Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Learn By Doing

One of my favorite bible verses is found in Proverbs.  

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 
Proverbs 22:6

I realize this verse probably pertains more to shaping a child's moral fiber than shipping cattle, but I also feel that the two are not mutually exclusive either.  We are trying to immerse our children in our lifestyle as much as possible.  First, because we have no choice.  The cattle and crops are all around us and you can't help but become all consumed by it.  Secondly, we do feel that several great life lessons can be accidentally taught because the kids are soaking everything in.  

The high yesterday was near 100 with very high humidity and very little wind that morning.  I insisted that Kenyon wear shorts for comfort.  He insisted he wear boots for working.  We are working together to learn the art of compromise. 

Kenyon instantly noticed the white truck.  
"Hey, Mom, look at those stacks!"

I love these four little kiddos.  I have a feeling they will be thick as thieves for quite a while.  It is fun to hear their conversations about cows and pigs and all things dirt related, as it is all any of them know. 

My heart nearly bursts every time I look at this photo.  Every morning and night my husband will sit at the table and finish up some paperwork.  He makes out a list of tasks for the next day, a feed route, bills to pay or something similar.  I didn't realize how much Kenyon noticed that.  He stopped in the middle of his lunch the other day and crawled into his dad's chair.  "Mom, I'm gonna help out my dad and do some paperwork for him."  I still have that paperwork and probably always will. 

Of all the toys in the world, they love to run back and forth on the hay trailer. 

The longest ten minutes of any kiddos life are those agonizing moments when you can see the tractor and baler on the other side of the field and you have to wait for the ride to come to you. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

We Are Big Ag

Bear with me today, friends.  I feel a need to get out my soapbox.

I try very hard to keep most of this blog light.  I like to show the human side of agriculture in my writing.  Yes, I could spout facts and figures all day to the masses, but studies have shown that the human connection has just as great, if not greater, an impact upon the masses than all the infographics in the world.

I could tell you that raising cattle or crops today is more efficient than years past; that we produce more beef and feed on less land mass while using less water and creating a smaller carbon footprint.  I could explain all of this until I'm blue in the face.

Would it make a difference?  Sometimes I wonder.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think drink.

I recently spoke with someone who watched a food related documentary and then proceeded to inform me about all the ills of the world that were caused by our hideous food supply, including but not limited to the beef industry and 'big ag'.

I cannot even begin to list all the inaccuracies that were presented to me regarding the documentary.  That is another lengthy post for another day.  The other part that stuck out to me was the negative connotation regarding the beef industry and big ag.

That is me.  That is my family.  We are big ag.

We bust our butts to grow a great product and then we eat that product just the same as everyone else.  We don't keep the good stuff in the back for ourselves and sell consumers a load of junk.  We create a safe, sustainable, quality product that we are proud to eat and proud to share with the world.

The next time you think about big ag, think about this little guy that just crawled off a tractor and baler with his dad and is terribly filthy and needs to nap.  Greater than 96% of farms and ranches are family owned.  That means all over the country there are kiddos learning the ropes from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  They are riding around in feed pickups, on tractors, four wheelers or horseback and learning how to feed the rest of the world, even those that seem to despise us.

The next time hear someone complain about our food industry, make sure they remember all the little ones that make up big ag.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Life Lately: June Edition

Warning: This post is a jumble of random.  Why?  Because the kids are due to wake just about any second.  It's not that I don't enjoy writing blogs anymore; rather, the opposite is quite true.  I'd love to write each and every day.  I start hundreds of witty blogs in my head because there are just so many things that y'all NEED TO KNOW.  I have some life altering info in my tiny little brain, I promise, and your life is just not as complete without it.....  Or something like that.  Also, I tell myself these days that I can't start a blog post until all my chores are done.  (Thanks to my parents for beating that little gem into my brain as a youngster.)  Guess what?  MY CHORES ARE NEVER DONE.  So I'm being a rebel this morning and writing a post even though there is a stack of laundry behind me on the couch that weighs more than all my kiddos put together.  Okay, not really, but you get my drift. 

Do y'all look this punchy when you go grocery shopping?  I seriously doubt it.  Kenyon loves his boots we bought at a friend's garage sale.  Extra style points for the hand on hip as he strutted down every aisle.  You should see the smiles and hear the comments he gets from folks, especially old men.  He's a pretty big deal.

I don't believe there is a caption needed for this.  I have recently discovered the beauty of memes and try to sprinkle them in casual conversation where applicable.

A recent ranch rodeo with cousin Kade.  Notice his punchy boots as well.  The style game is strong with these two.  And John was just hot, so he got a pass on wearing tall tops that night. 

Best food label EVER.  I wish this food label were found on almost all products.  As a side note, please refrain from using words like 'Non-GMO' and 'Organic' around me if you value our friendship.  Not wanting to start a lengthy debate this morning, but simply put I don't feel that they are necessary.  End. Of. Story.

Reading is one of our preferred indoor activities, next to mortal combat and cage fighting.  On hot days like these we get up and do our outside activities while it is still decent outside and then spend lots of time inside coloring, playing with stickers, wrestling and reading. 

Logging some miles in a lovely little evening walk on a decent day.  They love to run down the road and play in the feedbunks. 

Do you see this lovely little lily in the photo below?  I have had a blog post in my mind for years.  

When the lilies bloom it reminds me of the anniversary of me moving back here after grad school so many years ago.  That first day back after unpacking I drove a feed pickup to town and loaded up with groceries and cleaning supplies for our little house that was so desperately in need of both.  I spent quite a lot of money while purchasing all these supplies.  On the way home I stopped alongside a ditch and picked a beautiful bouquet of bright orange ditch lilies and had them sitting in a pretty mason jar on our kitchen table when Wesley got home that day from shipping.  

He saw the receipt of how much money I had spent that morning and then seeing the flowers on the table tipped him past his breaking point.  He asked how much I spent on those 'damn flowers' and I told him something ridiculous like $60.  His fits of rage were comical at that point because we were young and soooooo in love.  *cue eye roll*  We still giggle every year when I pick a bouquet of lilies and every year Wesley asks me just how much money I spent on them. 

Not going to lie, I am not Mary Poppins.  Some days are better than others around here. 

We are big fans of consistency around here.  We're not big fans of genetic variation either.  Behold, a photo of child #3...

... and #1.  (Photo of child #2 not readily available at press time.)

There is never a dull moment when these three are awake.  You'd think I would be skinnier from running ragged, but alas, I am not.

 A bubble machine.  Get one of these in your life immediately if you have small children.  And either have gallons of bubble juice purchased or know the recipe to make homemade bubble juice.  This is entertainment for kids and adults alike.

A nearby town has a summer reading program for toddlers THAT ISN'T SCHEDULED DURING NAPTIME and we enjoy participating in it.  My heart sinks when I learn of a really interesting program I feel the boys would enjoy and then read that it will take place in a few days at 3pm.  Sigh... ain't happenin', y'all.  Our nap time is precious. 

John had a blast trying on the volunteer fireman's helmet a few weeks ago.  Kenyon refused to take off his John Deere cap. 

We are in the thick of a busy summer season, what with shipping and haying.  We took some time a few nights ago to regroup and gain our sanity on the banks of the lake.  The boys fished and Kathryn and I were content to be spectators as she lounged in my arms.  

Side note:  Kath-ryn is two syllables.  Cath-er-ine and other various spellings are three syllables.  A friendly PSA for the masses. 

Laurie.  I just love her.  
I don't care for small dogs and not a fan of dogs that are larger than horses, but heelers are just right.

After a long day of work and play, sleep comes pretty easily most nights around here. 

Very easily. 

Verrrrrrrry easily 

And when we are well rested we can be on our A game to entertain the masses once again!

We believe pretty firmly in immersing the kids in both work and play.  They don't seem to see a difference between the two, which is how more of us should view life I believe. 

And a final thought for the day.  I am trying to repeat this to myself often.  I cringe when I hear people openly call kids 'sassy' or 'mouthy' or 'crazy'.  I often see this followed by the kids turning around and saying something rude back to their parents or act garishly.  They are simply living up to expectations.  

I didn't realize until recently that I didn't hear my parents say these things when we were growing up.  My parents told folks that we were pretty well behaved (they didn't totally lie) and we were smart little girls.  I then knew that other folks had expectations from when they were told and we had better live up to the hype.  

I'll admit, I have days when I set the bar pretty low, but I am making a conscious effort to not call my kids some of these 'creative' names because I don't want to see this behavior emulated.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

A New Adventure

I wanted to start this post with some sort of deep, meaningful quote regarding life, comfort zones and curveballs; but everything was much too deep and serious for this post.  I just needed some sort of cute meme that stated: And then I had a baby girl said holy cow.  But alas, Pinterest failed me.  

Never overestimate the brain power of sleep deprived mama. 
So, long story short, we had a baby recently and it was not of a gender that were were so accustomed to.  After having two boys I now find myself browsing Pinterest during the wee hours of the night for 'little girl hairstyles' and the like.  

I'll admit, for the first few minutes after meeting baby Kathryn I wasn't sure quite what to think about the situation.  And then I saw my husband cuddle with her and I decided maybe God did know exactly what we needed all along.  Funny how that happens all the time (the God knowing thing) and yet I still find myself amazed.

Auntie snuggles

No good can come of these two when they look like this.

Kathryn has already had her first 'slumber party' with her much older cousin, Madeline, who is a whopping 20 days older.

All of our children have very intense, deep blue eyes when they are little.
I hope hers stay that way. 

We've already logged several miles in the stroller while attempting to chase her brothers.  I have a feeling that she and I will be doing this quite a lot in the future.

...And snap tests.  I got to have a lovely eight day maternity leave before the neighbor called and asked me to run some snap tests for him.  Sigh...

Shipping calves one morning

Kathryn never lacks for attention.  We had to implement a rule that hats must be taken off or turned around before sticking your head into her carseat for a kiss.
Kenyon loves to turn his hat backwards and then state, "Look, Mom.  I look like a thug!"

See?  I wasn't lying.  These boys are constantly on the go.  I've always wanted to purchase a step tracker such as a FitBit.  I'm curious to see how much ground we cover in a day.
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time.  My mother came to spend several days with us.  By the time you have your third baby, it's not that she comes clean or do laundry for a sleep deprived mom, it's that I needed her to snuggle babies so I could go sit on the lawn mower by myself for a few hours.  Funny how priorities change with each subsequent birth.
Although not a slumber party this time, Kathryn was able to meet her newest other cousin who is oh-so-much younger... by a whopping six days. Someday I'm sure that will be very important to them, this crucial six day difference.  For Kathryn in their younger days and Asher as they age!

Stylin' and profilin'

Our trusty steed for the turtle races at the town festival this past weekend.

A little pep talk between heats from Dad.  Kenyon's turtle came in second and John's was third.
Both boys were happy with their results.  Both turtles were relieved when we released them at a pond in the hay field this morning. 
John loved riding the mechanical bull VERY SLOWLY.  

Kenyon would have ridden all night long if we had allowed him.  He had an absolute blast. 

All this blogging is making me tired.  If only I looked so sweet and peaceful while dreaming.  Just add 30 years, three kids, a messy ponytail on the top of my head and drool running out the corner of my mouth and we're almost twins.