There is Joy in Sharing

Recently Missouri Farmer Today came for a visit to our farm.  They were looking for a woman who is active on the farm.  They were given my name as someone who may be willing to speak with them.  To say the least I was surprised.  Very surprised!  You see, I don’t label myself a Farmer or even a FarmHer.  I see myself as a farm gal who does what needs to be done, when it needs doing and in turn, try and share what it is we do with readers of this blog.

When the story came out last Friday I was again surprised, but pleased with the article and the title, “Joy of Sharing“.  I never know how I come across to others and hoped that my love of the farm and my passion for sharing our farm story came through.   So, thank you Benjamin Herrold, for your visit and your story not only about our farm, but also about women farmers and how we are an important and growing trend in the world of agriculture.

Four Daughters

As the article mentioned, I am one of four daughters.  FOUR GIRLS born and raised on a hog, row crop, and hay farm in north central Missouri.  Mom was a city girl who would come to the country to visit her grandparents’ farm and would attend church where my dad and his family were also members.


After getting married, it was off to Vietnam for dad and a new home for mom.  A few years later dad was safe and sound farming at home and mom was busy taking care of us girls.  She used to sew for us and made all of our pretty little dresses.  (Yes, we wore dresses)

From the beginning they raised hogs.  At first the sows (mama pigs) had all of their babies in small individual huts and pens outside.  Over the years buildings were built and the sows moved indoors to have their babies.  I still remember how big I thought the mama sows looked when I was little and that we would sit in the wagon and hold the runts as they were being moved to the nursery.  On shipping day we would go early in the morning to the finishing floor to watch the “fat” hogs being sorted out and loaded on to the truck.  As I got older, I helped with the sorting and loading.


My sisters and I were the hay crew in the summer.  The barn washers in the winter and sometimes even the field crew in the fall.  Don’t get me wrong, we still were able to participate in 4-H, FFA, school organizations, and sports, but when there was work to be done, you did the work first.  Being involved in 4-H we all spent time showing livestock.  We showed pigs, of course, but we also had our own heard of Hampshire sheep.
Then in high school, two of us also decided to show cattle.  Showing livestock was a passion of mine.  Did not matter what species, I wanted to show, care for and display my livestock at the county, area and state fairs.

Show days

In college I majored in Ag Education thinking I would one day be a teacher and FFA adviser.  Lets just say as much as I loved being in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at Mizzou, I did not excel in my ag classes.  This was hard for me.  I really thought I knew what I was doing and what my future was.  Then I met a boy and put my future in the hands of God and have not looked back since.  Seth is a year older than me and when he graduated from college, he already had a trainee position with a feedlot in Texas.  Have you ever tried to plan a wedding while living almost 600 miles away from your Fiance?  We did it and at times I think it was easier; all he had to do was show up at the right time on the right day.


After living in Texas for a year and Kansas for six, we have now been back in Missouri for almost six years.  We knew that the farm was the place we would one day be and because again we left the “plan” up to someone else, it happened.  Seth and I had only been dating a few months when I brought him home to meet the parents and I showed him one of the farms.  I told him then I would someday live here and lo and behold here we are.

Four sistersI am sure raising four girls was not easy.  I am even more positive that raising four girls on a hog farm when the market dropped in the 80’s and again in the 90’s was not easy.  We made it work though and no one ever went without.  We were taught to work hard, and given that we were girls, were taught that we COULD do the work.  Oh sure, there were jobs we did not like doing and some of us could get out of those jobs (Jody), but at the end of the day I think we will all say that growing up on the farm made us confident, hardworking, dependable and trustworthy individuals.


Now I have two young girls who I am raising on the farm.  They are both unique and different in their own ways.  One is tall and lanky and smart as a whip.  The other is a ball of fire and already as strong as an ox.  Together they are best friends and each other’s favorite playmate.  Together they show me every day that what I do is more important than what I say.  If I say, “time to do chores,” but I never go out and help, that shows them that as a mom I don’t do that type of work.  If I say, “it is time for chores everyone,” and go out and help and spend time with them, that shows that as a mom I enjoy being with them and that we all have to do our share on the farm.


As our farming story continues, I hope you have realized that the joy I have in sharing comes from a life time of being on the farm.

Blessings to you and farm women everywhere,

Laurie – Country Link



Cold and Snow

As I sit in our nice warm house listening to howling winds outside, I think back to yesterday.  Yes, yesterday.  As in January 4th. When it was just Cold and Snow outside.

No wind chills in the negatives.  No additional 4-6 inches of snow.  No single digit temperatures.  Just a regular winter day in north Missouri.  A day where the kids were able to spend time playing outside, we shoveled the snow off of the sidewalks, hauled more firewood up to the house, set some brush piles on fire, made sure the pets were nice and warm, rolled out large round bales of hay for the cows and welcomed a bottle calf to the family.  Just a regular day of Cold and Snow for a farm family.

Cold and Snow 2

Cold and Snow 1

Snow and Cold 5

Cold and Snow 7

Sally the Bottle Calf

Cold and Snow 8

Snow and Cold 4

Cold and Snow 6

Cold and Snow 3

As you can see, yesterday was a good day.  Today, however, is not a nice day.  So please everyone, if you are being blasted by the arctic temperatures and gale force winds, stay safe.

Here is a list of some very good TIPS complied by Janice Person ~  A Colorful Adventureon how to survive extreme cold.

Blessings to you and to all those working outside on days like this,

Laurie – Country Link

*Title for this post was suggested by our 4 year-old, Tessa.  When asked what is it like outside, she said, “Cold and Snow”.

Farm Picture Friday #27

FPF #27 - Mineral Time

As you have probably guessed by now, I love to take pictures.  I love capturing a moment, a feeling, an expression.  I love watching from the sidelines and taking pictures of the action and movement going on in front of me.  I love taking pictures of the Country Link Kids.  I love having friends and family who will let me take their picture and then seeing that picture displayed in their homes. But most of all I love capturing a special moment like today’s Farm Picture Friday.

This is E.  I was able to spend the afternoon with him and his family.  At the end of our time together, his Papa asked if I wanted to hop in the truck and go with them to feed mineral to the cows.  It was a perfect opportunity to capture those moments that I love, but was also a chance to give this wonderful family a picture that I hope will be cherished for years to come.

A big thank you to the G. Family for allowing me to spend some time with them this afternoon and for letting me use this picture for today’s Farm Picture Friday.

Blessings to you and all little cattlemen,

Laurie – Country Link

Farm Picture Friday #23

FPF #23

Harvest for 2013 has begun here at Country Link.  What does harvest mean for us?

Family time

Combine, tractors and trucks running

Long days and sometimes long nights

Meals eaten in the backs of trucks and mom’s car while sitting in the field

Ice tea served in glass jars

Finding soybeans and corn in the washing machine

Dirty faces

Combine rides

Three generations working together

Weigh wagons and moisture meters

Lots of pictures

Flagging for equipment going down the road

Happiness and disappointment

And some days harvest means naps for the littlest of helpers

What does harvest and fall mean for you?

Blessings to you,

Laurie – Country Link

A Day of Labor

A day of laborEvery day tends to be a day of labor here on the farm.  Some days the laboring is very minimal and others days we go from dawn to dusk.   Monday was one of those days were it seemed we went from dawn to dusk.

The kids were excited to have a day off of school and I think were anticipating that they were going to get to take it easy.  They did, for a bit, then it was outside to get a jump on the day and work while it was cool.  (Monday the temps was only in the low 80’s.  A relief from the very hot days we were having.)

They set to work pulling weeds out of the yard.  Why?  Well, we finally got sidewalks at the first of May and had to add some dirt to make the yard level.  Since then we have been able to grow some grass, but mainly we have been successful growing weeds and not just any weeds, the kind that get tall and have thorns.  OUCH!  So with gloves on, the kids started working, and then they got a call.

A day of labor 2

Gpa called and asked for a little help.  He had four mama sow’s (female pigs that have had babies) that needed to be moved and wondered if the kids would help.  Of course they did and who can blame them?  Moving the sow’s was going to be a lot more fun than pulling weeds.  For this job I was purely a spectator.  I have moved many a mama sow’s and was able to just watch as the kids learned how it is done.  The kids did a good job, but it was also a good thing that Gpa was there.

A day of labor 4   A day of labor 3

Each sow then had to go one at a time into the barn.  It was the girls job to make sure that they did not get out and to then move them in the right direction.  They were very diligent in their job.

hands at work

I stuck around long enough to snap a few pictures and then headed back to the house to see if Seth had returned yet.  Even though it was Labor Day, he still had farmers to see, accounts to settle and a plot tour to plan.  He was able to catch the farmer that he wanted to see, so he had returned home to take a few minutes to work on the bulldozer before he headed out yet again to prepare for a plot tour the next day.  He tends to be camera-shy, (I have no idea why) but as long as he is working, I can get a few pictures.

After lunch it was once again back to the pulling of the weeds and yes I also helped out.  The kids are not yet old enough to do the laundry, so I have to divide my time between things like that and helping them.  Don’t worry though, they did not pull weeds all day!  They also had to work on their rooms, Wyatt put together his work bench and we had a 7-year-old to take pictures of.

A day of labor 5

Kendall’s birthday has passed, but it has been way to hot to try to take her yearly picture.  We took a few of her and Tessa and then we got another phone call.  It was time to move the heifers (female cattle that have not had babies) and the soon to calve two-year old heifers to the barn so that they could be sorted and moved to new places.  We dropped the girls off with Gma and then Wyatt and I headed to the red barn to help Gpa.

A day of labor 6

They all came up fine and sorted pretty well.  Gpa now has a dented-in water tank, but other than that it was a successful sort and move.  Wyatt really showed us that he is growing up and becoming a pretty good cattleman.  His mama was very proud of how he did and I think Gpa was too.

We were finishing with the cattle at dusk and Gpa still had to do chores, so Wyatt and I were in charge of getting the tractor down to the pivot so that the irrigation system could be started and run all night.  Just as we were pulling up, Seth showed back up to lend a hand and we got the pump hooked up and running.

In all it was a good day of labor.  Now I know that Labor Day is to honor those who work day in and day out to make this country strong, but sometimes having a day off, just means that there is more hands to help.

Blessings to you and all who labor,

Laurie – Country Link

*Please keep the family of U.S. Army Private Jonathan Hostetter in your thoughts and prayers.  He was brought home yesterday after giving the ultimate sacrifice for his country and will be laid to rest tomorrow.

Hauling Hay

county fair ribbon

Here we were again, in the hay-field picking up small square bales of alfalfa.  (Ok, they are really long rectangles, but for years history has called them square bales, so that is what we call them.)  This time however the temperature was not in the high 90’s and there was a slight breeze, thus making it a nice evening to be in the hay-field.  And we all were in the hay-field.  Me, Husband, Kids, Gpa, Hired-hand, and Team Hall.  Team Hall, my sister, her husband and son, were here to help on a big project that has only taken 25 years to materialize and did not plan on going to the hay-field, but Gpa had other plans.  When Gpa says go to the hay-field, you go.  With all of the extra help, I was relieved of my usual duties as driver and got to instead take pictures.  I have been wanting to take lots of pictures in the hay-field but can not do to the fact that the driver has a very important job, driving.

Let me break it down for you how we haul hay on our farm.  First off you have the truck and long flat-bed trailer.  The driver, usually me, is to drive slowly and consistently along the hay bales so that the picker upper’s can pick up the bales and put them on the trailer.  You go slow so that you do not wear out the guys on the ground doing the picking up and so that you do not throw the stacker, usually my husband, off the trailer as he stacks the hay.  Pretty easy, right?  Yes and no.  When you have a nice evening like we had on Saturday it goes pretty good.  When you have 100 plus degrees and no breeze and not enough help, well then things go a little slower.

This night there was only 145 bales, so we could get them all in one load.  A few bales were not tight enough and too long, so they were re-baled, but other than that a good night in the field with family.

My brother-in-law and I took a little break while they rebaled the loose bales and made fun of my sister.  I know it is not nice, but we love her and she knows that if we did not give her a hard time, then there would be something wrong.  And two, she could not hear what we were saying.  So I snapped pictures of her doing manual labor, which she tries really hard not to do, and we talked about her.  Have I mentioned that I do love my sister?  And that I am very proud of her because in less than two weeks she will be walking 60 miles for breast cancer?  More of that to come, but this is her third Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure.  Hay, if you can haul hay, you can walk 60 miles, right.

Here are a few more pictures from the hay-field, because again, I don’t usually have the opportunity to just take pictures.  I was also watching the kids and making sure that they did not get in the way, or ran over.  My sister was a little rusty at the driving in the hay-field bit and she also had help from a three-year old.

Don’t worry I will tell you about the project that has taken 25 years to materialize and I will also share with you our day at the Missouri State Fair.  Have lots of pictures to go through first.

Blessings to You,

Laurie – Country Link

This blog was linked up to the Country Fair Blog Party

country fair blog party button