OK, so I totally fell off the radar during the month of July! I didn’t intend to… it just sort of happened.
We celebrated the 4th and Reece had off school until the 10th and it’s really hard for me to get much done on the computer when he’s home. He’s well behaved, just very demanding. I hear “Mommy, mommy, mommy” a LOT!! I know all of you with toddlers probably understand 😉 Sometimes it’s weird having a 14 year old act that way, but after years of him NOT TALKING I never take it for granted!
And then a push to get 4H projects done happened. Plus the girls wanted to ride horses every night and go swimming every afternoon. Shoot, I wanted to go swimming every afternoon!
Here’s some pictures of what our July looked like….
And that, my friends, was my July in a nutshell. It flew by and now the fair is over and school is around the corner…..
How was your summer? Are you ready for school to start??
What does a weekend look like living on a farm? Well, it doesn’t look like what a lot of you probably experience 😉 I decided to do a little weekend recap so you can get a glimpse of life on the farm!
I started off my Saturday with a short, easy run to test out my newly adjusted knee. I started having problems with it after a 3 mile run on Wednesday, so this run was a slow (12min/mile) 1.5 mile run to make sure all was well. It was super humid at 7 am, which is extra hard on my asthmatic lungs, but I was happy with my knee when it was all said and done 🙂 During that run, I passed my father-in-law in the tractor on his way to get hay and saw my husband leave on his way to go feed our Charolais herd.
After breakfast, the girls headed out to feed cows with Grandpa (they’ve been doing that every Saturday since they were babies) and I headed outside to take care of chickens! That consisted of feeding and watering broilers (we’re butchering them tomorrow- yay!) and opening up and watering the layers. I also watched the lagoon goats for awhile to make sure the fence would hold. I spent a large portion of Friday fixing fence because they decided butting and busting through the fence was an appropriate activity…sigh….
I talked to my sister on the phone for awhile….
And then it was time to make dinner! I decided hamburgers was an easy meal, so that’s what we had! Elisa (my oldest daughter) had been out mowing cotton stalks, but a 45 minute rain shower chased her in from the field. Jeff also came in because of the rain, so we actually all ate together. That doesn’t always happen during the busy seasons 🙂
It continued to rain on and off the rest of the afternoon, so I replaced a zipper on Lindy’s jacket (my first time for that!) and baked for our church potluck.
Also during the day, the girls fed our 4 orphan kittens. We’ve had them in the house for the last 3 weeks and I am ready for them to be outside! The girls worked on converting an old chicken pen to a kitten pen, but with the intermittent rain showers, they weren’t able to get it done.
OnSaturday evening, the kids ate leftovers and went to bed early and Jeff and I had our weekly date night! We’re very exciting people…. we do the same thing every Saturday night and have for the last 10 years, but we like it 😉 We order breadsticks from Casey’s and watch a Netflix show. We love all the superhero shows and right now we’re working on the current season of Arrow.
On Sunday morning we did chores before church (the girls have to take care of their horses and Lindy has 3 4H goats and Elisa has a show heifer and I obviously did the chickens again). Jeff decided to wait until after church to feed the Charolais because of intermittent rain.
We had a potluck and business meeting so we didn’t get home until 1:30. I went with Jeff to feed the Charolais. He made me feed the pellets while he filled the water tank because I was smart and wore my mud boots 😉
We barely beat the rain home! Jeff went outside to his shop to work, Lindy went muddin’ with her cousin on their 4 wheelers and Reece, Elisa and I went over to my mother-in-law’s to visit. My in-laws live just down the driveway from us and we visit with my mother-in-law most Sunday afternoons. On nice days we like to sit on the front porch, but she was in the middle of a cleaning project, so we just stayed inside.
In the evening, we all went to our last self-defense class at our church. Our pastor is a former martial arts instructor so he and his wife taught us! It was fun, informative and enlightening! They even had a kid’s class. My girls said they learned a lot 🙂
When we got home from that, we all got ready for bed and hit the hay, lol! And here we are… Monday morning.
So, that was our oh-so exciting weekend! It was pretty typical for us. We never do anything exciting and Saturday and Sundays are just more work days for us! The animals always need taken care of and during planting and harvesting times, you’ll find us out in the field. We don’t *do* things the way other people do. No trips to the pool or the zoo or the lake. We just stay home and work, but, crazy enough, we love it 🙂
What does a typical weekend look like for you? Do you like going, going, going or do you prefer to stay home?
Ok, so I love to read other blogs where the blogger actually tells you something about themselves that is random or funny or just ordinary! So, today, that’s what I’m doing!
1 This is my daily summer uniform…. I care very little about fashion and when I spend most of my summer day outside doing farm/yard/gardening stuff, then this is what I wear! When it’s muddy, I trade the Redwings for my awesome Muck boots 🙂
2 An accessory you can often find hanging out of my back pocket are my gloves! I grew up rarely wearing gloves, but my husband is a firm believer in them, and over the years, I’ve become accustomed to wearing them for anything and everything! Chicken chores, gardening, yard work…. I even carry them with me in the car in case I need to change a flat tire! And, yes, I generally always keep track of the same pair. I replace them when the holes in the fingers get too bad.
3 We have 5 dogs. Yes, you read that right, FIVE!! Crazy! I’ve always been a dog person, but was more of a 1 dog person. But, my youngest is the biggest dog girl you’ve ever met, so our herd has expanded. We have a little, very old terrier mix (Spot. We think she’s around 17? She was a stray that showed up at my parents’ house years ago), Muddy (Great Pyrenees), Maddie (Great Pyrenees), Joey (he’s technically my in-laws’ dog, but he mostly hangs at our house because that’s where all the action is! And Elisa is showing him for 4H. He’s a lab/weimereiner/shepherd mix), and Sparky (Lindy’s little dog. He’s a yorkie/chihuahua/pomeranian mix).
4 This is the front of my Suburban. I drive a 16-year-old vehicle, but I’m not quite ready to get rid of it yet…. and see that “Eat Beef” tag? All of our vehicles have one and we’ve been putting them on our trucks and SUV’s since before we were married! Back in the day, it was popular among our local farm/country kid crowd and Jeff and I just never outgrew it 🙂 Plus, you know, we grow beef….
5 I love a chaotic, bursting-with-color flower planter! No color themes for me! The more color and blooms the better!
6 This is the front of my house. Yes, it’s a double wide that we added on to. I used to be prejudice against people that lived in these, but I’ve since changed my tune and I adore our little double wide! I’ll be writing a post about that one of these days…..
7 I am a HUGE George Strait/Brad Paisley/Garth Brooks fan! And, I fulfilled my bucket list and have seen all of these guys in concert!!! George was with Reba (an awesome double whammy). I went with my sister and we had to sit way up high in the nosebleed section. I got to see Brad last winter with Elisa. He was amazing in concert! We held up a neon sign that said “Me Neither” (if you are a Brad Paisley fan then you know why 😉 ) and during the concert he called us out and then played the song! Garth, though, was the best of all. I’m an original Garth fan. Think his very-first-album-on-cassette-tape type fan. I was so bummed I never saw him in the 90’s and when he “retired” I figured I’d never get to see him. But, then he came out of retirement and Jeff and I got to see him in Wichita last winter! And then best of all…. we had 3rd row center seats!! We could see every last wrinkle and drop of sweat! It was the best concert I’ve ever been to 🙂
8 I prefer line dried clothes. I grew up hanging out clothes for my mom and it took some convincing after we were married, but Jeff put up a clothes line for me and I use it during the spring, summer and fall. There’s nothing better than slipping into your line dried sheets after a long day’s work.
9 I keep my thermostat set on 80 all year around! I am one of those people that is cold all.the.time. So, summer is my favorite season and 95 is my favorite outdoor temp. In the winter, our heater runs a lot, but I don’t care. And in the summer, the air conditioner doesn’t kick on very much (until July. July and August in southern Kansas is not for the faint of heart!). If you come over to my house, prepare to be warm and dress accordingly 😉
10 One of my favorite meals is a cheeseburger in the field! Yup, you read that right. When I was growing up, my mom had to take meals to the field A LOT and one of her staples was to cook hamburgers and wrap them in foil. Many times the whole family would eat out there (during the busy seasons it might be the only time we’d see our dad!). When I got old enough for field work, guess what she brought me? And I still love them to this day. I have taught my girls how to make them and wrap them in foil, so this spring when I’ve been out in the field, Elisa and Lindy bring me a cheeseburger in foil. Best.burger.ever. Seriously.
What’s a fun random fact about you?? Do you agree or disagree with any of mine?
Are weeds getting the best of you and your garden? Ever wondered if there was a way to get rid of them? Is it truly possible to have a weed free garden?
Yes, it is.
But it will take some prep work.
Let me start you off with a story of my gardening history and then I’ll let you in on the secret 😉
My mom always had a garden. And we kids always had to help her. Which we hated, I mean, loved. Every year we had to clean out the chicken house, dump the manure on and then later put straw over that. It was a lot of work and wasn’t pretty at all!
In my early married life, I decided to have my first garden. Jeff tilled a spot and I happily planted in the dark brown luxurious dirt. And I grew a giant crop of… weeds. I blamed it on location.
So, the next year, we tried again, this time in our front yard. I figured if it was closer then I could take better care of it. The idea being convenience.
It was better, but I still had lots and lots of weeds!
I remembered my mom’s method of garden, so I tried that.
And I still had weeds!
And then a few years ago, I was introduced to lasagna gardening. You can check out this book for more details. The problem was adapting it to my situation for my fairly large garden. So after a few years of experimenting, I think I have it figured out.
CARDBOARD AND MULCH!
So, let me show you….
OK, notice all the highlighted areas. The green area was mulched the winter of 2016 (over a year ago) with cardboard laid down first, cow/chicken manure over that and then covered with a thick layer of straw. I grew potatoes in that area last summer.
The blue area was treated the same way in 2016 and then in January 2017 (this past winter) I threw on a super thick layer of leaves.
The pink area was mulched in 2016 with cardboard, cow manure and straw. It received a fresh layer of cardboard, cow manure and straw in January of 2017.
Now, look again at that green area. See all the weeds?? I have also found weeds popping up in the blue area with the leaves. But the pink straw area?
Not a weed one.
Here’s another picture of the garden so you can see how thick the straw is.
Here’s what you do to start a fresh garden or rejuvenate an old spot.
1 DO NOT TILL! Yes, that’s right. Do not work up your soil. All you do is invite weed seeds to sprout. And if you have bermuda grass (which I fight) you just make it mad and it will stage a hostile takeover of your garden!
2 If you do have a massive weed problem all ready, then either mow or spray the area first.
3 Lay down thick, heavy cardboard. I’m talking the good stuff. I saved tons of boxes from our remodel and used those, I used my brother-in-law’s from his house build, and my husband was able to get a whole bunch of cardboard from work. Just ask around- you’ll be able to find some.
4 After that put on a super thick (we’re talking 8-12 inches) layer of manure of some sort. Now, make sure this is old and fairly composted. A year old or more is good. I’m lucky because we have animals so Jeff pushes up big piles of manure/hay mixture every spring that accumulates around the hay feeders and then I use it the next year. Again, ask around and you can usually find a farmer willing to give it away!
5 Layer on the straw (or leaves). Do NOT use prairie hay! It will have weed seeds in it. Old alfalfa is good, too. Again, I’m blessed because we put up our own straw every year, so I always have a ready supply. Ask around for whatever is prominent in your area. Just remember, you want it THICK! No measly 2 or 3 in layers. Nope, I’m talking a foot thick or so.
Ideally, you should do this in the fall so your garden has time to compost itself until spring. Because our falls are so busy on the farm, I usually don’t get to it until January.
I still have to pull the occasional weed, but they can barely take root and I don’t have to spend time “weeding” like I use to.
The key, though, is to be diligent about this every year! Nature will take back over (as you can see from my highlighted garden picture) if you just let it go.
But, if you do the right kind of work on front end when it’s cold, then when it’s hot and your garden is producing over abundantly, you can be dealing with the produce and not worrying about weeding it, too!
What gardening tips do you have? What have been your failures and successes in the garden?
So, just like that…. it’s over! I ran my first half marathon on Sunday! After months and months of training, I can hardly believe it came and went 🙂
We had BEAUTIFUL weather for it! It was about 60 degrees when we started and sunny. I ran the Prairie Fire Half in Wichita (an hour from where I live). The course was pretty flat and fairly shady. I was a bit nervous, but my mom and I settled into a nice rhythm early on and stuck with it for the first 6 miles. I tell ya, the first 6 miles felt really easy. A year ago if you would have told me those words would be coming out of my mouth, I would’ve said you were crazy! I could barely run 4 miles last summer, so to ever think 6 as easy shows how far I’ve come in my running!
Anyway, after the first 6, we started slowing down, but still kept a good pace from 6-9 miles. And since I’m going to be very honest about my slow running, by good pace, I mean about 13 minute miles. We were running 12:30 for the first half. It seems like every running blog I read, they’re all about “Yeah, I only ran a 9 minute mile” blah, blah, blah. If that’s you, well, I admire that! If I ever get that fast, I will be beyond thrilled! But, this post is to encourage all of you out there who are not fast 😉
From 9-13, we had slowed down to about 13:30 or so. The hardest parts were between 10.5 and 11 (I thought that water station at mile 11 would never appear!) and between 12.5 and the finish line. My phone told me “You are at 12.6 miles” and I thought, “Dang! Where is that finish line????” The last mile was also asphalt, with zero shade and it felt downright HOT! But, I’m happy to say, I crossed the finish line upright and running, lol. I did take some walking breaks during the last 6 miles. I have longer legs than my mom, so I would gradually pull ahead and then power walk to let her catch up.
You know what was the sorest part of my body on Monday? My JAW! Yeah, seriously. My quads were a bit sore, but nothing bad and all of my joints (knees, hips, ankles) felt perfectly fine, but my jaw! I always chew gum when I run (keeps my mouth from getting dry) but it’s not use to chewing gum for 3 hours straight, apparently.
Our finish time:
3 hours, 1 minute and 24 seconds.
We were VERY pleased with that! We were not out to beat any particular time and based off our 11 mile training run, we figured it would take us about 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the race.
So, would I do it again?
Well, two weeks ago after our last long training run, I would have said absolutely not.
Yeah, I think I would 🙂
I love the fact that I did something that not many people can do and that I pushed my body to do something that I didn’t think it was capable of! It’s a high that I wouldn’t mind repeating.
OK, so here is what my training looked like from January to race day. First off, I mostly trained using the Galloway method (running walking intervals) with an interval of running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. Well, the last couple weeks of training, I started running the first 3 miles, then doing looser longer untimed intervals. When we actually ran the race, we ran to each water station (about every two miles), drank our water (my mom drank gatorade) walked for a little bit (maybe a couple minutes?), then ran to the next station. Like I mentioned before, I took some walking breaks to let my mom catch up, but they weren’t timed. My mom pretty much ran the whole thing.
Week 1 (first week in Jan): ran 3 times of about 2 miles each time. I was just trying to condition my body to running again after a 6 month break.
Week 2: ran 2 miles twice, then ran 3 miles on the weekend.
Week 3: took 2 30 minute runs (approx 2.5 miles) then ran 4 miles on the weekend.
From there on out, my training was one week, running 3 times for about 30 minutes each time and then the next week, run 30 minutes twice with a long run on the weekend, increasing each long run by one mile.
So, every two weeks I took a long run and every week I ran three times. Does that make sense? I kept that up until my 9 mile run. Then because of scheduling, we decided to skip the 10 mile run, run 6 miles instead and take an 11 mile run 2 weeks before the race. Also, the last month before the race, I took a 6 mile run once a week with 3 mile runs in between. The week before the race, I took a 6 mile run on Tuesday (race was Sunday) then rested the rest of the week.
Training for a half is definitely a time commitment, but only taking long runs every two weeks helped. I felt like I kept up my running fitness in between just fine with those 30 minute/3 mile runs (it actually takes me 35 minutes to run 3 miles).
Since I wasn’t particularly sore after running the race, I think that my training paid off. This isn’t probably the training you’d want to do if you were serious about breaking records, but for a busy mom and farmwife, this was quite doable for me!
Any additional thoughts about finishing a half marathon? Would you do another one?
Anybody know the Kenny Chesney song “Back Where I Come From”? It’s an older one but one of his best, in my humble country-music-loving opinion 🙂 So, a couple weeks ago I spent two weeks of my life redecorating our community hall and this song kept playing in my head.
Why, you may ask?
Because our community hall is one of the symbols of “back where I come from.” See, I’ve been blessed to come from a long line of people who settled in southern Kansas during the Homestead Act of the 1870’s/1880s! And my family has been part of keeping up this community hall going back multiple generations. And as I was doing this-
I realized that not many people get to be so blessed!
I don’t actually know very many people who live in this area because, well, that’s where their family has always lived! You see it among the farmers (which is a dwindling population), but among my regular friends? A lot are transplants.
And it also occurred to me that this is one of the many jobs a farmwife takes on that is behind the scenes. My girls asked me, “Mom, why are you doing this???” as I was scraping wallpaper, patching sheet rock and repainting. My answer?
“Because I can and it needs to be done.”
That’s a farmwife’s theme in life! One that I learned as a farmgirl watching my mom and dad, my grandma and grandpa, my aunt and uncle. It’s a lesson that my girls are learning, whether they realize it or not. There are things that are just in your blood and keeping up the community hall is just one of the many things I saw and took for granted growing up.
It all goes back to “Back Where I Come From.” There are things that get passed down in an agriculture community that stick with you and define you. As I was painting, I was remembering all the times I’ve been in that hall- graduation parties, anniversary parties, baby showers, bridal showers, family holidays, community reunions, 4H meetings. This community hall doesn’t belong to just my family, but to our whole township out there. Many other people rent it and use it for those same things. It’s used kind of like a church basement, except that we don’t care what denomination you belong to. The one thing we all have in common is where we came from. And it brings many of us together for a variety of celebrations several times a year. It’s an honor to be part of the next generation preserving that.
That’s where I come from 🙂
Where do you come from? How has that defined you as an adult?
Ever think about training for and running a half marathon? Yeah, me neither 😉 My running career has been less than illustrious to say the least and I was positive I did NOT have it in me to run a half. But, as they say, never say never….
So, my running has looked like this over the years :
Start training in March
Barely get up to 3 miles
Run a local 5K in June
Take a couple more runs in June
Quit until next March
I could barely eke out the energy to complete the 5K and I was SLOW! Not the “Oh, I only run an 8 minute mile” slow (ha, ha), but the “I’m pushing it to get under 12 minutes a mile.” See, I tell ya, I truly am a slow runner!
I also suffer from asthma (my childhood asthma came back with a vengeance a couple years ago), which I used as my excuse for not being able to run very well. It definitely contributes to it, but I’ve come to realize it is a surmountable obstacle.
Enter January, 2017. My mom, who has been a fellow slow runner for the last 10 years, decided that for her upcoming 60th birthday in May, she would like to complete a half marathon. And it just so happens that there is one in Wichita at the beginning of May. You can guess where this is going… I offered to run it with her.
We decided to run it using intervals. This is where we run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute. We also only do a long run every two weeks and then run 3 miles 3 times a week in between. It’s based on a method designed by Jeff Galloway. It’s suppose to be easier on your joints and allow anyone to run a half marathon- even if you’re like me and you can barely hack a 5K.
So, since the first of January, this slow runner has been training. My last long run I did 9 miles! It was a bit brutal, but I completed it. Last Monday, I ran 6 miles and I noticed that my ankles and hip joints didn’t bother me at all! Previously, my joints would be pretty sore after a long run. I think I’m becoming conditioned to it. I seriously never thought I’d get this far in my running career!
On the plus side, a 3 mile run seems like a walk in the park now 🙂
The moral of the story is, I encourage you to try hard things- like a being a slow runner tackling a half marathon! Don’t compare yourself to other runners (yeah, I know that can be hard!). The race is in 3 weeks, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
Are you a runner? Do you enjoy it? Any other tips for training for a half marathon?
I even started one with blogger about 5 years ago. I wrote maybe 3 posts or so then a month went by, then another month, and it was hanging over my head that I had a blog but wasn’t writing on it! So, I quit. I hate having undone things in the back of my mind, you know?
Time has passed and the desire to write is still very strong, but due to changes we’ve made in our life I’ve decided to try it again. I’ve researched and researched and read and read and I feel unsure of myself. I hate failure and I don’t like to try new things unless I can be sure I will be GREAT at it. Will I be great at blogging??? Will I be successful??? Will people actually want to read what I write???
I have no idea….
But, you never know unless you try. So, I’m giving it a shot and only the Lord will know how this will go.