Unexpected Bonus

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Corn pile on the lot across from the elevator

This week has turned out to be a busy one….again. I am not sure if I am moving slower or the time is just going faster…but the weeks seem to roll around quicker and quicker. Just when you think you are caught up, things seem to mushroom and you find out that you aren’t!

My husband thought he was all done hauling his crop into town to the local elevator, so we started putting the wagons back in the shed for the year. Then the neighbor stopped by and told him that there was still about 80 bushels of corn in the combine hopper.

This was a good problem…in fact a great problem! We were glad that there was a still a wagon that had not been put away. My husband brought the wagon to the neighbor’s place; where the combine was, and left it for the grain to be unloaded.

Today, we went and picked it up and hauled it to town. I don’t usually ride along, but this time my husband hauled the small load in with his pickup so I tagged along. As my husband was unloading the wagon in the “Dump 1” area I thought I should snap a few pictures.

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This is the view heading for the dumping area. The “tunnel” is where we went.

 

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Unloading Corn

It is a dusty business in the area where the grain is unloaded. The pictures might all have a dusty/grainy look to them due to the pictures being taken through the back window and the windshield.

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I am not totally sure what the Stop/Go sign is for. I suspect it is used when the harvest season is in full swing and tractors, trucks, and semis are waiting their turn to unload. I should have asked my husband but he was busy with the wagon at the time.

I have edited this post to add a comment from a friend of mine. She explained to me what the sign means: “The stop and go lights are to tell the driver when to stop over the pit and when to drive ahead with the next wagon. You can’t see that from in the tractor. In the “olden days” ( like 4 years ago🤣) they used hand signals. Yellow means you didn’t stop quick enough…back up. You don’t want to see that one lol”

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Once unloaded we took the “road” to the scale to weigh when we were empty and get the ticket that told us how many bushels we had brought in.

It was rather fun riding along with my husband. I got to experience that part of harvest in a way that I usually do not. I am usually at home making sure a meal is ready and hot when he comes home.

The extra, unexpected bushels were also a wonderful welcome surprise. It felt rather like a smile from God….a gift….a reminder that He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, ” (Ephesians 3:20).

May your weekend be filled to overflowing with blessings. I hope you find an unexpected bonus waiting for you and that it brings you joy.

 

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
Psalm 65:11

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Abundance

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Today, I happened to take the road that leads past the co-op elevator in our small town. What I saw made me stop and take a second and even a third look.  It also prompted me to whip out the cell phone and take a couple photos.

When we were kids in school we were told that we lived in the “breadbasket of the country.” I am starting to think that the bread might be corn bread.

Sprouting from the ground was a mammoth pile of field corn that ran the length of the entire block. There was an alley that ran right alongside this huge pile of corn, so of course I needed to drive past that pile to get the full scale of that golden mound of kernels.

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As I was slowly driving past it, I was amazed that it made the concrete silos behind it, look smaller than usual. I could only see the top half of those silos and that really made me take a hard look.

Those silos are really, really tall!  I know they are tall because when they were building them, as a kid, I tried climbing the ladder that ran up the side of one and never got anywhere near the top before I chickened out and went back down.

I came home and told my husband that I had taken a picture of that big pile of corn. He kind of laughed and informed me that there was another pile of corn on another location in town. I had to believe him as he is the one who has been hauling wagon loads of corn to town this harvest season.

As a farm wife I know there was talk of a record harvest. I also know that we had a dry summer so I was a little dubious if that record harvest would work out……I am now pretty sure they were right!

It is always amazing to me the abundance of a harvest. After prepping the fields in early spring, praying, then planting those fields, praying, weeding, praying, spraying, and praying some more it is finally harvest time.

I am not sure why I am always amazed….. God has never failed us yet. Even in dry years or overly wet years…there is always a crop. It might not always be huge…but it is always enough for our daily bread.

In this season of Thanksgiving I am so grateful for His faithfulness. I am grateful for His promise of daily bread. We have maybe not always have what we wanted; but we have always had what we needed, when we needed it. And that is enough.

Blessings to you in the coming days of preparing for Thanksgiving Day. May you find things to be grateful for and see the blessings around you. I know this is a little early for Thanksgiving…but I kind of think it is never to early to be grateful.

 

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryvandy402970.html?src=t_gratitude


 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty of the Seasons

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Seasons in the Midwest are so very temporary.  Our weather can change swiftly in a few days….not to mention how it changes in a couple weeks.  A few weeks back there were still leaves on the trees and and when the light of the setting sun landed on those trees it was positively glorious!

My husband came in the house one of those nights and told me I needed to get my camera because the view was beautiful…..he was so right!  The trees glowed in hues of russet and gold and the light seemed to dance across the landscape. (That man has a good eye and I am so glad he shares with me.)

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The fields are beautiful when they are green and growing but there is something about the golden stubble that carpets the earth once that field has been harvested. Maybe it is the feeling of contentment when that harvest is in and that golden glow is icing on the cake.

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I wandered about, that evening, in awe of the artistry of the Creator. You would think those tones of brown would be rather boring. Instead of boring; they were rich, vibrant and spoke of life. The crisp evening air was an added bonus.

A few days later we had several windy days…very windy days, and the russets and golds were all gone. In it’s place; were bare tree limbs, stretching to the sky….another season was trying to push itself forward.

The last few days have felt more wintry than Fall-like. The other morning we woke to a frosty landscape. It sparkled…it shimmered…it looked like someone had thrown glitter with reckless abandon.

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The morning sun turned those frosty branches into sparkling things of beauty. The intricate crystals were so delicate and fragile. They clung tenaciously to everything till the sun finally won and melted them.

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The fields had lost their golden glow and became a surreal world with a hazy dreamy quality. It was so cold that morning; you could see your breath,  but it was worth braving the cold to enjoy the show.

I started out standing on the porch in my socks, but soon decided I needed to get my shoes on and really experience the brief space of time that frost hung heavy on everything.

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Even  our humble mailbox had been turned into a piece of art. It stood there quietly, like a sentinel guarding the yard….standing proudly in the middle of frost covered grass.

The seasons all seem so fleeting…or maybe it is the beauty of the seasons seems so fleeting. The sun glows on the fall leaves for such a short time before the wind comes to strip the trees bare. The frost clings on branches such a short time before the heat of the sun melts them and the magic seems gone.

Sometimes life can be the same way.  The dreary days seem to last forever. Just when you think the dreary will never quit…. a ray of light shines through and turns the world into a golden fire or a sparkling, glittering showpiece.

I hope this finds you seeing that ray of light. If it doesn’t I pray, the promise of that ray of light feeds your faith and keeps hope alive. May you be blessed in the light and may you be blessed in the waiting for the light. Be assured…..it will come…..and you will see it. And when it does….it will be glorious!

 

“Some moments were golden;
they were designed and orchestrated by an invisible hand,
and they were meant to be more than moments.
They were meant to be memories.” 

― Heather BurchIn the Light of the Garden

 

 

 

 

Farm Gloves and Life

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The other day I had to ask my husband to break out a new pair of those yellow farm gloves for me….the fluffy feeling yellow ones.  The pair I had been wearing were just getting too worn to be of any good. (And they didn’t feel fluffy anymore!) The finger ends were all starting to get holes in them and that doesn’t make for much finger protection from who knows what.

He went down to the basement and dug out the last pair in my size. (sort of my size…if my fingers were each 1/2 inch, or more, longer) When I started to inspect them, I discovered a rodent had decided to chew on the wristband! I have a feeling he (the rodent….not my husband) won’t be chewing any more as my husband has been successfully trapping the little critters.

For years, when our boys were home, we would have to put our names on things so we knew who had which gloves etc.  For some reason I have not gotten away from that practice.

When the new gloves came out I whipped out the black sharpie and promptly put my name on those gloves…MOM.  I kind of laughed at that one also!  I don’t get called Mom unless the kids are around. It is habit I guess…that putting my name on them and then using the name Mom.

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I am good with that as I have earned that name.  I also discovered early on that if you turn those gloves the other way they read WOW…..I am good with that too! (And now I am wondering how many of you have turned your computer upside down to check that out?)  Some days you just need a wow moment. If you can’t have that moment, at least your gloves can say it.

These yellow farm gloves can seem rather pedestrian at first glance. They aren’t glamorous, trendy, cute, stylish, or even remotely fashionable.  They are just….gloves and extremely practical gloves at that. You can purchase them at a farm store by the dozen…..and we sometimes do! I should probably look into adding some bling to mine….then I could be practical and have a little sparkle.

In the scheme of things; I think I would rather be a farm glove, than something trendy. Farm gloves have staying power….they are reliable.  If these gloves were a person…they would not be easily offended…they would just dig right in and do what they were supposed to do without fear of what someone else thought about them.  I guess the word unassuming comes to mind with my farm gloves.

Maybe that is why I like these gloves. I don’t have to worry about them getting dirty or worn. They are made to be useful and that is a good thing in my mind. Hopefully I am a little like those gloves….not afraid of a little dirt and useful. (A hint of sparkle would be okay too!) It is also okay to be a little worn out….it shows that you have lived life and not held anything back.

I love the fact that a simple pair of yellow farm gloves can remind me of so many truths. The reminder, that at the end of the day……what you did has much more to say about who you are; than what you look like.

 

It is not the style of clothes one wears,
neither the kind of automobile one drives,
nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts.
These mean nothing.
It is simply service that measures success.
George Washington Carver

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgewash752550.html?src=t_clothes

 

 

 

Winter Preparations

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I cannot believe how fast these days are going. It is a mystery to me how we already are at Friday when it seems that just yesterday it was Monday! Does anyone else seem to have this issue or is it just me?

I kind of wonder if the time goes by so fast because there seems like there is so much to get done before it is really wintertime. There are so many things that need to be finished up….things like harvesting corn…..splitting the wood and making sure everything that isn’t used during the winter is put in it’s proper place.

The last days have been spent splitting wood, while we wait for corn to be harvested. It is good there is time to get this done before the weather really turns nasty.  Already, there is a bite to the wind as we are outside working on the wood pile.

I am really grateful that last year we purchased a log splitter.  We had never had one before and after my husband borrowed a friends, he decided we really should have one. We were very fortunate to find a splitter that was being sold as clearance late last fall.

For an entire year that splitter stayed in it’s crate and finally this past week we assembled it and put it to use. It is amazing how quickly you can go through wood with the right tools. In the past, my husband would put in hours doing all that work with a wedge and sledge hammer. (I have no idea if those are the proper terms and I am okay not knowing!)

It was interesting to see that sometimes perfectly good looking logs were not that great looking on the inside!  Several, when split in half, were a little rotten and had loads of big black ants in them.  The girls thought it was an amazingly great thing when that would happen.

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The girls might have enjoyed the ant-infested logs but I much preferred the good solid ones!  They looked like they would burn and give out a lot more heat than the mushy ones.

I have a feeling that we, as humans, can be a lot like those logs. We look great on the outside but inside we don’t look quite as good. Fortunately, if we are willing…..that not so good stuff can be redeemed and used for something good. While ants are not so good for logs….they are great for chicken food. “Stuff” in our lives that is not so good; can be turned around and used to help others through the same “stuff”.

There is a great feeling of satisfaction seeing the growing pile of wood, that we will use to help heat our home this winter.

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There is a sense of fulfillment seeing tasks finished up and being able to check them off the seasonal “to do” list. I know that when we put that wood in the stove this winter, while the snow is flying and the wind is howling, we will be grateful for the time and effort spent these last few days.

It is good knowing we are going to be prepared for the coming cold days. It is good knowing we can just go to the wood pile and it will be ready for us to just toss in the stove. It will be wonderful to feel the heat and just enjoy the season that is winter.

May all your seasonal preparations go smoothly and may you be blessed by all the “stuff” that makes up your life. Have a wonderful weekend!

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.””
–Edith Sitwell

 

 

Identity in Photos

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This past week I was challenged on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge. The hard part of that challenge was to use only photos to show who I was…my identity.  I wasn’t allowed to use any words….any explanations….any photos of people… to tell the story of my life. It really was a challenge!

I thought I didn’t do too badly….except I could not find a way to include my family. The challenge made me realize that as people, we really have many facets to our lives. Our lives are intricate linkings of so many things….people, places, things, ideas, beliefs etc.

I am going to share with you some of the photos that I posted. If you are a regular reader, a couple of the photos might be familiar to you. They might look slightly different because I changed them from color, to black and white.

The photo up top is pretty self-explanatory….blogging and tea are a part of my life that I thoroughly enjoy. I have never made a dime from it and more than likely never will, but I have met so many wonderful people through blogging. There are so many of you that I would love to sit on the porch and share a cup of tea/coffee with.

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The Girls and Their Home

I thought I should definitely include a photo of my chicken coop, complete with a couple of the girls. (This is one of the photos that may be familiar!) If I am the Chicken Grandma I guess it stands to reason; chickens are a part of my life. I have learned many lessons from the chickens I have known and cared for. I have a feeling they have many more lessons to teach me.

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Another facet of my life would be my participation in using essential oils and other products from Young Living. I have found them to be useful to me in so many ways. I love to help others learn about them and love using products that contain natural ingredients rather than a lot of man made chemicals. I have been fortunate to meet many great people this way also.

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Solid Ground For Me

My faith is a big part of my life and this year I am participating in a Bible study of the Fruit of the Spirit through Coffee Break Bible Studies. This is my first year with this group and I am finding it to be a great experience.  Once again….so many good people!

The next two pictures were, for me, ways that show life with my husband. My husband loves the thought of being self-sufficient. He loves large gardens, living off the land and burning wood in our wood stove. I love this picture for that very reason.

I also love the texture and the roundness of those logs. Knowing they will make my house nice and warm this coming winter is a great thing too!

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This man that I married 37 years ago was born a farm boy and remains very much a farm guy. The first 6 months of our married life we lived in a very small town. He could not wait to move out to the farm where he didn’t see anyone when he stepped out the front door.

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The M Farmall is the second tractor we ever owned. Every so often my husband wonders if he should sell it, but then decides it isn’t worth that much money, so he may as well hang on to it. I am always glad he decides to keep it as I am a little sentimental about that old tractor.

When I look at those pictures I realize they portray only a small part of my life. There are so many things I did not get included. Not being able to include photos of family, friends and loved ones leaves a huge hole in the fabric of life.

I realized that objects cannot replace relationships and never will. I also know that one can not really share their entire life in the space that a few photos take…..it takes a lifetime to share a life.  It takes a lifetime to know someone and to be known.

Have a blessed weekend. Take the time to build those relationships…the ones that last and stand the test of time. Those relationships are a wonderful gift and blessing.

 

“Through others we become ourselves.” 
― Lev S. Vygotsky

 

The whole point is to live life and be –
to use all the colors in the crayon box.
RuPaul

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Chicken Coops and Change

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These last few weeks have seemed to be speeding by. I am pretty sure it isn’t because we are getting older and moving slower.  (It might be, but I am not going to admit to that!) I think it is just the time of year; when time is growing short, to get outside things done.

We seem to be busy from morning light to the sun going down. We have been spending time by my brother-in-law cutting downed ash trees to be used to help heat our home this winter.

We have also been spending time harvesting soybeans, cleaning up the remaining things in the garden, working on our closet (when it rains…and yay…it is finished!), and just generally getting things ready for the winter season.

Yesterday, time was spent prepping the chicken coop for the winter season. The nesting boxes were cleaned out. We scooped up the old bedding from the floor and used my trusty wheelbarrow to transport it to the garden for fertilizer for the next summer crop. Actually my husband is the fertilizer transporter….he has wonderful technique in spreading it in a nice layer over the garden.

During the hot summer months my husband changes out a glass window for a screen window so the girls get a little breeze during those balmy days. Now that those days are gone, he switched the window back to the glass one. I couldn’t believe how much difference it made when I went to lock them in at night.

The coop cleaning is something that is done twice a year….spring and fall. I have come to expect this to happen sometime between  soybean harvest and corn harvest. I try to be prepared for that day when my husband comes in and announces that today is the day for coop cleaning.

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It is wonderful to go into the chicken coop those first days after it has been cleaned. Everything smells to pine or cedar shavings. The bedding on the floor is clean and dry and the nesting boxes look so inviting.

I don’t know if the girls really appreciate it or not….but I know that I do! I know they kick up a fuss while we are cleaning their home.  They come in and inspect…… often, voicing their opinions with loud clucking and fussing.

Watching them kick up a fuss I started to wonder if we kick up the same fuss when things get cleaned out in our lives? Do we wander about protesting loudly about the changes that are happening? Do we fuss and squawk about it, when in reality, our lives will be so much better when it is finished?

Are we reluctant to release the old way of life for a better one? Or do we firmly dig in our heels and make change more difficult than it needs to be? I know that I, for one, find change is sometimes hard. I like the familiar even if it is not the best for me. Like my girls…..I don’t like the unknown that change can hold.

One of my favorite songs about how hard change can be; is sung by Sara Groves……”Painting Pictures of Egypt.” When I hear that song I realize I am not so different from the Israelites in the wilderness.

Hopefully we learn to not fear the “cleaning” that our lives sometimes need. Hopefully we learn to accept those changes with grace and a curiosity about what life holds next. May we see the blessing in the changes. May we look forward to the future and be grateful for the past.

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

 

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28