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Meeting Season

5 Dec

As farmers we work in seasons…and I don’t usually mean the traditional seasons that we all work around.  I mean, harvest season, fertilizer season, rainy season, the all too familiar “it’s way too hot/cold season”…and then there is “meeting season.”

I tell people often that as farmers we rarely slow down.  Yes while harvest might be over, and the 14 hr days seven days a week aren’t our hours for the whole year, our work never seems to end it just changes.  This week for me is no different, this week traditionally marks the start of my meeting season.  Which means that I go to meetings of all kinds…so here is just a taste of the week I have coming up, not much tractor time for me!

  • Yesterday I got to sit in front of a computer for an online meeting to satisfy my pesticide licensing requirements. image1
  • Today I am a speaker talking to those who aren’t in the farming business.  I’ll be speaking at the Oregon Leadership Summit about the future of farming.
  • Tonight is my EMT meeting for our volunteer fire department.
  • Tomorrow I get to learn at a leadership conference of how to be a better farmer and employer.  untitled
  • Wednesday and Thursday I get to participate in the House of Delegates to set policy for our state farm bureau.
  • Not to mention an evening meeting for the Clover Commission Wednesday evening.
  • Friday I get to do some of the fun stuff like be on TV to help people  ear about our great grass seed industry that we have here in Oregon.  Tune in to AM Northwest on Friday December 9th to see me and Jesse Rue!
  • Then next week comes Oregon Seed Growers League Monday and Tuesday….I’m not kidding here folks, it never ends!

So sometimes…I look like this as a farmer, and sometimes I look not too farmer-ish.

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I have to say though that these are great opportunities for us to all learn more about our industry.  Whether it be a presentation on the weather, new crop protection tools, or markets around the world, it all plays into what a farmer plans for and works towards in the year to come.  It’s also very fun to get to see those folks who you don’t run into very often out in a field.  In the end I’m just a farmer, but the hats I wear may vary greatly from season to season, but it’s all for our farm for our land and our legacy!

The St. Paul Rodeo

27 Jun

Well it’s that time of year again.  People from all over, put on their dusty (or brand new) boots and head out to St. Paul, Oregon for a show that they will never forget.  The St. Paul Rodeo is celebrating 81 strong years.  img_1486In a town of only 322 it’s incredible that we can find the room to welcome over 60,000 folks on this weekend every year.  But it’s a family tradition that lasts generations for many, it’s a way of life for others, but for many of us it’s a weekend of reuniting with old friends, cheering on those brave enough for an 8 second ride, and celebrating our freedom and all that comes with the good ‘ol 4th of July.

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It’s flags flying and the pride you feel as Mary Ann Zielinski belts out the National Anthem more beautifully than you have ever heard.

It’s cold beer on a warm night.  It’s dusty and dirty, with BBQ sauce and elephant ears.  It’s carnival rides and parish chicken dinners.  It’s freedom and fun, maybe in the end it’s just a small taste of all that I love about America.

It’s also a testament to the hard work that this community is no stranger to.  From the ticket takers and beer pourers, to the firemen and EMTs, it’s all one big volunteer effort to keep everyone well fed, well hydrated, safe and having a great time!100_27971

Happy 4th of July everyone! Come on our and see us June 30th-July 4th!  You won’t regret it!

How do you do it?

6 Apr

I hear myself ask the question of many women in agriculture, “How do you do it?”  We are all so busy, at times overwhelmed, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but meanwhile still getting things done and succeeding.  So how, truly how do you do it?

As a new mom, a farmer, and generally someone who always volunteers for everything, I am always a bit surprised when someone asks me this question.  Because inside most of the time I feel like I am constantly screwing up.  Let me set the scene,  it’s 6 am on Monday, the house is…well we are all tired.  It seems like the last 10 months of life have flown by in some respects and have crawled in others.  The nights are still quite restless with our little man.  I remember the night at four months old that he slept for 8 hours, my husband and I high fived, we thought we had won the battle.  Turns out it was just that, a battle and the war with sleeping through the night has continued.  Every night in a way feels like a failure, that might be too strong of word, but it doesn’t feel like success.

All of this meanwhile we are running a farm.  I’m the manager, making all decisions from day to day and year to year.  Where there are mistakes to be made every single day.  There are so many situations that you can’t control, the rain and wind to just name my usual arch enemies.  Continuing to blog three times a week (which doesn’t always happen), keep up with friends (who I miss and don’t call enough), hit a meeting or two each week, let’s just say that just writing this all down makes me feel very overwhelmed.

So here is what I have learned and here is what I feel when I get asked, “How do you do it?”  You just do, everyday you wake up and realize that today you don’t get a day off.  That no matter what you have to get things done, take lots of deep breaths, and then find joy in what you are up to that day.  I have found that just smiling at my son when I get home from a long day, makes a lot of things better.  I have also realized that if I just take 15 minutes to finish the dishes, it makes a world of difference in my life the next day.  Try as hard as I can to not feel guilty for making decisions to do something.  Because a decision to do something inevitably is a decision to not do something else, and that isn’t easy.  And at the end of the day, no matter how long or tiresome or successful you tell yourself that tomorrow is a new chance to work at it all again.

Living the life that farmers do, where our jobs are also our way of life, is a tough position.  So you prioritize, you again take a deep breath and you move forward.  My answer then, the short of the answer anyway, is just give yourself a break, work hard and remind yourself that you’re working hard for a good reason.  Life is meant to be enjoyed and if you can find that joy in the small everydays of life, you have it figured out.  Good luck out there, it isn’t easy, but once you resign to that, it becomes easier. (if that makes any sense at all!)  In the end everyone has their battles to be fought everyday, those who are successful though don’t give up, they learn from themselves and from others.  They just keep chugging along.

 

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