This has been a week of harvest. We started picking corn last Friday, and one week later we are still working toward completion. The corn is not the best. This was the second year of drought and we just didn't get rains when we needed them. Still, a harvest and we are grateful.
As the girls get older I am able to be in the field more helping Luke. It is nice to be more a part of what we do for a living.
This is us. A farm family half way through wheat harvest. A long harvest. A hard harvest. In September my husband drilled wheat into dry ground. We planted in the dust with prayers for rain. No other options because this is what we do. 100% of our income is from agriculture, from this farm.
And the snows never really came.
This is a drought year, and not the first. The US Department of Agriculture puts us in extreme to exceptional drought conditions. That means there is no moisture in the soil, not even really down deep, to grow plants. We are totally dependent on rainfall and folks, what we've had isn't cutting it. Low wheat yields, the millet's not doing well, and unless timely rains come corn harvest will be poor. Y'all if this was the 20's it would be a dust bowl. It's a testament to how responsible farmers are and how far soil conservation has come that its not.
And how do you raise kids with this weight on your shoulders. How do we hide that we're worried? Or are we just honest? I don't know. There's no parenting books for it. Luke and I just are honest, and we ask them to pray. They know it's dry. And we smile and we laugh and we celebrate because at least there is a harvest. It could be so much worse, and for farms far south of here it is. Also, let's be honest. Our life is pretty good. There's just that niggly little thought in the back of your head, "how many dry years can we take"?
Still, harvest rolls on. 8 more quarters, or about 1200 acres left to cut. And then we'll be done with this dry year. Just millet and corn left. And hopefully some good rains. I always tell Luke, next year we'll have so much wheat the bins will bust. It's my job, to keep being optimistic. And to pour the whiskey.
The world seems that way lately. The Treyvon thing, the 51st state movement (which I am down with by the way, I love Colorado but I disagree with so much of what they have done here lately), crazy. Repbulicans and Democrats don't just disagree but flat out hate each other. People profess to be Christian but spew hate and somehow being a Christian is considered close minded and bad... The world is on a decline. And I honestly feel I'm probably too white, too middle class, too middle America to weigh in. It's like there's always someone out there more ethnic than me so they understand better, they've traveled, done more, they're more worldly.
And then me. An Irish/Italian girl from Colorado who went to college, married a farmer and is raising children, and loves Jesus. I'm a stay at home mom for gosh sakes. I know about laundry detergent and Pinterest. I'll admit, I live in a bit of a bubble. I got nothin'. Except I'm over it.
I'm over the news.
Over the hate.
Over the people who tear everyone else down.
I'm over the name calling, the trash talking.
Over the arguing, the fighting.
Over the black, white, polka dot.
I'm over the drought, the low yeilds, the high food prices.
Over the Monsanto thing.
In just skimming an article (not the one I linked) about the 51st state movement in Colorado we were referred to as hicks in these rural counties. Really? Have you ever met a farmer? We're wearing designer jeans and driving SUV's you can't afford. And living in nicer houses than you too if we want to get down to brass tacks. But we're rural, so we're hicks. And if I'm for self defense I'm a racist, and if I'm pro-life I'm a closed minded person wanting to push women back 100 years. It's awful.
I don't get it. It makes me sad. I try very hard not to pass judgment on others. I love me some Jewish people. Some Democrats. Some *gasp* city dwellers. Some Hispanics and African Americans. Actually, I really love those Hispanics. Those people know how to LIVE. And its our differences that make it fun to know them. I appreciate a good debate if I'm not called stupid for my beliefs.
It's sad times, and it's crazy. I worry a little about the world I leave for my daughters. I'm sort of relieved my precious one isn't in it. It's just crazy....
There's Sarah, thrilled. Eva... not so much. Sarah: impulsively charging ahead. Eva: suggesting perhaps we stop and think this through. And Daddy was right there. They were on a giant inflatable turtle in two feet of lake water. Cannot stop laughing at this.
Sarah is impulsive, ruled by feelings. She's a needer. She needs cuddled, read to. She needs ice water, and help washing her hands, and putting on her undies, and a million other things she could do on her own but refuses to. Sometimes I loose my patience with that. Her neediness. Other times I eat it up because out of the girls she's the only one always up for a cuddle.
She's naughty as heck. She'll tell you, "now Mama, here's da troof..." and I know she's about to lie to me. She tattles and sasses and tries to act cool. She tells me I'm mean and bad. We've been reading a lot of Llama Llama Mad at Mama. She's way into princesses, and pink, purple, and turquoise. She loves Browned Butter Spaghetti and s'mores. She dislikes picking up any toy, ever. Even if it means I'll throw it away or hide it on top of the fridge she just. won't. do. it. Everrrr. She also would like to dye her hair pink.
Eva is not impulsive. Everything is weighed and calculated. If Sarah is 40% forethought 60% action Eva is the opposite. She asks you "hand, hand". She needs your assistance walking down the hallway. She takes 8 minuets to scoot down the basement stairs. She doesn't like high places. She fake cries like nobodies business. She looks and acts so stinkin' much like Marie its heart stopping sometimes. And I prayed that she look like her, so that we can tell her all about her sister and tell her you look just like her. To connect them, to give her something to cling to with this larger than life sister who lives with Jesus. Marie like a fairy tale to them. God took me pretty seriously. I got my prayer answered, twinsies.
Eva loves giving kisses, and Daddy, and "tack-tors" (tracktors), and her Cabbage Patch baby, and her blankets, and her papi (pacifier). She does not love the dog. He is supposed to stay far away always. If he gets to close she'll let him have it yelling "dit, dit" at the top of her lungs.
The crazy part is that now, with these third and fourth girls, I know they're going to be totally different people a month from now. Maybe Eva gets brave, maybe Sarah slows down. Maybe not...
Either way I love this picture, and the moment captured that shows exactly who they are, now.
I feel like I am beginning again. I have had so much to say, so many thoughts tangled in a soul for so long and haven't written them. I'm in another season I guess. I hate that, it sounds so angst-y. I hate angst. I don't want to be troubled, with issues, carrying baggage, all wrapped up in me. But, I am. I am some things I don't like.
Four years have passed since we moved to our new house. Four years and Rie was here when we came. Now three and half years she's walked in Heaven. Blows my frickin' mind. And three and half years of me learning who I am, who I want to be, that its okay if I'm different. Loosing a baby is a total mind fuck.
I've been soul searching, I've been out wandering and I think I'm beginning to know me. And I know what I want. One of those things is to continue this story of us. This family. I want to write it down because holy cow it's going fast.
So, a new beginning...
Hi, I am Shannon. I'm 33. No one ever uses my whole name. It's just Shan, and that's cool.
I am a Christian. Saved by a Lord who walked this earth and died for me and I don't deserve it. But I want to be good enough for Him. I was not raised in a church and my faith is a struggle and a choice every. single. day. Sometimes that pisses me off. It's cool, I'm forgiven. And I'm so grateful.
I have four daughters. Three walk with me, one walks with Jesus. That also pisses me off but it's okay. It is how it is and this rebel can't change it. I love each one like crazy and am so amazed by who they are and that they were trusted to me.
I'm married to Luke, father of the daughters. The farmer, the faithful one, the strong hands. He carries me. I saved me. Like, literally SAVED me. He pushed me to God when I didn't want him and took a wild girl and made her a wife. He's amazing. We have been together ten years, married nine.
I'm a Lutheran. I baptise my babies, you should too. Get over it.
My husband is a farmer. We're pro-GMO, not organic, although I guess I'm semi-crunchy in some ways. I'm also not politically correct. That used to make me insecure and I'd pretend to be to please people. I'm over that. We grow your food so that you don't starve. GMO's aren't chemicals they're genetics swapped between plants using science given by an awesome God. You can disagree if you want to, we're all entitled to an opinion just please don't push yours on me.
I'm a cook, and an artist though I use a lens instead of a brush more often these days. I'm impulsive, and passionate. I have a temper. I'm a work in progress.
For a long time I was Marie's mother, and that was what I did. I took care of her. There was nothing else to me than that. To be honest, I was too tapped out to be more. I had no outside interests. Her world and keeping it as good as I could was what all my effort went toward. In 2 1/2 short years it was over. The best days, over. But I still have good days. Most of them actually. Embracing joy because otherwise what's the frickin' point. And there's a million people out there talking about what it is to love a terminally ill child, to parent them. But not many talk about what it's like when that child is gone. And that's where I am. That's my reality every day. And I went through a period where I was ashamed of it, or hated that it defined me, or something. I could almost hear whispers "Oh that's Shannon, oh, her baby died". Or meeting new people and the dreaded "how many children do you have". And me with my steely eyes and my rebel heart defiantly saying "Four" when I obviously only have three at the time and they must wonder "what?". But I will not discount her or discredit her or stop talking about her and family and friends can just deal with that, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Because life is. Its' really uncomfortable. We just do the best we can.
And this is me. And this is a new beginning, on an old blog. And I'm going to be more honest. If I want to talk about fashion, or potty training, or rum recipes that's cool. And it doesn't make me less a person than I used to be when I was taking care of Rie and dealing with more serious stuff (I felt that for a long time, that I'm more shallow now or something). It is the time passing, and life changing, and it's okay.
I've been gone. Life has been happening at such a fast pace. Just soaking that up I guess, and watching these children grow.
I actually thought maybe I would be done with this blog, but I go back and read Josie's life and Marie's, and I want that for Sarah and Eva too. So the day to day, the recording that I've avoided... Maybe it's a good thing.
And they are getting big! Seventeen months now and naughty as all get out. But she's sweet and my baby and I adore her.
My big girl had a birthday. She's nine now.
And this girl, still the blessing that pulls me forward.