Rural Mom in an Urban World

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This week on face book I saw our town, Elko-NewMarket, post a question to the residents. It said “If we gave you a million dollars what would you do with it to enhance Elko-New Market.”
Some of the replies were:
1. Grocery Store
2. Bigger gas station (where more than one dually pickup at a time can pump gas)
3. Hardware store
4. Coliseum (ya know, for concerts and stuff!)
5. Shopping Mall
6. Hospital
The list goes on! One commentator was very frustrated that Elko wasn’t growing as fast as she wanted. “If the farmers would just be willing to sell their land we could really make this town thrive!”
Here is where I start deep breathing and counting backwards from 10 before I comment.
What I really wanted to say was, “Well, don’t come knocking on OUR door for land sweetheart because the family has been here for over 150 years farming and we’re not planning on stopping any time soon! YOU moved HERE!!!!!”
But I didn’t…
And it got me thinking of just how great I have it living between country and city. We live in a town which is about 30 miles south of Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN. We have a WalMart and Target within 10 minutes, a grocery store within 15 minutes, and I can get to the closest mall in about 20. PLUS, we can watch our Minnesota Twins play baseball within a half hour. Thankfully we also have top notch medical facilities within that time frame too. I’m thinking that’s a great place to be.
We also live on the outskirts of the small town of Elko New Market where there’s one church, one bank, one post office, one gas station, and five bars! Again, a great place to be!
We can hear the cars at the Elko Speedway on Saturday nights, but can also sit around a bonfire and only hear the crackling of the fire and crickets.
We see lots of traffic going back and forth on our road, but also the tractors and combines (causing frustration and anguish when they’re going SO SLOW).
When my kids get off the school bus there’s dozens of tiny faces glued to the windows when their dad is sitting waiting for them in a big CaseIH tractor with the duals on! Our girls look pretty proud at that moment. Their dad does too 😉
I recently took my girls into the Doctor to have their yearly check up before school. The Medical Assistant goes through all sorts of questions about how they eat and sleep and if I had any concerns. One question they asked was, “Are the children ever home alone?” I don’t ever remember being asked this question, but I guess they feel like it’s their business. Whatever.
I answered the question, “No.” and my 6 year old daughter pipes up and says, “Well, we’re only home alone when mom and dad are both outside when the cows get out.”
I burst out laughing along with the nurse! “Yah, we live on a farm if you hadn’t caught that!”
I’m raising farm kids and that makes me so happy. We may be caught between two worlds of Rural living and Urban living, but I can confidently say that my kids are growing up more country than city! THATS a great place to be.

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Surprises, Tears, Laughter, and Jack Daniels!

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My adventure as a mom began somewhere in the ballpark of March 2006. I was working at an Urgent Care and “borrowed” one of our pregnancy tests because something juuuust wasn’t right. Well, in retrospect, everything had actually gone PERFECTLY because I was pregnant. My co-worker re-tested it a couple times from different boxes just to make sure and i obviously double checked again when I got home.

SHIT

Not the end of the world, but definitely not what I had been planning. I had just gotten engaged on Valentine’s Day of that year (which was probably the night that landed me in this “situation’ 😉

So, we got to have the ever-so-pleasant talk with the parentals about our news.
“Mom, I have something to talk to you about.”
She stops, looks at me seriously and asks “Is it something I have to take you to Target for a test?”
“Ummmmm, yah, but i already did.”
“and you are?”
“yup”
She lets out a sigh and says, “I don’t know whether to hug you or spank you!”

She hugged me 😉

17 weeks in I started spotting and went to the Dr.
I found out that day that I had miscarried at 9weeks and 6 days.
All this 1 week before the wedding.
(I didn’t think writing that would make me cry) hold on…
A big hug goes out to all of you moms and dads who have lost a pregnancy. I know there are many. With statistics of 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage, we’re kind of a big club.

Thankfully, I got pregnant just as easily with the next one as I did the first! The next step of the adventure was probably in October 2006. Again, totally out of the blue and very surprising.
And because God has an awesome sense of humor, my fertility goes on to get me pregnant AGAIN just a short 4 months after Kaylee was born. At this point, Brent and I are contemplating having separate closets space just to be sure this doesn’t happen again.

I am the mom who was breastfeeding a 4 month old, took a pregnancy test and found out the next one was on its way…ready or not. My favorite moment in our marriage so far is when my husband, Brent, came home from work and I held our daughter up and said, “Welcome home daddy, hey guess what?? I’m gonna be a big sister next year!!”

HIS FACE WAS PRICELESS!!!

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It was at the birth of my daughter, Macy, that I succumbed to the fact that my motherhood adventure was going to be nothing I could control. I still kind of want to have another baby and PLAN on having the baby and PLAN when they will be born…just to say I did it. Not gonna happen 😉

They say the 1st year of marriage is always the hardest…I call bullshit!
Ours hit probably at year 3 with two girls ages 1 and 2 and me married to a busy farmer and struggling to balance mommyhood, wifehood, work life, social life, and just time for ME!

I only threw a bottle at my husband once…I’m pretty sure

I cried the first time Kaylee fell down a flight of stairs

I yelled at Brent when he got home once because it was OBVIOUSLY his fault both kids were screaming, naked, covered in their own body fluids, and I’m scrubbing the carpet also full of said body fluids.

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I fed my kids formula after about 12 weeks because I wanted to. Me and the breast pump were through with 8-a-day milkings. 😉 As far as I can tell they are turning out just fine.

I realized just how much I like the taste of a Jack n Coke. Through many experiments. They all turned out a positive.

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I suffered some mommy guilt when i started working more and they were at daycare 5 days a week instead of 2 or 3. Again, they seem to have adjusted fine.

I probably didn’t get them their vaccinations right on schedule, but that’s what Kindergarten check ups are for right?! Get ’em all up to speed! Macy, at 5, still puts most things in her mouth and when you live on a farm…that gives you some pretty good coverage.

I let them play in the mud

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I worry about them not eating enough fruits and vegetables (as I dole out Mcnuggets)

I don’t give band aids unless there’s blood. Ice packs, however, can be put on anything.

I let them wander through the barn by themselves with 700-1000 lbs animals lumbering around.

I get nervous about letting them be out in the barn with 700-1000 lbs animals lumbering around

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I bought bike helmets…they don’t wear them…But like a “good mom” i bought them 😉

We don’t use the word “hate”

Other colorful 4 letter words have been spoken though…in correct context. I will take full blame for that.

Brent and I argue in front of them some…They haven’t expressed any feelings of fear towards this. Usually I hear, “MOM, stop yelling at dad, he works really hard for our family and you should love him!” Geee, I wonder who’s a daddy’s girl.

“DAD, you should really put your own clothes away like mom does.” AAAAAAND we’re back on track.

I’m only 6 years into my adventure and so far, I’m having a blast! Not everyday, but most days. We’re happier more than we’re sad. There’s more laughter than there is yelling, there’s more clothes than I know what to do with, and I am supported by Brent’s family and mine which is priceless.

I was a surprise to my mom too. She is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice so I can’t think of anyone else better to emulate. I joke about turning into my mother…a girl’s worst nightmare right?! It wouldn’t be such a horrible thing if I did.
I hope my girls can say the same one day.

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Enjoy your families this Mother’s Day.

That Just Happened

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My husband says to me, “Oh yah, we were supposed to get back to Mary about reading at Kaylee’s (our daughter) school next week.” I said, “Didn’t I tell you??? You go in on Thursday at 2:00pm to read. Oh, and Katie has a cow costume you can wear too!!”

As you can imagine I hear from hubby…”I AM NOT READING IN A COW COSTUME!” hee hee hee. “Don’t worry, hunny, you’re not…I AM!”

So let me back up…My daughter’s school has a farm themed week and during this week they get to dress up, read books, and have their education materials focused around farm animals and country life.

Kaylee was very proud when her teacher announced to the class that I was coming to read and that SHE lived on a farm near school. The kids that ride her bus know a little of her rural livelihood when they see her craw out of the skid loader or the semi to get on the bus or when she gets picked up by the combine or tractor after school. I think her dad feels pretty proud about this too 😉

So my reading day rolls around and what I didn’t tell her was that I was coming dressed up in a Jersey cow costume!!! This is what I get as I walk into the class room…

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Can you hear her saying it??? "That Just happened?" I walk in all smiles and shes just glaring at me like, really??? really mom??? THIS is what you're going to do here?! All of her classmates thought I was GREAT!!! They were laughing and clapping and so it didn't take long until Kaylee clapped too and gave me half a smile!

I read…

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and…

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I gave the kids some time for questions. “What happens if the machine gets stuck on the cow??” “What kind of ‘sores’ do they get when their yutters get too big?” “where do the babies come out from?” Seriously…I swear you could read them a book about the moon and they would STILL ask you where babies come from!

I loved every second of it because their little ears were wide open and they were so excited to hear about our farm life and ask all their questions.

When we got back home I asked Kaylee, “Were you embarrassed when I walked in dressed as a cow?” She said, “Yah kinda…I thought my friends were gonna make fun of me, but then they just made fun of you so it was ok!”

Thanks doll 😉

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A whole new world!

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Back from the dead!!!!

I am sitting in the Sheraton Hotel in Indianapolis, IN and reminiscing on an awesome 2 days I have spent here. Not only did I get to get away form my kids for a couple days but I got to do it with my husband! And I also had the opportunity to meet some pretty awesome people. Farmers from all different areas of the midwest came together to discuss one HUGE topic in our lives… “super weeds” kind of like those “super bugs” you hear about in hospitals. MRSA, VRE, ESBL to name a few. Only in the farming world these are called palmar amaranth, marystail, giant ragweed, morning glory…etc. Basically, these weeds have become resistant to an herbicide called geophosphate AKA RoundUp. What this means is farmers who would normally spray their fields with this herbicide are now faced with a huge problem because these “super weeds” have adapted
and have become resistant to the chemical and are taking over corn, soybean, and cotton fields. Much like MRSA is resistant to antibiotics. Thankfully the medical field has come up with a different medication, usually Vancomyacin, that will aid in the treatment of MRSA. Scientists have also come up with a solution to our geophosphate resistant traits in weeds…YES!!!!! Some of the brightest minds in the world have created a seed (lets stick with corn) that can be planted and treated with its “sister” product of EnlistDuo and it does not harm the plant but will kill those pesky weeds. Farmers will be able to grow corn without the weeds, and we all know that weeds are very detrimental to plants, flowers, and our crops. These last 2 days Brent and I have sat through lectures and powerpoints teaching us about all the chemistry and biology that went into making this new product and I was blown away. I used to think “what…you plant a seed, you water it, and it grows, and you have food!” I had never thought about all the time spent developing these products. Years!!! Yes YEARS go into technology like this!
I totally get that there is a fear in consumers about GMO crops and pesticide/herbicide treatments. It is kind of a scarry thought if you dont know the whole story. The products don’t come to the farmers cheap. Anti-weed products are SUPER expensive so trust me, we don’t spray more than we absolutely have to. And here’s another truth…farmers and ranchers feed my family. They feed your family too. Families are multiplying by the day and more people in this country will need food. We need to grow more food for more people using less land, less water, and most importantly less impact on our environment. Technology like this will do just that! I encourage you to ask your questions. If not here then somewhere to someone. If you’re leary of all this new fangled technology then just ask a farmer about it because they are EXCITED about it. It will keep their operations going for generations which is what we need! They are the “doctors” of their fields and they rely on science and technology to become more efficient.
I tried to keep this short and sweet, but really, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS…ASK!!!!

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Kaylee and Macy standing in our field of Dekalb corn. Thanks to modern technology our corn grew 6 inches in 6 days! What a blessing!

Yummy Green Cake

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Are you looking for an amazingly fun recipe for the kids to help with tonight for St. Patrick’s Day?!

Well here it is!!!

All you need is pictured above and here are your steps…grab the kids!!

1. Make the white cake according to the instructions on the box. Add 1 1/2 tsp mint extract to the water. After you’re done mixing Remove 1 C of batter and add 3-5 drops of green food coloring (this could be a kid step if they’re good with counting!)

2. Pour the big batch of batter into a greased 9×13 pan. Your bowl of green batter can be spooned into the pan making about 12 circles. Use a butter knife to swirl it around in S shape movements. (another kid friendly step)

3. Bake at 350 for 29-35 minutes and let it cool completely

4. Pour fudge sauce over top and spread evenly.

5. Add 5 drops green and 2 drops yellow coloring into the cool whip as well as 1/2 tsp mint extract and spread that over top the fudge.

6. Hand over the Andes mints to the kids and let them unwrap and break them into tiny pieces to be sprinkled on top of the cake.

VOILA!!!

Enjoy!! And also hang onto that green food coloring for later to drop into a tall glass of ice cold green beer!!!

HAPPY ST PATTYS!!!!

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The trouble with girls, is nobody loves trouble as much as me!

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Recently I was in on a conversation about female hormones with some of my Twitter friends.  For more laughs you can follow @ezweber @heibri @greystone_farm @FunWithBulls @Zweberfarms & @GrassHapy99 @JPlovesCOTTON among others! The chat first started about hormones in milk.  Then it moved to the fact that females have RAGING hormones that make us do things that are unthinkable! 

We women always get a bad rap about our genetic make-up and men get to laugh about it.  My brother-in-law has a wonderful nickname for me…he calls me “The Devil.”  He has seen my hormones a few times come out in not-so-tasteful ways usually aimed at my “underserving” husband.  Now, anytime I exhibit even the slightest change in mood, my husband says, “Devil..put the horns away.” and he proceeds to pat my head in order to push them back in!   In my world, this is just as stupid as asking me, “Are you PMS’ing?”

Lucky for him we have two girls and I’m asking for more!!!! LOLOLOL!!!!! Crazy right?!

Kaylee, the oldest came home from Pre-School the other day and we went grocery shopping for things for dinner.  We also picked up ingredients to make cookies!  Later that day we went to pick up our youngest, Macy, from daycare.  I told Macy that Kaylee and I had gotten things to make cookies and that we could all make them together after dinner.  This is what I hear from the backseat…Kaylee-“I am NOT making cookies if SHE’S gonna be there.”  Excuuuuuuuuse me!  “Well, Kaylee, maybe you can help dad put the shoe rack together?!”  “NO, I will make the cookies, and SHE can help dad.”  Well then…miss thing…I guess we’re not gonna make this a mommy daughters bonding moment.  Poor Macy was sitting in the backseat looking at Kaylee probably thinking, “What just crawled up your butt and died!  Jeeeeeeez!” 

Sisterly love is spread on thick in our house.

Me and my two little women

  80% of the time they are best friends…the rest of the time…”spawn of the Devil”  Of course…again…its all my fault! 

I will end with a kick a** recipe that is full of hormone curing ingredients…I made it by myself without the help of my already sassy daughters.  The only thing I ask of my husband…a house with more than one bathroom BEFORE they reach puberty…I have high likelyhood of this happening!

 

Charlie Brown Pie

1/2 cup beanut butter

1/4 cup butter

Melt peanut butter and butter and then add

2 cups of crushed grahm crackers

1/3 cup sugar

put into 9X13 pan and pat down for the crust.  Let it cool

1 box of Chocolate pudding-THE BIG BOX!!! 6oz

mix pudding with 3 1/2 cups cold milk

let stand in fridge for about an hour.

Spread over grahm cracker crust.

Let stand for another hour or so and add

1 container Cool Whip to the top!

Enjoy!!!!!!

This pan has been in the fridge less than 24 hours and it is 2/3 gone! WINNER!

Lesson learned

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The midwest is getting a break from the blistering heat we have received over the past few weeks.  Both animal and human are enjoying a reprieve from 98 degree heat and 90% humidity with heat indexes over 100 degrees some days.  It has been hot all over the country and some are in horrible draughts so i am thankful ours wasn’t too permanent.

Fortunately for us we only lost one cow and calf.  Some farmers lost much more than that due to the conditions.   Our vet had been out to give fluids and she was perking up a bit more and looking better.  Once the vet left she collapsed again and went into shock due to heat stroke.  She was 1 week from her due date so my husband made the decision to do a c-section and deliver the calf early and save at least one of them.  A decision neither him or his dad made easily.  The cow was already in a great deal of stress, but this was the calf’s only hope.  Unfortunately the calf had already died due to the stress of the mother.  I had gone out to the barn to help bring my husband some things, leaving my two girls back home with grandma and when I came in they were asking me all sorts of qustions.  I thought, “maybe they’re too young for me to try and explain what this all is or what death means.”  But the farm mom in me kicked in and reminded me that this is life on a farm.  The reality that sometimes animals have to be put down so they wont suffer anymore.  My 4 year old was very wise and mature when she said, “Well, we should make sure all the other mommies have lots of water so they wont die.”  Which we did!  All day and at night in fact…extra fans were brought in and damp towels placed on backs.  Hubby rigged up  a “cow spritzer” (what the 3 y/o called it) and I am still playing catch up on the extra laundry that 4 changes of clothes a day makes!  Enjoy the cool down everyone! 

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