Small Town Nebraska – What we did with winter storm Kayla:
This was the view out our back door when it was almost done snowing last week.
Winter storm KaylaOn our first day of having to stay at home, it seemed like it should be lunch time when it was only 9:30. We bundled up and braved the outdoors. IMG_0151 IMG_0148Elliana and I even walked to the post office, which was more like high step marching into the wind since the drifts came up past my knee. She could exert no more energy after that! IMG_0144Liza found swinging was still fun. It helped that the wind was at her back.IMG_0004IMG_0155The next day we worked to finish digging out. Brad decided the best way to get through the drift in front of his building was to bring out the sprayer – wide tires with a high clearance. sprayer in the snow

We had our driveway half way scooped, when Brad’s dad showed up. I saw one snow blower last week. People in rural Nebraska tend to go with skid steers and tractors when it comes to snow removal. I personally just like to shovel until I’m afraid my back won’t let me stand up the next day.

tractor pushing snowWe had a little more snow on Friday, but nothing new since then. When we went to church yesterday the roads were mostly clear except for a few spots where it was blowing over a little because of extreme wind. On the way home, it was a different story. A little car wouldn’t have made it through some of the drifts. In this picture you can see the clear road in the distance after where the snow had blown over the road.
blowing snowYou never would’ve known this was a dry road 4 hours ago.
snow drifted roadIt blew and bad enough that school had to start two hours late today. That was a new one for me.

Farm Education:
If you remember past discussion of the different kinds of wheat headers they use to cut wheat, here is another illustration why a lot of farmers are switching to the stripper header.

normal wheat header snow collection

much shorter stubble – much less snow

It’s probably hard to tell with the pictures, but we have verbal evidence from someone who went snowmobiling through both types of stubble that the wheat stubble left with the stripper header collected a lot more snow. More snow = more moisture!


Help Wanted

Small Town Nebraska: 

My recent observations:

  1. We may have a really small population; but without having to think too hard I can tell you that we need electricians, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), builders, mechanics, truckers – just to name a few. Brad has a list of 40+ electrical jobs to do, and he doesn’t even advertise. We’ve been waiting half a year for someone to come fix our bay window. We’re praying no SLPs retire where I work because if they do I might cry and wonder about quitting myself. Apparently, people aren’t drawn to look for work in small town Nebraska. Come on people! Being able to walk through Target is even more exciting when you only get to do it four times a year.
  2. We may have jobs for people, but we have very few houses for them to live. You big city dwellers have lists and lists of houses to choose from, we might have 10 total options in the entire county. I don’t think I’m being extreme saying that either. So when you decide you’ve outgrown your house and decide to go find a new place to live; just pray for us who fear we may never have a dining room that will hold more than six people and don’t have options for places to move or might have to wait years for a contractor (see observation 1).
  3. It used to make me panic inside when Brad fueled up at the pump in town when we were going somewhere that I knew would have cheaper gas. I don’t anymore.
    I think it’s largely that 4 1/2 years in a small community has made me realize that if I don’t support that gas station (or insert other local business here), I might not have any local businesses near me. I still can’t bring myself to buy all my groceries at the (usually more expensive) grocery store closest to us, but one can’t expect me to change that much in 4 1/2 years.

I used to love going on walks with my mom. Now I can talk my big girl into going on walks with me.
IMG_0133She told me on this walk that she reads on the bus when she’s having a “down day,” like when she is the leader on a day when there’s a substitute because then you really don’t get to be the leader. 032

20 Deer

Small Town Nebraska: 
An oncoming semi flashed his lights at me. I took that to mean something was wrong with the front of my vehicle, a cop was ahead, or deer were ahead. It turned out to be a kind warning. Not too far down the road, a big deer trotted across the road. He had ten friends on each side of the road from what I can count.
10 deer11 deerThat’s a lot more exciting than lasts weeks two turkeys.

So I have a post about more than deer, here’s a picture of Liza’s first french braid. Her babysitter somehow accomplished getting two of them in, but I could only accomplish getting a picture of one (at the end of the day). IMG_0130 Hope you have a joy filled week.

– Julie –

Bad Day

Farm Education:
If this was your day as a farmer or trucker, it was a bad day. You’re looking at the bottom of a semi.tipped over grain semiWhen I saw the tipped semi as I was going to work, I didn’t think I should probably stop on the icy curve to take a picture. The road looked just like it does in the picture, which is deceptive. It was quite slick, and apparently the trucker didn’t realize the extent before he tried to take the corner.

On my way home, another semi was there and they were vacuuming the grain from the spill. semi accidentgrain vacuum A few days later when I went by that corner, this was left. spilled corn pileWe know a couple of people who come to spills like this to get feed for their animals.

Small Town Nebraska:
Speaking of animals, I saw a couple of turkeys one recent morning. Nebraska turkeysNot all that exciting, but I still wanted to show you.

What I’m Thinking and Learning: 
Choosing Jesus, choosing to be joyful when things seem stressful, really is better than growling. Believe me, I know. I had a peaceful moment last week when I chose what was important instead of what felt urgent. Elliana wanted to see if we had the music for “What Child Is This” (random child request), so I was looking through a hymnal for it. Liza has to be at the piano if anyone is there, so she was sitting sideways on the piano bench looking through a hymnal of her own. Elliana and I found “What Child Is This” and played through it. I can’t stop at one, so I thumbed through and played another. How else will my children learn songs like “Onward Christian Soldiers”? Then I came across “Abide With Me” by Henry Lyte from 1847. Perfect words for me.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. 

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Though dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar condescending, patient, free;
Come, not to sojourn, but abide with me. 

I need They presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? 
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be? 
Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

Hold Thou They cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Elliana got Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids for Christmas. I’m sure the adult Jesus Calling is super good; but if you read this kid version with your child, you’ll be encouraged everyday. I really like it. jesus calling for kids

Hitch Hiking Chickens

Small Town Nebraska:
Do you see the 2 chickens under the semi trailer? I took this picture on December 10 when I dropped off Wyatt to Brad as he was filling up with fuel at the co-op. They just showed up at the co-op that day, and several days ago those chickens were still wondering around the co-op. Maybe they’re confused that it’s a co-op not a coop. 
wondering chickens chickens crossing the road
The week after I took this picture, Brad took his semi eight highway miles away to get worked on. Guess what the mechanics found had hitched a ride – a chicken, a very hungry chicken. Brad had no clue he’d had a passenger.

Where did these chickens come from? During harvest, one of the fields Brad was parked at had chickens running around. They had hitched a ride from their home to the field on another farmer’s truck. We’re assuming that three chickens thought Brad’s semi would make a nice roost and hopped on. I didn’t mention the co-op chickens to Brad when I saw them at the gas station, or he maybe would’ve checked for more. He didn’t realize he was housing chickens until the mechanic heard something funny, which was two weeks after he’d seen them at the field.

I haven’t looked closely at semi trailers, but apparently there’s a place where chickens can ride safely when the truck is going 60 miles an hour down the highway.

Farm Education:
Check out this cute Nebraska farming family.

infants advilI was sent a bottle of Infants’ Advil a long time ago for free in return for reviewing it here. I might be so late in reviewing it that they don’t even care if I do, but I feel obligated since they gave it to me for free. Infants’ Advil is for ages 6-23 months and it’s active ingredient is Ibuprofen. Liza hasn’t needed anything to help with a fever or pain for a long time, but now she has a cold and/or is getting her two year molars. She’s still 23 months, so pain relief to the rescue! I’m all about giving little people something to help them take a good nap when they’re feeling cruddy. She was happy to show for the camera how she happily took her medicine. It was the white grape flavor and smelled delicious. IMG_0120IMG_0119








I’d love to say that she took a super nap and woke up happy, but that would be a lie. My ibuprofen trick doesn’t always work when it comes to teething and naps. I chose to not let that make me unjoyful for the rest of the day.


Choosing Jesus

What I’m Thinking and Learning:
My heart resonates with Blythe at Mundane Faithfulness when she says she feels exhausted when she looks back at 2015. When I went to write a note on our Christmas card, all I could initially think of to way was we WORKED and we worked HARD. It’s way too easy to forget the bright moments amidst it all, and we had many, but in the end I look at end of the year I think my proverbial bucket must have a continual leak.

Can I blame it on having a year with a one year old? And the shortage of speech-language pathologists in western Nebraska? How about mental and physical pain? And a husband who is a self-employed farmer, electrician, sprayer, trucker…? And too much to do? And just wishing someone knew my bucket was leaking and would come and patch it up? Maybe I should just blame in on being tired. I should for sure blame it on incorrect thinking.

You’re thinking you’ve read this before? I may be a broken record. Certainly a work in progress. My heart has been challenged again to quit believing the lie that an accomplished “to do” list will satisfy. Honestly, I have a hard time trusting that Jesus will satisfy when I look at the coming year and wonder if it will feel as exhausting as this one, but Jesus says to not worry about tomorrow and that sounds like rest, which I need.

I have actually found great encouragement from 2 Kings 6-7. It shows how God has the power to make you go from starving to completely satisfied over night. I’m thankful when things seem hard and even when I wonder if God is going to help me out, at least I have someone much greater than my weary self to ask for help. He has the power to change my circumstances and/or my heart.

So this year I’m resolving to choose Jesus and to pray everyday that my heart will believe He is the only one who satisfies. If this resonates with you, read these four resolutions for the weary and broken hearted. 

When Brad’s sister was back for Christmas we got to see her pictures from her August wedding. The photographer got these adorable pictures of the children I’m blessed to have.

She also snapped this awesome picture of the five in-laws. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. 220

She took our family pictures not long after this. I’ll show you some of them soon.

Small Town Nebraska:
When the UPS man needs you to sign for a package and you’re not home, somehow he knows where you work and hunts you down there. Does that happen in urban America?

If you have an electrician working  at your house around Christmas, do you send him home with a bag full of candy and a lot of homemade fudge?

Russel Stover Candy

I’m sure glad my resolution doesn’t involve eating less chocolate.

Thanks for coming back even though I took a week off!