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Posts Tagged ‘farm’

This summer has been pretty good for us. We’ve been extremely busy, always a project to work on! The one thing that’s been unpleasant is lack of rain…again. Luckily, with the wet spring we had, the soil still has moisture in it. The wells and creeks haven’t faired as well.

Today we are finally getting a slow steady rain that should help replenish the wells and creeks. Hauling water to the livestock is never a fun job, but one that has to be done. Today we shouldn’t have to haul! And I’m betting that the cattle and horses are enjoying a bath.

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Wordless Wednesday

Rain headed our way!

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Wordless Wednesday

Expecting another winter storm…we may have tractors get stuck in the snow when we are trying to get all the livestock fed…

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And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the township board.” So God made a farmer.
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“I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to cradle his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait for lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure to come back real soon and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say,’Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse, who can fix a harness with hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, up in another 72 hours.” So God made the farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to help a newborn calf begin to suckle and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower in an instant to avoid the nest of meadowlarks.”

It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, brake, disk, plow, plant, strain the milk, replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with an eight mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his family says that they are proud of what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”
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Author Unknown

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Happy Birthday, Madalana Rose!!

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10 years ago today we were blessed with our first beautiful little girl. She has grown and changed so much since that day. It’s mind boggling to think of all the things she has mastered in a quick ten years: walking, talking, eating, bike riding, horseback riding, tractor driving, shoe tying, piano playing, dancing and so many other things!

Lana is definitely her own little person. Funny, creative, smart, silly, artistic, sweet – she is so many things all in one.

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It is amazes me how fast ten years can fly by, but what fun they’ve been! It will be fun to watch the girls grow and change over the next ten years.

Happy, happy birthday to you, Lana Rose! May your year be as fantastic as you!

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After attending the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Conference this weekend, I thought it would be good to touch on the child labor laws issue that has been a real problem for family farms.  My husband Chad wrote to our government officials about his thoughts on children being allowed to work the family farm.

Lana drying off a newborn calf that was too cold

Lana drying off a newborn calf that was too cold

I’d like to share his comments with you and throw in some pictures of the kids on our farm.

Lana and Bridget painting the new horse fence

“I’m a sixth generation farmer from Illinois, living in the same community that my ancestors settled in the mid 1800’s.  I feel very blessed to be able to raise my daughters in a place that has such deep roots.  We are not a large farm, but we are a corporation for business reasons.  We utilize help during the summer to put up small bales of hay, mow, work on fence, work with livestock, and any other odd jobs that we try to get done during the summer months.  A lot of the time the ones who are looking for a very flexible work schedule, are kids in high school. 

15 year old Blane helping with cattle vaccinations

This is a great opportunity for us to be able to help them out when we need a few extra hands to work while the weather is good, as most of the farm labor we use is all our family.  We always keep a close eye on them, and would not ask them to do a job if we did not feel that they were capable.  While they are here we watch over them not like an employer, but they are watched as if they were our own kids. 

I understand that the proposed rule would not allow my daughters to work on our “corporate farm”.  Our girls are ten and seven, and have been around livestock their entire lives.  They are both very skilled at being around both hogs and cattle.  I love them both very much, and want them to learn some of life’s lessons that can only be learned by being out on the farm following me around just as I did with my dad and grandpa. 

Bridget working along side her Grandpa!

I find it very interesting that when we have people out helping with livestock that our girls are telling them how to move around the cattle, where to stand, what tone of voice to use with them, just things that unless you’ve been raised around it you don’t understand. 

Niece Monica relaxing after unloading feeder pigs

Bridget with her chickens

 We have nieces and nephews that just love coming to the farm.  My niece from Arizona comes and spends a few weeks in the summer with us.

 I know that farming is a dangerous occupation, and that there is risk with having kids out on the farm.  I also realize that there have been several accidents recently, as when they happen it really hits home.  But I feel that it should be the parents’ responsibility to be sure that their kids are kept safe.  Whether my girls choose to work somewhere else or on our farm until they are eighteen, I will always be sure that it is a safe environment, as I’m the parent and ultimately responsible. ”  Chad Schutz

It is truly important for kids to be able to be responsible for something and to learn how to work.  As you can see from the pictures, it can be fun, too.

Lana feeding Annie the bottle calf

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Its days like today that make me dread the rain. It is about 33 degrees rainy, misty and windy. Days like these make it hard on our outdoor livestock. It is easy to get wet and chilled and like humans, that makes your immune system work harder. It is muddy and sloppy, one degree colder and at least things would be frozen. Now on the other hand, our wells are really low from lack of rain throughout the summer and fall. That means any moisture we get is a blessing, so I shouldn’t complain! Easier said than done.

The hoop!

Today I am thankful that a few years back we built a large hoop building to feed cattle in. We have cows and calve them in one pasture and then when the babies are weaned they get moved into the hoop. They have the hoop and the pasture next to it, but today they are penned up in the hoop with fresh bedding, fresh water, and plenty of feed.

The cattle playing with their straw bedding.

If we would open the gate, they wouldn’t go out. They like the hoop!

The calves are dry and content, just the way we like them. If they were out in the pasture with no shelter, there’s a pretty good chance that some of them would not feel good in a few days and that is never fun.

Our hogs are pretty well off, too! They live in a temperature controlled environment with the same amenities the cattle have; they are dry, fed, watered, and safe from predators.

Happy pigs.

I forgot to mention predators with the cattle. We have a lot of coyotes around here and they are hungry. We lost two baby calves this fall to coyotes, but I digress. The hogs also have fans and sprinklers for the really hot days during the summer.

The horses tend to be out in the weather the most, but this seems to be by choice. They have a couple of barns they can go in and there is hay inside for them, but they stand outside and eat anyway. I’m sure they know what they need to be comfortable, smart critters. At least all of our animals have the shelter they need to stay safe and healthy, so there is another blessing!

Chad and Lana draining a field.

Farmers deal with precipitation and lack of all year long. That is nothing new, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be frustrating at times. Growing our crops is extremely dependent on the weather. Too much rain and you can’t plant because of the mud and too little and the corn won’t grow. We have had times when we have to dig drenches to help drain the fields.

The past few weeks we are having some field tile put in to help with the wet spots. There is always work to be done!

In need of tile!

Getting the tile!

So, back to work for me on this rainy nasty, blessing of a day! There are always jobs to do inside. I hope you and your animals stay warm and dry.

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