Category Archives: Life Balance

November Thanks in December

That’s right, I’m late. I didn’t make it on time. I wanted to finish just one last post about what I’m thankful for in November but rats. Foiled again. Didn’t get to it. I really enjoy remembering what I’m thankful for – it’s the same as counting your blessings. And there is so much to be thankful for, it leaves me feeling all warm inside, with a little curl of a smile on my face. So, because I’ve been doing a lot of business writing here, I’m going to number them in order to be more succinct in recounting them.

In addition to those things previously  mentioned, I am thankful for:

1. My siblings and their families. I can’t imagine my life without them. And as we’ve grown older, it seems as thought we’ve grown closer even though now we are running are separate lives in different places. They are typically among the first to hear big news, share successes and appreciate what is going on at the moment in each other’s lives. I love when we are all together. Not much beats that.

2. My extended family. Again, must be something about getting older and realizing how importing holding these relationships as tightly as you can is important.

3. Facebook. I know it seems silly, but I thought of it while typing the last point and it really has allowed for me to keep up with family that don’t live nearby and we don’t see often. It really helps to keep in touch.

4. My dogs. By the way, this is not a ranking exercise, I’m just writing things as they come to me. Buzzman is so tied to me and Tilly loves jumping on my lap in the morning when I’m waking up/waiting for TK. I call them my “doggie babies.” I also appreciate that they get to live on a farm, mostly. Until they get into something they should not have eaten…

5. My cows. This is the first time that all of my cows have been together with me on a farm. I love that I can walk down and greet any of them at any time. While I’m not able to work directly with them right now – I do miss milking! – I try to take TK down everyday to see them and check the heat chart so I don’t miss anything.

6. My job. You know that song with the lyric “I’ve looked at life from both sides now?” I’m thankful that my job allows me to keep a big-picture view of agriculture and the dairy industry while we live it everyday.

7. I’m also thankful for the awesome people that I work with.

8. My DF and I often look at each other, wondering, just like our tagline, “Life, how did we get here?” Not once did I ever imagine that I’d end up in Vermont. And certainly not that it’s a bad thing. It’s beautiful here! When I come home from the grocery store, there’s a spot where I come around the corner and see the Willoughby Gap  and I still say to myself, “I live here.” It’s breathtaking. Nevermind the baby and baby on the way!

9. My experiences. Without them, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.

10. My faith. Again, without it I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.

Willoughby Gap

Willoughby Gap

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Filed under Dairy Care, Family, Farm life, Jersey Cows, Life Balance

November Thanks III, Sundays are for Dad

First and foremost, it’s Veterans Day, and I would be remiss if I did not state that I am thankful for our veterans. We are proud to have members of the military in our family – my great grandfatther served in World War I, my grandfather in World War II, my uncle was in the navy, to name a few. This country is a better place because of them and for all of us.

Tonight I feel inspired to express thanks to my dad. Let me share a recent story that in the end made me feel all the more grateful for his love and support. My dad and I usually talk early in the morning- he’s retired now, but for some reason he is harder to get a hold of than ever but typically I can catch him then. Recently, my DF and I have started to try to find a new solution for daycare for TK during the day. His babysitter is pregnant, (due one week before me), and just won’t be able to take him much longer. We’ve been evaluating all of our options, trying not to miss anything, which can be exhausting, and of course my emotions are heightened, apprehensive about any change, even if it is for the better.

I talked to Dad about it that morning and the last thing he said to me before we said our goodbyes, “we’ll [he and my mom] be praying for you.”

Five minutes later, as TK was set up with breakfast in his highchair, I decided to do a Sudoku puzzle from the paper, which I hadn’t done in awhile. The puzzle is located right next to the classifieds. At the very top of one of the columns was an ad for a daycare center with openings. I felt a flutter in my heart and my heart rate speed up. Childcare is pretty difficult to find up here and yet here it was. A lead.

So we’re running with it and hopefully it will work out. Whatever happens, I know we’ve got my dad’s support and that he’is praying for us [Mom too].

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November Thanks II, this One is for Mum

What does eight jars of blackberry jam, yet unlabeled, have to do with thanks for my mom? Not too much of a stretch, she’s the one who taught me how to make jams and jellies and all about canning. This batch of blackberry jam complete with seeds was my first batch I’ve done on my own with only one initial phone call to Mum to make sure I was on the right track. I already knew the answer, just had to check.

For my second post about November Thanks, I am thankful for my mom and all that she has taught me, done for me and her support for me. I’m grateful too for all that she continues to do for my growing family and me, even being 230 miles away. She’s an amazing lady with the biggest heart I know of (twin to my Dad’s coincidentally). It was her birthday two days ago, so to Mum I say, Happy Birthday and thank you. We love you.

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October Already?

Ugh. It’s been almost one full month since I’ve sat down to post. I can’t believe it. I was on such a roll. And please don’t think I haven’t thought about posting. I have several ideas in the works, but that seems to be where they are stuck. In the works. Nevermind. This post isn’t about how guilty I feel for not have written sooner, but rather an update of all that’s going on here.

To say the least it’s been a busy fall. TK and I have been out an about – we traveled down to the Big E in West Springfield and watched an impressive Jersey Show. I miss showing and hope to get back on track with a little help next year. We had a great time though, and TK got to go on his first ride!

Mom, TK and cousin LEO on the carousel!

The farmers’ markets finished up fairly well. They tell me there are three seasons to farmers’ markets up here. Starting with Memorial Day to the 4th of July; the second goes to Labor Day; and the third goes until Columbus Day, of course depending upon the weather. Foot traffic is much slower in the first and third season than the middle, which makes sense. The middle is the peak season for tourists. It starts to cool down quickly up here as we had our first frost on the 18th of September. So crazy.

Our set up at one of the markets.

We had another new calf at the end of the summer. I’ve decided to call her “Jersey” even though she is a Holstein, obviously. She is small for a holstein, out of a first calf heifer (first-time mom), so we say she is a Holstein in a Jersey package.

Here is Jersey, with my 13-pound rat terrier dog and 8-year-old cousin LEO for reference.

The garden finished up well. We had tons of green beans, yellow beans, zucchini, summer squash, buttercup squash, pumpkins and sunflowers! If you recall, I was clueless about gardening and not only had to read the back of every seed packet while planting, but also planted every seed in every seed packet. Yup. Zucchini from seven high producing plants – we had zucchini coming everywhere we turned! It was pretty crazy. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite prepared for that level of production so much of it went to compost though we did try to eat and give away as much as we could. Next year I’ll be more ready!

My little squash picker!

And finally, maybe our biggest surprise of the summer, something that slowed me down a little (or really a lot at times!), we’ll be adding a new little one to our family sometime in March. We are very excited for it. To be honest, I was a little intimidated at first – TK and Baby L will be 19 months apart. I kept thinking (and still do sometimes), how will we take care of two little ones? My DF, who really is my rock, is not worried about it and knows that we will figure it out. When I do find myself thinking too much and getting a little anxious, the baby’s due date pops into my head. It’s 3-16, which is one of the most popular verses in the bible. 

No, I don’t do the Tebow but I do feel an immediate calm come over me in one deep breath.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

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Filed under Agriculture, Farm life, Life Balance

Might as Well Plant a Garden

From Sunday, July 1 -I finally got some things planted in what could vaguely be recognized as a garden. After two years of big plans discussed in the Spring- lots of talking, purchasing seeds and serious consideration of where exactly we would put it, we planted a garden. Or really, I planted a garden with consultation from my DF (I’m not sure he will own up to the connection with the fairly pitiful sight I have created).

To say that I have a slight glimmer of an idea for what needs to be done when it comes to gardening might be an overstatement; but I can read so I’m hoping the directions on the back of the seed packages are for real. My DF has a bit more of a clue, though he says he’s no expert. Since he is tied up making cow food for the most part these days, I’m on my own to do the dirty work for the people food.

Randomly one night after chores a few weeks ago, my DF harrowed out the spot we picked out. DF’s uncle dragged the big tiller behind the tractor around it two separate times between the initial ripping up of the grass and today. Still, about a week has passed since the last pass so a little grass popped up. Nothing a little raking couldn’t fix up for today, though I do believe grass will be my new nemesis this summer. We’re using weed cloth between the rows so hopefully that will help.

See. Pretty pathetic but I do plan to take the push-rototiller to the space between the rows in the back this week!

 

As if to throw one more obstacle in our way, my jeep decided not to start yesterday afternoon, stranding us at the grocery store for an extra hour or so. But that didn’t stop me. I got Swiss chard, beets, nasturtium, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, buttercup squash, sunflowers and pumpkins in the ground. And boy, doI feel it now. I never knew how physical gardening is! Oh, and I even gave myself my very own “tramp stamp” with the help of the sun today. Slouchy shorts + short shirt = a band of OUCH!

So what was different today or really, this weekend? What put me over the edge to go for it after weeks, rather years of procrastinating? I think I had been holding back because I feel like I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. I really don’t. After I said that one night last week, my DF replied that we should just do it. We should just do the garden and learn as we go and from our mistakes. A light bulb went off. Yes! Of course! That’s it! How else will we learn? And already in these two short days I have figured out a few ways to do things better.

So, I’m excited. And now I just really really hope something pops up!

I’m a little proud of this tomato. You should have seen how almost dead these plants were before we planted them in a little of our own cow-post!

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Happiness Is

From June 15th! – I wrote this on my phone but haven’t taken the time to get the slick WordPress iphone app, so it’s been waiting in my notes for me to add here. Been a little crazy here lately. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you all about it!

Riding across the hay field today I witnessed happiness:

Two dogs bounding, leaping and racing through the open field, weaving in and out of the rows of mowed grass, stopping only to wrestle for a few minutes or to sniff at a hole or a root or some other debris, only to be off again in the blink of an eye.

My DF driving the tractor with the chopper attached to the wagon, totally focused on the job at hand. Making feed makes him happy. I have a feeling he had a grin on his face in that tractor cab, especially as he caught glimpses of his son observing the whole production.

My son on my lap as I drove the gator following the tractor/chopper/wagon so he could watch what was going on. Talk about discovery! Every once in awhile I could hear his little squeal over the noise of the gator, equipment and wind.

I looked all around me and though ‘what beautiful countryside; how lucky am I?’ I felt as if I could maybe even breathe it all in if only I could take a breath deep enough. And suddenly, my worries that had built up that morning were gone- poof- disappeared into the fresh, newly-mowed-grass air.

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Filed under Agriculture, Farm life, Life Balance

Mother’s Day Top Five

Happy Mother’s Day!

I started this post several times today. I wanted to reflect over the past year about becoming a mother, our beautiful son TK, the changes that have come our way and how we have adapted. I felt like what I was writing just kept getting too cheesy, so I canned it but here I am now! I decided to keep it short and simple so maybe I could actually finish it.

Here are five things I’ve come up with on my first Mother’s Day.

1. Time is a-flyin’. He’s been out almost longer than he was in now. He’s doing new things every two days it seems. This week he pulled himself up to stand. He started clapping. He also figured out how to say the “buh” sound. My DF and I are just amazed at how fast it’s all happening.

2. I love being a mom and I feel so lucky that I get to be TK’s mom.

3. There’s a lot of advice out there – a whole industry of it when it comes to giving birth and raising babies. The best piece I got was to keep an open mind. This came up when talking about developing a “birth plan” which I think was so important because you just can’t predict exactly how that’s going to go. And you can’t predict how a lot of other things will go – like sleeping through the night or breastfeeding or naps or childcare. Rolling with the punches is a helpful skill to have when you’re a new mom.

4. My priorities have changed for sure. TK is now the first thing I think of – from the time I wake up to when I put him down at night. I do usually take time for myself to unwind after he goes to bed – writing, reading, staring blankly at some t.v. show that makes you dumber for watching it if you’re not careful. But for many decisions, he is the first consideration for us and rightfully so.

5. Some things are okay to let go. Like yardwork and a cleared-off kitchen table. Or getting your eyebrows plucked (trying to do them myself lately… ouch!). Some things are not okay to let go. Like finding the best childcare option. Or taking the time to watch TK grab a handful of grass for the first time and let it fall through his fingers. Or Daddy’s kisses goodnight. Some things don’t quite seem to matter as much while others matter a whole lot more than they ever did.

It’s tough being far away from the rest of my family, especially on days like today when I know they were all together. But I know I’ll see them again soon. I’m happy to be here, to be raising a family in a beautiful spot on a farm, where cows chewing their cud will be as natural to my son as the grass is green.

Hopefully, that wasn’t too cheesy.

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