You Never Know….

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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.

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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…

 

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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.

 

 

Two videos Behind

Hi everybody…Time seems to go by so fast lately. This video was done in the middle of January with full intentions of getting it posted here but well….

I have been finding it harder and harder to keep up with daily issues here and I feel I depend too much on Jeremy’s family…they never complain but trying to keep up with frozen water here and his other job is not easy for any of them.

I have decided to sell the farm…yeah, I know I go back and forth with this…cows will most likely go the first week of March if plans stay on course. I am going to advertise equipment, house, barns and some of the land. I think it would be a good place for someone trying to get started in farming ( God only knows why anyone wants to ) or even using the barns for sheep, goats or something along those lines. The parlor could be modified for goat milking which is up and coming so I have read.

This house is way too large for just me so I will probably move just up the road to a single story, 2 bedroom house we own and has been thoroughly remodeled over the last couple of years by son Jess. He has moved downstate so I can move right in if I want.

If the farm itself does not sell, perhaps I will get some sheep to raise. Farming is becoming a real challenge for all involved in general. From my point of view this is a good year for fuel prices but everything else keeps climbing.

I have been thinking nonstop about what I am going to do in the future and one thing is certain…I do not want to milk any longer. With any luck the equipment I have will be something someone else could use and some of it will sell. I am not planting any corn but will do haying.

For the few animals I intend to keep for the grandkids there is roughly 375 tons of silage to feed out. We have been buying baled hay and straw to fill in the hole left from not doing much here last summer. That practice will continue until we can get some baled here. Have been told that Spring is right around the corner!!!

Well enough complaining…here is another video from a few evenings ago…

The ever popular Sadie and Skylar…for quite a while she would not come into the parlor after I started milking again in November. Not sure why, but animals are smarter than given credit for and she knows my Farmer is gone.

She started passing through the milking parlor when the nights started getting colder and she would go into the calf barn and find a bale of straw or hay to lay on…yes, she can get her entire body on a square bale!!!!

I have been talking to the crows who still come for bread or corn when I feed Willy Peacock…he has gotten daring and when he gets hungry he will perch on the rails for the ramp outside the door. Even if I am in the barn he will wait until I get the bread or corn for him and his cohorts… I spread it along the driveway and he willingly shares with the crows. Yeah, I need to get a photo.

I haven’t been doing much writing…I want to but I think the quality is not there. Putting things down on paper (or computer)  just doesn’t seem to be going well so a lot has gotten deleted or directed to the wastebasket. I am sure , however, that once some  of the things get rolling around here and I no longer feel overwhelmed with everything I will be better at it and will post on a more regular basis.

And Donna W…I miss you and your wise advise. Can’t wait for April and warmer weather that will bring you back north!!!

A number of you have asked if I am okay and say you miss the blog…so I will go through some photos and videos I have done in the past couple of months and get something up here. Your concern gives me such a beautiful feeling of a massive, warm hug that is what I need most days. Thanks and love to all of you. I am still here!

Wishing you all a great Valentine’s Day tomorrow, too.

A New Year—Counting My Blessings

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I honestly didn’t realize it has been a month since I posted here. Going through the ‘stages’ that one goes through when they lose a loved one I have learned that there is no set way, right way or easy way to grieve. That is just my opinion…having grief, loss and loneliness dominate the last 4 months for me here at Bejosh.

Four months…the same length of time my Farmer fought the cancer after learning that it had filled his brain (quite literally). Not enough time.

I remember the day he went outside for the last time…a tough day for all as the cancer was wreaking havoc with my Farmer. As family and friends had stopped by Ed was working so hard to be positive and upbeat…but we all knew better.

Jordan marched back into the house after a visit with Grampy and announced that he was going to take him outside…no ‘ifs, ands or buts…. and got the wheelchair ready.

The excitement was empowering…they brought out the Brown Swiss for him to pet and talk to…took him around to the free stall to see his ladies. There were tears as big as saucers pouring down his cheeks…smiles as big as all outdoors…and a hug and ‘love you’ for Jordan. It made a difference to all who witnessed this last outdoor adventure.

That evening we talked for a long time…nothing in particular until he said that he knew his goodbyes to his animals was inevitable. One thing led to another…we held hands and he talked about how he wished he had a better legacy to leave all of us.

This has been on my mind the last few weeks…he wanted to do something that people would remember him for…

I heard a song the other day that said ‘some men stand for something and some men fall’. My Farmer stood for hard work…a mainstay in ignorance…and love of family.  His legacy is alive and well…it lives on at Bejosh and in all of us who love him for who he was and for what he stands for.

We will succeed…we will fail at times. Nothing and no one can be right all the time…but we will learn from at least trying.

I know…I know….I got off track here. My heart cries for my Farmer and his ability to make things right again…just give it some time he would tell me. That is what I will do.

He was and is my greatest blessing….his strong will and soft heart…his directness and giggle that would make the devil himself do the same.

I put these few photos together in his honor…a four month fight comes to an end but his legacy goes on!

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Top row…My Farmer and Me…Jordan’s mission is a bittersweet success.
Middle row…Son Jess conducts the funeral service…my Farmer’s last ride… and the bearers do their job
Bottom row…following the casket to the cemetery…family members say their goodbyes.
*** I thought perhaps our followers would like to see how loved and respected he was. The people who followed the horse and wagon was unbelievable…then to see the cars of those who chose to drive parked at the site  is a testament to the man.

So you see he must have left a mark…just look at the photos.

Moving forward into the new year I count my Farmer as my #1 blessing…I will do my best to honor his memory … I count my other blessings every day — 4 children—10 grandchildren– and we cannot forget the ladies in the barn—all a part of Ed Gulley’s Legacy !

***I apologize if this post seems to be all over the place…I still cry at the drop of a hat and tonite I feel especially emotional. I do promise to keep the blog going. It won’t be the same as before…I am doing this on my own and my insights aren’t as refined (ha ha) as when we did this together.

HAPPY 2019 TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU…I can’t do it without you…you are each a blessing in your own way to me. XO XO!!!

My Update…Bejosh Goes On…

 

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My first evening back in the milking parlor was a bit overwhelming to say the least. I haven’t milked since the day of my Farmer’s cancer diagnosis, nearly 7 months ago.

A lot of time spent away from anything will cause reflection upon returning…for me milking meant time spent with Ed in the parlor…he milked his side and I milked mine. Of course his Swiss girls seemed to gravitate to his side and that first milking back for me wasn’t any different.

Just being in the parlor was a plus for me…back in the saddle if you will…But this time my Farmer wasn’t there. But I did and continue to have my grandson Jaiboy as my partner. He took to milking like a duck to water.

Patience and the love of the animals was definitely passed down 2 generations to that boy. He is a natural. My heart swells. Instead of a difficult time I had a marvelous time, much to my surprise.

I didn’t take photos of the first time back, but I did snap this one above afterwards. Jai was coaxing a new Swiss (Mini-Augusta) to try some grain.A fine example of his love for the babies…

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I have taken some other pictures since that first time back. These are two of the cow’s morning rituals…get up and do your business before heading into the holding area.

One other thing I have noticed is that Willie has welcomed me back by greeting me outside the parlor as he waits for his morning treat of bread. As you can see, we had gotten our first snow the night before.

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On my way back into the house one evening the solar lights in the perennial garden had just lit up and it cast such a pretty shadow in the snow I couldn’t resist.

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Lastly, I feel compelled to tell my followers why I am back into the farming life…yes I have regrets for various things but we are all adults here…we all have our flaws in one way or another and I feel that I gave all involved an opportunity to work things out…give and take as my Farmer would say.

The last two months have been hard with a lot of changes here…for various reasons, one being that it is next to impossible to run a farm when you have to work a full-time job to pay the family bills, Chad and Kate decided to move their animals back home and give up milking here.

I was as shattered as they were with the decision…it has been a life’s dream for Chad to milk cows for himself. However, there was more to do here than milk cows and care for them.

Many things also lead to their decision not to accept help from other family members…mainly doing it for the farm and putting other issues to bed was not a possibility so it seemed. Our entire family was to blame in one way or another but I realized that things were not going to change and decided to accept it and move on.

Jeremy and his family along with Maggie and her’s has stepped up as much as possible.. first off was winterizing  the calf barn, finishing the hay mow floor and spreading manure from summer cow lots. Jeremy feeds the cows for me ( I don’t get along with skiddie!)…he also takes charge of anything he can when time allows.

Maggie clipped udders while I milked one morning and comes to help when she can also. All the animals have come to the main farm from across the road and new areas for them were made.

So far we have had 2 calves…Swiss heifer and Swiss bull…both doing well. Trying to take advantage of what we have available here and not have to add an expense at this point.

I am feeling okay with this decision for now…my body is pretty much over the initial muscle lameness, but my knees and hips are chronic complainers. I don’t foresee them getting any better but it is tolerable.


December 1st, today,  is another milestone for me without my Farmer…All those many years ago we promised to love and honor each other in sickness and in health ’til death do us part…Sadly enough my Farmer kept his vows  and I am a better person for having him in my life. What is it they say? It is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all…

It speaks volumes to me, but I am still working on accepting it…Happy Anniversary Farmer…I LOVE YOU.

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Please Help Luke Reach His Goal

 

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II know I haven’t been posting much lately but my grandson Jai brought this to my attention and I thought of all our blog followers…

You see, Luke is the young man that reached out to my Farmer in April right after his cancer diagnosis…Luke was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was a toddler (it is inoperable) and was one of Ed’s inspirations throughout his fight with brain cancer as well.

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I am hoping some of our followers will write a letter to Santa and send it to the address above ASAP. I am not sure exactly when the letters will travel with Luke to Macy’s but I am sure it will probably be by the middle of next week.

This young man was granted his wish to go to Disney World a few years ago through the Make a Wish Foundation and since then has been an ambassador for the Believe Campaign and literally puts his heart and soul into it.

Please help him get to his goal of 50,000 letters from all 50 states. It is a labor of love for this guy to deliver his stash of letters to Macy’s and he makes our local community so proud…that same community puts their pen to paper and sends thousands of letters to Luke.

So if you have a moment please send a letter to Santa to the address above and make his goal a reality.

He helped Ed so much with his courageous nature and most importantly by telling him  not to be afraid…stay strong….and we all know that my Farmer did his best with the cards he was dealt…he felt that if Luke can be positive then he should be too. Luke is an AMAZING, kindhearted and loving boy who makes us all proud to be his friend.

Thank you in advance and I promise to post a Bejosh update in the next couple of days…lots of changes but still milking the girls…playing catch-up with winterizing and unfinished maintenance. A girl has to do what a girl has to do, unfortunately!!! All good!