The latest

We’ve been busy down here on the farm recently. Busy with all kinds of different thing,  but busy in the best ways. I actually hate the word ‘busy’ because people use it as a life avoidance technique, as an excuse, and as a badge of honor, and I use it in none of these ways. When I say busy, I mean we’re doing so many of the most amazing things in a very mellow and not overwhelming way. Can you follow? I do a lot, but I’m likely the least busy person you know.

So on May 30th, Thomas and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. Well… if you were at our wedding and you’re confused, I must remind you that we were actually married on June 16th 2008. We then had our wedding, where many of you were in attendance, on May 30th of 2009.

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Most of you didn’t know at the time that we had already been married for a year (it was a military, courthouse, need medical insurance kind of situation that I’ll elaborate on in another blog). So when all the memories popped up on Facebook, they were from only 9 years ago, but like I said, we had already been married almost a year. Try to keep up. In our world, we celebrate on May 30th (the anniversary of the wedding) but count the number of years, which would include one additional one.

All that to say, on May 30th we went on a mega date. I have to give us a shout out real quick, because I think it’s important to date your spouse, and for me, dates have always been something I really treasure, and we never prioritize. We never plan them, we never want to spend the money, and we really like our kids, so we end up leaving dates out of the picture… until now. Recently I’ve decided that Thomas and I are going to start dating.

So on May 30th, for our anniversary, I planned a mega date. I had my friend Tori take my kids for 24 hours. God bless that woman who was home without her husband and has two kids of her own, one who is still just a baby, and who was willing to add my kids to the chaos. She’s a true saint. It’s hard to find someone you trust who is willing to take your three children over night! So we dropped the kids with her and we headed for Nashville.

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I have to tell you, when we first visited Nashville, way back when my two and a half year old was just 3 months old, Thomas and I had the most magical time running around exploring Nashville with Tori. We were still undecided if Tennessee would be our final landing place for our family, but that night I started imaging dates where Thomas and I would pop up to Nashville and have dinner and listen to live music. I imagined that it would be amazing. So I was so thrilled to have the chance to live that out for the very first time on our anniversary.

I had planned ahead of time for the childcare, and I had asked a high school friend who works in Nashville if we could barrow the condo his dad owns in downtown. I had also secured a dinner reservation for a super nice restaurant upon the same friends recommendation. So once I revealed the plan to Tom- and I had kept it a secret from him until my four year old deliberately told him the whole plan the night before- I told Thomas that we had a lot of down time where he could decide what we did. Maybe we would go to a museum. Maybe we would just walk around. I hadn’t thought through any of the other details. I was just so excited to be in Nashville with my husband celebrating 10 years of being husband and wife.

Once Thomas had been let into the fold, he immediately hopped on the computer and unbeknown to me, made a reservation for a mid afternoon food and wine paring at the Belle Meade Plantation. Does my husband know me or does my husband know me?

It was amazing and truly a lovely surprise. We met some great people- there were only a few other couples allowed at the pairing- and we learned a lot about how to taste wine and what different foods did with different wines. I fully enjoyed myself and was totally swooning over that man of mine.

After exploring the Plantation a little bit, we headed back to the condo to park the car and get ready for dinner. Luckily, that’s when the always unpredictable southern weather decided to open up and go nuts.

So we avoided the crazy downpour and then took a quick uber just down the road to the restaurant, where we had an absolutely amazing dinner. We sat there for a few hours, eating slowly, and ordering nothing off the kids menu. What a thought!

After dinner, we hit up Broadway to complete the dream I’d imagined for what feels like years. We walked from bar to bar, listening to the different bands and learning the history of each club and who was discovered where and which country star owned what.  It was so much fun.

In the morning, after sleeping in- thank you very much- we headed to a greasy, hole in the wall diner that was completely amazing, before heading to pick up our kids, who we actually were missing very much. It was a perfect night away, and a great way to start off the next 10 years together.

In other recent dates, we went to CMAfest this past weekend! It was amazing, and another dream date in Nashville.

If you don’t know what CMAfest is, it’s basically a week long country music festival that capitalizes on the fact that every country music star who is anyone is in town for the Country Music Awards (CMA’s). Every night you can go to a massive concert at Bridgestone Arena, where 6-7 headliners share the stage. The same friend whose dad has a condo in Nashville had extra passes he offered us (he is one good man to know, let me tell you what), and so we were able to find a sitter willing to stay the night at OUR house so that we could come home ridiculously late.

Chris Young, Blake Sheldon, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Combs played- to name a few.

And I have to tell you what, as much as I love country music and have always been a fan, I must have missed when country music became pop. Not one belt buckle, cowboy hat or boot on that stage… I was a little disappointed. Between that and the potentially underaged gals in front of us who were drinking beer, singing the words to every song, and vaping… Thomas and I started to feel incredibly old. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been out and about and suddenly you’re looking around, thinking you’re fitting in, realizing that you’re probably the only one in a seriously massive radius who even has kids?

Strangely, it didn’t make me feel out of place, and I didn’t find myself reminiscent for the time gone by. I happily held my husband’s hand and embraced the fact that I don’t have to go on a bad date ever again, or go through a dramatic break up… and I wasn’t going to be expected or pressured to go out until all hours of the night after the concert. Being old and married is totally okay by me. Because, frankly, I was tired and ready for bed by midnight when it was over. Okay, if I’m being honest, we left early because I wasn’t sure I could stay up that late.

On the way back to our car, we popped into ‘The Diner’ which isn’t hole in the wall-ish or greasy like the other Nashville diner from the first date, but instead it’s six floors of pick your experience. We grabbed a quick bite on level 2- the sports bar- and headed home.

Tonight, we rounded out the last week and a half with our third date! Can you even believe it? I’m not sure we went on three dates in the first 10 years of marriage, so this was a pretty big deal. The three kids are in VBS (which I think is a southern thing, because I don’t think I knew about it out west, but I could be wrong), which means Vacation Bible School, all this week. Today was night one. So Thomas and I dropped them off and headed to an upscale dinner at a New Orleans styled restaurant on the duck river.

It was beautiful and delicious! After we finished our dinner, we headed to downtown Columbia, grabbed some ice cream and tried out the brewery just off the square. We spent the last part of the evening, before we picked them up, driving around the country side. It’s no Nashville date, but it made for a pretty wonderful Monday.

If you could care less about our recent Nashville dates, sorry for all that and I’m glad you’ve made it this far, but I do have a few farm updates as well.

Fern, one of our mule foot hogs (we got her as a piglet) had her second litter of piglets (the first round resulted in 4 still borns), and although we haven’t found her in the woods yet, and we don’t know how many babies she has had, we do know that she has abandoned one (or she may have just wandered off, it’s hard to know). Thomas was out in the pen with them all, and this tiny day or two old black piglet came sauntering out of the woods and waltzed right up to him, basically asking to be picked up. And what a God moment, because that baby pig would most certainly have been killed by a predator or the other pigs had Tom not been right there at that moment to rescue her. Although it was bad timing- we were literally getting ready to head up to Nashville for CMAfest- we were able to get to the store early enough in the morning to get the baby some ‘multi species milk supplement.’

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Braineo (Neo for short) is doing well and currently living in a crate in our backyard, while we wait for the first chance to hopefully successfully reintroduce her to mom. I have no idea where the name Braineo came from, but Cadence is the one who normally names the animals and she’s been on her game for every animal until now. We’ve got Sunny the duck, Elsa, Olaf, Wilber, Fern and Charlotte the pigs (to name a few) and now Clover and Clementine the cows… so Braineo the piglet?? I mean you can’t get it right all the time.

In another crate, we have a slightly older white (Mangalitsa) piglet who has an injured leg. It’s one of the two boys who we traded one of the baby girls for (to switch up the genetics for breading purposes) and the mom pig was definitely not stoked that we pulled a fast one on her and switched out her baby. So needless to say, she wasn’t the most welcoming to this little boy piglet. We’re not sure if she broke this baby’s leg, or if it was just injured and now is infected, but we’re hopeful that we can get in front of the issue and save the baby. Stay tuned for that. But with two pigs in crates that we’re very hands on with, it would seem we’ve got ourselves a regular animal rescue going on down here- which makes my daughter incredibly happy. It would seem she is falling in love with the idea of being a vet more and more.

On that note, Cadence has started horse back riding lessons. She’s only had one lesson, but I suspect this will be a lifelong love and not a fleeting moment like soccer was last summer. She is absolutely lit up about it, and is actually taking quite well to it. We had promised her that she could start learning once we had cows and could actually use a cow girl. Well, we’ve got cows now so…

Raccoons and opossums have been teaming up in an attempt to really bring down our chicken numbers. I can’t say how many chickens we’ve lost in the last month, but we’ve killed at least one raccoon and one opossum by randomly walking into the barn at night at the exact right moments. And by ‘we’ I clearly mean Thomas. I kill no raccoons or opossums. So praise God ‘we’ have been able to start to defend our flock and rid the threat for the time being. It’s a brutal life for the farm animals. We find that we’re always on our toes.

We’re enjoying ourselves here, and waltzing into another amazing summer or so it would seem. Although I was nervous about the heat and humidity of the south, I don’t want to speak too soon, but the weather here is so much better than the weather I’m used to. It’s absolutely beautiful. I’m totally loving it and pleasantly surprised that it’s not exactly what I expected. We’re headed into a few days of rain, which makes this place so wonderful for growing food, but that also means that the weather that has been topping out around 90 degrees, will be dropping back down to the low 80s for a few days. What a dream.

Who wants to come visit and experience all this crazy amazing? It’s a dirty life, but someone has to do it, right? Thanks for coming along.

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