Farmer Stan and the Very Best Equipment

I am like a child waiting for Christmas. Every day I check my tracking number and feel a little annoyed that my package is still in Arizona. I even felt a little bit of disappointment over the day of mourning over President Bush’s passing because of how it might delay my shipment. But hopefully next week- the next round of Farmer Stan books will arrive in the Valley. ☺️ (his first book is here )

My mom is worried that it’s not on a child’s level and my sisters are very annoyed and accuse us of being a “turncoat” 🙄

But I present to you: Farmer Stan and the Very Best Equipment.

This book is written in poetry form, and includes all the hilarious poetry my dad (did you know his first name is Stanley?) has written during harvest. Video Links are here and here.

And at the suggestion of the editor (my mom) He wrote another verse or two. 😉 (Spoiler alert: Claas machines and MM Weaver’s prompt service get a fairly significant pat on the back)

In summary Farmer Stan and his friends have a good-natured discussion, and in the end:

They had a good laugh and Stan drove out the lane

So thankful the difference did not cause a strain

Cause no matter what kind of equipment you use

A friendship is much too precious to lose!

So if you need me next week- I’m either going to be watching out the window for the mailman or reading our latest Farmer Stan book and laughing.

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Oh, it doesn’t really matter

If your tractors red or green

For your friends will promptly scatter

If you hold that your machine

Is the only one worth owning

If you’re constantly intoning

That your father’s kind of farming is the best

No, it isn’t any issue

Whether Bosch or Kitchen Aid

Is the mixer of the dish you serve

Or whether it is made

Out of margarine or butter

There’s no cause to spat and sputter

That your mother’s kind of cooking is the best.

For God the perfect tractor

Isn’t yellow, green, or red

But the Lord’s deciding factor

Is the farmer’s heart instead.

If the soil your plow is breaking

And the cake your mixer’s making

Praise and glorify the Lord-

They are the best!

-Lucy A. Martin

Super Thankful

An honest confession is good for the soul:

There is nothing in me that looks forward to birthdays.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m thankful for every day, but somehow as the candles on my cake create more of a raging fire, I just want to hit pause. These are such good days, and somehow my mind loves to worry that these days are rapidly dwindling.

So we shot through Thanksgiving with a very grateful heart as the sun shone and I ate my nontraditional feast- Sweet Lebanon Bologna sandwich in the bean field and rejoiced. Thank you, God, thank you 💞 Have I mentioned that the rain has had us struggling and how thankful I am for every field successfully harvested?

Black Friday found me taking a flying 800 mile/one day trip to OH as a van driver. My passengers had lunch plans, so I left at 1 am and returned home by 11 pm. The full moon lit our path and I watched in awe as it set over the flat OH plains, and at the same instant the sun peeked over horizon in my rearview mirror. Such a timely Universe 💞

And then began birthday weekend. I am totally blown away. So many of you reached out to me and I feel so loved. Why wasn’t I excited about this day? 🤷🏻‍♀️

My birthday twin and a few girls from church joined us for lunch. They made us wrapping paper dresses. (Notice Colleen even has a scalloped neckline)

My fam had a surprise fondue party for me last night. The guys enjoyed the meat the most (especially after they gave up on cooking it in the broth, and Sherman finished the meat in his smoker) I loved the cheese sauce and of course the chocolate 🙈

This morning as I wander thru the house in the post Birthday daze, everywhere I look I see little reminders of the love I received. I’m so thankful.

Em gave me a metal print of a picture we look this summer 😍

My mom often quotes this poem. Such a good reminder.

I will go on, bravely

Doubting not that

Morning shall be fair.

For what is life

If it is spent

In hopeless pursuit

Of nothing

But dreaded passage?

Then let me lift

My daily flask

To my soul’s lips

And drink it calmly

Boldly, Joyously!

And in the drinking

I shall drink with God!

– E. Witmer

Having a birthday over Thanksgiving is the best way to extend the Thanksgiving Season. I have too many blessings to count.

Crazy Blessed,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

Julia found me a Fisher Price airport to go with an airplane I’d discovered in a thrift store. I’m now accepting story plots for Farmer Stan takes to the friendly skies.

November Notes

I was so busy sorting through the 100s of new Labradoodle puppy pics on the computer, I didn’t even notice my dad.

“Are you blogging, Ken?” He asked

No, I wasn’t and I started in on an explanation that I was trying to find a few pics good enough to encourage 11 families that they needed a puppy for Christmas.

He didn’t seem to care. “You should blog again. It’s been awhile.”

Need a good dog?

So here I am.

Usually this time of year we are parking the harvest equipment and praising God. This year is not usual. But we are still praising God.

I guess the rain delays explain the wide variety in what has occupied my time the last little while. So enjoy this quick photo tour of recent highlights:

We picked one of the coldest days yet for an impromptu picnic in the state forest. Julia ended up shivering wrapped in a tablecloth and Father was sure his gloves were a must 😉 but the sky was so blue and the food was wonderful.

Em and I enjoyed a “make your own pizza” date with 2 of the cutest guys around. (My friends have the most adorable families 🥰) You should’ve seen them flip that pizza dough. What kept the pizza off the ground is beyond me.

Windows of Harvest show up as teasers keeping us praying for dry weather and dry soybeans.

It’s that time of year when the Valley people are compelled by an unknown source to travel north of the Mason Dixon Line.. 3 trips in 3 days set a record for me. I survived a wedding, a horse sale and an equipment auction 🙂

Thankfully it rained enough that Someone could stay home for the surprise lunch and the visit from his sisters 🙂 My dad turns 60 the first of December-let the celebrations begin 🙂 Also so special to be with our Maryland family again!

I’ve been savoring lots of quality time with some of the most important people in my life and the great out-of-doors… These are good days.

I named these pics from today “the Clash of Seasons”

So thankful that our Heavenly Father promises to provide for my needs…

And that my earthly Father humors me in all things including my blogging obsession 🥰

Blessings,

Kendra

Jesus Understands Pain

Recently Jesus’s words in Luke 22 at the Last Supper stood out to me. 31: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

I watched Peter’s next moves with interest as the crucifixion story unfolds. Judas arrives after Peter has been in the garden with Jesus praying and SOMEONE cuts off an ear-which Jesus repairs and reprimands.

The group moves towards the trial. Peter follows, watching from afar and is accused by 3 different people of being with associated with Jesus. Each time Peter’s response is similar to this:

60. Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. 62. And he went outside and wept bitterly”

What emotions must have passed between my Saviour and Peter in that significant look? Pain? Compassion? Betrayal? Forgiveness?

Whatever it was-Peter’s regrets, remorse, and repentance were immediate.

I think Jesus looks with the same burning tenderness into the faces of his children today.

Life throws us all kinds of curveballs. Maybe it’s results from a doctor’s visit that turns our world on end.

Maybe it’s a relationship that didn’t turn out at all like you had expected and trust seems like a distant memory.

Or maybe the wolf is at the door and financial stress is about doing you in…

Maybe you made choices that you need to forgive yourself for. Or maybe you had no choice in the direction your world has taken.

Whatever your pain is- Jesus understands it. And He’s there ahead of the problem. “Satan has requested- but I have prayed for YOU that your faith will not fail.”

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Trust Jesus, He understands.

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

The gorgeous sunrises, sunsets, and rainbows recently feel like messages from Heaven to my heart 💞

Avoid Death

The sun was valiantly attempting to shine through the fog as one by one Paradise Lane welcomed a stream of Emergency Personnel vehicles.

I’m not sure who had gotten in touch with Emily, but they requested that our grain bins be used as training grounds for a staged grain rescue with Rockingham Co Fire and Rescue Tech Rescue Team.

Add a TV crew hoping to get some footage for a safety awareness program they are hosting, and every single dog that our family owns and you pretty much have the stage for the event.

Grain safety is not one I think about often, honestly, but it can be a deadly hazard if someone were to get trapped in its quicksand. Most common occasions would be if the grain is exiting the bin and would bridge creating an air pocket. If someone were to enter the top of bin when the pocket collapses, the grains move rapidly, engulfing the victim, and without a miracle, the victim would suffocate.

There are so many stories of children in gravity wagons, farmers entering grain bins, etc when the results are deadly.

I stayed to watch the event because Em said it was ok (I think she was just hoping I’d help reign in the unruly canines)

After everyone arrived, they had a brief meeting going over the agenda for the morning- assigning different jobs to different members. The TV crew also referenced their goal with this program- to heighten awareness that grain storage is NOT a big sandbox for children to play in. The one lady mentioned that they would love an interview with a grain entrapment survivor. At this point everyone looked awkwardly at their shoes, and mentioned a few names of bereaved families, but no survivors. I’m sure there are success stories, but trapped in grainy quicksand is a very serious thing.

The session began then with everyone heading to the emergency vehicles and pulling out all sorts of apparatus. Air tanks and safety cables were among the equipment ready for use.

My sisters and I stood on the sidelines and alternated between watching the training and watching my dad. Father (who has an allergic reaction to news reporters of any sort) was unloading soybeans into another bin at our storage facility and somehow the one camera guys started following him. I’m guessing that reporter had never witnessed a pair of crocs in such high gear as Father rushed back and forth between the graintruck and the bin before roaring out the lane 🙈

Finally everything was ready and I assumed the climax would be when they retrieved the dummy from the bin. It was a little bit of a let down when they unceremoniously heaved it from the entrance of the bin and left it in a crumpled heap on the ground. (Em said “what did you expect them to do with a dummy? Backboard it? Start an IV? CPR”)

I don’t know wether they considered the day a success or not. But it certainly gave me food for thought. Basically the message is clear. Do NOT enter a grain facility that you are unfamiliar with. Make sure safety is first. Think ahead. Avoid death.

And really this is true in more areas than grain handling. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The choices that we make today may very well lead us into a grain avalanche that will effect our eternal destiny. Think ahead. Avoid death.

Also don’t be afraid to share your story. I found this quote while looking through my New England Lighthouse pics and it’s been challenging me ever since.

“The scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.”

Avoid death,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

I’m finally the “white sheep of the family” 🙈

New England 🍁

For 8 days, my van sailed the New England States/ Maritime Provinces’ shores.

It faithfully hiked the White Mountains and trucked through the Appalachian mountains on the return.

It does not seem at all bothered by the task. The captain however, is ready to be off duty for a bit.

But what a time we had. If you asked me to describe our time with one word-it would be this: FULL.

Full of education:

The Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts provided lots of hands on info of life Pre-Civil War.

The Apple samples were interesting, but I think I’ll stick with Gala Apples 😜 these were all so tart.

We were so excited to get in on the cranberry festival hosted by A.D. Makepeace Farms. Notice the girls in the background trying their hand at running the machinery gathering the berries to market as whole berries.

Another form of harvest is flooding the bog and “vacuuming” up the berries. These go to be crushed for jelly and juice, etc.

The privileged of entering the bog was the icing on the cake.

Full of opposites:

Portland Head Lighthouse

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

Village at Peggy’s Cove

We enjoyed our time at the sea. The Rocky Coast is indeed beautiful.

The Mountains were ablaze with color. I will admit to be a naysayer the whole way up into Maine “I can’t fathom what all the fuss is about this foliage. We have leaves this pretty at home.” But then darkness fell and we traveled a few more hours north and woke up to a gorgeous world. I take back my former statement.

Full of Laughter:

Here is our jolly group along the Cabot Trail. There was always some minor or major scenario going on- whether it was retrieving quills from a porcupine roadkill or learning to properly eat a lobster. I love these ladies.

(This is the preferred way of eating lobster if you ask me- a Lobster Roll)

“Anne of Green Gables” audiobook added lots of laughter to our travels as well as refreshed the story in our minds in preparation for our visit to Prince Edward Island. I wonder what Anne would’ve named these mushrooms growing along Lovers Lane?

These farmers were dodging raindrops trying to harvest carrots 🥕 There were a number of stray carrots along the side of the road. And we laughed as we gleaned the opportunity to taste the fruits of the harvest. 🐰

Full of Tears:

Full is an exaggeration. But the graves of a few of the Titanic victims laid out in the shape of the ship’s helm left a very somber feel. There were a surprising number of graves that are unidentified. Mother cried as she read the words of “Nearer My God to Thee” on the grave of the Captain’s son. (This is the song reportedly played by the band as the Titanic sank)

Full of Rain:

It poured so often on our travels. But we felt God’s care when the rains ceased each time we needed to be outside the protection of the van 🙂 this especially happened at Hopewell Cape. This portion of the Bay of Fundy had intense tides. We visited during floor access. In a matter of hours the tide will rise to within a foot of the top the arch.

Lobster Pots and Lobster boats awaiting high tide 🙂

Full of Sun:

Reversing Falls at St Johns at Sunset 😍

I fell in love with birch trees and their gold leaves in the bright blue sky.

Full of Wild Life:

A bull and cow moose on the Cabot Trail

So many wild turkeys

Full of Culture:

Dairy farmer on Cape Breton Island

So many house/barn complexes en route

The pastor of a VT church was a friend of several of these ladies, and he gave the chance to climb the belfry and listen to this bell toll 6 pm.

Full of personal records:

The Windsor-Cornish bridge spans from New Hampshire to Vermont. When I crossed into VT, I officially visited my 47th US State.

Praise to the One who creates Beauty in all things, who allows me such privileges as exploring this great land, for allowing my Mother to join me 😅 and for providing for us over and over again on this trip.

Jordan Pond, Acadia NP

Blessings,

Kendra

The Kill

I stopped by my friends house to swap tales. “Can I get you something to drink?” She asked

“Please anything with caffeine” I replied with a yawn. “I had quite the hunt this morning”

And then because she didn’t stop me-I launched into all the gory details of my early morning:

I was all prepared for the adventure long before the sun rose. I must’ve gotten comfortable and drifted off because I awoke with a start.

shuffle shuffle shuffle” “CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH

I sat bolt upright and grabbed the weapon that was carefully by my side. Complete silence. I waited.

“shuffle shuffle shuffle” “CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH”

As I moved into position, small beady eyes reflected back at me. With lightning speed I closed the gap between me and that beaver like mouse and using my shoe, I did the deed, bagged a trophy 🐭 and attempted to return to my bed and peaceful slumbers ASAP. I’m not kidding when I say “wake me up at your own risk”

Our house has been wonderfully mouse free ever since we moved 2 years ago. But I’ve noticed with a sinking heart the unwelcome footsteps in the wall behind my bed.

Two nights after the initial hunt, another wood cutting mouse tried to saw through my bedroom door looking for an escape. This mouse was quicker than my infuriated shoe, and had quite the cardio workout the next morning as he shot in and out of furniture while my mom and I- each armed with a shoe- tried unsuccessfully to corner him and give him a speedy ride across that rainbow bridge to never never land. The chase ended when he scaled up a flower pot and disappeared into the self watering part in the bottom. A T-shirt got stuffed in the hole he disappeared into and the plant got watered. And watered. And watered.

Apparently when the furnace men installed the new unit last spring, they opened up a hole on the wall and hadn’t closed it before they left. A can of “Great Stuff” hopefully secured that entrance permanently, leaving me to smash the remaining company in the last few scrimmages…

At this point I paused in the middle of my bragging-confident in my ability to be a mouse killer. (Who are we kidding- you never get the upper hand on mice 🙄)

My friend had listened to my wild tales laughing at the appropriate intervals. And then she opened her mouth and effortlessly trumped my story:

It was early morning, and mom woke up with a start- conscious of a presence in her bedroom. And alarmed at the little feet scampering under her nose.

“David!” (name changed to protect the innocent) “ Wake up! I’m pretty sure a mouse just ran across me!”

“Oh he ran across me too” said the sleepy voice from the other side of the bed “and used my arm as a fireman’s pole to exit the bed.”

Sleep was out of the question with such a circus, so Mr and Mrs David got up and put coffee on to watch the rest of the world awaken.

That same unwelcome presence came seeping into the coffee party and they spied their alarm clock silently watching from the corner of the room.

King David picked up a slingshot that the boys had dropped by his LaZboy, grabbed a piece of saltwater taffy and hit the giant in the head and the giant came tumbling down.

If you come to visit me and you notice a big bag of salt water taffy on my nightstand-don’t judge- I may just be expanding my artillery-ready for the next battle. 😂

Be blessed,

Kendra the Mighty Hunter 🐭

Bonus pic:

Occasionally we have a little craft night tradition. Thanks Pinterest for the inspiration and Book Savers for the .10 book for recycling… I’m so excited with this pumpkin harvest 😅

Hey Florence

Hey Florence

I know we haven’t met, but I have a pretty strong opinion about you. This year has been a challenge already-trying to dodge rainy days and still feed the world in a timely fashion. Stressful but good-the crops that are almost ready to harvest look promising. I’m so excited and thankful for my second crop beans by the river… They really aren’t interested in a swim.

You’ve gotten our attention with your threats of strong winds and double digit rain. There’s a somber tone in the voice of the farmers as they beg us to brave their muddy fields to secure their harvest before your arrival. This isn’t a game.

But then I’m reminded that this isn’t between me and you. I know Someone who can calm waves on command, and just remembering that fact calms the storm in my heart.

It will be ok. Thanks for reminding me where I place my trust. #hurricaneflorence #trustgod #harvest18 #johndeere

Savoring Working for the Beast of Harvest

Most days you’ll find me with my faithful tractor flying over the river and thru the woods between the field and the farm. We hurry to catch the cutter, and usher a couple million pieces of processed corn silage safely to storage. We fall in line behind the cart in front of us. The chopper hesitates for a few seconds, the cart in front of me rolls out, and we fall in stride with the machine, while it loads my cart.

I love watching our John Deere Forage Harvester work. Some days I imagine that it is a beast with insatiable hunger. I watch as the helpless rows of corn fall prey to its ravaging appetite. This beast munches it’s away across the field, leaving only corn stubble in its wake, and with the same desperate hunger moves to the next field.

Sometimes I wonder if the Harvest itself is the actual beast. Using sweet charm to lure us into the game, we excitedly follow. She proceeds to shower us with beautiful sunsets, bright skies, rainbows and appreciative farmers and has us so addicted to her ways-we scarcely notice that we are skipping meals and working day and night. The adrenaline keeps us and our machinery running at maximum capacity and we blindly, deliriously follow at Harvest’s beck and call.

But usually I see the entire process as a grand orchestra. The cutter sets the pace of the music- my tractor joins the tune- even the sound of my safety chains slapping the cornstalks adds to the melody. It is beautiful song.

As Harvest rushes by, I just want to hit pause. I want to watch the rain wait to move across the farm until after we unload the last load of silage. I want to “enjoy” hearing my dad’s version of “here I sit like a bird in the wilderness” every time he has to wait on a cart. I want to relish lathering on more sunscreen because the day is a cooker. I want to bless my mom and the other faithful ladies who send delicious food to the fields right at meal time. I want to grin and throw silage when I meet my sisters in the field and to take lots of pics even if it drives the men on the crew to distraction. I want to savor the whirlwind of these days.

Because tomorrow isn’t promised. And seasons change so fast.

Whatever season you’re in-take the time to savor. These are good days.

Be Blessed,

Kendra

Bonus Pic:

This week held a red letter day for KJ and Em 🙂 I stopped by their new chicken house for 10 minutes as the chicks arrived and got chased by a chicken 🙄 I can handle them at this size tho 😜

End of Summer Snippets

The following is a random assortment of end of summer snippets. I’m admittedly sad over the dearly departing summer… but I guess I need to take the advice from the sunflower (see below).

Enjoy,

Kendra

Advice from a sunflower:

Be rooted

Keep your face towards the sun and let the shadows fall away

Bloom where you’re planted

Spread cheer

Share what you have with those in need- even the poor goldfinch deserves some seed

Take pleasure in the present season

-credits to my dear mother

A Harvester’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, this morning as I take my spot in the crew lineup and we embark on #fallharvest18 , I come before you with a smile on my face and a prayer on my heart. Go with us this season, Lord, and provide: Patience when the sun is hot, the field is muddy, or the job is intense. Strength when the day runs into night and seems to stretch endlessly on. Grace when differing opinions arise, we make mistakes, or we’ve heard that same joke 1000 times before. Help us to glorify You. Thank you for this time of year, the chance to enjoy Your beautiful creation and for the privilege of working the land with some of my favorite people. Please keep us safe. Be near to each of us who are part of Your Crew whether we pursue a literal or a spiritual harvest, that at the end of that final Harvest Season, we can hear those words “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter in and find rest”. In Jesus’ Worthy Name I pray, Amen

And finally- a poem from my childhood:

Barefoot Days– Rachel Field

In the morning, very early,

That’s the time I love to go

Barefoot where the fern grows curly

And the grass is cool between each toe,

On a summer morning – O!

On a summer morning!

That is when the birds go by

Up the sunny slopes of air,

And each rose has a butterfly

Or a golden bee to wear;

And I am glad in every toe –

Such a summer morning – O!

Such a summer morning!

Bonus Pic:

I went trucking with my dad for the first time in way too long. We had such a fun trek to North Carolina with a load of soybeans. Although a lot has changed since the days he always had a daughter or two riding with him- a lot remains the same- he still bursts forth in the most random assortments of songs, drinks Diet Mtn Dew like it’s going out of style, and keeps a well stocked snack bar within reach. 💞