Monday, November 15, 2010

The Farmer's Daughters

This weekend C.W. got to spend some time "working" on the farm with her Papa. We carefully analyzed this situation and sent her on the safest of missions. She was to sit in the pick-up (securely strapped in her car seat) and color while he greased the tractor, then they went to town for parts. I'm told she measured just about every bolt in the bolt section of our local hardware store.

She looked so darned cute on the way out the door, I couldn't help but snap a picture. It's out of focus (I blame it on the wee red head squirming in my other arm), but I don't care. It was a priceless vision. One moment, she is the most elegant tiny ballerina and the next she's sporting her farming gear and a blaze orange hunting vest. Jeremy insisted on the orange vest. I agreed with him that she should wear it, but I thought to myself, if there is a hunter out there that shoots at something blue, with pink princess boots on, that hunter has got some serious problems. She was terribly embarrassed to wear the thing, but we erred on the side of caution.

So off she went with her pink Dora the Explorer bag of coloring supplies, and they had a grand afternoon.

C.W. came back at supper time and reported that she had "driven" Papa's pick-up. Uh-huh. So much for Mr. Safety :) I guess there are just certain things farmer's daughters have to experience when they're growing up. I remember driving my Dad's pickup (solo) around the farm when I was just seven.

I couldn't post about C.W.'s afternoon with her Papa without throwing in a pic of our dear wee red head. So here Jeremy... trying on the "coon skin caps" with her at a sporting goods store in Fargo.

Oh what a joy it is to be raising two little farmer's daughters.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Husband, the Provider, and the Circle of Life.

Yep, I did it. Went and posted one of those "icky" pictures of a dead deer with it's tongue hanging out. At least it isn't on our Christmas card (sorry, Jaimie, couldn't help myself...hehe :)

I'm so grateful for my husband, Jeremy, who is a wonderful provider for our family. He works so very hard managing our farm. This year, we were blessed with FANTASTIC weather during harvest, so we're done early. What a blessing compared to the challenges of the last two harvests. In 2008, we finished corn harvest in late December (and I delivered our youngest daughter two days later).

Last year, well, last year's harvest never did end until THIS year in April. So needless to say, Jeremy and our crew needed a break.

So for the first time in a few years, Jeremy got a chance to go hunting. The alarm went off long before dawn yesterday and he was out the door to meet our good friend, Casey, who doesn't know this, but I call him "The Deer Whisperer". Oh well, I guess he knows now :)

Here Casey is showing C.W. (in the puppy hat) the deer Jeremy got.

Casey is an excellent hunter and we are so glad to have a good friendship and working relationship with him. When things go right, farmers and hunters can have respectful, symbiotic relationships. The hunter benefits from enjoying a little R&R on our land and taking some venison home and we enjoy a slightly smaller deer population, which helps decrease damage to our crops and decreases the chances of me hitting one of them with my pick-up.

To tell you the truth, I really like deer. Their behavior truly intrigues me. They are ruminants, so they consume roughage and digest it through a four-compartment stomach, just like domesticated sheep, cattle and goats, but they are wild, so I often run comparisons of domesticated vs. wild ruminant behaviors through my head. When I am sitting in the doctor's office or salon (rarely...ha!), I read Field & Stream instead of People Magazine and at home I find myself gravitating toward hunting shows when I get a few minutes to watch TV.

I know, I'm an animal science geek like that.

However, what I like MOST about deer is that we farmers support and care for their habitat all year and eventually they give us a little payback, in the form of venison....YUM...

These steaks are marinating in a mixture of vinegar, vegetable oil, and a McCormick's Garlic Peppercorn seasoning packet.

I'm very thankful today.

First, to God for giving my family the priviledge of caring for His creation, our land and all the wildlife it holds.

Second, for my husband, the provider, for bringing meat home to our family.

Third, for the great hunt he had. He's a little bummed that his hunting this year is over so quickly because he was only out a few hours, but from what I heard of it, it was a nearly perfect hunt. Jeremy dropped this beautiful buck with one shot, straight through both lungs and the heart. He died instantly and simply fell over.

Fourth, I am thankful for the opportunity to explain to my daughter the "circle of life". No, not the Lion King song, but one of the real life lessons that farm kids understand from a young age.

C.W. wanted to touch the deer, so we let her. She wasn't sad, just curious to see what "his fur" felt like. Then we explained that God made all of us, even the deer, and that everything that lives eventually dies, but God has a special purpose for each of our lives. The purpose He gave that deer was to feed our family and we are to be very thankful for that.

Have a safe and bountiful hunting season everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day Thoughts

Yes, I realize I'm a day late here, but believe me, I did not get through yesterday without thinking of so many who have served our great nation so bravely. There are so many veterans I admire and appreciate that I'd like to talk about, but today I will write of one of the most precious veterans I had the privilege of knowing.

The late Reverend Wilbur Taylor was my childhood preacher at a little country church in a grove of cedar trees. I wish I had a picture of him here in North Dakota, but they're all "back home" in Maryland. This is the best I could do...

Historic picture of Cedar Grove United Methodist Church, Monkton, MD

Reverend Taylor also happened to be the father of my Dad's best friend, Ronnie. Rev. Taylor was one of the gentlest souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Always witty and I enjoyed my many visits with he and his lovely, elegant, ever-smiling, wife, Rae, in their town home in Baltimore City. For all I knew he was a dental technician, then became a preacher later in life. In 2000, I travelled to France to study European agriculture for the summer. I returned home with a thick album of pictures to share. So on my next visit to the Taylor's after my trip, we poured over my album together.

I had no idea he was ever in the service, until he turned the page and stopped abruptly and stared at a picture of a fountain in the center of the city of Angers, France.

He began to quietly tell of his days serving under General Patton in WWII, and how he had been in Angers during the liberation. He told of a few memories of how those that had been caught spying for the Germans were being punished and their heads being shaved in that very fountain. Then he said something I will never forget. "Sarah, the rest you don't ever want to know about".

I knew what he meant. I'm sure he had seen some indescribably horrible things during the War and he wanted to protect my young mind from those images. It was visibly difficult for him to speak about his experiences, but I am so very grateful he did.
What was most shocking to me is that a man who had committed such acts of bravery was so very humble about the sacrifices he had made to protect MY freedom. Yes, MY freedom, decades before I was even born. Through history, every veteran of every war and those that serve during times of peace as well have worked to protect OUR freedom. The very freedom we take for granted so often.

There are so many veterans walking amongst us everyday, so many lying in the lines of quiet graves I have surveyed in Gettysburg, Normandy, Arlington, and so many who are remembered, but who's remains were never found.

Yesterday wasn't just a day my daughter had off of school, but truly a day of remembrance. A day to honor those who deserve so much more from us than just one day for what they have done and all they and their families have given.

God bless each and every one of our precious veterans, especially Reverend Taylor.

I will never miss an opportunity to teach my children about all that you have all done for us. I will never forget you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

When Faith & Farming Collide: Part 3b

Hello readers- I am still learning some of the details of how to work with Blogger. Somehow TODAY'S post ended up in the August 23 slot.

Please go here to read my newest post: When Faith & Farming Collide: Part 3


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hello Again Readers! Happy Belated Halloween!

Well, hello again blog readers. Believe it or not, I have missed you all. Your comments, your support, and that wonderful feeling of release I get from having vented some pent up feelings from my little office in my little house in North Dakota out into the great big world.

To say it's been a busy month or so would be an MAJOR understatement. I travelled to four countries (U.K., Germany, France, and Belgium), wrangled two kiddos halfway across the country and back by myself (God bless my family "out east" for taking care of them so I could traipse around the globe and Super Husband could harvest our crop), survived an election which I was heavily emotionally invested in, and now I'm back to reality, with a mountain of laundry (22 loads to be exact) to tackle, and too many irons in the fire to count. What I DID make time for was some serious QUALITY time with my little family once we were reunited, attending my three year old's first ballet recital, getting caught up on a gojillion projects (yes, in my book, that is a number and a very large one at that) and a presentation to some stellar dairy producers and dairy enthusiasts this past week at the ND Dairy Convention.

So what shall I use this long-awaited blog post for? Comparing and contrasting European and American agriculture? Capitalism vs. socialism? The shift in D.C. politics? Perhaps an update on harvest 2010, which is mere days away from completion ? NOPE! I'm going to give you a quick belated HAPPY HALLOWEEN wish and send you on your way with some good ole' Wilson Family Pics before it's Christmas :)
Enjoy the pics below and rest of your weekend everyone!
Sarah :)

2007- C.W.'s first Halloween. Jeremy and I were farmers and she was our calf. Okay, not too much of a stretch on the farmer's thing, but hey, it's a start. Oh, and our dear friends in this picture had the BEST Jack o' Lantern EVER!

2008- In this pic I was 7 months pregnant with the wee red head. Jeremy was a cowboy. C.W. was a cowboy too ("NO Mama, not a cow GIRL, a cow BOY!"). I was...drum roll please...Sarah Palin :) This was just a few days before the election and the "Sarah" thing had been an ongoing joke, so I played along.
We had a lot of fun that Halloween and made "Haunted Gingerbread Houses" , all the while eagerly anticipating the wee red head's arrival.

2009- We went with a Scooby Doo family theme. I was Daphne, Jeremy was Fred, and the kids were Scooby and Scrappy.

C.W. had such a big night, she just slept in her costume. Here's where I pat myself on the back for making their costumes with a base of a velour hoodie and pants...super comfy!

2010- Our first family Jack o' Lantern! C.W. says it has a smile just like hers.

We were the cast of Peter Pan. I was Wendy, the talkative, motherly character, of course. Jeremy, my husband, who is a wonderful combination of responsible parent and business manager and somehow manages to see the world with a youthful perspective, was so fittingly, Peter Pan. C.W. was Tinkerbell, who just like any good fairy, could hardly sit still for a picture. Last, but certainly not least, the wee red head was M. Darling. We didn't have a Michael Darling, but she's our little Darling, and what's easier than dressing a 1 year old up in P.J.'s and letting them carry a Teddy Bear all night!?

We went to not one, but TWO, parties as a family. We are so proud that the wee red head mastered saying "Trick or Treat" (which sounded more like "gick or geek") and "Thank You" (which sounded more like "hank ooo"). We all had a grand time and Jeremy and the wee red head even rocked out at the Alvin and the Chipmunks karaoke booth at one of the parties that was themed Toon Town! Yes, I am aware that I have one of the coolest husbands on the planet :)