07/29/17 – White Shield, North Dakota

Molly Jacobson – Affinity Ag Custom Harvesting

Camper fun in White Shield, ND:

Four-month old Caleb Alan has been going through a no-nap phase, which takes me straight from “I think I can totally do this three kids thing” to a cussing, kicking, screaming “f-you, Pampers, and your adorable touching family ads” kind of person.

Camper bed assignments are also trouble-shooting specials, so obviously my other two don’t sleep either until I find the perfect solution, which takes several days at least. So I’m a titch-bit frazzled at the moment.

I brought my 50 pound sacks of flour and sugar and tub o’lard on this journey, but hope and joy are in short supply at this point. Thankfully, though, I found some baby nap tips online from some wise woman and Caleb Alan is back to sleeping like an adorable hairless sloth–upside down and hanging from my left boob. No luck with the other two, though, so we at least tried to have fun while we waited for the guys to come in for supper (they finished peas and have a few days before durum is ready).
The girls played outside with the dog and filled their pickups with dirt and gravel. It was a cool, breezy 88 degrees today–I would move to North Dakota just for the fact that it’s always at least 10 degrees less stifling than everywhere else, which is especially nice when I’m wrapped in a burka to nurse my baby or toting him around in my “combat vest” (baby carrier). After outside time, we played “beauty shop” and colored together. 
By the time I got supper on the table, Miriam was passed out on the floor under the kitchen chair and Ruthie was asleep on Daddy’s shoulder. Uuurg, if only people would nap when I say, things would be a lot better around here. Momma knows best, y’all.

06/30/17 – Billings, Montana

Molly Jacobson – Affinity Ag Custom Harvesting

GOOGLE MAPS, “MOUSE” TRAPS, AND OTHER LIES I HEARD THIS WEEK

Lie #1: Google Maps

Google Maps is a pack of lies. Caleb placates me by telling me how important I am, that I’m his invaluable eyes up here while he’s down south combining. He wanted pictures of our hay crop, so the kids and I packed a picnic and drove up to Molt to check out the barley and peas. I had romantic notions of a beautiful farm picnic in the meadow by the field, shaded perfectly by a grain bin. Pinterest and Dr. Laura were gonna be so proud of me for enjoying creative quality time with my children. Instead, we all got viciously nibbled by mosquitos and the grass we sat in was so tall it kept tickling the spot on the back of my neck that makes me cranky. When Caleb touches me there I involuntarily punch him in the earlobe. Miriam dumped a bottle of water on the picnic blanket and the dog licked my salami. That’s not a euphemism. Our picnic successfully derailed, we set off to snap photos of our bourgeoning acres. The last time we attempted this a couple weeks prior, I forgot to get fuel and my phone memory was full so we almost got stranded and couldn’t take pictures anyway. But this time, I was prepared—phone memory wiped clean, brimming fuel tank, and I even brought an item to set next to the barley to show Caleb scale for comparison purposes(Ruthanne’s cowgirl boot). So, I ate a stray piece of muffin to ward off the hangries and shot some stellar photos of the field I had land-rolled myself. The kids and I packed up the absurd circus that falls out of the pickup every time I open the door—carseat, strung-out dog, wet blanket, 12 besmirched diapers, my three offspring, half-eaten snacks, adorable picnic basket (a.k.a. plastic Wal-Mart bag), 27 mismatched toddler shoes, stuffed cow, Shaun the Sheep, pocket knife (with corkscrew), Italian dictionary, digital timer, six tampons, four non-functioning phone chargers, various “pwetty” rocks collected by Miriam, and the old Pringles can in which I carry my sanity.
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05/17/17 – Billings, Montana

Molly Jacobson – Affinity Ag Custom Harvesting

WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY, THE MICE WILL HAVE TO BE DISPOSED OF WITH A LONG-HANDLED RAKE AND A BLOW TORCH

Welp, Caleb has been gone for over a week now. Things are going pretty well, minus three small details:

  1. The dog rolled in something dead, and now smells like horse $h*t in a hot box. I managed to wrangle him by the collar, sit on him, and spray him off with the garden hose; but, as it turns out, unlike beauty, the stench of death is more than skin deep. At least we provided a spectacular show of flying fur and white-girl legs for the people driving by. I would have sequestered our hose bath to the back yard, but the unmowed grass is so tall that I can’t find my own knees, let alone my Doberman. This leads me to the next problem:
  2. The lawn. At first, mowing the grass was pretty low on my priority list, especially because my range-wise husband told me that our grass was of a short variety that would never get very tall. LIES. As the lawn shoots up, mowing shoots right on up on my to-do list, as well. My experience with such things is minimal. After combining, cutting grass just seems so ridiculous. The only lawn-mowing I’ve ever done is with my parents’ electric mower when I was 15…and my brother took delight in tossing the cord in front of me so I would be electrocuted and he could have my bedroom after the funeral. Nevertheless, I managed to drag our push mower out of the garage. The bag was attached, but I thought, “Hey, I better just take this off so the clippings can scatter…that way I don’t have to empty the bag every two minutes in this crazy grass.” So I did. I got ‘er started and managed to cut a 15 foot strip before I was covered crown to rump in emerald chaff. Erin-go-bragh. I guess there was a different attachment piece for spreading the clippings, which I managed to find later and attach with some random nuts and bolts I found next to a mouse carcass in the garage (country life…sigh…eye roll). Alas, now the cursed contraption won’t start. Not worth a tinker’s damn.
  3. I have looked everywhere, but I can’t seem to find my feelings. I choked up a little when Caleb left initially, but we had places to go and people to see, so I shoved that mess back down like John Henry pounds rails. Originally, facing the reality that Caleb would be leaving me with two toddlers and a newborn for ? weeks, I planned on being too drunk busy to feel the feelings, but now I can’t get them back again. I reckon it would be healthy to have a good cry, but my tears must have taken their leave. I could be really dramatic and say that even my ability to weep has abandoned me. It’s like I’m standing outside an ice cream parlor, and my emotions are just chillin’ inside, bingeing on mint chocolate chip, waving at me from behind the window panes. I can see them, glimpse what my feelings look like, but I can’t feel them. I’ve tried to coax them out by wearing Caleb’s shirts and pumping up the Taylor Swift, but the unreachable emotions just roll their eyes at me. I suspect that they will all come shooting out in a barrage of four-letter words directed at my lawn mower one of these days.

And so, despite (and because of) the aforementioned provocations, my spirit is stretched and grown. I finished land-rolling 640 acres all by myself up at the farm (with 8-week-old Caleb Alan’s help).

I planted my second-ever vegetable garden (the first is not worth mentioning—but there I go, I guess I mentioned it anyway). The kids–and the pungent pooch—are still alive. I’ve fixed things I didn’t think I could fix, grown things I didn’t think I could grow, and broken things I didn’t think I could break (oops, that last probably isn’t a virtue). My incredible support system has risen to the occasion, surrounding me on all sides by what can only be described as the love of a thousand snuggly puppies. My parents have given me respite from two of the tiny humans often. Caleb’s family, my out-laws, are committed to turning away the lonelies at the front gate. And my playfellows and kindred spirits nourish me. These are the blessings sprinkled in with the tribulations, but I refuse to silver-line the thunderheads. I need my husband like a chubby kid needs cake…I can do without, but I get a case of the hangry’s real bad. I miss him terribly. He’s down there in Oklahoma in tornado season. Every morning after a storm, I wait for his message to report that he’s still on this earth (OK, you got me, that was a little dramatic). I do life up here without my life-partner, while he does our crazy life down there without me. I miss my grain cart. I miss the sweet tea at the filling station in Grandfield, OK and the pinto beans at my favorite café in Burkburnett, TX. Our little homestead IS thriving, but hell’s bells, it’s dreadful to be left behind.

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