Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Farm kids

 Baby Corbs loves the bauk bauks
 herding hens
 everyone has to help because we are way outnumbered around here

 too hot to snack outside some days so we snack on the floor in the kitchen with the fans
 the "girls' fort" aka just found a spot and took it as is
 wiped out cousins Carson and Gage
The boys' fort, aka a whole weeks worth of 9-5 labor and teamwork
 sister cousins Kate and Adelle

 the daily slop run, highlight of most days
zucchini for sale!! $30 profit earned
 Home sweet home
Ah! it pooped on my hand when I went in to swoop it up!

 My happy farmer taking it one swing at a time
 farmer Gagey
Emmett and Dad
 adventures on top of the silo
two of my loves

I attempted to mow the lawn with my ol push mower but it got stuck in tall grass so now  I am blogging instead. I would be on the rider lawnmower except that Farmer Jeff thought it would be a fun idea to let our 5 year old drive the lawn mower and therefore it is now broke and our lawn, more like, weeds, are out of control.
And I get it, "their farm kids" like he tells me, but when I am casually making dinner and I look out my window to my sweet Emmett driving the lawn mower, pulling the trailer filled with all the cousins, my mouth drops and I have to watch in slow motion as the kids are hollering at him which way to go and how fast and while looking back at them he drives up onto the concrete barrier and the next thing I know they crash and since then, no lawn mower. Not a bad crash, thankfully, and everyone is fine and sure, I'm the mom so of course I am over reacting but really. And when my husband takes a detour on our way home the other night to look at buying a new lawn mower it's all I can do to bite my tongue. I personally don't think buying a new lawn mower is the solution but then again, what do I know.

Bless Emmett. He did know what he was doing, it was the dang herd of kids he was hauling that messed it all up for him but if you know kids it was bound to happen.

And bless Braxton because he was sharing his chore, which he adores doing, with his little brother. And Braxton is really good at driving down and getting the slop for the pigs and hauling all the kids with him so bless him for doing chores.

And bless Adelle because she has shown me how she drives the lawn mower and dang that girl is fast and good at it but now that we don't have a lawn mower to drive she doesn't get to.

And bless Gage because he looks cute in the back trailer and thank goodness he hasn't asked to drive.... yet.

And bless my farmer. Bless him as he continues to learn the difference between toys and heavy machinery and bless him to realize that when I not so lovingly ask, "why was he even driving?" that I'm not undermining his role as a parent, I'm just curious to why little people are doing big things around here.

But most of all bless me. Bless me to let it go and move on and accept the fact that he will always be the kids favorite parent and I will always be the party crasher.

And please bless us to always remember these summer days. They are glorious.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One hundred and twenty days later

It's 6:00pm and I would be cooking dinner, but my sister is taking a turn. And I'm letting her. And each of our youngest are in the kitchen, at her feet, bugging her, but I'm letting that happen to. The other 5 kids are out in the fort that was just completed 20 minutes ago. They started building it last weekend and we've barely seen them since but once I saw the completed project my mouth dropped wide open and I was reassured that even though they haven't read their 100 pages of the summer, they are really using their brains in different ways. For example finding sticks, weaving them around branches to make walls and a roof of a fort. And I think that's one of the many awesome and amazing blessings I feel since moving onto the farm. I love that my kids can be outside. I love that we are all outside. All day. The boys will sleep in the fort tonight and that is really some kind of wonderful.
Instead of cooking dinner I am sitting down to record my thoughts because for the past 120 days I've intended to write my thoughts but it hasn't been on the top 100 things to do. So, it hasn't gotten done. And I've been outside. At 6:00am outside running on new country roads with no shoulder or in my backyard on the ladder picking cherries. Or hanging laundry, doing yoga,  picking blueberries, or reading quietly on the couch next to my oldest who is my early riser. Those are the mornings. When the other kids wake up they come outside too. They go on egg hunts to find where our hens are laying these days or they take the leftovers from last nights dinner out to the pigs. They run to the fort to get to work finding sticks or they find the blueberries and raspberries for their first breakfast. They run around barefoot and get dirty everyday and I think there is nothing better in the world.
The last 120 days have been lived, in a new way that I haven't yet accepted. Things aren't done, and the old me goes crazy when things aren't done! I wake up in the morning with a to-do list that grows throughout the day instead of shrinking. When people stop, and let me tell you... people stop by constantly,  they are greeted with everyone's excess of shoes out on the back patio and buckets from berry picking scattered on the lawn. There are slop buckets with feed for animals and kiddie pools filled with grass. There are tools everywhere because my husband leaves a trail to and from his projects and as he sees it that's just how it is on a farm. As I see it, there is lack of order and this farmer momma likes order.
The afternoons are different then the mornings and I think that's why I rise with the sun. The mornings are my time. There is something amazing about waking up with the rooster and going outside barefoot in the dew frosted grass.  I feel so blessed. The afternoons don't offer that. I still feel blessed I mean but differently. Afternoons are loud and busy and filled with fun. Kids squealing as they wiz by on the 4-wheeler (the warning says no drivers under 16 but Jeff says that doesn't apply to farm kids). Water being sprayed out of squirt guns. Chickens bawking and squaking, pigs feeding. The kids running from here to there in their boots. Yard toys, yard tools, same thing these days.
We have picnics in the yard almost every night at dinner time because the sun beats into our dining room and it gets bloody hot in there. Jeff comes home from work, tired from working, and goes to work outside or in the barn. There are projects galore but it's way more fun than working he assures me. The kids help out when they can and glean the garden if their hungry. We eat a lot of eggs and zucchini because we have a lot and we aren't picky. Emmett's gotten really into making zucchini bread with me and let me tell you when I ask him to put in a handful of chocolate chips he fills his little hand just as full as he possibly can.
We go through stages around here based on what nature presents us with. Cherries were first and convinced me that dreams come true.  I have always wanted a cherry tree and moving here we have 3 trees full of fruit. The way I saw it, it was free, ripe, delicious fruit from Heavenly Father. Given to me because He knows me and I am important enough to be blessed with my favorite fruit. The kids and I would pick. Gage would climb up that ladder when I wasn't watching and holler at me from the tree. Monkey boy! We would take turns. If you weren't picking you were sitting on the grass poking pits out of cherries with your thumb and putting the seedless fruit in the bucket. Jeff came home one day with the man lift from work and we were able, after failed attempts, to finally reach the fruit at the top of the bing tree. Jackpot. We made cherry pies for the night Brent and Jessica got into town and we got to meet Iaasic. Cherry salsa, cherry salad dressing, cherry crisp for breakfast... The kids got into making cherry limeade by blending pie cherries with some water, ice and fresh lime juice.
I will have memories forever of Bryce, Brent, Jessica, and Braxton all sitting in the shade pitting cherries. My freezer is loaded.
Then the blueberries came on and we picked blueberries every day. Everyone came and picked blueberries. For weeks we had them, more than we ever could have used. Visitors got up and picked buckets. Friends came with their kids to stock up for muffins. There were levels I determined on the blueberry plants. The bottom was for the chickens, and they would eat their little hearts out. Then up from that was the kids' pick. They would go out and eat their weight in blueberries. Then up from that was my level and those were all I needed. There was enough to go around and then some. We made muffins pancakes. The kids experimented with more juice and smoothies.
The blackberries overlapped the blueberries this year because it's been so hot. I decided I am sort of like a blackberry. Thorny boundaries making it sometimes hard to get in. Sour one day but super sweet the next. Rotten the day after that. Blackberry crisp is my favorite though and so when Adelle requested it for dinner one Sunday with ice cream it was a no-brainer, automatic yes. Jeff and I like to pick berries together. One day Braxton and I had plans to pick out by the road past the pasture but the day got away from us and when it was time for bed he reminded me that we never picked berries. I let him stay up that night and he got to come out and pick with Jeff and I. It was fun, and he felt as big as the moon. We picked into the dark with flashlights and then we let him drive us back on the 4-wheeler while we hung onto each other on the back.  It's fun to grow up with your kids.
Picking berries isn't the only thing Jeff and I like to do together. We also scoop up a lot of poop. One night, back a month or so, and of course one of the nights we didn't have guests to help us, the hose in the barn got a hole and leaked water all over the bedding where the chickens slept. So here we are at 10:00pm shoveling wet, soggy, poop laden bedding into the wheel barrow to haul out to the garden for compost. I can still smell it when I think about it and that's when I know I'm not really a true farmer yet. I'm still just a showy girl who wants credit every time she fills a wheelbarrow with poop. I think I deserve a medal. I want everyone to know that Jeff designed and built the whole chicken coop and we take turns every single day walking down to the creek, filling the 5 gallon buckets with water, walking back and filling the trophs so the chicks have drink. It's such hard, tedious at times, work but it's gratifying in the same way as raising a child. Fulfilling and worth it, even the hard parts.
One hundred and twenty days sounds like a lot but I don't know where the days have gone. I know they have been the longest days of my life but they have gone the fastest. The days are filled and enjoyed. Jeff and I still pinch ourselves sometimes at the end of the day. The kids are asleep upstairs when we come in from our most recent project outside. The stars shine bright and the sky is black. Our bodies tired in that good old way that I never really appreciated before. We feel like we are in a dream world, living the life we've been wanting to live. Like really doing it. I know that I prayed for a house to be able to host and I have never hosted so many people in my whole life. And finally, now, after 60 total days of overnight guests I am letting my sister cook dinner. We've had visitors galore and I joke that the spare bedroom is the only room in the house with clean sheets because I am constantly washing them and changing them for new guests. People come to see and help. We love having company and sharing the farm. We love our life and this season. There is beauty all around and we are grateful.