Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summertime is Hay Time

Summertime  is hay time.
 
The old saying, "Make hay while the sun shines" is certainly true isn't it?
 
All else goes on the back burner when the hay is ready.
 
Our very first wedding anniversary supper was put on hold because there was hay down and it looked like rain.
 
Usually the first cutting is before school gets out.
 
The weather is watched morning, noon and night and when it looks like it's going to be dry the hay comes down.
 
There is almost no better smell than hay drying in the fields.
 
We don't see as many square bales as we used to.
 
It's hard to get the help.
Someone to drive the tractor, someone to stack and  someone to pick-up, ideally two to stack and at least a couple of others walking the field but when that can't be pulling the baler with a wagon behind and a man on the wagon will get the job done.
 
It's a big job to stack a load of hay. There is a right way to do it, a safe way to do it. A well stacked load of hay or straw is not only pretty but something to be proud of.
 
Then there is the trip to the barn. You sit up on top of that high stack and the breeze feels so good hitting you as the tractor speeds up a little.
 
The weather reports are saying to stay inside they are saying it's to hot to be out but the farmer doesn't listen.
 
He not only goes to the blazing hot hay filed but then he goes to the smothering hot hayloft.
How do they take it?  I don't know.
 
My dad says he remembers after he and his brothers left home his dad bought a hay elevator before but before that he and his brothers had to throw them from the wagon to the loft. When the wagon was full it wasn't to bad but as it emptied and got lower the job got harder. One of the few job that gets harder as it goes instead of easier.
 
Once the elevator is going and the hay is  placed on it the motion is started and everyone needs to keep the pace. A hay elevator is a wonderful thing. It makes an already difficult job a little easier.
 
Just as stacking the hay on the wagon is important so is stacking the hay in the barn. Neatness counts. 
 
The day ends and everyone passes around the thermos of ice water, turning it up and drinking after one another.
 
Clothes are dusting and covered with bits of hay or straw and soaking with sweat.
 
Caps are pulled off and forearms are rubbed across foreheads and hands through hair.
 
Some of the men stand others sort of  bend down without their knee touching the ground  like you've seen men do and they talk.
 
They talk about how the hay is, how much they got, how the neighbors hay looks, when they will cut again, how the machinery all worked, about the kind of machinery they would like to have and the kind they used to have.
 
The talking slows down and finally someone calls it a day.
 
Everyone heads to their trucks or to the house whichever the case might be and another  hay season is either underway or done until the next year.
 
I don't think there is any other job that follows seasons like farming does.
 
Well the job of motherhood does, we have seasons with our children as they grow.
 
Maybe that's why farming and families go so well together, they understand each other, they respect the seasons of life and of nature.
 
You can't hurry from one to the other, you have to wait for each season to complete it's cycle and you have to do what each cycle calls for when it calls for it.
 
It's the only way, it's just how things work.
 
Family's and farms, no wonder they go so well together.
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bible Nugget: Rahab a Picture of Salvation

This Bible Nugget is just a reminder of how God carries the theme of salvation through each part of his word.
It's like a thread that runs all the way through his word from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation.
Think about the story of Rahab in Joshua chapter two.
Think about how Rahab grew up in a place where the people were far from God.
A place where they loved everything God was against and hated what God was for.
Did you notice what she said to the spies?
She said, " I know" she said "We have heard"  what does that mean?
It means she heard about God and when she heard it she knew it to be true.
She believed on Him.
Romans ten verse seventeen says faith comes from hearing so we see that Rahab heard the word and she believed or had faith in the word.
Then what did she do?
She admitted she believed it. She confessed that she had heard and she had faith in what she heard and what did that faith prompt her to do?
She turned or you could say repented.
She looked around at her situation, she knew destruction was coming if she didn't act.
She knew there was not a thing in the world she could do to save herself  all she could do was act on the faith that she had.
She decided to throw in with God and his people.
She decides to turn away from her home and her people and her way of life.
She started over with God.
So in the story of Rahab we see a pattern of salvation a pattern we still follow today only in our time we would follow through with Christ's example of baptism.
She heard, she believed, she confessed her belief and she turn to God and trusted Him to save her.
This pattern is repeated over and over in the Word of God.
Sometimes we will just read about the faith part, sometimes the repentance part, sometimes the baptism part we shouldn't think that means one part matters and the other doesn't.
They are all important, they are over arching principals it's not for us to take any of them out or to add any more.
God is the architect of salvation, we're not, all we need do is follow his plan.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bible Nugget on Rahab

Bible Nugget:
We're going to be in the book of Joshua chapter two.
We're going to learn from Rahab.
Rahab was a women of as they used to say, "ill repute."
She was a prostitute.
She lived in Jericho.
The Amorites or as the Bible also refers to them the Canaanites'
of which she was one lived there.
The Amorites were against everything God was for and for everything he was against.
They were a wick...ed people.
This is the kind of place Rahab was raised.
She wasn't raised in a godly atmosphere.
But when the Holy Spirit came looking for her, even in this sin filled place called Jericho, she heard him.
More importantly she listened.
So we learn it doesn't matter where we come from it matters where we are going.
God is working in places we might least expect.
He is always drawing people to himself.
Most won't listen or respond but some will and Rahab did.
Look at what verse ten says, "We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea." The verse goes on but let's stop there and look at the word, "heard."
Why did Rahab turn to God and help his people, she had faith, where did that faith come from?
Romans 10:17 tells us faith comes from hearing.
Rahab had heard about God and she believed.
She believed and took action. Her faith moved her.
If you read chapter two you will see that others had heard what God had done as well.
They were scared to death of what was coming but they didn't turn to God.
They remained in their sin, in their stubbornness and the Bible tells us they were destroyed.
So in a nutshell or a nugget we learn from Rahab that God is full of mercy, he is no respecter of persons meaning he isn't impressed with our standing in society. He loves us all the same. God is always working even when we think he isn't and he is working in the places we would least expect.
One of the most humbling things we learn is while we read about Rahab being a prostitute and gasp or say it in a whisper if the truth were told and every sin we had ever committed was written down in black and white for others to see, and I mean every single sin, we would realize we're not a one of us better than Rahab and we would thank God for his grace and mercy.

 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

It's Time to Grow Up and Become Parents The Future of Our Children Depends On It

It's time to call it like it is and stop living in a dream world.

It's time to grow up and understand once we decide to have children or even if we didn't decide once we have them we are parents and that means we act like it.

Did you see the article in the Advantage this week?

It's entitled,  "Many babies are missing out on bonding, crucial to success."

It made me crazy when I read that.

Are we really so simple minded or is it we're so selfish that we have to have a study and then have it printed in the paper to tell us that?

Can we really believe we can take a six week old infant, wake them up at five o'clock in the morning, take them out of their home and leave them with people we may not have even known six weeks ago, not come back to get them until nine or twelve hours later then maybe leave them to go to the store or movies or friends night out and think that won't effect them?

Can we really believe that?

Or is it we just want to believe it?

Let's slow down and look at how many hours a day we spend with our children.

I think we would be surprised how few of them there are.

Don't leave them at the sitters or Grandma's so you can go to the store, families went on the Oregon Trail with little ones, and we say we can't take ours to the store.

Do you ever think about what it really sounds like when a grown man or woman says, "I can't take my child to the store or I can't do this or that with my child?

Maybe we can't because we never do.

Did you ever babysit?

If you did you no doubt, if you are honest, know how you sometimes felt like if you can just get through until the parents come back. 

That's what happens when we don't have our children very much.

We develop the babysitter mindset.

It becomes so easy to start thinking, I just have to get through and they will be going back to daycare.

Satan has so tricked us we fall into this and don't even realize it's happening.

He is stealing a whole generation of children out from under our noses and we're letting him.

The study I referred to above says, "The bonds that children develop with their parents early on can be fundamental to their success in life, but the latest research finds many babies and toddlers are missing out and that means problems."

They went on to say forty percent of our infants and toddlers fall into this category and it will effect the way they mature.  In a nutshell they will be troubled.

Do you see that number that is almost fifty percent of our future generation is in danger of being troubled due to our lack of parenting.

Parents are fundamental in the raising of children and it can't be delegated no matter how bad we want to think it can.

Motherhood and raising children used to be held in high regard it was honored because we knew in her loving , firm guiding arms and under her watchful eye the next generation was being formed.
We knew her job was needed to insure the future.

Mom and Dads your children need you, you had your time, it's not about you anymore.

We've never lived in a time when mom and dad had more me time and yet that's all we ever hear.

When someone starts telling you, you need me time you start becoming unhappy and thinking you need me time.

We need to be telling each other, you had some me time before you had kids, you will have me time again in a few years but for now its time for parenting, it's time to sacrifice your wants so your children can become all they can.

It's time to grow up and parent them when they are little so we don't have to keep parenting them in the same kind of way when they are adults.

It's the weekend and a great time to start.

Keep the kids close this weekend.

Work with them, play with them, train them to become men and women.

Take them with you so they can learn how to be a grown up.
You may have to work but plan to keep them with as much as you can all the other times.

You won't ever be sorry.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's Talk Stockyards

Let's talk stockyards.

 When Mark brought the mail in the other day I looked at the Advantage and noticed an article about the stockyards in a nearby county closing.


 They had closed once before but a group of farmers started it back up but now the number of cattle coming in to the yards has dropped again making it impossible to remain open.


 When I read this I thought of the Bourbon Stockyards, I recalled making trips there as a child with my father and grandfather.

 Do you remember all of those gates, all the noise and all those rats?


 I'm thinking back to when we saw so many pickup trucks with racks and not as many cattle trailers.

 It wasn't uncommon to see several pickups loaded with livestock heading to the stockyards at any given time.


 I also thought about what happened before you left for the stockyards.


 The sorting and loading.


 The cattle scared me and the hogs annoyed me

 If you and your husband have ever loaded hogs together and your marriage survived then you can make it though anything.


 The same is pretty much true for cattle.

 Not just for trips to the stockyards but to the locker plant as well.

 Once we had a steer to load for the locker plant and we had him in the back of the barn on grain. The day came to load him and Mark had the trailer backed up to the door and went back to let him out.

He looked at me and said, "Now don't let him through yet, he's been penned up and he is gonna want through but don't let him go."

 I always hate it when he says stuff like that.

 It's one of those no way to win things.

 If I hold my ground against the big oncoming steer and it runs over me he will say, "What's wrong with you, why didn't you get out of the way?"
 If I step aside to let it pass he will say, "What's wrong with you? Why didn't you stop it? It won't hurt you!"

 Finally after lots of stress the truck would be loaded and the trip to the stockyards or locker plant would begin would begin.

 I can still see my Grandpa Marshall, my dad and my uncles loading a big black angus bull. I was so afraid for them. They didn't seem scared at all but I was.
 I can remember how he tossed his head and looked through the racks at me.

 Mark's Grandpa, Herman raised boars and one of the last York boars he ever sent to Louisville weighed nine hundred and ninety-nine pounds.

 That was big but then back then we raised a different type of hog.

 Once there you looked at everyone else and what they brought. You notice how your animals look in comparison.

 You fill out the papers and sign your name and then we always left for home but first we stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hamburg.

 Then the waiting begins, you look for the check in the mail

 You talk about how you will be satisfied with whatever you get then the check comes and often you aren't satisfied but then again you may be very pleased.


It's really just another way farming has changed and we've had to change with it.

 Still though you have to admit it would be sort of nice to be crossing the Ohio River bridge look over and see an older man in his overalls, with his cap on, racks on the back of his pickup taking a load of good old fashioned fat hogs to the stockyards.

 I wonder if he would stop at the KFC on the way home?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Strawberry Season

It's strawberry time again.

While I love strawberries I admit I hate strawberry patches.

I don't like picking berries.

I don't like weeding berries.

I don't like strawing berries.

I don't like spraying berries after a frost.

I don't like stemming berries or slicing berries or putting them in bags.

I sort of like making jam but other than eating them or giving them away that's about all I like about berry season.

Mark has an obsession with strawberry patches.

He always wants them and he always wants them bigger than they currently are.

He always wants me to want them bigger than they currently are and he always wants me to help make them bigger.

He wants me to make shortcake by making crust, I want to make shortcake by baking a cake.

I think you are beginning to see the problem aren't you?

We're not compatible when it comes to Strawberries.

This is a point of  contention in our marriage every spring.

Thankfully it only lasts but a short time.

Soon the berries will be picked and in the freezer or jammed in jars.

The new plants will be set, the weeds will be gone and the berries and the contention will both sleep until next spring.

Who knows, by then maybe I will have decided to like weeding and picking and strawing and hosing frost off berries.

But then again, maybe not.

Maybe there are things you just have to accept about berry patches and marriage.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Making of a Farmhouse

Did you ever stop and wonder why a farmhouse is called a farmhouse?

It has to mean more than just a house on a farm, I think it means farm in a house.

If you currently farm or have farmed in the past I think you'll agree.

I mean what other kind of house save a farm house has had several baby calves come in to get warm by the wood stove a time or two.

Baby pigs in a box with a heat lamp, you know the ones that decide to be born on the coldest night of the year.

What about those new baby chicks you picked up at the post office if you went big time and ordered them from McMurry or even if you just picked a few up at the local Tractor Supply or hardware store.
Did you put them in  a washtub or large box with a heat lamp and sugar water right there in the kitchen or living room?
Did you listen to them peep all night and everyone gather around to look at them in the morning?

Are there various animal medicines in your refrigerator right now?

Do you have syringes and dispensers, razor blades and cat gut somewhere stored away?

How about this one, an incubator for starting eggs or heat pads and grow lights to start plants?

I've had both of those in my house.

In January we could never use our back door because it would have a table pushed up against it and be covered with heat pads and trays of tomato seeds while heat lamps descended from the ceiling held in place with bailer twine.

There's that trail of "stuff " you find on the kitchen floor because he didn't have time to take his boots off when he came back in to get that drill bit he left on the kitchen counter.

There's a farm calendar on the wall with important dates scribbled in along with planting signs.

Stray parts and tools, nuts, screws, washers, nails, gaskets, gloves, caps and workboots

Today farmhouses are a lot nicer than those of yesteryear and granted a lot less farming takes place inside the house than it use to but there is still that one thing that happens at the close of everyday.

The farmer still comes in for the night. 
He still has that place where he hangs his cap and takes off his boots.

He has his chair and the little table near by for his drink, his popcorn, remote control, farm magazines, and the paper.

There are the phone calls about crops and livestock, barns and bills.

The discussion of all he did today and what he wishes they had got done and the plans for the morrow.

It's when all of this is said and done that you know why a house on a farm in called a farm house.

It's more than a house on a farm, it's the farm and the farmer inside the house that makes


an ordinary house into a farmhouse..