outside my room door when it happened and the amazing staff took swift action.  I woke up to a healthy baby girl who had no lasting effects.  I was advised that having more children was not an option for us and after much prayer, a second opinion and a lot of tears we agreed that giving birth to more children was a dangerous idea. It was a tough decision for a woman that has always wanted a big family but it was the right one for us.

We brought Faith home to a house with 3 children under the age of 3 with the farm half done planting corn.  It was a wild time in our lives. Wait, who am I kidding?  It still is!