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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:

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!

Thank You All Again!

21 Nov

Receiving to AgLink award Friday evening was truly incredible!  Thank you again for all those who supported me, and continue to cheer me on!  It’s appreciated more than you will ever know.

Here is the video that was presented along with the award on Friday night.  It turned out great thanks to some big efforts from a lot of folks!  Enjoy!

Also for those of you who could not attend, here is my thank you speech…I know that it goes without saying for many people, but it truly takes a village to accomplish what we have in our industry, and the work isn’t over yet!

I started my blog 5 years ago. It was never meant to go far, it was truly meant to share good farming stories that I told all my friends.  Mostly funny things like what I broke around the farm that day, or about how I regularly dunk my head in hydraulic oil, because if you don’t know me, I’m a huge klutz! 

But those stories have transformed into a glimpse into my life as a farmer, one story at a time, and that’s vitally important for our industry in an environment where people don’t understand what we do or why we do it.

My stories put a face on farming and provide an opportunity for consumers to feel like they know me and can ask the hard questions. The stories on my blog have evolved into conversations and moments of true honesty with urban neighbors about the very real demands of being a farmer and how we are at times unsuccessful. It presents an honest dialogue where people get to hear that sometimes we spray pesticides, and here’s why.

It’s transparency at a level that I believe in many ways is demanded by anyone who happens to have a computer, a laptop or smartphone because that transparency leads to trust. It is our responsibility to educate the consumer, because no one else will do it for us – no one else can tell our story but us. If we don’t tell our story, those who try to do it for us, they’ll get it wrong.

We are under a microscope in many ways and usually the burden of proof is on us. Not just to tell them why, but to beat them to the punch and get our voice out there. While we all sit here tonight supporting a cause such as adopt a farmer, I know I’m preaching to most of the choir here. But I also believe that our ability and willingness to engage is always changing.

They are hungry for our stories, and we as farmers, as only 2% of the population, should answer back. Which may mean something as small as sharing a blog post on Facebook, or something more challenging like having a real conversation at the grocery store about the safe food that we grow, or speaking up to your representative about policy issues that impact our way of life.  Join a commission, participate in your industry!

However you do it, have your voice heard.

Truly thank you to everyone in this room for your involvement in promoting our industry, including tonight’s other honoree Sharon Livingston. 

Thank you to my husband Matt, my parents, my whole family, my great friends, all who have supported me and will continue to work as a team with me to connect agriculture across the rural and urban divide, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for this recognition!

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