As a farm mom I’ve been taking my kids to work with me for a very long time, 9 years to be exact. We have a lot of childcare help but there is also a lot of time that they are with me. Moving to the actual home place this past year helped immensely, but it’s still a struggle sometimes to have kiddos in tow while you’re trying to work. Just the other day Millie got to come get fertilizer with me when school was unexpectedly cancelled.
But then a few days ago, I must have blinked or something because instead of wrangling three kids under four while trying to get something done; I walked into the house, asked the oldest to come help us move equipment, kissed the other two and headed out to get a job done.
It was a quick job, move stuff out of the field that got planted the day before, but having our son Hoot out there to give us a hand was super helpful and made for a much quicker turn around. It’s not the first time he’s helped and his brother Auggie is a close second to being on the very helpful end. Millie is….well I have no doubt that she will also sneak up into the the helpful category before I know it.
There is a part of me that I know will not avoid the “you’re gonna miss this” of those toddler raising days; but in this moment I was just really proud that we’ve gotten this far.
School is out for the summer, and while we have camps and a few fun outings planned, most of our summer is full of work on the farm.
This week was a juggle of childcare so I got to take the boys out for a few hours to work with me. We checked a few (very tall) tall fescue fields and headed out to a newly planted orchard to count trees. We planted a number of new baby hazelnut trees this past winter, and most are looking great, but there are a few dead ones that will need to be replanted.
So Hoot, Auggie and I headed out to do some tallying. A skill Auggie was very proud to have learned this year in kindergarten.
This spring and moving now into summer has been a struggle with the weather and rising costs. It’s a very uneasy time to be a farmer with all that has hit us this year that is out of our control. But it’s also just really amazing to get to be outside, teaching your kids all about what you love to do and seeing how much they love it also!
Someday these summer workers will be full time around here….probably (as I’m told often) before I know it!
Dear grandma, First off I miss you already. Feels like when we buried grandpa just a few months ago (3 months in fact) and in my head I had dreams of years still with you; but that wasn’t to be.
My grandma Arlene was one amazing woman. She was a farmer’s wife and one could easily argue a farmer herself. She was a hard worker, a traveler, loved her family, and selfless in all that she did. Her life was about helping others and loving everyone along the way. She had the best laugh and would always clap when she got excited; I loved that about her. She gave me some of the best life advice I’ve ever gotten. I actually got to interview her to prepare for my cousin’s wedding that I was officiating. She told me that marriage is 50/50, but sometimes it gets all 60/40 on you, be patient, work hard, love hard, it will right itself.
On a chilly Tuesday morning we laid her to rest next to the love of her life of 77 years, my grandpa Marlin. She went home on February 12th to her love just before Valentine’s Day and his birthday. I said I was a little jealous of the party when my grandpa passed away and made it to heaven, you have no idea how jealous I am to miss this time around. My heart is happy to know that they are home again with one another.
At 97 years my grandma had a great life. She would be the first to tell you that too. Never a complainer she took life in a stride that made things look easy from the outside looking in. She was a poet and writer. I’ve always felt a kindred spirit in her as I (you’re probably not shocked to know) love to write as well. One of my favorite poems that she wrote and I think of often is entitled, “Again?” It’s about all the meals she has cooked in her lifetime, let’s just say it feels very relatable.
When my grandpa Marlin was really sick a few years ago I remember my grandma was holding my hand while I cried thinking of losing grandpa. Grandma Arlene told me, “Brenda it’s ok to be sad. But you have to remember, all you see when you think of us dying is all that we will miss; but all we see is all that we got to stay here and be a part of; and how lucky we are!” And she was right, she had the 60 more years of life experience to back all that up; so I’ll give credit where credit is due. If we could all be so lucky to live a life as full and as fulfilling as my Grandma Arlene.
She was ready, that is one thing that is for sure and I love the grace that dying in that way provided for her and our family. But it’s still hard and I think I’m still going to be sad (because she did say I could be) for a while. Her love still hasn’t gone anywhere and I know it never will, in my measly 38 years I am positive of that.
We had a book put together of all her writings over the years. The ending of the book was read at her burial and I’d like to share it here as well….
A Closing Message from Arlene
Written in 2014 to her children, grandchildren, greats and so on…
This I memorized in high school and has always been a favorite: “So live, so that when my summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night, scourged by his dungeon ; but sustain’d and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like the one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
-William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis; To a Waterfowl; A Midsummer Sonnet – Pamphlet
At my age I realize I’ve already said everything I ever wanted to say so from now I’ll just be repeating myself.
This wrinkled face comes from a lifelong love affair with God’s beautiful outdoors, more than my share of laughs along the way and a healthy concern for those I love – not from simply rotting away. The secret to enjoying life on earth is understanding that it ends. Take this knowledge my dears and live simply, love often and love deeply. Enjoy the journey. Some days we feel like our 90 year warranty expired before we did!!!
I love you and miss you Grandma. Until we meet again… Love, Brenny