The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

Posts tagged ‘farm’

Pumping Adrenaline…

I’ve always been sort of an adrenaline junkie…

I was the teenager who’d go cliff jumping when I was states away from my parents and primary care physician. I was the twenty-something who ran around a newsroom before going “live”. I was the thirty-something who traveled the subways in Paris during rush hour. I drive fast, wear high heels, and like my green chile H-O-T (don’t give me the mild stuff)!

I like the rush.

This year’s wheat harvest gave me that same sort of feeling. You’re constantly on the go and always dealing with obstacles that can delay you whether it be break downs, melt downs, or wild weather.

This year’s harvest had its fair share of wild weather for sure. I’m not going to lie, I hate storms. But, when the combines are still rolling, the wheat is still being cut, and we’re still trying to get double cropped soybeans in the ground, I feel like I have to be out there too.

We had storms twice during this year’s harvest. Let the rush begin…

I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

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Harvest Romance

Even though wheat harvest is in full swing now, we shook some things up on the farm and I got a break from riding in a combine on Day 4.  Let’s just say if you are married to–or planning to marry–a farmer you will need to make some adjustments during this time of the year if you want to spend time with your beloved.

Among these adjustments include the definitions of “date night” and “romantic”.

As Paris Hilton would say, “That’s hot!”

When life gets busy, make it busier!

It’s wheat harvest time in central Kansas, and for many farmers–including the Baldwins–that means we are busy trying to get the wheat cut as quickly as possible.

It makes sense for me to stay busy while the crew is out in the fields cutting wheat.  I don’t want to drive a combine (they’re too big for me), I can’t drive a semi-truck (I don’t have the license), and we all know I’m a domestic disaster in the kitchen–’nuff said.

So to make myself feel as if I’m being useful and productive, I figured I’d bring out the cameras and document this time of the year.  That’s what I normally do, except this year I’m sharing it with you as well.  After all, when life gets busy, make it busier!

Pop Quiz From The Farm

Ok class, get out your pencils.  It’s time for a pop quiz!

I know, I know–but I’m still in summer school, so humor me!

Can anyone tell me what these are?


Ok, maybe this will help…

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller?

Ok, here’s another hint…

This is what is normally found at the location of the mystery balls.

Good job!  So we know it’s my couch.

But what ARE the mystery balls that are on the couch?

I’ll give you one more hint.

This is where the mystery balls should be…


BINGO—soybean seeds on my couch!

Lordy, Lordy! 

Please don’t judge me.

I won’t even show you my washing machine.

Trust me, it’ll give you nightmares. Nightmares!!

The above photographic pop-quiz is evidence that we are knee deep (err, pocket deep?) in soybean planting.

When I say “we” it should be noted that the guys on Baldwin Farms are knee deep in soybean planting–this might help solve the mystery of who put the soybeans on my couch.

I'm not pointing any fingers.

Either way, they are the ones in the fields planting, and delivering the fertilizer, and moving seed, and dealing with mechanical issues–all while ALSO checking wheat fields to determine how close the wheat is to harvest.

They are the ones who go home dirty, and weathered, and exhausted.

I’m just knee-deep in dirty laundry, and meal deliveries, and taking pictures (and chillin’ with Swirls the Cat in the air conditioning).

And while it seems like the pile of dirty jeans and socks just N-E-V-E-R ends, I won’t bore you with those details (or pictures).

I WOULD like to show off what I’ve been doing in the kitchen.

Keep in mind, I’m NOT a domestic diva–my sister got all of those genes.

Lucky punk!

If I were to ever have taken a cooking class, I would probably have failed–miserably.  Let’s just say my style of cooking relates more to Dirty Jobs than America’s Next Top Chef.

BUT, I might have had a breakthrough.

I was missing my momma's spinach salad, so I made my own. Sorry Mom, now that I know how to make this stuff, I won't be able to visit until Thanksgiving (just kidding).

How to make Dutch Spinach Salad–

1.  Go out to your garden and pick a lot of spinach and two little green onions (avoid the areas Buddy the Dog frequents).  And be sure to wash them–just to be safe (and sanitary)!

2.  Fry up some bacon on the stove.

3.  While the bacon is frying, combine the following in a bowl:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 (or so) tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or so) of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • About 2/3 cup of water

4.  Once the bacon is done, remove it from the pan and place on a paper towel to get the excess grease off.

5.  After you’ve “blotted” all of the excess grease off the bacon, take the egg mixture and, wait for it, wait for it…pour it into the bacon grease still in the pan!!!

6.  Cook and stir the egg mixture with the grease until it thickens, then pour the hot “dressing” over the spinach.

7.  Garnish with the bacon and the chopped onions.

It’s sooooo gooood!!

And if I can make it–anyone, ANYONE, A-N-Y-O-N-E can make it!

That’s all I’ve got.  The rest have been bologna sandwiches, potato chips and applesauce.

Sorry Paul Deen, I’m a failure.

Class dismissed.


This is a mailbox…

Image not taken at an angle.

This is a mailbox at Baldwin Farms…

Fung shui mailbox

Any questions?

About a month (or so) ago we received a nice little postcard from our mailperson.  The postcard basically stated that we needed to fix our mailbox or (ELSE!!!) mail would not be delivered (thus, held hostage) and we’d have to drive into town to retrieve our parcels.

Being that it is mandatory that all magazines, newspapers, legal documents and junk mail addressed to us (or our neighbors, on occasion) must spend a minimum of three days in the box prior to being brought into the house (upon good behavior, this may be reconsidered), we knew that old mailbox could hold some weight and didn’t need fixed.

The mailbox has survived snow plows this past winter, whipping winds this spring and has done so for who knows how many years–it was another one of those things that came with the farm.  It has been a sturdy part of the roadside landscape.

Besides, it has character.  Who wants a nice, new shiny mailbox when you can have an old rusted, wobbly box?  Not I–which is why we promptly threw the postal warning in the trash.

Well, we got another friendly reminder this week.  Now we had 10 days to take care of the problem (OR ELSE!).  Since the corn is completely planted, Adam decided it was time, and when I drove home from school one day, the landscape had changed…to this:

Rest In Peace, Rusty Box.

It’s just so not “rustic country” anymore.

I hope you’re happy, Il Postino!!

Aside from having to deal with the changes a new mailbox brings, it’s also turkey season in central Kansas.

This means I’ve had some very interesting conversations with a few of my students…

Student A:  Hey Mrs. Baldwin, why do you have a Big Sweet Sally blow-up thing in the back of your car?

Me:  Uhh, what??

Student B:  Yeah, there’s a Sweet Sally in the backseat!

Me:  Uhh, WHAT?!?!

Please help me...

This also means I’ve had to start threatening to confiscate turkey calls if they become an annoyance—not from my students—but from my husband.

Apparently, the turkeys have become a bit too comfortable with their environment as they have made some appearances pretty darn close to the house.

What the?!? There are turkeys in the apple orchard!

Adam, get your gun!!

We also have more photographic evidence that they are roaming the area…

Candid Camera

Sorry Tom, you got too close for comfort. And stay away from the apple trees!

Speaking of comfort, I’m beginning to think Swirls the Cat has decided to set up permanent residence in the house.

Is this what it's like having a teenager in the house?

Swirls, get up and take out the trash!

If you can't get up with the rest of us, maybe you shouldn't be tom-cattin' around all night!

I realized this at about 2:30 one night when I awoke to find the furball sleeping on my head!  Not near my head, ON MY HEAD!

There had been signs that he was planning on a more permanent stay after we granted him refuge from this rough winter.

"Who ME??? I'm not doing anything..."

"Honestly, nothing's in the bag, I'm umm, just getting a quick snack..."

"Ok, Ok, Ok, I took some advice from Buddy. He said I should hide my stuff."

In fact, I might have been the one who led the lobbying efforts to let him come in the house this winter so he wouldn’t get eaten by hungry coyotes.  I think he’s taking full advantage of the situation.

Hey, wake up and go hunt some mice!

"I'll do it later. Turn off the lights, I'm tired."

The writing has been on the wall…er, in the bag….or on the couch….or in the guest room for quite some time.

But he’s just so darn cute—when he’s not sleeping on your head.

"Listen Buddy, I need your opinion. How do you think I can overtake the remotes? I can't handle much more TNT Drama or Amazing Race action!"

So, add Swirls the Cat to your address book as he is now a current resident of this place.  And we all know that there won’t be a delay in receiving packages since the mail will still be delivered here.

"And send some jingle balls, I forgot where I hid all of mine! And stuff them with catnip too, these people don't give me anything!"

Happy Easter from Baldwin Farms!

Sightings From A Crazy Busy Week…

I’ve spent more time in a school vehicle, random school cafeterias and gymnasiums this week than I have in my own classroom.  I have left too early and come home too late all week.  I have eaten at almost every fast food establishment one can think of AND have driven more miles in one day than I do all month during my daily commutes to and from school.  I’m a road warrior.  Hear me roar—or peel out.  Whatever.

My view-- A LOT-- this week.

I feel like I’ve become one of the Duggars this week—you know, the family with a gazillion kids (ok, maybe more like 19 kids) that requires an RV to transport all of them at once.

I have become the mother hen to the students and band instruments I’ve helped haul to State Basketball games, a State Oratorical contest, and Forensics meets this week.

But amid the craziness of being my own transportation/taxi service (navigator, pilot, drive-thru orderer, etc.), I’ve seen some beautiful country and have spent some great times chatting with, cheering on, and coaching my students on the rather long drives to and from different parts of Kansas.  It’s been a great week.

State Basketball here we come!

My Bible study group has committed to read the Bible in a year.  We are pacing ourselves using the God Sightings: One Year Bible and its companion guide.

Part of our daily “assignment” is to keep our eyes open and see how God is moving in our lives (and the world) on a daily basis.  It seems like an easy enough task to complete.  But it’s not…at least for me.  So often I’m guilty of being so busy that I can lose focus on the grand scheme of things and I miss sighting Him.

This week I’ve seen God—on a daily basis.

I’ve seen the beauty of the Flint Hills created by Him as I’ve driven Highway 56 in two trips to and from Emporia (a two-hour drive each way) to watch our girls play in the 1A Kansas State Basketball Tournament…

Welcome to the Flint Hills

I’ve seen my students make the right decisions this week and exhibit compassion towards others…

I’ve seen the power of God from Japan to the West Coast and the people helping others during this time of suffering and need…

I’ve seen my husband for a total of one night this week.  When I called to let him know I was headed home from State Basketball yesterday, he stopped working early to eat dinner and spend the evening with me (even though he could have worked late into the night getting fields ready for planting)…

Isn't he a good lookin' guy? And so mysterious...

Thank you, Lord for putting him in my life!

I’ve seen beautiful sunrises and sunsets…

I’ve seen my dear friend’s brother return home from a year-long military tour in the Middle East…

I’ve seen Spring peek out after a very cold, long winter…

I have no idea what these are, but they are green and they are growing!

I’ve seen beautiful things all around me…

I’ve seen God this week—even during my busyness.  (I count that as a small miracle in itself.)

Thank you, Lord.


Buddy, The Bad Dog…

Have I ever told you about Buddy?  He’s a bad dog.  No, really.  He’s a B-A-D dog.

Hi, my name is Buddy and I have a problem... Don't let these eyes fool you, I'm a bad dog.

He howls incessantly at night—right outside my window.  He constantly picks things up on the ground and chews on them—even though he’s not supposed to.  He picks up tennis shoes, flip flops, sandals and any other footwear and hides them—even though I don’t like playing hide and seek.  He, ahem, “rides” Swirls the Cat whenever he’s feeling the urge—even though it’s against nature.

Canines find me attractive. Gag.

Buddy pees on everything, digs up holes, causes the postman to honk his horn, and slows down traffic when he walks in the middle of a blacktop road.  And did I mention he has a nasty—no wait, NARSTY—smell that follows him on occasion?

Yep, Buddy is a B-A-D dog.

While some dogs start out their lives with pleasant beginnings, Buddy’s beginnings are unknown.  Along with the outbuildings, a mountain of tires in a back pasture, and an enormous supply of feral cats, Buddy came with the farm.

When Adam bought the farm, Buddy– and his doghouse that he was chained to– came with the deal.  He was the sentry to the back gate and if you entered his “territory”, you’d think an alligator was lurking in the doghouse.

You see, Buddy didn’t roam freely even though he had lots of space, and I’m sure he wasn’t allowed inside the house.  Buddy spent the majority of his days in his limited part of the world—whatever a 30-foot chain would allow.

Once Adam took ownership of the farm, he released Buddy from his chains.  Buddy was allowed to roam, to expand his territory, to pee on as many areas as possible.  He was F-R-E-E!!!  and apparently lots of feral cats lost many of their nine lives due to this new freedom.

Even though Buddy was unchained, he didn’t know how to behave himself.  He wasn’t used to the fight or flight response options.  He had only had one.  And even after Adam released him, Buddy didn’t know how to handle himself in situations.

Because Buddy was essentially confined to a small piece of the country until Adam entered the picture, he had (and still has) some “issues”.  One of those issues is being socially inept.

Doop de doop de do...

In the beginning, Buddy didn’t know how to greet visitors to the farm in a friendly manner.  Buddy only knew how to growl, nip, ferociously bark, and then retreat to his territory—the doghouse.  Buddy was always in the doghouse.

Buddy was not to be trusted.  In fact, at one point Adam thought it might be better to put Buddy down, because he was a dangerous, bad dog.

Buddy is not dead, I assure you he's alive & well.

Adam couldn’t do it though, and he kept working with Buddy.  He’d be allowed to follow Adam while he was doing chores around the farm, he would be talked to, and he would be rubbed behind the ears (although at first Buddy didn’t like that).

Even before I meet Buddy, I was warned that he was a bad dog.  When I went out to visit the farm for the first time, I brought a zip-lock bag full of dog treats—for Buddy, not Adam.  I was greeted with a growl—from Buddy, not Adam.

I was cautious around Buddy (I still am, as one should be).  I’d be aware of where he was, but I’d sweet talk to him (and give him lots of dog treats).

When I first knew Buddy, he WOULD NOT come into the house.  In fact, he would hit the breaks if he was anywhere near the back door.  We’ve patiently encouraged Buddy and to make a long story short, Buddy willingly enters the house—from the front door only—on occasion.  When Buddy does come inside he thanks you by licking your hands, or arms, or feet until they’re raw.  At least I think he’s thanking us—if not, he’s conducting a taste test.

He also thanks us by picking up and chomping on random items he finds on the floor—he really likes rogue dryer sheets and ink pens.  When he finally gets to the point of just laying down on the floor, you know he’s relaxed and feels comfortable around us because he normally passes gas (see NARSTY).

Buddy lacks manners.  He’ll lean into you while doing circles until you rub his hips.

Seriously, Buddy...chill out, you're getting your rump rubbed.

He has no understanding of “personal space”.   He’ll get in the way when you’re trying to have a peaceful June harvest picnic or when you’re trying to read a magazine.

Buddy wants to be included…to a fault.

Hey guys, wait up! I want to be included.

Even though he may lack expected canine manners, he is loyal.  If ever you turn around, odds are you’ll find him in your shadow.  When we go on our walks, Buddy will stick with you the entire way, ready to take on anything that might be a threat including territorial raccoons, skunks, or plastic shopping bags.  He’ll sleep on the shop floor to keep the guys company while they work on machinery.  He’ll chase off coyotes when they are running through the nearby pastures (or the yard), day or night.

Shhh...I think I hear a coyote...

He’s constantly on patrol keeping watch over the farm.

Evidence Buddy patrols the farm--day or night, sun or snow.

He’ll help dig up potatoes in the garden—whether you like it or not…

This looks like a nice row of potatoes that need dug up...(No, Buddy. Bad dog!)

I doubt Buddy would ever pass doggie obedience school.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he’d be expelled—the first day.  But he’s definitely passed the Baldwin Farms test—after all, he is still here.

I think I could be a stunt dog. I can play dead really well. (note: no dogs were shot and/or killed prior to this picture being taken)

That, plus the fact we tolerate and accept Buddy, the socially inept, mannerless, NARSTY smelling, B-A-D dog.

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