A Taste of Heaven

Many of my friends have husbands who farm. Only one of my friends has a husband that farms and also makes puff pastry, macarons, and créme brûlée from scratch and makes and serves his wife and friends a seven course meal for her birthday. Seriously. It was unbelievable. Here’s the proof.

It was so unreal and wonderful that I started laughing almost hysterically when he was describing how he preserved the egg yolk (not a dried apricot like I initially thought) for the beet tartare.Preserved Egg Yolk

Delicious food, hours spent talking with friends, and laughter – truly a glimpse of heaven on earth.

All within a few feet of a combine

And all while Brad is sweating and suffering from jet lag in Uganda. I don’t think they have Pear, Brie, and Jamón over there.

CARE Uganda

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2018

Trying to give a summary of our year and kids in a short paragraph for the Christmas card (turned New Years Card due to my tardiness) was too painful this year. I dealt with the pain by spewing most of my thoughts right here. If you really care to know about us and feel like reading, you can get the bigger scoop. If you don’t, stop reading this and go find a good book.

I do feel the fact that I didn’t get our Christmas card out in time for Christmas seems like a fitting picture of our year. We didn’t finish harvest until almost the middle of December and then Christmas came really fast.

I remember praying not too long ago that God would provide Brad with more acres to farm. God has answered that prayer abundantly the last two years. Then God blessed the labor of Brad’s hands as well by sending great rain this summer. A longer harvest gave Brad an extra long break from electrical work. He needed that break to help the herniated disc in his neck heal a little. He’s going to give himself an extra break when he travels to Uganda this winter. Brad and I did manage a quick trip to Seattle this summer, which was a needed mental break for me!

I continued to enjoy working at school as a speech-language pathologist two days a week. I didn’t enjoy school as much when I was trying to help as much as possible with harvest. A mom needs a day at home every now and then! Thankfully we live near Brad’s parents, my mom also came several times, and my aunt once. We would’ve been in bad shape without all of their help during the busiest seasons. Highlights of my year were walks, talks and visits with friends and family.

Elliana was thrilled with getting new shoes and clothes for Christmas if that tells you anything about her age. Her favorite place to go is to her cousins’ where they love to ride horses. She even got to help move cattle on horseback this year. She was mainly shortstop and pitcher for her softball team. It was a tough season, but we still enjoy watching her play. Her sewing projects and scones qualified to go to the state fair for 4-H, thanks again to help from her grandparents. She started playing saxophone and really wishes that could replace her time at the piano. Her parents haven’t caved yet. She is now an experienced grain cart operator after her hours of help this harvest. She and Wyatt are participating in Bible quizzing this year, which has been a new experience for all of us. This year they are quizzing over the entire book of John. They each have a new chapter to work on for each month and are doing well for their first year.

Wyatt is a great big brother. He plays so nicely with Liza and William even if they’re playing something that isn’t his favorite. If Wyatt is home and no one is available to play a game with him, he finds a way to play a game by himself. He most enjoys playing basketball and has quite the imagination of what team he is on and what team he is playing. He gives a complete play by play if you take time to “go” to one of his games. I take it as a sign when he gives me a ticket. He’s competitive, so losing any baseball game this summer wasn’t a good thing; but he made great improvements at batting in his first year with a pitcher. He thinks he wants to be a fisherman and caught enough of a catfish with the help of my dad that we were able to fry it up and have a snack. His leaf collection made it to the state fair. It was educational for both of us. 😉

Liza and William shared a big birthday party in January. She loved it, but we’ve said that’s the last big birthday party we are going to throw. Liza enjoyed taking a trip to Texas with me this early spring to meet one of her new cousins. She was a great conversationalist and great entertainment in the tractor and combine during harvest. She tells us how it is and would run the house if we let her. She keeps us laughing and on top of our mental parenting gig. She is an excellent mom to her dolls and would take them and four diaper bags along everywhere we went if she could. She’d drive her toy cars or bike all over the neighborhood too if we let her, and does even if we don’t let her. Preschool has caused her to have a love for coloring and writing letters. She can write her name, but still chooses at times to write a random combination of letters that start with E because ‘why would I write my actual name if they told me to do it?’

Willie is a sweetheart and is an into everything one-year-old. He fell so many times this year, that he may have a permanent dent and scar in his forehead. He doesn’t say much for being almost two, so I have my work cut out for me. He is a thinker. When he wanted up on the couch in the basement, he went upstairs, found two stools, threw them down the stairs, put them next to the couch and got to the toy he couldn’t reach from the floor. He loves being outside, animals, books, being at the lake, combines, and is currently handling the loss of his pacifier better than expected.

In all that, I didn’t mention family trips to Wichita, Lincoln, and Minden. Did I give you the sense that it was a full year? If not, then just let me tell you that four kids and farming makes a full year. Just four kids might actually be enough to do the trick too.

We did have our moments of sickness, struggle and stress, but God continued to carry us through and provide all that we needed and more. Often he used the people He’s placed in our lives to be just what we needed for a moment. Those people are the reason I couldn’t just skip the Christmas turned New Years card, even though it was tempting. We appreciate you so much!

I’ve put together a collection of a few pictures that tell more about our year or were just pictures I really liked. Enjoy!

Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

Audiobooks

This post has nothing to do with Christmas, unless you are looking for an audiobook to listen to while traveling to a Christmas gathering. I just had a couple things I really needed to let you know.

1.We finally finished that last field just over a week ago. Another snow stormed delayed us a week and a half, but we are now FINALLY done.

2. One thing I will miss about harvest is the chance to listen to books. I was kept too busy to get much read other than Out of Control by Mary Conneally, so listening to books was an excellent alternative. In case you’re looking for something to listen to, here’s my run down of what I listened to this year. Not all are ones that I would say you MUST listen to or read, but they would hold your attention if you were stuck sitting and staring straight ahead for several hours (or an entire day).

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Now if I could just get the movie watched!

Unashamed: Rahab by Francine Rivers – If the Nebraska Overdrive Libraries would have had more Francine Rivers books, I would’ve listened to more of them.

I had read both of those books long enough ago to not remember everything about them but to know I would enjoy listening to them.

Mr Terrupt Falls Again and Saving Mr Terrupt by Rob Buyea – If you haven’t read Because of Mr Terrupt, I would recommend you read it first or at least look at the book to see how it is laid out.

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorious – This book would be of special interest to SLP’s, especially if you have any interesting alternative communication, but I think anyone would find it compelling and thought provoking. It has a few parts where he writes about how he was abused that are very disturbing, so don’t listen with little ears around. An SLP I took classes with is actually mentioned in the book and the author is now a father!

Call the Midwife – by Jennifer Worth – If you like the PBS Show, you’ll like the audiobook. It’s hard to believe the stories are actually real at times!

If you want to compare our harvest this year to last based on how much I listened to, last year I listened to only two books that I can remember. I probably didn’t start listening as early into harvest as I did this year, but I definitely had more time to listen this year. Last years book were

Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon by Thomas and Kelley French – It’s a true story about a NICU baby. It has some bad language but is very interesting!

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – I started listening to this because some of my students were reading it and I needed to keep up with what they were reading. It’s a Golden Sower Nominee if that means anything to you. I started listening to its sequel, The War I Finally Won, this year; but harvest ended and I didn’t get it finished. I’ll have to remember to finish it next harvest.

You have until Fall of 2019 to get me any of your audiobook recommendations!

One Field

We are still harvesting. So far the only full day breakdowns have been mental.

The field we just finished was a mile long by a half mile. Here is a picture of it from when we started on Friday. The colored portion is what was already picked. You can see how Brad picked all the way around the field first (the end rows they call them) and then started going back and forth. Friday was a short day due to events we had to attend, so here is the picture when we stopped on Friday. Here is middle of the morning on Saturday. The arrow is the combine and the white line is 16 rows that haven’t been picked in front of it and 8 behind it. From the cab of the combine where I took this picture looking toward the large white section, it looks like this: The line you can see in the corn is where one of the tires of the sprayer went whenever Brad sprayed it.

Toward the green and yellow looks like the unlocked rows followed by all the picked corn. It’s kind of hard to tell the difference between the two in this picture, but that’s what it is.Here is the picture at just over half done with the field. The hole in the field is where we actually had enough water to lay down the corn. Lagoon

After three short days in the field and two decent days, it was finally finished! Harvested corn field mapOnly two more fields to go!

*This post was written entirely from the cab of the tractor on a small mobile device. Please excuse any imperfections.

Grain Cart Auger

I’m getting turns in the tractor this harvest. I miss the long combine auger, even though my chances of hitting something with it are higher than with this little thing; and I would like to have a discussion with the designers of this grain cart. Grain cart to semi

How do they expect a person to not sit in shear panic of running into the truck the entire time they are unloading? Doesn’t that look extremely close to you? I’m told it’s not as close as it looks, but I came an inch away from taking off the truck’s rearview mirror yesterday. Which would you rather have for loading a truck?

Grain cart auger vs combine augerBacklit combine auger