Mama’s Journal – Mud

Today the sun is shinning, the birds are singing, the trees are budding, the grass is greening up and we are in the season of mud. Yes, there is a mud season in Missouri. We don’t just have Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, we also have Mud.

Now mud can mean many different things. It can mean that the gravel road you live on will not dry out so you have to pad your departure time and plan your attire on wither or not you can show up with mud on your hem. It can be the time of year where political campaigns slinging “mud” back and forth so much that you can’t tell which way is up or who to cast your vote for on Primary Day. Kids love mud season because that is when they can splash in the mud puddles and get their cloths and each other muddy. Mud is also the season when farmers start itching to get in the fields because mud means that the ground temperature is just about right to start putting seed in the ground.

Above all else, mud means that we will be working calves and weaning them from their mama’s. Weaning happens about the same time every year, give or take a few days, and we are always in mud season. This year will be no different.

Now the lots where we bring the cattle into to sort the calves from the cows are not necessarily muddy, but when you have 60 animals in one space and the ground is soft, it becomes muddy, fast. Add in the organic matter that also usually ends up somewhere on me and you have a “slick” situation.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Linkcountrylinked.wordpress.com

 

Mama’s Journal – Spreadsheets and Bed Sheets

Today was the day. The day we go and talk to the banker. It is a morning full of looking at numbers and cash flows and line items and balances and all of the other things you have to know and report when you talk to your banker.

Each year I get better at this. Each year I have a little more information to add to the mix and a better feel for if what we are doing is going to show us in the black or the red. (Quick reminder, RED is bad.)

Like most weekends my husband was up before me and out the door to get something accomplished before the trip into town to see the banker. During the week you can flip a coin to see who is going to be up and awake first, but weekends, that is his thing. Up and out to start the day. Me, I like to stay snuggled in my bed sheets and let the morning sun and the little noises the kids make as they are waking up get me going.

So this morning I stayed in bed just a little bit longer…………until I remembered those spreadsheets! That got me up and out of my nice warm bed sheets. We did not have a set appointment time, but knowing my better half like I do, if I did not have everything just about ready to go when he walks in 30 minutes late, then we were really going to be behind on the day.

So out came all of the spreadsheets and the computer and then the double checking began and the looking over and dotting every I and crossing every T. For even though I started all of this a few days ago, I still needed input from him and another set of eyes to make sure that I had everything right.

He gets back to the house, changes his clothes to head to town and comes to look over what I have. I get the husband stamp of approval and him calling me the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). I don’t need much in the way of a pat on the back, but as long as he continues to have faith in me and relies on all that I do for him and the farm, lets just say he will continue to see my spreadsheets and stay in my bed sheets.

Blessings to you,
Laurie – Country Link

 

Harvest Report

www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

In case you have been wondering, harvest is rolling here in Missouri, and has been for a while. We started September 22 harvesting corn in a field located next to a creek. We call this our bottom ground. The yields were less than desirable and the corn was still a bit wet, (it had not dried all of the way down in the field) but we were needing to get the corn shelled so that drainage tile could be put in the ground. I will share pictures of that process soon.

After a breakdown and a day of waiting for parts, it was back to the corn field on high ground and higher yields. As farmers we like the yields to be high because that means we are doing our job well. Between working with our seed guy, (who happens to be my husband) the local chemical company, mother nature and each other, we can be good stewards of the land. We can ensure that the land is being used to its potential and that it will provide a crop that will go on to be food, fuel or family friendly products. This also ensures that the next generation will have viable land to farm also.

Filling the Truck

The yields on the hill ground have been good, considering the very wet spring and early summer that we had. You see corn does not like to have its roots in water. What I mean is that the roots need water, but they do not like sitting in water for long periods of time. In any low sports or terrace channels in the fields you had water sitting, and sitting and sitting. The corn did not like this. Yields have dropped drastically in these areas, thus bringing the field average down. With the addition of a yield monitor, we have been able to map the fields and get a real-time analysis of how the field performed. Spots in the fields are seeing high yields for our area, (200+ bushels to the acre), while the low spots are seeing way below average for our area, (50+/- bushels to the acre).

After getting our cash rent corn out, it was back to another piece of bottom land that once again saw very low corn averages. After the corn is planted and before it reaches a certain stage in growing and a certain height, you apply Nitrogen to the field to give the corn what it needs to continue green tissue development, ear and kernel development. (This is why I love Agronomists!! The whole process is mind-blowing!) This corn did not receive its Nitrogen when it needed it because of the wet conditions and it too had wet feet all spring and summer. Thus the less than desirable yields again. Never fear though! We will try again next year.

www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

Next came a short time in the soybean field. There was one 50 acre field that was planted earlier than the rest, with some replant acres, that was actually ready for harvest. This field was also slated for fall planting of wheat, so we needed to get the crop out. Once again we saw bare spots in the fields from all of the rain, but we do feel blessed in that there was a crop to harvest.

We are now back in the corn field with just a bit more to go before we take a break and let the soybeans finish maturing. As you may know, the weather has been perfect for harvesting and for drying crops in the field. We could use a rain to “settle the dust” and give the pastures a much-needed drink, but we also need the crops out and that is really hard to do in muddy conditions.

www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

There you have! Our Harvest Report so far for 2015. What will the rest of harvest bring? Who knows, but we do know that we will continue to do it together as a Missouri Farming Family.

Blessings to you this harvest season,

Laurie – Country Link

Farm Picture Friday #54 – Small Packages

Farm Picture Friday #54 - Small Packages  COUNTRY LINKed

Last Saturday ended up being a pretty good day here on the farm.  At first I was not for sure how it was going to go.  You see the wind was blowing like crazy, it was cold and we had cattle to work.   Mama cows and baby calves all had to be brought in off the corn stalks they were enjoying eating so that they could be checked, vaccinated and poured.  I was not worried about the cattle at all.  We know to take our time and be careful with the ladies and they in turn are calm and easy to handle.  I was more worried about having three small helpers.  Three small helpers who were going to want to help, but because we still had (and have) corn to harvest, we were needing for things to go smooth which in turn makes things go quick.  In the end it was all because of three small helpers that we had such a good day.

The plan was to work the cows in the morning and then after lunch work the baby calves.  We had everyone moved through the chute and back together by 12:30!! (Just the right time to enjoy the chili that had been cooking in the crock-pot all morning.)  After working the cows, which our oldest, Wyatt, helped with, I gathered up the girls and told them it was their turn to help. Let me tell you, help they did!  I had a very proud farm mama moment when the girls got right in there and helped with the calves.  They were just the right size that the baby calves actually moved better for them then me and Gpa.  The kids walked behind the calves and gave a little push every now and then.  I wish I had a picture of all three of the kids helping, but I was lucky to get this shot of just Wyatt for today’s Farm Picture Friday.  Photography is not allowed when there are jobs that need done.  (Which means don’t have a camera in your hand when you are supposed to be working.)

Just goes to show you that sometimes the best help can come in small packages.

Blessings to you and all small packages,

Laurie – Country Link

Farm Picture Friday #53 – That’s It

Farm Picture Friday #53 - Country Linked

As the farmer climbs up on his grain truck, he is reminded of this past year and all that it took to get the soybeans in the truck.  He reflects back on the harsh winter and the wet spring.  He will never forget the drought again in July and the flooding in September.  He is thankful for all that the good Lord has provided, for things could always be worse.  He lets the soybeans fall through his hands as he checks their color, size and weight.  For he knows, that’s it.  He has produced another crop and the Lord willing, he will do it again next year.

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

*There are many things that are made from soybeans.  To learn more, go to the United Soybean Board and check out their 2014 Soy Product Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Picture Friday #51 – Inspection

Farm Picture Friday #51 from Country Linked - www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.  – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, KJ

Blessings to you and to those who are harvesting,

Laurie – Country Link

Why I Write

Two years ago I started this little blog called Country LINKed: where faith, family and farming meet.  To begin with I had no idea why I wanted to write other than the fact that I was being encouraged to tell our farming family’s story.  The response and feedback from this venture has been wonderful and at times over whelming.  I don’t take complements very well.  (I have no idea why!)  I really don’t, but I love to give them and try hard to encourage others and offer a kind word when I can.

When my lovely friend Julie from Pushing Forward with Grace asked me to participate in this Why I Write blog series, I quickly told her yes without really thinking about what I had committed too.  Julie asked me to do it and I was not going to say no.  (If anyone else would have asked me I would have said no, but Julie and I have a wonderful relationship as virtual sisters and I did not want to disappoint her.)  The more I thought about this project, the more I began to realize that Julie had indeed given me a gift by asking me to do this.  She could have chosen any of the many bloggers she has connected with, but she chose me.  ME!  A little farm gal/mama/wife who just wants to share what it is like being a farming family.  Thank you Julie for asking me to do this!  I hope I don’t disappoint.

I was given four questions to answer about Why I Write.  Along with writing I also love to take pictures and find that the pictures often inspire my writing.  Do to the fact that I tend to do things my way, does not make it right, just mine, I will also talk about photography and why I chose to invest so much time in it.  Here we go!

Why do I write what I write?

Tessa and Kitty

Every day I am blessed to be able to live, work and play on the family farm with those who I love.  I get to breath in the fresh air and watch the changing of the seasons.  I get to see baby calves being born and see my children’s faces light up as they run and explore in wide open spaces.  For me this is exactly where I what to be.  Others may not have the opportunity to see or do what I get to do, but they can come and visit my blog any time they want to read my words and see the pictures that I take.  For me writing and photography is all about sharing what farm life is like.  I started my blogging journey knowing that we as a family get to do some pretty neat things.  We of course have our struggles and heartaches, but when you get to witness the miracle of God’s creation every single day, you want to share that wonder and beauty with others. This is also one of the reasons I have my camera with me all of the time.  I take great joy in catching the little moments in life that make living great. Be it my daughters holding baby kittens, to my son showing his pigs at the county fair, it is the little things that make the best memories and I want to capture that.


How does my writing process work?

FPF #7 - Windmill

Process………………….well……………I am not for sure that I have one.  I am a list maker and a note taker, but when it comes to my writing I am very organic.  If the words are there then I type.  If they are not, then I wait for them to come.  I have learned that when my writing is forced, it is not as good.  When I am writing for others, the words do not come as easily either.  My photography does influence my writing.  Many times I will be taking pictures and realize that right in front of me is a story. Other times I am writing and don’t have a picture that captures what I am saying so I wait until the picture presents itself to have a completed story.  The main thing for me is to love what I am writing about.  If I don’t have a passion for it, then it will not be on my blog.

 

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

hauling hay

As an agriculture blogger I focus on family, day-to-day activities and the work that we do on the farm.  I don’t talk about hot topics and I don’t press issues. Others do that and do a very good job at it.   I keep my words light and easy to follow and leave the technical talk to the experts.  I want to offer a connection to ones roots and simpler times.  I also use LOTS of pictures.  I use my pictures to not only capture a moment, but to also evoke an emotion in the one seeing the photo for the first time. Good photography is simple.  Great photography takes time, talent and knowledge.  All things that I  strive for when it comes to photography and making my blog different from others.

 

What am I writing/working on right now?

Winter Coat 102

I have a Farm Picture Friday that I try to do every week and I am a c0-host for a Country Fair Blog Party that is also once a week.  I have many plans for posts, but don’t always have the words or the time, so they go unwritten.  The ideas that I do have I keep to myself.   When I do have a plan, and that is not often, I like to have everything done before I share.  I am always working to improve my photography skills.  I like to learn by doing, so I will play with the settings on my camera and just have fun seeing what all I can “teach” my camera.

 

That, my friends is Why I Write.  Now it is my pleasure to introduce you to Danielle from one of my very favorite blogs, High Heels & Shotgun Shells.  Danielle’s writing always brings a smile to my face and usually a tear to my eye (which is a good thing!).  She is a lovely young women who has fabulous style, a great sense of humor and is a very talented photographer.  Look for Danielle’s post about Why She Writes in the weeks to come.

HighHeelsandShotgunShells.com

As a kid, Danielle Beard Hayden grew up living a little bit of everywhere — from the metropolis of New Orleans, the suburbs of Tulsa and finally, rural northeast Oklahoma. Realizing rural America is where she truly belonged, she decided to make it her life’s work. Now, Danielle resides with her husband in northwest Kentucky on their newly formed cattle operation, occasionally venturing over to her in-law’s farm to teeter inside their chicken houses or to photo stalk their farm manager (her husband) as he works cows.

Professionally, Danielle is a freelance agriculture writer and photographer. Personally, you can find her blogging at HighHeelsandShotgunShells.com where she writes about her life and uses her urban-turned-rural upbringing to teach agriculture in a way she hopes any reader can relate too.
Blessings to you and to all who write,
Laurie – Country Link
This post was linked to the following blog party:

Video of a Baby Calf being Born – September 2014

There are miracles happening around us every day.  Some times we get to take a moment to sit and watch them happen.  Yesterday I was able to witness such a miracle, the miracle of birth.

Cow 29T is acting like she is ready to give birth, or better known as "calve". Mama Cow 29T was in a shady spot behind the house acting “calve”.  I was checking cows and noticed her right away.  Her tail was in the air, she was restless and she was urinating frequently.   She was in the spot I remember her calving at last year and like last year the rest of the herd were in the same area.  This is  unusual for beef cattle.  They tend to go to their own spot in the pasture to have their babies.

 

Cow 29T lays down to begin th process of having her calf. eThe longer I watched I began to see the signs that yes indeed she was VERY close to having her baby, so I parked the John Deere Gartor close by and made myself comfortable.  I snapped pictures and then changed the mode on my Canon Rebel T2i to video.  Here is what I captured.

 

The other mama cows in the picture were starting to move and I was worried they might step on the new calf, so I stopped recording so that I would move them away.

After baby is born cow 29T licks it dry/clean.  She began to lick him off as soon as she could stand up and get to him.  Amazing that they know exactly what to do!  Amazing that their bodies do exactly what is needs to do.  Amazing the miracle of life!

 

106-001This is the picture that I shared on the Country LINKed FaceBook page yesterday asking if anyone wanted to see video and you all did!  More to come on how this little guy and his mama are doing.  For now enjoy watching a baby calf being born!

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

Farm Picture Friday #49 – Picking Up

Farm Picture Friday #49 by Country Link, www.countrylinked.wordpress.com

I can not take credit for this weeks Farm Picture Friday.  I was actually on the trailer stacking hay and did not have the camera.  Kendall, our 8-year-old was in the cab of the truck snapping away.  It is always fun to go back and look at what pictures the kids took.  What a complete surprise this one was!

She took this Tuesday night in the alfalfa field.  Gpa was just getting ready to pick up a small square bale of hay to then put on the trailer.  She captured him at just the right time getting ready to grasp the strings.  The evening rays are highlighting his back and you can see the rest of the field behind him.  I have used the kids pictures before as Farm Picture Fridays, but I think this one is my favorite.

Blessings to you and young photographers everywhere,

Laurie – Country Link

 

Farm Picture Friday #46 – Right to Farm

FPF#46

On August 5th Missouri voters will go to the polls to vote on important issues for our state.  One of those is Amendment 1, The Right to Farm.  As a fourth generation farmer I am very passionate about my family’s farm.  I want to ensure that it is around for more generations to live, work and play on.  One of the ways I feel that is possible is by supporting Amendment 1.


CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT #1  Section 35. 

That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.


As we get closer to August 5th, the debate for a yes or no vote, is really heating up.  Articles, videos and letters to editors are showing up everywhere. The interesting thing is that those opposed to the Amendment are getting funding and support from organizations like HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States).  Support for a Yes vote is coming from Missouri Family Farmers.  Yes, that is right.  Support for a YES vote is coming from the individuals who work every single day to insure that a safe food supply is available for you and I.  The individuals who plant the crops and raise the animals in droughts and floods and in the heat and cold.  The individuals who just want to work and work hard.  The individuals who know that there are laws and regulations in place that will keep them in check.  The individuals who want to, ” protect all farmers from unjust, unnecessary and costly legislation”.

This week’s Farm Picture Friday is about putting a face to the individuals who are in support of Amendment 1. As you can see they are all unique and different.  They all have a passion and sometimes a calling for what they do.  What they do is FARM.  Let’s let them continue to do that by voting YES on Amendment 1.

Blessings to you and to all voters on August 5th,

Laurie – Country Link

*For more perspectives on the Right to Farm Act, please visit the following links: