Thursday, August 25, 2011

What is a Farmer?

This is my Mom and my Grandfather in November 1959, around the year this poem below was published :)
My Mom shared this with me. She is the daughter of a dairyman and a retired farmer's wife. When I asked her where she got it she said, " I don't know, but it's old. I think it was from something from the Maryland Extension Service. The original is on yellowed paper with worn edges." She guessed it was from the 1960's. So enjoy this oldie, but goodie, with an anonymous author. THANKS MOM!
Well, that depends entirely on where you stand.
To his wife, he's a big eater, heavy sleeper, someone to share hopes and dreams with.
To his minister, he's a believer in God in nature, and nature in God.
To a politician, he's someone you talk about during elections.
To a businessman, he's a customer.
To the banker, he's a depositor.
To his neighbor, he's a friend.
To his children, he's a man who always has a chore for them.
To his dog, he's a man with a quiet voice.
To the grocer, he's a Godsend.
To the dairy cooperative, he's the owner.
To the insurance agent, he's a big risk.
To the mechanic, he's a mechanical wizard who fixes things himself.
To the doctor, he's a physical wonder.
And to himself, well, only he can tell you that---but chances are, he won't.
You see, it depends entirely on how you look at him.
Actually, the farmer is all of these---and more.
For one thing, he's just about as close to being an independent business as one can be these days. The farmer is pretty much his own boss, and what he makes, he makes by the sweat of his own brow. Each year he has to gamble with nature as to whether or not he will have a crop. If nature wins, the farmer loses- if the farmer wins, then nature has been kind.
He's quite a man, this farmer of ours.
- Anonymous

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Hunger For Faith-Based Ag Education

A vacation bible school student greets a calf at Entzminger Dairy, Jamestown, ND, as part of a lesson on "creation".

This time last year, I wrote this guest blog post for a dear friend and an "agvocate" I admire greatly, Michele Payn-Knoper at Cause Matters Corp. , about the concept of faith-based agriculture education. THANKS Michele for this opportunity!

Thought you all might be interested in seeing it since it's back to school time and as a farm wife and mother of a pre-kindergarten student, I'm thinking of what is being said about agriculture in the classroom and what I can do to help tell the story of agriculture both in and out of the classroom...

A Hunger For Faith-Based Ag Education

Sarah :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Pigs Saved My Life and My Baby

Our little miracle who arrived at the end of June.

"Pigs Saved My Life and My Baby"...
That title might sound dramatic, but it is the truth.
After having two miscarriages last year, my physician tested me for a number of things. Turns out I have not one, but two, genetic blood clotting disorders. For both disorders bloodclots that cause miscarriage are one of the main side-effects.
One of the disorders is called "Factor V (five) Leiden".
You can learn more about it here:
If this disorder goes undiagnosed, a woman may experience repeated miscarriages and these may occur at just about any point in pregnancy. You can imagine that it just takes a small blood clot to stop the flow of blood through a tiny umbilical cord. Factor V can also cause a dangerous blood clot in the mother (aka ME).
When I was diagnosed I realized I had been walking around like a ticking bomb. I had two healthy pregnancies with my daughters, now 4 and 2, but I was doing some very risky things for a person with Factor V, including long-distance driving, sitting in long meetings without moving around, and simply being pregnant. I could have lost either child at just about any point or had a life-threatening blood clot at just about any moment.
I thank God for the quality care I have recieved from my doctors and nurses and the hematology team at the Roger Maris Center in Fargo that I was able to work with, especially since I live in rural North Dakota in a community of just 15,000 people.
There is no cure for Factor V, but once diagnosed it is fairly simple to treat. I just have to give myself a daily injection of an anticoagulant ("blood thinner") when travelling long distances (ex: long overseas flights where I can't move around very frequently) and during pregnancy.
So here is where my background in agriculture and animal science helped me realize something very interesting.
When Jeremy and I found out we were expecting again in November, I was reading the information on my injection- the generic name is "enoxaparin sodium" and the trade name is "Lovenox"- and right there on the package it said "derived from porcine intestinal mucosa".
That means that this wonderful drug that kept myself and my newborn son alive is from PIG GUTS!
I was ecstatic!
I realize it might sound a bit wierd to be so excited about pig guts, but once upon a time, I raised pigs. I know how much work it is, and I am SO VERY grateful to God for making these wonderful creatures that can sustain human life not just as a source of food, but also pharmaceuticals. I am also grateful to those in the swine industry who have dedicated their lives to the quality care of these animals. I am especially grateful to the scientists who discovered and developed this amazing link between pigs and human health!
Thanks for stopping by on this THANKFUL THURSDAY!
Sarah :)
*If you have had suffered the loss of a baby, know that you are not alone. Feel free to contact me, or talk to a friend or family member about your feelings, or contact one of many support groups:
May God keep you in His tender loving care in your time of need.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Family Photos From a Talented Friend

I consider myself very fortunate to have such great friends in my life, especially Mrs. Tonya Perkins of Pauly James Photography (
Twice a year she comes on over to our home or travels out to our farm fields where she captures the most amazing images of my family. She has a knack for wrangling wiggling kiddos and has even teetered on our pickup tailgate to get just the right shot.
Now of course I think my kids are cute and my husband is a handsome feller, but Tonya has this great eye and I am always pleasantly surprised at the photographs that are the result of her sharing her talents with us and how good she makes us look!
If you're looking for a GREAT photographer in the Jamestown, North Dakota area- CALL TONYA!
Here are the some of the most recent fruits of her labor.
Our baby boy surprised us by arriving a month early, so these were taken ONE day before he arrived. Yes, I had to pause between shots for contractions :)
Our "C.W.", age 4 1/2. Always the professional.
"The wee red head", age 2 1/2. Sweet and stubborn, all in one package :)
"Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters..." (from White Christmas, one of our favorite family movies!)
The Farmer's Daughters. I hope and pray they each get to marry a man that is as much of a prince to them as their Papa is to me.
My big girl. Oh how time flies.
The whole crew!
...And there's the belly! Wowzers!
Now that our baby boy is 6 weeks old, I guess it's about time I get some baby pics on here!
Thanks for stopping by!
Sarah :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Early 1900's Kansas Wheat Harvest

Last April I spent two solid days with my husband Jeremy's Grandpa "Bill" Wilson at his kitchen table scanning farm and family photos and recording Grandpa's comments about them. They were two of the best days of my life!
Grandpa turned 90 this past November and he is still as sharp as a tack and VERY funny! The vivid memories of his youth are simply amazing and very humbling.
I am so grateful to Grandpa for sharing his time and memories with me and for showing me his precious photos and artifacts. I also have to say THANK YOU to his long-time girlfriend, Lorraine, (aka Grandma Bair), for watching my girls as Grandpa and I completed our task. C.W. and the wee red head were a very busy 3 and 1 then :)
I thought I would share some of the fruits of our labor with you. I hope you enjoy this little journey into the past to look at wheat harvests of the early 1900's. The Wilson family farmed in Kansas before they moved to North Dakota, so what you see are pics from the Salina, Kansas and Cambria, Kansas areas.
This is Jeremy's Great-grandfather, J. Harry Wilson:
Below, a threshing crew. FYI- Threshers separate the grains of wheat from the straw (stem) and chaff (the rest of the plant that surrounded the grain).
Below, Grandpa Wilson's brother-in-law, John Lang, with two of the mules who likely helped with harvest.
Below, Jeremy's Great-grandfather, J. Harry Wilson, ran this threshing crew in Salina, Kansas, 1905.
Here J. Harry Wilson's crew takes a break for a meal. He is seated on the left and is wearing suspenders. Grandpa didn't know who the rest of the folks were, but we agreed that the women standing in the back had a pretty big job on their hands cooking for that bunch!
This is a photo of the Lang and Wilson families. J. Harry Wilson and his wife, Susan (Jenkins) Wilson, my husband's great-grandparents, are standing in the back row on the right.
The pictures you've just seen were taken in Kansas, but Grandpa Wilson said that when his family settled on the farm we're on now in the early 1930's, his mother, Susan, would haul a load of wheat each year to a mill in Valley City (about 35 miles east of Jamestown) and have it ground into flour. The flour was put into 50 lb. bags and she would use 52 bags a year to feed his family and all the men who worked on the farm. Now THAT is some serious baking!
Time marches on and wheat harvest is upon us once again. Looks like we'll get started today if all goes well and this good weather holds.
These are the combines our family used to use:
And here is the one we use today:
We've come a long way since the early 1900's!
I hope that those who read this take a moment to consider the generations of knowledge and hard work that went into raising the wheat that makes the bread and other foods we enjoy today.
Sarah :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Moose!

This is an appropriate post for Wordless Wednesday because I cannot put into words how excited I was when Jeremy called to tell me that our Assistant Farm Manager, Ben, had spotted two young moose on some land we farm!
When I moved to North Dakota in 2002, there were two things I wanted to see that I have waited my ENTIRE life to see:
1. Moose in the wild.
2. Elk in the wild.
I loaded up the girls as quickly as I could and Jeremy gave us a sprayer ride out across one of our fields just north of Eldridge, North Dakota. (FYI- Eldridge is a few miles west of Jamestown).
I can now check "moose" off my list :)
And so can the little girls on the prairie :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dear Driver

Dear Driver,
If you see this please SLOW DOWN.
Inside this sprayer is a very special person.
He's our Papa and is on his way to take care of our crops. He has worked some long hours lately trying to keep our crops protected. He does this because he loves us and is trying to provide for our family and raise food for yours.
Please help keep him safe by staying a safe distance behind him and not trying to pass until he pulls over and gives you the opportunity to.
From way up there in the cab he has a really good view of what's coming down the road.
We understand that you might be in a hurry, but remember, he may just be hogging the road to keep you from passing and hitting an oncoming vehicle that is just over the next hill.
The farmer's daughters:
And his new baby boy: