Saturday, September 29, 2012

Miscellaneous Tidbits

Well, here are a few miscellaneous updates from the farmstead - 

1. Our brood is down to nine. How could this be?!?!  I know, such tragedy is hard to bear.  *sniff*  
No really...we're doing ok with handling such a blow... 
*soft sobbs* ...
*soft sobbs turn to ugly crying*

Really...Really...I'm doing ok...I'm working through the stages of grief...I was in denial up until 8:30AM this morning... but I'm on my way toward resolution.  I should be there by Tuesday.  *sniff*  

So here's the story...Last Friday our suspicions were confirmed - Kinzie was the chicken assassin.  I was casually washing a few dishes when I glanced out the window around dusk.  And what should I see? Kinzie, at the edge of our a heap of SOMETHING!!  This cannot be happening, I thought.  So I flamed out the back door and past our precious other dog, Casey. And horror of horrors - in front of Kinzie, amid a bounty of auburn feathers, lies a Red, open from stem to stern.  And Kinzie, being the nonsensical dog she is, sat up and started wagging her tail.  "BAD DOG!! BAD DOG!!" I said with all the sternness in my body.  Her tail continued to wag.  


(that was me, not the dog.)

2. I've been asked by some for a picture of our house (more correctly, the house we rent).  So here it is... 
Some have called it the Red Roof Inn...but we like to call it home. 

3. AMAZING RACE STARTS TOMORROW!!! *All hearts rejoice*  

Yes, get ready for the premier of Amazing Race, season 21, which will start tomorrow (8/30), at 7PM (Central, 8PM for you folks in the Eastern time zone). 

This is consistently THE show Ryan and I always try to watch...every week.  And I think you'd enjoy it too! 

4.  Last, and most important, my Beloved's birthday is this upcoming Wednesday (10/3). I'll give you a hint as to how old he'll be...Take the number of pictures below times 10.  

(He is a sight to behold, if I do say so myself.)

 Equal parts masculine, sweet, and cool.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Harvest Hoedown

Leaves are changing, the weather's coolin',
Fall's a-comin' 'roun'.
Sit back for a lesson in rural (Agri) culture,
It's time for the harvest hoedown.

Swing your farmer to the combine,
This giant Transformer is key.
Pick your head - either corn or bean,
Then headin' to the field you'll be.

But don't get ahead or jump to fast, 
some jargon you must know - 
Corn is "shelled" and beans are "cut",
it depends on the seed you sow.  

The combine does three things in one-
it reaps, threshes and winnows.
Separating grain from chaff,
we could all sing along with banjos.  

Now it's time for the tractor promenade - 

The combine bows to the wagon.
The wagon curtsy's back.
With a turn and a twist, and a do-si-do,
The grain is transferred - whack!! 

The tractor pulls the wagon full,
to its new partner in this jubilee.
The wagon alongside the semi runs
to auger off its bounty of botany.

The semi, not such a nimble thing,
Is next in our autumn dance.
It takes the grain to a bin or elevator,
to keep while the price will enhance! (hopefully!)

These steps repeat many times each day.
The farmers spin and the farmers sway.
'Til headin' home real late each night,
Little sleep is the farmers' blight.  

Kissin' their wives, g'mornin' and g'night.  
The farmer is busy and always a-flight! 
Doin' this dance, they can't slow down,
Runnin' to do the Harvest Hoedown!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Man Down

Or more aptly put, Chicken down.

Ryan came in tonight around 11:00PM from working in the field.  His first question to me was, "What's with all the chicken feathers in the front yard?"  
I was confused but not alarmed.  
"I'm sorry?!?" I responded.
Ryan - "There's chicken feathers in the front lawn...It looks like one of the Barred Rocks."  
Me - "Hmm..that's odd" *still not alarmed or concerned* "I shut them in earlier."
Ryan - "Were they all there?"
Me - "Yeah." - *seriously not thinking twice at this point that something could have been amiss.* "Well, I actually don't know for sure.  I didn't count them, I just closed the door."
Ryan - "I'm going to go count them."  

It must be noted here that Ryan and I have two different styles of parenting our chickens.  I, the under-achieving caretaker, simply close the coop door when I go out at night.  Ryan, the conscientious caretaker, counts to make sure each chicken is in the coop.  Up until this night, all 11 chickens were tucked-in safe and secure.  

But then tonight happened.  What exactly happened is still unclear.  

Ryan confirmed that only 10 chickens were in the coop.  
I started to have that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.  
How could this have happened?  We were doing so well at keeping our chickens alive!
I felt completely responsible for the missing chicken.  I had closed them in for the night without confirming all chicks were accounted for.  

Ryan took me to front door and flipped on the porch light to show me the pile of feathers.  To add insult to injury, Kinzie, our beloved (I use thick sarcasm here) black lab mix, is laying on top of the pile of feathers, chewing on a partially exposed chicken wing.  
Ryan - "I think our dogs have a dark side."
*sigh of sadness*

It was clear from the pile of feathers...and other stuff...that the Barred Rock was not coming back.  

And here is the suspected culprit's mug shot - Sitting pretty and playing innocent.  

At this point not much is known for sure - We are not quite sure of what happened, when it happened, and whether the unfortunate bird was Betsy, Izzie, or Mrs. Butterworth.  
What we do know - We know she's not comin' back and our brood is down to 10.


Friday, September 14, 2012


I'm hopelessly sentimental.  I relish romantic movies, old couples holding hands, and hugs that bring a smile to your heart as well as your face.  Last weekend I witnessed one of the more heart-warming things I have seen in awhile.  

I was traveling and stopped at one of those government-run rest areas - you know, the ones with vending machines and brochures on state parks.  I needed to go to the bathroom and stretch my legs.  As I walked up to the door of the women's restroom, I was startled to meet the back of an elderly man, hunched-over, peering in.  
I was puzzled.  Hmm...
Not wanting to jump to scandalous conclusions, I said simply, "Excuse me."  
And I thought I was surprised!  He jumped and the tall, slender, bespectacled gentleman fumbled, "Oh..oh, excuse me.  I'm just watching to make sure my wife is alright."  
I asked if she needed help.  
He turned and hollered into the ladies restroom - "Lois, are you alright?"  
A faint, "yes," came in response.  
As he moved away from the door for me to go in, I spotted what I guessed was Lois' stall - red wool-socked feet with Easy Spirit sandals and walker legs with tennis balls could be seen beneath the stall door.  I went about my business and as I left, I passed the sweet elderly gentleman waiting patiently outside the restroom.  

I thought to myself, How precious is that?! That sweet man - patient and steady- just wanted to make sure his wife was alright.  He didn't care about appearances.  His love was unabashed.   

I smiled as I walked to my car, thinking of Ryan and me as an old elderly couple - Ryan hollering to make sure I'm doing alright in the restroom, pushing our walkers side-by-side, holding each others' old arthritic hands.  

Perhaps God was subtly giving me a glimpse of a what our future might be like one day.  Only God knows.  
But perhaps it was foreshadowing. 

As my thoughts have the tendency to do, especially when I'm driving, they continued to wander.  I thought of my relationship with Ryan and how God had in small, discrete ways foreshadowed, or perhaps, prepared me for Ryan and life on the farm.  

I thought of Leona, the sweet white-haired woman at my church growing up, that once told me she was praying for my future husband.  She told me directly and with emphasis, "Now I'm praying for someone tall, dark, and handsome!"  And I said, "Amen to that, Leona!" Thank you, Leona, for your faithful prayers.  The Lord delivered on each of those requests! :)  

I thought of when I told my sisters that I didn't want to marry someone short.  I wanted to marry someone tall...someone with whom I could wear all of my cute heels and boots.  Years later, in walks Ryan, measuring in at 6'7".  

I thought of how after both my sisters were married in 2006 and 2007 to men with the last names starting with "B" and "H", I guessed that someday I would marry someone with a last name that started with a letter at the end of the alphabet.  In January of this year I was welcomed by the kids at the back of the line when I took the name "Wood".  

And finally, I thought of the time I told my mom that cornfields felt like home.  At the time, I was living in Arkansas and was homesick for the familiar.  It never did cross my mind that in a few short years I would be surrounded by cornfields on every side. 

I guess sometimes we get a taste of what's to come.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wrapping up & Gearing up

August has come to a close and we are at the doorstep of Labor Day - what the young and young-at-heart recognize as the end of summer as we know it.  
Auf Wiedersehen to long evenings and endless sunshine.  
Good-bye to that carefree, laid-back attitude.
Hasta La vista, Baby, to beach balls and swim suits.  

I'll miss you, Summer.  *sniff*

*ugly cry*


Ryan and I are bidding summer "adieu" with his family on a vacation in gorgeous, yet quaint Galena, Illinois.  However, to kick off the weekend, on Friday, the boys all took part in the Nascar driving experience in Joliet, Illinois.  Here are a few pics of the fast-paced feat.


He was a pretty happy lover-of-fast & powerful-things afterwards.  His lap average was 145.7 mph.  

And since then, we've been chill-axing, sight-seeing, applesauce-making, boating, and celebrating two very special birthdays (Ryan's sister, Carrie, and Brother-in-law, Bill).  Did I mention we've been eating scotcharoos??  Those very wrong, but wrong in a right-sort of way, peanut-buttery, corn-syrupy, rice-krispie, chocolate & butterscotch-topped decadent morsels.  (Just a side note - Scotcharoos should really have their own Facebook page...or the U.S. should celebrate Scotcharoo Day.  Just sayin'...they're that good.)

Where was I??  I lost myself in the Scotcharoo goodness.  

oh yes...
So last week before we left for all of this fun, Ryan and his dad started Harvest. 

Ask any Ol' Timer, and he'll pull out his tooth pick and put in his dentures to tell you that this is one early harvest.  Last year all the talk was about the early harvest in September!  Who knew this year we'd have combines in the field in August!!!  

So as vacations and fun in the sun wrap up, we are gearing up for the rest of harvest.
And of course, for all of those things that *are Autumn*.

hay-rack rides. 
crisp air.
hot apple cider.  
football games.
snuggling under blankets.
combine lights in the cornfield at night.

Oh, Autumn, how I've missed you.    

So long, Summa!!!