Sunday, December 28, 2014

These Hands

We just spent 3 glorious days at Island View Farms.
It is the place that Papa Moo spent his childhood and 3 generations of Inmans have raised or are currently raising their families.
 It is our very favorite place to go.

There is just something about the way it feels as you turn in, rumble over the cattle guard and head down the long driveway.
We are always welcomed with a smile and a warm embrace.

The property includes 3 homes
The Farmers cousin, Melissa, and her family, 
his Aunt Shelah and Uncle Fritz and his 
Grandma and Grandpa Inman's.
A place so rich in history.

Grandpa Inman, whom I didn't get to meet, was known as Big Phil.
Grandma Inman is known as Viv, Gram or as our kids call her Grandma Viv.
She is one of my very favorites.
She was a farmers wife and a hairdresser.
This year was her 94th Christmas!

One thing that I have always loved about Gram is her hands.
They tell such a story.
They are gnarled and worn, but soft and tender.
They feel like delicate crepe paper.
One simple ring wrapped around her finger since the day she became Mrs. Phillip Inman.
Fingernails filed so neat perfectly polished.

These hands have
cradled babies just minutes old
they have rolled out miles and miles of the best cinnamon rolls that have ever crossed your lips
they have washed mountains of dishes and been dried on her apron
 they have folded endless baskets of laundry, pulled weeds and planted flowers
 they have made dinner for big burly farm hands trying to get hay in
they have held a broom used for sweeping out the kitchen and chasing kids
they have drawn fresh milk from the tank for breakfast
they have mixed up thousands of batches of Swedish pancakes
they have grasped onto Big Phil's hand so they each would know that whatever they faced they would face it together
they have given an encouraging pat on her kids' backs as they stepped out into a new adventure
they have clapped together in celebration
they have cupped tender faces as she pulls you in for a loving giggle and a hug goodbye
they have even been known to throw a mattress out of a second story window when she had enough of her kids fighting over it.
They have held her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
They have comforted, disciplined 
and loved
I sat next to her at midnight mass one Christmas Eve hands clasped in prayer
They have held my hand so warm and tender exuding love through her grasp
Hands so small and meek yet so strong.

Today Gram spends her days confined to a wheelchair, but there is no doubt that when you greet her she will reach out her hand welcoming yours into hers with a gentle pat and a tender rub.
She doesn't see so good anymore and her memory isn't always the best.
She thinks I am one of the kids and always comments about how The Farmer has "gotten so big"
Everytime we leave The Skagit Valley we wonder if it will be the last time Gram takes our hand in hers.
Everytime I hope it isn't.

Blessed is me...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Presence

It's only the 24th of December and we have logged 4 Christmas celebrations.
What a busy couple days.
Too many cookies.
More food than we could ever eat.
Mounds of wrapping paper and empty boxes.
Hearts wrapped in love.

We celebrated with our kids this morning before The Farmer headed off for the tractor store where he had to work a few hours.
I burned miles of wrapping paper and cleaned up the house while the kids played with their new treasures, sat at their new desks snuggled up in their new jammies.
All things new.

This life.
It isn't wrapped in shiny paper or topped with a pretty bow
For most-all if you're honest- it can be, at, times messy.
We can pretend it isn't.
We can tell people about every perfect little detail and all the shiny things.
We can cover our broken bits
For awhile anyways.

At the heart of things Jesus sees us and loves us for who we are.
Broken bits and all.
He doesn't care if we are chasing him or running from Him.
The moment we turn to Him He embraces us
Clothing us in 
Love, grace and forgiveness.
All things new.

Today while burning I realized our only REAL problem is that we have 
too many people that
love us.
No seriously that is our biggest problem.
By days end tomorrow we will have logged 5 Christmas celebrations.
5 different families want to spend a few hours a day loving us.
I complain about this.
Not about the love, but about the running from here to there so people can

There are people today cloaked in sadness, alone, far from families. 
Their are mommies and daddies laying their heads onto a cot in the middle of the desert defending our country far far from the tender little hearts praying for their safe return.Their are people hoping, praying and wishing to love and be loved and I complain about too many people that want to spend time with us.
The nerve.

So as I sit here with my entire family safe and warm, rain pounding on our roof I am humbled and in awe of the one who tapped my shoulder this morning and whispered a simple reminder 
that even in my own mire, bad attitude, broken bit filled self that
I am blessed by the one who
makes all things new
and it isn't by 
presents, but by presence.

Blessed is me...

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Am So Excited For Christmas

I'm beyond excited for Christmas this year.
Not for the tree stuffed with presents.
Not for the tables overflowing with food.
Not for the lights.
Oh those are all good, fun and exciting things, but
I'm excited because I feel like it is a time of rebirth.
A new start.
To let old things go.
A chance to do better and to be better.

I know this is usually something saved for New Years resolutions, but I'm not much into that.
I fail at resolutions every. single. time!
The day the tender little baby Jesus was laid into the straw bed was the day everything changed.
I want to be changed
For me this year it is my prayer and hope
for new life
for healed hearts
  to release burdens
   to pray more and talk less cause Lord knows I can talk
   to mend what is broken
to listen and hear not listen to respond
to make all the small tender memories etched on my heart.
I am so ready for all of it.
So much so that it brings that lump up into my throat and my eyes fill with tears.
I've learned some big lessons this year and lessons aren't always easy nor are they very fun.
My heart is tender even when I appear to be made from tough stuff.
I need to slow down because I have realized I am missing out on some really good stuff.
Letting go of someone you love relentlessly is really hard.
Crying really does make you feel better. You know the ugly cry where your eyes and nose double in size and you fear you may never breath from your nose again because its clogged. That cry; do that.

I'm sure I am not the only one ready for some changes; ready to lay down all the burdens that I think I need to carry on my own and to realize
 that even in the trials of life we can stand on the promise that The Lord is faithful to hear our prayers.

The lessons of life are the building blocks of our story.
Every single story has a purpose and a reason.
It's makes us who we are.
However you choose to celebrate your Christmas I wish you the Merriest of days filled with love, hugs and overflowing hearts.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What I Have Learned After 20 Years Being A Hairdresser

I can't believe it has already been 20 years!
I am one of the lucky few who knew at a young age what I wanted to be when I grew up.
It didn't turn out to be what I expected.
I thought I would just be cutting and coloring hair.
That's it and nothing more.
I was wrong.
It's better.

~ Being good at cutting and coloring hair doesn't make you a good hairdresser.
It makes you good at cutting and coloring hair.
You also need good communication skills, a listening ear, a drive to exceed the standard and the ability to sometimes perform miracles.
You have to want to be and do better than the license you receive.
There are zero hours required to renew a hairdressing license. 
This, my friends, is not good.
Our industry is always changing and improving.
If we never attend a class how will we know what is up and coming?
Education is key and is available in so many forms from out of town classes, in salon education and webinars, some of which comes at no cost.
Just because it's online doesn't mean it cant teach us something.
Not every class is going to give you a certification either and that's ok too.
What is important is that we keep learning.

~ It's harder than it looks.
Formulating, working haircuts out in your head,
removing box black haircolor that a client tells you they've only done "once" and it "washed out",
lies.. don't lie to your hairdresser and black haircolor NEVER NOT EVER washes out
Oh, and I can really rock varicose veins at just 38 from standing all day long,
Who knew standing would be so hard?!

~It's emotional
If you're lucky enough to have clients come back to your chair year after year you become attached.
You become friends.
A bond of love is formed.
You walk through different seasons of life from graduation, marriage, life, death and everything in between.
You become part of each others dash.
Moments have taken my breath away as I've watch what once was just a little girl become a wife.
Tears have streamed down my face when learning of a dear clients death.
I've shaved women's heads bald, tears pouring out of them, as they prepare for the battle for their life.
I had no idea this would be part of it.

 ~It's rewarding
We have a gift and it can be used to help people be their best selves.
We have the ability to make cloudy days shine bright.

~It isn't flexible
I know everyone thinks it is.
It isn't
It's true I make my own schedule, but it is still a job and in order to make money I must work real hours.
I am serious about this work thing even though it is a really super fun job.
This has in turn made me a scheduling freak.
I need to have a plan because I need to know 6 weeks in advance if I need to take a day off because 90% of my clients book that far out AT LEAST.

~Working for yourself in someone elses salon isn't the same as owning your own salon.
I've always worked in lease salons which means I worked for myself.
This is a much easier way of doing things because you just worry about your own business.
Now that I am an owner of a salon I have taken on the task of worrying about my own behind the chair business as well as the business of the 7 other very talented women.
These are women whom I love and cherish.
I am never not working.
I am constantly thinking of how we can do better and be more efficient.
How I can help the other girls be successful too.
I research what is up and coming, trending, marketing, new methods, old methods.
You name it I am trying to learn about it.
By the way.. just because it is an "old" method doesn't mean it's not good!
Running business doesn't come easy to me and I don't love that part of it.

There are some things I don't love about our industry.

Like why some hairdressers feel they need to bash other salons or salon professionals.
Not only is this highly unprofessional it isn't a reflection of the person you are bashing it is a reflection of yourself.
I personally don't want to look at that reflection.
How can we claim to be building our clients up and making them feel like a million bucks when we are tearing someone else down in the process.
Not one of us is better than another.
Oh we might be better skilled at our craft, but we aren't better people.
I personally would rather get my hair done by a sub par hairdresser that has respect for others than a hairdresser who may be amazing at cutting and coloring hair, but trashes on people.

Imagine if we all worked together!
What if we shared what we knew instead of being a braggart?
What if we were brave enough to ask other hairdressers for advice and not just the ones we know that live out of town?
What if salon owners could get together and share ideas of what works and what isn't working?
What if we could do all that without fear of being looked down upon?!
The possibilities are endless
Because here is the deal we are all still different and bring different things to our clients.
Even in our small town there IS enough business for everyone.

we could rid the world of black box dye and over processed blond hair!

There isn't anything I've learned that I wouldn't be willing to share with another hairdresser because for me I just want to see everyone succeed.
Believe me I have tried things that haven't worked out well.
We all do.
I want everyone to live their dream and be successful at it!

I think we have the power to change the image of how hairdressers are thought to be 
 catty gossips'
The power lies within us.

Blessed is me....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Disneyland 2014

It has been almost a week since we returned home from

It was wonderful, magical, over the top, exciting and exhausting.
Early mornings and late nights in a small hotel room for 5 days.

It was the kids' first plane ride and The Farm Manager asked no less than 5 trillion questions about the airport, security and flying before we even got to the airport.
He likes to have his bases covered.
We flew with JetBlue both ways and it was great.
There was TV in the headrest and WiFi at 30,000+ feet.
It was clean and comfortable with very friendly staff.

We were traveling with some of our friends who are seasoned Disney vacationers so my friend, Amy, took care of many of the details and let us know what were the best options.
She also arranged for all of us to have a shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel that was big enough for all the people in our group to have plenty of room plus space for our luggage.
Well, to her and our surprise it wasn't a shuttle bus it was a 
stripper bus!
Complete with pole, lights, loud music, sticky floor and scuff marks on the mirrored ceiling.
The kids thought it was pretty neat to have all the lights and to be able to see yourself in the ceiling.
They also really liked having something to hold onto e.i the pole
Thank God for hand sanitizer.
Calls were made to ensure we would have a SHUTTLE bus for the ride back, but nope another stripper bus.
It's all about memories and this gives us something hilarious to chat about.
 We are still laughing about the bus and also about how irritated Amy was.

Once we got to the hotel we dumped our bags and headed to the park for dinner and rides.
Amy really was a superior helper for us Disney newbies.
She gave us great tips for where to eat, how to get the best out of your time and where to sit for the magical Fantasmic show.
The kids loved the show and Disney magic really is amazing.
I'm so glad we got to share our Disney trip with them.
When the park closed we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights rest.

Kids in jammies, us in jammies.
Snuggled into bed.
Fancy Farm Girl "Mama my tummy feels weird"
Now, she gets car sick and did so on the way to the airport, but was fine as soon as we moved her to the front seat.
Well, kids fell asleep I get up to go to the bathroom and I come back and The Fancy Farm Girl is throwing up in her bed!
The Farmer ensures me that she is fine.
I assure him that this is 
My. Worst. Nightmare.
I just knew it we were going to have the stomach flu in a tiny hotel room on our first family vacation other than camping.
I called for more blankets and trash bags.
I tossed and turned all night and woke to every single sound I heard.
There was no rest.
Not for me anyways.
She was fine and there was no more throwing up.

Onto Disney!
After coffee...
Our hotel had a cute little coffee shop/mini mart.
The coffee?
So we walked to Ihop every morning at 530 am to pay $9.00 for two DRIP coffees.
530 because even on vacation The Farm Manager is up early even when he is up late.

Rides rides and more rides.
So fun to see the kids with giant smiles and to hear the laughter coming from the pits of their bellies.
It's also fun to see The Farmer like that.
Our favorite rides were
Soaring Over California
California Screamin and,
Big Thunder Railroad.

This is my favorite picture of The Farm Manager EVER.
He is a pretty subdued kid and we don't often hear the kind of laughter we heard this five days
It was amazing.

I loved the street performers that would pop up and seeing the characters walking around.
Here is The Farmer holding up his girl so she could see over the crowd.

We also ate really expensive junk food from Churros and giant turkey legs to delicious worth every gluteness bite funnel cakes.
Why is fried batter drenched in whipped cream and strawberries so good?
By the end of the trip we just wanted real food on real plates with vegetables.

The initial reason for this vacation was because The Fancy Farm Girl dances at Encore Dance Studio and they would be dancing at Disney.
She really really wanted to join the fun.
I'm so glad we did.
She shined on stage.
The smile on her face was worth every penny we saved and I would do it again in a second to see her so happy.
It is one feeling to be proud of your kids, but that feeling goes to a whole new level when you see your kids proud of themselves.
All those girls did such a great job!
Three cheers for Miss Denele and Miss Tia for pouring their hearts and souls into the kids who walk into Encore.
They truly truly love these kids.

My favorite picture of The Fancy Farm Girl all dressed up.
She is a shining star and claims to be heading back to California someday.

(YouTube is making me mad and wont load my video's so I just have to give the link)
Opening routine!
Fancy Farm Girl's routine!
Closing routine! 

We also took time to relax and enjoy some time by the pool.
The kids love love love the water and it was nice to just sit with zero pressure to get any chores done.
 I think they loved the pool as much as Disneyland.
Every night they laid their heads down exhausted.

Every night I laid my head down exhausted and happy.
Happy that we got to share in their amazement.
Getting to see life through child eyes is a treasure.
One we don't take for granted.

The days we long and the lines were longer.
The smiles were big and the laughter was loud.
Happiness filled the air.
Disneyland really is the Happiest Place On Earth.

Blessed is me...

Friday, November 7, 2014

An Unknown Story

Everybody has a story.
A beginning and an end.
Sometimes it is joyful and sometimes sad.
Sometimes easy and sometimes hard.
Sometimes obvious
Sometimes hidden.

Today the story of three somebodies that I know nothing about wrecked me completely.
I drove by twice.
One woman long stringy blond hair.
Sunken, sad eyes.
Exhausted features.
Sloppy clothes and a coat that was far too big.
Two small versions of herself playing in the bark dust of a grocery store.
A sign pleading for help.
A safe place to lay her head with her babies.

As I drove by, my own life slowed down and her face etched in  my mind.
I texted my friend asking what I could do.
She suggested whatever I do don't give cash.
As I bought groceries for my family I also bought some for her.
For her children.
Simple food just enough that she could carry.

When I left the store she was gone.
I was disappointed thinking I should have hurried and gotten what I wanted for her then returned to the store for my own family.
As I turned the corner to leave
I saw her again.
She had moved to maybe what she had hoped would be a more lucrative spot.
When I stopped to give her the bag of groceries.
She reached out her dirty hand letting go of her sign and said
"That's really cool"
Her kids..
They jumped up and down cheering 

They were no older than 5 and they were cheering for food.
They already know the feeling of desperation
They probably know what it feels like to have the burning pain of hunger as they close their eyes and drift off to sleep.
Waking up still hungry.
Their mom.. She might even go without so they don't have to.

I realize in this jaded world that this mom might be a 
scammer, a drug addict or someone who works the system.
She might not be though.
She might be a battered mom who's children have watched her be hit.
She might be someone who has been abused all her life.
She might just be down on her luck.

I don't care what she is.
 For one second when I reached out my hand and our eyes locked
She knew someone cared.
Someone thought of her.
Someone thought of her kids.
For a few hours the burning pain of hunger in those babies bellies went away.
I hope they smiled when they drank their chocolate milk or crunched their way through an apple.

When I drove away
I cried.
I cried because 
I am a mom
  I know what it feels like to tuck my babies into their warm bed snuggled in jammies with mountains of pillows and blankets
while the whirl of the furnace fills the silence in the room
wondering if I did my best for them in that day.
I can't imagine what it feels like for my kids to be cold and hungry and for their backyard to be
the bark pile at a grocery store.
The burden must be heavy.

This mom has stayed with me all day.
I wanted to go and pick her up and take her somewhere.

All day I have prayed.
I've prayed that she is safe.
That her kids are safe.
I've prayed that she knows that she is loved.

We live in a world of excess where nothing is ever good enough.
We complain that we don't have the latest and greatest cell phone, fancy boots, or another warm coat.
We complain about our jobs and the long hours.
Our homes are too small or too big.
I do it all the time.

Today my biggest decision wasn't if I could feed or keep my kids warm.
It was if I should stay at work and get a massage or go do chores.
I get to sit down once a month and pay all our household bills at one time
with money left over for food, dinners out and new shoes.
I get to take my kids on week long camping trips in a travel trailer that sits empty most of the year.
I get to take my kids to the happiest place on earth soon.
And yet I still find things to complain about.

We all at some point have had or will have struggles.
 I bet that right now at least one person we know of is on the edge of being one of the people wondering if they are going to have enough food to make it another day.
Praying for payday.
Trying to work up the courage to go to the food bank or ask for help.

I hope that I have eyes to see what I saw today everytime I see it.
I hope I see a person.
Not a scammer or a drug addict
A person.
I don't have to be happy with the choices they make.
I just have to be happy with the choices that I make and the choices that we are teaching our kids to make..

I hope as the month of thanks continues and the celebration of Christmas approaches that
more gentle hearts
A small gesture of kindness could be the one thing that gives hope to someone
If even for just a moment.

Blessed is me..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Moooving Day

The roar of the fire
Tapping of the computer keys from The Farmer
Sounds from The Farm Manager and The Fancy Farm Girl playing together in their room
Dawn breaking and showing the thick blankets of fog resting on the pastures
It's Sunday
The one day we all get to be together for the whole day
It is my favorite

Yesterday we spent the afternoon helping Papa Moo move cows.

The Farm Manager running down our driveway to meet Papa Moo in the tractor.

The Farmer, The Fancy Farm Girl and me on our 4 wheel drive "horse".
It was The Fancy Farm Girls first trip to move cows.
She of course looked smashing.

Out into the pasture with the cows who will follow the tractor and/or 4wheeler knowing they are either going to get fed delicious round bales or be moved.
The pasture was filled with
A BIG bull
Cows-who are bred
Heifers-who have never had a calf, but will next year
Steers-castrated bulls who will be raised for food.
Calves-born this year

That farm you can see in the background is Papa and Grandma Moos

This is Dottie West she is the lone Jersey cow.
She is a dairy cow and it's ok that she looks skinnier than the other beef cows.
If you want to read why dairy cows are skinny head over to here and read all about it from Dairy Carrie.

Papa shoots feed to the left of the gate with the Teagle so that all the cows will be positioned to go to the right up through the gate and down the dyke

 Then positions the tractor to the right of the gate as a blockade so when he opens the gate and some cows, who have been moved down the dyke before, don't go up the dyke and down while some of the unseasoned cows see them running and get confused and go down the pasture instead.

 Papa then opens the gate, claps his hands and ALL the cows follow him.
He is the whisperer of cows.

 We followed the cows down the dyke to ensure that no one gets turned around and tries to go back to the pasture they just came from.

While The Farmer closed the gate we took a break for a cow moving 4 wheeler riding 

Papa Moo and The Farm Manager on their "horse" to help push the cows into the barn.
This wasn't Fancy Farm Girls favorite part. 
She though we were getting too close to the cows.
We weren't.

up into the loafing shed they go.

The Farm Manager on his "horse"

Once in the loafing shed the cows pig out on silage

Isn't she just the cutest!

Some of the cows get sorted because they will be moved to different pastures and a couple are going to their new farms.

This little calf was a surprise a couple weeks ago.
Baby calves are so cute and fluffy
Papa Moo helping The Farm Manager give the calf some loves while The Farmer
keeps an eye on the momma cow.
Momma cows are very protective of their babies.

When all the cows were tucked snug in the barn The Farmer and I headed back down the road to our own farm.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and laid my head against his back.

I love that our kids come in after a busy day
lay down in their mound of blankets "not tired"
and drift off to sleep.
I love the sweet smell of the silage and the sounds of the barn.
Mostly, I love to watch The Farmer with Papa Moo and how seamless they work together. 
They are a great father/son team.
I love how they are teaching The Farm Manager where to stand, when to move and how a gentle hand stretched out towards a cows head will calm them.
I love to watch The Farm Manager in his element thriving.
I love to see Fancy Farm Girl twirling in the barn not a care in the world..
I love that this is our life.

Blessed is me...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Years Later And The One Who Took A Chance On Me.

10 years
3 different locations
13 different people
and a business name people struggle to say.

 Last month marked 10 years that I have owned Salon Boheme with The Farmer.
He is my mostly silent partner.
It's perfectly imperfect just like me!

10 years ago I was in a tiny 2 chair salon with barely enough room to turn around without knocking into someone.
It was a great place to start.
When I decided I wanted to move into a bigger location with many more stations I sought the advice of one of my dearest client/mother/friends.
Debi is just one of those people you are drawn to.
She always has a wise logical word and gives the best advice.
We were chatting about loans, banks and borrowing a big chunk of money one morning when she said
"I'll loan you the money"
I kind of laughed it off and thought why would she loan me such a large amount of money.
When I came home and talked to The Farmer about it he suggested that she was serious and that I should talk to her.
I did.
She offered the funds, repayment terms and less interest than the bank would charge.
I couldn't believe it.

She took a chance on me.
And a big one at that.
She not only supported me financially, but also was a huge cheerleader.
She still is.
We have grown a great friendship from this business deal.
Our kids love to go see "Miss Debi" at her office even though they act shy.
She lets them use as many staples and rolls of tape as they want.
I get to enjoy her as a client, confidant and a dinner date companion.
I love her BIG BIG BIG and she loves us right back.
Salon Boheme wouldn't be what it is without her and Tim's support.

Since I was 11 years old I've wanted this.
It isn't always easy and I fail at a lot of things, but I am a work in progress always striving for more.
I am learning to trust my gut and that it's ok to try things that don't work.
I'm also learning that The Farmer is really the only one I need to make decisions with.
 He has been and always will be my biggest support.

I love our salon and everything we stand for.
I love the girls past and present who have built their own businesses inside the walls of the salon.
I love the love that spills out our front door.
I love the warm inviting glow early in the morning and winter evenings.
I love that when we rearrange people ask if the chandelier I bought before Salon Boheme even came to be is new.
I love the clients who let us try crazy things on them, let us serve them, trust us with their struggles and triumphs.
I love that I love going to work.
I love that work is actually some work and all play.
I love days when all we do is laugh until our bellies hurt. 
I love when we get to have quiet intimate appointments early in the morning and I equally love the hustle and bustle as the day goes on.
I love saving the world daily with client/friends breaking all the rules about no religion or politics. It just comes down to respect.
I love that I get to enjoy tender moments with the girls who work with me like marriage, love and babies.
I love that they also took a chance on me and do everytime they renew their lease.
I love the trust we have between each other that we can share our weaknesses and celebrate our strengths.
I love that they love me; all of me.
I love at the end of the day when I turn off the lights, lock the door and walk away gazing inside that I fulfilled a dream I had 27 years ago.

I still love Salon Boheme 10 years later.

Blessed is me...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Celebrating The Life of Jean Kraft

Yesterday was a special day at JK Heritage Farms.
We got to celebrate the life of Jean Kraft.
This morning as I sit at the kitchen table in the very spot her table sat I feel overwhelmingly 

Yesterday was an afternoon filled with food, shared stories, laughter and love.


 We decorated the room with her treasures and things she loved.

We gazed a pictures of her life from birth to 95

We heard stories of how and why Kraft Dairy had to change its name to Johnny and Jeans Dairy.
It's because there is a little known company called Kraft
that sent a cease and desist letter to a farmer who milked 57 cows and sold the milk right off the farm.

 When we bought the farm we bought it not only filled with love, but with treasures.
We have lots and lots of goodies from steamer trunks and milk cans to every single Del's OK Tire bill they've ever paid and all their farm records.
It's fascinating to see how much they paid for stock trucks and how much they bought and sold calves for.
Some of my favorite things about Johnny and Jean we learned yesterday was:
Mrs. Kraft graduated from Astoria High School at 16 and headed off to New York.
She rode the train stopping along the way knocking on doors in prominent neighborhoods asking if they needed a cook.
She met Johnny, and immigrant of Norway, at a park in New York.
They married in 1942 eventually heading back to Clatsop County.
They lived near what is Fort Clatsop.
When the government decided they wanted to build a park where their house sat they sold the land, picked up the house and moved it to Youngs River Rd.
This is the house we live in.

 They milked 57 cows.
55 Guernseys
1 Jersey
1 Holstein
Johnny named every cow and knew which one was which.
He talked to every cow as he hand milked them.

They ran the cows from the pasture across the road to the barn for milking.
Mrs. Kraft could be seen carrying hay out to the cows in the pasture from the barn a hay bale in each hand.
Those bales weigh 60lbs each!
Mrs. Kraft was a crossfitter before crossfit was cool.

Mrs. Kraft loved to cook and often hosted their family for Thanksgiving in this tiny house.
She would clear out the living room and move in a dining table so they could all sit together.
Before knowing this I drew out a house plan a few years ago adding on to our tiny house and in that plan our current living room would become our dining room with a long farm table big enough to host our families for meals.
I got to keep all of Mrs. Krafts cookbooks and her handwritten recipes and after hearing how she loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen it makes it that much more special.
To think her hands touched the very recipe I am following
brings a smile to my face.

I'm told she could be seen sitting in the kitchen window reading her bible.
We got to keep that too.
I wonder if she sat praying for Her Farmer, for the visiting kids that ran from pasture to pasture, climbing high up into the hay mound, for the health of their animals and the farm they loved so much.

While they didn't have kids of their own they loved to have kids here.
These kids learned what a hard days work was and how delicious Mrs. Krafts fried chicken was.
Kids would dip fresh milk from the tank and buck bales up high onto the stock truck event though their chins barely reached the bed of the truck.
Lots of kids kept horses here.
One horse, Sarah, could tap her hoof to tell you how old she was and add 2+2.
Some of her family came into the house to see what we have done to bring it back to life.
Each one of them said the same things.
"Jean would love everything and would be smiling"
They loved how we have incorporated Johnny and Jean into our family including their family photos in with ours.
How our fireplace mantle right down to the nails holding it together comes from things found in the barn.
They said she would be "happy"
That makes me happy too.

I have never met Mrs. Kraft, but I feel so connected to her.
I have a deep respect for the things she has done in her life and a love for her I can't explain.
Mrs. Kraft was a no nonsense gal who liked T's crossed and I's dotted.
She was strong and independent, tender and loving.
She loved Johnny, her home and her farm.
Much like I think I am or hope to be.
I love this place we get to call home.
Sometimes overwhelmingly so.
Our home is small, but our love is BIG
When you walk into our barn you can feel a consuming love that covers you like a warm blanket.
If you quiet yourself and close your eyes you can hear the sounds of the past and kids giggling as they climb higher and higher up the bales of hay.
I hope as Johnny and Jean watch over the farm together from the heavens that they are proud of what we have done and what we still plan to do.
I hope they know we love this place like they did.
I hope they know that love continues to live here.
I hope they are smiling and happy.

They forever will be a part of our story.
A story of dedication, trial, hard work, prayer and love.

Blessed is me...