Season for appreciation and thanks

Turkey Day will soon be here.  What are you most thankful for?  Is it the meal, the family, or the planning of Black Friday? Ron and I did that years ago and we swore to each other we’d never do it again.  What chaos! I’m looking forward to pumpkin pie, and my sister in laws cream corn, which I hate all creamed corn, but hers, I don’t know what she does…its delicious!
Here’s what I’m thank full for.  This crazy life we live. Imagine when everyone flies the coop…I’ll be so bored! We’re torn about football being over-sad that its over because it’s fun, but happy to move inside for basketball…the cold doesn’t get easier on an old lady’s bones!
We’ve been busy as bees here at the Fairchild Ranchero.  Levi ended up breaking his hand in the football game against Olivia (of course it was the one that we chose not to go to because of distance), so he was out the last couple games, and he’s been out of commission here, except for hunting…he looked me square in the eye and told me that he was able to rest his gun on his splint.  He was good to go. But it’s been a no go on laundry, dishes, taking out the garbage and vacuuming. Hmmmm…….
Levi and his buddy got some pheasants and I made pheasant nuggets that they both loved, and Levi got his deer as well.  So far, we’ve got three deer, we have two more to go.  Nothing is better than venison backstraps, or stew.  That’s good eating! I love a good venison recipe, so if you have one, ship it out to me.
Well, we had some unfortunate bit of business here too besides the broken hand.  We woke up a week and a half ago to our goat/calf barn completely burned up along with the lambs and calves in it.   What a sick feeling.  Nothing is worse than not only seeing critters not survive a fire, but all our hard work into them. Not to mention that was the first barn that we built after we were married.  It had a bunch of sentimental value!  That’s where we brought our first sheep up in, the kids played, brought up their animals, etc.  Then trying to get it replaced before a ton of snow flies so the goats and horses have protection?  Looks like we are going to have to build it ourselves… no one has the time.
Honestly, seeing that burned up and the huge mess made me think back to two years ago when we had that tornado that turned our farm into a huge mess. At least this was contained to one area.  Now that the insurance company had the fire inspector out (we still don’t know the reason it happened and we may never) we are going to start the clean up.  Yuck!
But the funny story that I’m going to share will be just what you need to read after the sad barn burning. I was subbing for the music teacher a few weeks ago and this sweet little special needs girl asked me how old I was.  “Oh honey,” I said to her, “I’m old as dirt!”  Five minutes later, she raised her hand to ask a question.
“Mrs. Dirt?”  Out of the mouths of babes.  I love subbing! Have a blessed Thanksgiving and hold tight your loved ones. Appreciate what you have and don’t be bothered by the things you don’t have.
Until next time,

Fairchild “pass me the leg” Farmgirl

Happy Halloween! Or almost

Let’s start out with this, do you know why I personally feel old as of late? My daughter Rachel, a Halloween baby, will be 17 on the 31st. Egads! Wasn’t she just dunking her pacifier in the cattle waterers when we were checking cows? This literally makes me sad. Here when she was about three, she told me that she was going to stay small forever. Turns out she’s a big liar. It seems like every free moment that we hang in the office together we’re talking college plans or adulting. What’s happening?
Keeping with the theme of Ron and I getting older, our daughter Kara is getting married this weekend to her sweetheart Jon. I mean, we are ecstatic, yes. But really? The next phase of life is grandparents. Wowza. How can I quick make up a rule about not having kids until you’ve been married at least five years? I kid of course; what happens, happens. And really, my hair is gray and Ron doesn’t even have any hair, so it’s all okay and we’re on track for this...I guess.
In truth, Ron and I have never been without kids, so when this hits (of course not for six years, why am I even worrying?) it’ll for sure be different. When we were married, we had kids from previous relationships. So as much as we talk about being excited for no more elementary school concerts as Tedd has only two years left there, it’s getting pretty real. We’ve been together 18 years and always had someone underfoot. In six years, we will just have us…what do we do? Get a string of foreign exchange students? Foster? Adopt? Buy another dog and call each other dog dad or cat mom? Umm no. That’s where I draw the line.
Or face the music and realize that it’ll just be us two and we better start having fun doing grown up stuff. But what? Like traveling, lawn maintenance, polishing the silver? Take sewing classes or join book clubs and exercise groups? I’m at a loss.
But for now, we need to be content and loving the life that we’re in. Our daughter Grace who’s the maid of honor this weekend had me read her speech for the reception. She spoke of how Jon just fit right in and before he knew it, he was coming along for Kara’s siblings football games, volleyball, golf, barrel racing, whatever, he was there. In her speech she talked about our kids’ boyfriends or girlfriends that haven’t “cut the mustard” when meeting our family, because they couldn’t take the chaos. She was right. We are lucky that he blends in so well.
Our life is so busy. Since school has started this year, I’ve had football four nights out of the week and rounding out another is religious ed. It did make me think however, how bored I’ll be when we won’t have that chaos anymore. Even though I’m still up for any of the kids letting us build a Granny Pod for us in their backyard, it’ll never be the same as right now. I do so love this life that we’ve built together and all these kids we have. Yes, nine children is no walk in the park, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m pretty proud of our brood.
Now that I think about it, I may need those grandchildren after all. But kids…ease us into it, ok?
Until next time,
Fairchild “in less than a week, I’ll be someone’s mother-in-law” Farmgirl

Suzanne Fairchild is a freelance writer who lives on a farm in southwest Minnesota with her husband and children. She can be reached at rmf@itctel.com.

They're Growing Up

I just watched my four middle kids load up the horse trailer with their four horses and go on a weekend long camping and trail ride. And Ron and I didn’t go with. I mean, there’s tons of adults there, many that we are friends with. Also, we’ll have to sell at farmers market, participate in youth football, and we have to bring one kid back and forth to work. Let us also remember, that I just got a new hip that I don’t fancy getting dislocated. LOL! And we trust our kids. Besides, like I said, they’re camping right next to our friends. I did have to giggle when Grace put her castrating knife on her belt before they left. “You never know.” She said with a wink. What, that you may have to defend yourself or that you may need to do a castration on a squirrel that’s in the tree above your tent?
So let me spill it. Can I just say that I honestly didn’t know how to feel about them going away for a weekend? I mean, sure it’s nice that we literally only have two kids at home and we get to experience a super quiet weekend, I can listen to podcasts or watch my Netflix show on the tv for a change, but it also means that my kids are growing up. Gah! I don’t think I like it.
We first had this realization the other night when Ron and I brought Tedd; the last kid going to elementary school to the burger feed/open house to meet his teacher. We laughed as we remembered in the past bringing in our herd of little children and the teachers would rush to grab the newest baby to hold or help us with trays for the little ones.
I never thought in a million years seeing my kids get older would bother me so much. I know when they were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to get older because the night feeding and diaper changing would be over (we usually would have at least two in diapers sometimes three). Then even though I had a blast snuggling them and dressing them in cute clothes, I was happy to see them out of the toddler stage and doing bigger kid stuff that (selfishly I enjoy) like playing games and cards, making art stuff with them or going for hikes.
This past Sunday I looked down to the other side of the pew at church (we still almost fill one up), and I looked at all my kids really noticing that they are all teenagers except Tedd, whose on the tail end of being a ten year old. WHAT is happening?
But as I sit here and think about it, did I just wish them into high school without thinking? I know it sounds silly, but I think, wait a second, did we all spend enough time with them? I mean we did…at least I feel we did. But this time is fleeting by so quick and pretty soon they’ll all be gone and living their own lives.
As the kids loaded up the horses this morning, I made them each hug me before they left. Which let’s be honest, I’ve been making them hug me a lot lately. ‘Are you irritated by me making you hug me? I’m irritated by the fact that you’ll all be leaving me in a few years.’ Is what I feel like saying when I get an occasional eye roll from them.
Then I remember the deal that I have with my youngest six but have yet to share with my oldest three. I’m having “granny pods” built at each of their homes. We can spend exactly five weeks and four days with each as we live our best life traveling to each place free as gypsies. I’ll cook for them and Ron can mow their lawn and work in their garden. Hopefully that’ll be okay with everyone. You know, I make a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Fairchild Farmgirl

Suzanne Fairchild is a freelance writer who lives on a farm in southwest Minnesota with her husband and children. She can be reached at rmf@itctel.com.