All posts in Farm Life

Discoveries and New Experiences, A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife Day,…Lost Count

You know you’re a farmer’s wife when you dream about green bean varieties.

Never thought I’d experience that.

Up until last week, in all my 54 years, I’d never fed maggots to chickens. Now, I search for them in the compost pile so I can treat my “Little Ladies.”

Come to think of it, until a few weeks ago, I’d never even fed chickens or sang to them.

That’s on my to-do list everyday on the farm.

While listening to a young farmer talk about his equipment, I understood most of what he talked about.

I never knew I’d speak “farm.”

I’ve never harvested tomatoes, much less 20 pounds of heirlooms in one day.

After I separated the cherokee purples from the valencias from the brandywines, I packed them up, drove into town and sold them to an upscale restaurant.

That’s a new experience for me.

Last night, Tom and I drove to our homesite and we crossed the threshold of our almost-finished, 60-foot front porch and gazed out at a field spattered with a variety of greens with a little clay mixed in.

The bucking bulls in the field ignored us until I sang, “Hello cows, well hello, cows, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong,” as I moved gracefully across the stage. “You’re looking swell cows, I can tell cows, you’re still glowin’ you’re still crowin’ you’re still goin’ strong.”

Then I started swaying but no band played.

“We could make this a live theatre, Tom! It’s big enough!”

“We could.” Tom smiled.

I’m a little melancholy tonight. (Writer’s are required to be melancholy occasionally, it’s part of the job description. BTW, someone please help me with commas and parenthesis.)

I think I’m missing the familiar–although I love this unfamiliar farm life.

I just want to share with you two things that have really surprised me about farm life.

The first is I enjoy farming. Not just the idea of farming. It’s much harder than I thought it would be, but there is something very satisfying about putting a seed into the ground and watching it grow. It makes me smile just thinking of it.

The other surprise is how much I enjoy being with my husband. We got along before, but we definitely did better when he went off to business on a regular basis.

Now, we’re together almost all the time AND he’s my boss. He’s not perfect, but what I admire about him is when Tom does something, he gives 110 percent. It’s always his best.

He grew the tomatoes I harvested from seed and they’re the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.

He built a chicken brooder by looking at a picture.

He figured out all the stuff we needed to farm and just keeps learning.

I admire him.

Usually, in the evening, we work until 9PM, take a shower to wash the bugs off and sit on the front porch.

Sometimes, we listen to a Rays game. Often, we talk about the gazillion things we still need to do.

Many times, we are just quiet, listening to crickets, amazed that we are living the hard, crazy, satisfying, dream.

Speaking of dreams, okra is on my list for tonight.







Faith With Dirt Under My Fingernails

I noticed my thumbnail as I handed pesto samples to customers. Embarrassed, I pulled away. No matter how many times I try, I can’t seem to keep the dirt out.

Like my spiritual life.

Take my walk of faith. There are times I can shout from the mountaintops about God’s faithfulness. I see Him working specifically, and I tell others about it.

Then there are times like Friday night. I’d planted vegetables for two long days, and before those days were other long days. Since Tom and I moved here, we’ve made about $70. We’ve spent, well we’ve spent almost enough to buy a small house in Kansas or a garage in Florida.

How in the world are we gonna survive, Lord? 

I knew God called us here. Supernatural circumstances brought us here. But could God keep us here?

My meltdown occurred as I prepared for the farmer’s market after a full day of planting. Exhausted, I whined.

Tom intervened. “Don’t go, Pauline! I don’t know why you’re trying to do all this anyway. Remember, this is a practice year.”

Yes, I remembered. But when I took my first squashes to a market and they paid me $5.84, I panicked. Months of hard work, along with oodles of money poured into the business and it didn’t even cover my gas.

What did I do? Rested.

I got a good nights’ sleep.

Then, I remembered my verse for this year. It’s found in Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.”

I felt like the father in the gospel who asked Jesus to heal his son. Jesus tells him that all things are possible if he believes. The father responded like I did, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

I need help to believe. I’m weak. God loves it when I am ’cause I know I have to depend on Him. Other times, I forge ahead in life, forgetting my weakness. Not realizing I control nothing.

Through His Word and His people and a few good nights of sleep, I’m trusting.

Today, we planted and then I walked through the woods to my house and sat in my unfinished living room. I opened the door and drank in God’s beauty. I read a Psalm and prayed.

And then got back to work.

But I had a little extra time. Tom and I sat on the floor of the back porch and took two chickens out of their brooder. We whispered to them and sat them on our laps while we stroked their backs.

It’s important to take time to pet a chicken.

We had breakfast in mugs filled with Greek yogurt while we sat on dirt clumps on row 17 of our field. We took time to toss Sam the ball, and unfortunately for him, there was time for his bath.

And tonight we invited a young farmer and his wife for dinner. We’re having a pork roast and eggplant and squash we grew on the grill. I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know what the future holds, but neither do you.

But I’m quietly trusting God.

At least today.

Then I’ll have to take out the fingernail file.





My Peeps

“Say hello to your sisters, Sam.”

My 60-plus-pound standard poodle placed his front paws gently on the brooder edge to peer in. Sam doesn’t like it when I baby-talk to the chicks. I guess he’s jealous. And intrigued.

They came USPS just over a week ago. The phone rang at 6:30 AM to announce their arrival. I felt like packing an overnight bag like I did when my kids were born. At that time, I came home with one new member of our family–when my peeps arrived, there were 75.

We were prepared. Tom built an 8′ by 4′ brooder with a center divider. He put in a sliding chick door.

“When they get older, they can go from one part to the other,” he said as a smile spread across his face. I think the door took the place of a mini swing-set.

I prepared, too. Kind of like a manger, I placed pine shavings on the floor and added water jugs made just for chickens. I filled up two bright red feeders with 24 little holes. When I purchased them at our local farm store I was unsure.

“How can they get their heads in for food?” I asked the clerk.

He looked surprised. “You’ll see them put their whole bodies in there.”

So on the day they arrived, we opened the box with four divisions. The cutest little birds I’d ever seen were placed gently into their new home.

For me, it was love at first peep. For Tom, too.

Often, I see him standing on the back porch gawking at the chicks. Just like the man said, they climb right into the feeder. Some perch on top of the feeder, stretching their necks and staring up at us.

When we sold everything and moved to Mayberry, I really didn’t know what to expect. But I knew I wanted chickens.

And a few months from now, my happy chicks should be laying eggs. by then, they won’t be as cute, but they’ll still be our little ladies.

And Sam’s little sisters.

A First Time for Everything-A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 15

I’ve experienced a lot of firsts lately.

Building raised beds in our garden, planting seeds in white plastic and watching them grow into healthy plants, observing hummingbirds drink out of the feeder right outside my window.

I’ve watched fox cubs grow up, wild turkeys graze in our field, and a wild bear cross my gravel road.

I’ve petted a donkey, picked ticks off of Tom, attended a small animal auction, spent a morning picking wild blackberries at the edge of our field, fed apples to horses, and cleared a path through the woods.

One morning, Tom and I watched as a mammoth crane lowered our new house onto a brick foundation and then raise its roof. A few days later, a truck carrying a commercial drill dug 400 feet into our land and capped off our well.

I’ve never done that before.

Our new house

I killed hundreds of flea beetles in one day, and on that same day, planted pumpkin seeds that have already sprouted into vines.

I’ve seen purple okra shoot out of a stalk and watched a tiny yellow bloom grow into an almost ripe cantaloupe.

Beautiful purple okra

I ordered 75 baby chicks will arrive at the end of the week. Today, I helped Tom build a brooder to keep them safe and warm.

This evening I sang hymns to bulls in the field by our homesite. They came closer as they chewed their cud. A few listened intently. I asked Tom what we should name the listener.

“52740.” Tom noticed the numbers on the bulls side. I opted for Heratio.

The list goes on and on.

What’s my point?

I’m not sure.

But a few ideas have crossed my mind.

First, it’s never to late to try new things. Just because you’re over 50 doesn’t mean you can’t change careers or move to Mayberry. Or Green Acres.

I’ve also thought of how one day, petting a donkey won’t be such a big deal.

I don’t want that to happen.

This is where you come in, friend. No matter where you live–in a big city or a small town, take time to slow down and admire God’s creation.

It’s magnificent.

Tonight, I sat on the porch with Tom and listened to the end of the Tampa Bay Rays game. I marveled at sun filtering through towering pines until it disappeared and the lightening bugs showed up.

It was some show.

Nothing on TV could compare with that scene.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll pet a donkey and prepare for my chicks–the ladies.”

Help me think of 75 names.

Heratio is taken.


Horse Drama, A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 13

I could tell you about the 2,000 pounds of mulch that when loaded into our Tundra by a front loader the size of a small house almost covered my husband in the cab and leveled our truck. We even paid real money for it. But you kind of had to be there to experience it.

Or I could share with you the dreary tale of unloading a ton of mulch into our field. My back hurts just thinking of it.

Or perhaps I could share with you about the family of deer that got separated crossing my driveway this afternoon when I picked up the mail. Bambi takes on new meaning in the country.

Today, I thought I’d share a happening that made me angry.

It was all about horse drama.

The neighbor who is a horse trader keeps shifting the horses from one field to the next. There is the field on the farmhouse side. Pete the donkey lives there, along with Red and a few others.

The field across the gravel road is our property. Blue, the horse I thought would be mine lived there until Jamie thought he should live at his pasture up the road.

I miss Blue.

Recently, there’s been a very unhappy paint horse in that field. Tom and I think he was separated from his friend. Often during the day and sometimes in the evening, we hear his forlorn cry.

We’ve named him Sad Horse.

The other day, I gave an apple to Sad Horse. He didn’t smile but did let me pet his head and talk to him. There are three other horses in the field who ignore Sad Horse.

Horse cliques. Who knew?

I thought I’d sneak two carrots to Sad Horse today. Trouble was the horse clique noticed. They trotted to the fence in a sort of synchronized swimming horse routine. So I broke up one carrot and shared.

Then I called Sad Horse. Gray Clique Horse didn’t like that one bit. He suffered from carrot envy and edged his way in while Sad Horse stood away from the fence.

“Come here, Sad Horse. I have a carrot just for you,” I said as I moved away from the other horses, trying to draw Sad Horse to the fence.

Just then, Gray Clique Horse ran over and bit Sad Horse on the back! Then Sad Horse moved forward and kicked Evil Gray horse! I couldn’t believe it! Horse justice welled to the surface of my astounded-city-dweller-brain.

“Get away, Gray Horse! You are mean! You’re all mean to Sad Horse and I don’t like it! Go away!” I sniffed. “You should be nice to Sad Horse. How would you feel if they took your buddy away?

They stared at me. A bird flew by. Leaves fluttered in the breeze.

I waited for an answer.

None came.

Probably a good thing.

Being a horse must be tough. There are usually several flies on your eyes, you stand while you sleep, and you never know when your buddy might be sold.

And then there are the cliques.

Kind of like humans.

Tomorrow might be a better day. They’re going to set our house on the foundation and we don’t have to shovel mammoth-sized-mulch piles into our garden.

I think it’s gonna be a better day for Sad Horse, too.

He’s gonna get two apples.