Category Archives: country living

Need a Confidence Boost?

People aren’t born sure of themselves.

They get that way by learning from mistakes and giving themselves a boost when they need one. Self confidence is not something you’re born with. It is something we develop.

Self confidence does not come from succeeding in everything you do. It’s learning to live with mistakes and knowing you have the power to make things better next time.

Here are ten steps to confidence:

1. Set and meet a new goal. Instead of huge, long range goals, set goals you can reach on a regular basis, such as completion of certain tasks ahead of time.

2. Accept compliments. The next time you’re complimented, just smile and say thank you.

3. Surround yourself with supporting people. When you’re than good about yourself, remind yourself of your good qualities and you will always feel better.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Take pleasure in who you are, not who you’re not.

5. Become really good at something. Excelling at something, (be sure that it is legal and honest) will make you feel good about yourself.

6. Find a role model. Seeing someone you admire cope with problems similar to yours can give you a big boost.

7. Take care of yourself. Quick! What makes you feel better – throwing on jeans and a t-shirt and rushing out the door, or taking time to put on a nice outfit and fix your hair and makeup? The answer is obvious.

8. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Tell yourself it’s okay if things don’t go as planned, “cause I can handle whatever goes wrong.”

9. Keep learning at every age; it is especially important to keep up on information that relates to your job and family. Being in the know can do wonders for your confidence.

10. Be your own booster. Whenever your confidence laps, it usually is because you’re worried about what other people will think of you. When that happens, remind yourself of all the things you’ve done well.

I have lots on this list that I can work on becoming better at! Simple one’s like accepting compliments, which kind of goes hand in hand with surrounding yourself with supporting people. Support is the greatest form of a compliment.

Being my own booster was a difficult one, but I feel like I am finally becoming more independent and less dependent on someone else to tell me what to do, when to do it and how to do it! I have also been an independent woman buried under the hurt, pain and bitterness of childhood abuse. Which causes SEVERE lack of confidence, especially when you were constantly told thing like “You’re a worthless piece of s@#t.” “You will never amount to anything” and many more. Probably another reason why it is difficult for me to accept compliments too…especially about my work.

I HAVE gotten really good at rolling with the punches of life. I don’t let too much get to me anymore. Yes, I am passionate and get rather  vocal at times, but I don’t go all kinds of crazy. And….here is the biggest improvement: I can actually talk openly about my life and all the ups and downs without shedding constant tears or feeling like I am being singled out as some form of punishment! Chalk it up to old age!

Setting goals, something I never did before three years ago, has become a regular part of my life. I set goals for projects, on the farm, at work and even with the “crafty” things I do. Working on small projects that develop into something bigger provides such a great sense of accomplishment! Today, I don’t do much without a to-do list!

The areas where I really lack are: taking care of myself~I mean come on, I work around cows….they don’t care if I wear makeup and would probably poop or pee on my feet if I wore dressy shoes! EWWWWW! But, I do have an idea on that!

I used to dress up for work, take off on my lunch break and be found in a local stream with my skirt tied up gypsy style, sporting a pair of hip waders while my heels lay on the bank!!!!! Oh, the memories! So, in taking that train of thought…maybe I will dress in slacks and a nice sweater but instead of hip waders…Coveralls and a Carhardtt coat! HAHA! NOT a chance! I will gladly stick with my ball cap, hooded sweatshirts and flannel lines jeans along with my grubby barn shoes (which by the way are hand me down sneakers!).

I don’t need to worry about comparing myself with others. No one has the life I want to lead, the hairstyle I want, the jewelry or the car I want to drive. I am content being the unique individual me with many difference talents and ultimate contradictions (like my fetish for girly high heeled shoes I never wear).

The one thing on this list I really wish I did have was a roll model. I have never been the type of girl to ogle over movie stars, singers or other celebrates (although, I do have a HUGE fastination with Josh Duhamel…He reminds me of my dad in his younger years for some reason). I have never really had another person other than my dad that I looked up to. I respected how he treated people and how he acted. I have yet to find someone else that I want to be more like. Maybe that’s just because I have accepted that I walk to a different beat and half the time it’s my own drum!

There you go…my deep thoughts of the week! How to become a better person? To not get down? Wait, I think I got it!



Busy Weekend

There wasn’t much time to do a whole lot, yet the weekend was so full there wasn’t much time to get any relaxation in.

On Saturday, I got to spend time with my two favorite little girls! My (step) granddaughters. I have so much fun with them when I do get the time to visit with them! After that, we had a retirement party to go to for one of mine and Mr. Farmer’s old work buddies. He says and I quote “I am busier now that when I worked all the time.” His wife is keeping him extremely busy with the honey-do list.

By the time we got home, it was time to do our chores again. We have been having a few milker pump issues but Saturday evening was the last straw for the new unit we just bought. No pressure in the tank means no pulsator. No pulsator means no way to milk the cow with the claw into a milking pail. Oh, the joys of hand milking a Jersey cow with the smallest teats ever! Not joke….Your thumb and one finger in a rolling motion is all you need! Too bad it gives you hand cramps! 🙂

After chores, we headed over to the other farm to “borrow” another pump and assist with milk testing and evening chores. It was a good time but it was after 11pm when we finally got home.

On Sunday morning, I still didn’t have the new milker pump set up, so again it was off to milking by hand. The temperatures were just under 20 degrees, which meant that all of the water was froze and then when I went to fill the jugs…the water lines were froze. So, after a cup of coffee inside the house, Mr. Farmer and I went out to heat up the lines and find out why the lines were frozen. Needless to say, we need some heat tape and now have to bring the hoses inside every day.

Now, it was time to set up the new milker pump and vacuum. Other than having to lift it off the back of the truck, that went fairly easily!

Then we cut enough firewood for our furnace to last about a month! That’s always fun when you have pulled muscles in your stomach. Mr. Farmer is still sporting some fairly sore ribs too since they were separated about a month or so ago and he is still on the road to recovery. Aren’t we just a barrel of laughs?

After that, it was time to do laundry, work on Christmas gifts, fixing dinner and also talking with one of the guys we allow to hunt here. I will be the first to admit, I was ready for a nap by 3 pm!

I haven’t been this thankful to see Monday in a couple of years. Thank goodness everything is up to date and back to normal! Now today, I need to clean house, make cheese, finish up a slideshow and still get all those animals taken care of…..Not much time to be chatty today!

Hope you all have a great day!

Is Farming a Sexy Industry

I have to say that this week has been extremely difficult to handle. I am so tired of hearing over and over again how neglected our agricultural bases are.

But then, another person sitting in the same room starts spouting off at the mouth that farmers are making a killing and should be rolling in the dough!

Nothing like sitting in a room full of people who have never stepped one foot onto a farm, had 100’s of animals to care for or had to deal with the nonsense of uneducated idiots. Farming isn’t as simple as some folks want to make it out to be. It isn’t a job that you can call in sick for, take vacations from without weeks or sometimes months of planning, and it is one of those jobs that requires constant research and development.

Some of the folks within my region keep telling me that Agriculture isn’t a “sexy” industry to enter! Wait, what?!?!?!

Let’s just take a look at all the things you need to know to operate a farm.

You need to be a:
Meteorologist – knowing your climate is very important for crops
Agronomist –  in areas such as crop rotationirrigation and drainageplant breedingplant physiologysoil classificationsoil fertilityweed controlinsect and pest control.
Chemist – chemical compositions of soils and forages
Veterinarian – for animal health and welfare
Geography – to understand the land, the soil and soil compositions, and water movements
Ecologist – to know and understand impacts of the environment and wildlife. This also includes pest management
Biologist – to understand what makes plants grow and how they grow, to understand the evolution of life
Geneticist – to understand breeding and reproductive qualities
Engineer – for waste management, flow through patterns of livestock, water irrigation

These don’t include anything to do with marketing, computers, operating equipment (some of which you almost need a degree to operate) or any mechanical abilities. It doesn’t include the bookkeeping, record keeping, feeding or any type of research and development.

So, why is the agricultural sector ignored?

I think many of us already within the industry can answer this question….It is a lot of hard work, dedication and all for a few cents on the dollar. It is a high risk industry to enter.

Oh, I can hear some of you already saying…”High risk. Not it isn’t!” Yes, it is!!!!

The markets are volatile. With feed prices taking a high pitch up, then a swing down low from one week to the next, you have to know how to play the market game. You have to know how to keep input costs down and then get devastated when milk or beef prices plummet.

Agriculture is dependent upon weather. Look at the droughts in the southern region. Or better yet, look at the season we had here….Flooding in the spring. Too much rain made it difficult to get fields planted with corn and too wet to harvest hay. The center portion of the summer saw us facing drought like conditions which stunted the growth of our corn and our second cutting hay. Then to top it all off…this fall was again bombarded by too much rain and more flooding.

Both issues are extremely high risk and neither one is even remotely something we have the opportunity to control.

So how do we get the younger generation to start picking up where our aging agriculture population is leaving off?

I sure don’t have the answers…..I do have a few suggestions but none worth really delving into right now. I would love to hear your opinions of the matter! So feel free to comment away and then we can bring this topic back up for another analytical discussion.

Snowy Days

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the snow! I love the flakes when they start to fall. I love the snow covered ground. I love how it makes the world look.

Yeah, the frozen pipes are a pain….But to get over it, just step outside and look around! Everything is covered in a blanket of white, glittering like diamonds in the sun.

This IS my favorite time of the year and another one of the reasons why, if for some unforeseen reason, if I ever have to move….I want to go where they have seasons, mostly for the snow!

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Urban vs. Country Living

I sit here this morning thinking about the post from yesterday and the questions that people ask on why I like farming and living here where I do. It just struck me this morning that the biggest thing is the difference in the way of life.

I am one of those people that could really care less about going to the “city”. I don’t mean just big cities like NYC, Chicago or places like that. What I really mean is going to “town” but I think that sounds a little weird. I am not one for crowds, the hustle and bustle or the overbearing rudeness that surrounds stores and shopping centers.

To explain it all, I think I need to point out the differences in Urban Living and Country Living….

When I want breakfast, I go to my refrigerator and pull out eggs, sausage or bacon and some bread. My eggs come from the chickens across the road, the pork from my son-in-law and the bread which is usually homemade english muffins (with about 1/2 the ingredients from here on the farm).

Now, City Folk (and I mean no disrespect) go to the fridge, pull out store bought eggs (which who knows how old they are), usually bacon that is cured in so much salt to preserve it from going bad, and maybe english muffins. If they happen to be out of one thing, it means a trip to the grocery store…or worse yet, a drive thru window at the local McDonald’s or maybe a doughnut and coffee from Dunkin Donuts!

When I go to work, I step out my front door. Not warming up the car to thaw the snow and ice off the windows in winter. I shovel my way from the house to the barn. If the driveway needs plowing, it usually done with a four wheeler and a snow blade (light snow), a truck (4″ or more) or if we have heavy snow the tractor and bucket. Our road is plowed only for when the school bus is due through in heavy snow. We dress in layers, layers and more layers to stay warm. We buy gloves for their heat and durability, not for their fashion sense.

City Folk on the other hand, will be seen snow blowing an inch of snow out of their driveways and heaven forbid if the roads don’t get plowed. But then, when they do get plowed…people start complaining about the end of their driveways being packed with snow. They start their cars, waste gas to heat the windows and get the interior warm so they don’t get cold in their business suits and argyle socks.

Alright, now let’s just say I need to go out to drive somewhere…Let’s say to pick up parts at Lowe’s for a water line. Out here in Rural USA, almost every driver I pass waves. Not because I actually know them either. It’s just because that’s what has always been done. It keeps up good relations with the community. But…..boy o’ boy does that change the closer you get to the “city” limits. People drive different. They speed up, swerve around cars that are not going as fast as they would like, swerve back in nearly clipping the car they just passed and usually flipping them off as they do….They honk the horn if you take one second too long at a stop light. They whip through parking lots like they just found out their house is on fire. They seem to feel that it is always their God-given right to not give the right of way….Oh the list goes on and on!

So, now that I am in the parking lot of Lowe’s…these idiots take up two spaces for their fancy cars. You know someone might ding it with their door. They park in handicap spots just because they are running “in and out”. And then once you get inside, they run you over with shopping carts.

Now, I know that not all City Folk are like that…but every time I go shopping somewhere, there seems to be more and more of these types of people in the store. They grunt as they pass you. They are rude to the cashiers. They have no respect for anyone, including themselves.

Growing up, if I had acted even half of the way some of these people do…My grandparent’s would have throttled me! My family ensured that I had respect for ALL people, that I was to be giving and forgiving and that I had to work hard to get anything I needed. No one was going to provide for me but that I should provide for others in need. I learned to respect myself. I learned to eat good wholesome foods, to take care of myself and to “do no harm” to others.

Yes, I grew up on family, food and religion. We said thanks before each meal for the simple things in life. Things like herd health, good food, family and friends. I don’t ever remember sitting at my grandparent’s table without a group of at least 10 people. These were meals that my grandmother spent most of her time fixing….no one helped her out, nothing came from a box…and she asked nothing in return! Not a penny to help purchase more staples like flour or sugar. NOTHING!

But, when push comes to shove and someone is having a rough time….the way that my grandparent’s lived, also known as the country life…I can promise you this: It is the country folk that will band together and will provide for those in need. We seem to accept without question. We would give the shirt off our backs if it meant keeping a neighbor warm.

Country living isn’t about fancy cars or clothes like our Urban cousins think it is….It is about family, friends and community! To all of you Urbanite’s out there….who would you call if you had a problem with something at home? I bet every person that reads this that lives in the country can quickly answer that question….It’s our friends and our neighbors. One phone call draws a crowd!

I know this blog is rather opinionated and some of you may think it’s flawed…but this is what it is like where I live….four hours North of NYC. So please forgive me if I am in no rush to go to NYC or any other metropolis. I like the slow pace, hard work but relaxing way of life I lead here with my close knit community.

People Ask…

People ask me questions sometimes that make me really sit back and ponder life in general.

Most Common Question:
“Why do you farm?”

My answer is simple, yet complicated.
I love cows! I love chickens! I love animals…period!

Calves holding a "discussion"
Bubba J and Rosie playing in the snow on a warm winter day.

Then of course, there is the food stuff! From canned, stewed tomatoes to home grown sweet corn, making cheese to eggs for breakfast…without the farm, I wouldn’t have those things like I do.

Right to Left: Canned Beef, Sweet Corn and Stewed Tomatoes

Question: “What is it about your farm that keeps you where you are?”

There are a ton of reasons on this one. One of them isn’t the taxes, I do need to specify that!
There is an easy answer to this one! It’s the sunrises/sunsets. It’s the views. It’s the private pond….and so much more!

The morning sunrise
Sunsets as seen from Barrows Pond

There are many more questions and a whole lot more answers…..But I think this will give anyone a good idea on why I love farming. I think it will also give you a fair idea on why I love being here!

Of course, Mr. Farmer has one very big reason……this land has been in his family for 6 generations! The deed reads out like a genealogy report!