Farmers

I grew up a town kid, then met and married a farmer. It opened my eyes in a lot of ways. One thing that was a shock to my system was the idea that farmers weren’t all as buddy-buddy as the old movies and all would have you think. It really is a business and as such, there is a lot of competition. There is only so much land – and less every day what with cities growing bigger and more and more farm ground being taken out of production for development. The bits that are left get watched for any sign that they are going to have a change… if a landlord dies, or the farmer himself dies, the landlord decides they want to charge more money beyond what the current farmer can pay, or just someone farming the land isn’t doing the job quite the way the landlord wants. The buzzards circle then and everyone is going after that one bit of ground to make it their own.

I’ve heard horror stories of farmers camped-out at landlord’s deathbed trying to make sure that they get a shot at what is left.

I’ve always been very proud of my husband for not being one of the buzzards. He and his dad farmed for years and now he and my son do, and all the ground they have they have gotten honorably. The landlord has come to them and offered it to them. There was no back-stabbing or weaseling in place to get it. That’s just one of the things about him that makes me very proud to be his wife.

The other? For all the backstabbing and competition that occurs, they have this weird sense of community when someone is injured or dies and there is field work to be done. My husband has participated in many of these “harvest days” including the one that happened when his own father passed away. Today one of these days is happening. A couple of weeks ago a farm friend had a stroke. It has been a trying time for he and his family as he goes through rehab and tries to get back to the real world from the hospital (he may be home next week! Yay!). But in the meantime, the crops are ready to be harvested and the stress from knowing they are sitting in the field instead of at the grain elevator or in the bin isn’t helping. So today, as of last count, they had 18 combines lined up and I don’t know how many trucks and other support vehicles. My hubs is taking his semi-truck over and spending the day – or as long as it takes. Usually, you get that many rigs and it doesn’t even take a whole day. The rain held off that was predicted, and it appears they’ll have a good and productive day.

It is things like that which make me very proud to be a farmer’s wife.

Excited?

Don't be. Just because this is the second post in a week it is nothing to be excited about. Trust me.

I got to work this morning and found a note on my desk: Thursday, 7:00. Underneath were two packages of earplugs. Have I mentioned my neighbor shoots guns at all hours? Did I also mention I found out my new co-worker (the one with 101 strikes against him) is a friend of this neighbor? That he is one of the shooters? Yeah. Make that 102 strikes against him. He tells me they met at a "Pheasants Forever" meeting. I accept that is a worthy organization and I also am not against hunting. (Just to be clear.) However, I am against practice shooting until the moon is high in the sky and all reasonable people are in bed trying to sleep. My co-worker tells me that their monthly shooting meetings only last about 90 minutes. Huh. He then tells me that the neighbor "likes his beer"… and is probably what explains the extended shooting sprees. Great. All I needed to hear. He's got a gun AND he's drunk. I try to tell co-worker my point of view, that if he really did only do it for 90 minutes – hell, for three hours even – I would be fine with it. If he did it during daylight hours and if he didn't shoot toward our house! I mean, the guy has about 80 acres of farm ground he could shoot toward to the south of his house that has no buildings, nothing to hit. My co-worker says, "he doesn't own that". Well, no, but he doesn't own the land he's shooting toward now, either. Some of it, yes, but most of it is ours. My co-worker says, "He shoots to the north-east now". Uh huh. That is still toward our house and our land. I used to like walking out in the timber and along the creek, but with my gun-happy neighbor "practicing" at all hours with no rhyme or reason, there is no way I feel safe going out there. Can I repeat again… they're moving! WHOOOOOT!

Update on the dermatologist. It was nothing. I forget what she called it but it is harmless. Always nice to know.

Okay. Back to your lives. Don't expect another post tomorrow. I mean, it could happen… but…

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Respect covers a lot of territory. Today I'm going to narrow it down to respect for private property. This week has been the RAGBRAI bicycle tour of Iowa. It is an annual bike ride from one side of the state to the other. It has thousands of participants and covers a lot of ground. During their week-long ride they stop each night in a pre-determined location where the city has put aside some land to use for them to camp, park their support vehicles, and generally have set up many venues for their entertainment. They also have people along the routes who provide water, other forms of refreshment, food, encouragement, and support. There are volunteer families who donate yard space and house space to the bikers to camp and to use their facilities.

This is great. This would be even greater if the people who participated on these bike rides could all be respectful of the other people along their routes who may not share in their enthusism for bicycling.

A few years ago the path of the ride took them through our community, as it did this week once again. The last time, a friend of ours who lived in the country near the route was shocked upon returning home to find his yard, barn, shed – basically every nook and cranny of his farmstead – taken over by bicycles. Had he offered his home for their use? No. The weather had turned bad and the rain had caused the bikers to pull off the road and take shelter at his farm. They were everywhere. Up in the hay mow of his barn. The one that was about ready to collapse any day. The one that was unsafe for one or two people to be – suddenly was full of people! When our friend asked people to leave, they got angry at him for not being supportive of them.

He asked them, "Where do you live?"

They replied, "Why?"

He said, "Because next week I want to get fifty or a hundred of my best friends and come to your house and hang around your yard."

The person he was speaking to got angry. They just didn't get it.

This week, the ride went right past my son's house – our old house. The road was blocked off to most traffic. My son and husband were trying to haul grain out of a bin at the site. They had to fight thousands of bike riders who feel it is their right not to obey any traffic laws like stop signs, to be able to haul their grain. Trying to do their jobs.

At one point, my husband came back to find people sitting all over the yard in the shade of the trees. He also saw several men going into the corn field. When he asked them what they were doing, one man replied in a joking manner that they were just "going to fertilizer the corn". When my husband asked him where he lived and he replied a city nearby and asked why, my husband replied, "because next week I want to come to your house and fertilize your bushes".

I grew up in town. I grew up with parents who cherished their little square of grass and sidewalk as if it were the only piece of land on earth that mattered. We lived on a corner and I remember how irritated my parents would get if the kids crossed the corner on the way to school, or the newspaper boy cut across the lawn. I was told from the time I was little to stay on the sidewalks and not to go on other peoples' lawns, unless I was invited. This was not just a quirk of my parents, but the code of the neighborhood. We lived in several different neighborhoods and it was the same everywhere. No matter how ratty someone kept their yard, it was still their little piece of the earth and they didn't want your dog coming over to shit on it, or to pee on their flowers… they didn't want your kids tromping on it unless they were over to play with their kids, and you didn't mess with someone elses' stuff.

Respect. Just because we live in the country and you see the wide open spaces does not mean it is property open for public use. We may keep our large lawn mowed and looking nice and you may see a five acre piece of ground that looks like a park, but it is not a park. It is our home. It is our land. It is our field, our crop, our livlihood you're messing with when you tromp out in it to 'relieve' yourself.

Maybe if you didn't act like such assholes we wouldn't hate you so much. Respect. Earn it.*

*I realize like anything else there are some good people who ride bikes and who do obey the laws and who don't trespass. This is not meant for you.

Celebrations…and Other Stuff

  • I'm late, as usual… yesterday was Jen's birthday! Go on over and wish her a belated one and tell her Sue sent ya!
  • Hard to believe, but a year ago (yesterday) we were watching my eldest son get married. They are such a lovely couple… it is such a great feeling to see your kids happily married. Second only to being happily married yourself! Congratulations, kids! (Can I still call them kids if they're adults?… eh… I'm the Mom. Sure I can. )
  • Did everyone have a good July 4th? I spent a great deal of it playing WoW (no big surprise) and a little of it listening to the dogs and cats go crazy with all the neighboring fireworks. Youngest son had races on Friday and Saturday night and I managed to even get the house cleaned as well as a few of those odd jobs we always put off – like cleaning the oven. I have a few more of those jobs to do… but we wouldn't want to be tooo productive, now, would we?
  • I'm probably going to regret saying this, but the neighbor didn't even shoot guns this weekend! Whoot! Maybe they were gone? Although, they were there on Saturday night shooting fireworks. Hmmm…
  • We have gone into the hot, sticky, humid weather of summer. We had a good chance of storms yesterday afternoon and evening that ended up drifting north of us and petering out in our area. After all the rain we've had it is strange to hear myself say, I wish it would rain. I'm going to have to water the gardens soon. Should have done it yesterday, but was holding out for Ma Nature to do it for me. I think Hubs would even appreciate a bit of a drizzle on his gardens, too…
  • For those of you wondering, eldest daughter is doing great. I mean, really, really terrific. What a blessing.
  • Catching up on my blog reading a little at a time… hope to get around to you soon! I've noticed my comments are down as are visitors. No surprise there… if I don't come see you, how can I expect you to come see me, right? Plus I've not been posting every day. (Oh, you noticed, did you?) I think it is the doldrums. It has hit everyone. I could take a hiatus, but then I might just want to post… so I'll just leave you forwarned "posting may be sporadic".

Happy Monday everybody~~~

Quick to Judge

I don't know about you, but usually I am a pretty good judge of people. I usually know pretty much right away whether or not someone can be trusted or are reliable or are a 'real' person. Sometimes I am too quick to judge, though.

I laughed when my elder son was explaining his early relationship with his new wife. He said he thought she was fake because she was just sooo nice. She was too nice to be 'real'. As he got to know her, he found out she was just genuinely that nice! We all found that out, too. She is nice. Sweet as pure sugar. Almost too good to be true. Almost.

Another situation where I was too quick to judge was my younger daughter's boss. Years ago she worked for him before she got married and moved away. At that time, I have to admit, I thought he was a bit toooo attentive to my beautiful young daughter. I found out he and his wife were having some troubles and in the back of my mind I started thinking "sleezoid". After she divorced and moved back to town she eventually went back to work for him. Over the years I have figured out that he really is just that friendly and nice… to everyone. He flirts, he laughs, he spends money… on everyone. He is a genuinely generous and nice fellow and there is nothing sleezy about him. I feel badly that I mis-judged him so harshly. He's been nothing but great to my daughter and makes her working life and continuing education schedule a possible thing.

Remember the crazy elderly neighbor lady? The one who came to the door and yelled at me a few years back? Well, her daughter must have either changed her medication, gotten her off the alcohol, or all of the above. She's been just as nice as can be ever since then. We don't really chat and are not neighborly, but she will wave at me and smile if we meet on the road or if she is out in her yard as I go by. Hubs continued to plow snow out of their driveway and every time he does her daughter is quick to rush over with a check from her mom for him. He says he doesn't need her to pay him, but she insists – so he takes it. My opinion is changing on her, too. I would hate to be remembered for one moment in my life when I behaved badly. Heaven knows there have been lots of opportunities!

So… do you find yourself quick to judge? Do you think you are a good judge of people? Have you ever been horribly wrong?

I Think I Still Have All My Fingers

Sunday evening was the first monthly family game night. Picture me, my 10-yr-old grandson, and five 20-to-30-something people (one DIL couldn't make it) around the table playing "spoons". If you have never played this fast-paced card game, whatever you do I don't advise doing it with MY family! I could've lost a limb! Who knew all these people would be so competitive?!?! Trust me, there was no giving the 10-yr-old a break of any kind, either… he had to scrap it out with the rest of us.

Hubs is not a game person. He had a race to watch and even after we chased him from the livingroom downstairs to the family room, he still said we were terribly loud. *shrug* Oh, well…  That's why I like living in the country. No neighbors upstairs, downstairs, or next door to offend with the loudness. If for some reason the neighbor who shoots all the time could hear us, then sobeit.

I now know what to watch out for come next month! Yikes!

For the Love of God… (A Rant) *updated*

…STOP SHOOTING. I just checked the calendar. It isn't a holiday. Unless, maybe it's your birthday or something. I love where I live – except for those freakin' neighbors. What in the hell are you shooting after dark? I do not want to know. Asshats.

*UPDATE – For those of you who haven't followed this story and aren't clear what it is I'm talking about, I'm talking guns. They go out and shoot guns. From what I can tell, they are target or skeet shooting. Not just one person, either, unless they're using some kind of automatic weapon, as the shots are too close together to be single shots by one person. Have I mentioned they have two small children? I won't even guess what the kids are doing during all this hub-bub. Especially when it goes until 11 pm. I mean, really? It's DARK then, people.. and I don't believe they have spotlights on their house like we do. I could be wrong. I try not to spend too much time thinking about them.

Oh, and they headed up the creek again yesterday evening. Hubs was ready to meet them at the lot line with HIS gun in hand, but they evidently realized at the last minute they were a little too close and went back to their own territory. Damn, I hate being the grouch in the neighborhood…

Neighbors? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Neighbors!

You just knew it was a holiday weekend without looking at the calendar. How? The neighbors.

Sunday evening. Perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cool. My youngest daughter and I had just finished the day-long "cemetary run" – leaving at 7 in the morning and returning home about 6 p.m. We went to four cemetaries in four different counties, the furthest being down in the southeast part of the state about 10 miles from the Missouri state line. I was tired and looking forward to a short nap in the perfect temperature… just a breeze blowing through the open window… wafting in the sounds of… screaming? Wha? I lay in bed for a few minutes trying to figure out what I was hearing. Several voices laughing and yelling  – some of them kid voices screeching in high-pitch squeels. Adult voices there, too. I groaned to myself and debated whether it was worth getting up to shut the window. My gosh, I thought, those voices are loud! I thought they must be carrying from the neighbors across the road. We don't normally hear much from them as there is timber, a creek and a road between us and them and their house sits way back on their property. Although they have a pond and a picnic-type area (as I'm guessing by the picnic table in said area) that is closer to the road, rarely do we ever hear or see anyone in that space. I don't know these people very well except I believe their children are grown and hearing all these young voices I presumed it must be the grandchildren come to visit.

Wrong.

Hubs went investigating. He came in from the deck and announced there were people just south of our house wading in the creek! WTF? This was what all the racket was. To understand the logistics, the creek runs behind our house along the road, then veers further inland across the south end of where our house sits, then again turns south and runs along the edge of our field. They own, for the most part, the other side of the creek. However, it's interesting that a wee bit of a catty-corner on our side is theirs… and, when you get south by the field edge we own some on their side of the creek – practically next to their house. At any rate, they have lots of access to the creek that isn't so close to being in our back yard… that never seems to matter to them, tho.

Hubs and I couldn't resist… we walked out there to see what all the racket was about. When he asked the guy what was going on, he just said they were "walking". okay….   "We're just walking in the creek"…. uh huh…  "We're with Rednecks*"…  that explains a lot.  It doesn't explain why you're letting your small children play in a rain-swollen creek, but it does explain why you are HERE…technically on OUR PROPERTY… grrrrr. We were nice. We kept our mouths shut. Interestingly enough, as we were walking back to the house they drifted back to the neighbors.

Lest you think that was the end of the holiday celebrations… yes, you guessed it… they started shooting their guns about 8 o'clock and were still at it when I went to sleep at 10:30….'cause you know, nothing says "honor your veterans" like shooting clay pigeons.

*name of neighbors has been changed to relect personality traits. Not to insult rednecks. I know some rednecks and they're nice people. I just couldn't name them the Assholes, as I'd like to.