Don’t Let Me Run You Over – Tractors, Trust, & Stupid Turkeys

Any farmer worth their weight in salt keeps quality conditions for their animals in the forefront of their agrarian efforts. There is a lot that goes into protecting and maintaining the range houses for our turkeys. One of the stinkiest tasks is topping-out the buildings. This process entails driving through the building with a tractor and litter machine. The litter machine sifts through the sawdust shavings on the floor and separates out the waste. The waste that is removed from the buildings makes terrific fertilizer, as it is completely natural and environmentally friendly. Once all of the waste is removed, we add fresh sawdust using a spreader bed. This allows the building to stay drier and healthier.

My job in the process of topping-out buildings is to open and close the doors as Hubby drives the tractor in and out of the barn, and to walk in front of the tractor shooing the turkeys out of the way. It may sound easy, but it’s NOT!

On a recent topping-out experience, Hubby yelled at me, “Don’t let me run you over!”

Well, as a I love my husband very much, I was somewhat terrified that he believed I had the power to stop over three tons of tractor and litter machine while he was in the driver’s seat. I guess the fact that he was the driver should have instantly solidified my trust in the process, but I was still leery. To make things worse, turkeys are stupid birds.

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Up In Flames – Burning for Happiness

Burning rituals have been a part of society since civilizations first took shape. It seems that the act of allowing flames to consume things has healing properties. While the ceremonies of burning rituals do not all contain the same supply list or formal procedures, they all do have two things in common: fire and something to burn.

Valentine's burning ritual. #valentines | Friends season 1 episodes, Friends  season 1, Friends show

On a recent getaway with some of my gal pals, we lamented emotions and worries that were weighing heavily on us. As we sought respite in food, drinks, and re-runs of Friends, we were inspired (in part by Phoebe’s idea in “The One with the Candy Hearts”) to have our own burning ritual.

We would each write down the things that were weighing on us and then toss them in the fire. (Our rental cabin had the MOST amazing fireplace.) It took no time at all for each of us to jot down the issues we would like to see go up in flames. Before we decided to just willy-nilly toss our troubles into the fire, we thought it would be best to research burning rituals to see if there was anything that would increase the effectiveness of our sacrifice.

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Committing to a Vacation…A Good Kind of Scare

Who doesn’t need or want a vacation?

After the last 12 months of COVID crisis, presidential and political craziness, and wacked out weather, I am certain we all deserve a vacation.

So, why is it so hard to commit to a vacation?

For me there are three major factors.
1. Cost
2. Commitment phobia
3. I have too much to do.

All of which are bologna.

1. Taking a break or getting away does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

2. Committing to do something makes it that much more valuable.

3. What am I gonna do with all my to-do’s if I don’t take a break before I have a breakdown?

For others, fear of committing to a vacation is based on things to actually be afraid of such as: medical conditions, occupational duties, pets, hurricanes, and pandemics. With awareness of the need for concern, we also have to acknowledge the need to take a break when we can.

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My Butt is Frozen

Temperatures have not risen above freezing here in 12 days and are not projected above 30 degrees for two more days. That’s a whole lot of frozen! Each and every time we go out, we prepare to freeze our butts off. (Thankfully, none of us has actually lost a tushy to frost bite.)

When the weather conditions are this extreme, we get a lot of folks wondering if the horses and cows are ok. While they may be tired of the waters freezing up and eating dry hay, the animals are doing alright. Newborn calves make things a bit dicey, but we do our best to accommodate them and their mamas.

The thing that we always explain to folks is that Mother Nature (as crazy as she may be) prepares animals long before the weather changes to be ready for the extreme conditions. They are built with layers of fat under their thick winter coats and are conditioned naturally to adapt for snow, ice, and wind. In fact, they knowingly turn their hind ends into the wind to form a barrier giving them the perpetual frozen butt appearance.

The snow forms a blanket on their hair and actually insulates the animals. The covering stops wind and hardens into a pocket of warm air between the snow and animal’s coat. Yes, the animals will also hunker down in hay, straw, or on the backsides of drifts to block wind and insulate themselves with body heat, but for the most part they just keep eating and drinking to stay warm and happy.

When it comes to keeping our livestock fed and watered, farmers have to maintain equipment that is thawed and running. Trucks and tractors are particularly problematic when it comes to making things move because, once they are frozen, it’s tough to get them going. Of course, we plug in the engines that have electric warmers and put additives into the diesel tanks, but -10 degrees is sometimes too cold for the preventative practices and often we find ourselves with frozen butts waiting for a truck or tractor engine to turn over and start. We always find ways to get grain and hay to the animals and work tirelessly to ensure that water is available for drinking.

As we face this frozen phase in winter, please keep the farmers and utility workers in your thoughts and prayers. There are no virtual options for clearing roads, fixing powerlines, delivering goods, or providing food for our homes. Some folks are freezing their butts off to keep electric on, services available, and cars out of ditches. While we can’t give them all heated seats or hot tubs to soak at the end of the day, we can say prayers, send supportive messages, and offer them acts of kindness when the opportunity arises. Nothing warms the heart like a sincere “Thank you,” a hug, or a cup of coffee for a job well done. Be safe. Enjoy the beauty of the snow. And take time to appreciate everyone out there with frozen butts and jobs to do.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Atticus and my kids thought I was crazy when I wanted to take a picture of his butt. I guess Mother Nature and I have a lot in common; we are crazy and have lots to teach them.

Stinky Valentines

What do you do when your loved ones think your valentines stink? Well, I’m writing a blog post about it, but hopefully, there is a lesson to be learned from having stinky valentines.

Our recent crazy schedule and even crazier weather prevented me from taking the kids shopping for their valentines this year. I had a window of approximately 2.5 hours to get groceries and run errands in town one morning. Prior to making my mad dash to the big city of Jefferson City, I asked each child what kind of valentine and treats they would like to share with their classes. Each one reported what they would like, but all three ended their request with, “Just get something.” (Clearly, their love and gratitude was shining in those moments.)

For my 8 year-old son, I purchased dinosaur valentines with Rice Krispie treats. For my 10 year-old son, I purchased his standard sports valentines with ring pops. For my 12 year-old daughter, I purchased chocolate craze valentines and Fun Dip packets. The chocolate craze valentines came complete with chocolate-scented erasers.

I thought these were fairly successful purchases, but the 12 year-old was not pleased with the chocolate craze valentines and proceeded to tell me they were stinky and kind of creepy. The 10 year-old nosed his way into the conversation and agreed with the 12 year-old that her valentines stunk.

I was shocked! As a choco-holic, I could not fathom the idea that people wouldn’t love chocolate-scented erasers!

According to my daughter, it’s wasn’t a big deal. She was fine with just taking the Fun Dip packets, but it’s the principle of the thing. How could my family think the valentines I selected stank?

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Easily Distracted By…

Maybe it’s the frequently falling snowflakes or the walls starting to close in after nearly a year of COVID quarantines, but being easily distracted seems to a more common occurrence these days. Even as I draft this post, my mind has already wandered off to granola bars, coffee, the laundry in the dryer, and what the heck my kids are doing. (Deep breath. Focus.)


Have you found your mind wandering with greater abandon lately? Has it been tougher to hold tight to your train of thought? Well, you are not alone.

When I Googled “How to focus better,” the search produced about 2,890,000,000 results. Yikes! That’s A LOT of information on focus and why we struggle with it. Perhaps the fact that there are nearly 3 billion internet options tells us that we have too much at our fingertips. That abundance of information and distractions makes maintaining concentration confounding.

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Who Do You Think of When You Mop?

Who do you think of when you mop?

This may seem like an unusual question, but in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a chore or task that we don’t relate with someone else. While I mop, I am usually mentally cussing my family for being so messy, but before the floor is dry I almost always think of Mary Scott.

Who is Mary Scott?

Well, Mary was a shift manager at the Dairy Queen where I worked as a teenager.

Mary was a tough manager because she did not appreciate horseplay, slacking off, or sneaking bites of cookie dough toppings that weren’t paid for. She appreciated a job well done and sought to provide quality customer service to each customer that came through the door. She also really liked making the Blizzards thick enough to turn upside down each time one was ordered.

Many of my co-workers did not like the job of cleaning the dinning room at the end of the night. I didn’t mind it because it was easier to get clean than the hamburger grease in the kitchen. Sweeping, wiping down tables and doors, bathroom supply checks, and mopping the floor were easy enough tasks to get done so I could get out of there at the end of my shift. One night, Mary watched me mop around the last tables and the floor in front of the soda fountains. I asked if everything was okay. She smiled and said she really liked when I or my sister closed the front because it would be done right. “You girls know how to work. That’s for sure,” she added.

I don’t know why her words have stuck with me, but each time I lug a mop and bucket to clean a floor, I remember the pride I felt in her compliment. Her words also inspired me to always do the best job I could. I wanted to be the person who did a job right. Sometimes I was tempted to cut corners in my cleaning, like my colleagues having water fights in the back, but Mary’s words always caused me to be someone she could count on.

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Not All Horses Eat Apples: A Lesson in Giving

Atticus refusing an apple slice

Not all horses eat apples. This was a heartbreaking realization for me, as my entire childhood was filled with dreams of sharing apples with my horses before we took long, rides through rolling pastures. Today my dreams are still to take long rides through rolling pastures, but no longer do I picture my herd running happily toward me ready to nibble red and greed apples from the palm of my outstretched hand.

In fact, I own two horses that generally turn their noses up at apples or any treat that is not peppermint. On rare occasions, Star will give apples a chance if they are cut into thin slices. Atticus just plain walks away or spits them out. If I offer a treat that is apple flavored, both Star and Atticus will turn their heads in search of something better.

Star walking away from an offered apple slice

Winn Dixie is whole other story. She will scarf down any apples that are offered and scoops up those refused by her herd-mates. How could I have been so wrong about apples and horses?

Have you ever pictured giving something to someone and knew it was going to be perfect, only to have them reject or refuse the gift?

Why does it hurt so badly when our gifts are rejected? Why is it so difficult for us to digest that what we thought was just right doesn’t resonate with the recipient? Why don’t all horses like apples?

The answer to these questions is simple. Sometimes our hearts are in the right places, but our minds are on different trains of thought than that of the one we are trying to gift.

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A Month of Observance: February Positivity Challenge

Every month has a special focus thanks to the practices of commercialism, philanthropy, and celebrating holidays. When I started to think about this month’s Positivity Challenge, I checked out the national observations for the month of February to hone my focus.

Well, the list of national observances did NOT assist my focus. In fact, it caused even greater indecisiveness.

So I decided the Intentergy February Positivity Challenge is to make February a month of observance for something that we don’t normally give our focus. After all, putting positive purpose towards recognizing something new or impactful is definitely a great way to make use of our energy and intents.

For example, I do like to sew, but never considered giving National Embroidery Month a stitch of consideration.

Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

I am the volunteer Library Lady at my kids’ school, and, tragically, I have never shouted that it’s National Library Lover’s Month from the roof tops. (I LOVE the library! What is wrong with me?)

We feed thousands of birds a day on our farm, but National Bird Feeding Month has never been a holiday that I dedicated my efforts. I need to give that one some thought.

How have I never paid homage to Great American Pies Month or National Bake for Family Fun Month!?!
We LOVE pies and baking in my house!

Monthly Observances

There are many social and emotional causes that deserve our attention this month as well. Consider doing something to assist the American Heart Association for Heart Month or join in a discussion or celebration for Black History Month. Serving up some healthy and warm morning meals is a terrific way to recognize National Hot Breakfast Month for those who don’t normally get a hot meal or as a way to bond with your loved ones.

Canned Food Month is a great cause to encourage the donation of canned foods to local pantries and organizations. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month calls all of us to bring awareness to what healthy and loving relationships look like for individuals of all ages.

National Self-Check Month provides added purpose for carrying out self-checks to find potential health problems and awareness to our bodies. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

Whatever focus you chose to bring to February, make it one that you observe with sincerity, integrity, and dedication. Be sure to share your intents with others adding positive energy to your efforts and encouraging them to join you as you make this month one that has meaning.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. My personal February Intenergy probably won’t involve embroidery, but will definitely include some hot, heart-healthy breakfasts and some serious discussions with my family about healthy relationships and habits. Our kids are never too young to learn about love, healthy self-consciousness, and ways to grow.

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