york swirls

Friday, June 21, 2013

Haying Season Has Begun

Gary cut about 25 acres of hay Tuesday in various fields from our farm to Remington to Goodland to Kentland.  The fun began Thursday morning bright and early as Gary was spraying corn while Nathan and Meagan were each raking hay in different fields.
*Nathan raking hay with his little Ford tractor in Goodland*

Autumn usually works from noon to 4:00 on Thursday afternoons.  Gary needed her help to drive the baler, so she worked 8:00 to noon this week.  Thus, we had Grady from 7:30 that morning until about 9:00 that night.  He was such a good boy!
*Grady James*

While Grady was taking a morning nap, I baked a loaf of banana bread and a double batch of chocolate chip cookies for the hard-working hay help.  Ryan arrived at about noon like usual to add to the fun & confusion.  Then Erin had an orthodontist appointment in Watseka at 2:15. We left Heather in charge of the younger girls and her nephews while we hurried as quickly as we could.  After arriving back home, we barely had time to change clothes when Gary called and asked if I could leave right away to go pick up a young boy that was going to help with the hay. Shortly after I got back from taking him to the field, Meagan texted me to bring Heather & Erin down to help unload the first 2 loads.  I had to leave Laura in charge of the younger ones for a short time while I ran Erin & Heather down to the field. 
 *Nathan's little Ford tractor again*
 *Nathan & Matt on the rack*
 *Nathan let Autumn drive his little Ford tractor*
 *Autumn drove the baler while Nathan & Meagan rode the rack*
*They put 383 bales in the haymow*

After Gary got them underway with the square bales, he started baling the big round bales.  While they were baling, I was trying to make strombolis for supper, mix milk for the bunnies Erin rescued, puree green beans for Grady's supper, and a hundred other things.  I put Kara in charge of feeding Grady his green beans.
*Maybe that wasn't such a good idea!*

I fed most of the hay help at about 8:30.  I ran Matt home.  Then came home to clean up supper and do the dishes.  Then it was off to bed to start all over the next morning.

Gary started off by spraying corn again Friday morning while Nathan raked the last field of hay that Gary cut Tuesday. Autumn brought Grady again so she could help Meagan put the big round bales in the shed.  Once again, my phone rang.  This time it was Autumn asking what I was doing (cooking, as usual!).  She wanted to know if I could leave immediately to take the tractor and round baler to the field Nathan had raked so she & Meagan could keep working on getting the hay put away.  Gary was going to meet me there with the tractor and sprayer.  Then I was supposed to bring that tractor and the sprayer back home while Gary baled the hay.

Well, it didn't work out quite as planned.  Just as I was getting over there, it started to rain.  And then it poured!!  Gary baled 3 bales before the gulley-washer hit.  So much for that weather forecaster!!  So we stood in the shed and watched it rain.  Once it let up a little, Gary drove the tractor that I had just brought over, and I rode in the "buddy seat."  Nathan drove the tractor with the sprayer, and we all headed back home.  Meanwhile, Meagan & Autumn got caught in the rain.  They were completely drenched, and they didn't get all the bales under roof either.
 *Not very good haying weather*
*This is our date for the week--a tractor ride*

The life of a farmer's wife is never boring.  It's a very rare thing when a day goes as planned.  There's never a set time for supper.  For that matter, there's not a set place for supper either.  It may be at the table or in the field.  Or some may eat at the table and one in this field and one in that field.  And what do I fix that can be eaten whenever and wherever??  Then there's always the call, "I'm broke down.  Run get the parts.  They have them set out for you."  

The life of a farm family is full of hard work.  A farm kid doesn't have the option to bale hay or walk beans or pick up rocks or feed the cows.  It has to be done, so we do it.  It doesn't matter if it takes until 9:00 to finish the job.  We work until we're done.  Supper doesn't usually come until it gets dark because we can't waste daylight.  We work together, side-by-side.  It doesn't do any good to complain about the job because it still has to be done.  We wouldn't trade our farm life for anything.  It's a good life.  A rewarding life.  A wholesome life.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Farm Wife

Tuesday was a crazy day on the farm!!  When Krissy texted me from work last night and asked, "How's it going?", my reply was "Crazy!!"

I started off my morning with no phone.  Our phone and internet use the same line.  We had internet, but no phone from sometime late afternoon or evening on Monday.  I checked to be sure the phones were on the hook.  I unplugged the cordless phone.  I tried everything I knew to try.  Still no phone!  I called Centurylink and waited on hold.  The lady asked me if I'd done all the things I'd already done.  Then she said she was going to try to call me.  Lo and behold, the phone rang.  After I answered, she told me to hang up and see if I could call out.  Yep, there was a dial tone!!  I asked her what she'd done.  Absolutely nothing.  How crazy!  Aggravating, inconvenient, and a waste of my time.

Then I took Erin & Kara down to the dairy farm to feed the calves because Meagan was busy in the field.  When Kara went out to the pasture to bring the calves around to the feeder, she managed to step in a pile of "sunshine."  As she got back in the car, I saw it up the side of her boot and screamed, "No, don't put your foot in the car!"  My floor mats are the cloth kind, not rubber.  What a mess!  We used a napkin and wiped up the little bit she had gotten on the mat before I caught her.  Then I made her take her boots off and hold them out the window on the way home (about 2 miles).  Her arms were pretty tired by the time we got home.  

I was outside at about 11:30 taking this picture of Nathan drilling beans when

Autumn's truck pulled in the driveway followed by Krissy's Equinox.  They both got out of their vehicles and turned to unfasten carseats.  Krissy called, "Grandbaby drop off time!"  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Autumn works noon to 4 and Krissy & Jim work 1 p.m. to 5 a.m., so we have Grady for the afternoon and Ryan all night.  They always arrive at about the same time and are both ready for lunch when they get here.
(This picture was taken after supper and both boys had had their baths.)

I'm kind of getting things out of order as I'm adding pictures.  The reason Nathan was drilling beans in this field is because of the 10 inches of rain we had a week or two ago.  They had to till up 90 acres of beans and replant them yesterday.  They also had to finish planting the 50 acres they hadn't finished before the rain.  They had to replant beans and corn in all the drowned out spots.  They also had to side dress corn.  Gary, Meagan, and Nathan were running around in circles yesterday!!

After the girls dropped the babies off yesterday, it was time for lunch and naps.  (Wish I could have taken one too!)  I put Grady in the high chair first and fed him his freshly mashed mangos and bananas. Then I handed him off to Erin, and she rocked him to sleep.  I fixed Ryan a toasted cheese sandwich.  He wasn't too interested in that, but sure did enjoy the mixture of strawberries, mango, bananas, and kiwi.  After he was finished, I rocked him to sleep.  Two sleeping babies!!  Of course, that didn't last very long.  Then we were in the business of bottles, diapers, snacks, and following Ryan around.  We also cleaned bathrooms, dusted, and all those fun things yesterday.

I fixed meatloaf, parsleyed potatoes, lima beans, and strawberry shortcake for supper, but I had people scattered all over at supper time.  Meals on Wheels goes into action again!  I fixed Meagan and Gary a plate and delivered it to each of them.  Nathan stopped in the house for a quick bite.  Then he took Autumn with him to help him replant the sweetcorn that had drowned out.  I dispensed Erin & Heather to Grandma Cooper's house to make beds upstairs in preparation for family coming this weekend for a funeral.  Then Gary called and needed me to bring some corn to the field for him.  Hmmm...what to do?  I left Leah at home to babysit Murphy the Great Dane so he didn't get into anything, and I loaded up Laura, Kara, Nanna, Ryan, and Grady to go to the field with me.  
The girls are used to entertaining themselves while we are at the field helping or waiting to follow the equipment to the next field and play taxi service.  Now we're training the next generation to do the same thing.

When we got back home, it was about 8:30.  We had two tired boys and some girls that needed baths!  While we were trying to get everybody settled down for the night, Nanna broke a vase full of water all over the kitchen floor.  It took quite a while to clean up that mess while trying to keep Ryan and the dogs out of it.  In the midst of that, Meagan called me to ask me to give Elly her pain meds for her arthritis and hip dysplasia.  Now I'm adding dog sitting to my list!!  By that time, Autumn was here to take the sleeping Grady home, and Ryan had decided he wasn't sleepy!  Oh joy!!  I finally had everyone settled in their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads by midnight.  With all the other 'everday' details and events that were part of our day added to what I've written about here, it amounted to a very busy, crazy day on the Cooper Farm!

Monday, June 10, 2013

You've got to be kidding me!!!!!

We have a huge infestation of rabbits in our yard.  They eat off everything!!  Flowers, shrubs, trees, and soon-to-be my garden since we just planted it Saturday.  Gary has been saying for a long time he needs to go rabbit hunting.  We worked outside all day Saturday picking up sticks, raking up corn stalks and cobs left by the flooding, planting flowers, planting the garden, and other jobs.  While we were outside, Murphy, the Great Dane, found 3 rabbits' nests.  He killed 2 or 3 of the baby bunnies.  Erin couldn't stand to see them hurt, so she collected all the bunny survivors and put them in a birdcage.  She has 15 baby bunnies she is feeding with eye droppers.  I told her they were not living to be turned back loose in my yard to eat my flowers!!  I don't know what she is going to do with them, but they won't be living here!!
Murphy sure would like to play with those bunnies!!

Music to Our Ears

We've sure been busy the last couple of weeks with concerts.  We have started a family ministry called Candlestick Promotions, based on the verse in Matthew about not hiding your light under a bushel but letting it shine before men.  We have been hosting various Southern Gospel singing groups to try to spread the Light of Jesus to our community.
 This is the Perry's.  They were here in concert on June 6th.  The picture's not very good since I was standing in the back and using my phone, but the concert was fabulous!!!  We had 4 people raise their hands for salvation.
This picture is our family with the Down East Boys.  That's their bus in the background.  Their concert was May 30th.  We had them here from Tuesday evening to Friday afternoon.  They are a great bunch of guys, and we truly enjoyed getting to know them better.

A Day with the Cousins

One day last week, Grandpa & Grandma Sanders were babysitting for Ben, Carli, Jenna, and Bridgette...all the cousins on the Sanders' side of the family.  Since Grandma & Grandpa live right around the corner from us, the girls went over there for a little while to see them.  They hadn't all been together since Christmas.  They took turns driving the mower with the trailer behind it....around and around and around in circles.  Then they all came over to our house for a picnic lunch and some more play time before Ben, Carli, and Jenna had to go home.  Fun times!  One of these days they'll all look back on this picture with fond memories.