Jeeze Louise it’s cold.

Well if that’s what everyone else is talking about, then I might as well chime in.

Cold cold cold. Talking almost 50 below with the wind chill tomorrow. I don’t like it one bit.

Country Man bought me a fancy latte-maker for Christmas, in good timing since our coffee maker broke yesterday. I need to order one ASAP.

While I will be gripping a cozy Grandma-sent mug to stay warm, Country Man will turn the heater on in his shed to keep the rest of the crew comfortable.

See? They have no idea it’s freezing out there.

Where are you? What is your weather doing?

I hope wherever you are that you are warm & happy.

~~~~

Ps. Wanted to say a big thank you for the outpouring of love you gave on the last post. You are all so wonderful.

 

A Journey Called Infertility

I always wanted a natural birth.

From the moment we decided to start trying all those years ago, I had a plan. It would go such and such a way, because that’s the mode life works, you know?

A natural birth, an opportunity to demonstrate my strength, a metaphor for the transition from girl to woman, from caterpillar to butterfly.

So we began to try, and oh, did we try. And when each try ended in failure, our hearts broke a little more and we rested our weary head on wet pillows, sometimes together, sometimes not.

To describe this time of pain is difficult, because it’s so completely personal and most people only half-listen but are fully ready to answer with an optimistic solution that only amplifies the loneliness of this journey.

It can’t fully be understood by those who don’t know it for themselves.

Two people in love, too much love for one another that they urge to let it spill over onto something they’ve created together, something pink and wrinkly that smells of heaven. And they can’t do it…

A pain so life changing.

However, while this journey does not define us entirely, it has changed us, me, so much I hardly recognize the person before. It has changed me for the good, and that was a daily choice,  oftentimes a battle.

The reason I share this is because someone reading might need this, and because infertility is a condition with no need of shame.

And if I want to keep this blog going, I have to be willing to share the unpleasantness. A year of vulnerability, perhaps.

If you know someone going through this, they need your listening ear, kind heart, and empathy… no pity, no advice. That’s what everyone needs, I’ve come to realize.

Thanks for reading! And Happy New Year. May it bring renewed hope and wonder.

D & D Designs Shop Christmas Code

Country Man & I have been busy bodies as we plan for many upcoming events, including a vacation away from the cold part of the earth. Can’t. Wait.

So I wanted to mention that we have a few things left in our Etsy shop. If you’re still looking for a Christmas gift idea for that special someone, check out these babies!

Antler Letter Opener

Antler Letter Opener

Wine Rack

Antler Back Scratcher

Antler Back Scratcher

We don’t currently have a wine rack listed, but can custom make them as requested. This one up here is going to my sister, who thinks she wants one though her wine never last long enough to display it.

Use the coupon code “HOLIDAY2013″ to receive an extra 15% off your purchase.

Hope you’re having a great week!

More Farm Kitties

I can’t get enough of these mice eaters.

So when someone found a weaned fall kitten in a neighboring farm – detailing kitty’s sad and certain fate if left there – and looked to us, we took the meowing newbie home.

farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty farm kitty

Isn’t he the sweetest? I think we’ll keep him.

On a new topic, anyone put their tree up yet? We’ve had ours up for a while now. I think I am making up for not putting one up last year.

 

Other featured farm cats:

Gray Kitty
Black Kitty

Or, click the animal tag. Sure to see a lot there.

Pepper of the Earth

I’m a Midwestern gal. Have been since the morning I squeezed red-faced through my momma & into this world.

We’re often referred to as the “salt of the earth” people, give ya a firm handshake, never in too much of a hurry to pass up a weather status exchange.

Trustful, reliable, hard-working.

South Dakota gal's husband

And, we are, for the most part. We really are.

South Dakota dog

But sometimes, I also know that’s not the whole story. It’s not the entire experience. I need the truth.

The truth is, while salty people can be found next door, there is also lies the pepper of depression. Just look and you’ll see it.

There is also liberalism (gasp!). Just go east of this conservative state and you’ll find it. Or the west. Or the middle.

The truth is, the nonreligious speckle the plains and are growing, finding their footing in a world that tells them they don’t belong.

We’re a people of the cold winters and hot summers, of corn stalks and half-decent coffee. 

We’re a people who don’t buy the school-taught Thanksgiving story because we see the pilgrimage aftermath with our own eyes.

We’re slow to change, maybe slow to accept, but quick to welcome neighbors into our homes.

Yes, we’re a mostly salty bunch… but if you look hard, you’ll see pepper scattered about, too. And that makes it worth sticking around.

Happy Halloweenie!

Happy Halloween! I’m early, oh well. What are you planning for this ghoulish November’s eve?

Last year we drove to Deadweird, an event full of creative costumes and detailed artwork. After being there, I don’t know what’s scarier… the costumes, or how well people get into their character.

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle…

Due to combining, we have to skip this year’s weirdo night and instead I will be hanging out with my pups. If we’re lucky, we’ll get one trick-or-treating family, but that’s about it. Just me and the animals and a bag of Snickers.

Batwoman and Dog

Also, Country Man’s birthday was yesterday. I mentioned a while back I am working at a coffee shop part-time, and that also includes lots of baking. So with the help of a cake decorating pro, I made him a cake. I am such a Crocker. Is that how you say it?

Happy Birthday, My Love

See? It’s a picture of Old Dog carrying an antler.

So… what are your plans? Talk to me.

Lonely farmer’s wife, over and out.

well hello

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.
– Ancient Roman Epitaph

It would be nice if I could filter death, compartmentalize the reminder of mortality and pain and move on. Instead, it seems to stay with me, whispering the images in my mind, creating a mental scene that I hope is worse than the truth.

So when the cattle died out west, and I drove past them on the interstate, their bodies lying against the fence, one with her head against the wood post leading her nose to the sky, I couldn’t stop, I just had to drive.

I thought of their fear and confusion as they traveled with the wind, and wished more than anything for a Superman to come down and put Mother Nature in her place.

That is why I haven’t blogged about it. I am eternally unforgiving of random senselessness.

~~~

You know what else has been going on in this girl’s world? Combining.

South Dakota combining

Lots and lots of combining.

Also, gardening.

Lots and lots of gardening.

I dug up a row of sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and carrots this weekend. So much dirt goodness.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Halloween. I am loving the nostalgia it brings. Talk to you soon.

We Made National News

“We” as in South Dakota. That doesn’t happen often, so you know it’s serious.

We’ve had some crazy wild weather these past few days, west river receiving a mixture of heavy rain turned snow combined with powerful winds that the unwinterized trees couldn’t support, causing many to break and fall over. My Mom said 80% of her trees are down.

I will be going out there next week with my camera to document the damage, so I will update with pictures then. I don’t want to see it, really, because those trees are as much part of my childhood as the three girls who lived down the trail from us.

Until then, let me tell you about apple butter.

apples

Apple butter is deliciously simple to create. We hand-picked tart apples from our tree, the one Country Man’s grandparents planted some 30 years ago.

apples

The Quick How-To
Wash and slice them, and then mix the apples and spices in the slow cooker.

apples

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, less if you use smaller apples like ours. Once the apples are softened, you can easily mash them with a fork.

apples

You can refrigerate the entire batch for up to three weeks, or do what I did and hot water bathe them. I placed them into pint jars, twisted the lids on, and gently plopped the butter in a pot of boiling water on the stove top for 40 minutes. Take out and let cool. You should hear the *pop* of the lids as they seal.

apple butter

Apple butter on the right

Full Recipe {found here}:

12 medium Granny Smith or other cooking apples, peeled and cut into fourths
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Enjoy!

Buffalo calf won’t you come out today, come out today…

We have a new addition on the farm, and he goes by the name Dexter.

My father-in-law bought him, most likely with my niece and nephew in mind in order to share a world with them they don’t see much of in Idaho.

Dexter is a connector, and he’s completely unaware of that fact that his photo is texted and posted and admired.

He and the steer calf are roommates, and while the fat steer runs to me in search of a handout, the buffalo calf sits back observing, shy and watchful of the creatures on the other side of the fence.

buffalo-dexter-shy

The buffalo has a skeptical nature, perhaps due to an ancestry filled with being speared down and chased off cliffs, to be used as food and clothing and supplies.

The steer calf seems naively unaware of such a life as he chases me around the fence and bites my shoes.

Dexter reminds me of the movie Radio Flyer, a childhood favorite of my sister’s and mine. There is a scene when a large buffalo appears to a young Elijah Wood and speaks to him, giving him direction in his challenging life.

Are all buffalo so wise? And can they secretly talk? Hmm…

Anyway, I will keep you updated on his life as he grows. The photos will become more distant, most likely, but we’ll see.

Happy Sunday from the farm!