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Baby|Calf Watch 2014

5 Jan
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The hubs has already spent half the night in the pasture watching for new babies, but is at it again just as the sun is coming up.

Just about 3 weeks away from D-Day, but our cows are in the heat of calving and today many decided to pop out during the first snow storm of 2014. Not only are we expected to get about 8 inches of snow, but the wind chill is suppose to be in the -20’s. Those of us living in Southern Missouri sure aren’t used to these sub-zero temps.

Calving season is my favorite time of the year. All the hard work throughout the year makes it worth it when you see the calves nursing and chasing their mamas across the field.

At this stage in my pregnancy, I can’t really do a whole lot on the farm. However, I do make a pretty good side-kick, secretary, tag-maker and gate-getter. Since I can’t get out of the truck, I snapped some pics with my phone to keep myself entertained.

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Extended cab trucks come in handy during these winter calving months. Thawing out this baby, she was one of four who chilled out in the truck with me this morning.

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My Ozark’s & Harvest Time

24 Oct

Fall TreeIt is finally cooling off here in my Ozark hills. And I am actually thankful. I am ready to curl up under blankets, bundle up in warm sweaters and even see a little snow on the ground. But soon we will all be wishing for green grass, blooming flowers and a warm breeze. It is harvest time throughout the country and I recently came across this writing from my Great Grandma Helen. Her favorite time of the year was Spring, but she always honored the farmers who worked tireless hours bringing in the crops before winter hit.

As far as I know these are her original words, but she often quoted her favorite authors. Remember these are unedited. But as you read you can see her passion for the land, farmers, nature and her relentless faith.

Yes deep in the heart of the Ozarks, life is real and beautiful, we worship God in our little country churches by the side of the roads our voices mingle together in song and in prayer. “Farmers,” “Ozarks Farmers,” God bless them. We come to the close of another harvest with Thanksgiving in our hearts.

If last year we toiled long and hard in our fields, drought and insects overwhelmed our efforts with failure of a good crop. Does not the kindly springtime seem to say to each of us “forget the heartaches of yesterday, and with joy and hope in your heart, roll up your sleeves and try again.”

To me there is something holy about the springtime, and the return of the birds with their songs, and the eternal grass and the wild flowers that grow up on the hillside and in our fields and meadows. How dreary life would be without them.

In all nature there is nothing more mysterious remarkly then the coming and going of our birds, and how these lovely little creatures know that winter and blizzards are in the offering and it is time to seek a warmer climate, and later when spring is on the way, these things are secrets, known only to God and themselves.

Out in California, there is an old mission that was built by the Spandard’s of long ago. At a given day on a given hour back fall time the 100 of swallows that make their home in that centuries old structure suddenly depart and on a certain day and hour, in the springtime they as suddenly reappear, and who shall say that life ends at the grave when we are surrounded by forces that are thus beautiful, and as mysterious as they are beautiful when the frost of Oct. comes the leaves of the trees turn sear and yellow.

The autumn winds blow them hither and you and the trees upon which they grow stand stark and bare, and yet comes the spring. The leaves return in all their glory, dull lifeless bark opens to let pink-white blossoms push their way to the sun. This is how we know life does not end suddenly with the words – dust to dust.

The roots bid their time in the frozen earth and quicken into life with the April shoulder. But root or seed they unite in proclaiming to all the world that God intended that they shall live forever. And if this is true of the wild rose and the little brown seed why should it not be a thousand times more so of a human soul.

This is the message of our harvest and springtime, when God strives to give us new courage and also it is life, for just as drought’s insects or flood would soon bring us face to face with starvation, so would not our muscles grow soft if all our harvest were golden. Always we must take the bitter with the sweet it is God’s way, it is life.

It is no trouble for us who life in the country to believe in the resurrection, we know full well that nothing in nature is ever completely destroyed. At this harvest season we give out thanks and know it is sleeping for awhile our nature, then in a few weeks the whole countryside will echo. I am the resurrection and the life.

Books-A-Million

29 Dec

Okay…so maybe I didn’t get a million books for Christmas, but I did get quite a few. And I couldn’t be happier. Books are something that I have a true passion for. Reading is something that has been instilled in me from a very young age. Every night before bed my mom would read to me. Of course, it started out with children’s book that were just a few pages long. Then, it progressed into chapter books like the classic books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the entire collection of The Chronicles of Narnia. As a young girl I collected The Boxcar Children and American Girl books, just to name a few. As a young adult I was drawn to mysteries and love stories. And now as an older young adult, I will actually read anything and everything. Genres I never thought I would ever enjoy, like sci-fi, are now some of my favorites.

I put off reading books on my iPhone and iPad for as long as I could, because I love the nostalgic feeling of holding a real book in my hands and placing it on my shelf once finished with a smile of accomplishment. But I gave in about a year ago and am addicted to the ease of reading wherever I am without remembering to grab a book (iPhone is always with me) and the ability to quickly buy the next book of a series without running to the nearest bookstore.  I have to admit I do go back and buy the traditional books when I read one I truly love.

My love for reading runs in the family. My great-grandma Helen was not only a writer but an avid reader as well. She instilled the love for reading into my mom and my mom has passed it down to me. Thank you both for giving the best gift this girl could ask for. I dream of one day having a large room covered from wall to wall with books. I don’t really have any hobbies, so I guess collecting books is my so-called hobby of choice.

Over the past couple of years my mom has bought me some of the classics for my birthday and Christmas, so I too can have a copy to read to my kids one day. Right now I am working on collecting the Little House series and The Chronicles of Narnia.

So, naturally when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas this year I said books. I received a rather large range of topics this year and can’t wait to dig in. Which should I read first?

The Hobbit 

The Lucky Ones by Ann Godbersen

Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Writer’s Life

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist: Writings from the Ozarks

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By the Shores of SIlver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier

A to Z Crochet

Books

What book are you currently reading?

Update:

I just finished reading The Hobbit! As it was written for a younger audience, it was a fast read. I recommend the classic for all ages. My next goal is to read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I watched the movies years ago, but I hear the books add so much to the great tail.

Fall In My Hills

17 Oct

Fall is here! I am utterly surprised how beautiful it is here in my Ozark Hills. Our summer was dry to say the least. Our pastures were brown, our yards were brown and our trees suffered as well. This being said, I assumed (and we know what that does) we would have a colorless fall. But luckily I was wrong. The colors are everywhere. The trees are fulls of golden yellows, shades of red and our pastures are actually green. I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures yesterday as we were feeding. I only had my iPhone and I am no professional photographer…so don’t judge!

Superstitious Season

1 Oct

I can’t believe it is already October 1st. It is officially Halloween season. I know we have seen decorations, customs and candy in stores for well over a month, but today is the day that I will publicly acknowledge the holiday. (Yes, I am aware that you can already find Christmas décor in stores, which I find ridiculous, but that topic deserves it’s own post entirely.)

In honor of the Halloween season I want to share a few superstitions I found of my great grandmas. I am sure she had many more growing up in these rural hills, but she only wrote two of them down.

  • Whippoorwills and cicada’s at nightfall, when you hear a wood thrush sing, that was an omen of death.
  • If hoot owls bother you of night, jist git up and turn your shoes upside down under the bed and they stop right away.

Do you have your own superstitions or have you heard a few from your family members?

Birthday Month

14 Sep

September has always held a special place in my heart. Why? Duh…it’s my birthday month. Over the years I have reminded everyone around me of my birthday and that I don’t just celebrate it one day out of the year. Maybe a birthday week will satisfy you or even just a day. I like to celebrate it for the entire month.

Until now. I feel like my upcoming birthday has slipped up on me without me even noticing it. Why? Age is the answer. I am getting old and I don’t want to. Maybe it is because there are things I had wished to have before I turned 28 years old or maybe it’s because I still don’t know what I want to do with my life.

Skipping the entire month of September is obviously not an option. So I wanted to remind myself that September is still a great month even though I am not recognizing it as my birthday month anymore. I found this piece my great grandma wrote about autumn. It reminds me I need to look at what is around me and be thankful for what I do have in life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

One morning I go out to pick goldenrods and wild asters, and suddenly it is September, the air is clean and sweet after the rain and smells of wild grapes and windfall apples and a haze hang over the earth.  I get the urge to go for a walk in the woods.

Days grow shorter and a fire in the fireplace feels good after the sun is down. The birds are flocking together, getting ready for that mysterious schedule they all know so well, September is fog over the river and a heavy dew of mornings and the month of the harvest moon. Farmers are gathering in the harvest and looking forward to the next full moon, the hunters moon, and so is his dog, coon’s will feed in the corn fields close to a river and that my friends, will be the place where the hunter and coon-dog will go. When you walk out into the night you can see the smoke float down from the old chimney, look up into the starry sky and (quote Tabor) “There is no remedy for love but to love.”  The goldenrods are many and beautiful and on a sunny afternoon the goldenrod patches are covered with honey bees, as the clover fields are in June, the wood aster also has nectar so the goldenrod and wild aster furnish nectar for our bees in the fall. To many hunt the bee trees and destroy the bees far to late in the fall to make enough honey to last through the winter. My grandfather kept many hives of bees, and he preferred the late honey for his table, because it was so rich with goldenrod, along our school path in the hills grew many goldenrods and asters, I always think of those days when I see the golden patches, I love the long walks in the woods in autumn, I think of a friend that takes night rides on his horse and see and hear the many night creatures and sounds, been going to try it but never have. When autumn begins to walk around us I begin to take long walks in the hills, my mother taught me that and I have learned to love it, I remember her last autumn walk one cold day, she would stop and look around her and say its hazy today killing time as if she knew it was her last, and she was thinking of other walks we made the ones she didn’t need a sweater scarf and cane, in her young days she moved with the swiftness and grace of a deer, but age does something to us all.

Grandma’s Hills In Her Youth – Part 2

6 Sep

Ozark MountainsHere is part 2 of my great-grandma’s memory of life in her hills while she was a young girl. She writes a lot about her youth, but this particular piece focuses on her parents and of course the sights and sounds of the nature that surrounded her.

My mother liked things she could touch with her hands, plant, tend and make them grow (she could have been an artist and paint the trees in their spring glory or the autumn hues of yellow red and gold).  My dad believed in the sings, (of made belief he did).  I can still see him hat in hand looking up at the sky saying, see them clouds banking up be snow before morning, or did you hear that owl this afternoon going to be a change in the weather, sure enough when we looked out our bedroom window the next morning all was white and clean or perhaps before bedtime the soft feathery snow owl begin to fill the air, or the bats would come out early about twilight and the whipper will would fly early and low that was a sign of rain.  Plant in the light of the moon, if you wanted to grow potatoes.  Yes, that was our life among the hills, we worked, we played were happy with our own signs and our way of life.  There were hard lean years but always enough, we had our quarrels and sometimes a good clean fight but always a close family, I think everyone of us if we could would turn back the pages of time and live it all over again in our peaceful calm and silent hills.

Helen – 1973

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