July 4th, 2013

I hope everyone had a good 4th. I know we did. We headed to my dad’s house on Thursday for a barbecue and fireworks. This is the first year Peanut has really been able to participate and know what’s going on, so I was really looking forward to it. And then, the next day, we were going shopping, so then I was REALLY looking forward to it. Mandy, my step-mom, doesn’t really enjoy shopping quite as much as I do, but she’s growing out of all her clothes, so she has to, because…

she’s pregnant!!!! I’m going to have a new brother or sister around the end of December. 🙂 She’ll be an excellent mom and I’m really happy for her. I told her I didn’t need any more brothers. We’ll see if she comes through for me. 😉

(My brothers know I love them.)

I just can’t believe that, with this one on the way,  I am now the oldest of 5 between the both of my parents!! That’s crazy!

Anyway, my little brother Justin started the night off with Peanut by lighting smoke bombs. She was totally enthralled with them.

Peanut and Justin

But, the real fun began when we got the sparklers out.

Peanut and sparkler

I learned that my child is not  at all afraid of fire.

Especially when she started doing large arcs above her head. Everyone was like, “WHOA! WHOA! Don’t do that!!” Unfortunately, I was only able to get that with my phone because my camera does not do well in the dark. Maybe because I hate using my flash. Is it possible for a camera to take a good picture at dusk/dark without using a flash? I really want to know.

Peanut and sparkler 3

Once Peanut got the hang of how sparklers worked, everyone decided to keep a wide berth. Especially after my sister lit one up for her and did one of those duck-and-run things, batting at her hair. Yep, Peanut almost set her aunt on fire. But, all was well except for a faint singed aroma every time Bailey would walk by. It might take a little bit for a few arm hairs to grow back.

I don’t know if the light blinded Peanut or if she was just hypnotized, but every time we’d ask her to smile and look at the camera, this is what we got.

hypnotized Peanut 2

She had a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, I was unknowingly getting eaten up by Satan’s helpers: Chiggers. I. Am. Covered. And I have not slept well for the last 3 nights. I’ve been rubbing Purell on them and it REALLY burns.

But it hurts so good….

Gotta love life in the country!

Breauna

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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

Outtakes from our Family Photo Shoot

So, anyone who has or has had a toddler knows how impossible family pictures are. Today, I’ve decided to showcase some of our family photo “spoofs” because although they’re not really ones I would send on my Christmas card, they give me a chuckle.

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The farmer looks great other than the fact that the sun is bleaching out the whole right side of his face. Peanut’s playful pout makes me smile.

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I don’t know what this face was for.

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I title this photo “It Takes A Village.” Mommy fixes her hair for the 840th time while Daddy gives her a pep-talk/lecture on how to sit still and smile pretty for pictures.

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This one’s nice other than the fact that I’m at a 45 -degree angle.

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Ok, here she’s taking the smiling pretty a little too seriously.

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Finally!! Oh, wait, no, I’m trying to become one with the rock and my shirt is doing something really weird in the front.

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Aaaannnndddd…she’s done.

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I give up.

Whew! This post was even exhausting.

Have a wonderful day,

The Dairymaid

My Lil’ Easter Bunny

I haven’t posted any pictures of Peanut lately, so I figured her in her Easter dress would be a perfect opportunity.

This is the first Easter Peanut has gotten to really participate in and she loved it! Even though she was pretty excited about her Easter baskets, I think her favorite part was hunting Easter eggs.

I’ve also got a few pictures of her younger cousins.

Landrie is almost exactly a year younger than Peanut. They’re good buddies. Basically, if you’re a baby, Peanut is going to love you. (Teahna, I’m pretty sure my daughter is a dark-haired clone of yours sometimes. This picture looks a lot like Emmy.)

The little chubby guy on the end is Grayson. He’s the newest addition to the family and his jowls kill me. He’s wearing the same size as Peanut in clothes and his little arms are absolutely roly-poly. Just to see him makes me smile.

Grayson’s getting a little excited. Landrie has no clue why.

The farmer took that picture and I have to really compliment him because I didn’t have to edit it at all. I’m pretty sure it will be one of my favorites for years to come.

And, finally, just a few pics of Peanut hunting Easter eggs.

The farmer took all 3 of those, too! Who knew??

The Dairymaid

Copyright. Breauna Krider. 04/11/12

Peanut, Sassy Boots, and a Farming Phobia

Yesterday, we went to the farm. My sister, Bailey, had been wanting to come down for a while, so I brought her with me. I warned her that it was barn cleaning day, so she must be a glutton for punishment. I’ll have some of that experience for you on a later date.

First, however, I must show you my precious little daughter in her cowgirl boots. She really thinks she’s hot stuff in these.

If you wanna’ see somebody that’s sassy and fiesty, here’s your girl. And the authority with which she carries herself when she’s got these boots on. Such purpose. Such confidence. Such promise. Yup…we don’t see any end in sight for what we’ve got coming. I could watch her all day on the farm, though. She loves it so much and her face is just so full of excitement about every new discovery. The amazing thing for me is the fact that there’s already a duality to this little girl. She’s tough as a boot, but so feminine in the things that she likes. Baby dolls, nail polish, purses, pretty clothes and cute shoes. But, like I said, you put these boots on her and she is a farm girl through and through.

I have to admit that amoung my many fears of becoming a farmer’s wife, I had one that even though I knew it was totally silly, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. The farmer always said that raising kids in the country and having them participate in all the work that goes into managing a dairy farm resulted in well-rounded, responsible, hard-working adults. Judging from his family, that’s completely true. And if I were promised all boys, I wouldn’t have a care that they were raised as little dairy farmers. But having girls was another story….

Here comes the city in me again that jumps to conclusions before I have enough hard evidence to know better.

 I was scared to raise girls on a dairy farm for fear that they would be “butchy.”

There. I said it. I’m all about honesty and I honestly want my daughters to be ladies and all I could envision was some backwoods, plaid-wearing, pig-tail sporting brute of a girl that got her kicks off wrestling cattle to the ground with her bare hands, giggin’ frogs, and showing every boy in the county that anything they could do, she could do better.

How was I ever going to relate to the kind of girl I thought the farmer’s “raising” would produce? Meanwhile, I was totally ignoring the fact that the farmer’s four sisters are not the least bit butchy, but very lady-like themselves. Not to mention all the other women I’ve met since we started doing this that can balance hard-work and femininity so gracefully.

I’m learning, everyone. Please be patient.

Now I know I don’t have anything to worry about. Peanut shows me every day that she’s a little girl that already knows how to get what she wants by being totally charming and sugary-sweet. I think she already knows that a little grin and an ornery gleam in her eye goes a long way with Daddy. I’m onto her. I know what she’s doing. These tactics used to work for me and they still do. (Don’t tell my secret.)

I just can’t wait to watch her continue to grow and evolve into who she’s meant to be. She’s extremely strong-willed just like her momma and I know that whatever she puts her mind to will get accomplished. Because she’ll know how to work and be a girl.

Hey, I wonder if a pair of heels would que Peanut to act like a total city girl? Something to definitely ponder…

Up for an experiment,

The Dairy Maid