Farmgirl Favorite Things

  • Alexandra Stoddard
  • Mary Jane's Farm Magazine
  • Mother Earth Magazine
  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Temple Grandin

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Where have all the close ties gone?

friendship quotes

I joined the Farmgirl Sisterhood, created a local chapter and started this blog for a couple of reasons. One was to meet like minded women and create some long lasting close friendships. Another was to share what I know and learn from what others know. I succeeded at one of these and failed at the other which has left me in deep thought for several months. So I will continue with the success part of this adventure and share what I know and hopefully learn from what you know.

I wonder if my definition of friend does not match the current societal definition. For me, a friend is a deep bond or tie shared with another person. It's being comfortable calling this person at 2am to cry because I know she knows she could call me at 2am to cry. It's sharing my deep dark secrets and knowing I am still OK because this person hasn't abandoned me yet. It's being one of the first to hear her fabulous news and her having the time to let me celebrate it with her. It's still making time for each other even though we have work or family obligations that could easily cause us to drift apart and simply not allowing that to happen. It's a bond created by two unrelated people that is as strong or stronger than a blood bond because the relationship is a choice not a chance. It's the older lady that one sees as a mother figure or the 'soul' sister you would defend as fiercely as a real sister. It's like the YaYa Sisterhood!

Maybe I am wrong. I look at people on facebook who proudly display their "friend" numbers like a collection of medals and I think how odd. In my humble opinion these are not friendships, these are acquaintances. These are old high school, college or work chums you used to have beer with but who you haven't seen or talked to in 2, 3,5+ years. Maybe it makes people to feel better to look at that facebook page and see 267 or 579 FRIENDS. Is this a contest? Maybe I am the odd one because I continue to search for deep connections in a digital world. I don't know.

I had a best friend up until marriage. We met in the third grade. I moved to another state so my husband at the time could get a degree and she had babies. We had that tie that I talked about earlier. It waned a little when boys came into the picture, but it was still there. Eventually geography, time and different lives chipped away at our closeness. I moved back home and we tried to resume the bond. It just was't the same. Finally the tie was broken over the purchase of a house of all things. Sadly we haven't talked for nearly 7 years. I still love her, wish the best for her and think of her often. At least some ties remain even if faint. We thought we would be old and gray together so this is a very sad story in my life. I am grateful for the time we had.

I loved my mother dearly and I was close to her, but not as close as I would have liked. She had some demons to fight and I couldn't be the one to help her. Regretfully she died too soon. I can never get that lost time back, I wish we could have had more time but I do and always did love her with all my heart. Now that she's gone I put her on a pedestal and keep her safe there.

I have had lots of friends throughout the years. Some I met in school, others at work or social groups. But never anyone with that bond I keep talking about. Life changes, people move, get married, have babies and drift apart. That is natural and normal. I am grateful for all those people who were in my life for a time and I think back on them fondly. Yet I keep searching for that ever evading tie that I can feel in my heart and that they feel too. It's like a big black hole that I can't fill up with any of the things I do have.

I keep searching for the answer of why this tie is so hard to obtain. These are my thoughts surrounding it:

Do the only true sisterly relationships come from blood?
Is there something wrong with me?
Maybe I'm a doormat, maybe I'm a b*^@h, maybe I am too sensitive, maybe I don't have anything to offer, maybe I am crazy, maybe I am unreasonable or have unrealistic expectations, maybe I'm hard to get along with, maybe I'm annoying, maybe I smell bad, maybe I am too this, that or the other.
Maybe people don't want that type of connection in a digital age.
Maybe people are getting this type of bond from their husband (uh, don't think so!).
Maybe people are too busy these days.
Maybe those bonds never really existed (but I KNOW they did, I felt it and it was real).
Maybe its harder to make friends after college because lives are too different.
Maybe the only friend you need is the friend you are to yourself (my inner Buddha comes out once in a while!).
Maybe this is an only child, an HSP or an INFJ problem (yep, triple whammy for me).
Maybe it is a combination of all these things.

I got married last year and I inherited a sister in law and a mother in law. At first I thought I hit the mother load. A whole family and I get to be part of it! Instead I am an outsider infiltrating their close knit family and stealing the boy away. I tried to bond with my sister in law but I don't think she is interested and there is some weird competition between us that I cannot understand. My mother in law is a kind and fair woman. I think we respect and appreciate each others talents and gifts, but getting very close just didn't work for whatever reason in this particular family. Being an only child it's likely I don't understand the complicated relationships of siblings and mothers and sons. Or maybe I just tend to overstep my bounds. Again...I don't know.

I met some wonderful ladies through my sisterhood. Talented and kind, but very busy and perhaps not as needing of the close ties I was trying to find. I found myself getting hurt because others always seemed to mean more to me than I did to them. I couldn't find the reciprocation if that makes sense. How can someone be your best friend when you are not their best friend? How does that even work? doesn't. At least not very well. It's no ones fault and no one has done anything just boils down to differences in life, in personality, in family, in time available, etc. etc. etc. Going back to that triple whammy. I am an only child (of a dysfunctional family), I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and I am an INFJ (Myers Briggs personality). All of these things are minorities in today's world. Does that make me strange and too different? Maybe. I don't know.

Anyway, I have exposed my deepest darkest feelings for you all to see. I did it because here is where I learn from you. Is there anyone else out there who feels this way or has this problem? Is there anyone out there searching for ties or has the world of face book conquered the world that used to be? My goal is to reach out to anyone suffering from this ache and let them know, you are not the only one. If it is all me and I am the problem then I will bravely face that fact and do what I can to rectify the situation then try again. But maybe, just maybe I am not alone in this and there are others searching the internet for how to make friends after 40 or childless ladies looking for other childless ladies or mothers for the motherless.

I know it is likely that this post will not get any response or answers. That is OK. I have put it out there into the great web and maybe someone will see it and say "Aha! Its NOT just me!" If so, then I will count this post a success.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pigs Of The Past...Terra Della Luna 4th of July Pig Roasts

I couldn't neglect showing some of our pigs from the past.

Emma Penelope Pig 2009 

Mmmm Pork!

Me and my Sister-In-Law 2009 

2010  Fred and Ethel

Pulling the pig from the pit after cooking 24+ hours 

The pit diggers and pig processors....they deserve a beer! 


My hand made pig pinata! 

Too  much fun! 

2011  Hansel and Gretel

Six Little Piggies

My husband and I have raised pigs since we purchased our hobby farm in 2008. It all started because he wanted to do a Hawaiian style pig roast for the 4th of July. Of course I was game for the adventure.

No, I'm not kicking her...just keeping her from taking a bite of my leg!

Pigs are adorable when they are little. Timid and sweet and oh so cute. But what you need to remember, just like all animals, they get big. Big enough to take a bite out of you if you are not careful! Big enough to push you over when you enter the pen. And big enough to make a pretty good stink. Still, raising pigs is a worthwhile activity if you enjoy animals as we do and want to know where you food comes from.


This year my husband sent a text to tell me my fellow farmgirl and best friend Allie and her husband Jamin found a great deal and that we would have pigs when I got home that night. "Sounds good honey, can't wait!" I expected the usual two maybe three little pigs, but I got double that! SIX little piggies! What on earth are we going to do with that much bacon? Not to worry, he already has all but one sold....we shall see about that.

I know this will bother some people and others will applaud, but yes we do raise our pigs for the freezer. We've raised chickens for the freezer as well as turkeys, but I assure you my laying hens and turkeys (turkey eggs are wonderful!) have a home for stew pot for my ladies. We served our home grown pork at the wedding last August, we've had four 4th of July pig roasts, and we've filled our freezer a few times. Every single one of our animals is treated with dignity and respect. We love them and we honor them for the nourishment they give our bodies. Yes, we name them. We give them toys, fresh water every day, lots of treats and we don't poison them with unnecessary meds to fatten them up, no antibiotics, no medicated feed.

See how happy they are?

My other farmgirl friends also raise their own meat. Emily raises sheep, Eli raises goats and Allie just purchased some land so she is doing meat chickens and pigs this year. Farmgirls understand the cycle of life and where food comes from, they all teach it to their children. Yet, I have other friends who inevitably ask me "how can you kill and eat something you have named and taken care of???"

I understand where they are coming from. I didn't grow up on a farm but farming has always been in my blood. Still ten years ago I might have asked the same question. However, the answer is simple. When we take these animals on we know they are going to be food. We are NOT eating our pets. We are raising our own food. There is a difference....a BIG difference. That is why my layers never make it to the pot. I've buried several of my hens on our property and shed many a tear at their deaths.

Check out that muddy pig smile!

Those of you who can't quite understand the farmgirl mentality of raising your own food should do a little bit of research on where your grocery store food comes from. Food Inc ( or Hungry For Change ( are a couple of good ones. Then visit a small hobby farm like ours and see the difference for yourselves. I know ignorance of how animals are treated can be bliss and it can be easier to digest your meat when you choose to believe that the shrink wrapped meat couldn't possibly come from a cute little animal. But I beg of you for your own health as well as the safety and humane treatment of the some research. I think you will find that we small hobby farmers are MUCH more humane and respectful than the grocery store chains.

One of my heroes in life is Temple Grandin. I'm sure most of you have heard of her. If you haven't do a Google search. This woman is utterly amazing. She is an advocate for the humane treatment of all livestock, food or otherwise.

In the meantime, to all my friends who don't understand being a farmgirl I tell you... I hear you and I understand where you are coming from. All I ask is for you to do some research on your own. Then form your opinion. I think you will find that those of us who name our animals give them much better lives than those who do not. If you still disagree then I respect your views. Will you respect mine?

The laughing pig.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Farmgirls Honor The Women Who Shape Them

Honoring My Mother this Mother's Day

Mom and I at my High School Graduation

I think about my mother a lot between March and July...first there is her birthday (March 16th), my parents anniversary (April 1st) then of course Mother's Day, the day she died (July 1st) and the day she was buried (July 9th).

My mother was an amazing woman. Her capacity for compassion and empathy was tremendous. She could do anything and her strength (physical and emotional) was unparalleled. I would say that I'm just biased but if you knew her you would agree with everything I just said.

Davis Family Photo

My mother had a difficult life. I don't want to go into what she suffered, but I need to mention it because I believe her pain is what made her so sensitive to others. It made her real. Beautiful. Compassionate. Honest. Amazing. She had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. There wasn't a person alive she wouldn't give her last dime to if they needed it.

My mother was borderline genius. My dad and I used to rattle off numbers to her and she would add or multiply them in her head almost faster than we could punch them out on the calculator. She had a scholarship to School of Mines but didn't go because she had me instead. My mother rode Harley Davidson motorcycles. She learned when she was 6+ month pregnant with me. My grandma had a fit seeing my mom with her big belly out there learning to ride a motorcycle. Moody Blue was her baby. Aptly named because it was her "Magic Carpet Ride" (from the band Moody Blue). She drove diesel trucks for the Postal service, the first woman driver at the Denver BMC in the 70s. She was 5'5" and could rival any man. In fact she won the Truck Driving Rodeo in Las Vegas one year. I've got countless safe driver award pins from her many years with the Postal service. In her 40s she decided she had enough of driving truck and went back to school to get her accounting degree.

Mom and Moody Blue

On Daddy's bike, check out the ape hangers

Mom at work (truck is in background)

My mother had a wild side too. Her nickname was "Crazy Lady". My dad affectionately gave her this name from a movie with Jack Nicholson where he was out in the yard screaming "Crazy Lady, Crazy Lady". I never saw the movie, but I think Jack was talking about his wife. Push my mother into a corner or try to hurt her or her family and she would put you in your place before you knew what had happened. She backed down to no one when they were in the wrong and she ALWAYS defended the underdog. As I said my mother was a tiny 5'5" 105 lbs and my dad weighed in at 6'6" 260 lbs. One day he dared her to pop him in the nose. She refused but he wouldn't let up so she did. And she broke it. Needless to say he never dared her to pop him again. Lesson learned....never mess with a feisty woman regardless of her size. I'm told I am just like my mother and I take that as the highest compliment. 

My mother loved animals. She would rescue anything that needed her. When my dad met her, he walked into her parents house to a 6 foot dining room table filled with jars and cups and bowls full of guppies. They just kept breeding and she couldn't bring herself to throw them out or flush them. She had a Shetland Pony named Chester as a girl. And she had dogs, always a dog. She was terrified of snakes though. In elementary school her teacher had a classroom snake. Everyone was supposed to take turns feeding it but my mother didn't want to. The teacher thew it on her desk and scarred my mom for life. Until her death, she would freeze like a statue in the presence of a snake. I inherited the same fear. She loved butterflies, sitting by the water (any water), nature, peanuts in her Pepsi, Budweiser Beer, spaghetti, turquoise and silver jewelry and anything Native American. 

 So pretty, even when she doesn't want to pose for my camera

My mother taught me many things. But I am most grateful for the gift she gave me of caring about others. Of trying to put myself in their shoes and not judge. Of always helping when you can. Of being generous and kind, but of being strong enough to stand up for my rights and the rights of others. Of not being afraid to do what is right. Of speaking the truth. Of not being afraid to bring issues out into the open so they can be resolved. I wish more people knew these things....the world would be a better place. 

My mother wasn't afraid to be herself!

My mother was taken from us far too soon at 50. She suffered silently for a very long time with cancer. I think she knew she had it but was afraid to know for sure. My dad had to force her to go to the doctor and by then she was stage 4 with bile duct cancer. It had spread through her whole body. I found out about her cancer when I called her for Mother's Day in 2005. She had only a few chemo treatments and she died July 1st 2005. I was with her when she went. I told her it was OK for her to go and I held her hand. There is a song by Jamie O'neal called "Somebody's Hero". That's my mother. She's MY hero. I love her so much and still 9 years later I cry constantly this time of the year. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her or see something that reminds me of her or something she would like. I have a lump in my throat as I write this. I will never get over losing her. Now, Mother's Day is the worst day of the year for me. Not only did I find out about her cancer on MD, I lost her and I lost my own baby September 2005, just 3 months after losing my mom. 

Not long after she died I had a dream about her. She came back to tell me she was OK and happy. She was up in Heaven with 5 acres of land filled with wildflowers. She had a little cottage right in the middle. Chester and all her dogs and cats were there with her and she was happy. But she also told me, and this makes me smile every single time because it's exactly something she would say, "But Heaven is hard work Jamie! You have to tend all those acres." She said that with the biggest smile on her face I have ever seen. She didn't mind the hard work one bit! She never did. 

I remind myself of the gifts she gave me and the things she taught me. I have a piece of her in me. So when someone tells me I am just like her, I glow. It makes me proud to be like such an amazing woman. 

Wedding. April 1, 1973

In 2006 I chaired the first NW Denver Relay for Life in her honor. We raised over $7,000 at that first event. I'm going to school to be an elementary school teacher (also later in life like her with her accounting degree) to honor both her (my mother loved children, but she only had me) and my amazing Grandmother who was a school teacher in a one room school house in Chadron Nebraska. My Grandma late in life worked at an elementary school in Henderson Colorado with troubled kids. She told me countless times...."Jamie, those kids just need someone to care. If you listen to them they light up!" I guess I know where my mom got her big heart. I'm starting a charity in my mother's honor. She is the character in a children's book I've written for kids with terminal cancer. Her name is Miss Jan and I've created a rag doll in her likeness. Once the book is published, both the book and doll will go to any child (or adult for that matter) facing cancer. No one should have to face this evil disease, but if they do I hope Miss Jan can offer some comfort during the difficult journey. 

Miss Jan All Dressed Up

Anyway, next week is Mother's Day. I know I'll be heartbroken. I lost my Grandmother to cancer last year too and I really miss having a mother figure. But I also know they are in me and with me. I can hear them giving me advice. I can see them in the flowers from their garden that are now in mine. They float around my head with the butterflies that dance around me in the Spring. They sing with the birds at my window. They are all over my home in the little things I keep around that belonged to them. My Grandmother's salt and pepper shakers, my Mother's antique tin collection. And I see them too staring back at me from the mirror. But mostly I feel them in my heart and I think of them all the time. This post has been a tribute to the women who have shaped me. I love and honor them. Janet Lea Davis and Ila Mae Russell. I love you both and I miss you. Happy Mother's Day!

The last picture I have of my mother. She got to put her feet in the ocean before she died. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Farmgirls Never Underestimate the Power of Friends!

I value my friends. Every one of them. It doesn’t matter if we lost touch because one of us moved. It doesn’t matter if we had a falling out at some point and no longer communicate. It doesn’t matter what they look like, what they do for a living, their size or shape, what clothes they wear, how many children they have or don’t have, what foods they eat or don’t eat, how they wear their hair or what color it is, how old or young they are, if they are city girls or country girls. I value them all because they are all unique and special….every single one of them. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some of them help me, I help some of them and some of us help each other. They are my friends and I love them.

I cannot understand then why so many women are downright hateful to other women. Sometimes the aggression is very obvious. The blatant disregard that the woman under attack is a human being and worthy of civility at the very least. You know what I’m talking about; the silent treatment that goes on for months, demeaning comments, extreme criticism, hostility, nastiness, accusations, refusal to seek resolution. Sometimes the aggression is veiled and passive aggressive. Withholding kind words, fake “concern” that is really a veiled criticism, holding a person at arm’s length, spreading rumors, gossip, sugary sweet “compliments” that you can tell are lies, refusing to reciprocate kindness and friendship. Honestly I don’t know which is worse. I’ve been on the receiving end of both and they both hurt like hell. I don’t expect to like or connect with every person I meet and I don’t expect every person to like or connect with me. But I DO expect to be treated with r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Two women in my life are currently causing me tremendous stress. One is a woman at work who is taking the obvious aggressive route. Another is a woman who has for the past 6 years chosen the veiled aggression route. I cannot remove either one of them from my life. Both lay 100% of the blame at my feet and I can’t for the life of me understand what I have done wrong. If I did I would make it right, but I don’t understand and they won’t tell me. I have scoured the internet and read way too many books trying to find out why they would be so angry and so unwilling to forgive. I’m willing. I’ve reached out to both of them and both of them have responded with attacks on not only my character, but my physical appearance!

My research has led me to one thing that seems to tear women apart and put us at each other’s throats. Jealousy. Insecurity. Envy. Competition. When you boil them down, they are really the same thing. One thing I have learned in my life, women can hurt me more than any man ever could.

My dear sisters...why must we tear each other down? We should be building each other up! We ALL hurt. We ALL feel insecure. We ALL feel envy and jealousy. We do NOT need to compete with each other. We may not face the same issues in life, but we all face issues. When you look at the woman next door or in the next cube or at your friend or the new member of your family, you don’t know what troubles she is facing. You don’t know how painful her past or present is. Maybe she is being abused at home, maybe her husband is having an affair, maybe she is facing financial troubles, maybe she lost a child or cannot have them, maybe she doesn’t have any family and is lonely, maybe she is suffering with a health issue, maybe her children are suffering a health issue, maybe she is caring for aging parents, maybe someone she loves is an alcoholic, maybe there is a homeless issue or a recent death. Maybe her life really is perfect (very doubtful since nothing is ever perfect). The point is you don’t know because you are not in her shoes. So what good does it do to compare her life to yours? When are we going to learn that we are ALL special, unique, talented, needed, wanted, valued, strong, weak, wounded and needing of something? We all have flaws and things we don't like about ourselves. These things are no reason to attack our sisters because they have them too.

My promise to all the women out there is that I will not judge you. If I hurt you I didn’t mean to. If we have conflict I will seek resolution. If you hurt me I will give you the benefit of the doubt before deciding you are a terrible person. I will speak truth but with care. If you hurt me repeatedly and refuse to have a relationship with me I will respect your feelings and I will be gentle with you in my mind and heart (not an easy thing to do, but do-able!). I will know that we are not all the same. I will understand that such behavior probably has more to do with your unresolved issues than anything I’ve done and I will wish you well on your journey (conscious or unconscious) to resolve them. I will love you from afar.

What I will not do is carry your burden because you dump it on me. I will not take responsibility for your feelings….only my behavior. I will not be your person of target, scapegoat or whipping girl. I will not tolerate your abuse. My reasons for writing this post on the Farmgirl blog is that I will not tolerate this type of mistreatment in this sisterhood. I will not allow my friends to be treated with disrespect, contempt and aggression. This is a sisterhood. We come together to build each other up, learn from each other, teach each other, help each other and commune with each other the way women are supposed to. With kindness, love, compassion and friendship. Competition, jealousy and aggression are not welcome. If you have these things in your heart and on your mind I hope you can eliminate them because they hurt you too. When you are finally free, please join us. We are waiting for you! For those of you who already understand the power of female friends, I welcome you with open arms into this Farmgirl Sisterhood, into my life and into my heart...perfections, flaws and all! 


Farmgirls Have More Fun 2014 Schedule! It is FINALLY here!!

Be sure to join our Meetup group and watch us on Facebook too!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Farmgirls take pictures of their farms!

One of my favorite things to do is wander around my farm with a camera around my neck. You never know what you will capture if you follow a chicken around or hang out at the pig pen or spy on the barn cat. What are some of your favorite shots at your farm? These are not all from mine, Tom and I rented a small farm before we bought ours. We were lucky to experience caring for the goats, cows and donkeys the landlord had. Some of these were taken at the farms surrounding ours. As I said, you never know what you'll capture so get out that camera and capture some magic!

Miss Meow...our barn cat turned pet

Our landlord's goats at the rental 

Luna. We named our current farm after her...Terra Della Luna (Field of the Moon)

A mother's love (Courtney and Norman at the rental)

These guys know who feeds them! That's Tom. 

There is a sunflower field across the road from us

These boots line a fence of a farm not far from us

Hannah, my cat. She is no longer with us unfortunately


An old truck in a pasture down the road

Walking on Water (at a water hole down the road)

Sunflowers are my second favorite flower, Daisies are my favorite

The fence across the road 

Mama Mia, one of our barn cats

Turkey on a hot shingle roof

Cool Chicks

I LOVE my turkeys!!

Chill'in (at the rental)

The gossip bench

Believe it or not, our chickens dominate our cats
Pig Kisses