Adam

I’ve heard it said that time is a blur, and days and nights often blend together for new parents.

While I don’t know this from personal experience, I did get an inside scoop this week.

My newest nephew, Adam, entered the world almost three weeks early on June 9th. Perfect and healthy, our whole family was excited for his arrival.

Back at the farm…we (of course) were in the thick of hay harvest, so I knew I couldn’t make the drive to see him right away. Then the sky turned grey and the rain poured down Wednesday night, which caused us to temporarily halt hay chopping. We covered the hay that we did have and prayed for dry weather again soon.

This gave me enough time to organize and make the drive Thursday afternoon to meet Adam. It was actually perfect timing because the new parents were exhausted and could use an extra set of hands. While I cooked supper they filled me in on all his particulars, and in the evening I got to hold a snugly baby while they took a much deserved nap!

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I wasn’t really sleeping on the job, but he was quite warm and peaceful.

The night hours passed in a progression of naps, feedings, diaper changes, and late night television. I may have also eaten a doughnut or two. {Don’t worry, I also brought good stuff like yogurt, cut fruit and veggies, and homemade pizza.}

All good things must come to an end, and now I’m back at the farm this evening waiting for the last loads of hay to come in. Once they arrive then we’ll finish covering the pile for good. (At least until second cutting in July.)

A big congratulations to Dan and Julie on their sweet new baby boy! Though my baby knowledge may be lacking, I’m glad I could help share in the excitement of some of his first days. I also promise to quit comparing his habits to those of a baby calf if I can help it. :-)

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Posted in Crops, Family Fun, This and That | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tales of Summers Past

We’re in the thick of June. Summer is beckoning, and the days are long, warm, and lazy. Ok; they’re not exactly lazy. But sometimes I imagine they are!

Lately lots of small things have been reminding me of past summers. I think about growing up on my parent’s farm and the daily rhythm summer life used to have there. My sisters and I would find so many ways to have fun amid the chores we helped with. The apple trees were always thick and the garden was plentiful. The cows went about their normal routine, and we would teach calves to lead in preparation for the county fair.

There were always noon family dinners and late night family suppers. After hot days we would slip on swimming suits in the evening and drive the few miles to one of the area lakes. This was the perfect way to cool off when you didn’t have air conditioning!

I went through the first old photo album I found to look for some of these moments. The pictures may not be as sharp as today’s megapixels allow, but the memories certainly are.

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I think I’ve always loved dogs. This was Cody Rae, and she was as loyal and tenderhearted as they come.

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I’m afraid I look ready for mischief here. I also remember loving that Minnie Mouse hat.

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My July birthday always arrived in the middle of summer fun and heat. From the candles it appears I am turning seven. And I have the best seat in the house on Dad’s lap. Gotta love the glasses and curls of this era!

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Linda and me washing cows for the fair. I think we usually got as soaked as the animals.

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With five kids we had many confirmations and graduations in our household. I mostly like this picture because it shows my mom. Usually she was either behind the scenes making preparations or she was the one taking the photo. Even here, you can see she’s busy setting up. I appear busy trying to taste.

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More summer fun in the barn.

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The whole clan at one of our favorite lakes. It’s crazy for me to realize even this picture is nearly ten years old.

I hope you’re already busy making lots of your own great memories this summer. Soak it up; it will be gone before you know it!

Posted in Baby Calf Care, Family Fun, This and That | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

General Miscellany and Mayhem

Welcome to June, everyone!

This week I spotted a fun way to usher in Monday morning, along with June Dairy Month. Perhaps you already saw this picture (and thought it was dorky) as you scrolled through your social media feeds…

Oh well, I’m posting it again. :-)

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Just in case you think you’re having a bad hair day…
Happy Monday, and Happy June Dairy Month!

Even though summer won’t officially arrive until later this month, I feel like it’s in full swing. The sun has been hot and the humidity high. We’ve also gotten drenched in rain. Over the weekend we had more than 3 inches, and we were the lucky ones. I’ve heard totals of 6-7 inches not too far away, which has washed out many small crops growing in the field in those areas.

Right now, we ‘re all hoping for a dry week, and then small showers of rain when we need it.

My garden progress is slow. I’ve still got tomato and pepper seedlings sitting in the big south window. As soon as the ground dries out we’ll be starting our first cutting of hay, so I may have to get creative finding time to plant them.

We have already been enjoying a few fresh delicacies though. I got tender asparagus from my mom, and last night I cut rhubarb to mix into a tasty cake.

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On a different note…

I signed up for another marathon.

I didn’t think I would so soon, as Lake Wobegon took a lot out of me mentally and physically.

But about a week later, I started wanting one more long race this season. I thought about another half marathon, but there weren’t really any options close by in the next month.

Then I started thinking about 26.2. I’d been so close to my goal, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle going after it and missing again.

So I prayed about it. I’d already made some peace with my first race, but what about another? These thoughts came to me:

Is this a smart time for a marathon? Talk with your husband, and see what he thinks. If those things line up, go for it if you like. I can’t run the race for you, but I will be right beside you.

JR also said to sign up if I wanted, and the next day I squeezed in near the end of registration for Grandma’s Marathon.

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Grandma’s is run along the shore of Lake Superior from Two Harbors to Duluth, and it is Minnesota’s oldest marathon. I’ve wanted to run it for awhile now, and this year things just clicked.

We should be long done with hay by June 21 race day, and that weekend is otherwise free. My cousin lives up in Duluth, and she is also running the marathon this year. I can stay with her, with is a major bonus considering hotels get sparse and expensive for marathon weekend.

JR also has a good friend who farms up in that area, so if he comes with me we’ll visit his friend. (Or maybe I’ll just drop JR off and let them hang out while I run.)

The other thing I like about this race is the increasing support at the end. I hear the last six miles as you come into Duluth just get fuller and louder with people as you go. Water stops are every single mile in that last stretch, and the whole city comes out to cheer. I had a rough last few miles in May, so I’m thinking this might be the boost I need.

I am a little worried about June weather, but this race is historically cool. It takes a long time for the North Shore area to warm up in spring. I’ve also come up with a plan. If it’s a miserable hot or pouring rain day, I’m just going to run what feels comfortable and enjoy. If the weather is good and I feel good, I’ll see if I can go faster than ever before. Either way, I’ll keep in mind who true strength comes from.

Posted in Agriculture ( in general), Cooking and Foods, Running, This and That | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Now That’s Romantic

Spring can get busy on a farm, especially when the weather is slow to warm and the fields are slow to dry. Once things are ready, it’s go time.

This spring has indeed been slow, but we finally finished planting the crop during the wee hours of Monday morning. We got light rain Monday afternoon, and I was so thankful we avoided the 3-4 inches of downpour and washouts that happened as close as the next township.

In the midst of spring work and busy days there is usually little time left for things like romance. Still, it can pop up unexpectedly. This story begins in the field while picking rocks…

Part of getting the fields ready for planting is going rock picking. Rock picking is just as glamorous as it sounds. We drive around the fields with ATV’s, a tractor with a trailer, or skid loaders, and we scoop up or hand pick the rocks we see. The main purpose of this is to avoid rocks damaging or getting stuck in the machinery we use for digging, planting, and harvesting fields. Also, farmers don’t want rocks disturbing plant growth or ending up in the final product during harvest.

Don’t worry though — I’m not talking about getting every stone and pebble. If a rock is about grapefruit-size it’s fair-game, but the main ones we worry about are those basketball-size and larger.

A few weeks ago we were picking one of the first fields, and I spotted a unique rock. It was smaller granite and had a perfect line dividing it into half red, half blue.

It sounds silly, but I decided I wanted to keep this rock. I could add it to the rock borders in our yard if nothing else.

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Sometimes the geese roam in our gardens…

After about twenty minutes of carrying it around and taking care not to drop it into the rock wagon, I decided to stash my rock somewhere.

JR wondered why I kept holding onto the same rock, and I sort of wondered myself. ;-)

I threw it several feet into a grove of trees at the edge of the field. If I forgot to get it before we left I knew it would wait for me.

Fast forward about a week, and I was getting into my car one evening. Chores were done for the day, and I opened the back door to let Calvin and Boo hop in. I opened up the driver’s door and was about to sit down when I saw this.

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Now that’s romantic.

Sometime during the busy week of digging fields, organizing seed varieties, and hauling manure, JR had remembered to stop and get my rock.

I’d honestly forgotten about it myself!

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I don’t think I’ll be able to walk by it this summer without smiling. Sometimes it really is the very smallest things.

Posted in Agriculture ( in general), Crops, Family Fun | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

How I Saw Strength Made Perfect

I used to think the marathon was an absurdly long way. That didn’t stop me, however, from being drawn to it.

I remember taking a one-credit class in college focused on resume building and future career preparation. I never really bought into the high-powered corporate ambitions I was supposed to crave, but I do remember writing down “run a marathon” on a list of personal goals.

I don’t think it’s an absurdly long way anymore, possibly because I’ve made online and in-the-flesh friends who have run 50 mile and Ironman (140.6 mile triathlon) races. They aspire to things like 24 hour endurance challenges.

Oof.

I will say I get it. Even if the training gets long and unforgiving, there’s something deeply special about the camaraderie covering endless miles creates. I’m certain this becomes more true the longer the race gets. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to carry on a proper conversation during a 5K, but I’ve made lasting connections during each marathon I’ve run.

Back in junior high 3200 meters (the dreaded 2 mile) seemed like forever. I never would have dreamed I could run a marathon, much less become a marathoner who covered the distance multiple times.

I need to remember to give thanks for that. Every finish line represents another day I am able to run.

Something else also emerged as I’ve been reflecting on the accomplishment and disappointment of marathon number three.

My own weakness has never felt so apparent to me as during the last half hour of this race. I was broken.

My legs weren’t going to carry me to my goal time, and I was beyond disappointed. Why was I letting it slip away?

It’s so easy to look back and think I should have had the mental strength to will my legs faster. All the training should have made my body strong enough to push through the pain.

Could have. Should have. Would have. But with these thoughts I miss the point. It’s not about my strength or lack there of. It’s about a bigger strength. The strength that formed my body, sculpted my mind, and keeps my heart beating everyday. Divine strength.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.     2 Corinthians 12:8-9 KJV

God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Does that mean God caused me to miss my goal?

No.

Can He help me through the disappointment so I emerge better because of it?

I think so.

In reflecting on all of this muck in my head, God brought me some peace in my weakness. I’m human and sinful, and for the rest of my life I will continue to mess up. Not just in running, either. :-) This reality affirms my need for Christ all the more.

It’s never fun to admit failing, and other people usually don’t want to hear about it. We share our smiles and healthy suppers on Instagram or twitter while we casually push away the fights we’ve had and the bitterness we carry.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to dwell on the positive and push past the negative, but sometimes we need to own our weakness and realize we can’t do it alone.

God cares about the small things – every sparrow. He is present in every aspect of life, big or small. In my worst moments, that’s when I really need to remember to invite him in.

At the end of the marathon, my dad was busy capturing smiling photos of me, the finish line, and my medal. JR was taking photos too, and he got this gem.

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I promise I wasn’t really pouting this much! At least not audibly… I think it was just a tired moment, but I was feeling a little this way on the inside. It’s not glamorous, but at least it’s real.

Somewhere in the future, when I do achieve my next big goal, I’ll know it’s God strength working past my weakness that brought me to success.

 

Posted in Christian Reflections, Running | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments