Fall(ing) in to the Season

Fall has crept in lately; cooler days and nights…frost…evenings getting darker earlier and waking up in the dark on most mornings.

Don’t get me wrong…I am grateful for the time change in November instead of October…at least I think I am. (If we HAVE to turn back the clocks the later the better as far as I am concerned!!!)

I planted a tree and some perennials…not finished yet. A Burning Bush Tree is different. Foliage grows up higher and can be shaped to stay compact. Added some Iris and BeeBalm. I love the BeeBalm…easy to grow and is very pretty.

Speaking of flowers, the ones we did for the Fair display this year have thrived. Petunias and Bellflowers mostly with a touch of a dainty white one that I cannot put a name to.

Despite the frost, I am still picking raspberries from the four bushes I saved from the trash at TSC…$1/each.

Raspberries

They started ripening in August (late) and are still producing. I do cover them on nights when a frost is predicted but can usually still pick this many the next day. Yummy!!!


 

Due to not having any definite plans moving forward.I did not have any corn to chop this year. We didn’t plant any due to the fact that we have a full silage bag from last year. Going to use this up for the heifers and couple of milk cows I am keeping through the cold winter months. I have 19 animals…calves, yearlings, heifers and 3 cows.

Kind of bittersweet for me…Jeremy is using the dump truck to haul some silage for a neighbor today. This is the first year ever for us not to have to harvest but still hoping to get some more hay if Mother Nature decides to stop showering on us every day.

Also going to put in some Winter Rye to cut in the Spring…that will give us some straw.  Fields are all plowed and just waiting to be seeded. Seems that many farmers are putting in the Rye as a cover crop this year…waiting for a delivery of seed here on Thursday.


 

Having grandkids here every day is a treat for me. Skylar and Jai help with chores and their beef animals are their responsibility along with their Mom and Dad.

Maggie’s kids are in Fall sports so they don’t come as often as I would like. I do not understand the game of Football so not a regular spectator for the boys. Yeah, I know I should be.

Tonight is Logan’s last home game for girl’s soccer so as a senior this year she will be one of the many girls to be recognized…they are playing a 6:30 game under the lights. Yes, I am going!!

Last weekend was family weekend for Olivia at Colby Sawyer in New Hampshire. Am sure Jordan’s is coming up at Cobleskill and Jayda’s is in a couple of weeks at SUNY Oneonta. Good luck to these three kiddos as well as Kaylah who is at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. No doubt they will all excel.


 

I am trying to plan a trip to see my PA. friends with my sister from another mother, Donna. Had it set once but Jury duty called so just have to wait and see. I had already gotten a postponement right after my Farmer passed so don’t feel right asking for another.

Life goes on…I came across some very short notes to me that my Farmer had written when we were on The Journey. He was so worried for me, wishing he could make it easier for me. I will forever cherish the fact that he thought to do that with all that he was facing and put them in where I would find them at some point….he knew me too well. HINT: I read books over and over sometimes and he knew it!

Most people didn’t know that side of him. Someone told me that he saved that part just for me. But I saw that soft, caring and loving side shine when he talked to the grandkids during his cancer fight…giving advice and guidance from a loving heart and a body full of experience.

Love for his children drew it out also. Perhaps his final outing to see the farm and animals was the best example…a scenic trip with Jordan as chauffeur ….crying as he touched Holy Cow, one of many favorites…telling kids about the older cows in the freestall as he reflected on years gone by, antics and shenanigans. We sure had those. But that will be another post….

Just want to tell everyone that we are going on…with my Farmer’s guidance. My HEART will go on knowing that he could have been thinking of his own Journey when we were on the road but was instead composing little notes of love to help me through the hard days.

I don’t know how he kept them from me or how he got them tucked away knowing I would find them but I am filled with thankfulness and love knowing he did. Others I have come across are some he wrote along with blog posts so I know these were just for me…I love you Farmer….

 

 

 

And Fall has Arrived….

Most days lately are passing by quickly…the older I get the faster they go it seems.

One regret I have since losing Ed is that I do not take photos and blog like I should. Such things haven’t seemed important until I was going through some of his writing. The blog is something that connected him to people all over the world…literally…and I do want that connection again.

So if you will bear with me I will once again work on it as a day to day kind of ‘what I’ve been up to’ thing…Won’t be as exciting as before to some but to others it may be enough to keep you hooked for a bit.

So here I go…

Jayda's party

In August we had a graduation party for Jayda (center of photo)…Olivia (on the right in orange shirt)  had one earlier in the summer. Logan, left, and Brianna, a friend of all the girls seemed to congregate at this one table with the two graduates, both granddaughters.

Jayda has settled in to college at SUNY Oneonta and Olivia is at Colby-Sawyer in New Hampshire. Both young ladies are pursuing their goals with all the excitement that those bring. Wish them nothing but the best that life holds for their futures.


 

I also attended a get-together for my sister who is battling Leukemia. She is doing better now and is hoping to get on with things that took a back seat all summer…I do know she is back to work a bit at a time. I can only imagine how that must feel after such a scare. Thank God she is able to move ahead even if only in baby steps.

Melissa's fundraiser

Seated is Missy…Logan, Maggie, Skylar and Tucker…standing is Marshal (Missy’s son) in the blue shirt along with his girlfriend…Tony behind them and Allison behind Maggie and Skylar.

Was a beautiful day for a picnic and I had a good time talking with everyone. ***please keep Missy in your prayers…she still has a long road ahead. I am praying that I will be a match for bone marrow and can help her that way. ( the process is only beginning but will keep you informed). I am so thankful that she is improving day by day. Love you Miss…


 

We also had the Fair…Cooper, Skylar and Jai showed some heifers in 4-h. Didn’t do the best but they were ok with results. I suppose we skimped on the attention paid them through the summer, but was important to attend. They learned a lot and know what to do to improve their animals for 2020. Will be here before we know it!!!

Resting Ladies

Looks like Adda-Tude is telling Snickers all about her day…they like to ‘people watch’!!!


 

A couple of weeks ago a new tractor was delivered to Bejosh and Jai was the first to drive it. I was good and used a photo where he wasn’t looking, below.. He isn’t one to have his picture taken…but…I do have some others of him on the tractor with a grin from ear to ear. My Farmer would call it ‘Tractor Pride”!!!

Photo on the right is of me tedding hay… was nice to do it again although a million thoughts and memories were conjured up. Once again I allowed a photo op to pass me by when I saw two crows catching moles or field mice, along with a number of butterflies of various colors and sizes flitting around the fluffy hay. Just isn’t foremost in my mind like it used to be, but am working on it.


 

Among other things I have done this summer was buying a Burning Bush Tree and planting it just across the driveway where it can be seen easily from the house. I will get a photo to post, I promise.

I am still not 100% sure we can keep Bejosh going as is. Perhaps it will be an all beef operation along with hay and some corn. I do know that taking one step at a time is best for us. We do what we can the way we can and to the best of our ability.

So many things could be different but wasn’t in the cards. I tell myself that whatever we do is a labor of love and that is all I could ask for.

Being alone in this big house isn’t an easy thing…it affords me time to think about the last few years. Not even a year and a half ago would I have thought I would be here alone today…time is precious and we cannot get it back.

Love is the glue that holds families together and communication is what works through the times we wish we could take back.

I try to be patient and kind…to be a truly loving person. I guess I am a work in progress.

Catch you all later…Take care.

I Believe…..

Ed and Lovey n

It has been a year today since my Farmer passed…

A year filled with so many emotions; so many changes here at the farm as in our family.

I took over the milking in November with a very heavy heart as personal issues came into play that others thought could not be worked out.

Sold the milk cows as a herd in March to a young man who has much the same goals in life as my Farmer had at his age (24).

A few weeks later I said goodbye to some heifers that joined those milk cows and will hopefully join the ranks of those older ladies.

I believe….I did the right thing for all of  those animals.


I sold some machinery that I didn’t need and hopefully some other farmer is baling hay or chopping haylage with that equipment…

I believe…. I did the right thing.


Numerous other decisions were made in the midst of grief as everyone who has gone through the loss of a spouse knows, that may or may not prove to be ‘the best option’ overall. The jury is still out on those but…

I believe…for me it was the right thing to do.


For me this writing is therapeutic. I am now the one who makes those kinds of decisions with the help of my kids and no longer have my Farmer’s input.

But I get feelings…signs. They may all be in my head (or heart) and some I know are not, but my Farmer is my guide. I talk to him…ask sometimes foolish questions, advise or just plain ‘give me a sign’ kind of things.


This morning I believed…that today would be one of the hardest yet. Little did I know that Ed would give me a sign that I asked for rather selfishly as I woke up this morning. “Please let me know that you are at peace and that You Believe in the major decisions I have made up until now”. Sounds foolish I know, but sometimes I feel like I am just not justified to make certain decisions and need reassurance…doesn’t everyone at times?

I certainly don’t expect anyone to agree with everything…after all, I am only human!!!!


One of my jobs today is to take care of my son and daughter-in-law’s dogs which I have done for the last few days while they are enjoying the beach in Maine with the 3 kids.

As I drove up the driveway to their house which is the home we raised our 4 kids in, it hit me…memories of 40 years ago!

I could picture all those years ago with a young family…milk cows in the pasture on the hill behind the house slowly making their way down to the farm to be milked. What a sight…a long line of the black and whites with a few Jersey and Swiss mixed in at that time.

Goats, chickens and turkeys in the yard, loose and on their own. Some specific events came to mind, mostly Sundays when my Farmer would spend the afternoon with me and the kids unless there was hay to get or corn to harvest.

Mind you, this was when our oldest was perhaps 6 or 7 and the youngest 1 or 2 so field work for me at that time was out of the question.

Oh what times they were; kickball or wiffle ball games where I would let the kids win…but Ed usually had to score once or twice just to show them how it was done!!! Building stonewalls, goat yards for kidding nannies and perhaps a re-model of an old milk house of earlier years when cows were actually milked at this place of ours.

Of course by this time, (I had animals to take care of, after all) with a smile on my face and tears rolling down my cheeks I got out of the car and as I turned I noticed a crow sitting on a feeder in the pasture by the calf hutch. “Hi Ed…and thank you for the sign..”

As I walked up the lawn to the house and I got closer there were four small yellow butterflies fidgeting around Allison’s strawberry plant in the wooden tub.

Wow…reached in my back pocket for my phone to get a snapshot and realized it was still up over the sink in the kitchen at home being charged.

So anyway,(I guess I am turning this post into a book so I will finish up) driving back down to the farm it occurred to me that it was my own private signs from my Farmer; perhaps not intended to be shared…but I will never know.

—————————–

This is what I believe….As much as it hurts to have lost my Farmer, the kid’s Dad and the Grandkid’s Grampy…his life surrounds us in memories sparked by our daily walkabouts.

That is a gift from the man I loved and married, fathered my children and took care of our family.

As much as his loss is felt today on this 1 year anniversary we are blessed with his presence all around us.


To this end I believe….

My Farmer guides me every day

You ask me how I know?

He comes to me in my time of need

As a Butterfly and a Crow!!!

I love and miss you dearly, Farmer….

This is my therapy …

…And So It Goes

Skylar and the sunset....n

Every once in a while something or someone stirs my memories of a year ago. Actually, last year at this time my Farmer and I were on the road headed west.

But these critters sparked memories of years passed; yearly visitors to Bejosh, these birds leave with more than they arrived with. They started out with 6 and as of yesterday they have 5. Nature has taken it’s course.

Last night when I walked into the parlor a pair of Barn Swallows greeted me with their busy chattering, chirping and whisking back and forth…I think they were announcing their return and also telling me to open the other return alley door so they could come and perch on the top of it and watch me milk HolyCow twice a day (her milk feeds 4 calves twice a day and she shows no sign of slacking off yet!!)

I wonder if they will wonder why just one cow comes through…I am sure they will figure it out in their own way. I do have to remember to bring my camera along more often now, too.


 

A bit about what I have been up to lately…As mentioned numerous times my granddaughter Logan plays a mean game of basketball so with my evenings a bit free-er than in the past I was able to go to a number of her games. She is a great athlete and an all around amazing young woman.

Last weekend she played in a tournament for her traveling basketball team, Havoc, and sunk a shot from roughly 75 feet…or so I was told… , deep from  the other team’s court and overhand at that. I wasn’t there but I do have the video up on my Timeline on Facebook (Carol Gulley) if anyone is interested in seeing it. (Just click on the photo and it should play).


 

The weekend before that was the Junior Prom here and 3 of my grandkids attended…Jayda, Jai and Logan. Tucker was supposed to go also but unfortunately was in the hospital so his 10 year old brother Cooper escorted his date in the Grand March.

 

3 prom go-ers..........n

Nice looking group !!!

Jai and his date, Ally…she is the junior.              Never too far from a b-ball!!!!

All three and their dates had a great time. Logan wore basketball sneakers that matched her gown!!!


 

I am hoping to get to some of Jeb and Cooper’s baseball games. Jeb is on the middle school team and Coop plays through Little League.


Three of the grandkids graduate from high school next month…Jordan, Olivia and Jayda. I am looking forward to hearing all about their future plans…college and jobs are all figuring in. A great group of young adults preparing to spread their wings a bit!!!


Looking down the road for me, I have a couple of short trips planned this summer…Pennsylvania to visit my Amish friends and Maine to enjoy some time on the ocean. Am hoping  maybe a grandchild or two could come along but I am ok going on my own. Perhaps that is what I need at this time…peace and quiet along with time to reflect but to also look ahead.

Just a short time ago I couldn’t imagine how I would ever feel happy, optimistic or enjoy the simple things as I once did. Great family and friends along with time and an awesome counselor have shown me I can move forward…Ed will always be close by and looking out for me…it has been proven time and time again.

I can enjoy, be happy and optimistic…the sad and frustrating times are still there, too, but I am learning to deal with them as anyone else who has experienced loss.

Sounds good to me…Love you Farmer…..

And to all my dedicated friends out there HAPPY SUMMER! And don’t forget to look for the butterflies and crows!!!

 

You Never Know….

Willie and chicken n

Sometimes when you are not paying any attention to every day goings on you are refreshed and set in a ‘better’ direction than you expected when for that one second you are brought back to reality.

After graining what few heifers I have left the other day I passed by the chicken yard…which I do on a regular basis, sometimes 6 or 8 times a day…and I was caught off guard by the sight of Willie performing his gorgeous dance for the chickens.

Well, you say. he does that all the time! And yes he does. But this time he was INSIDE the fenced area the chickens have for a yard. Part of the covering on the top of it has fallen in and been removed and by goodness Willie found the hole!!! What a guy!!!

Gotta say…it made me giggle a bit…

This month has been a challenge for the family’s emotions…My Farmer’s cancer journey began a year ago. Consequently, any distraction from replaying the ‘year ago’ visions in our heads has been most welcomed.

As Maggie and I were talking the other day, we both believe Ed had so much more to do here…He was actually looking forward to some time for himself and his art and writing. We had begun to make plans for when we may not want to milk cows…travel more…create more of his farm art but most of all he wanted to build the blog by adding more videos and to reminisce about his younger days.

And as you all know those plans were put on hold…now I feel that it has fallen on me to pick up the blog where we left off in August…without my Farmer to encourage me with ideas.

I have thought about doing more of a journal type posting…what I have been doing and the goings-on here at Bejosh. I feel, though, that it is a struggle to find what I think would be interesting to you the reader now that the cows have left.

I do have 18 animals though, and it is getting close to turn out time…that is most always an adventure! Running, jumping and kicking calves can bring a smile to most everyone. Try to imagine going outside for the very first time…wow, open spaces, different sights and sounds…heck, they don’t even know their legs can move so fast!!

Can’t commit to daily posts but will try to do more with  what I have. One thing that I do realize with much regret is that my Farmer is gone and he is not returning. I hold him forever in my heart; I talk to him all the time and I feel him with me.

Perhaps the crow will steer me in the direction of a blog post…or the butterfly that dances on flower petals will re-awaken a funny story of another time here.

I have faith that Ed will help me through this often lonely first year without him..the four seasons to remind us of a busy farm life past…holidays, which are a challenge for everyone.

For me the evenings are the hardest…here in our home by myself…now and then  a memory will sneak in and my Farmer is right next to me…so many things awaken that feeling.

So perhaps that helps you to understand why I have such a time getting back into the blogging. I know that is what I should be doing…just taking some time.

_________________________________________________

A big hug and thank you,  Paula. I hope we may meet some day … you have no idea how much your cards and notes mean to me. May you enjoy a happy and healthy spring with Phil (the drive in the National Park and the picnic sounded lovely!!!)

 

Optimistic…

Hello everyone! It is a beautiful, sunshiny day here at Bejosh. As the video shows Willie is feeling pretty frisky and the chicken is mesmerized by his dance!!!

Days like today make me feel like I am heading in a good direction…downsizing the cow numbers has been a good thing. I don’t feel as much pressure or stress thus far and it feels good.

The young man that bought the milk cows, Sawyer, is staying in touch and has asked to have a look at the heifers that I have to sell. That will be good for all involved. I have only good thoughts about him.

I would like to say a big thank you to Paula, Melissa and Holly  for the notes and cards they continue to send…it adds a smile to my days and it is a spirit lifter on some of the harder ones. I love hearing what is going on with you.

I can’t help but feel my Farmer’s presence in every day life here…the other night I heard him giggle…I hear his voice in whispers…I have even heard (imagined) him going across the room with his walker/ a sound that broke my heart when it was really happening.

I do realize that all of this is only in my head but it is a way of having him close by. I think it is different for every one depending on the relationship with the lost one.

I am starting some seeds for planting outside when the time is right…an added distraction for sure.

Things are definitely moving forward here and for that I am grateful. The geese are coming quite often even though the water is still frozen over. I can hear them long before they appear in the sky and it is a welcomed sound. Ed loved hearing them in the Spring. I wonder how many babies we will have this year…perhaps some ducklings, too.

New life and a new beginning…or just moving forward. Whatever it is I am ready and willing to give it a try. Whatever lies ahead is okay and I know I will not be alone. The crows and butterflies will keep an eye out for me.

By the way Donna…I am counting the days till you are back in New York!!!

 

Reality hurts…

 

cows n

I realize this photo was already posted here but for some reason I cannot download my new photos to the blog….but it represents this post anyway.

Today I said goodbye to 24 of these ladies who went to a new home.

I feel sad but I do know it was the right thing to do. So much has happened here in the last few months and this is what it came down to. Could I keep the dairy part of Bejosh going or should I let it go?

After a lot of soul searching and prayers for direction I let it go…I struggled with whether or not I should send them to auction and I contacted our local auction barn with questions of whether or not it was a good idea to include my animals in a dairy sale.

I am so thankful that the family that runs the auction are friends and gave me good direction in holding on to the cows for a bit. And then one Saturday this young man drove in to Bejosh and said that he was told that I had some dairy animals to sell…yes, those family friends told him about me.

Upon meeting and talking to the young man I realized he talked about numerous things that my Farmer had mentioned to me when we were first married…he told me he loved working with cows and that growing up he had hoped to someday milk his own herd… he has been running his farm on his own for the last 4 years. He had initially farmed with his father as did my Farmer with his.

I could see he was a ‘cow man’ when we went out to the free stall and he saw the animals. He asked important questions and the girls seemed to like him…of course the Brown Swiss just walked right up to him and he petted and talked to them.

When he  left that day I think I knew he would be the one to get my cows…he wanted them as a group. That was very important to me; there has been so many changes here in the last year and they directly affected the cows, too.

That was one of the considerations for selling them…I would hold out and only sell them as a package deal. But I didn’t have to hold out in the end. They went together…I kept 6 for various reasons…sentimental and otherwise.

When they were loading them on the trailers today, their new owner kept asking me if I was okay and he hugged me as the tears rolled down my cheeks. But I needed to be a part of their transition.

So yes, reality hurts…but I do take consolation in believing I did the right thing. The young man is looking forward to milking the Swiss and I am sure they will take a liking to their new farmer as will the Holsteins. I can feel it.

I have dreaded this day for quite a while since I decided I could not keep up and selling was the best thing.  As I write this I am not filled with dread…I feel fortunate that this all fell into place and I am positive that my Farmer had his hand in leading Sawyer to the auction barn.

But most of all, I take consolation in the feeling that he would approve.