Saturday, December 31, 2011

He's a Comedian!

Although the recessional at our wedding included "The Farmer in the Dell" and the theme song from Green Acres, I did not marry Weldon because he was a farmer nor for the rolling green hills where he lived.

Au contraire, what captured my heart was his kindness and his sense of humor. Now you, too, can experience a few minutes of his creativity and silliness. I hope you enjoy his Christmas story.

May 2012 be filled with strength & peace for each day
and plenty of joy to share with your family and friends.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mystery Solved

A farm can survive as long as it has able-bodied workers. In my book, without being too stereotypical, those workers should be strong MEN!! Weldon's dad had four brothers, but his dad was the only one who went into farming. I guess he figured some sons would come along to help him carry the load. So, first a daughter, then a SON, and then another daughter.
All three children helped around the farm as they were growing up, but Weldon knew from the start that he wanted to be a dairy farmer, just like his dad. I guess he figured some sons would come along to help him carry the load. So, first a daughter, then another daughter, and then another daughter.
Really pathetic that I don't have a picture of just the 3 girls :-(

It seems strange, and I've often asked myself, "WHY weren't there more sons to put their backs to the plow, to carry on the name of this fine family farm?"

This past Monday evening, I got my answer. Papa John brought his 4H Club (and many of the parents) to watch us milk the cows. One lady asked, "What do you do with the calves?" Weldon replied, "We keep the females and SELL THE MALES. There's NO NEED FOR MALES on a dairy farm." It was truly a "light bulb" moment!
In closing, let me say, "Weldon, you should be mighty glad that your dad didn't subscribe to this dairy farm truth!"

And, by way of a postscript to our fabulous grandsons: This farm maxim does not apply to third-generation males. You are safe!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bringing in the Harvest
Without seeing any cows, I know that this is (or was) a dairy farm.  From whence cometh such great wisdom? My clue is the silo. Dairy cows eat silage, and silage is generally stored in silos.

About this time of year, the silos are getting pretty empty. If you have been a diligent farmer, your corn crop is ready to be harvested. And if the good Lord has blessed the crop, it will be enough to fill the silos and feed your cows until next year.

Spring of 2011 was too wet to get an early planting and the summer was very dry; thus Weldon's corn was quite short in comparison to his usual awe-inspiring crop. When we'd drive by, he'd say to the corn, "You should be ashamed of yourself!" But the Lord provided rain before things got too desperate and Weldon did some irrigating down by the river.

Weldon started getting ready for the harvest in mid-September. Preparation involves getting the tractors and wagons ready, sharpening the knives of the corn chopper, climbing in & out of silos to make sure everything is in order, and all kinds of other stuff I know nothing about.

The first week in October saw Weldon & a friend cutting the corn along the road and taking care of the first of the breakdowns.
Can you see Weldon under there?
Chopped corn = Silage

Then came the rain and a week of waiting for the ground to dry out. But when it was time to start up again, with 2, 3, and even 4 guys helping, they were bringing in the corn like there was no tomorrow! Yesterday they finished the fields by the river and behind our house.

Now it's just the corn below Edith's that needs cutting. After all his complaining about the short corn, it appears there will be too much for the silos to hold. But that's a good problem! Big THANKS to the Lord and to the guys who helped so freely and cheerfully.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


Before coming to the farm 7 years ago, I had not been around cats very much and certainly hadn't seen kittens being born nor watched them growing up. What a joy and a heartbreak it has been.

Only a few of the cats had names back then, but in May of 2005 I started naming the new ones. The first (and my forever favorite): Kit Carson.

Carson was just over a year old when she had her first babies, giving birth to them in a junk yard down the road. It didn't take me too long to figure out the perfect names: Sanford and Sonny.

Carson in the junk yard, note the old car seat behind the bicycles.
Her babies under the old car seat
Here they are, maybe 2 months old

Carson was always a good mother and always had her babies down in the vicinity of this same junk yard. Over the years, she had a lot of babies, but usually just one or two in a litter. However, once she had four! I wanted to show you a little video of them, but can't get it to download. Maybe next time :-)

In early 2010, the coyotes discovered the farm and the farm cats. We knew that Carson had given birth to new kittens, down the road as usual. We tried to find them so we could move them closer to the house and hopeful safety. Unfortunately, Carson and her unknown number of babies were never found.

As if losing way too many cats & kittens to coyotes wasn't bad enough, on November 6, 2010, Sonny was killed by wild/stray dogs.

On October 8, 2011, Sanford came to the milk barn for his morning neck rub and I could see he was in a bad way. Weldon gave him a shot of penicillin, but he died peacefully that evening.

The only surviving direct descendant of Kit Carson is Samantha. She has already been a miracle kitty, and it seems the coyotes are taking a break, so perhaps she will live a long and peaceful life here on the farm.

This post is dedicated to Kit Carson, Sanford & Sonny, and all the other kitties who have gone on before. I hope they are instigating all kinds of kitty shenanigans in the lush fields and junk yards of heaven.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

September  2011
Another month, come and gone! I'll try to keep this short and sweet. Here are some of the highlights, in no particular order.
Just for pretty

In memory of the tragedy of 9/11, I read the book Thunder Dog:The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson. It was a real eye-opener :-) Seriously, I learned a lot!!

At the beginning of the month, for a couple of days, we were only milking 7 cows! And on the last day of the month (yesterday), we were milking 12 cows. How did that happen? you ask. Well, a cow/heifer on maternity leave has a baby and, tah dah, we have a cow to milk (and a baby calf to bottle feed). Five new little mouths ... 3 heifers, 2 bulls.

This little cutie was born just 2 days ago

I'm about halfway through the book by Ann Voskamp, the author/blogger that I made fun of back on August 4th. I have repented of my attitude and am really enjoying the book. It's a lesson we've heard many times and yet find very hard to live out on a daily basis: give thanks! She has wonderful quotes from a wide range of seekers both past and present. Have I started my list of 1,000 gifts? No ... but I might.

The best part of the month (the year!) was having my mom & dad here for a week! They hadn't been to the farm since they came seven years ago for our wedding. Katie flew in from NY for 4 days and Anna & Marshall came up from Charlotte for the weekend. We didn't do anything too exciting; it was enough just being together.
The nuts don't fall far from the tree?
Let's see, what else? Weldon & I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on the 25th. We've both had a cold for about a week. He is getting ready to chop corn, maybe starting as soon as Monday. Busy, busy.  So, that's enough for September. Anyway, it's October now, so I have to quit.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

...My Tribute...
As promised, this will be a farm-ish post. Or, more specifically, a farmer-ish post. I'd like to introduce you to my husband Weldon. Of course you have seen him previously in this blog, but I wanted to take time to give him some well-deserved praise.
Like his father before him, Weldon has been a dairy farmer all his life. He knew what he wanted to do while he was still in high school and so he chose not to attend college. Because of this, he often jokes that he "wasted" his brain. Nothing could be further from the truth! If something needs figuring out, he'll figure it out. If something needs fixing, he'll fix it. If something needs remembering, he'll remember it. Well, not like birthdays or that kind of thing ... just random facts and trivia :-)

His "job" is milking cows, but whatever needs doing, he has to do it. His dad died in February of 2006 and, since then, he has 3 old ladies (his mom, his older sister, and his loving wife!) to supply what little help they can give.
So, here are a few of the things I have seen him do. First and foremost are the cow-related tasks: milk them, artificially inseminate them, wash & feed them, take them to the livestock market or butcher, chase them over hill & dale, help deliver their calves, de-worm & de-horn them, treat them for mastitis or any other maladies. I think he has called on a vet just 3 or 4 times in the seven years we have been married. Truly, he could have been a vet. He is amazing! Where did he learn all this stuff???

These next duties still relate to the cows, because they have to be fed! He grows the best corn in the county, maybe even the state!
The seed corn has to be purchased, fields prepared, seeds planted. If the good Lord doesn't send enough rain, Weldon sets up his irrigation pipes and pumps "poopie pond" water to help the corn grow. Harvest time is one of the few times he will call on friends for help. He can't do it by himself, and 3 old women are of no use whatsoever! The corn is chopped and blown into the silos. I have posted on this previously, so go check the archives.

Alright. I can see this will go on way too long! I haven't even mentioned all the jobs that need doing every day or twice a day! You know the old saying: "A woman's work is never done." Well, I have learned that a farmer's work is never done! Machinery breaks down; fences fall apart; branches need trimming & fallen trees need to be cut up for firewood. Buildings sag, roofs leak; motors stop running at the most importune times. Friends call for help, mother's garden must be tilled, and "the wife" has to be taken out for lunch at least a few times a year or the marriage may be in jeopardy.
When you're the owner/operator of a small dairy farm, you have to do everything yourself because there's no money to call in the professionals. You don't just go out and buy a new "whatever" - you fix the old whatever or make do in some hobbled-up fashion until there's no other choice. You're living, but not exactly making a living :-) Of course there are benefits, like .... oh, I don't know. I guess I'll leave that for another post.
But Weldon is not all work. He takes time to play with the kitties and enjoy a sunrise or sunset. He smells the wildflowers (and takes time to bring me a bouquet every now & then) and revels in his black raspberry patch. At one point in his life, Weldon learned how to fly and got his pilot's license. Now his hobby is the computer - keeping in touch with his "tractor nuts" on a couple of farming/agricultural sites. There is neither time nor money for "entertainment," so we pretty much entertain ourselves. It's a good thing we both have a sense of humor.
When people ask, Weldon says farming is not hard work. But I can say, from experience, farming IS hard work. You start in the dark of morning and don't finish until the sun has set. But, it's what Weldon knows and loves. And I love him, so here we are.
And this is my puny attempt at a tribute to my farmer Weldon.
Thank you, Weldon, for all the thankless jobs you do.
Thank you for your sense of humor.
Thank you for your faith.
Thank you for following your heart.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


In June 2010, I started a list of the names of all the cats & kittens then on the farm - 50 of them!! After that summer of more kittens being born and coyotes killing indiscriminately, we were down to 39. As of May 2011, we were holding steady at about 39 - but 11 of them were unnamed kittens born this past spring. Then I just couldn't do the list any longer ... broke my itty-bitty heart :-(

It looks like the coyotes have moved on ... at least for now. It seems the mommies got smart and they hide their babies till they're quite big. Because of that, we have some young ones that are pretty wild. I try to give them names, but it's a little difficult since I'm not sure if they're male or female.

I have gone
a long while without taking pictures of the cats, but I finally got over it (sorta). So, without further ado ... please enjoy some of our babies. They are truly the joy of my daily life on the farm.

Hans Solo - one of our youngest

Hans, his mom Slappy, & Iris
Gretchen with her 3 boys,
Samson, Simon, & Seth

The next two are "adoptees" and relatively new to farm life:

& Kitty Manx
And, finally, one of the oldest ones left on the farm, the only remaining son of Kit Carson (may she rest in peace) - Sanford
I gotta feed that boy ... he looks awfully skinny!

In case you're wondering, we do still have cows and crops and crap. My next post, honestly, I'll try to make about something more farm-ish. farm... ish... get it?? oh, I crack me up!!! Till then, keep on smiling :-)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Amusing? Perhaps ....

In the past weeks, I have been thinking about the title of my blog, Farm Muse. Just to make sure, I looked up the definition of muse: "To be absorbed in one's thoughts; engage in meditation. To consider or say thoughtfully. A state of meditation." I was pretty certain of the meaning of farm, so I didn't look that one up.

I do spend quite a bit of time thinking (meditating?), but that doesn't seem to be reflected in the blog. Most of my posts are "just the facts, ma'am." We did this, here's the field, the kittens are getting bigger, hope your Christmas was wonderful, etc.

What brought this quandary to the forefront of my mind? A friend mentioned a blog that she thought I might enjoy, entitled "A Holy Experience." Guess what? I don't like it much. It's WAY too much musing and meditating for my taste. Pretty music playing in the background (I turn it off); long sentences or fragments thereof with too many adjectives; long, daily posts with scads of pictures. She's a farmer's wife, mother of SIX, an author .... Okay, I admit it - I'm jealous and that's why I hate her and her blog :-)

[insert fabulous photo]

Another friend and I were talking and this friend mentioned that a friend of hers had told her about the above hinted-at book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. So, when I saw the Kindle edition was on sale for $2.99, I decided to buy it. I haven't started it yet and I probably won't like it, but I bought it.

[if you had the proper plug-in, you could be listening to lovely music right now]

The blogger and author whom I am belittling, Ann Voskamp, admits that life is messy, but that she is writing and trying to live the words of grace and faith. She says it much better than I just did, so click on her name and read it for yourself. She will probably thank me for all the readers who will now find her blog and buy her book :-)

In my younger days, if you had said, "Life is messy," I would have responded, "Not on my watch! Everything neat and in its proper place." But going through a divorce, living on my own for 10 years, and then becoming a farmer's wife at the ripe age of 53 have turned my world upside down. Now if you say, "Life is messy," I will respond by saying "Amen!!" Life is messy, but I'm living it by grace and faith - even when my words don't express that with great conviction or beauty.

I have written this silliness not to put a sweet Christian writer down (I will probably have to eat my words and send her a written apology), but to let you know that I have discovered I am not a muse, at least not first and foremost. Perhaps, more correctly, this blog is not a place where I have let you see into my thoughts and meditations.

A Muse? ... probably not.
Amusant? ... peut-etre.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring and Growing Things

Since summer is officially less than a week away, I think it's time to share some pictures of things growing around here this spring. It has been a strangely beautiful season ... too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry ... but in spite of the ups and downs, the farm is quite lush and green. So, without further ado, here are the pics.

Last year I planted 12 tulip bulbs (first time ever!) and 11 came up. I was in shock.
In the early spring, we have a backyard of violets.
A Scented Sun camellia that froze in the late winter tried valiantly to open. Even though it wasn't perfectly gorgeous, it had a beautiful scent!
Weldon was determined to plant more red raspberry bushes for me. The perfect place, according to him, was in the front yard! They're growing nicely and have even produced a handful of berries.
Last year, Katie and I transplanted some irises from Pat's old place. They all came up this spring and one plant even produced an iris!
The peonies were beautiful, until the rains beat them to the ground.
The hummingbird bush/plant went wild this year, climbing over the mailbox, the peach tree, and the fallen log. I think I'll have to find a new home for it.
We buy strawberries not far from here, but it was an incredibly short season due to all the rain!
Our black raspberries are doing themselves proud.
Baby kitties are sprouting up
and grandkids are getting bigger.

I love growing things, especially when they don't depend too much on me :-) Life is good, and it's a joy to have so many things to smile about, each and every day. Count your blessings, name them one by one!