Wednesday, December 20, 2006


That smell that fills the air from May to November, no matter how weak the scent it is still there. When you come to the farm from the suburbs it's something you can't miss. It hits you when you open the car door or drifts in your window as you come closer to your destination almost as if warning you to go no further upon penalty of leaving smelling like you'd just dropped from a cow's hind end.

I didn't grow up on a farm but I lived on my parent's newly bought farm for about 4 years just after I graduated high school. Not my choice place to be but at that time I felt it was my only choice because I wasn't ready for college. I worked a few different jobs-retail, babysitting and even one job on a large dairy farm just down the road from the farm I lived on. I fed the calves.

Mixing the milk in 5-gallon buckets and lifting them into the back of a truck, filling a few bottles and then driving out to the area of the farm where the calves were housed at. In the winter it was the worst! The drive was all rutted from the ground thawing and freezing, it was hard to wear gloves because they'd just get wet and freeze to your hands and the less layers you wore the better because it made hauling the buckets around easier but you'd end up with a chill all the way to your bones that felt like it would never leave. Who would want that life?!

I don't remember how long I lasted at that job, a year maybe, before I moved on. One thing I knew after living and working on a farm was that I never wanted that to be my life. I didn't want the midnight calls my father would get from being the manager at the large dairy when something would break or the cows got out. I didn't want to have to spend hours in the cold walking or driving over rutted driveways to work with the cows that would probably end up peeing, pooping or slobbering on you. And most of all, I didn't want to come home every night smelling like a cow, having that manure stench radiating from my skin and clothes...yeah, a shower helps but you just know it's going to be the same the next day...manure happens.

So life finds me today, 5 years later, living in suburbia-where I'm told people go to die. Working as a nanny for an amazing family, great hours, great perks, things changing all the time and opportunity to work part time at other jobs or go to school. I'd love to say I've taken advantage of those two opportunities as much as possible over the past 5 years but that'd be a lie, instead I'm not much further along in anything then when I started. I guess I can't say that nothing has changed...I have grown as a person, I have learned new things about myself and some of my ideals have changed.

I still believe in God and feel that I have a personal relationship with Him but I don't hold to all of the ideas many Christians hold. I believe that people should love who they'd like to, that it is not my place to tell someone that they aren't living as they should because I am not God. A few people have questioned me on this and in the end, for me, I don't feel I'll have a problem standing in front of God and answering for my beliefs. I think that in this life we've become so dependent on what other people think of us-how we're living, what we look like, etc.-that we don't look into ourselves to know how we should be living our own lives. I also have a desire for a more simple life, for growing things in the dirt, producing my own food, to feel like I have something to show for my efforts and to have something physically to give to others.

This brings me to where I stand today...can you guess?...hoping to move back to the farm, not living in my parent's home but living somewhere near by. I can't say what I want exactly I'd like to do on there, all I know is there is this strong desire in me to be there and to have access to the ground and more physical labor. To be closer to friends and in a smaller community where people have concern for each other and offer a helping hand without being asked. Of course there are draw backs and things I'll miss about the suburbs but to me the positives outweigh the negatives. So, someday, God willing, I will be back there, plunging my hands into the dark soil, planting seeds, waiting for them to grow and harvesting the fruits of my labor all the while savoring the lingering scent of manure.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It was great fun pouring cement as the daylight faded yesterday evening. Everything went smoothly and it's getting hard for the cows to enjoy that end of the barn instead of the big mud hole it turns into over the winter. Here are a few pictures and then you'll find my embarassing cement story... ;)

So here's my story... When I was about 3 or 4 years old my dad was working as a contractor, he owned his own construction company until I was about 17, and was doing a job at a farm pouring cement for a grain bin. My mom brought us kids to see him at the job and when we got there he was out in the middle of the cement, it was about 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep, that had been poured. As the story goes, I apparently decided I had to go see him and stepped off the edge into this wet cement that came almost to my armpits. Well they fished me out and thankfully I was that young because they had to strip me and hose me off because cement, depending on the mixture, can burn your skin. So every time we do any cement work now I get teased pretty good about my cement swim. :)

Monday, November 06, 2006


I like to joke that I am homeless because I don't really have one home that's "mine" right now, and really haven't for the past 5 years. But the place I feel most at home right now is my parent's home, I lived there for about 4 years after I graduated high school and was certain I'd never want to live around there but we all change right? For the past four months I've lived at this home while I've been laid off and here are a few pictures of what this home is like.

Sunrise and the first snow of 2006

Will and Mom, clearing the path in the woods.

The barn

The chickens in their new home.
The new layers
Tilling up the garden


It's that time of year to consider my blessings a bit more than I do through out the year.Over the past 5 years I almost feel I've been living a charmed life. I have a wonderful job with an amazing family and great benefits-experiencing a different part of the state, travel, meeting neat people, etc.-my job also allows me a good amout of time to spend with my family. Anyone who really knows me knows that my family is the most important thing to me...I adore them and am very blessed that we all get along so well. I belive that because of the blessing of my job I am able to be open to helping others and filling in a gap when needed. Right now I am laid off from my job, since July, and even though money has been tight I have been able to do things that money couldn't buy. I've been a farmer this summer, something I've been serously considering getting into, I've learned alot about what it would take to make it my career and about myself as a person. I have also gotten to spend more time with my lovelies, two boys who I used to nanny for and who are very dear to me. They've gone through a very rough year and God has really been good and made it so I could be with them, and that's not just good for them but also good for my sanity as I worry about them and what they've been through. Being laid off has also allowed me to fill in at my parent's church for the past month or so as the secretary. Their pastor became ill and went into the hospital on the church secretary's last day of work-how amazing that I could be available to fill in like that at a time of great need.Today in Sunday School we talked about our "rights", those things we have available to us or we feel entitled to. It was brought up that I chose to use my time off to serve the church and how God would bless me but I feel like I've already been blessed beyond measure. I don't feel as if I am making any kind of sacrifice or that I've ever done anything to diserve the blessings God has given me. The scripture reference was about Naomi and Ruth and how Ruth gave up her "rights" to stay and take care of her mother-in-law and how God blessed her. Ruth didn't ever seem to feel badly about what she sacrificed, she did it out of love and concern for Naomi...she didn't go expecting something for choosing not to go back to her family and remarry, she simply wanted to be of service to God by caring for an old woman who had no where to go and no way to support herself. While my life isn't near as hard as Ruth's was I do feel my service is similar to hers...given without question and expecting nothing in return. I thank God that He's put me in the position I'm in...yes, it's been hard to live on less money and deal with uncertain times but above it all I know God holds me in His hands and is guiding my footsteps. I feel that my service is the only way to thank Him near enough for all of the blessings He's given me.