The Hodge Podge We’ve Been Up To Lately (A List)

Here’s a very discombobulated Monday list for you of what’s been goin’ on ’round here.

1. I wrecked my car. I hit two deer. At the same time. I cried all the way home and on and off for the rest of the evening. The End.

2. I acquired a new nephew. His name’s Drayson. I’m pretty smitten. Peanut has now lost her place as the youngest and didn’t really know what to think about this new addition to the family, but they’ve bonded and she loves to hold him now. She actually told me she wanted to take him home with her. I think it’s time for a brother or sister, don’t you?


3. My Peanut started preschool. She absolutely loves it, but I have to say, my days now are a little on the lonely side. I always stay busy doing this and that, but the quiet gets really loud sometimes. I love that she enjoys it, though. It gets lonely out here in the middle of nowhere for a little girl with two adults, too. She’s made friends and talks about them all the time. It’s been nice for me, as well. I’m getting to know some people in the community that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. And honestly, not being with Peanut 24/7 really allows me to wholeheartedly enjoy the time I DO get to spend with her.

4. Some of my blog inspiration and material is gone during the days. (See above.)

5. I’ve totally redone our bedroom. I still have some things I want to add and do, but it’s coming along. What do you think? I’ll give ya a little before-and-after action here. I need to go open my window, take the screen off, and shoot through there to really give you the whole effect. But… I didn’t.






(I moved the sconces to frame my closet door).

6. The farmer has been cutting hay, wrapping hay, and talking hay. All we ever talk about is hay. All he ever talks about to anyone else is hay. Or cattle. Which reminds me. We bought 20 more. Hey hey!! (Smirk for the little pun I threw in there). They’re all Jerseys. He’s pretty excited about them and what they’ll provide to the farm, not just in milk, but in good breeding.

7. We’ve been doctoring heifers. A common malady for dairy cattle is “foot rot.”


These ladies are fine, but there’s one hiding in the far corner that’s not. She was easy to separate and get in the squeeze chute. See how her leg is swollen and her hoof is very separated? Yeah, it’s not supposed to look like that.


One of the many roles a farmer plays is veterinarian. We gave her a shot of Excenel to help her foot.


Banjo watches from afar. In the shade, mind you.


After the work is over, he decides to come on over where we are.


But, only because there’s more shade available.

If only he didn’t live on a dairy farm where he constantly has to snap at flies…


He hits it hard, folks.

8. We did some mulching around trees in our yard. Peanut was ready to work after school, so she helped. She tells her teachers at the end of the school day that she “has to get home and feed the cows.”


This little chick is a helper! She helps me water our flowers. She helps me weed. She’ll feed calves hay. She bosses all the cattle around and anything else that’ll let her get away with it. She plays in the dirt so much that if you pat her, dust just plumes. But, ya know what? She helps me put all the clothes away when they’re done drying. And I’m not trying to raise some city girl, anyway, right? She’s tough. She’s smart. She enjoys getting absolutely covered in dirt. And yet, she enjoys having her nails painted, wearing pretty dresses,  and doing laundry. So far, I think she’s turning out very well-rounded. And this city girl mom was very apprehensive about what kind of creature my little girl would turn out to be when the farmer moved us out here. They’ve both mellowed me out a little. A little dirt never hurt anybody. It’s good for the immune system.

That little shovel is gettin’ a work out!



Don’t tell Peanut, but I’m glad Daddy’s there to help or we’d never get done.


You’ll never guess where Banjo is…


Yup, in the shade. Trying to look all cute and nonchalant while he tears one of my sponges to shreds all over the yard…


My little family, my world. I couldn’t adore them more.


Have a great Monday,



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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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