What A Weirdo?

10527295_10152845571273628_3033307792034216986_nWell I am literally blowing dust of my blog as I write this today. I know it’s almost been a year since I posted last but life has just been full of wonderful events that have prevented me from taking a moment to sit down and write..I promise to do better in the future! I have had a thought rolling around in my head all week and I finally said hey, that would be a great thing to write about. So here it goes…For me living on a farm, raising livestock and all the crazy things that go along with it have been a way of life. I talk about it so matter of factually, always have, always will because I love to agvocate agriculture, but as I have gotten older and held jobs with those not from an agriculture background I realize how different my “normal” is to everyone else. And sometimes I just wonder if people leave a conversation with me and automatically think, WOW, THAT GIRL IS A WEIRDO!

For example, at the age of 5 I matter of factually explained to my entire class how a c-section on a cow works because the night before I had sat on the showbox at 10 pm and watched the whole thing from start to finish and the only time I spoke was to ask if the calf was alive. Because at age 5, the blood and everything that was going on didn’t bother me and it was normal to see babies born. Luckily, my kindergarten teacher’s family had cattle so she didn’t completely freak out but I remember a talk from my parents afterwards about how I don’t need to share everything I see at the farm. WEIRDO!

Flash forward to middle school and high school when I quit playing sports because I wanted to show cattle. Or when I broke up with all of my boyfriends over the summer because I didn’t have time for them in the summer. I didn’t have time to go on vacations with their family, or just layout by the pool, or be lazy and sleep till 10 all day. Several of them didn’t believe me when I said I will be lucky to sleep in my own bed 20 days the whole summer break. No, I couldn’t hang out with and no I didn’t get a day off when I was home. I had responsibilities and they all revolved around my show cattle. “You have to give your cows a bath every day twice a day?!?!?!?  YES….WEIRDO!425649_10150713831983628_422521790_n

In college I was fortunate to endure dorm life and sorority life with a fellow Shorthorn girl who at the time was serving as the National Lassie Queen. I can remember several “agriculture learning moments” taking place in our room and in the Delta Zeta kitchen. “You guys are going where, to do WHAT?” I am sure when she was rocking her Lassie Plaid and I was covered in glue, paint and cow shit when we returned in the wee hours of the night several muttered under their breath…WEIRDOs.

And since graduating college my weirdo status has followed me around. I can vividly remember the reaction of my former employer when I was watching a calf being born on the barn cams on the app on my phone and telling her that cows eat their afterbirth…HAHA..I still laugh at her reaction today! People are blown away when I tell them about what my weekend job is and how much harder my weekend job is than my real job! The hubby and I load up every Friday night and head to Adcock Land and Livestock or Moore Shorthorns, where the weekend list are long and the hours in the day seem short. It’s not a social gathering, its a there is too much to do and not enough people to do it. Since both of our families have livestock and grain farm vacations are slim to none and something always needs to be done. I am sure I get weird stares when I take random one or two day vacations and still have glue or paint on my fingers when I return the next day, or when I am checking the barn camera all day watching for babies, or when I show off new babies from the barn cam, or when I watch a show online during the work day. The list goes on and on….but you know what, call me Weirdo all you want, because I love my weirdo life. I love not being normal!

Yes, it is hard work and yes my family doesn’t get to go on week long vacations out of the country on the beach, but what we are doing we are doing as a family. The long hours we put in we do together and when we have success we all get to share in that success because we all had some part to play in it. The last few winters have been long and dad has said to me several times “sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have livestock…I could be on a beach right now you know.” My reply is always the same ” Dad you love the livestock you wouldn’t be happy without them…and you sunburn way to easy to lay on the beach!”

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Forgotten Blessings

Between buying a house, getting a puppy, moving, getting a big kid job, and planning a wedding my life has been like a whirlwind since May (hence why this blog has been neglected). But in that time there has been a few moments when the storm has calmed and I have stopped for a breath and it is those moments that I need to speak about. See in these past few months the only thing that has seemed to catch my attention and make me pause has been at the moment of tragedy or sadness.

Within the past few months, I have had to say goodbye to three young, amazing, smart, hardworking, handsome cattlemen. Each time was a tragedy in itself and a moment of sadness. It seemed like every time I was talking to friends it was to tell them about another loss in our livestock family. However, it was in these moments of sadness and tragedy that I realized a bigger picture and a bigger lesson that we all forget just way to easily.

Just like I categorized my life as being a whirlwind, I think most others would as well, but we need calm the storm and pause at the beauty of life that is around is. I myself need to take more time just cuddling on the couch with my man and my puppy, watching the sunset, talking to my friends just to say hello, spend time at the farm just sitting the pasture, tell my family how much I love them, and spend more time talking to Big Man. I know you have heard it a million times before but each day we have is a blessing in itself and something to be thankful for. I know that I have taken advantage of this very thought until tragedy struck so close to me. My advice is to wear out the words I love you, never go to bed angry at loved ones, and go the extra mile to make yourself and others smile.

A wise person once challenged me to write down three things I am thankful for every day, no matter how big or how small they are. Do you think you could come up with three new things you are thankful for each day for a year? I challenge you, even if you don’t write them down, to take a moment either in the morning or at night to reflect upon your day and find your three Forgotten Blessings.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

In Memory of Justin, Jared, Nate, and the others we have laid to rest this past year.

When Life Gets You Down

When life gets you down… How many times a day, a week, or a month do you get to feeling down on life? For me, I always try to find a positive in every situation and look at those moments as challenges or obstacles to pick my self up by my boot straps and go at it again. But sometimes something occurs that leaves what I like to call a scar.

Occasionally something that I have been working for or towards my whole life shatters into a million pieces and falls deep into the hole of no return. It’s at these moments that I find myself letting life get me down. Recently, I went through one of these moments and I am still working on picking myself back up. I have a friend that always says,

Tell God your plans and he will laugh in your face.

My current obstacle isn’t life threatening or the worst thing that could happen so its time to start back over at square one.

With current illnesses and issues taking place in some dear family and friends I am reminded just how precious life is. In an effort to help out some of these individuals I began a small fundraising campaign to generate a little token of faith and strength. To my amazement my little “idea” grew with the love and support of great people. I am still shell shocked at the gratitude people have for someone in a time of crisis. In a world where negativity and wrongdoings seem to make the headlines while honesty and good deeds are thrown under the carpet for lack of reader appeal there still shines a light at the end of the tunnel.

So I guess for me it’s time to get back to the drawing board and start at square one.

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Accepting Imperfections

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This post comes as a result of a certain heifer in our shoestring this summer, known by my family as “red rose”, but for an outsider there is one thing they can’t get past when they look at her. It is her imperfection. See red rose got a stick stuck in her ear as a baby and as a result has a crinkled ear on her show side. Every single person livestock person that looks at my heifer instantly ask what happened to her ear. After having this question asked to me about 200 times I realized how much our society really cannot accept anything below perfect. I just want to point out that nothing but the man who walked on water and healed the blind to see is perfect. We all have a flaw(s) whether big and small. We need to look beyond the one flaw and find everything that is good in an individual. We need to reminded of the saying don’t judge a book by its cover.
As far as my heifer is concerned her ear is a long way from her heart and she will be a wonderful donor cow for my herd.

The Beauty of Life

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go the Beef Facility at the University of Illinois campus to work on some promotional media for the college. While I was there I had the opportunity to take some snap shots of the spring cow/calf pairs who were just recently brought to pasture. There is nothing more beautiful to me than watching healthy cows and baby calves roaming in lush green grass. (No matter what color they are) If I was able I probably could have stayed out there all day long roaming around. It makes me miss home. 

From the time I could walk and before, I was all about cows. Visitors would be impressed as they toured the farm and 5-year old Emily could tell them the name of every cow in the pasture and sometimes part of the pedigree. Whenever dad couldn’t find me he would have to start searching in the pasture to see which baby calf I was trying to tame, or which cow pie I was putting my pink rubber boot footprint in. I guess what I am trying to say is that sitting out in the pasture and just watching cows graze and babies calves frolic about is one of life’s little beauties that is worth taking the time out of your day to pause and enjoy. So many times so many things are overlooked in our busy days and we blow on to the next thing. It’s when I have the opportunity to stand, sit or lay out in the pasture surrounded by healthy cows and baby calves that I remember the beauty of life and beauty of the earth in the small things. To help show what I am talking about here are some snapshots I took yesterday… Enjoy 🙂

Curious Babies

Fencepost View

Funny Faces

Hide and Seek


A Fresh Start Down An Unchosen Path

 As most have seen the 30 Day photo challenge is not my true direction and passion for this blog, so although I am not a quitter it is time to bring this blog to what I had intended for it in the beginning. As I begin to blog about the things in this farmgirls life and start a new route with this blog I find it fitting that my first post also be about a new beginning.

As many may know due to mother nature’s recent dealing of constant precipitation in much of the Midwest and Illinois, farmers around here are continually getting a bit grouchier and grouchier everyday they are not able to go the fields. It’s at times like these I am glad that I am at college as Dad sits in his chair cursing at the evening news and Mom frets about what we are going to do about Sarah’s graduation party if the shed it still stacked full of seed corn and soybeans. But even though my family currently has no a single acre planted we must all count are blessings that we will still be able to farm this year…eventually.

It is with a heavy heart that I read about the farm families in southern IL and MO who were asked to pack up and their belongings, cattle, equipment and move to higher grounds as their land would shortly be under several feet of water. I can’t imagine being in such a situation and I know from a past experience that my dad and grandfather would not be leaving peacefully. Now I realize to some this may just be thought of as land, however to my family and I am sure many alike, that land is our foundation. That land ensured food for my great-grandfather and his family, my grandfather and my family; that land ensured food for our animals in all seasons of the year, that land ensured a paycheck so that things could continue for another day. I can’t imagine moving with no idea of what may happen, and for most I doubt that land will ever be the same. 

I remember one day my “Pa” , as his granddaughters call him, and I were sitting down in the barn talking about the future and what was to become of this farm. Being in a family with all girl’s in my generation was of somewhat concern as we were little, but it was the concern that instilled a passion for agriculture in my sister and I. Back to my story, as Pa and I were talking he said one thing to me that I remember and fulfill to the best of my abilities, he said,”Emily, I realize you most likely aren’t going to come back and farm, but I know you will keep the cows and along with the cows I want you to promise to keep this farm in our families name as it has been for so many years. Your great-grandfather worked hard to get here and I know I can trust you and your sister to keep it.” With this in my head, it almost brings me to tears to think of my self in the situation of those farm families down south, who gave up their land to help save the lives of others. It may be far-fetched for some of you to see it this way…however in my mind I see these families’ as heroes and keep them in my prayers that their fresh start will allow for bright futures and that God will take care of them.

Found this link today, check it out!