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.

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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.

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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…

 

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.

 

 

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

Family_n

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!

2018 Collage _n

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!!!