Thursday, May 30, 2013


I am a socially awkward dater.

I don’t go on many first dates because when I do I wind up talking about things like animal spines and deer skulls. I don’t know why. First dates turn me into some sort of sociopath. I panic when faced with a new person that I don’t know, and resort to discussing things I do know, like random dead things in the yard and dehydrated opossum carcasses in the barn. Sexy right? God. No wonder I can’t beat them off with a stick. <-sarcasm

I have found that in addition to the regular things that most girls look for in a guy I also have a weird ranking system that most other women do not have.

Normal                                                   Me
Buys flowers                                         Has hand raised baby (raccoon/opossum/cow/deer/etc.)
Respectful                                             Can fix farm equipment (bonus points if with bare hands)
Romantic                                               Finds hay stacking/cow checking/fourwheeling romantic
Good conversationalist                     Can use chainsaw and gun, preferably not at the same time
In good shape                                       How high can he throw hay
Cares about appearance                    Smells like: coal smoke, diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid
Takes me to nice/cool places            Has sexy farm animals/tractors
Etc.                                                          Etc.
Needless to say I was devastated when Boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago. I felt a crushing sense of depression. I have so many weird little ticks and idiosyncrasies that I really felt like I would be doomed to be alone forever. The echoing moos across the hills would be my only music. Horse hugs would be the extent of my comfort. In short, since I was so dedicated to my farm lifestyle it was a choice between being alone and doing what I love, or being in love and doing what made me miserable. I chose to stick to my guns with my lifestyle choice, and lead the life of a hermit if need be. I pictured the ends of my days driving a tractor across a barren landscape hopping off to cut bale strings to the agitated bawling of newborn calves, and I was strangely okay with it. After all, I’m tweaked a little differently. I don’t particularly want a life of leisure, and if a guy can’t appreciate my work ethic and lifestyle choices I would probably make him miserable in the long run. I wouldn’t want to do that to someone I cared for.

So what is a girl with horrible dating skills to do? Use redneck pick up lines?

“You can come drive your t-posts at my place anytime.” Suggestive wink…
“You’re right. I don’t need vinyl fence boards. I need wood. Badly.” Come hither look…
“Would you like to follow me home and plow my field?” Hint of a suggestive chin tilt…

Somehow I really don’t see those working out for me. I mean. They’d work on me, but it would take a special someone for me to use them on. But then again, maybe when I find a guy that I can share a glass of wine and swap “things the dogs drug into the yard” stories with maybe he will appreciate those too.

Because I giggle like a moron every time I read them.

Maybe I should just become a nun…

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why May is awesome.

This pretty much sums it up. Have you ever had a homegrown strawberry? Get to a farmer's market and try one out! There is no comparison!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Batwings and Lake Monsters, oh my!

What a weekend! We were surprise attacked with a load of hay Friday night, which is why it was a really good thing that I had decided to have a stall cleaning party while the horses ate.

Ice down the water trough. It's a barn party!

I don't know why none of my Facebook friends took me up on the invite. Seriously. What else could they be doing at nine pm on a Friday? Sheesh. I know where the party is at. We could have thrown down... some hay. Because it was stacked so high on the trailer that the guys bringing it by took out one of the overhead lights. Can't wait to fix that one. Or watch dad fix that one. Tell you what, I either need to get a lot handier, win the lottery and buy a farm hand's service, or get on the whole boyfriend thing. My poor dad has way too much to do.

Which is how he talked me into facing one of my biggest challenges. Spatial reasoning. I royally suck at anything having to do with trailers, spreaders, mowers, you name it. If I can jackknife it, I will. Can I misjudge the width and wipe out fences? Yup. I am all over that. I give a new meaning to the phrase, "Cleaning the fence row."

Duh,duh,duh, na, na batwing!

Despite my poor driving skills and complete lack of spatial reasoning. I successfully learned how to use the batwing mower, and I only hit a gate a little bit! Given the fact that I single handedly ripped all the downspouts off the barn with a manure spreader I am going to count it as a win! I didn't even jack knife it and bust the turney shaft thing (PTO). I am such a good farmer's daughter that I scare myself sometimes. And probably the neighbors too because I wear a bikini to brush hog. Hey, a girl has to get her tan on some how. Don't judge.

It isn't as if I can lay out all day on the lake. Well, I could, but we seem to have a lake monster.

I was innocently taking photos of the horses to show Captain America when I noticed it in the background.

Duh na. Duh na. It looks like we have our own Nessie. Can you hear the jaws music?

Duh na. Duh na. Duh na. Duhna. Duhna. Duhna!

Seriously, who knew cows could swim that fast?

Friday, May 24, 2013

You probably don't want to let your hair down...

Cold wind battered the window frame. It sought out the smallest crack trying to enter the warm room beyond. There, curled beneath quilt and comforter slept a girl of perhaps sixteen. Her long brown hair splayed across the pillow. The icy wind found crack after crack in the old farmhouse’s side and permeated the room, driving the girl to snuggle deeper into the blankets to ward off the chill.

But the girl was not the only one chilled by the sudden wintery weather. Another small body wormed through cracks in the structure seeking warmth. Gently and quietly it wandered until it found the soft pool of brown that was the girl’s hair. Here! A haven! Its little heart soared. The small furred creature curled into the warm nest and snuggled up against the young woman’s head.

Something in that action stirred the sleep of the girl. One arm fought free of the blankets to itch at the disturbance haphazardly. Seeking fingers found a warm furred ball. Two sets of brown eyes flew open in alarm. The girl scratched frantically at her hair as the small furred creature leapt free of its warm nest and ran for its life.

“A chipmunk. I had a chipmunk in my hair. That’s the last time I am ever sleeping with my hair down.” And so it was.

Because once you wake up with a chipmunk tangled in your locks scrambling for freedom against your scalp you never get over it. Never.

I am honestly not sure which one of us was more traumatized.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pool time, cow style

Partying until the cows come home?

The record heat in southern Illinois over the past couple of days has lead to a strange occurance for May. My cows are being beach bums. Normally they at least wait until Memorial day like everyone else!

I guess it is time to add opening the pool to the to-do list, and start praying no one gets stuck in the lake again!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Death to Buttercups!

I have been away for awhile dealing a family emergency. I am really not good at being creative when I am stressed. Actually, I am not good for much except laying around in various positions of pathetic on the couch when I am depressed stressed; which is what I have been.

That is one reason I love being on a farm so much. It gives me a reason to get up. I can’t wallow all day in my pajamas. Well, okay I can, but pajama pants and hay don’t merge well together; and it is really hard to wallow when the calves are bouncing and the joy of the world in spring is beating your senses down. Stupid beautiful spring days mocking me with their serenity and joy when all I want to do is wallow. Ah well, inevitably the pretty days and responsibility win out and I am back to being normal. Albeit somewhat resentfully so when I came up from the depths again just as we had hay down! I kinda wish I would have wallowed just one more day!

Things in the garden are growing well. Sorta. We had both a record low (frost, YAY!) and a record high (why is it 93 in May? WHY?!?) Lettuce is up and ready to be thinned and the radishes are almost ready to be eaten! I actually snuck three last night and they were GREAT! Strawberries are starting to ripen, and blueberries are formed and ready to go. The winter garlic and shallots are almost ready to dig, and my potatoes are huge already. The corn is not coming up like I would like, and neither are the beans, but I am thinking of heading out to buy a packet of seeds or two and start again with them. The weird weather in southern IL might be the cause. Or birds. Or rabbits. Who knows! But I am blaming the super cold ground temperature for killing my precious babies. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Good thing I can still go to the grocery store if I need to!

In other news I started a low carbohydrate lifestyle change last Monday, and so far so great! I have had a few strawberry and apple cravings, but I have not missed bread at all. I think it is going to dove tail well with my desire to eat more in season fruits and vegetables out of my garden and from the farmer’s market. I didn’t realize it before but all of the lettuce, radishes, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, asparagus, peppers, and pumpkins are acceptable for a low carb menu. That works great for me, because I prefer cheesey baked summer squash to Kraft blue box any day of the week. I got both of my parents involved too, so I get the social aspect of eating with them without the Chinese take-out calories. Win win!

In other news, we spent all weekend updating the garden, trying to see what was going to pull through, and what was a goner. It was unseasonably warm, and I was a little too dramatic about being hot. Dad borrowed my grandpa’s tractor and used the manure spreader all day to remove Mt. Horseapple and the Cowpoopia Mounds from our landscape. Finally. Unfortunately, dad left the gate open when he got done. That inevitably led to the cows getting loose. Reports say that dad rushed inside because he needed back up and long story short mom had to herd cows in a bath towel. I am glad her super powers are still working (and that I was in a theater with my phone off, darn!).

We also identified the yellow flower of doom (IE Creeping Buttercup) which has taken over our pastures. It looks as if my Memorial weekend is going to be full of plant killer. That stuff is highly invasive, toxic to animals, kills grass, and it is very caustic when mown. It has to go. Good thing it should only take SEVEN years of spraying for us to eradicate it. Ugh. There goes the fence fixing or barn cleaning that I had planned!
Death to Buttercups!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reduce, reuse, and recy - play yard pong!

A few months ago a friend and I decided that we wanted to have a Cinco de May-O (spelled that way because we were going for a redneck theme) party. Because who doesn't want to celebrate a Mexican holiday with beer in a water trough? That party was on last Saturday, and I am pleased to say that it went very well.

One good and bad thing about hosting a get together is that it motivates you to get all of your little projects done. Like installing new laminate flooring and learning how to miter quarter round so that you can put a bed in your newly remodeled back bedroom two days before you are going to have guests staying in it and you also have to get all of the herbs planted that you bought at the botanical garden and mulch them in so that your yard doesn’t look like you held up a garden supply center at gun point.

Which is kind of what mine looked like at the start of last week. I hadn’t mown, there was a large pile of brush that I had earmarked for a bonfire along with a bunch of extra newspaper and empty cereal/cat litter boxes that I had saved for fire starters, I had probably close to thirty or forty plants laying around, ten bags of mulch in my back seat (Mercury Milans are surprisingly spacious. I can fit about four straw bales in there at once too.) and I had laminate scraps and the carpet I had ripped out laying around the yard. Actually, given the theme of the party I probably should have left it. Though redneck and white trash aren’t exactly identical…

Long story short, I was a little stressed but it all came together with the help of my friends from out of town. They took to helping me set up, cut trees, and cook with the kind of enthusiasm that makes me want to cry tears of joy. They even helped me put a stallion out on pasture the morning of the party. I have the **BEST** friends.

Having a party like that means that I have been slacking on the blogging front, and I am sorry. But it was a great time, and a fantastic way to develop new games. Like Yard Pong. Which combines the classic drinking game beer pong, with finally finding a use for all of the empty mineral tubs we have laying around. Sustainability and alcohol. It was a great combination.

Yard Pong
2 beach balls
12 empty mineral tubs
Drinks of your choice
Four players

Set the tubs up in a triangle (one, two, three tubs per row) with the tops of the triangle about 10-20 feet apart depending on your athletic ability. Take turns trying to hit the beach balls into the tubs. Use one ball per person on two, two person teams. The scoring is as follows.

If you hit the ball into the tub the opposing team drinks one drink for whichever score it is, first tub = one drink & sixth tub = six drinks.
If you don’t hit any tubs you take one drink.
If you bounce the ball off of a tub the opposing team drinks once for every time the tub is hit, beach balls ricochet well.
Two re-racks are allowed.

Needless to say we had a ball, and I am going to start selling used mineral tubs to college students. That’s one way to recycle and recoup the costs, right? Maybe? There is a whole market here just waiting to be tapped!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ticks and DIY repellent that will knock your socks off!

I think I have a tick borne illness.

One downside to mushroom hunting and gardening, or just living on a farm in general is all of the ticks. I think I had about ten of them on me after last weekend. Normally they don’t bother me too much, but judging by how much my joints hurt and the slight fever I have been running one of the little suckers must have had something. I need 100mg of doxycycline 2x a day, and I need it stat!

I have had this before on a much worse scale, and the doctor refused to give me anything until after my blood tests were back. By then I was asymptomatic, so I didn’t get any antibiotics anyway.

So… what does this mean to you? A blog post dedicated to tick deterrents and bug bite solutions! Be excited!

Vinegar based repellent – the smell goes away. I promise! You won’t smell like vinegar all day. (I wish I had tried it BEFORE the bites, but so far I haven’t had any more.) This is based off an old recipe thought to have been used during the Plague.

32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
2TBSP Each Dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Mint (any varietal works but I prefer Peppermint or Spearmint because they have a stronger scent)
Quart Jar with Glass Lid

Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.
Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake the heck out of it each day for 2-3 weeks.
After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles.
Whenever you need it dilute it by half with water and spray freely knowing that nothing in the bottle is toxic! This is so easy!

Soothe those itchy bites

Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Witch Hazel, or Emu Oil

Dab a few drops on the bite for immediate relief!

Do you have any tried and true suggestions! Please share!