Monthly Archives: April 2010

My interview on farm life

Recently a really nice young man from the local university asked me if he could interview me about my experiences and thoughts on farming. Since I am normally the one doing doing the interviewing I was all for switching roles. I didn’t realize that it was going to be video taped until he got here however but I did my best. Yesterday he sent me the link to the edited interview. I thought he did really good job considering all the fighting and playing in the background and little ones running in and out of the shot. I am looking into getting it on youtube but for right now if you want to view it you will have to download it. On my computer it took about 5 minutes. Anyway I love it. Hope you enjoy.

Interview with Crazy Boy Farm

Here also is the link to the organization we are talking about Homegrown Minneapolis.

Earth Day and a Return to the Fields

After yet another crazy busy weekend it was finally back to the fields yesterday. April and May are the time of year when the planning  and practice of farming come together. I feel that I excel at planning but even with that getting everything in the ground at the right time can be a brain twister. I will have to slow down a bit here I think but will still try to give frequent updates.

The children had a great time playing in the cover crop next to us. There were forts and playgrounds and battlefields and all sorts of stuff. I found a tick on my clothes. Proeun said, “I didn’t worry about ticks when I was little.” I replied, “I’m glad they don’t, I’ll do that.” No ticks on anyone else that evening.

At lunch time Two said, “this is the best day ever, just being outside spending time with family and eating.” It made my heart sing. Later in the day Proeun sent Two and Avril to go get water. It was quite the adventure for them and one we will laugh about for years to come.

We planted our onion transplants and direct seeded carrots. Later this week beets and spinach (probably) will go in the ground. This is such an exciting time of year!

I’m not sure if this was a self protrait or not but the kids were having fun with the camera while we worked the field.

Proeun conserving water for the bunching onions.

The hit of the day. The farm manager where we rent and his wife got 24 chickens they are raising for eggs. The kids really really wanted to ask if we could buy some but unfortunately we are maxed out on our city permit. Guess more chickens will have to wait for the big move. I can’t wait.

Avril’s Camera

Avril has been very interested in my camera for awhile now. In an effort to keep mine functioning and nurture her creativity we bought her her very own for her birthday. Her’s a sampling of some of her and her brother’s pics.

Green House Work

Next Monday we are scheduled to start our planting. I am so excited to actually get some things in the ground and get to the real fun of farming–eating. Well not quite yet but soon. So the next couple of mornings will be extra busy with work thinning budding plants in the greenhouse, transplanting some to larger cells and starting new ones.

Here’s Bpa hard at work with his helpers. The morning was cool so at least I was able to keep Mavis’ hands out of the pot. The kids had a great time though.

Mt. Eyjafjallajökull proves we don’t control anything

One of the things I love (and hate) about the farm life is the knowledge that we control very little. Last year we were all set up for a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes only the typical heat and humidity of a Minnesota summer never materialized. It was great as far as working the fields but the tomatoes suffered.

In our modern age with temperature controlled everything we like to think that we can control all things. Last week’s eruption of Mt. Eyjafjallajökull proved we control nothing. My sister’s in-laws had family visiting from England for a wedding and guess what, they are still here, going on 2 weeks later–this was not intended.

Last night we were watching CNN and the commentator said that the new eruption was causing even more problems. He said that anyone who thinks this will be over soon hasn’t studied history. Apparently the last time this volcano erupted in the 1800s is erupted for get this 2 solid years. Yes years.

My heart goes out to all those stranded around the world. They are getting a harder lesson then most of us that we cannot control everything or maybe even anything.

Another problem is the local farms. The ash will disrupt soil fertility for a long time. Luckily we don’t like in the shadow of a volcano.

Happy Birthday Avril

This weekend we celebrated Avril’s 4th birthday. Birthdays are more of an excuse for the family to get together and eat a bunch of food. Proeun has 5 brothers and sisters and there 8 grandchildren so far (with 2 more set to join the family this fall). Then you have my parents, grandparents, sister and her husband and it ends up being a pretty full house.

Over the years we have gotten better at planning the food so that it is enjoyable for us as well. This year it was all about Jamie Oliver. We had chopped salad, and chicken korma (a great Indian style curry) and basmati rice. Proeun’s mom brought over a huge pot of chicken and rice soup which was a huge hit with the children and of course cake from Jerebek New Bohemian Bakery they did our wedding cake and I really love the cake with sliced strawberries in it. Anyway it was a great day.

Henry and Avril working on a puzzle.

The girls enjoying last year’s present.

Avril loving it.

The cake.

Opening gifts.

Our girl.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Friday nights our local children’s museum is open until 8:00. With our unique family schedule it is easiest for me to get out with the children after at least 3:00 in the afternoon. As far as playdates and activities geared towards young children there are not many options at this time of day. We don’t really mind, our schedule has been helpful in simplifying our life. Still when I decided that I needed to try to engage my children more I immediately thought of the children’s museum. Thanks to my aunt’s volunteer work we got a free family membership for a year! Quite the gift. So early in the week I scheduled a trip to the museum (yes scheduled, that’s the only way to make sure it gets done in our house) and we were off.

There was so much to do, and luckily we didn’t have a lot of crowds to deal with.

Painting with feathers.  

and cleaning up, this was Mavis’ favorite part.

Looking cute at the evening jamboree.

Exploring China’s wildlife,

and theater arts.

Shopping at our local market.

Exploring the world of water,

and dinosaurs. Mavis was not a fan of the moving T Rex, but this still model was OK.

Quite a lot to accomplish in on evening.

I am a reader

I have always enjoyed reading. The only thing that got me through my broken leg the summer between my Junior and Senior year in High School was a trip to Barnes and Noble. My mom told me I could pick any books and as many as I wanted, her treat. It was great.

Recently Proeun gave me a great treat. While this time around it involved browsing the internet versus a trip to the bookstore, (sorry local bookstores but you’re all huge chains anyway). I was so excited to get my box this week. I haven’t been able to pick out which one to start on. The hard time is finding time. I also have kntting projects, and sewing projects and a house to keep clean, the list goes on and on. But at least I know I am raising readers. After taking the picture both Mavis and Avril enjoyed going through the pile. Now Avril is “reading” or perhaps a better way to describe it would be writing orally a story to me from one of the books. I suppose some day I will have all the time I want to read and look back and wish for babies to hold.

Rain on my Schedule

This morning I woke up with a tightness at the base of my neck and a headache. This normally means that a cold is on its way. It has already been a really hard week. Finally I noticed no less then 8 teeth had popped out in Mavis’ mouth. This brings her grand total to 16, only 4 more to go. Maybe we can go back to sleeping.

My morning sickness has been back with a vengeance and nothing tastes good, even food someone else cooked. In the midst of it all I realized that I can’t leave my children floundering for another 6 months while I languish in bed or just try to make it through the work I have. I write for a local paper, and try to blog, I manage a farm, a home, my children’s education, oh and nurture a marriage and family.

A couple years ago I bought a Franklin Covey planner. It has been instrumental in helping me at least try to stay on top of things. My favorite feature is the daily “to do” list which allows me to plan my days weeks and months out. It’s not as rigid as it seems since things can be moved to other days or canceled all together, but it helps me remember. When Proeun was home on days I would work I would write lists for him. One day he was talking with another driver about “wife lists” and I got the impression he didn’t appreciate them. However I love them, and he often forgets without one anyway.

So realizing I had been neglecting my children I decided to schedule them in. I know it sounds cold, but it simply wasn’t getting done. I am a morning person, me best work is done in the morning and I was raised with the idea that you should do the work you dislike the most or is least likely to get done first. So that is all my computer work and writing. Then comes the household chores–if I make it that far without getting exhausted. You get the picture.

So today I scheduled in outdoor play. Last night I heard it was supposed to rain. I was worried but the morning was beautiful. Then during nap time I heard the rain. Oh no, my schedule won’t work today. Luckily though I had a few other projects and got those done and the sun came out. We were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful day anyway. Here’s some pics of our adventure.

Four eggs from four chickens just slightly dirty.

Onions getting ready to go to field soon and hardening off.

Miss Sassy enjoying a dust bath.

MN Baby Expo and Jenny’s Light

It has been a really crazy busy weekend with lots of conferences, But Sunday ended up being my day. A friend from our local natural parenting group, Nichole Hirsch Kuechle, has done pretty well for herself. I remember years ago when she had the idea to start a magazine. Knowing how difficult the publishing industry is I didn’t expect too much but wished her the best. Now her magazine My Healthy Beginning has grown to be national.

This weekend Kuechle and her mag were hosting the “MN Baby Expo” at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I haven’t gone to baby type events since maybe my 2nd pregnancy. When you are pregnant with your 4th, pregnancy and babies kind of get to be old hat and it is really easy to forget that there literally is something magically happening in my body. It was great seeing all those mums with new babies all decked out the way 1st babies tend to be and the pregnant soon to be moms walking around wide eyed. It brought me back a bit and brought me down to earth.

I met Emily Sisco a midwife at the Morning Star Birth Center in Menomonie. We chated about birth and moms and healthy living, eating and thinking.

Then I met the people from Jenny’s Light and it really brought me down to earth fast. Jenny’s Light is an organization working to raise awareness about postpartum depression. Jenny was a young, professional mom who suffered silently through this all too common problem until it drove her to take her life and that of her new son. Since hearing the story I have been like, “wow. moms don’t have support these days.” We live away from our families or maybe even have strained relations with them. We don’t know how to ask for help and maybe don’t even know when we need it. Often times we don’t feel we have we have time to develop the deep interpersonal relationships that could could prevent and heal the problem.
I had a similar problem after Avril was born. I felt lost and alone. My husband was working hard to make ends meet, sometimes up to 60 hours a week. There were times I didn’t know what I would do. Luckily me parents lived close by and I spent nearly every evening at their house. It helped just to have some company. Rarely do I get all fired up to volunteer with an organization but last night I went to the Jenny’s Light website and signed up. 

But I don’t want to end on a sad note, actually it is all about life, and living and loving and surviving and lest you think yesterday was all about me here’s some of my favorite pics of the kids.

Mavis the big girl.

Spanky. . .

Avril’s ride.

Two’s top pick.