Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Choppity, Chop, Chop

Choppity, Chop, Chop
Choppity. Chop, Chop
Look at our semis go!
Choppity, Chop, Chop
Choppity, Chop, Chop
Over the fields we've grown!
Sorry, I really couldn't resist. That little song popped into my head at about 11 P.M. when I was laying in bed waiting for my farmer to come home and then I decided I was starving and got out of bed to make him and I a midnight snack of eggs and sausage.
Yes, sometimes we eat our meals together at midnight. It's the farmer way of life.
So, in case you didn't get it from my little rhyme we are in the fields! And it feels beautiful to be there. The weather has been just about perfect for me (remember all my hormones are raging!) so I am loving the coolness of the temps. Although, we could have done without the light frost some received in our area a few nights ago. And I am guessing out in western South Dakota where it snowed last week, they very easily could have done without that.
We are a few weeks into chopping corn silage. That's where the entire corn stalk gets ground up into tiny pieces. We use every part of the plant, except the roots, for feeding our cattle through the winter. 
We start chopping when the corn plant is just starting to turn. You can cut corn silage later in the life cycle- when the plant itself is more brown, but it will yield about 30% less than a younger crop. 
Since the corn plant is still alive when it's chopped it's still producing carbon dioxide and heat. Once we chop the silage and pack it into our feed bunk we tarp our pile down and get out all the air. It seals  up nice and tight so that the plant essentially stops breathing. The corn silage begins to ferment. It takes about three weeks to fully ferment.
And this makes the perfect feed for our cattle!
Back in 2011 I made this video. But the process of chopping corn silage is still the same on our farm. 
It feels good to be in the fields, but it isn't any fun in our house right now...we are all fighting colds, allergies, and ear infections. But, harvest is moving smoothly so far!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Little Baseball Player

For the first time in a few years we were finally able to make it up to the cities over the weekend to go to a Minnesota Twins game and to visit with friends. 

We had a great weekend and Ellie was super, super excited when we told her we were going to go to a baseball game. She loves sitting with Daddy on the couch and watching baseball. 

So, it's safe to say she had a really great time at the game! It was pretty hot, well- really hot, so we got lots of cold treats for her to enjoy and she was already asking the next day if we were going to another baseball game!

If our tiny girl follows in her Mommy's footsteps she will play softball and if she follows in her Daddy's she will love baseball. Both would be lots of fun for our family!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sweet Corn Time

It seems that the sweet corn season is well underway, in some places nearly at its finish.

A few weeks ago I finally bit the bullet on a rainy week day and started doing my sweet corn!

Ellie and I went down to the sweet corn patch in our rain gear and started picking. Then her Pop Pop came and got her and let her ride in the truck while he hauled corn. 

But, I managed to get over 150 ears of corn. That is a whole lot of picking! I only used about 120 for freezing and then I gave away or grilled the rest of the sweet corn. 

I didn't do a play by play this year. I just buckled down and started working. It took a bit of time this year, I did it on my own and my hands were super numb by the end from my electric knife. 

But, if you are looking for a really nice summer treat in the middle of winter here is my step by step from last year. I suggest stocking up now! A good half days of work will give you corn all winter long!

This is our sweet corn patch. The short stuff in the front is the sweet corn, the green tips you see at the very top is actually our field corn in the back. 

I spent about an hour picking over 100 ears of corn while our daughter napped. I brought the pick up and lots of old tubs to store the corn until I could get home to start shucking. 

Since my daughter was still napping when I got home I stood outside and shucked all the corn, I threw all the husks in our feed bunks for a treat for our cattle behind the house. 

I then brought them inside a little at a time and lined them up on the counter. 

I started boiling two pots of water. Keep a few large measuring cups on hand because the more you boil the more water will evaporate out and you will have to add more. 

I put five ears in each pot, so ten total, and boiled for about 6 to 8 minutes. 

I then transferred them from the pots to my kitchen sink that was filled with ice cold water, to blanch them...or stop the cooking process. My kitchen sink was scrubbed clean before I filled it with ice cold water. 

Once the ears were cool I transferred them to the counter in a pan and my husband started the cutting. We used an electric knife to shave off, which I used last time, but a the new tip is adding this bundt pan underneath. It has the perfect spot to sit the corn to shave off into the pan. 

Have a place to discard the ears. 

And once your bundt pan is filled dump it into a bigger bowl. 

I then put about a cup and a half into regular sandwich baggies and laid them flat for freezing. My 100 plus ears of corn should give us enough sweet corn for one bag a week for the next year! 

This is such a simple process it's perfect to stop at your local farmer's market and pick up a couple dozen, or ten dozen, and make an evening of it like we did! It was a perfect, fun little date night after our daughter went to bed!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

IVF: Is It Over Yet? (Part 7)

I promised a post earlier this week to give an update on what's been going on with our IVF run. 

If you are just joining in on our journey start with these posts first! 

Well, it seems as if my body just isn't cooperating. At all. 

I left off with being the crabbiest person in our house, and I still am, but I can finally, finally see the light at the end of the tunnel- and so can my farmer, which he is ever so thankful for. 

For the last month I have gone to the doctor every Wednesday to have an ultrasound and blood drawn. The blood test to see where my estrogen levels are (which is really, really, really high!) and the ultrasound to see how thick my uterine lining is. 

Essentially, I take this shot every day that keeps my body in menopause, which I have told you before. It's basically keeping me from ovulating completely. And then I am adding all these female hormones to make my body also think it's pregnant. When you are pregnant your uterine lining gets thicker, so that is what we have been waiting for all this time. 

It has taken me longer than the doctor expected for my uterine lining to thicken up. Which isn't common- but hey, we have established in our family I don't like to do things the expected way! 

And, the really hard part was they cut all caffeine out of my diet. If any of you know me personally  you know how much I love Coke. Seriously love. And I partially blame Elliette because when I was pregnant with her that was the only thing that kept me from getting sick. And the habit kind of stuck with me. And needless to say migraines have now been added to my crabbiness. Which you can imagine. However, I have decided that I have a problem. But, I already knew that and knowingly admit it. But, I am starting to feel better and I am seriously considering giving up caffeine indefinitely. Considering, no promises! 

But, it's finally close enough for them to move forward with the embryo transfer...

Yep! It's finally time! 

I am going to allow myself a little bit of privacy and not tell you what day the transfer will be. I hope you don't mind!

But, please know that...

Yes, that is a  pile of chocolate...I am trying to hide it from Ellie...It didn't work.
Which is a really, really wonderful feeling. 

The last few weeks our church has been studying the book of James. A Christian's "How-To" book. I have read the book before and have been taught it's lessons throughout my life. 

But, the last few weeks when I wanted to completely be very un-Christian like it has really helped me to get back to the basics. This process has been hard, not just on me, but nearly everyone in our lives. There have been times I have wanted to go into my bedroom kicking and screaming and I have found myself crying and screaming in frustration. 

But, it has shown me now, more than ever, how important it is to put God's desires at the center of our lives and to keep him in focus through our planning. And every trip to the doctor. 

More than ever I have learned the last six months that instead of praying for God to take the troubles away, I instead pray for what he wants me to learn. 

Trials teach us perseverance. It is easy to be a Christian when your life is going well, but it's even harder to trust in him when things are going horribly wrong, or just not the way you planned.

I have gotten so many messages and emails from many of my blog followers struggling with the same battle that I am. And please know that I list each of you in my prayers and will continue to pray for you and the desires of your heart. 

As hard as my trials have been I continue to remember James 1:2 & 3- "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: What I've Been Up To

The last few days I have been working for my Dad. Yes, even though he lives in Indiana he can still put me to work 12 hours away! 

I am working on setting up his social media and also revamping his website. I will be sure to share all the links when I am finished. We use all my Dad's furniture on our deck and we love it! Remember when he came to do our deck a few years back!? We also purchased some pieces of furniture to go with it and plan on purchasing again in the future!

In between I am cooking meals and getting ready for Harvest! Which is just around the corner...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Family Photos Farmer Style

Before we hopefully add Baby #2 to our family it was time for some updated family photos. And also time for some new PR photos. So both went hand in hand perfectly! 

I have shared a few here and there on social media, but I wanted to share a few more of my favorite shots from the day!

Thanks to Greg Latza for some beautiful family shots and for having so much fun with us! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

IVF, We Have a Love/Hate Relationship (Part 6)

In case you are just joining in on our fertility journey see my previous posts for the entire story!

I left off the last time how we had 7 embryos that we sent off for further testing, to hopefully give us some answers!
Well, while we waited I started up on birth control again to get my body ready to implant an embryo. Which means a whole new regimen of medicine and a whole new slew of side effects. 
At my baseline appointment, which is basically for the doctor to get a starting point of my blood work and also what my uterus looks like, I also had a chance to finally sit down with the geneticist and discuss what our embryo's test results looked like. 
Which is so very fascinating to me. I have had some genetics courses in college so it was pretty simple for me to understand all the terms, but still so far above me that someone can look at each embryo at the molecular level and tell us what exactly is wrong. 
We had three embryos that tested perfectly normal, which is amazing! And a really great number to have!
Our other embryos tested abnormal or no result. Now the one that tested no result means that they just weren't able to determine if the embryo is normal or abnormal.
The other embryos that tested abnormal were missing some of their DNA. I was able to look at a chart of a DNA strand and see exactly what chromosome was abnormal, meaning part of that chromosome was missing. When things like that happen that is when birth defects are most prominent- if the embryo survives to a live birth. 
We were told that if those embryos had been implanted there is a chance we could have had a late term miscarriage or had a baby with severe birth defects. However, miscarriages tend to happen because our bodies are trying to tell us that something is not normal with the embryo, so our chances of miscarriage would have been very high. 
So, out of our seven we have our three normal embryos sitting and waiting for us, just five or six days old. Well, waiting for my body to get ready for them. 
Oh, and I also know how many are boys and how many are girls. Yep, you definitely read that right. They are able to tell us what sex the embryos are. Well, they told me, my farmer doesn't want to know. So, I won't tell him. At first I wondered if it was even morally right for me know. But, after everything my body has gone through I needed something positive, and I tell you what, I was on that high for at least two days. The high of knowing we have three healthy embryos and knowing the possibility of what our family could look like. 
Oh, and I can also pick which embryo I want implanted. So, essentially I could choose the sex of our next child...
Isn't that absolutely crazy? Where science is today? 
Because we chose to have further testing on the embryos our geneticists tells us that our chances of having a baby at the end of this process are even higher. And that is another thing that is so positive and so heart warming and definitely kept my mood at bay for a few days as well. 
Because these new meds I am on? Ohhhhh goodness. 
I am pretty sure that the things that are being said in my head should never be uttered out loud. Ever. And I know that, and I have sheltered myself from most people because I don't want my negativity rubbing off on them, or for me to say something irrational. Or mean. Or hateful. So, if I haven't reached out to you in awhile...its because I am the worst company ever. 
But, it has really meant a lot to me when people reach out to me. So, thank you. Because those are bright spots in my day. 
Other than being the crabbiest person in our house right now, I am also gaining weight quicker than our two year old, who can nearly out eat me. It is seriously the most depressing thing in the world to get on the scale twice a week at the doctor's office and just watch the numbers go up. I am doing my best to keep thinking of the end result, but it really sucks gaining weight and there not even be a good reason yet. 
So, crabbier and getting fatter....both are totally normal and my wonderful doctor tells me that unfortunately this is the hardest stage of the IVF process for most, and some women make it to this point and decide they just can't do it anymore and quit. 
She asked me how I was feeling about moving forward. And there is no way I can stop. I see an end date in site. I see three embryos perfectly normal. And I see our family growing. 
So, for now I will keep up my prayers and will focus on His love and what he has planned for our family. Because even though He has blessed us with three normal embryos, he may not intend for our family to grow at all. And that is okay too. Because he did bless us with our adorable little girl who everyday makes me thank the Lord for making me her Mommy.