Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Life is Always Interesting on a Hobby Farm

I've been so busy with our farm that I haven't posted an article here in months. Today I placed a quote by Gordon B. Hinkley on my FB page. It really touched me to find that quote today. I really love that great man. He taught me to be kind, even in the face of adversity. I love him for being such a good example of bearing your burdens cheerfully. I loved the time when he said, "Don't be a pickle sucker!" ha ha! In other words don't be a sour puss! Be cheerful, be kind and always do good!

There are so many fine examples of people such as Gordon B. Hinkley in our lives if we just take the time to look for them. When we rub shoulders with them we are cheered on! Our burdens are lightened a little and sunshine fills our hearts.

Today I sat atop a flat rock among many boulders. The sun kissed my face as I closed my eyes and leaned back to relax. I could hear a robin letting all the other males know that this was HIS territory! An occasional car passed by in the distance. My roosters crowed back and forth in competition... I could hear my goat in the barn munching contentedly on her cud. I was about to open my eyes and get back to work, when Ole and Lena called to me and started tickling my face with their soft noses. They nibbled on my hair.

My life is so different now....So peaceful at times that I revel in the silence. Those moments pass and sometimes craziness of farm life interrupts it! It's all good though. Life is just plain good!

This morning Karissa, my daughter in law discovered that Lena (a four week old twin Alpine goat kid) could get out of the pen in the barn. So the two of us positioned some fencing, that my friend Shannon had given us to block the way to keep her safe. Baling twine was used to hold it all in place. Lena showed us exactly how she'd escaped! She is a jumper and very athletic! She tried to repeat how she'd jumped over the fence by standing on the milking stand. I hope that when she's bigger, she slows down a bit, and her weight holds her closer to terra--ferma! Other wise we are in BIG trouble!

I love my life. It's always changing. Our son Ryan and his bride Karissa moved in with us a couple of weeks ago. We are so happy to have them with us. They've been such a big help on the farm. I hope they are enjoying their stay with us. Life is always interesting on a hobby farm.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Those Pearly Gates

If our wisdom and knowledge are all we take to the grave when we die, do you think it counts in heaven how we've gained all we've learned in this life? After all, you can gain knowledge so many different ways. Right? 

Do you think that you have to show your credentials and certificates of degrees you've earned, in order to enter into the kingdom of Heaven? I think not.

I was speaking to my mom about her mothers death certificate. She was surprised to find a place on the certificate where you list your academic degrees. My sweet grandma had several certificates but they could not be listed because they were not from an accredited university Those things she'd worked so hard for in life were not able to be listed on this final documentation of her life.

It made me think . When we die, we don't take with us the things of this world. We go out as we came in, without any of the trappings of society, not even the clothes on our backs. What we retain from this earthly experience is up to us. Right?

We can choose to leave this world in a wake of sadness, greed, selfishness and pain of our own choosing. Or instead choose to comfort those who need comforting. Give compassion and aid wherever it's needed. We can be good parents, daughters and sons. We can develop the talents and gifts God has blessed us with and help others do the same. The positive list goes on and on. 

I do believe that the certificate that lists our doings here on earth does not carry over into heaven with us. My grandma took with her a fine sense of humor, a compassion and whit and her bright intelligence that made her eyes sparkle. She made us smile, laugh and feel loved sometimes when no one else even noticed. She is missed. I missed not getting a birthday card for the past few years when she suffered from dementia. I have loved being loved by her my whole life without even realizing it.

 Now that I'm a grandma I understand why. It takes effort to be in a grandchild`s life that lives so far away. I feel the pain of separation that she must have felt so many times because I too live miles and miles away from beloved grandsons. I now feel her pain and her joy as well.

We all have someone in our life that has left their earthly body behind. This morning I woke with thought that I had to write down about someone I greatly admired....

I think that when a person like Mother Theresa passed, she showed them her hands at the pearly gates and they were opened wide....Her knowledge of easing the cause of humanity, tireless and never ending service and the compassion she knew was so necessary-- was enough and to spare. She worked hard , she eased others burdens and gave hope to those who were hopeless. What a blessing she was to so many and her legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of others. A wonderful example of our Saviors love. Something to reach higher and aspire to as well.

 We can all be like her and others we admire here on earth, but in our own special way. Even if it's not on such a large scale as those who have gone on before us it matters. We all have unique gifts well suited to our own journey here on earth. The question is, do we choose to bless others with those gifts? I feel that these might be a few of the things we remember when the veil is lifted from our eyes. When we meet our maker at the end of this amazing journey we are all enjoying, I hope it's filled with joy at knowing we did our best.

 Just a few thoughts I had in the middle of the night here on a hobby farm in Annandale....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Busy Summer in Annandale

It's been a very busy summer here at the farm in Annadale. A happy summer for sure!

We have some new additions. Six new kittens. Four of which we had to rescue and take away from a first time mama cat. They were all sick and all crying when we found them. So a little TLC and feedings around the clock for a few weeks brought them all back to health.

I've found myself getting very attached to the kittens. It filled a void in my life upon reflection. I've missed my kids so much and my grandsons as well. There has been no one to nurture for the most part. A gift Father gave me and I now shower my husband with more. Poor guy! ha ha!

We also adopted a goat named Ruby. She's a very needy goat. She cries when we are not around and she won't eat unless she can see us. So now she has a herd of cattle to talk to through the fence. It's been good for her to have someone nearby. She's finally settling down now--much to our relief! We are re-thinking my need to have a goat. They are a tremendous amount of work. Time will tell if we sell Ruby in the near future.

Someone dumped their pretty orange tabby cat at our house. She was older and sweet and was rejected by the barn cats. So she camped out by our chicken pen waiting for someone to pet her and help her get the burrs out of her long fur. Well, I had to help her. She is such a sweetie. Of course then she got pregnant right off the bat. We had a tom cat from across the street take up residence in our barn. Einstein was his name . Odd isnt' it? He was that smart. Anyway he fathered all of our kittens and though he's gone now, his genetics live on. He was a Maine Coon breed of cat. A big long haired beauty of a cat. His kittens are adorable!

We've been raising broiler hens for some farm income. It's been a battle from day one. The elements are tough on chickens and we had to go to such lengths to keep them all alive. Out of the first clutch we had 43 of the 50 survive. The second batch we have only lost two. The difference was the weather. We learned the hard way to start raising them in late June and no sooner. The power bills with the heat lamps was just too much. Then you have the USDA approved butcher to pay....Feed costs for organic feed is out of this world. So all we did was break even until Elisabeth (our partner with the chickens) started grinding our own feed! VIOLA! We may even make some money off of this batch! There is a learning curve when it comes to farming.

The garden is doing fantastic! We get a gallon of strawberries every other day now. I love the fresh organic veggies!

 My health has returned. I had a health scare recently with my heart. I'd given a talk in church on helping others, when during the talk suddenly my vision became impared. I had to put my talk aside and pull my thoughts out of my head under pressure. When I sat down I realized it was becoming increasingly harder to breath.

After the closing prayer I mouthed to Terry, my husband to come and help me! I asked the boy beside me to get the Bishop to call 911. It all became a blur after I heard Brother Esquimia (sorry, can't spell his name yet) ask the congregation to "evacuate the chapel!" due to his flustered state and English being a second language. He's so sweet!

The paramedics arrived....Talk about the abilty to clear a room! ha ha! No seriously I was glad they did. I didn't want to worry so many people, but I did. Before they arrived though, three sweet sisters who were nurses came to my aid. I'll never forget their kindness. I'll also never forget the very tall, well muscled cop that showed up with the paramedics. He so looked like superman! No joke! He' was well over 6 feet tall and dark and Clark Kentish! What a strange thing to remember eh?

Well, my potassium had bottomed out again. It happens to me on occasion. My apnea had come back and my blood sugar was off.  I'm doing great now and breathing much better. All is well and thank goodness to nitro! I sure had a lot of that in the ambulance and a two day stay in the hospital. Yes, the bills are now rolling in!

We are selling free range farm fresh chicken and giving away adorable kittens. Next we'll be selling veggies! I love this farm life. There is nothing better, exept see my grandsons and kids. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Attitude of Gratitude and Thanksgiving!

The first time I ever payed attention to the word "Gratitude" it came from the lips of a sweet 4 year old little girl during a sacrament talk in church. Her name was Rebecca--Becca was her nickname. Her mama stood at her side as she gave a very thought provoking talk beyond her years. I was a newer convert to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The words she said that day, and the way she pronounced gra-TI-tude, inspired me to have gratitude in my heart for many years to come.

I often revisit that moment in my minds eye. It was a turning point for me as a young mother. Isn't it amazing how that happens to each of us as gospel truth resonate in our own individual souls at differing times in our lives?

I'm grateful today, knowing that I'm healthy again. Moving to the farm has strengthened me so much--in body and in spirit! I have hard earned muscles now that I've not felt in years. I have a new-found inner peace that is so comforting. I've turned my resolve as endured chronic pain-- into action many times over. I'm able to help my neighbor do hard things that I thought never possible in my lifetime. I still have many weaknesses that I'm striving to overcome as a child of God is meant to do. I'm by no means perfect, but I'm reaching further and trying harder to attain personal and spiritual goals.

Two years ago I was sick and over a hundred pounds overweight. My liver was sick, my heart enlarged and failing with the edema I had. I could feel myself slowly dyeing once again. An all too familiar feeling. Then a dear friend told me about a weight loss plan that worked and the action of just doing it and praying hard, saved my life. Now I have a job from home, helping others do exactly what I did for myself! I talk to people who feel what I have felt during my struggle with obesity. My life now is now a huge contrast to that struggle I once had in simply trying to exist and to care for my family. 

 My life is forever changed! As I walk a couple miles a day around our beautiful alfalfa field with my dog friend Koda, I revel in the freedom from bondage I do feel. I even run from time to time as I wish. I enjoy hearing an occasional crow of a pheasant, my rooster crowing behind me as I walk. My mind is clear as I hear a cow bellowing for her calf next door. The wind in the blue spruce and the leaves tumbling beneath them catches my eye. All simple things I missed, or forgotten during my struggle to hang on. It's almost as if I'd been given a new pair of glasses! Instead of seeing a fuzzy green carpet, I can see each individual blade of grass! There is so much we miss when we are in pain or struggling.

One thing has never changed through my fight to regain what I'd lost, I still live each and every day as if it were my last. I never take being able to stay here on earth for granted. I always keep in mind, that I can do more than I think I can as well. I forgive those who say hurtful things or have no idea what is really in my heart. I try very hard to be kind every day. I ask Father for people to serve and to be able to alleviate suffering whenever I can. These are  only a few things that are important to me and deeply healing. 

I hope you pray hard for the righteous desires of your heart daily. Know that every prayer IS heard by our loving Father in Heaven! If you don't believe this to be true, pray for the knowledge that it IS true! It will get you through some really hard things in life. 

This morning, as I realized, that if I was needed, I too could dawn a yellow jersey on that says Mormon Helping Hands-- is the realization that I have truly arrived and am really healthy! I can help now where there is a need. I can't tell you how my heart has swelled today as I watched the video I posted from New York. It inspires us to do more for our neighbors, our friends and our families and our nations. I'm pleased that our four sons decided to go out into the world as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a blessing to be a mom of four missionary sons. They are my example and I love them dearly.

Here's the link I mentioned! Enjoy!

I challenge you to pray for service today in your part of the world. Then act on those promptings. Lets see what unfolds. It matters not if you are wheel chair bound, bed bound or healthy! You can do hard things and you can help others with your words, your actions and your deeds! The more you help others, the less your burdens will feel. I promise that as time goes by and you help others more and more, your burdens will be lightened, your spirit will soar and your heart will be filled to overflowing.

I'm grateful for my friend here, who didn't give up on me. It took six months for her to get through to me about the Docs Stimulus Drops plan that saved my life. How she must have prayed for me and how grateful I am today...  I'm alive today, and a testament of what service can do for one person. 

May we all be a blessing in someones life today. Now, go pray for service opportunities! I know you're gonna love your life even more for your sacrifice. (((HUGS)))

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The harvest is just about over. All I have left are the cabbages, potato's and my wilting pepper plants. We had help this year with our harvest towards the end. The entire Johnson clan showed up and saved the day! How wonderful it is to have so many willing friends to help with the work before our first big frost!

After the harvest we ate yummy pizza together from Domino's in Rochford MN. The Tanya special was the highlight of the night! YUM! We shared our meal with Elisabeth from the neighboring farm. After dinner we all piled into the cars and drove to her house.

We were able to see a working farm, unlike our hobby farm. She has dairy cows, chickens, piglets and beef cattle. I'm often found there feeding the calves. I love it!

That day was no different. I got to feed a calf. So did several of the Johnson's. It was great fun! My favorite is Sarah the Jersey cow. She loves being scritched under her chin like a cat. Her tongue is surprisingly like a big giant house cat as well, all rough and scratchy. Dairy cows at Elisabeth's are just like big puppies. I love it! But not enough to want to own one myself. ha ha! I know my limits!

Yesterday we picked up our first rabbit! We want to raise them for pets and for meat. It's a wonderful renewable resource. Pound for pound you get more for your money with rabbits than with cows. They have eight to 12 babies each litter. I'm going to study up on the subject for next spring! Our one bunny was picked up off an add on The cage, bunny and food were all free! Neat!

We found out this week that our daughter in law Jelly is having a baby boy! We are all so excited about the upcoming birth this winter.

In November our kids will all be home for Thanksgiving! I can't even put into words how excited we all are to be together again! Hunter will be back from his mission in October. I can hardly stand the wait. So finally the Otis family will be reunited. We are all so grateful for the mission experiences we've all had with having four sons who've served missions. We look forward to our grandsons and granddaughters serving the Lord full time if they so wish. Terry and I would also like to serve a mission in the years to come. It has been a dream of ours for a long time.

I hope my readers are all having a fantastic day! Be kind to yourself and count your blessings today! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last January a mighty change came to the lives of my husband Terry and myself. We moved to the farm! We had no idea how much of a change it would be. We had worked towards this goal for quite some time. We had helped at a friends farm growing an amazing garden with them every year. We felt like we were farmers in training so to speak. It was great! But the size and scope of our narrow vision into farming took on a whole new light after actually moving here.

The first thing we noticed when spring came, was how tired and sore we both were. This is a 35 acre farm. About four acres of it is grassy park like grounds that need constant mowing and attention. There are many perennial flower beds that needed pruning and weeding as well. We added a very large garden next to the alfalfa field. Now that was a huge undertaking because the previous owner who had passed on, hadn't had a garden there for a couple of years. The weeds were tremendous and we had to till it up three times before we could plant. It was also on a hill and had to be terraced so it wouldn't wash away.

Terry and I have never been so tired, sore or happy in all our life. It doesn't seem possible to be all three of those things at once--but we are. The joy of working hard has a payoff--contentment!

President Thomas S. Monson-- the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said recently, "Teach your children to use their hands!" I've always been a firm believer in doing just that for our four sons. Not one of them is a stranger to hard work. All have a wonderful work ethic, but they also know how to play. I think balance is so important in ones life. When we work hard and play hard together, it promotes a kind of unity like no other. Family work is so important.

We have now added a small flock of hens to our farm. They make me giggle with their silly antics. The chicks are constantly sparring for fun. The hens like to find soft dirt and take a dust bath in it. They flick and sift the dirt under their feathers in the most ridiculous positions, to get rid of pests and itch. Then suddenly one will find a bug and it's like they are running around with dust flying everywhere. "It's mine! It's mine!" are the words I think of as the other birds chase them around vying for ownership of the juicy winged morsel. It's very entertaining! Who needs a TV right? Of course the best part is the fresh eggs we gather daily.

This is a very fulfilling life we are leading. It's one of self sufficiency in the making. I smile all the way home from town with each farm I pass to get to ours on the hill. Now, that's a little slice of heaven on earth,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life Is Blossoming All Around Me

I must say that this past year has truly been the best year of my life. Have you said those words before? I don't think I have before now. Being healthy is so underrated. Breathing and moving and living life so fully is something I pray I never take for granted again.

 I love my job. Helping others lose the weight and get healthy is the most amazing thing. We can all do hard things when you have the knowledge and the tools to overcome adversity. I love empowering people to get healthy. I love alleviating the suffering of others. It's like, giving back to Heavenly Father for all the miracles he allowed to happen in my own life. The blessings flowed when I finally decided to do what he wanted me to do. How grateful I am to be alive and healthy again! Life is blossoming all around me and I'm enjoying every second of every day.

We moved to a farm recently. The old farmhouse was refurbished and updated. It's a pleasure to live here. So much sunshine coming through the windows. Every window has a wonderful vista to savor.

 Our pup Koda loves it here! Terry and I have fun walking the back 30 acres together as Koda runs from spot to spot rolling in the snow, walking through streams and picking up a plethora of burrs in his long golden fur. Yeah, it's a full time job pulling em out, but worth it. Soon I'll be planting our garden. All my lillies have been transplanted....Two more weeks and I turn the soil over in the veggie garden! YES! Can't wait!

In the past two years we've had three weddings and now we've been blessed with two beautiful grandsons. When I think about how hard I had to work to stay alive and get healthy-- it was all worth it. Worth it when I held those baby boys in my arms. How many times I'd been told I wouldn't make it to this point in time. I'm glad I never gave up on my dreams of being healthy again.

 Being a grandma is the biggest blessing in my life. Being a mom of a missionary is another. I'm glad I lived to see all the things in my life loved so much and worked so hard for, come to fruition. Family is a blessing. How I love my Heavenly Father.

Our son Elder Otis who is serving in California is doing so well. He comes home in less than 7 months and I can't tell you how it fills my heart to have sons who were willing to put their own lives on hold. They have served the Lord full time for two full years. Elder J. H. Otis is one of those souls. We are so pleased with his commitment and dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can't wait to talk to him in May! Mothers day will be such an amazing day!