Monday, March 24, 2014

Sugar Cookie Kisses & Remembering Tractor 101 Lessons

Well, being true to what I last wrote last about blogging more ( I can't believe I publicly admitted what my family and friends already know, that I am weird with a crazy sense of humor and then posting pictures to prove it……Lord help me)  but I wanted to share some of the fun stuff going on at my farm-house today.
I always like it when the weatherman is right, and the forecast was for sunny skies and mid- 50 temps.  I mentally had my day off planned out, but plans changed when I was needed to watch  my 3 yoa grand-angel, Miss M.  Our day consisted of a sticky kiss or two as we made her favorite  thing to bake – sugar cookies. Add the big messy cook (me) who is helped by the young assistant  - who is very exuberant with the sprinkles (although she can't say her "s" so it comes out "prinkles")  well the end result is about 3 dozen cookies and a kitchen that looks like a scene out of the movie "Animal House" where they have a food fight. When I have the 3 grand-angels over, they always know there are cookies to be made and that being tidy isn't a big deal with their "goofy grandma" (their words, not mine)J 
Miss M adding in the ingredients

Her favorite perch is on the counter. She was weary of my taking pictures.

After she went home, it was late afternoon and warm, so I headed over to my mom’s house where I have my tractor stored for the winter and drove it home.  Being seriously mechanically challenged, I was hoping I remembered all what I had learned the year before. And I am pleased to say that  it was satisfying that I did remember everything.  I do admit as I was loading up some river rock that I had to do a couple practice runs on running the bucket, but that all came back too. Whew! Here are some of my projects...
Re-landscaping, less grass, more rock. It's a good thing.

This is my "inspiration pile" of stuff.  Another dump truck load of river rock on the left,
with a dump truck load of boulders in the middle and to the far right is a huge pile of dirt.

Last summer I had ordered more river rock, boulders and already had a big pile of dirt behind my chick-pit shop.  When my family asked me what I was going to do with it, I replied, I don't know, followed by my  favorite phrase (that drives them nuts) "it's a detail"  meaning that I don't quite know yet or that I have an exact plan, but I am sure I will come up with something and, well... I just don't worry about it, as it's just a detail and I'll just make up the rules as I go.

I know Spring really is on its way, not because of the first sight of a Robin….but.... see what Luna, the farm-dog found out.

As always, thanks for taking time out of your busy day and stopping by to check in on the what the crazy farm-chick is doing.  By the way I did check my email (I was a bit nervous) and did appreciate the emails & comments. So thank you!  As always, feel free to email me or leave a comment.  Hope your week is a good one.  All my best, Gayle

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weird+Real=The FarmChick

It’s 2:13 a.m. on March 23rd and my brain has been “on” now for a bit with words pouring out of me for my blog.  I am unsure why it picks this particular time to let me write, but it is rather annoying especially when it is a work night and I have to force myself back to sleep as I would be getting up in oh…... three and a half hours.  But it is a Sunday morning so here I am, sitting at my desk wrapped in a bathrobe and a fleece blanket….writing.  My farm dog, Luna grudgingly gets up to accompany me to my office and waits until I finish so we can go back to bed. If the blog had sound, you would be able to hear her sigh and groan (really).

I like the phrase that I had coined in my very first food blog (March, 2014) for the America’s Farmers website, “Blogs are like a reality show, only in print”.   And it is true, the words paint of picture of a person's life and there is vulnerability when you open up your personal world to others.
It also made me think about why I read other blogs and why I always, always, always go  straight to the Editor’s letter in magazines first.  I like that up close and personal connection.  The more insightful they are, the better I like it. That is why I have shared good times, but also not so good times with my readers.  I like to think when being vulnerable and open that is makes a bond unlike no other, that people get to see the “real you”.  So here it goes.... yup in case you didn't know it... I'm weird, I have an impish sense of humor that often gets me in trouble, my daughters are some of my very best friends (but I do know they inwardly groan, roll their eyes when they see what I wear when I work outside) and I love the fact that we have lots of fun adventures together.  I try to see the best in most situations, I don't like to be around negative people, when I bake or paint... well as I've said before - it looks like a bomb went off - so I'm messy.  I like to mix old and new things together when decorating.  I love dark chocolate, pizza and beer. Sometimes in that order too.  I am happiest when I am writing, baking, taking photos or playing in the dirt - guess that is my creative side coming out and drowning out the "type A" personality that I am trying to tame....  I feel like the real me is trying to emerge where being weird is okay and I don't always have to be perfect (I am not a Martha Stewart).   I find it refreshing to see others being real too and if they are weird, well all the better.  I am blessed with having a really loving and supportive family - although we can drive each other nuts. Okay, maybe I drive them nuts.  I have some of the most amazing close women friendships that makes me in awe of just being included in their circle.  Sometimes I get lonely as I haven't found a man that I really want to get close to. Could be I am scared, but mostly picky.  I do have a couple of great guy buddies though that I can really talk too. But I do look forward to being swept off my feet and may give in to letting my friend, Kristi, set me up.

So in case you don't believe I'm weird... well pictures don't lie...., So this was me at 3
Me sitting on the handle of my dad's masonry wheelbarrow.  According to my mom I always
had to "add my own fashion accessory" hence another shirt layered over my dress

And here is me now, sporting my own "rural grungy look" complete with the pink & orange striped shirt, blue&white bib overalls, black&white polka dot boots and my red ball-cap with the words "no one listens to me until I fart".... (told ya I was weird)

The real me, in my normal outdoor wear(of course the best part was when daughter, Jen was taking the picture and said... you really aren't going to wear your hat are you???? and rolls her eyes.  Mission accomplished.

To be honest sometimes I struggle with what to write and at times I have soooo much to say and sometimes I'm quiet inside.  I had my friend Mark (one of the most insightful guys I know) who is a band member, song writer and painter over to dinner the other night so I could pick his brain on what inspires him to write his songs.  What I found was there was no magic bullet… sometimes words come out of your emotions, just let it flow and see where it goes.  And I thought yes, some of the most honest blogs were from the most painful moments of my life. Sometimes my brain wakes me up… and says you have to tell them about the real you. Go ahead, post that picture of what you really wear when you work outside... So there you have it my friends, the real me, who  likes to write about Ag, life, kids, grand-angels and being weird.

Can't imagine this pose or outfit will end up on Vogue...

They think it's cool their grandma has her own "personal tractor"
And so... the dog is groaning more loudly and it's getting harder to write.... so back to bed for this farm-chick. And I'm going to blog more, as it is good for the soul (I know it is for me and I hope it helps you too).  Also my next blog for America's Farmers comes out in May and I'll be linking that up with this one. And I  invite you to check it out... it is mainly about cooking, but I did warn those new readers that it won't probably be like a normal cooking blog because.... well I'm not normal - (normal in this household is just a setting on my my dryer).  IF they want perfect, read Martha Stewart, if they want real, then read my blog.  The editors asked for real folks to write about real stuff. I just hope they know what they got themselves into... and with that, I'll call it a night.  Feel free to email me at swheatfarmlife@ or leave a comment.  I always love hearing from ya!  =)  All my best Gayle.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Urban vs. Rural Landscapes

Sometimes I wonder just how much of what I write actually resonates with the blog readers about growing the food that goes on their dinner table.  I can only imagine how hard it is to conceive what the American Farmer does, when this is what their world looks like, as pictured below:

NYC picture from NYC reader, Karla

NYC view from reader, Karla
and when I write and tell the farming story, it is from my rural landscape perspective even if it is still cold & snowy right now.

Rural roads, add snow + wind = a sure recipe for being snowed in

A beautiful winter sunset
80.7 percent of Americans live in urban areas, conversely, 19.3 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. And contained in that 19.3 figure are the roughly 210,000 full-time farmers that grow our food.

So when New York blog reader, Karla  reached out and left me a comment last year telling me that even though she had never been to Idaho, she felt a connection to it and the people through my blog. I had my answer.   Quickly after that, we started emailing back and forth and plans were formed wherein Karla & her boyfriend, Angel would visit my State to see for themselves and of course, see the farm that I lovingly talk about.

I asked Karla to tell me in her words what she & Angel saw, and this is what I received:
Here is our perspective of Idaho while we're traveling:
• Idahoans love the outdoors! Not only we're amazed by the amount of people participating (and the cheerleaders!) at the Triathlon in Boise, but also the number of people we constantly watched on bikes, fishing boats, and camping along our travels in the state.
• Fresh meat, it's the best! Nothing like a fresh piece of meat from the grill (we ate in Salmon and Moscow) good that I couldn't stop complementing the restaurant while my piece of meat last.
• #1 in genuine hospitality. After traveling various states in US, both Angel and I agreed on that Idahoans are the most kind people we have encountered so far. From the store manager who helped us with places and directions once she knew we were looking for a few cultural experiences to the former farm-wife who opened the doors of her house to us to talk about how farm life is like =)
We encountered many people along the way as well; and they were kind, open nicely to talk.
• Amazing landscapes galore! Nothing I've seen like going from a desert climate in Boise to the lush forests of Garden Valley and McCall in just a few hours; or going from moon-like landscapes to the gorgeous hills in the Palouse.

There was much more than we expected and since our trip we've been wondering / planning about when going back to Idaho. ~ Karla

This farm-chick was excited to meet a reader and the short visit was wonderful.

Farm tour- me, Karla & Angel

Farmer Jay conducted the farm tour for them. They couldn't get over the sheer size of the equipment
& the amount of equipment needed to feed America
Farm tour concluded at my farmhouse with a hearty dinner
One day I hope to travel to New York City, see some of those big city sights & catch up over an authentic NYC meal with these two!

Well thank you  for stopping by and as always, I am only a click away at or leave a comment on my blog..... who knows where another story will lead!   All my best, Gayle.

Update 3/4/14, Exiting News!  I am now also writing a food blog for the America's Farmers website. Here is the March blog post