Friday, June 5, 2015

Sisterhood Tag

When you blog about life as a farm woman, you become part of a community of other farm and ranch women - a sisterhood if you will. Once I finally discovered (a month later) that Jenny from Prairie Californian had tagged me in the Sisterhood of the World of Bloggers Award, I was pretty excited to answer her questions.

1. Why did you start your blog? 

I have always had a passion for writing, especially during times of change. When I learned that I would be moving to Texas, I knew it was going to be a long process before I really "became Texan" so I thought I'd share my stories along the way. Since then, this blog has been a great place to share the good times, the hardships, and even some uncertainties with a larger audience. Plus, I knew I'd be learning a lot about Texas and farming in Texas so what better way to learn than to share? 

2. What is one thing you can’t live without? 

Horses. I sincerely believe horses are my key to sanity in a crazy world. When I ride in the evenings, I recharge. They are so beautiful and powerful, and yet they are so willing to listen if you ask the right questions. Thank you, Mom, for giving me one of the greatest gifts of all - a love for horses.

3. If you could travel one place, all expenses paid, where would you go? 

The Scottish Highlands. My mom took my sister and I to Scotland, England and Northern Ireland when I was nine years old. Scotland was by far my favorite, although I loved the entire trip. I've been dreaming of going back ever since. Royce and I honeymooned in Ireland last September, which was fantastic, but part of me still belongs in Scotland. Also, I'm slightly obsessed with Scottish myths, history, culture and the Outlander books, and by slightly, I mean, very much obsessed. 

4. What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done? 

You know that giant bungee slingshot that shoots you and another person into the air at 80 mph? The one they have at fairs and such? Yeah. That was terrifying. Royce convinced me to do it. I almost cried when they were strapping me in, but I did it. And it was awesome!!

5. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

No surprise here: a farmer, writer and a graphic designer. I call myself pretty lucky that I get to do most of that every day. 

6. Who in your life has influenced you the most? 

I've been extremely blessed to have many great mentors in my life, but my mom and dad have had a tremendous impact on me. My mom taught me to be an independent woman, to persevere through the tough times, and to trust my gut. My dad coached me to always be thinking ahead for different ways a situation could work out. He also taught me how to talk "farmer talk," which has served me very well. They both always let me know they'll be there when I need to sound ideas off of them or when I just need someone to listen. 

7. How do you like your steak cooked? 

Medium rare. A good steak won't need anything else besides being cooked to medium rare, although I do like raw horseradish with my steaks on occasion. 

8. What are some of the first things you do in the morning? 

Hit snooze. Cuddle with Rori, my red dog. Check my phone for the texts, emails, news, and Facebook messages I missed while sleeping. Then I get up and put on my slippers. Slippers are seriously amazing. If you don't have a pair, you are missing out!

9. What is one of your favorite quotes? 

"Talk less. Listen more." It sounds so incredibly simple, and yet it is so very challenging to listen, really listen

10. What is your favorite season of the year?  

Harvest - whether that is wheat harvest in June or corn and cotton harvest in October and November. I absolutely love harvest!


This sisterhood tag isn't just about me. It is about building relationships amongst others. Because of that, I get to write a new set of questions and ask some more wonderful ladies to participate. Also, my apologies if you've already done this. I'm pretty slow to the game. :)

Danielle | High Heels and Shotgun Shells
Jamie | This Uncharted Rhoade
Katie | The Pinke Post
Amanda | The Farmer's Daughter
Jennifer | HeimDairy

Here are your questions:

1. Why do you blog? 

2. What's your favorite color? Why?
3. If you were an animal, what would you be?
4. What are the titles of the last three books you read?
5. You can have dinner with anyone, living or dead. Who would you invite?
6. What is your favorite day of the week?
7. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you bought? 
8. What website do you spend the most time on?
9. You are building your dream house. What's the one thing you must have?
10. Vacation: beach, mountains, or other? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farm Wife Advice: Learn Your Way Around

After nearly a month of glorious rain, the fields have dried out enough to get back to planting. That means Royce is spending all day every day in a tractor cab until he finishes planting, and it also means I get tasked for lunch delivery to said tractor cab.

Before I leave the house with lunch in hand, I always have to ask where he is planting. Yesterday, it was "Dennis's." Today, as I received his response of "The Sargent" and I automatically knew where to go, I realized I've come along way since this time last year. How is that, you ask? Well, I actually knew which field he meant and how to get there.

If you are new to a farm or ranch, whether as a new girlfriend, wife, hired hand or husband, my advice to you is to learn your way around the farm and the ridiculous name of each field. The quicker you do this seemingly simple task, the easier the rest of your life will be. Oh, by the way, it probably isn't that simple.

How do you go about learning these names? There's plenty of methods. You could:

  • Get a tour of the farm and take excellent notes.
  • Find a county plot book and highlight each field, adding a note for common referenced names.
  • Draw your own map.
  • Google maps every field. 
  • Or, you could just do like me and ask repeatedly which field/pasture they mean. You'll get it eventually.
Let me share some advice with you.
  • Field names most likely won't make any sense to you. Some farmers name fields by number, but most farms I've been on haven't been that easy. On my dad's farm, he uses a combination of random identifiers, like "The Mile-Long," "The Curves," and "Egypt" (because it was *ahem* out of the way), and last names of the people from which he rents or bought the ground. This was really great if you are around when the land comes into the farm. Not so great if you are new and have no idea who the people were. Here on the O'Neal Farm, we are very similar to my dad's farm. We have lots of family names, "Kuykendall," "Sargent," "Sheridan," "The Doss Place," "Johnny May's Home," "Johnny May's" (not to be confused with Johnny May's Home), "Aunt Ruth's," ... You get the idea. We also have some random identifiers, like "The New Well" (which is somewhere between 15 to 20 years old), as well as "The West Pasture," "The Middle Pasture," "The East West Pasture," and "The East East Pasture." Yikes. 
  • If you ask why a field is named something, you better be prepared for a good story or at least, a lesson in farm history. I once asked Granddad why "The East West Pasture" and "The East East Pasture" were named that way. He proceeded to tell me about when his grandfather acquired the ground, how and why he settled in the Texas Panhandle, and how all of his grandfather's land was divided up after he passed away. Eventually, he got to where he and my father-in-law had just decided to split the East Pasture into two pastures. It was really an awesome story and I thoroughly enjoyed the history lesson, but if you are in a hurry, just don't ask the question.
  • Some fields are named after objects that are no longer there, so if you are looking for the "one tree" on "One Tree Field," you may never find it. Or, my favorite, there used to only be one tree on "One Tree Field," but now there are 10. 
  • Most importantly, if you don't know where you are going or how to get there, don't be afraid to ask, especially if you are delivering a part for a broken piece of equipment. While they might be slightly upset that you don't know your way around yet and they had to take a quick second from being broke-down to answer your call or text, they'll be very upset if you take the part needed to get the combine running to "The Curves" instead of "The Mile-Long," delaying the harvest by another 30 minutes. I speak from experience. Please, just ask!
I want to hear from you! How do you name the fields on your farm? Have you ever had trouble remembering all the field names? Has it ever gotten you an upset farmer?