Newest Crop on the Farm

We change up our cropping rotation fairly often on the farm. But thanks to these helpful kiddos (see post Farm Help) we have added yet another; Indian corn.

By “added” I mean that the kids asked papa Paul if they could put in a few rows next to his garden this year. They want to sell it this fall for decoration. You may remember last year with their hand tied straw bales; this is the next endeavor they came up with.

So keep an eye out this fall for some Frketich kid corn. We are still trying to come up with a name so all suggestions are welcome! Our best yet was HAM Corn (Hoot, Auggie Millie).

More updates on this fun summer project to come!

Proactive Bills at the Legislature??

“My name is Brenda Frketich and I am a farmer from St. Paul, Oregon….” This is more or less how I always start off when giving legislative testimony. Sometimes I add in information about my husband, our kids, how long we’ve been on the land that we farm. But inevitably it starts something along the lines of my name and that I’m a farmer. About 90% of the time, I go on to say why I’m against a bill that is being brought before the legislature this session.  It will cost us more money, it will threaten our ability to farm or our way of life, there are no alternatives and on and on and on.

BUT this session, shockingly enough I have had the opportunity to have my voice heard on two bills (so far) that I support!  They were proactive bills, one to make some important changes to the estate tax law here in Oregon for farmers, and the other to help protect our right to fish and hunt.  You can read more about these bills here:
SB 498

But what I wanted to say here today isn’t about those in particular, more about how being on the offense, ahead of the game, felt really good.  A little background for this example; HJR 5 would move to have the voters of Oregon decide if hunting and fishing as a right should be in the Oregon constitution or not.

As I am watching the hearing a woman from the Humane Society of the United States gets on and she’s against (big surprise) HRJ 5. And then she says something very interesting, “First we must be clear; there is no actual threat to the right of Oregon to fish, hunt, or harvest wildlife.” So here I am, excited that we finally have a measure that looks ahead and the first thing this woman says, is that it’s invalid because they haven’t directly threatened it. Hey HSUS lady, as a farmer we fight bills all the time where there has been no harm, no foul, no proof, and still we have to fight it! Welcome to the club.

We have to make sure that our defense is strong but also look ahead to how we can be proactive and out in front of these threats that are coming down the line. I’m not complaining here, I truly do enjoy much of my time testifying and working through issues at the state level. It’s just another piece of the puzzle and another reason why I’m excited for the proactive bills that are coming out so far this legislative session and hopefully more in the future.

So while I know it’s easy to get discouraged when it comes to news we hear from Salem, hang in there, there are people working hard to look ahead and work towards some good bills; even for us farmers.

Grandma Arlene

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

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