December 2nd

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

I’ve always had and loved animals, but I’ve never had an animal that’s provided me food.

Let me tell you, it’s a whole new experience.

I love these chickens for who they are, and all of their weird quirks and personalities, but I’m always so proud of them when I open up the coop and there are eggs in the nesting boxes. Especially since they’re all new layers – it’s so cool to watch an animal that God created do what it’s created to do. Other than give them a clean, stress free place to do their thing, I can’t change what they do or why they do it.

Not only am I proud of them, but they’re proud of themselves and each other.

While that may sound strange, it’s true. If one of our chickens lay an egg, she squawks and struts and lets everyone know she laid a good one. In turn, they all join her in head bobs and happy clucking.

The coop is quite the community, and I love being a part of it. The girls have started to recognize the sounds of the house, so for example they’ll hear the garage door open, and they’ll all start calling to us and they’ll come meet us at the door. If something scares them and Paul or I are outside, they come running and gather at our feet.

While all of the mentioned above is true, me gushing over my girls wasn’t the main objective of my photo today. I recently have had a couple people ask how clean the eggs are when we collect them, and if we wash them. The answer is no, we don’t wash them. The first reason why is simply because we don’t have to – I had just collected the egg pictured and brought it inside; it’s completely clean to begin with. The second reason why is because washing eggs can actually drive bacteria into the egg itself. An egg shell is porous, and is actually laid with a thin layer over the entire egg called a bloom. The bloom protects the egg from bacteria, and by washing the egg, you wash away the bloom.

Quite honestly, we rarely get dirty eggs; I think we had two last month. In that case, if we get a dirty egg it goes in the garbage.

Bottom line: They take good care of their eggs! 🙂

October 17th

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Golden waves (of beans).

During the day, these soybeans just look dead and brown. However, wait for the warm evening light, and things turn magical.

Although I grew up on a farm, we never experienced harvest as a family. We grew and baled our own hay, but rented out all of our fields to local farmers who did corn and soybeans. To this day, that’s still how we operate; the soybeans surrounding our house right now is a crop that will be harvested by our neighbor.

We get the farm feel without the crazy harvest hours and hard work.

Man, do I respect the farmers.

So many variables out of their control; so many things you couldn’t even begin to forecast, but you go into the season with faith. Field conditions, soil PH balance, fertilizer ratios, germination percentages, rain totals, drought, hail, strong winds, disease, pests, weeds. We deal with all of those things on a minor scale with our pumpkins, so to think of all of those things impacting hundreds of acres, hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment, you’ve either got to have nerves of steel or strong faith (ok, maybe a bit of both).

Paul and I have been following MN Millennial Farmer on YouTube (and I’ve been following along on Facebook too), and we’ve loved watching his videos. We jumped in right at the right time too, just about a month and a half ago, so lots of harvest prep and actual harvest time. Because he lives in Minnesota, it makes us feel even more connected; the weather we get is very similar to what they get, meaning we get to live it just a little. Paul and I had said to each other multiple times last week when it was raining “I wonder how Zach’s doing?” or “I wonder what Zach’s going to have to say about all this rain.”

Technology can be a really cool thing sometimes – in this instance, I’m glad we live in a world that has it! Makes us all feel just a little more connected in a positive way.

November 9th

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Harvest is one of my favorite days on the farm.

Mostly because I don’t have to do the work (ha!), and our fields are small enough that it only takes one day to harvest. But the hustle and bustle, all of the moving parts is energizing!

I admire what farmers do, and I love watching them work. Through the morning, afternoon, evening, and into the night. They are some of the hardest working people I know.

October 24th

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

It’s harvest time!

The beans go first, and then the corn. Those are the two main crops in our area.

Our neighbor to the north was quick to harvest his corn – most he harvested last week when the temperatures were summer-like. He then came back through and round baled the stalks; a great way to clean up your field and supply extra food to your herd.

As we rent the fields around our house out to another neighbor, our house is surrounded by corn. We’re usually one of the last fields harvested, and while it’ll be sad to see it go, that also means we’ll be able to see a lot more wildlife.

August 30th

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

When dad’s home at lunchtime, that can only mean one thing: its hay time.

As a profession my dad is a small business owner, so normal weekday hours he’s at his shop. So when he’s home during the day, he means business.

My parents own a hobby farm, and that’s where my farm images are taken. Most of their land is rented out to neighboring farmers who plant commercially but the one thing we do harvest at the farm is hay for our horses, and our summers revolve around that. It’s your birthday? Hay’s ready, let’s bale. Out at the lake? Come home, hay’s ready.

Its a natural thing for farm kids (hobby or not!). When there’s work to be done, it doesn’t matter what you had planned, you cancel.

Usually I’m not a large part of the initial cutting of the hay, but today was different. We have a small fungus infestation in our red clover, so I had to be on hand to spot areas that we can’t use.

A couple of weeks ago, Junior came in from the pasture with what we dubbed “the slobbers.” He was literally creating a pool of excessive saliva on the stall floor. A quick google search pointed us to a “Black Patch” fungus that grows on red clover during certain weather patterns that can be toxic to horses, creating the excess saliva. It poses no health threats or concerns, it’s just unsightly.

We attempted to mow areas that we found to be infected, which helped for a couple of days at a time, and then he continued to find new infected patches. So, our last resort is to cut the entire pasture, bale it, and remove it.

IMG_0599The white patches indicate the beginning of the fungus growth.

However, here’s the stickler. We found it in our hayfields. Luckily, not all of our field contains red clover, but we had to come up with a cutting plan to avoid what we could. (Bandit was a big help – ha!)

August 23rd

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

How can it already be time for harvest?

Some people are drawn to the busy, bustling streets, crowds of people, the hum of traffic. I am drawn to the quiet; the way the breeze feels on my face, the comfort in the birds as the go about their business, the smell of my tomatoes out of the garden, the feel of the grass between my toes.

So when mom and I took a bike ride down into Hanover today, I had to stop and admire the wheat crop along the path. It’s so beautiful the way it sways with the breeze, the textures, the contrast in the colors.

June 8th

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

We wrapped up on set this morning, so I got the evening with Paul all to myself.

Our house is surrounded by farm fields. Our pumpkin patch runs down the west side of our property, while corn surrounds us the rest of the way around. We’re excited when they plant corn, because it makes for an excellent natural privacy fence as it grows. Either way, I love this stage of crop growth – when it’s fully emerged, but you can still see the individual rows. It’s almost like waves on the ocean for me; calming, it moves your eyes through the rows and in a way it gently rocks you. There is so much simple beauty and humility in farming that just speaks to the very basic core of who I am. You plant seeds and pray that the Lord sends the weather you need; it keeps you very dependent on Him. Which is a frustrating but awesome aspect of our pumpkin patch.

So the next time you get stuck behind a tractor on the roads, take a moment to thank them for not only supplying our community with food, but with a helping of beauty and humility as well.