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A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Monday

7:30 : Up and out of bed.  I make a pot of coffee and Keith does a few loads of laundry.

8:30 : Keith heads to work and I work on this blog.

9:30 : The bank is now open, so I head down there and get a cashier’s check for the car purchase.  I run a few errands around town and then head home.

12:00 : My friend Jessie and her daughter E come pick me up.  They are giving me a ride to Monmouth so that I can get the car.  It’s about an hour drive to Monmouth.  E has had a lot of questions about God and Jesus lately, so Jessie asked me to try to answer some of them for her.  The questions were heavy-duty ones for a six year old.  She munched noisily on her carrot sticks in her car seat while I fumbled to answer.

  • When did Jesus’ spirit leave his body after crucifixion?
  • Why do Christians have a problem with gay people?
  • Do you like this cross I just made with my carrot sticks?
  • Why was there a stone across Jesus’ grave?  Why wasn’t it called a boulder?  That would make more sense, Rachel.
  • What does a Bible look like?  Does it have pictures?

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I think next time we will talk about theology during a hike or long walk.  Doesn’t it seem easier to think about God while you’re out in nature?  I think E and I both had trouble wrapping our minds around some of the concepts we were discussing, while being strapped into a car hurtling down the highway at 60 mph.  She apologized later for being wiggly.  I felt kind of wiggly too.  Sometimes I have as many questions about God as she does, and often they’re the same ones.

1:00 : We arrive in Monmouth and exchange payment for keys and title to a snappy ’06 Ford Freestyle. (Fitting car name for a former competitive swimmer, don’t you think?!)  I’m pretty stoked at owning a car that was made in the last six years.  Keith and I have a big aversion to debt, so we save and invest most of our income.  We’ve been driving our paid-off cars since freshman year of college in 2002 and they weren’t new then.

I’m all kinds of impressed by the little features of this new vehicle:  automatic locks and windows!  a keychain button to unlock the doors!  adjustable lumbar support! bluetooth built-in!  interior lights that actually come on when you open the door!  headlights that light up the road even on dim setting!  Doesn’t take much to impress the Pricketts.  We think we’re fancy folks now.

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E tries out all the configurations of the seats and cargo area before we leave the seller’s driveway. They all fold up and down and inside out.  It’s like a transformer – one minute you’ve got seats for 6 and then you pull Tab 1 and Tab 2, and you’ve got cargo space for miles .  E thinks it’s the best car she’s ever seen and approves greatly of my purchase.  She tries to get her mother to trade their newer model Subaru Outback for our Freestyle.  I was hopeful, but there was no deal.  Jessie is smart.

2:00 : Jessie, E and I decide to go have a celebratory late lunch.  We end up at J’s Grill in Monmouth and  we all order whopping big baked potatoes with cheese and broccoli.

3:00 : We all head back to the farm and the girls help me collect eggs, feed the chickens and the cows.  We work with Fritz to repair a fence that broke when he hit it with the tractor earlier in the day.  It’s kind of a two-person job to pull smooth wire with a fence stretcher.

I go inside and chat with Beverly for a little while.  I invite her to join us for dinner tomorrow night.  She is such a good cook and invites us to dinner so often that I like to try to return the favor once in a while.

5:00 : Jessie and I hang out in the farm driveway and talk while E scrambles around in the car trying out all the seat configurations once more.

5:30 : I head home, drop the mutt off and drive to Safeway for almond roca ingredients.  I have been making almond roca every Christmas without fail since I was in middle school.  My mom made it every year until I took over.  It’s my favorite candy in the entire world and I could eat it til my teeth fell out.  It’s best to get this stuff out of your house as quickly as possible, but I rarely abide by that wisdom.  Here’s the recipe, because I love ya so much:   ALMOND ROCA RECIPE

6:00: Home from the store.  I make myself a homemade Yumm bowl.  You’ve got to have real Yumm sauce for this, but other than that it’s so easy:  rice, black beans, salsa, cilantro, cheese and a dollop of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  Keith is eating dinner with his coworkers at Big River.  They are in training for developing their latest top-secret, super-dooper-cool electronic products all week, and are getting catered breakfast and lunch every day  and the occasional dinner out.

I clean the whole kitchen. I can’t cook in a cluttered space – it makes me feel crazy.  Then I pour myself a glass of wine and begin whipping up the first batch of Roca.  The whole house is soon filled with the delicious smell of warm butter and sugar.

Roca, pre-chocolate stage

Roca, pre-chocolate stage

8:00 : Keith gets home and admires the new car in our driveway.  He has brought all the frozen lamb over from our chest freezer at the farm and we go through it, picking out cuts of lamb to thaw for this week’s meals. Somehow I am missing all the roasts…they must have fallen out of the bag into the freezer depths.  So I pick out a beef roast to thaw for our dinner guests tomorrow night instead.  Not quite as exotic but still delicious on a winter night.

I finish up making the almond roca and leave it to cool on the countertop.  It probably won’t be ready to eat til tomorrow.  Agh, the agony of waiting!

11:00 : Bed, Fred.

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A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Sunday

7:00 : Up and showering to get to church

8:30 : Keith and I arrive at church (Grace City Church) and I begin putting together the Powerpoint presentation for our church service.  I’m in charge of projecting all the worship songs, announcements and the sermon slides.  One thing I love about our church is the number of women in leadership roles.  Kristin Osborne knocked it out of the park with her sermon on Mark 5. You can hear it here once it’s uploaded to the internet:  http://www.gracecitychurch.org/media.php?pageID=5

While I’m putting together the Powerpoint slides, Keith contacts a seller about a Craigslist ad we saw last night.  It’s for a 2006 Ford Freestyle, which happens to be an earlier version of the Ford Taurus X we were enthralled with yesterday.  We arrange to go see the car in Monmouth this afternoon.

9:30 – 11:00 : Church!

11:30 – 12:30 : Home for lunch

1:00 : Drive to Monmouth and see the car in person.  We take it for a test drive and decide it’s a keeper.  It’s got so much cargo space I can hardly believe it! We negotiate an awesome deal!  It was owned by a 89 year old woman who hardly put any miles on it.  The bank is closed though, so we have to wait til tomorrow to get funds from our checking account.

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3:30 pm : We arrive back in Philomath and head over to the farm to do a little work before sunset.  I try to take advantage of Keith’s weekend availability to do things that I can’t easily get done by myself. Together we clean some old nestboxes and heave them into the barn loft. We store a bunch of chicken roosts and feeders, and then wash a few baskets of eggs to keep up with the farm store demand.

6:00 pm : It’s now dark and I haven’t had a chance to get in my long run this weekend.  I am starting to get more serious about base-building and upping my weekly mileage at this point, because I have my sights on the Eugene Marathon at the end of April.  It’s only 21 weeks away and it’s time to get cracking.  More immediately, I plan to run the Cascade Half Marathon on January 20th, which was my inaugural half marathon earlier this year.

We live near a pretty sweet bike path that runs from Philomath all the way to the Corvallis waterfront, about 7 miles away.  Keith and I decided to do a 9 mile out-and-back run on that path, so we strapped on headlamps and put a leash on Emmie.  She doesn’t usually run with us, as she gets plenty of exercise racing around the farm. Today she was inside a lot while we churched and car-shopped though, so we thought she better join the family run.

It was a beautiful dry December night.  We ran through quiet neighborhoods and enjoyed seeing everyone’s Christmas trees sparkling through picture windows and elaborate light displays decorating porches and yards.  Emmie was extremely well-behaved, trotting quietly at my left heel without pulling the leash at all.  She’s so fit that the run was like a stroll in the park for her.

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Keith and Emmie during a run earlier this year

7:30 pm : We trot back home and stretch in the driveway for a while.  It’s so warm and peaceful out…a rare December night in Oregon so I try to soak up every minute.

7:45 pm : Showers and then we start warming up leftovers for dinner.  Keith got a pasta maker for his birthday and he whips up a batch of fettucini noodles to go with some leftover spaghetti sauce.  The man is a genius in the kitchen, have I mentioned that?

8:00 pm : We eat dinner and watch Netflix movies til about 11:00 when we both get sleepy and head to bed.

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