Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring is in the Air

Here in upstate NY, the weather is bouncing all over the spectrum. There is still about 8 inches of accumulated snow on the ground, but the temperatures have warmed to 35 degrees today with about 45 degrees expected on Monday. Snow flurries are still floating but it is going to rain on Monday. Just can't wait for warmer weather!
It is great to finally be able to let the animals out to roam around and gather up some of this sunshine! It makes me feel happy, but reminds me of all the work inside that needs to be done now. Barns to be cleaned, spring cleaning in the house, bedding that needs to be aired on the line, windows that are dirty and on the list rambles.

Needless to say...I am just waiting for the snow to melt enough to show me those spring crocus! The first color! Oh, how I miss the flowers!

This winter has been a roller coaster ride, with everything. So many good days follow by miserable bad days. Being raised a pessimist, it is difficult sometimes to get up that steep side of the mountain but, the new optimist in me bad day will always result in a good day that follows!

Headed off to the Farm Show tomorrow to look at new machinery and implaments! Maybe even get a new hat and t-shirt while I am there. The great thing is, I will get to visit with some of the guys that I deal with all the time on the phone! Always nice to be able to chat with people I know. Can't wait to get a look at some of the other new stuff that is out there in the Ag-world too. I will update on anything that is new and really interesting...and maybe even fill ya in on the new equipment purchases!

Have a fantastic day! God bless!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where does your food come from?

An excellent topic! Do you know where your food comes from?

Let's see....Cereal, Eggs, Bacon, Ham, Sausage, Oatmeal, Apples, Oranges, Cheese, Yogurt, Milk, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Rice, and the list goes on and on....where does it all come from? All of those things listed and many more are produced every year from family run farms right here in the United States. A little known fact, 99% of farms are still family owned and operated. There are 7,000 of those farms across the United States. Now considering those factors, please watch the video below and remember the next time you go to the grocery local fruits and vegetables when you can and when they aren't available purchase US products. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARM FAMILY TODAY!

Winter Issues

So, the photo here is the damage done to our barn roof. The tractor is unfortunately, buried under that pile of rubble! Hoping to get it out of there sometime this weekend.
On another note, things were rough around here today. We had problems keeping water unthawed and heat. It was a whole 2 degrees out this morning! It didn't help any that the wind was blowing and no matter how warm you dressed the wind and cold just kept biting. I spent the majority of the day going in and out of the house trying to keep up with all of the issues. For me, today was a complete waste of time. But...the water lines didn't freeze and everything is now warm! So, over all it turned out alright. Things will get back on track tomorrow!
As for some upcoming things, we have been asked to contribute to another blog. One about grassy biomass and I am going to use that opportunity to start establishing the connection between farming and renewable/sustainable energy. I can't wait. I will link to the blog once it is released.
It still amazes me sometimes what a backwoods country hick can accomplish! I sit back sometimes and think about all of those wasted years when I was a pessimist! I know, first hand, how difficult it is to be an optimist but, there are rewards beyond your wildest imagination if you are just open to the possibilities!!!!!!
God Bless! Stay warm and more news to follow soon!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Disaster Strikes!

I shouldn't even be sitting here right now typing...but I needed a serious break from all of the torture going on around here!
Last night about midnight, we heard a crash. It sounded like a really huge chunk of ice falling off something. It was loud. This morning, as I go outside and start doing chores, we have two of the calves in our front lawn. Which, by the way, is nothing new, but it seemed strange at such an early hour. As I began scooting the oldest one back across the road, I happen to notice that something on the barn looks strange.

Realization hit me then.......PART OF OUR BARN ROOF HAD COLLAPSED! I came back in the house to tell Mr. Farmer that he needed to get up out of bed and what had happened. This is just the start of the issues this morning. The part of the barn that collapsed was where we house our tractor. Needless to say, our tractor is now buried under boards, debris and snow. On top of that, we let someone borrow the wood splitter yesterday that wasn't put back where it was found. Then when I tried to get the cows back in the is the machinery blocking the way for them to get in. The barn door track is shifted and moved now too, so you can't open the right side of the door, because some idiot run the wood splitter into the door when they were taking it out and bent the retainer bracket and shifted the track!
Then we had to borrow the neighboors tractor to move some snow and Mr. Farmer got that stuck. The whole inside of the barn was torn apart by the two loose critter and to top matters off, one of our turkeys got trapped under some falling debris and was killed.
Already, I wish this day was long behind me!!! Everyone in this house is in a horrible mood. It was time for me to take a break! Just to get away and come in and get warmed up!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anniversaries, Laughter and Happiness

I have friends, pictured to the left, that celebrated their 25th wedding annivsary this last weekend. No matter how many people I have seen celebrate the silver or golden anniversaries...It never fails to amaze me that they have been together for all those years. This past summer, we helped celebrate Mr. Farmer's parents 50th. To watch both of these couples, you would never know that they have been together for so many years.
I have asked many times in the past what the secret was to a long, happy relationship...and I always get the same answer. Give 110%, expect nothing in return, take time for yourself and communicate. I didn't get the chance to ask this last weekend but, I know them both and spend a fair amount of time with them in the summer when they come here to go fishing. They both have things they love to do and then they have things that they do together. Since I have met them, I always hear them laugh and pick on each other. Mr. Farmer's parents are the same. Maybe that is the biggest key...laughter!
Smiles on others never fail to amaze me. When someone smiles, a real heartfelt smile, it is like a light switch flickers on inside them. I have friends who get down on themselves because of scars, being overweight, too tall, too short...but when they smile, they are so beautiful. I don't even think they know it sometimes. I have one friend who is on the slightly heavy side, that was insulted by her own grandfather about carrying around some extra pounds...but when this girl smiles, the world seems to energize around her. She is a stunning beauty. One of the most beautiful women I have had the fortune to know, with a personality that outshines her outer beauty. I have yet another friend, who bashes herself for her weight, that is the same way. She under estimates the power of just being happy with who she is. When she smiles and she laughs, she is the most amazingly beautiful women. Her eyes shine with stars in them, probably from mischief, but they are still there.
I know many others who are the same. They just can't seem to see how much their inner beauty shines through when they smile! Maybe I just have the ability to see them through the camera lens...Maybe I just like seeing the happiness shining in their eyes when they smile and laugh.
Maybe that is just the key to life in general. Laughter and Smiles. The thing you do that makes you feel good inside and with those you love.....
I sit here with a dumb grin on my face now, thinking of the things that make me smile...realizing now that I really do enjoy the little things in life!
God Bless...May you find something to make you smile and laugh today!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So called winter blizzards...

Well, yet again the weatherman sucks. Just once I wish they could get the forecast right for this area. We were due for a big storm to hit us over the past couple of days...the perfect storm for snow. HA! I beg to differ. We got five inches of snow yesterday and about another two inches overnight. Then today it is actually warm enough to start melting it all already.
I remember growing up when we would get feet, not inches, of snow in one blast. We just don't get that kind of snow anymore and I have to say that I honestly miss those storms. I used to love getting buried under a foot and a half of snow. That was when our family would sit around the wood stove and play games all day long.
These days we get snow and all it means it more work for me to get done. Plowing and shoveling aren't an issue with me. I actually love the exercise. I just wish if it was going to snow, it would snow enough to make it worthwhile!
I have been doing too much thinking lately about some things in my life. Maybe that is the biggest reason why I would actually enjoy the extra work load. I seem to have too much time on my hands to think about those people that I have cut out of my life, but still miss. I don't regret the decisions that I made to get me to wear I am today...I just miss what I once had with my dad and my kids. All the rest, I am glad is behind me and not part of my life anymore. Just a fancy dream of wishing that I still had my daddy around. My daddy who was my best friend for the majority of my life. My daddy that I miss dearly but, I have faith that he knows how much I love him. I know that my children know just how much their momma loves them. It doesn't make the situation any easier, but just knowing that when they lay down at night and think of me, it's happy thoughts like those that I have of my dad..That's how I know that someday everything will change and that broken road will be repaved.
I need about four feet of snow, just to wipe out these sad and lonely thoughts from my head. Maybe another animal or maybe another "project" is in order!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Born Country

Clear creeks and cool mountain mornings. Honest work out in the fields. Corn bread in my mama's kitchen. Daddy saying grace before a meal. Family ties run deep in this home and I am never very far from where I am.
I was born country and that's what I'll always be. Like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free. I got a hundred years of down home running through my blood. I was born country and this country's what I love.
Moonlight and you here beside me. Crickets sarinade in the yard. What more could two people ask for? Laying here in love beneath the stars. Now this is where I want to raise my kids. Just the way my mom and daddy did.
I was born country and that's what I'll always be. Like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free. I got a hundred years of down home running through my blood. I was born country and this country's what I love.
I was born country and that's what I'll always be. Like the rivers and the woodlands wild and free. I got a hundred years of down home running through my blood. I was born country and this country's what I love. I was born country......

Those are the lyrics to an old Alabama song. No song has ever fit my life better than that individual song. The country life, no matter how much hard work involved, is the life I am meant to live. Some people ask only response is that it is the only place I have ever been that I feel safe and secure. Safe with who I am and with what I do. Secure knowing that my neighboors are there for me if I ever do need them. Country is where people don't get wrapped up in the loss of common sense. Where people, for the most part, are still honest. There is no where else on this earth that I would rather be than out in the country where the green grass grows and the sky is still blue, where the trees are green and the fields grow strong. I can honestly say that it doesn't matter what area I live in, though I do love it where I am right now.
Hard work and staying busy keep me from going out of my mind. I really do enjoy every second of caring for our animals, including moving manure. :)
To some, it probably doesn't make any sense but to me it is the only thing that does. I can walk out the front door in my night gown if I want to watch the sun come up, cup of coffee in my hand and no one thinks twice about it. I think my biggest reason for loving the country life is that somehow it makes me feel closer to family that has long since left this earth. The country life is like a warm hug and a pat on the head. With every chirp of a wild bird, every blade of grass reminds me of the most precious time in my life...the days when I got to be with my grandparent's on their farm. I miss them dearly. I remember all of the good times that I had there. Times with my uncles and the dogs, times with my gramps in the barn, times with my gram in the kitchen while she was making butter or cooking a meal, times with my daddy learning how to drive a tractor and ultimately the place where I was safe from the spiteful words of my mother.
Memories constantly surround me like a blanket and a fire on a cold winters day. I feel a connection with the people that I love the most, even if they aren't around.
To those who have gone on to Heaven....thank you for everything you ever did for me, trying to make my life a better one; for showing me that it is better to treat people with respect; and for showing me that God will provide even when we don't think he will. I am so blessed for having you guide my early years in life, for your protection back then...and for the guardian angels that I know watch over me even now. I will always love you with my whole heart and soul...and I know that someday I will get to see you again someday.
As for those that I have left behind when I needed to take back the right way of what my life was suppose to be...I feel sorry for you for not knowing just how peaceful and blessed your life could be if you just let that thing you call control slip out of your fingers. I am sorry that I didn't turn into the daughter that you so desperately wanted me to become, but I am happy with my simple life and that is what truely matters. I am blessed with great friends and family members who love me for who I am under all the "fluff". I am sincerely sorry that you will never understand what true love and friendship really are, it may have helped you during your struggles in life to have someone to lean on. I am sorry that your life was so miserable that you didn't know right from wrong when it came to parenting. I am sorry that the one person you ever truely loved got sick and went to Heaven, leaving you here without her. I miss her too, but she no longer suffers and you know...she does watch over everything you do. She is up there in Heaven with God in a rose garden, with sweet peas growing up the side of the porch where she sits in the shade with her crazy hat on. I think that she would feel sorry that you have locked yourself away from those that could have loved you and someday she will give you the lessons again...but until then, know that you are prayed for everyday. Prayed for so that you will expel satan from your life and get the help from someone. I pray that someday, you will be able to find peace in your life.
I need to move on, enjoy my country life and do the best I can for myself because that is the only thing I have left. I will do just fine, because I know that all I have to do is knock on the door and ask for guidance and I will have my hand held and walk toward the right direction.
I pray for all of you out there to just discover the blessed item of self love through Jesus Christ, my saviour and light in my world. Faith in the unseen is difficult, but believing just means that you are already half way there. God bless you all...and to those who need prays, just look toward the heavens and say what you need to say. He is always listening.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Sometimes, all we need in our lives is just a little bit of a different perspective. Maybe we need to stop looking at situations face to face and stand above the situation or off to the side.
This has happened with me more and more lately. Two years ago, I set out to figure out exactly who I was, what my values and principles are. On that path, I had to side step to take a close look at what my life had consisted of up until that point. I stepped back to the right and started viewing the sequence of my life. I decided that many things needed to change and that I needed to start incorporating some of my early years into my adult life.
So, I got my first steer. I discovered that I enjoyed spending time caring for him, feeding him and just giving him a good life. I enjoyed having other people come to visit and comment on how well behaved he was, how friendly is more like it. Then Mr. Farmer and I held discussions on other animals to get. I wanted chickens. I have had them around most of my life. I enjoy spending time with them too. They provide eggs and meat for food on the table, enjoyment as they are out running around in the grass for bugs or scratching up the yard to pick worms. So, on one of our trips to the feed store, we were informed that they had some extra chicks that someone had ordered that spring and they had failed to come pick them up. We ended up getting the last of the one's they had left. Seven Rhode Island Reds, which turned out to actually be New Hampshires, and 15 Barred Rocks. All of those chickens have provided almost enough money to cover for all of the feed of our current roster of animals through the sale of eggs. After we set up housing and got the chickens up to a fairly good size so that they could go out and run around through the pasture and field...we set of in purchase of 12 Broad Breasted White turkeys. Mr. Farmer and I had compromised. He wanted turkeys, I wanted chickens. The turkeys stayed with us from June until November that year. The birds were so big by that time, they barely fit into the roaster for Thanksgiving Dinner. That was 2009.
In 2010, when we sat down to figure out what we wanted to do with the farm for the year. We decided that we wanted to get some Heritage Breed turkeys. One's that are not genetically altered. Traditional birds with beautiful, distinctive plummage. So in January, Mr. Farmer ordered a mixed batch of 30 birds for delivery in the spring. They arrived in mid-May. Around that same time, we had gone to the local auction barn and picked up a young jersey bull. By the time he had been here for just about a day, he became very weak and needed 24 hour nursing care. For two days straight, I didn't sleep as I cared for him. He had to be picked up to get him on his feet several times a day. Slowly he began to get stronger, but it took weeks before he was healthy enough to walk around the pasture for any distance. He is now our biggest and most handsome steer. He went from a beautiful chocolate brown to jet black!
In the first part of the year, it was brought to our attention that a woman in the area had been raising jersey cows and money had grown tight. She wasn't caring for her animals the way they should have been. They had very little food and were nothing but skin and bones. We rescued one of her cows in April. The day she arrived here, she was so weak that she actually fell getting out of the hauler. I teared up as the two calves that came along with her stepped out of the trailer behind her. Being ever protective of her young one's, she gently ushered them into a grassy patch about 75 feet from where we stood. She began munching on the grasses and for several weeks, it seemed that was all she did. Over the summer months, she gained weight steadily and is now almost as big around as a 4 foot hay bale!
Every animal is now healthy, happy and extremely well feed. They get attention multiple times a day.
Looking back now, over my right shoulder, I see that I have incorporated part of my youth by installing animals here on the farm. Every time I look at the photographs I have taken of the animals, I can almost hear my grandparent's, my uncles and my dad talking in my ear. When I am on my hands and knees in the garden harvesting crops for the fridge and pantry, I can almost feel my grandmother's hand on my should. Gently patting as if to say job well done.
Five years ago, I would have told you that having a farm was a dream that I would never have the opportunity to have. Maybe someday when I retire and get to do something that I really enjoy. Three years ago, I would have said that maybe just a few animals would be alright. Today, I can say, my perspective has changed 180 degrees. I took a couple of right turns along the way. This coming year will bring two more adventures for me. One is the expansion of our farm into beef cattle and the second is the biomass business!
Going further in depth with the change of perspective...I realized just how much agriculture means to me and our communities. Without agriculture, we have no food. Farmers not only provide us with milk and other dairy products but with every chicken or turkey we buy. Every egg we eat for breakfast. Every carrot, potato, onion, cucumber, pepper, strawberry we see at the grocery store. Every jar of jelly is based from fruits that come from a farm. Every can of soup has meat and vegetables that are grown on a farm. Every loaf of bread made from flour that was milled from wheat or corn grown and harvested by a farm.
I have a plan for you today. The next time you are in the grocery store, looking at produce...find out which one's are provided by a local farmer or atleast one within the state. They may be slightly more expensive but atleast you are helping to keep a community in business. You are keeping a farm in production. If your grocery doesn't provide local sourced items, pay attention to the labels and please buy from a US packaging plant. Most of those packaging plants buy from farms local to their location.
If we all do this, our small part in this cycle will mess with that of others...creating a demand for local sources food products. Remember, buying local keeps money from sales local. What a great way to contribute to your town, your county and your state, hell, even your country.
God Bless...and make a farmer happy today by ensuring his/her future in farming!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blistering Cold

The bittercold has definitely got me bundling up with about two more layers. The thermometer tipped in a minus 10 this morning. Not as cold as the temperature was in Northern NY but still bitterly cold. It is enough to make a person want to crawl under a blanket in front of a roaring fire and just read a book all day.
Too bad there are still chores that need to get done. Animals that need to be fed and watered. Fires that need to be filled. Otherwise, the fireplace, a comfy chair and a good book would be in order. Today is going to be a great day to bake! I think an apple pie sounds yummy and delicious right now.
The animals faired out alright in the brutal cold. Thank heavens for heaters for the water jug in the cow stalls! It would have been a blast trying to beat a frozen 50 gallon ice cube out of the tub this morning. Heat lamps are helping to keep all of the birds warm, not hot but warm. I think it was about 45 in the poultry barn this morning...not too bad considering how cold it is outside. The furnace is full enough to last until later today, so atleast the house will stay warm all day long.
I have a list about a mile long of things that need to get done for the business today. The list includes reading, editing and even some graphic design work. I also want to get some video editing done as sort of a portfolio of some of the photographs I have taken. Needless to say, this is going to be a long day of nothing much to get just a few results. I hate days like these...but I will be toast warm in my home office! That is a plus!
One thing I did want to share is something from a magazine article I read. It is called 5 Things Little Kids Can Teach You.
Lesson #1: Let Things Go - Listen, don't waste the rest of your life sulking about some unfair thing that happened to you. Get yourself off your mind...and simplify. Be as forgiving as a child who one minute can be fighting over a toy and the next be hugging.
Lesson #2: Be A Dreamer - Children make their lives simple by being an easy believer. Children believe in magic and fairytales. They have no problem coming up with imaginary playmates or imagining life to be amazing and fantastic.
Lesson #3: Pick Up Your Toys - Keep the stuff you use and the stuff you love, but give away what you're holding on to for "someday".
Lesson #4: Focus Your Attention - Practice doing one thing at a time. Give your mind over to what you are doing.
Lesson #5: Ask Your Father - Trust that God (or your higher power) loves you and hears your prayers. If it's right, it will be given. If it's not, just know that there is something better for you!
Five simple things to simplify your life. I have done them. Do you dare to try?
God bless! Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reflection and movement

I get up this morning with a bunch of stuff floating on my mind. After our great meeting yesterday, my head is filled full of ideas on how to incorporate sustainability in our region into a learning program. An education program that could start in high school and continue through to a four year college degree. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to help lay the ground work for the future of our local youths. I am excited to see where the group we meet with yesterday can develop this model. Of course, I volunteered more of my time to help on this project. Only because it plans a system from the ground up. A program that could assist people to that aren't typical involved in the agricultural sector to become familiar with all of the different aspects that can be involved.

I got up early this morning and decided to spend some time reading through some information for personal development and read through some things that friends have posted on facebook. I am going to cover both areas seperate, just because I think they are both equally important.

The first is personal development. As many of you already know, there are many things that I struggle to try to overcome in my life to make me a better person. To develop into an adult that actually stand being in the same room with herself. Recently, I watched a clip from an interview on the Today Show about a book called "The 7: The seven wonders that will change your life". As I read through the quotes and the blogs, I began to think to myself, "Where was this book three years ago? Where was this doctor when I was growing up?" Mr. Farmer watched the video clip of their reality eposides with me last night and even he thinks that this book is a definite purchase! Even he was interested in the things they were discussing.
I will be sharing some of that information, but if you would like to visit the site, please visit The 7.

The second thing is a video of a young girl and her daddy singing together. Feel free to watch! Home is where ever I am with very true!

EMBED-Little Girl Covers 'Home' With Her Dad - Watch more free videos

The farm is doing well, the heat lamps are helping greatly to deal with these freezing temperatures. The water is still freezing, hard to not freeze when the temperature sat at 1 degree this morning. It is going to be tough over the next couple of days due to freezing temperatures and high winds. The wind chill factor is forecasted to bring the temperatures down to around 15 to 20 degrees below zero! I will be bringing in firewood for the fireplace...that you are guaranteed! It makes it tough to do chores. You walk out the front door and your nose hairs instantly freeze! Your fingers get cold even through the warmest gloves possible. I have no idea how the people who live in Alaska do this! I wish I could be like Mr. Farmer and lay in bed under the nice toaster covers all day...but I have way too much pent up energy all the time to do that! I need to get up and move, bounce from one thing to the next and feel like I actually get something accomplished.

Well...I am off for the now. I think I may actually go sit in front of the tv and watch a video. Maybe doing some crocheting while I do. I just need some hand motion to keep my thoughts from over taking my head today. Hope that everyone here in NY stays warm! God Bless!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not a good day at all

One thing about farming, things happen and you lose animals due to a sickness or an accident or maybe just aggression between animals.
I sat yesterday holding the bird in the photograph to the left due to other animals agression. They beat her up so badly, she ended up passing on us about 5 last evening. I shed so many tears for the poor girl yesterday. But, I have to remind myself that she is some place where no one can hurt her now. She is out playing in fields and will never know anymore pain...but God, please don't forget how much she enjoyed the four wheeler.
I handle everything else on the farm with a good spirit. I do feeding, hauling hay, mucking barns, handling bedding and yes, even slaughter time. I know it doesn't make sense. But it does. I love caring for my animals. I don't really enjoy seeing them die, but I do understand they are put here for a reason. We all need to eat. What really bothers me is when an animal dies for no good reason and they suffer in between. It doesn't matter what animal it is...if they suffer, it knocks me right to my knees and makes me cry.
We don't deal with this an issue of death unexplained or from agression very often. Our animals are extremely well cared for. Winter is tough on the animals though. No green fields to go run in. Lately it has been so cold, none of the animals have even shown an interest in coming outside. It adds more to the daily chores because all the barns need to get cleaned every day. I will not sit and have my animals laying in wet feces. So, I muck the barns and everyone gets new straw to keep them warm. Fresh water is given to all the animals every day. The cows get two jugs, one morning and then again just before dark. The chickens and turkeys get fresh water three times day, as the old saying goes morning, noon and night. The cows are given free choice hay and hayledge. The chickens and turkeys all have free choice grains; corn, wheat, oats, barley, dry distilled grains and sometimes sorgum. The dogs always have fresh water and they get feed twice a day. We have to limit those two on food because otherwise they just eat and eat, then they get extremely overweight. The cat get free choice feed.
In the years we have had the farm here, we have only lost three adult birds. #1: a very old bird this summer that passed in her sleep; #2: a chicken who escaped the barn when no one was paying attention, stayed outside this past week, and caught cold so bad she couldn't be saved; #3: the turkey yesterday. Out of 62 birds, that is less than one percent. Most farms carry a morbidity rate of 5 to 10%. I should be very thankful, but I hate losing animals.
If you go back through some of my older posts, you will read about how much I will work, go without sleep and do my best to save an animal. I do it because they don't need to go through pain and suffering.
Well, enough about this subject. I have to put a shield around my heart and move on. I have a big meeting coming up today that I need to get prepared for still. Time to move past yesterday. Time to put one foot in front of the other and keep trudging forward.
God Bless.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Options Overlooked

After contemplating into the night last evening and all day today, I have decided that I can see the specific areas now where God touched my life when I was young. We don't get to choose the environment we are brought up in, it happens for a purpose. We look up to people who protect us and I now know that is why I loved my Grandfather so much. He would always welcome me with open arms and an open lap. He always had some tidbit of knowledge about how people are created different. I remember him trying in his own way to explain to me that I had a life that was good compared to so many others. He had served in WWII and had tons of stories about people in Italy, France and Africa. People who had seen devastation and had lost family during the war. I was fasinated with the people from Africa. He would never become impatient with me when I continually asked one question after another about the Pygmies. Funny to remember that now that he told me how little they had.

A good friend also made a comment to me today that struck a cord as well. She said that people are always at risk for the powers of Satan. It made me realize something very important. My mother, having been raised by a devote Christian, had actually walked away from the faith, hope and love that had been offered to her by God. She had been taken over by evil powers because she lost her connection with God. I will admit, as I child, I think the only time I ever attended church was once or twice when my Grandmother or my aunt took me along. I can not remember a time when my mother ever walk through a set of church doors to attend a service. here is the kicker...the only line I remember from those times in church was the shortest verse in the bible "Jesus wept." John 11:35. There is something else too. I have my mother's bible and the only other thing that is marked by her hand is John 3:5. The verse is actually scribbled out with a ball point pen! Under the ink it reads "Jesus answered, Veryily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Holy Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God."
I could hardly believe my eyes as I read those passages again today. It made me cry to realize that my whole family had suffered because of the simple act of walking away from God. It is right there...marked on the pages in front of me. What more of an answer to my question to I really need?

So, having pondered the passages and the assulting memories of my youth, I have come to the conclusion that the dream that God had for me was for me to become a better person, to not let Satan force me to walk away and for me to discover a better way of life than the one I was raised in. I can hardly believe that His plan was so simple. All of these years since those days, I have struggled with so many things in my life. What to do? Who I really am? What is it I am suppose to do?

The answer for me to yesterday lesson is simple. What to do? Believe that I am loved by God, no matter the circumstances of conditions that were out of my control. Who I really am? I am the daughter of a divine being that created me to share my life with Him, uniquely created just for Him, by Him. What is it I am suppose to do? I am suppose to trust that God knows what is best for me, that His plan for me is of a unique design and that I just need to see the signs and keep my faith in what I know is right and true.

I am honored that God saw fit to show me the answers to the questions that I asked. I will trust in Him to guide me to "refine" on His plan so that I may discover the depth of the plan for my life.

Whirling Minds

My life over the past years has been full of twists and turns. Being on a track to figure out what I really want to do and who I really am, I have discovered several things. It is rare to find people who don't criticise you for what you believe in. I don't mind a good debate of differing opinions and view points, actually I rather enjoy debating. It stimulates my mind, shows me different perspectives and gives me ideas on non-debating topics. My mind is always working on something or thinking something trying to gain a different perspective.
Just yesterday, I had two separate events that my mind is still reeling over. The first is the perspective of a photograph. Shelby Lee Adams is a photographer that has create many images of the people of Appalachia. These folks are poor by society’s standards. They offend some. To me, I see beauty. My perspective is different though. I came from a background where money was scarce. When I look at those photos, I know how close my family was to that exact same way of living. When I look at those photos, I see a different way of life. They remind me of how many used to live "back in the day"; times when things were different. It makes me see how far and how much society has grown. Look at the difference in just education. The biggest thing pointed out is how comfortable our lives are. Central heating, plumbing, electricity, phones, internet and so many things we have in our lives every day that some take for granted. I envy the closeness of family and the simple life of hard work to just survive.
Growing up, my family didn't have much. Money was always tight. We didn't have a nice house; we lived in a single wide mobile home. My parents drove old rust buckets that half the time was broke down. I got hand me down clothes. I know people looked down on me...and I didn't care. I had my daddy to hug me every night and my grandparent's tried to keep me in line (Yeah, I was a hellion). My uncle's were always there to teach me something new. I didn't need anything more in life.
I was jealous back then though...jealous of the nice new clothes and the beautiful things the other girls had. I know I was always an outsider everywhere I went...BUT at the end of the day...the life that has always made sense to me is more like that of those backwoods hillbilly's. Work hard, play hard and love more....I really miss my early days :(

The second thing that I have noticed is how secular people are becoming. I follow politics. I do have an opinion that may differ from others. I am a conservative but, I listen to all sides. No matter how much I may disagree with someone else's opinion, I do still HONOR them. I just think that no matter what, we all need to remember one thing...we are AMERICAN! Political preferences should not make a difference in who we choose as friends, which should be based on the individual and their own actions and integrity. I was told recently that pushing the "We are all American" button is weak. I beg to differ, I am an American. I am damn proud of what my forefathers did throughout history to attempt to find a better way of life, not only for their own generation but those that followed. I don't care if it is a tired argument or not. The additional comment that this same individual said is this..."If you are a righty, then we can't be friends anymore." How pathetic! So just because I don't share the same political view points, you are what? Better than me? I don't think so. That because I am a conservative, you are more educated than me? Again, I don't think so. I was raised to listen to what other people have to say, even if I didn't agree with it. I was also taught that you never base friendships off race, politics or religion. It just amazes me how truly narrow minded some individuals really are. The "my way of thinking or the highway" is a button that should be eliminated.
Maybe I just have the wrong perspective on everything....and please, if you think so...don't hesitate to comment.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Search

According to this new book that I am reading now, I am suppose to find out what kind of person I am. Things like talents, gifts, personality, temperament and character.

I have never been good at self-evaluating. I always here the words that my mother used on me my whole life. Worthless, no good, etc etc etc

It states that there are three main questions for seek answers for.
1. What is there about me that is unique?
2. What set me apart from everyone else?
3. What can I do that will make a difference in the world?

As for the topics of talents and gifts...
The term gift is not the same as talent. A gift is the ability for doing something and the distinction between talent is that it is a NATURAL ability that needs to be developed.
I know that there are some things that I am "good" at. I will have to create a list of those things and ponder on them further to discover if they are gifts or talents. Photography is one that comes to mind. I know that is a gift since I have never been instructed on how to capture a great photo. I will have to think about the rest of what I do and break it down...please feel free to comment on this area, I have trouble seeing through my abilities because of that annoying voice of repetition of too many years of negativity!

The combination of inherited traits. Your genetic predisposition. Something we have no way of changing.
I have always thought that my "temperament" was how I interacted or reacted. If my temperament is inherited then I am going to asses that I have a lot of the genetics from my dad. I think I have more of the same mentality that he does toward people in general. He is well liked and always a good listener. I will admit that I do have some of the same traits my mother has too though. I am stubborn and I do get cranky from time to time. I am going to conclude that my temperament is a little confusing even to myself. I try to be kind and listen yet, I get impatient and angry sometimes. I will have to pay closer attention to these traits.

Who I appear to be. This can be manipulated in your outward appearance by "putting on a mask" to make yourself more attractive or acceptable to others.
The real place in my life that I see this in my personality is the way I dress. When I go out, most of the time I try to make sure that my hair looks nice and I am wearing nice clothes. I know that this is a sort of mask. I try to look "presentable" when confronted with people I do not know. I think that the rest of my personality stays the same whether I am home alone or out with other people.

You I am when no one else is looking, the real me. Character is influence by temperament and personality, but can only be truly changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I think that my character is kind and caring, not to or about myself. I worry about how everyone else is coping with life. I tend to sit around with my "hair" down. Most of the time, you will find me in a pair of sweats and a hooded sweatshirt. I am quiet most of the time and always a little on edge. I have anxiety issues that make it difficult for me to just sit and relax. I also spend alot of time keeping my hands and mind busy. Not always in the most constructive fashion either.

After considering these factors, I have come to realize that these are all things that make me a better a person. Through my temperament, I find the strength to deal with many different people throughout the world with many different menatalities and personalities. I also see now where I have gotten the impatience in my life from and the anxiety issues as well. Through stubborness, I have found determination to make my life better. All of these characteristics to make me become the better person. I need to pay closer attention to the good and stop listening to the negativity, both internal and external.

So, now I will try to answer those three questions from above.
1. What is there about me that is unique?
I have the ability to listen and pay attention to what other people say. I have a kind heart that understands more than most people how painful life can be. Even after a life of tragity, I am still opimistic about my future. I would give of myself to protect an animal from harm. I have the ability to research and develop plans through methodology and a little faith. I can inspire others to become better people, to have faith in themselves and to watch them sore like eagles through life to new and great things without ever asking for anything in return.
2. What set me apart from everyone else?
Having been through so much in my life, one trauma after another, I still have the ability to see the good in everyone and everything. My heart is open to the possibilites of what may come. Even after years of being told that I couldn't and wouldn't ever amount to anything, I still have this capability to politely knock on a door to my future (and there have been a few) and ask for entry.
3. What can I do that will make a difference in the world?
Through the past year and a half, I have discovered a few things that I can do to make a difference. The first is to be optimistic for others, even when they don't want to hear it. To inspire them to think beyond the "box" of life and to expand their horizons to allow the possibility of great things to happen. The second is to work within an industry that needs all the assistance they can get to keep their families alive. By establishing an alternative commodity for the agriculture industry, I will open new doors to local farms who struggle to make ends meet. I can also make a difference by standing up in their defense to government beaucracy. I can make a difference by just doing the right thing and being nice to every individual I cross paths with.
Stop and think for just one moment. Have you ever walked by someone in the store who "appeared" to look angry at the world? Have you ever been in a store, just lost someone important to you that shouldn't have been taken from this world yet? How do you think you looked? Miserable, right? How did it make you feel if someone just smiled at you? Or held the door open for you to come inside from the rain or freezing cold?I know how it makes me feel. Grateful. So why not just take that extra second, make eye contact and smile at someone. So why not hold the door open for someone coming toward a doorway.
This post is definitely long I will leave it for the rest of the day. Just asking one thing of anyone reading this today...could you please do one random act of kindness for someone who "appears" to be down?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow, Ice and Cold

I will tell you right now...I may love winter but I hate dealing with frozen water! When buckets freeze it makes everything difficult. I have been having a difficult time lately with all of the water freezing for the animals...of course with zero degree temperatures, even the water heaters struggle to keep everything from freezing. It was horrible out there yesterday, when at 9 am, the temperature was actually a balmy negative four! I have no idea how the folks that live in Alaska do it. I mean, you walk out the door and your breath crystalizes right before your eyes. Your nose hairs freeze and what ever you do, don't sneeze!

Other than struggling with frozen water...everything is going good. We do have one sickly calf, but he seems to be pepped back up again with just one dose of antibiotics. He was lathargic yesterday morning and most of the day yesterday, so I called the vet in to check him out. This cold is hard on everyone...animals included. I am very glad that we decided to put heat lamps in to keep the chickens and turkeys warm. It was about 50 degrees in with them yesterday. Not very warm but it sure was a whole lot warmer than what it could have been. The cows were doing alright until it snowed so hard last week and they went out into the pasture...can't teach animals anything! :) The cold just seemed to digs it's ugly heels in yesterday. Thankfully it is warmer out this morning...but now we are going to be getting rain and freezing rain sometime this morning.
Mr. Farmer made the 30 mile trek to work this morning take almost 20 minutes longer than normal. All of the local schools are closed. Which in my opinion was a smart move, I wouldn't want my kids on a bus bumping down back country roads covered in ice.
I have a bunch of things to prepare today for several upcoming meetings. I am also having an official business phone installed this morning! No more dealing with other people listening to messages and then not forwarding them along. No more late hour phone calls ringing in my ear when I am trying to relax. It means official business hours for the phone! I love it! I really can't wait!
I have been working on our website for the business too. Trying to keep everyone updated on the new EPA rulings and such. If you want to read more, you can find it under my blogger profile under the biomass heading.
To close out the day, I am sharing a video all about the transition of our rescue cow. She has been a graceful addition here on the farm and a pleasure to now have. God Bless!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Staying Busy...

Well, this last weekend was packed full of one chore after another. There just never seems to be a day when I get to take time off to just relax.
Saturday we spent the majority of the day running here and there picking up animal feed. A trip to Berkshire to the feed store to get cow feed; Willet to get chicken feed; Killowog to pick up another bale for the cows. The swing into Killowog was pointless because no one was around to load the that meant going back on Sunday. We came home to store the feed, clean the stove pipe, load the furnace, plow the drives and finally inside to cook dinner. Sunday, I slept in. Rich took care of the morning chores for me (thank heavens) so I could grab a few minutes extra sleep. We had a load of firewood delivered before I didn't get too much extra sleep. After cooking breakfast, I did manage to sit down for about a half hour to work on a blanket that should have been done last week...running a bit behind on that one! Then it was off to Killowog to help do heifer chores and pick up a hay bale for our cows.
I sit here this morning, dreading going out that front door....Folks, the temperature here is ZERO. I am in no rush! The starter on the tractor is bad so it doesn't start. At some point this week, I need to get that off to have it fixed. Just wish the weather would warm up a bit! We need to cut up these logs for firewood. Most of them will be longer pieces and then split for the furnace...but since we are due to have some extremely cold weather over the next week, we are also going to cut and split some for the fireplace as well. No way am I going to freeze.
I have been having an extremely difficult time with getting the "chills" lately. I go outside, get cold and then for some reason get chilled right to the bone. I have never had this kind of problem before. Maybe it is because I haven't been feeling very well lately. I just don't know. It reminds me of when you go swimming in the pool and your core temperature drops, giving you the shakes and jitters. The only way I can seem to get rid of them once they start is to climb into bed and sleep them off. Which is driving me crazy because it seems like the last three days, I have slept half of my days away.
I will be working on a couple of projects for some information on why our government needs to reconsider subsidies for ethanol production and another for a local college course program on biomass. Seems to be an ever expanding list of things to do...but I wouldn't change it. It makes me feel like I am contributing back to this world I live in. When I was growing up, I always said that I wanted to be a teacher...maybe I wasn't too far off. These projects keep leading me into an education sector. Educating the public, educating the educators. Interesting for me to say the least.
I have decided that I don't get paid enough for everything I do...I would ask for a percentage raise but it's kind of hard to get a 25% raise when you don't get paid anything to begin with! Just to explain to everyone why I don't think I will ever get paid are my job titles: Research and business development; Personal Assistant; Chief Executive Office of a start up company; Sales and Marketing Manager for two seperate businesses (Biomass and Farm); Marketing and Sales Specialist (Biomass Industry); Farm Hand; Housekeeper; Bookkeeper; Cook and a few additional ones that I will be kind enough to not list :)
My days are full. Up at 5:30 to bed around 11:00 and zero time for me in between. When I get sick, I still work. There is no time to get depressed over certain things in my life, no time to ponder what could or should have been. One foot in front of the other, every hour on the hour.
So, to boil it all down...I don't get paid for even half of what I do, but sometimes the joy of doing all I do out weighs any amount of money in the world!
May you all find peace and joy in your days! God Bless!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Too much activity...

Things have gotten really busy around here lately. I made a comment on facebook yesterday about all this. I feel like someone taught me how to juggle with three pins and now they just threw six more into the mix.

Pin 1: My normal life. Not that I really have time for one, but I try. Normal things include everything here on the farm. Morning and afternoon chores, keeping the snow plowed and the driveway clear, keeping my tush warm by loading wood into our outdoor boiler, cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing laundry, washing dishes and all the rest of the household chores, and still managing to do some crocheting projects here and there. I have no issues with the outside work like taking care of the animals and keeping the driveway plowed (or mowing the lawn in the summer) but, I would love to have a maid/housekeeper for the rest!

Pin 2: Biomass. I am working on getting this project lifted off the ground and things are slowly managing to work together. It is like a door that has locks, little one's too, that line the whole side. One tiny key is given to me every so often to help me get that door open. I have all but a few of them unlock now. I can flex the door by pushing on the bottom and get peeks to what is on the other side but, I can't get it all the way open to walk in there yet! And that is just the first project!

Pin 3: Agriculture activism: This is a pin all on it's own because it is very time consuming. I have to follow what is going on in Washington, DC and with groups such as the USDA. I do my best to help where I can with any farm who asks for assistance. I know that small, family farms are the heart and soul of our country. Too many people have forgotten that! Milk prices paid to farmers are the same as they were in the late 80's. Yet, mind you, we all know that fuel prices have gone way up. Seed prices are higher. Grain prices seem to be raising by the day right now too (I will talk about this in a very detailed upcoming blog). Machinery prices are high. Fuel surcharge prices for milk pickup are higher than ever. So many small things that cut into the profit of every farm! It sickens me when I listen people complain about the price of milk, cheese and other dairy goods in the store...which are also high, I do agree...but, your local dairy farmer sure isn't getting that extra money! I could go on and on with this one..but I will stop it here and save up what I have to say for another day!

On to the rest of the pins!
Pin 4: Expansions. Yes, in a way this does follow up under the biomass but, it has become a bigger thing in the past six months. Now it is the same size as the biomass project we are working on. Two seperate counties in other areas of the state are agressively pursuing this type of venture to come into their area. Unfortunately, each new area has it's own requirements. It isn't as simple as saying, look I have a plan to produce that will utilize the areas grasses. You still need buyers and raw materials. This takes talking with people in the area, finding out the raw material base acreage. It takes finding a source that can use the finished product. Both steps really aren't difficult when you know what your up against, but it isn't just a snap of your fingers either. It still takes time!

Pin 5: Seminars/Conferences. Unfortunately, these things should come with a warning tag! Prepare, prepare, prepare some more! Making sure you cover the topic in detail is the best thing to do...but usually you are limited on it is write the speech, tweek the speech and edit more!

Pin 6: Mentoring. This is the one pin I wish I had more time to take care of. I love helping people. It feels good to work with people who want to make themselves better individuals. I am a noble ambassador now, found out this week actually, for assisting people with leadership and interpersonal skills. The comments that were made to me, "You are a great inspiration. Your words are always kind and you show great compassion toward the issues of others. Your work has shown your true dedication and optimism for life." The title is just a title but one that I will always cherish. I will be the first one to admit, I did shed a couple of tears (of joy) for being able to pay forward what others have done for me!

Pin 7: Social life. Yeah, this one is down near the bottom of the pins. I wish I could take time to go hang out and visit more with my friends and family. Unfortunately, right now, time just isn't on my side! It is hard on me sometimes. I have two people that I really wish I could go visit with more often. Just to tell them face to face who much they mean in my life. One I chat on the phone with over coffee almost every morning. The other, I talk with on chat as much as possible. These two woman have been loyal and have earned my trust more than anyone else ever has. Girls, I love you both more than you will ever be able to comprehend!

Pin 8: Photography. Something that means a great deal to me. For little reasons. I see things differently through the camera lens. When I look through the view finder, I see a smaller section of the world. One that shows me the little things. Like the blooming flowers of spring, dew drops on spider webs, robins that follow me around, a look in an eye, so many little things! I could spend the rest of my life with my camera lift to my eye! It is such a beautiful world out there. You just have to remember to take it one frame at a time. Those frames make the world come down to size, to make you notice everything around you, everything that we have been blessed to recieve! there aren't six extra pins, just five. Still a lot to juggle. There are days that I miss the old way of life. Where I got out of bed every morning, got dressed and left for a normal job. But, I am not going to pull any punches...I love my life just the way it is. I don't care if some days I work so hard on so many things. I don't care if I don't dress in the current fashions. I don't care that I don't to have a new car or truck. I don't care that my clothes are usually all rumpled and stained, ripped and torn. I am doing something productive with my life...I am learning who I am and what I can give to others! I love where God has led me in my life! I am blessed with so much.....I just wish that God had provided me with a secretary and a housekeeper during this difficult transition period in my life! I pray everyday that he reconsiders that thought. I bet he sits in Heaven laughing when I sit here praying for that...saying, remember young lady, I won't give you more than you can handle!
So, no matter how many pins I juggle, I know that I have got it all under control, that I will find the strength and patience to do it all! Some how, some way...housekeeper, secretary or not!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mother Nature

Mother Nature sure has changed her temperment since I was a kid. Today, people freak out over a foot of snow. Back in the late 70's, early 80's, I remembering getting this much snow a couple times a year. There was always snow on the ground.

Here in NY, where I live, we managed to get a total downfall of about 5 or 6 inches overnight. It is just amazing to listen to people complain about how much snow we did get...come on! There isn't even enough snow accumulation to be able to ride a snowmobile!

Apparently, it is just okay to complain about something...PESSIMISTS!

I have a different view on snow, any amount of it. Take a step back, slow down for a minute and go look out the window. If you are in the country, look at how new and fresh everything looks. How the sun reflects off the individual snow flakes, making the world look like God dumped a whole bin of glitter on the ground. Pay attention to all the colors that reflect of the snow..blues, yellows, oranges and sometimes a hint of red. If you are in the city and look out the window, pay attention to how the snow softens the edges of the harse concrete buildings. Look at the way all the bare trees have taken a new shape and dimension.

I know, I know...what you are thinking I have to clean my car, bundle up in a heavy coat and where boats. The roads are bad, it takes forever for your windows to defrost and your gloves don't feel like they provide you with enough warmth and your toes are cold. Just remember, spring is on it's way. You wouldn't be as thankful for those flowers to start blooming, the trees to start budding and the grass to start growing if it wasn't for all of these winter months. Small consolations for the immediate moment...but still. Consider how lucky you are! Your house is warm and so is your office. If you start your car a few minutes extra, so will your car. There are people out there who can't afford to pay for heat. That don't have jobs to help pay for it. Be thankful for everything you do have!

Be safe out there on the roads and remember to take just one moment, one brief minute to enjoy the splendor and miracles that are provided to us right before our very eyes.

The images below are links to art work that will remind you of how beautiful and peaceful this snow today can be.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bad Days

For several years now, I have been battling through a nasty family court battle. Today was just another one of those days that I wish I could put behind me.
The only good thing that comes out of days like today is that I get to prove my faith and yet again, show just how messed up our court systems have become.
Some day, all the wrongs will be righted and redemption will be served, cold mind you, but served none-the-less.

As for things on the business front, we are getting closer and closer. A new grant package has been thrown our direction that will hopefully put an end to all of this non-stop battling over every tiny detail. Banks crack me up now with all of the stipulations, regulations and unending paperwork. Reuse and recycle apparently doesn't fit into their mentality!

I just read through some interesting facts on some things that happened on this day in history. President Roosevelt sure didn't do us much justice. It is amazing to look back and see just how much the decisions of yesterday can still have a last affect on us after all of these years. Hopefully, the voice of the American people will be heard this time around in the 112th Congress and maybe even trickle down to the Senate. I doubt it, but as those lottery commercials say, "yeah, you never know."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Too much time...

No, I don't have too much time...I never seem to have enough. The week between the holidays was one of most relaxation and rest. I needed that. Now life is back to the normal grind. Other than the sniffles and headaches from everyone being sick.
January brings much for us to do. Not like in the summer but feeding times become lengthy due to the fact that we now have to feed the cows bales of hay instead of letting the just eat the grass. Water buckets freeze. Which means more time spent on cleaning them out or getting them unthawed.
The business is going good. Just one more documentment signed and we are ready to rock and roll! We are still on the plan to get the doors open sometime in April of this year. The next couple of months are going to bury us under a mountain of paperwork, dirt and building materials but it will be all worth it in the long run!
I can't wait until the day we get to hold our grand opening!