Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interest in Farming

A few weeks ago we had a nice visit with Anna Brewer, a local artist, whose specialty is cartoons that capture images about farming. Here is one of her drawings and more about her illustrations can be accessed at Joe and I spent the afternoon answering Anna's questions and were in awe of Anna's artistic ability. Her drawings are very detailed and precise as well as accurate. Anna had contacted us after reading about the Dinner on the Farm series last Fall. It was interesting as well as amusing to see our lifestyle put in the form of a cartoon and one more (great) way to give the reader an insight on what farmers do. As we were parting, we invited Anna to our farm anytime so she can ride in the tractors and combines when we are in the field.

Shortly after our visit with Anna we were reading about "FarmVille" being one of the most popular games being played on the internet. People can be virtual farmers and get to plant crops and harvest them and sort of see what we do, all without the financial risk I might add. The article went on to say that people were interested in where their food is grown. It again reconfirms that people are trying to get back to the basics, whether by playing the virtual farming game, drawing about farming or trying to grow their own food on their own plots of land. It's a positive plus for Agriculture and we welcome the interest as it opens up dialogue.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life on the Farm 12.23.09

Last evening after writing on my blog I was cold so I sat down in front of the fire with a glass of wine and was reading a folksy publication put out by Massey Ferguson call "Farmlife". This little booklet had the usual stuff in it advertising, articles about invasive weeds and fencing but what caught my eye was the article that featured "Maple Farmers" in Quebec, which is the sugar making capital of the world. I read with fascination about how this family taps the trees, how they process the sap and make it into yummy maple syrup. I thought, even though we farm, this is completely different than what we do and very interesting. I enjoyed reading about what maple farmers do and hope the readers of this blog enjoy the items about our farm life too. That is why I added the survey feature on my blog as I want to tailor this to what is of interest to those that read it.

As for the farm activity, Joe was working some in the shop today and changed the oil in his combine. . Joe was explaining that having clean oil in the combine over the winter is better for it and the clean oil doesn't have the bad acids that can corrode bearings. So it's sort of like putting your baby to bed, you want it safe, clean and dry. We also have a special oil burning furnace for heat in the shop that uses the old oil. So it is one more way to be a good steward of the earth.

As for me I decided to give myself permission to stay home and putter in the kitchen. With Christmas music playing I made 3 pies, a French Chocolate Breakfast Cake, a batch of cinnamon rolls and homemade doggie biscuits. When I bake I use every available spot in my kitchen and I'm really messy! I like to think of myself as an enthusiastic baker. So in the midst of my mess, my mom stopped over to visit. I was on the phone when she popped in so as she was waiting for me to conclude my business call, she was looking at all the stuff I had made. When I saw her grab a dog biscuit off the cookie sheet and pop it into her mouth, of course I started giggling. I managed to finish my call before I nearly died laughing. My poor mom who has a sweet tooth a mile wide, was wiping her tongue on her sleeve and gagging. She thought I had made gingerbread squares, only it turned out to be doggie biscuits for our spoiled pooch. I had to assure her nothing yucky was in them in the way of ingredients. She will now forever be wary of what I'm cooking. Things like this always seem to happen to my mom and of course we tease her about it. So this will be one of the latest funny things to add to her list.

Tomorrow the rest of my family will join us for dinner and we will open our gifts, so I still need to get some stuff done- so better finish. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I was reading a newsletter wherein it featured an article from the Wall Street Journal called "Green Acres is the Place to Be". This article talks about people who left their urban life to embrace the rural life with the goal of becoming more sustainable and adopting a more self reliant lifestyle. It was an interesting article and I'm half tempted to google the people they talk about and give them a call to ask about how this change has turned out for them. The article just gives a brief overview noting where they lived then and where they moved to without much info on their day to day lives. Living in rural areas is wonderful for those of us who understand what living in the country entails. So I'm really curious how the "city slickers" cope with country life. I want to ask if living in the country and being self sufficient is really what they envisioned. I'm sure it is harder than they ever thought possible and hopefully the rewards outweigh any hardships they may face.

The next day after putting my project house up for sale, I received a call from a friend inquiring on behalf of an older couple near retirement whose goal was to become more self sufficient, raise chickens and get a dairy cow. How refreshing is that? This couple didn't want to move to Florida and take up golf; rather they were looking to become farmer-ettes and putter around with chickens, a cow and raise their own vegetables. I like the trend that people want to get back to more basics things, then perhaps they will get a feel for what we farmers do only on a larger scale.

Monday, December 21, 2009

End of my “Bucket List Wish”

Yea, my project house is almost complete; it's done enough to put it on the market. Quick re-cap, on October 27th we purchased the farm ground across from us and a cute 1950's ish house came with the land. So with this purchase I got to cross off a "bucket list wish" which was to get to re-do a house. After about ten gallons of paint or so (I've lost count) the house changed it's appearance.

It is amazing what paint and a few upgrades can do. Those who had seen the house before I worked on it, couldn't believe the changes…. Here's some before and after pictures. This was so much fun, I'm sad to see it end.A new island, new flooring, new sink, paint… a totally new look.

The main bathroom before:

Most of the walls were all white-ish, non descript, so here I've added color to make some of the cool built-ins stand out.

The living room only needed some color and new curtains:

The color scheme for most of the house was milk chocolate and cream with accents of dark brown and blue.