Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sayonara Harvest 2012

Exciting news!

The last kernel of corn has been tucked away in the bin, the combine is in the shop for year-end maintenance and my husband was home at 7 pm last night in time for supper (we had Buffalo Chicken Soup -- in honor of the Bison's homecoming win?! #BisoNation #undefeated).  

Harvest 2012 is officially over at Purfeerst Farm.

I know I said in Friday's post that it would probably be mid-week, but with the help of a few good days they were able to wrap everything up on Sunday afternoon. We even managed to slip in a quick birthday party on Saturday -- complete with a beer can cake -- for Jimmy, one of my favorite guys at the farm.

A little tidbit about Jimmy (besides his harvest birthday) is that PBR is his drink of choice. Yes, I realize it's a rare breed will that choose PBR every time, but Jimmy will. So, it only seemed fitting to make him a PBR cake. :)

{By far the easiest cake I have ever whipped up.}
Below is a picture of Saturday's crew -- some of the best people you could find. By the way, notice the hand behind Matt's head (far left, brown sweatshirt)? That's Wiggy, the one man in the world who has somehow avoided being in a picture his whole life. Maybe I will catch him next time...

Oh and another update? I learned to drive the ripper this weekend. It was the real test of my farm wife potential. I admit, I didn't pass with flying colors, but I didn't fail because I did do it solo for about 3 hours on Saturday night. And that might ask me back if they need me...maybe.

Mark's Grandma (second from the right, behind me) has been ripping all of her life. She's currently in her 80s and still does the bulk of the ripping on the farm.  

Everyone calls her Rippin' Rosie. 

She's one of the sweetest ladies you will meet and somewhat of a legend. I wasn't lucky enough to get to know and enjoy all of my grandparents in my life, but I am extremely lucky for the one I have always had (you can read about her here) and the two I gained. Hopefully one day I leave half of the legacy behind that they will.

{Here's a look at "ripping." Basically, we are breaking up the soil to prepare it for next spring.}


Friday, October 5, 2012

H54F - Harvest 2012 Style

It's Friday, so why not celebrate?

I am linking up with Lauren @ From My Grey Desk for this week's H54F, but I decided to add a little twist and celebrate all the little things that I am learning to appreciate as a new farm wife.

Numero Uno? Mark Purfeerst. (and every other farmer!)

This farming job is hard work and he is such a trooper, even though I am pretty sure he is completely, and overwhelmingly, exhausted.

Let me paint the picture. This week we are setting up a cow to flush (so we can collect embryos from her), so even though he may not roll in to bed until 2 in the morning after trucking grain all night, he still is up and out the door by 6:00 (in the morning, mind you) so he can make it back to the farm to give shots (just shots of hormones to convince her body to cycle -- pretty much like how it works in humans). After shots and feeding, he drives back to our house, showers, gets ready for work where he puts in 8 hours, runs home, changes clothes and heads back out to the farm.

And his schedule has been dauntingly similar for the last four weeks. But I couldn't be more impressed with how he is handling it. Now, I won't hold back the reality. Has he been a little crabby every once & awhile? Yes. Have I been a occasionally annoyed (even though I am trying desperately not to be. Cut me slack please, I am still learning.) that I have been momentarily put in charge of every single chore in our life like bills, laundry, groceries, food, cleaning, ect.? Yes. Do I miss having someone at home with me to go check on random noises and fix the light bulb that has been out in our garage for two weeks (I can't reach it!). Yes
{isn't he cute? BTW, don't mind his ugly shirt. It goes with his ugly hat & ugly pants.}
Nonetheless, all those things are to be expected and little things when we look at the big picture. The important thing is that we have 3,000+ acres of crop to get out and they need every able helping hand to do it. So Mark is doing whatever he can. Plus, a small percentage of that crop is ours and it's so exciting to see our year of planning and work pay off. 

I am proud of him. And, I can't forget to mention Jim, Jimmy, Ramone, Rosie and the rest of the guys at the farm and the thousands of other men & women out there doing the same thing. It takes long hours, but it's a rewarding job in the end.

Number Two | Going off the above, I am doubly thankful that harvest is almost over.

It's typically unheard of that we would have all the crop out of the field by the end of October, let alone October 10th, but rumor at the elevator is that we might be done as early as the middle of next week. 2012 has been such a crazy year.

{A load from from this week. Each semi holds 900-1000 bu.}
Now, by no means is the work over when the last kernel of corn is put in the bin. There is still grain to haul, fields to be dug and plenty of bookwork catch up on. However, we will be back to "normal" hours, where six hours of sleep and supper at the dinner table are possible.

Three? Huband/Wife Time.

Last Saturday, I got really lucky. I won free Twins tickets AND we weren't super busy at the farm, so my husband got to come with me. It was so fun to just hang out and enjoy one of the last beautiful fall days. Plus, we thought Mark would have to head back to the farm after the game, but they shut down early, so we got the rest of the night to just enjoy. We stopped at a pumpkin patch and picked out two BIG, beautiful pumpkins (plus a few white ones for inside decor), enjoyed a treat at the new frozen yogurt shop in town and then plopped our butts on the couch and relaxed. It was heavenly.

4. A New Barn Coat (I need to add a little fashion in here!)

Yesterday, Mother Nature decided to let loose the chilly weather. 80 and sunny on Wednesday -- cloudy, windy and 40 on Thursday. It was enough to make any girl crabby, but I like to make the best out of all situations and decided it was the PERFECT time to pull out my new cute barn coat.

Let me preface this by saying, I know barn coats don't normally get to be NEW or CUTE. But, I scored this one at Gap last year for $6.97 (and that was before my super crazy discount) for this sole purpose. Just because you're doing cattle chores, doesn't mean you can't be cute. And at less 10 bucks, who cares if it gets dirty?!

{Looking back, I should have bought 3 of them. Definitely. Maybe even 4?}

 A little fake fur helps class up any night at the barn, don't you agree?

#5 -- Lots of Learning
I've said it before and I will say it again. I am not an expert at farming. Give me cows and I could go on forever, but corn & soybeans? I am a little lost.

However, after a bit of a rude harvest awakening, I love every nugget of information that I am learning. 

By the way, I know what you are thinking. Rude awakening? You have been with Mark for 8 years. And you are right. But two of those years I was in high school, five of them I was gone in Fargo, and last year I was freaking out about a wedding. I was more concerned about invitations and flowers than if Mark was gone at the farm. I didn't quite know everything that went into it.

Back to the point, it's been great to actually understand what's going on and feel like I can help. I have been learning how to run the scale, what moisture we need to be at, why you can't harvest soybeans when it gets too cold, how the books work, what a bill of lading is, my husbands signal for when to stop the truck when loading roundbales, where certain corn gets delivered, how basis/puts/ect. work and so on. Next year, mark my words, I am even learning how to run the digger! :)

Am I an expert? No. Do I know more than I did four weeks ago. 1,000 times more. And that is a good feeling.

And because this is getting to be an extremely long H54F, I am ending it at that. :)

Have a great weekend, friends! And if you are in the same shoes as me, I would love to hear from you! What are you thankful for this week?


Thursday, October 4, 2012

101 in 1001 Update - Camera, Recipes, & Cattle

Checking BIG things off the list. 

A long while back, I wrote an extensive list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next 1001 days. (You can read the list in its entirety here.) I am one of those people who need my dreams to be written down (and published it seems) to motivate me and keep me accountable

I know that I won't accomplish everything and I am coming to terms with that. Truth be told, I have no interest in accomplishing a few things. However, every now and again I think of my 101 list and it encourages me to try something new or take a chance, which is exactly what I was going for.
Part of the deal was to provide you with updates when I accomplish new & exciting things, so in light of all the great things I did in the last few months, you deserve an update.

35. Own a new DSLR camera. Check!

I have been wanting to buy my very own DSLR camera for months. Awhile back I got my hands on a work camera and because it was so fun to play with while taking pictures of cattle, I wanted one of my very own to drag with me to cattle shows, snap pictures of family and use for absolutely anything I wanted! Luckily, I have a really great husband who actually encouraged me to get one. Truth is, he wanted it so I could take good pictures of our sale cattle, and I don't think he knew what he was getting into, but nonetheless, I am an owner of new Nikon D7000 with a Tamron 18-270 lens.

Literally, deciding what to buy was the hardest decision to make thus far in my life, but three weeks in and I am still super happy with my purchase. I have a lot to learn yet (literally I sometimes am SO lost), but the more I play with it, the better I get. And I have full intentions to use the free classes from National Camera Exchange.

I am definitely excited to have high-quality photos of my own and while it was a big investment, it was also a life investment (that's what I have been telling myself, please don't tell me otherwise). One day we are going to have kiddos we want to snap pictures of and by then, I should at least understand what shutter speed & aperture I need to use. Hopefully....

36. Splurge on another pair of Sperry...or two. :)

A Macy's gift card plus a summer sale meant a new pair for me. Unfortunately, they are already covered in crap, but shows are there home away from home, it's really where they work best. My "or two" pick would be these.

40. Sleep in a tent. Check. Isn't this a great sight to wake up to?

63. Put away 3 paychecks for emergency fund. Money in the bank. 

 79. Try 5 new recipes (Stuffed Mushroom, PW Broc & Cheese, Swiss & Ham Sliders, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Wild Rice Casserole, Pumpkin Cupcakes).

This is the cheesy chicken wild rice casserole I whipped up last week. It's delicious. You can find the recipe here.  Just a note though, it makes a lot. We were eating this for four days straight. And I went without the Trader Joe wild rice, but I think it might be worth the trip next time.

I will share the pumpkin cupcake recipe tomorrow. It's so simple it needs to be part of my H54F post.

Others in progress: 

17. Judge five shows. (2 out of 5) I judged the Regional Highland Show this past month. I hate to admit this, but I was so freaking nervous before the show. Why? 1. I hadn't judged a show in over a year. 2. I am not a highland expert. However, good cattle are good cattle and it went really well.

20. Make all the breeding decisions on my own heifer...and get a calf. (I better get a move on #12.) Scarface (my wedding present heifer) is bred to Brilliance and will calve on March 3rd. You better bet I will be blogging about that calf. :)



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Choice, Chance, Change

Every now and again I need a reminder like this. Change can be this simple.

We simply need to make the choice to take a chance or be willing to accept life as is.

And folks, I don't know how you look at it, but for me, as good as life may be, it can and should always be better.

Still needing a little more inspiration? This video of reporter Jennifer Livingston responding to the bullying email she received (this video went completely viral, so hopefully you already saw it) warmed my heart yesterday. In fact, I was nearly crying at my computer. Her message is one everyone should here.

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Blogs I Never Wrote

I am sure it would be 100% appropriate to start this post with an introduction.

It could go something like, "Hi. My name is Jamie and I used to blog."

Or "Hey, I am that person who writes that blog that you stop by to read just to continously be disappointed that there is nothing new."

Or better yet, "Hi. I'm Jamie. I want to blog. I think in blogs. My mind has lists of things to blog about. I take pictures of random things to post on my blog. And then I never blog."

Yep, any of them would work.

HOWEVER, I am not posting any of that. 

I am just here to say that I solemnly swear that I am really going to give this 110% this time. Please hold me accountable.

Because here is the thing, I really honestly want to blog.

I wasn't kidding, my mind actually functions in 400-word blog posts. I drive home (on my ridiculously long drive) and write a post in my head summarizing my day. I see something at the mall and I draft up a mini-post ranting about the ridiculousness. I photograph everything I experience because I know how a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

It's how I function. I don't know if it's my education, my profession or just a weird quirk. Regardless, the result is that I have a whole library of blogs in my head that I didn't get to writing this summer.

Prime example, how did I manage not to write about the MN State Fair? I purposely took pictures of all the different food that I ate so I could share it with you. Case in point, the best food on a stick you will ever eat is below. I don't even want to know how many calories is in it. This was probably one of eight or ten servings I bought at the Great MN Get Together. And I wondered where my money went....

deep fried mashed potatoes.

Or, I don't know, maybe I should posted about the time my husband and I got to pose with a really big check and purple banner that we just won? That was a fun day. MJP Purfeerst Lut 104 (our Angus bull we have been showing this summer) had another great day in Minnesota and won Supreme Champion Bull at the Minnesota State Fair. Plus, added bonus, next year when we walk into the MN State Fair Cattle Barn we will be hanging from a HUGE banner with the rest of the Supreme Champions. Pretty darn cool.

we even had to drive to Wisconsin (no beer off sale in MN on Sunday) to get some celebratory beer!

I definitely should have wrote about our trip to Milwaukee, our week at the lake, or the Twins game we unsuccessfully scalped tickets at. And I wanted to rant for two weeks straight about how much I hated inserting my butt into my car seat just to sit in traffic for an hour and a half each way. But let's be real, there are a lot of things I could rant about, however they are probably better left unposted.

random date night at Target Field. Note to self: Don't let Mark be in charge of tickets.

Oh and don't even get me started on the P. Farms Corn Reports I missed. In short: It rained A LOT, it didn't rain for almost too long, then we got blessed and it rained again finally, but unfortunately the rest of corn country wasn't so lucky, so prices shot through the roof. This resulted in me checking corn prices every two hours so I could call my husband and convince him to sell some corn. In fact, I almost had Mark convinced that I should quit my day job and become a grain marketer. Then we remembered I have no idea how to do that. He went to school for that, not me. Fast forward a month, and now I never see my husband because we are trying to get that crop out of the field. I am officially a harvest widow.

Say hello to my husbands new home.

Lucky for you, my life as a new farm wife is something I definitely still have time to blog about. In fact, it's penciled in for this week.

And potentially the most important blog I missed is the exciting news about the new camera in my life that should make this blog 7,000 times better.

Yes, I fell victim to the beautiful things at National Camera Exchange. I am not ashamed.
However, that post is for Thursday.

And that's where I sign off.  See you tomorrow, same place, same time, for some inspiration. Lately, I have been lacking it.

Glad to be friends again!