Monday, September 29, 2008

OK, listen up, folks.  Time for a new name for this blog, and I am taking suggestions from you, our valued readers.  (Some of you might have to de-lurk for just a moment, but it's for a good cause.)  I've been doing a bit of surfing and reading myself - since I have absolutely nothing else to do - and there are some decidedly witty blogs out there, with interesting and quirky and pun-ish titles.  The Mother Load (love it!), Testosterhome (too good), Deathbed Moment (see what I mean about quirky?).  The options are endless!  So put on your thinking caps while you're sitting there wasting time trying to vicariously be a farmer.  I'm going to go read some more because, like I said, I have absolutely nothing else to do!

Thanks for checking in!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Combines, knees, and UFO's

I thought I better let you all know that we finished the harvest! It went very well, and although Clem had expected a better yield, we are more than satisfied. So many farmers aren't done yet, and my heart goes out to them. The weather hasn't been great, so things are taking a while to cure up and dry out.

My garden yielded well, though. Holy tomatoes, Batman! Check this out!

I just love all the fall colors in the yard.

This is the view from my new deck in the morning.

And speaking of my new deck, here it is!
Now for a bit of landscaping. Although soon all will be covered in white and I won't have to think about it!

I won't be posting any more football happenings. Both the boys have called it quits. I don't like the idea of them ending their commitment to the team, but I am rather proud of them for standing up for what they believe. Plus, no more football injuries! Stephen was on crutches for a week with a bad knee, but it turns out it is likely just a muscle injury (not ligament, thank goodness!) and some physical therapy should have him ready for hockey in no time. Did I just say that?

Thanks for stopping by. If you hear any screaming coming from the Schraefel ranch, don't be alarmed. It's just me trying to figure out my new cell phone. I'll let you know when there are no more flying objects (think cell phones, or computers) and it's safe to come for another visit.

Bye for now!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We are about three-quarters done with this year's harvest. It has all gone pretty smoothly (if you don't count that little "running over the header" incident), and the quality and quantity of grain are amazing. We are very nearly out of bin space, which is a good problem to have, if you have to have a problem at harvest.

Clem can't say enough good things about his "boys" as combine operators. They spend quite a few hours in those machines, having the odd race to spur each other on. That takes a crop off quickly! I can't help but wonder how much food they would eat, though, if they were actually doing the physical labor that our ancestors did during harvest. I can't keep up now!

Clem has taken about a gazillion photos of fields, combines, trucks, and augers over the years. As many of you will know, we are organizationally challenged, and we spend a lot of time sifting through photos. I think all the harvest ones look the same, but Clem always seems to know what year they were taken. Good thing. Because "one of these days", I am going to organize all the photos and use up my $800 or so worth of scrapbooking supplies that are in a box somewhere in the basement. Don't stop in that day. It won't be pretty. I have many tasks to complete on that "one" of these days.

But back to harvest. For you farmer types, I will tell you that we got a new truck this spring, a Freightliner modified with a box and hoist. Only Clem can drive it. He's in love with it, actually. (I don't mind - I'm in love with my new deck. But that's a different post.) We also purchased a new combine and a new auger. Well, they are new to us. It's like a someone picked us up and dropped us on a farm in the 21st century! We also bought a new header for Adam's combine, after "someone" forgot to clamp it on the combine properly and it fell off and someone else drove over it. It's sitting in the neighbor's field now, and every time we drive by it, Clem says, "That's Adam's header", like I don't know, and there are dozens of headers sitting around in fields near our farm. But back to harvest.

Here are the guys combining some peas.

This is Adam. Just look at that sky!

Here they are straight-cutting wheat. They can really boogie.
Just pretend you don't see the wild oats.
This is the new truck, in one of Clem's artistic shots. One of my favorite photos this year.  That's Stephen in the "new" combine.
Here's a shot of Clem unloading with the new auger. And that's the harvest moon in the background!
Another shot of that amazing moon. There's also a combine and truck there, if you look closely.
Love that moon...

Here's our lane with all the fall colors in the shelterbelt.
And here's Derek and his new bestest friend, Roxy.

Harvest is such a beautiful time of the year on the farm. I was trying to decide the other day if I liked spring or fall best. Spring because everything is green and new and bursting with life, or fall because of the colors and the smells (and knowing that soon all this outside work will come to an end!!) It's a toss-up. But this photo gives fall the edge, for now.

Another day's work done, and God gives us a painting as our reward. Thanks for dropping by.

Strange Sightings at the Schraefel Farm

I married a guy who worked for the railway, managing 500 people in the whole Western Canadian division, and who decided to leave all that "glory" to drive a tractor around a farm on a fairly isolated patch of prairie. We live in a nearly century-old renovated schoolhouse which is highly attractive to rodents. A whole year's income can be wiped out in one storm. We have three testosterone-filled boys and a puppy who likes to play with plastic containers and shop rags. We are "My Three Sons" meets "Green Acres". I see a lot of strange things. I thought I would share just a few.

Derek's hair in the morning.
But the strangest of all..


look out....

it may induce a kind of shock (for which I waive all legal responsibility)...

or cause uncontrollable laughter...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

Our middle child is now 15 years old. In 1993, Clem came out as usual to help with the harvest. I was nine months pregnant, huge, and very tired, so Adam and I came out to stay with my parents. Thinking back, it may not have been the best idea. Mom was recovering from a heart attack the month before, and they were in the middle of their harvest, too. And, as I already mentioned, I was nine months pregnant, tired, and very huge. Put it down to young and stupid. And nine months pregnant and very tired.

Anyway, it started raining, and Clem decided to go back to Calgary for a few days as it was busy at work. I decided to stay at Mom's, since I dreaded another five hour drive with a 15-month-old toddler (and did I mention I was nine months pregnant, tired and huge?) and Mom didn't seem ready to kick us out yet. Sure enough, the day after he left, my water broke. Wow, what a commotion. My great friend, Bernie, agreed to keep Adam, and Mom and Doreen (Dad's cousin - not sure how she got tangled up with us that day!) took me to Kindersley to get checked out. The contractions weren't starting on their own, so they put me in the hospital and said they would induce labor the next day if things hadn't progressed naturally. (Note: if you haven't had children yet, but are planning to, don't read this next part. Really.)

I called Clem, who had just gotten back to the city, and told him he had to come back because he was going to be a dad again. I also told him to dig through the boxes in what was going to become the baby's room and find some clothes, diapers, etc. and bring them along. I think he found a sleeper and a receiving blanket. Honestly, where was he when Adam was a baby? Didn't he notice all that stuff we had around constantly? He arrived at the hospital the next morning, with the two little items for our newborn-to-be, just as they were giving me "the drip". This innocuous little term is very deceiving. That little "drip" injects a chemical that commands your body to go into instantaneous, hard labor. I did not like it. It hurt. It really hurt. And when they finally told me I could push, I did, so much that they told me not to push so much. Yeah, right. Try to hold back that freight train. And poor Stephen literally shot out into the (very good looking South African) doctor's hands, doing no small damage to his mother. They placed the little square-headed thing in his dad's arms (really, there were corners on that thing), and Clem just said, "Hello, Stephen". That part still makes me cry. Well, that, and the part about the stitches, but we won't get into that here. I think I've already said enough. Except that I had a small problem concerning blood loss in the next few days, and when the (very good-looking South African) doctor told me he was considering a blood transfusion, I was light-headed enough to think he was kidding. Long story long, I didn't need the transfusion, and was discharged to the care of my wonderful mother. The rain stopped, and the harvest continued. And we had many visitors at the farm, come to admire the second Schraefel son. And he was a cutie.

(OK, you wanna-be parents can start reading again, or you'll miss the cute pictures!)

And he stayed cute for quite a while!

Here he is at three, with cousin, Allan, whose birthday happens to be tomorrow!

Hockey begins! Just look at that face - beaming!
Grade Three. Check out the twinkle in those eyes.

Grade Seven. Cuteness is subsiding. Hair is growing.
Speaking of hair, remember this from last year?
He works out, too.

This morning, as he was attacking me with a leaf blower...
and then ignoring me because I had the camera.
He's turned into a pretty nice kid. Big help on the farm, too. Just ask his dad,

Adam is a big help, too. He doesn't mind posing for the camera.

And just to end this little trip down memory lane, here's my favorite photo of Adam, which I couldn't find in June for his birthday.

Thanks for popping by again. Stay tuned for more harvest reporting!

UPDATE: Clem read the blog last night, and said he cried, too. Then he reminded me that Stephen cried - for six months. Colic. Sort of knocked the rose-colored glasses off my face!
And I also forgot to tell you the part where Bud left the farm - during the day, in late harvest - to come to the hospital and see his newest grandson. That part makes me cry, too.

Friday, September 05, 2008


The Rebel football season is off to a rocky start. They lost their season opener 32 -12 in Wilkie last night. Granted, they are a young team, and this has already been labeled a "growing" year. I thought they did pretty well, all things considered. And by all things, I mean the fact that I was almost throwing up because I have two boys on the team, one of whom was the starting quarterback (Stephen, who saw about two minutes of playing time last year, NOT as a quarterback), and one with a bad knee and a propensity toward concussion when hit in the head (Adam - you should see his health history which I had to fill out for school registration!) , something that tends to happen a bit in this game, whose job was to protect said quarterback. Anyway, we all survived, and they were healthy enough at the end of the game to go to Jimmy's with the team to soothe their bruised egos with Chinese food. Clem, the wuss, said he couldn't watch, and stayed home to swath wheat. I suppose we both had a tough job. I wonder if the know-it-all dads behind me at the game would have made all those cutting comments about the players if Clem had been there? Apparently they didn't hear US Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech in which she quipped that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick (and you can substitute football for hockey in that line!).