Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

July 16th is a big day. It’s national guinea pig appreciation day!

Guinea pigs became domesticated around 5000 BC as livestock. They were an easily accessible and plentiful food source to the early inhabitants of South America.

Fast forward a few thousand years and they became the “in” pet for many of Europeans royals.

Now a days guinea pigs a very common pet. They’re friendly, fuzzy and fairly easy to care for.

Here’s a few quick facts:

– the average guinea pig life span is 5-8 years.

-in addition to commercial pellets, guinea pigs need fresh veggies and hay to have optimum health.

-they do best in pairs or groups. Guinea pigs are very social.

– guinea pigs are rodents. And in rodent fashion can begin reproducing as early as 4 weeks old.

– guinea pigs require 8 square feet per pig per cage. Most pet store cages are too small.

-they poop everywhere!

We’ve loved having pigs for pets! They are incredibly easy and very cuddly. When looking for your next pet don’t over look the humble guinea pig!

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Are You Crazy?

Are you crazy? I had this asked of me lately. I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. I may be a little different but I’m not quite sure im ready to jump on the label of crazy just yet.

When my parents sold the dairy farm in April, it left my husband and I few options if we wanted to stay in the dairy industry. We weren’t interested in getting out, so we had to find a way to stay IN.

Ultimately the option we went with was one that has gotten a few comments on the state of our sanity.

We’re building a dairy barn at our house!

Our building plans. A 60 cow compost barn with a 6 stall parlor. Either flat or step parlor.

This fall we will be milking 60 head of cattle at our house. It’s exciting, scary and probably the biggest mix of emotions ive ever felt!

After some long talks, sleepless nights and many prayers.. we’ve decided to follow our wild dreams. Talk about something that takes some courage.

The support we’ve had has been truly humbling. It’s also reassuring when you’re entering a line of work that is currently experiencing rock bottom markets. That is one of the best things about the dairy industry, the community and fellowship is second to none.

A picture from across the pasture field looking at the building site.

Someone told me a few days ago “When God handed you that many lemons you didn’t quit. You stold your ground and decided to built an entire lemonade stand.”

Big things happen you follow your dreams. We aren’t ready to be done dreaming yet!

To My Farmer On Valentines Day

To my dear farmer on Valentines Day,

Thank you for understanding I am not like normal women. I enjoy working with my hands in the hot and cold. I like working along side you in the barn not cooped up in the house. Some days the date of a cow sale and McDonald’s is just enough.

I appreciate the fact that you normally humor my hair brained ideas. Entertain my whims and generally put up with my craziness. I’m sure there are days this isn’t easy.

You’ve handled anything the kids and I have brought home with ease. We have a well established menagerie at our house that I’m sure others wouldn’t care for. Horses here, chickens there, a sprinkling of ducks and goats every where.

I don’t feel as though I have to make sure I’m always put together when you’re around. There’s no shame in asking you if my hair smells like cows or if all the “spots” are off before we run out the door some where.

We get to share the fruits of our labor. Healthy new babies! Sad days where old girls leave. Some days where we flat out wonder if we’re even still sane anymore, but there we still are.

You’ve taught our kids that some days are long, full of dirt, hard work and little thanks. You’ve also taught them some days you simply need to relax, take a break and recharge. I’m glad you value fun and fun with them.

Like any other couple we’ve had our high, lows and daily in betweens. 3 kids and a whole lot of cows can make for long days. But I’m glad on those long days we have each other to fall back on while we collapse in exhaustion after bed time!

Edible Marshmallow Slime

It’s been a long, cold winter. My kids are starting to go stir crazy. You can only occupy them so long when confined to the house from cold. To say they’re happier outside is a huge understatement.

My daughter is a budding scientist. She likes to mix and create. This past week she had a bur to make slime. She looked up several videos on YouTube (she’s a YouTube fanatic). Some looked like flops, others just looked like out right messes.

We wanted something all of them could have fun with (ages 4-8). In the summer time we frequently do the tried and true cornstarch and water slime on the picnic table. But it’s way to messy for the house, in our case anyways. We were on the hunt for something different and boy did we find it!

Behold edible marshmallow slime!

This is a super simple recipe. I measured and ran the microwave while the kids mixed in the colors. I would highly recommend disposable gloves for this part.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Food coloring (optional)

Step 1:

Measure 1 cup of marshmallows and 1 teaspoon of oil in to a microwaveable safe bowl.

Step 2:

Microwave for 30 seconds.

Step 3:

Stir in 1-2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. It varies from bowl to bowl. Basically enough to make it smooth. It will be hot! It does cool pretty quickly.

Step 4:

Knead until smooth.It’s ready to play with as is OR you can now work in your colors. The gel food colorings worked better we found. We had fun mixing and matching different colors. The kids put sprinkles in a few colors to jazz it up! It was decided Henry won for the most creative colors. I’m not sure how exactly he ended up with a tie dyed one, but it looked pretty neat! Now the big question… just because it tastes good, do you really want to eat it? The verdict is in.. it tastes good. Pretty much just like melted marshmallows! We made a mess, had some fun and worked on beating the winter boredness!

Farm Mom Christmas List


Farm women can be hard to shop for. This brings up many challenges around Christmas time. While practicality is nothing to frown at, this mindset makes it hard when asked what one wants for Christmas.

I’ve delved in to my resources (ok my group of awesome dairy ladies) and picked their brains as to what great gifts for them would be this year. Some involve the home, some are self pampering and some people just want to have a scraper for cow poo they never lose again! 

Car Care

The farm mom mobile is often used to haul kids to school and then occasional load of feed. Maybe a calf or two in a pinch… give gifts to help mom keep her car presentable!

  • Car Detailing
  • Seat covers
  • Air Freshners
  • Floor Mats

You never know when a goat with a drinking habit may need a lift.


InstaPot or Crock Pot

There is nothing better than coming in from the barn to an already made meal! While the InstaPot has been all the chatter lately!  A new crock pot can be just as appreciated. If you’re going to gift cookware for Christmas check out the pretty new prints by Pioneer Woman! This one is available at Walmart.


Roomba

Living on the farm can drag in more dust and dirt than ever imagined! At the push of a button the roomba will sweep all moms cares away while she does afternoon chores!

Footwear and Accessories 

  • Boots, boots and more boots was a common reply! Barn boots, dress boots, warm dry boots! 
  • Boot Dryer’s shouldn’t be over looked. Especially the fancy ones with the glove warmers! No one wants cold soggy feet! 
  • Warm Socks! Warm socks are a must! I am personally a fan of Darn Tough only do they come in snazzy colors and keep you warm BUT they come with a life time guarantee! 

Bibs and Coveralls

Along the same lines of keeping Mom warm, how about some new work wear? A fellow dairy mom tipped me off to this awesome site. Rugged work wear, feminine touch! Rosie’s Rugged Work Wear looks to have your bases covered! 

Barn Camera’s

While we give our girls the best attention we can, sometimes we need to still keep tabs on them while they aren’t in the barn. Barn cameras and alert systems are a great way to do that! Products like Moo Call and closed circuit cameras can give mom a piece of mind outside of the barn.

Illumination

Dependable flashlights and head lamps! Don’t leave mom in the dark. Remind her she is the light of your world 😉

Pampering

Even though we may be a hard working, some days smelly, often caluse handed group of women, most moms want some pampering! The following items were highly suggested: 

  • Massage
  • Pedicure 
  • Manicure 
  • New Sheets
  • Nap time (this is italiscized because it came up a lot).

Some days us moms just need some alone time…most days.


❤️Date Night❤️

Farm life is crazy and hectic. Spend some time romanticizing that special farm lady in your life. 

  • Conversation that doesn’t involve Mickey Mouse, Blippi and the last bull proof. 
  • Dinner out! 
  • Good wine! There are trendy wineries popping up every where. Some local favorites by us are Troutman’s and Sunny Slope.

Maid for a Day

Deep cleaning is always a big hit! Either hiring a cleaning service or organizing the troop of kids, I don’t know any farm moms who would turn away a good house cleaning! 

Hot Coffee

We pour our coffee and something else comes up. Nothing is more disappointing than room temperature bean brew.. I love my Yeti cup. It literally stays hot forever.


Don’t over think gift giving for that special farm mom in your life this holiday season! Hopefully using these recommendations while help you narrow down those options to one the farm woman in your life loves! Or else it may be your turn to pick up that over indulgent goat… 

Thankful For Me

When one thinks of the word “mother”, caretaker comes to mind. Mom’s are people who get stuff done. We kiss boo boos, cook dinner and check home work. Moms are the glue that holds a house together.


One thing I’ve noticed in my growing years of motherhood is there is one thing I’m not taking care of. ME.

Most days I run to and fro, just hoping by some miracle we make it every where on time. Thinking if we all only survive til bedtime I will have a few minutes to myself. Then I wake up 2 hours later with crazy hair and cotton mouth from snoring away on the couch. 

I’m thankful I’m able to do all that I do. My life is hectic. Not for the faint of heart if I dare say, but I enjoy it. 

I make this face some days when I see our schedule.


Finishing out the year, I’m making the decision to show myself the gratitude I deserve by making sure I carve out time for myself. I know it won’t be easy. However I would like to believe I’m worth it.

Martyr and Mom aren’t 2 words that should reflect each other. Take some time to devote to yourself. If it’s straightening up eating habits, picking up a hobby or simply making sure you take some more time to rest. 

Moms are amazing people. Don’t be worried to invest some time in to yourself. We can’t pour from empty cups. Im thankful for the crazy in my life. Just thankful enough to realize when I need to reinvest in me.❤️

The person I should be keeping track of better!

Making Dinner

Tonight I cooked supper with my kids. We do this about once a month. They make most of the meals by themselves and I man the stove/oven. 

This sounds like a great idea. Truth be told it’s chaos. Just tonight we broke 5 eggs on the floor, had a minor squabble over a rolling pin and fought over sausage links. But we plug along. Spills, yelling and tears.

Now this may sound terrible. But have you ever tried cooking with 3 kids, all under 8? It took an hour to get French toast and sausage links on the table. All these things are to be expected.

See admist the mishaps are moments of giggles. Math skills are honed. Team work is built. Some day my hope is they will be able to do this with out me. Then one day (hopefly FAR away) they’ll make memories with their own kids. 

So even though I may have hid in the kitchen, eating a left over sausage link, drinking a beer while I browned French toast, pondering all my life choices… next month we will cook again. 

Our patience is tested. Our food isn’t ready to grace the cover of Martha Stewart Living. But it’s real food; made with love, giggles and minor squabbles. 

Take a minute, make dinner with your kids. Enjoy yourselves. Laugh, (maybe) cry and make memories. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’ll taste better that way. ❤️

Remnants of supper.

Back to School

Adios kiddies! School is back in session.


It’s that time of the year again. School has started. Dear little ones will be carted away and suddenly the house is quiet. Peace has descended upon the land. Mothers everywhere are left with a void. 

What do we do with that time we had devoted to refereeing, planning and squabble dispatching? Oh mommas, I have ideas! 

Sleep

This one came easy to me. In the time I would have been listening to a long, drawn out and most likely enhanced tattle on a sibling… I now can be found hunkered down with a pillow. A little R&R is much deserved after planning play dates all summer.

Reading

Yes reading. Something other than Amelia Bedilia or Pete the Cat. Stacks of Cosmo and Good Housekeeping here I come. I’m done counting Pete’s buttons and on to idle reading that may possibly shrink my brain cells.

Finding The House

Tidying up a house while the tiny tornadoes are inhabiting it is fairly pointless. Take this time to find that long lost floor. Shake the dust off the sweeper and find out what exactly is under that couch.

Self Care

Now I’m not saying over an over the top trip to the day spa. Not that anything is wrong with those. I’m envisioning showering with no one banging on the door. No lines to use the potty. Brushing my teeth with no one offering me bubble gum flavored tooth paste. The little things folks.

Day Drinking

You may be saying, I don’t need booze to get thru the day. No you don’t. But picture this, a hot, steaming cup of coffee. Fresh from the pot. It has never been forgotten nor microwaved. No other paws have touched it’s steamy, warm caffinated love but your own. And have if you want a mojito with your bologna sandwich at lunch go for it! 

Dream big ladies. We have survived the summer. We conquered the pool, play dates and summer reading programs. These are no small accomplishments. Treat yo’self! 

Dear Daughter

Eight years ago you came in to our world. Chubby, wrinkly and bruised you made your presence. I’ll never forget the doctor going “wow!” As you arrived. Wow was right, all 10 pounds 2 ounces of you was a little more than we were anticipating. 


You were an easy baby. I’m sure there were days you were more patient with me than I was with you. You have always been independent. Much preferring to sit and watch than to be held. 

As you grew it was apparent how you loved to learn how to do things. You are a child that things have came easy for. I’m beyond grateful for that. Walking, talking, school work has all been a breeze for you. 


Your quick wit and original (we’ll call it) sense of humor keeps us all laughing. I’m not sure you should be as fluent in sarcasm as you are for your young age. You’re the life of the party. A ball of energy who has to be on the move constantly. 


While you’re a tomboy to the core, with a love for the farm, you still have a girly side. You’ve recently discovered boys, make up and how to maneuver your own hair accessories. I’m not sure how much of this I AM ready for, but you seem to ready for it all. 


As you grow I pray you maintain your individuality, even if it makes me scratch my head some days! The world has great things for you to conquer. I feel the same as the doctor 8 years ago, you make me say wow every day. 

Happy 8th Birthday Emma Grace! 

~Love, Mom

Farmboy Milestones

Growing up on the farm you have milestones other kids don’t. Milking your first cow, driving a tractor for the first time, being big enough to throw hay bales.

Today we hit a BIG one in this house.

Way back at Christmas Taylor started pestering us about a pocket knife. He was only 5 at the time and he was (still can be) very impulsive. Like any other little kid. So we set the thought aside.

One thing you can not discredit Taylor on is his work ethic. You may be thinking work ethic, with a six year old? This kid busts his hump every day at the farm. Generally with out being asked. He genuinely wants to help. 

Part of the responsibility he has taken this summer is keeping the calf barn bedded. This involves him using small square bales of straw to bed. Small squares are bound with baling twine. 

Taylors go to to cut the twine had either been scissors or my pocket knife. He has been handling my knife well. He’s also lost 3 of my knives and a pair of scissors. Because he’s six.. 

Tonight that has all changed. He’s been given the responsibility of his very own pocket knife. It may just be a used, hand me down knife from a drawer. But to him it currently means everything. We had to find just the right spot on the counter for it so he wouldn’t forget it when we left for the barn in the morning. 

He may not remember when he first figured out how to take a step or the first time he rode a bike. I’m pretty sure he’s going to remember the first day he had his very own pocket knife.