Winter Scenes in the Country

To celebrate the upcoming (hopefully) week of nicer weather, I decided to share some snow pictures I took one day a couple months ago. These are the things I see when out and about our farm.

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Heifers… and pines. Glorious pines.

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Snow-covered rocks in water like glass.

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Filthy trucks caked in red dirt insulated by a layer of snow accented with a few icicles here and there.

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White horses. There are few things more beautiful than a white horse in snow.

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Black horses. I couldn’t leave her out.

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Red horses. (More just kept appearing!)

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Men carrying axes. (????)

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Men breaking ponds. (Phew! I was concerned.)

Have a lovely week and a happy Valentine’s day!

Breauna

Our Fall Family Photos

A while back, I told you about some family photos we had done. I wanted them taken at the dairy because, as far as scenery and photo ops go, you really can’t get much better than this. The next step was to find a photographer. It just so happens that I have a photographer cousin in Kansas City. (Icon Imagery, if you’re in the KC area.) I really wanted her to take them because 1) she’s awesome 2) she knows our personalities and 3) I enjoy her company immensely. She brought her little family down, we took pictures, I cooked, we ate, we stood around a backyard bonfire, and a good time was had by all. She even trekked down to the dairy barn to help the farmer the next morning!! (Her name’s Kim, by the way.)

Kim

Isn’t she gorgeous?

And here are some of my favorites that she took of us… Barrage of pictures comin’ at ya.

Tae and I

I’ve decided that I must have one like this every year.

Piggyback

This is our rendition of a picture the farmer saw on the internet. He told me he wanted it for his birthday. 🙂 We couldn’t have staged it better for him. An old red barn, a few hay bales, and his girls.

Angel

Angel.

Taeter 1

Peanut did an awesome job for Kim.

Taeter 2

I love her face here. It looks like she’s happily wistful.

Taeter 3

And this one’s just so candid.

the farmer and I

I can’t think of a picture of us that I’ve ever liked so much. I ordered a big 16×20 canvas of it for our bedroom.

the shoes say it all

Haha! And although this picture is on the suggestive side, it’s so totally us. If I were to title this one, it would be “The Shoes Say it All.”

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Yeah, she took my banner photo, too. 🙂 Just a random one she snapped as we were walking away that turned out so cute!

Taeter and I 2

I can’t figure out if I like the cleaner one or…

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the hazy one better. What do you think?

My family 2

My mom said this is the kind of picture you frame and put behind your couch. I agree.

My family

I love this one because we’re all smiling.

Special Request

I love this one because of Peanut’s sweet, spunky face. And I think it’s kind of great how we’re all touching. I don’t remember Kim telling Peanut to put her hand there.

Silly Tae Tae

Her face…

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The sun in this one’s pretty cool.

Tae's Leaf

This was one of Kim’s ideas that turned out so cute!

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And then Peanut did some posing of her own.

My Ornery Daughter

Peanut looks all disheveled here because the farmer was flying her around like an airplane. However, the haphazard hair and the little mischievous grin to go with it is why I absolutely love this picture. It visually captures…her. This is Peanut. This is what she looks like every other day of the week.

And finally, there’s this one.

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This picture is symbolic to me, in a way. Symbolic of the journey. On one hand, we’ve come this far. On the other, we still have a lot more to go. But, we’re here on this dairy and as long as we’re all together, I can only feel hopeful.

Thanks for letting me share with you!

Happy Hump Day,

Breauna

A Few Family Pictures

Over the last several months, my husband, my daughter,my sister-in-laws and their children have willingly endured some picture-taking practice. I enjoy taking pictures and have alot of fun with it, however, I am by no means a professional. I’ve only learned the things I’ve learned through trial and error and a moderate amount of reading.

And some helpful tidbits that masters have thrown to this young grasshopper.

However, today, I’m going to show you a few pictures I’ve taken that conjure a special feeling for me. They may be imperfect technically, but they perfectly demonstrate a perfect moment, a perfect look, or a perfect emotion.

And then next time, I’ll share the family pictures the farmer and I recently had done. Photographs that I can only aspire to take someday.

Ok, are you ready? Here goes.

I have no idea how I took this picture and would never be able to do it again. Inconsistency is my middle name when it comes to photos, but this is my absolute favorite picture of my husband. It’s just so him.

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That look… I fell in love with that look and it still retains it’s effectiveness today. I now refer to it as “The Smolder.” And I thank Flynn Rider for the descriptive term.

This one comes in at a close second because 1) it’s a little bit closer and 2) this look is also one I receive all the time.

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I live for this look. This is his, “You.Are.Weird” look. Or his “Seriously…?” Or his “I find what you just said somewhat humerous, but I’m never going to let you know it” look. I strive for this look on a daily basis. I say ridiculous things just to get it. I mime song lyrics. I shadowbox. I make random, weird faces. Because I’m really mature like that. And that look says to me “mission accomplished.” Don’t let his seriousness in these pictures fool you, though. This is the man that is desperate for a laugh from his daughter. This is the man that will run down our hallway, fake trip, and dramatically tumble to the ground. Works every time. And then I’m the one with the above look on my face. To each his own, right?

In summary, there’s no telling what Peanut’s going to turn out like. But, I’d say a good sense of humor and a double dose of goofiness is definitely in her cards.

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This one speaks to me. I like the color of it, for one. And then, I dunno… It may just be because I know him, but there’s something about his face and his eyes that speak of a quiet strength. It’s a face of focus and determination. A kind warrior. And he is every bit of that.

Moving on to Peanut.

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She absolutely loves to swing and this is a moment of unbridled glee. This picture makes me grin.

And this one makes me melt.

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This one also reminds me of her one condition for me to be allowed to take pictures of her. Our conversation went like this:

Me: “Can Mommy take some pretty pictures of you?”

Peanut, after tilting her head, and pondering what this meant for a few seconds: “Can I wear lipgloss?”

Hence, the pink sheen to my 3-year-old’s lips. Heaven help us.

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This one makes me smile because it’s so her. A happy little kid.

Then, there’s Kalyssa, my neice.

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This one might possibly be the best picture I’ve ever taken. And those big, beautiful brown eyes… This little girl is so full of love and this picture perfectly expresses that.

Here she is with her dad.

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Such a sweet picture! You can tell they adore each other.

And here she is with her mom. I love mother-daughter pictures.

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That’s my sister-in-law, Tanna. She’s the one that milks for the farmer when we’re away for a weekend. We don’t know what we’d do without her. Well…we’d never get to leave, that’s what we’d do.

Here’s her big brother, Foster.

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I like this picture because it captures what a little boy is. (I’m chuckling because he would NOT appreciate me calling him a little boy). It’s a sweet face riddled with orneriness. It’s Foster.

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This is one of my absolute favorites because it’s such a cute keepsake. If these were my kids, I’d have this on a gallery-wrapped canvas and stick it in their playroom.

Moving along…

This little guy is the newest of Peanut’s cousins.

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This is Drayson.

Newborns are so precious. However, taking these pictures had to be the hardest I’ve ever done. Taking a decent picture is HARD when I’m not outside. I do not relish taking indoor pictures. I need lots of pointers when it comes to this. I’ve heard one of those attachable flash thingies is very helpful, but I have no idea what’s right for me or what a good one is. Do they really improve an indoor picture’s quality that much? Anyway, I love this photo because his little face is just so sweet and pleasant.

I was more in my element when we took him outside.

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Love it!

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EEEEEEE!! He’s just so darn cute!

I love this one because I know what was going on when I took it.

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Drayson was getting really tired of the pumpkin and Staci –she’s the farmer’s youngest sister– was doing everything she could to keep him happy while laughing at the circumstances herself. There’s laughter in her eyes. And that’s why it’s one of my favorites.

This one speaks to me as a mother.

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First of all, Drayson is actually looking up towards the camera, which lends it’s own level of cuteness. And then, I just love the look on Staci’s face. She’s serenely smiling down at him with a look of pride, awe, and absolute love. It’s clear she adores him and it’s touching.

I’m so glad my family allows themselves to be my guinea pigs. And Drayson may never fit in a pumpkin again, so that moment will be frozen in time, which makes me happy I was there. Each and every one of these is special because it’s a day I can’t ever physically go back to. But, these pictures take me back so vividly in my mind.

And that’s what they do for the people in them, as well. Hence, the reason I love it so much.

Saturday at the St. Louis Zoo

Last weekend was a fun one. Several of my family members got together and spent the night in St. Louis Friday so we could all go to the zoo Saturday. All us girls rode together and my aunt was driving, so I’m sure we made it there faster than anyone has ever made it to St. Louis without flying.

We got there late afternoon, did a little shopping, did a little carb loading at an awesome Italian restaurant called Cafe Napoli. I had bowtie pasta and chicken drenched in a basil pesto cream sauce. It was to die for. I ate it all. And then I was miserable. Because that’s what happens when you’re a glutton.

It was great to be in a big city surrounded by huge buildings and glass.

I felt exhilerated and revitalized. What the country does for my husband, the city does for me.

The next day, I was so excited because I had been to the St. Louis Zoo before and kind of knew what to expect. I knew Peanut would have a blast. And then there’s the kid in me that would also have a blast.

Here’s part of the crew. My aunt is behind the camera and a couple other cousins hadn’t shown up yet. I told everyone to make their “excited face” and I guess these people just don’t get super excited. Just me and Jordon.

From top left to right: my lil brother, my dad, my husband, me, Craig, Chelsey, Jordon, Peanut, and the top of Landrie's head

From top left to right: my lil brother, my dad, my husband, me, Craig, Chelsey, Jordon, Peanut, and the top of Landrie’s head

Look at Peanut. (That’s the face that pretty much forecasted her day.)

After then we were off to see what we could see. The first thing I saw was a food stand with Dippin’ Dots, at which point I got REALLY excited. It’s the little things for this girl.

The rhino was the first exhibit we came to. (Or as Peanut says, the “rhinotheruth.”)

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Isn’t he the cutest thing?? I wanted to take him home with me…

Then we came across this part where they let you hold sleepy babies.

Mommy and TaeterLeslee and Taeter

So, of course, we did that. They actually let me take that one home!!

Then, it was on to see the hippos.

We actually didn’t really get to see the hippos because you always have those discourteous people who will never move, so I stood on the rocks at eye level with one who just popped out of the water.

Hippo

It turned out pretty cool.

The elephants were next.

Elephant

The farmer wanted to take her home with us when he saw her crush a branch and eat it with absolutely no effort. We have a lot of cleaning to do around our place and could really use the help.

Afterwards, we met up with my other cousins. This is Grayson.

Grayson

Hee hee! He wore his hat and his sunglasses the whole time! I was impressed.

My 2nd favorite part of any zoo is bears.

Sun Bear

This is a Sun Bear.

Grizzly.

Grizzly

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I’m just in awe of these behemoths.

I can’t remember what type this one was, but he looks very comfortable.

Bear

Then, we came upon the gorillas.

Gorilla

And the sea lions. They were fun! This guy’s waiting for a fish to fall into his mouth.

Sea Lion

And then there was my absolute favorite part of any zoo. Well…. other than Dippin’ Dots.

BIG CATS!!

Grumpy Panther

Grumpy Panther

Isn’t he beautiful?? I wanted to take him home with me… I wanted to pet him and hold him and love him.

And, of course, the tiger.

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I could have stood there and watched him all day. I think tigers are amazing and gorgeous.

Even though I was able to see some other cats, I had an obstructed view so I wasn’t able to get a good picture.

The group had to drag me away from that exhibit.

Zebras are always fun.

Momm and Baby Zebra

Momma and baby.

And one of the last things to see: Giraffes.

Giraffe

This was the one thing Peanut really wanted to see and the poor little thing all but fell into a coma before we got there. I tried to wake her up but it wasn’t happening. She’d had a big day and was just plum worn out.

So, that was our fun day at the zoo.

And the cherry on top was that I ate Dippin’ Dots.

Copyright. © 2013 by Breauna Krider

One Year Removed From the City – Reflections

It’s been a little over a year now since I planted both feet here on the dairy farm. It’s at this point, 27 years old, that I have realized that plans mean nothing. I lived in the future every day. I now live in the present. There’s no telling where my journey will take me. Because never in my life would I have dreamed it would lead me to a dairy farm. Out in the middle of nowhere. An hour and a half from my family, my friends, and my beloved Panera. An hour and a half from all my plans and the world I thought I was going to conquer. I’ve grown up a lot since then. Priorities in the right place now and all that jazz. I have learned to grocery shop once a week (kind of). I have become accustomed to cooking rather than running to the closest Chinese place. My domesticity has increased ten-fold. I now have culinary skills and consider myself a good cook, where all I used to possess was quick-wit and a goofy personality. This is how I won the farmer, because goodness knows I didn’t possess any traditional wifely skills.  I still can’t sew. I’m not a fan of baking pies and other delectable treats.

(Less baking = slimmer waistlines, right? Can I argue that I don’t bake because it’s good for my family? Reaching? No? I agree.)

And this will be the first year I’ve ever tried my hand at a vegetable garden. But, I can clean my house to an absolute sparkle and I. Can. Cook. Never, EVER, thought I’d be able to say that. Another unexpected twist in my journey.

I digress. Moving on. I have encountered snakes…in my yard. In our buildings. And in my dreams. If I run screaming out of anywhere, the farmer doesn’t even ask. He just comes, shaking his head and chuckling. But, you know what, unlike last year, I don’t wish death upon them anymore. It’s only ever been black snakes that I’ve seen…so far. And my hatred of mice has made snakes my new, albeit revolting, bedfellows. And you know, it’s not that I’m afraid of mice. Not at all. They startle me more than anything with their scurrying everywhere and random “eee-eee-eee’s” while I’m trying to go through boxes in storage. Yeah, they need to die, too. You would think with two barn cats that the mouse population would be hurtin’ around here. ‘Fraid not. Just another aspect of a dairy farm that I have adjusted to. With a plethora of seed, feed, grain, and corn comes an infinite population of mice. They smell awful and they are just gross.

I have dealt with more bugs than I have probably dealt with in the 25 years before I lived here. And I hunt flies with a ferocity of which I am only just learning I possessed. They, also, must die. If I could kill one slowly and make an example of it to all of its fly friends, I would. And I would revel in it.

Rewind to my fear of snakes up there. I also have an unmanageable fear of wasps, dirt dobbers, hornets, etc. Basically anything that looks like what I think is a wasp sends me ducking, running, shrieking, whatever I need to do to get away from it. I have never been stung by a wasp. You know why? Because I avoid them like the plague.  Yesterday, one was on the windshield of the tractor while we were driving. I said, “Leslee, so help me, if that thing somehow gets in here, I will jump out of a MOVING TRACTOR!” I didn’t have to make good on that exclamation, but it’s a good thing tractors go relatively slow.

Anyway, moving on, I have learned to not set trash bags on the deck for the farmer to take off. These little creatures with black and white stripes really appreciate that. (It stood there and watched me through the sliding glass door as I stood there, stunned. )

Photo taked by Kim Staton

Photo taked by Kim Staton

I have watched my husband artificially inseminate our cows. Also, stunned. (So glad I’m not a cow. So glad I’m not the farmer, too.)

Photo taken by Kim Staton

Photo taken by Kim Staton

I have watched the dog eat cow manure. (Grimace.)

I have asked incessant questions about cattle and the farm even though I don’t actually milk the cows. I have no desire to milk cows or be a dairy farmer. I’d rather just follow my husband around with a camera. But, I am very interested in the happenings of the farm and how everything works. How to be efficient and constantly improve our business model. And I can now sound fairly educated when conversing with other farmers.

I have become accustomed to the overwhelming odor of “dairy farm” as I exit my car after a long trip away. (Your senses acclimate when you’re here every day.)And I have had manure fumes waft through my windows as the farmer spreads it over the fields. My step-mom once told me, “That’s the smell of money.” It’s a good point, and I’ve thought differently about it ever since.

I have finally gotten past the point of caring what my car looks like. It will never be clean. Ever.

If I had known when I got married that my husband would now be a dairy farmer, I would never have gotten married in June. Hay takes priority over anniversary celebrations. However, I’m ok with that this year. At least this year, there is actually hay to bale.

On the positive side of things, the invention of Pinterest has helped me stay up-to-date on my wardrobe.  I love clothes, but seeing the farmer in Muck boots, jeans, and a tshirt every day was very uninspiring.  Feelings of listlessness and enui  might have overtaken me if I wouldn’t have been able to make 54 boards of total and udder randomness.  (Ha! “Udder”)

"A true photographer closes both eyes to capture the best shot." Quote and photo by Kim Staton

“A true photographer closes both eyes to capture the best shot.” Quote and photo by Kim Staton

I have learned more about photography.

I have watched my dear, sweet husband berate himself for not being able to hit the vein the first time on a sick cow. She had milk fever and was not doing well at all. I held the IV bottle while he spoke to her with soothing words.

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I have watched storms roll over the Ozark Mountains and, let me tell you, it’s a breathtaking sight. Looming thunderheads don’t look the same in the city.

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I have probably spent hours, if you add it all up, just staring at the farmer’s muscles as he works. It’s captivating. (Unfortunately for me, he never makes it easy to capture a shot of them in action. Then, I could stare even longer.)

I have sweated and felt the joy of productivity after a hot, reviving shower.

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I have listened as the creek roars or gently whispers over the rocks.

Photo taken by Kim Staton

Photo taken by Kim Staton

I have learned that a successful farmer has to have an excellent business mind. It’s a VERY risky business with no room for silly decisions.

I have watched my husband, after working like a dog all day, still find the energy to play like a child with our daughter.

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I have learned about humility and what it is to feel so small and so young  amid the vast blue sky and old, rolling hills.

I am learning what being content really means. It’s when you’re rolling down a dirt road on the tractor next to your husband and your daughter. She’s asleep in his lap and he turns to you, even amid all the stresses and worries of farming, and says, “This is the life.”

And I have watched my daughter grow from this…

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into this.

Serious Peanut

Photo taken by Kim Staton

I may not have planned this path, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this farm is where I belong. For now, at least. At first, I felt like I was losing the person I had worked so hard to become. I still had a lot to learn.  Because, you know what, that wasn’t the point of all this change in my life. It’s about becoming the person I’m supposed to be. And I’m open. I’m ready to see what else life has in store for me, without making any plans. Because, so far, I have been so blessed.

The Dairymaid