Our Own Personal Tooth Fairy

Aug 12, 2014 by

I’ve written a few times about G$’s teeth.  It’s not a good situation.  He is now three and most of his teeth are yellowed from damaged/incorrectly formed enamel.

There is good news.  His teeth haven’t changed or worsened.  THANK YOU, JESUS!  We are still applying fluoride and special toothpaste but, overall, things are going as well as can be expected.  If nothing else, we can be grateful that he hasn’t needed baby caps (yet)!

Recently, he had his 3 year checkup.  They were finally able to take x-rays (God knows how, because I heard the epic fit from across the room!) and they are cautiously optimistic for his adult teeth.  They said the shape is good (If they were damaged like his baby teeth, the X-rays would show jagged, oddly shaped teeth.  Instead, they showed normal, smooth, wavy teeth.) although they are not quite as developed as the dentist would like.  And we found out he has an extra tooth in the roof of his mouth.  How weird is that?!  Either way, we are happy for ANY good news when it’s tooth-related! :)

The best news of all, however, doesn’t involve G$’s teeth at all.  Princess E’s first two teeth came through and they are SNOW WHITE!  WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  I don’t know if words can truly express our excitement.  Although we are much more comfortable dealing with the damaged teeth and all the issues that come with them, we always hoped any future children would be spared this issue.  And she has!  Hallelujah!

It’s like we have our own personal tooth fairy watching over both kids.

 

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Farm Life Opposites

Jul 31, 2014 by

Last week, Illinois Farm Families’ blog published a post I wrote.  I’m posting it here for those of you who missed it.

 

Recently, this blog shared a post about being under 30 and over $1 million in debt.  That really struck a chord with me (even though I’m 31).

It served as a good reminder that, in many ways, going from a “normal” life to a farm wife requires a complete shift in thinking. I often find that for all the “truths” that apply to suburban life, the exact opposite is true for farm families.

Non-farm jobs get paid on a regular basis, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Farmers get paid sporadically throughout the year, whenever they sell grain or a contracted crop is harvested. Some years that amounts to three payments in a 12-month period, therefore you have to be REALLY on top of your finances.

Non-farmers are taught that loans are bad and to be avoided, if at all possible. Farmers not only need loans, we RELY on loans. We may only get paid three times a year, but our bills are due every month just like everyone else. In order for them to be paid on time, we get an operating loan. An operating loan can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the size of the farmer’s operation. The operating loan is basically a one-year line of credit to fill in during the times we haven’t been paid for a few months. The loan is always paid back at the end of the year. Sure, paying interest irritates farmers just as it would any other person but, for farmers, it’s simply part of life.

The same goes for credit cards. Most people are taught not to use credit cards for things they cannot afford. Farmers use credit cards for things they really can afford but, due to the timing of our income being varied, may not have the cash for this very second. For example, a new combine costs around $200,000. Not too many people have that kind of cash on hand. And that’s just ONE of the pieces of machinery we require. Farming has a lot of overhead.

One last difference also has to do with our proximity (or lack thereof) to the rest of society. Because we live 35 miles from the nearest city, when we do drive there to shop, get groceries, run errands, etc. we tend to buy more, spend more and do more at one time. This leads to the difference in fuel efficiency as a priority. Most people are taught that they should buy the most fuel-efficient vehicles they can. Farmers still care about fuel efficiency but oftentimes the vehicles with better gas mileage are either too small or not made for the rough terrain. The average MPG of our two main vehicles is 15 MPG. My husband cannot haul grain in a Prius and I can’t fit two kids, a golden retriever and enough groceries to survive the apocalypse into a Camry. Not to mention, it’s pretty tough to take lunch out to the field without four-wheel drive.

One thing we have in common with non-farmers is that the majority of people want to live reasonably close to where we work. We don’t just live reasonably close; we live where we work. Literally. But we aren’t so different. Non-farmers might be checking their work email at 11 pm and farmers might be out checking their irrigators.

All in all, we aren’t so different; like everything else in life, it’s just a matter of perspective.

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Farm Census

May 23, 2014 by

The USDA recently released its latest Census of Agriculture.  This census is done every five years, unlike the population census.

For all of us ag nerds, it was chock full of interesting information.  Here are a few tidbits:

 

– The total number of farmers is down, with the decrease in female farmers being greater than the decrease in male farmers.

– 70% of farmers now have the internet (up from 57% in 2007!)

– The average age of farmers is 58.3 years old

– 57% of farmers sold less than $10,000 worth of crops/livestock (This is total sales, not net profit.)

– 70% of farmers report that less than 25% of their income comes from farming

 

What do all these numbers mean?

 

For our family, they illustrate that farming is a very risky business (and not in the Tom Cruise underwear and socks kind of way).  And although things can change in an instant, FOR NOW, we are among the lucky ones.  We are safe.  We have a roof over our heads.  We can pay our bills.  We are happy.  We are blessed.

My husband is a 7th generation farmer.  That means we were lucky enough to have a bit of a head start with land and knowledge of the business side of farming.  The sad truth is that it is extremely difficult to get into farming without being “born into” it.  Land prices are sky rocketing.  Equipment costs are in the six-figure range.  That is why nearly HALF of farmers aren’t turning a net profit.  Talk about terrifying.  These are the people producing your food and growing the crops that make your clothes, fuel your cars, and become your craft beer.

The census shows that we aren’t all the stereotypical 80-year-old white male in coveralls who sits at the gas station drinking coffee and arguing about the weather.  Ok, some of us are.  But most of us have young children in rural areas where there aren’t always a lot of family, friends or TARGET conveniences of modern life.

We may be somewhat isolated but we want you, the general public, to know about our farms (and not just from a census).  We want you to see what we are doing, to know that 97% of us are family businesses, to know that we are just like you (but with a lot more corn and cattle).  Please ask us questions, read our blogs, tour our farms…just call first so we can change out of our coveralls. :)

The #1 thing the ag census indicates to me is that our numbers may be declining but our passion for farming is at an all-time high.

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Farm D-Day, Take 2

May 6, 2014 by

One of the most common questions people ask is whether life on the farm is very different from life in the suburbs.  The answer is yes and no.  Obviously, there are a LOT of differences (most of which are based purely on lack of proximity to EVERYTHING), but there are some similarities.

One big difference, however, was illustrated this afternoon.  As my kids and I were playing outside, we received a phone call from my husband telling us to get the dog and go inside IMMEDIATELY.

You see, today was Farm D-Day.  Or, perhaps I should say 2, 4-D Day.  2,4-D is a herbicide (aka weed-killer) that we spray on our crops.  (For my word nerds out there, it’s pronounced two four D.)  It is not dangerous to humans, just broadleaf weeds. :)  Broadleaf weeds can be anything from dandelions and clover to morning glory and marestail.  But my favorite thing it kills is ragweed.  Allergy sufferers, say it with me, HALLELUJAH!  Ragweed is the devil!

2,4-D isn’t toxic but it can give you a nasty headache if you stand outside in it long enough.  I don’t think people in the suburbs have to worry about clouds of brown chemical fog invading their backyard very often…but I don’t have to worry about my neighbor’s dog leaving brown land mines in my yard, so I call that a win for farm life! ;)

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Farm D-Day

May 5, 2014 by

One of the most common questions people ask is whether life on the farm is very different from life in the suburbs.  The answer is yes and no.  Obviously, there are a LOT of differences (most of which are based purely on lack of proximity to EVERYTHING), but there are some similarities.

One big difference, however, was illustrated this afternoon.  As my kids and I were playing outside, we received a phone call from my husband telling us to get the dog and go inside IMMEDIATELY.

You see, today was Farm D-Day.  Or, perhaps I should say 2, 4-D Day.  2,4-D is a herbicide (aka weed-killer) that we spray on our

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Twin Puff Quilts

May 1, 2014 by

Here are my final two quilts for the week.

 

Like I said with the Haley disappearing 9-patch quilt a few weeks ago, these two quilts hold a special place in my heart.  Not only are they my first twin quilts, they were created for the precious little babies of one of my best friends.  Obviously, I wanted these to be extra special.

 

Here are several shots of these gorgeous quilts and the story behind them:

 

Amalia front view

Amalia front view

 

 

 

Jackson front view

Jackson front view

 

 

 

 

To make it extra special, I used fabric from the bridesmaid dress I wore in their wedding as one of the puff fabrics.

To make it extra special, I used fabric from the bridesmaid dress I wore in their wedding as one of the puff fabrics.

 

 

 

 

Here is the bridesmaid dress in it's original state :)

Here is the bridesmaid dress in it’s original state :)

 

 

 

 

The silver fabric is the upcycled bridesmaid dress fabric :)

Amalia close up
The silver fabric is the recycled bridesmaid dress fabric :)

 

 

 

 

Amalia and Jackson's quilts

Amalia and Jackson’s quilts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Name Quilt

Apr 29, 2014 by

I have THREE new quilts to share this week!  Yay!

 

Today’s quilt belongs to my little princess, Elise.  Since her puff quilt isn’t finished yet, I couldn’t leave her hanging!  So I whipped up this ADORABLE (if I do say so myself) quilt instead. :)

 

Elise quilt

 

 

 

 

Name close up

Name close up

 

 

What do you think?  We love it! :)

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