Ground Hogs and Other Spring Predictors’

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASpring is officially here. I knew it was on its way despite Mother Nature doing her best to convince me otherwise. Spring is a usually looked forward to by most people but to a farmer it’s a major event . Some people use the traditional ground hog to predict if we’ll get any early spring, some watch for animals that seem to lose their winter coat early or listen for the first song from the frogs. I have an early prediction system too.   It’s more reliable than any ground hog. It’s my sickness. Yes I have a spring sickness and every year a few weeks just prior to spring’s arrival my ‘illness’ presents itself.  Some people herald spring with hay fever and allergies, others with March Madness, me? I get spring cleaning fever.  Yes, I said it. Spring cleaning fever.

Every weekend I clean my house, not because I particularly enjoy cleaning. In fact, to be quite frank, it’s one of my least favorite things to do. However, I have heard far too many people label farmers as being filthy to want to contribute to the ugly stereotype. I remember once inviting someone over to eat and having them make a joke asking if they would have to ‘sweep the chickens off the table so they could sit down to eat.”I’m sure they thought they were being funny. I was not amused. With that being said, I am in no way a neat freak and anyone who has ever visited my house can attest to that fact. I just make sure to clean up once a week and try to keep the dog hair and dust bunnies from taking over in our sleep.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

So I knew spring was on its way a few weeks ago when I was dragging myself through my weekly cleaning and felt the sudden compulsion to climb under the sink and take out the P trap and clean it. I mean it gets filled up with hair and pipe gunk too and probably should be cleaned at some point right? I started the process and when Hubs walked by and observed me testing out my non-existent plumbing skills by approaching the project with the same trepidation that an explosives expert might approach a bomb, he decided to help me out. Whatever, as long as it got done, was what mattered to me. Strangely enough I didn’t question or find anything odd about my sudden desire to scrub the bathroom pipes from the inside out.

Then a week or so later I found myself scrubbing the baseboards throughout the house and mopping the basement stairs. Mopping, not sweeping, but mopping and with a bleach solution to make sure they were good and clean, the basement stairs. Yes, that’s right, I sanitized my basement steps. (I’m so ashamed)

Today, I found myself bleaching and scrubbing the grout lines in my bathroom floors and it finally occurred to me that my spring sickness is out of control. Unlike allergies there is no pill I can take to give me some relief, I just have to suffer through it. After I finished the bathroom floors I happened to notice that the grout through the kitchen, laundry room and halls all needed some attention. God help me! This is a cry for help to my friends. I’m obviously in desperate need for an intervention to save me from this behavior.

On a positive note, at least spring is here and the weather is bound to start getting better. Hopefully I’ll get to be outside more and won’t even notice the floors…….or the overflowing file cabinet.

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The Vacationing Farmer

horse head shot EDITGoing on vacation is always a challenge. There’s juggling schedules with time off work, kids out of school, arranging flights, piecing together people to pick up the mail, water the plants, etc. When you have a farm, vacation takes this already intensive planning process and magnifies it by a million or two. To be fair, I’ve never felt deprived that we don’t get to travel to far away destinations. We’ve worked hard to build a life that doesn’t make us feel we need a break. We enjoy every minute on our farm and leaving it isn’t usually something that I want to do. However, my son’s 21st birthday was coming up and the family wanted to celebrate it BIG.horse rolling 1 EDIT

As a farm owner, I was a little worried about the process of planning a vacation, but it all seemed to fall into place with little effort on my part. The family all got time off work, we found an amazing package deal to Iceland, and then one of my best friends offered to stay out at the farm, taking care of all the animals and watching over the place……in her words, “it’s going to be an adventure.” Let’s face it, finding someone willing to watch your dog is a Godsend; finding someone willing to watch your entire farm……it’s a miracle only rivaled by the second coming of Christ (no disrespect intended). We had our friend go through 3 practice runs to make sure she was comfortable with our routine and then off we went.

I have to give a serious shout out to my farm sitting friend. She’s a newbie to farm life and was basically looking for a chance to test drive the lifestyle. It takes a serious adventure addict + a thrill seeking personality to step into someone else’s farm with no experience and give it a whirl. Hats off Lisa!riding landscape shot EDIT

When we returned to the farm, I found a lovely note from her that summed up her time on the farm.

Here are her words:

1) I will forever have the smell of chicken poop ingrained into my nostrils;

2) The big pig sneezed things on me. Later, I stopped by the store and had a super hot guy checking me out. Since this NEVER happens, I figured I either had pig snot hanging off me somewhere or pig snot is an aphrodisiac;

3) I think you guys should take more vacations. I am more than happy to farm sit.

I feel like a proud parent. More importantly, I accomplished some rather lofty goals, including:

a) creating a new farm addict;

b) assaulting and traumatizing her olfactory senses in true farm style; and

c) totally and completely corrupting her fashion style by getting her to accessorize with pig snot. (*It’s not a look everyone can pull off).

I’d also like to point out that I did all this when I wasn’t even in the country!! Sometimes my multi-tasking skills amaze even me. Oh, in case you were wondering, the trip to Iceland was amazing.Me and horse EDIT