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Goodbye Old Farm Dog

30 Apr

The life of a farm dog is an open prairie made for adventures, it’s chasing coyotes and nutria, it’s protecting your family and the farm. It rarely involves fences he can’t climb through or creeks he can’t swim across. It’s pick-up bed rides with the wind on his face. It’s about that look and excitement when your farmer throws down their tailgate and yells, “Load up Boy”. It’s about chasing field mice all harvest and laying in that hot summer sun. Being a farm dog is a no boundary, leash free kind of freedom that…unfortunately, just can’t last forever.

Because being a farm dog also means getting old in those same fields and across those same acres that you ran across all your life. It means waiting for help when that tailgate goes down, because your days of jumping have turned into getting lifted up to go for an occasional ride. It’s saying goodbye to the miles and hello to just a simple walk to the shop and back. And when even that got too tough, it’s trusting your farmer to know when it’s time to say goodbye.

I got Yukon when he was two years old, I was lucky to get to spend 12 of his 14 years as his farmer. For a long time he took care of me, for a long time I took care of him and for the whole time we were inseparable. A few days ago, he looked at me as he struggled to get up off his pillow. And this time, even for me, he just couldn’t do it. All those fields, all those runs, many days off on adventures I’d never even know about; and here he was, needing my mercy, needing me to let him go.

The loss of a dog is heartbreaking, they are a part of your family, of your hearts and home. And Yukon or Kon as he was often called, was no different. He spent many of his days letting the kids jump all over him and he in turn loved them and protected them. I like to think that he held on just long enough to meet Miss Millie, to pass on a little love to her as she completed our family.

Yukon, it will be some time before I round the kitchen corner and don’t expect to see your dopey face looking back at me laying in the laundry room on your bed. And in those moments is when all of the good memories will come on back like yesterday. I’ll probably get a little and sometimes a lot sad, but in the end, just like when you were sitting right there with your floppy ears and sweet big eyes, you’ll make me smile and probably laugh. Because really what is a farm dog’s legacy worth if you can’t sit and have a nice good laugh about the best dog this farmer ever had.

As Hoot said when we laid you to rest, “Well, now Yukon can go and run with Diesel, I bet he likes that.” Yeah, I bet he really does.

Thanks for growing old with us Yukon Jack. Rest In Peace old boy.

April 2004 – April 2018.

A few good memories:

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/12/23/the-goose-debacle/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/05/03/the-challenge/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/11/08/some-crazy-weather/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/07/25/1st-day-of-combining-grass-seed-2012/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/01/11/a-walk-with-the-dogs/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/04/21/the-hunt-is-on/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/03/10/wild-goose-chasingis-it-working/

Meet Miss Mildred Clara Frketich

4 Apr

We are pleased to introduce Mildred “Millie” Clara Frketich.

She is awesome, her brothers are absolutely in love and Matt and I are totally exhausted…oh yes, and also in love with this new addition to our crazy Frk house!  She got here on March 22, 2018.  Weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz and 19 inches long.

That says “Frketich GIRL” on her wristband….gosh I still can’t believe we had a girl!!!

Farming has been chugging along like crazy.  The weather cooperated and rained the whole time we were getting to know Millie those first few days in the hospital.  Then we headed home, the sun came out, and farming ramped right back up.

I’ve been home recovering from a C-section, while Matt (and many days Hoot) and the rest of our very dedicated workers started to work ground, plant, fertilize and spray all the crops.  It’s been a hectic start to Millie’s life but I “think” I wouldn’t have it any other way…or maybe I just don’t know any better! I’ve had a village of helpers here at the house.  Jobs as simple as picking up Auggie, who doesn’t quite understand why mama has such an “ouchie wah wah”, making us dinners, holding Millie so I can shower, and wrestling with the boys because Mom really has become totally boring since having a baby!  I’ll be back boys don’t you worry!!!

So all is well here on the farm, hectic, totally insane and some days really really freaking hard to have three kids under four.   The word “teamwork” comes up a lot and we are continually thankful for all the help!!

For those who wonder where we got the name, Mildred “Millie” is after my great Aunt Millie on my mom’s side of the family.  She was one feisty, loving, incredible lady.  She passed away before meeting Hoot our oldest son, but I was able to let her know that if we did have a girl during this whole adventure, she would have to be named Millie.  She was so excited and I just know she’s smiling down on us right now.  The middle name, Clara, is after my grandma on my dad’s side.  A dedicated farm wife, wonderful mom, and loving grandma to all us kids.  She died when I was fairly young, but left s all with a lifetime of memories that we talk about often.  So our little Mildred Clara has some big shoes to fill, but I have no doubt she will do just that in her own time.

So with that we would like to welcome little Miss Millie, seems as though the world has been waiting for you!

Life Beyond the Farm & Having it All

12 Dec

I have found it a very common theme that farmers or those involved in agriculture have a reach that goes much beyond their own acres of land.  Maybe it’s because we are traditionally from smaller communities that have been built with volunteers, or maybe it’s because we have needed help at some point too and have always had a network to reach out to just over the fence row.  Or maybe it’s because we are bored…oh wait…nope…scratch that…it’s definitely not the reason. I have yet to meet a bored farmer!

I don’t often talk about my life outside of farming and family on here.  And probably a lot of it has to do with the fact that I never think of it as interesting or worth blogging about, because it’s just what I have always done and what has always been the norm for my life.  I grew up in a family that volunteered and gave their time where it was needed, and it’s something that runs as deep in my blood as the soil that I farm.  I, like many other farmers, volunteer as a firefighter and EMT in our community.  I also sit on many boards, mostly agriculturally involved.  I give a lot of time to these efforts of making things better for my fellow farmers, making things safer for my neighbors and overall helping where needed in the community.

This is a photo from the Woodburn High School Fire back in 2012, when I was still “Kirsch”

So all that being said, as many of you know I am expecting our third little baby this coming spring.  I actually headed up to the fire department just last night to have department photos taken and looked like this in my uniform shirt.  Which was hilarious but also made me a little sad.

A few months back I had to make a number of phone calls that I truly didn’t want to make, conversations about me stepping down, stepping back, and in some cases leaving all together.  Off boards with friends who have become family, folks who I have sat next to over years, in some cases over 10 years, at the local fire station, farm bureau board room or even coffee shop.  These meetings were more than just meetings, it’s where I learned some of the most valuable lessons of not only about how to be a good fireman, EMT or farmer; but a friend, a good colleague, and a solid person.

At a Marion County Farm Bureau Meeting, showing that “I Farm I Vote”

So last night when I tried (and really I did try) to button up that uniform shirt for what might be the last time in a long time, it was very bittersweet.  It was a blatant sign that I had made a choice, it was a sign that having it all doesn’t always mean you have it “all” and that decisions no matter how tough, have to be made.  I know I have made the right choice in moving back from my involvement, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say “see you later” to the folks who have made life here in this small town, and within the farming industry, so amazing.  I have no doubt that I’ll be back, remember it’s in my blood…and for now farming and having three kids under 4 (which yes I realize is still a lot) will take my time and focus.

I often have people ask me how I do it “all” and I often don’t really know what to say.  But I think now I’ll say that having it “all” doesn’t mean that you get to have everything you want right now.  It means to me that I have to be realistic and make choices that make what I can handle in the “now” all the more worth it.  Moving forward with life is not a choice, time will keep passing, but it does mean we get to make choices in the direction we head.  So for now, I’m heading back to the boys who are calling “mommy” (all the time!) and back to the fields to look for slugs.  For now that’s where my “all” is, and for now that’s all I need.

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