Archive for July, 2013

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.

Open Our Eyes

My new church meets in a school cafeteria. Fluorescent lights shine down on tidy round tables. About 60 of us gather to worship the Lord and fellowship together.

It’s bright. I can easily see the widows across the aisle as they worship. Behind me a family from the mountains sings God’s praises.  Often, Our pastor will have us look around at each other so we know who our brothers and sisters are. We’re held accountable to love them. Love exacts a price: service, compassion, exhortation.

The message on Sunday made me think about our little band of believers. How just as we can see each other clearly in our little lunchroom, Jesus sees all of us clearly–more clearly than we can see ourselves.

Part of Pastor Brady’s message on Sunday morning came from Matthew’s gospel, chapter 11:20-24:

“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And you, Capernaum, will you not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.’”

My mind drifted to another scenario. What if Jesus were in our congregation that day. He might say, “Woe to Mt. Airy! Woe to you, New York! Woe to you, Los Angeles! ”

Funny how people like to quote Jesus when it comes to love and acceptance and compassion. True. The gospels are cholk-full of the tender deeds and words of our Lord. But listen to the first words spoken by Jesus in Mark’s gospel:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The re-occuring word is repent.

Repent basically means an about face. A turning.

In this case, Jesus meant to turn from your sins and turn to Him.

It’s not Jesus plus something or someone else. It’s not your way or my way at all.

He calls the shots. He’s the Creator and Sustainer.

I’ve repented. In fact, It’s a daily occurrence. And I’m forgiven. Thank God.

But what about you, friend?

What if you were sitting in our little lunchroom and Jesus looked at you. He can see clearly–right into your heart. He knows not only your actions, but your thoughts and your motives.

Think about that a while. Makes me shudder.

Jesus said to repent and believe the gospel so here it is:

God is holy. You are a sinner destined for judgment. God provided a way of escape through believing on His Son, Jesus Christ. Believing that He lived a perfect life, died a gruesome death, and rose from the grave to pay the penalty of your sin and my sin.

If you choose not to believe, I have one word for you.



Make Pesto Out of Lemons-A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 12

We gave up on hand-to-hand combat against the flea beetles.

“They aren’t flea beetles, Pauline!” Tom reminded me.

Doesn’t matter. Tiny bugs with big chompers, a crunchy exoskeleton, and running-back-sized legs with which they jump large buildings in a single bound are classified as flea beetles by me.

Tom tried organic insecticide. This is code for lots of smelly stuff from the refrigerator. He stomped out to our humble field dressed in hazard waste gear and doused our baby plants with a commercial sprayer. Cayenne pepper, garlic, and onion mixed together with a dash of soap didn’t stop them. In fact, they seemed to enjoy the spice and even invited their leaf-eating-friends to join them.

Next we tried some plant derivative that is okay’d by the organic police. It slowed them down, but after a few days they regrouped. I think they sent away to ACME for Bug Armor.

Now we have 120 feet of chewed collards. Last night, I picked some leaves and sauteed them with garlic, olive oil and a little onion. Actually, they were delicious if you didn’t look at them.

Today, I picked more leaves.

Creativity sparked.

“How about I make collard pesto?” I thought it brilliant but my enthusiasm elicited no response from Tom. (Could be he couldn’t hear through the hazard-waste outfit.)

I couldn’t wait to throw my holy leaves in the Cuisinart.

I rinsed and rinsed. Then I threw my beloved collards in food processor with a bit of water.

“Tom, taste this!” I beamed.

“It tastes like grass. Don’t do anything with that, Pauline. Maybe feed it to a cow.”

My enthusiasm couldn’t be squelched. Throwing out the “grass batch” I pulled the stems out of other collards, added bug-free basil from our field, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt.

“What do you think now?”

Cautiously, Tom took a bite. Then another. “Pretty good,” he admitted.

I knew it! Bug-eaten collards turn into gourmet sauce!

Because when life hands you lemons, make pesto.

(This is the foundation of our homesite. I couldn’t resist:D)


Bugged-A Day in the Life of a Farmer’s Wife, Day 11

Rain makes me claustrophobic. Especially when I’m sharing an early 1900 farmhouse with Tom, Mom, and about 10 million bugs.

And a snake.

The bugs are not all in the house, mind you. They are underneath, above, inside, outside. Omnipresent.

Here’s the rub. Some of them are good. At least by gardening standards.

That thought crossed my mind as I did “Bug Duty” in the field the other day. Bent over white plastic, I shook collards until 8-10 flea-like-beetles flew off. The trick was to get them while they were confused on the white plastic of our raised beds. Then, I swiped my hands over the plastic trying to annihilate as many as I could. Those who used their mammoth microscopic legs to catapult them to the next raised beds to munch on tomato leaves escaped. Others were too stunned. I mushed them.

Such is the life of an organic farmer’s wife.

Killing bugs gives me plenty of time to think. Good bugs and bad bugs. Who knew? I picture good bugs with super-hero-capes and a serious countenance. Bad bugs scowl and have dastardly laughs.

The trouble is knowing which is which.

Last week, I saw a 4-inch bug that looked like it could swallow me. Tom killed it per my insistence. Turns out it was harmless. A Dobson fly.

I moved on to a different row in my bug assassination duty. A rather large, armored-like bug sat on a squash leaf. I squished it with my shoe.

I know for a fact there are no good fleas or ticks. Yet they party on my dog, Sam–ocassionally hopping on one of my Bible study ladies or nestling in my bed.

The other day, I was so overwhelmed with bugs, I decided to empty my hummingbird feeder to encourage a visit from those pint-sized birds. I set my purse down since we were headed to town and stepped over what I thought was a stick.

It wasn’t.

A five foot black racer came out of hiding to get a glimpse of the sky just like I did.

I left my purse for a while and circled round the house to retrieve it.

When you’re a farmer’s wife, you have to be creative.

“Did you kill a large bug on the squash plants?” Tom asked.

“Yep, why?”

“It’s a bug called an assassin bug. He’s good.”

I assassinated the assassin bug.

I guess I didn’t see his cape.