Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Change - New Mom Confession


My name is "Mrs. Martin",  I'm 28. I will be 29 this fall.  In September I had a beautiful baby boy.
I'm proud to say I had a natural birth.  I felt pretty strong and good right after birth.  I was determined to do it all. Care for the baby, keep house and be awesome in general.  I started breastfeeding and my baby grew. 

At a Dr. apt it became apparent my boy hadn't "pinked" up and still had a lot of yellow from jaundice.  My doctor thought it was possibly caused by breast milk. After a blood test on baby, and week off...his levels dropped. I was his problem. Swell....

I was told I could go back to breast feeding - but that was hard after a week of no feeding. I didn't do a good job of pumping on the side and....my leave was also about up and there really wasn't any good place to pump at work; without dying of embarrassment.  I know breast feeding is nothing to be embarrassed over - but the sound of the little machine is, and in a professional setting its not ideal. 

So after a lot of thought I just stopped breast feeding and switched to formula.  Luckily I had a great doctor who reassured me "formula" babies go college too.  Little boy began to thrive and really grow!

The switch to work was and is extremely hard.  If I'm the one who has to drop him off at the sitters I will cry until I hit the main highway....still.

I now sit on my butt for 8 hours a day.  I had only gained 10-15lbs of baby weight, 6 of that was my baby.  After birth I was wearing my pre-pregger clothes.  They fit a little different but I was in them!

My baby is now 6 months old.  I told my husband I wish I was pregnant still. I was pudgy with purpose...now I'm just pudgy.  Lately I've noticed my clothes just don't fit right.  I swear things have shifted. I had counted on breastfeeding to help shuck the extra weight....of course that didn't pan out!

6 months in, my house is a disaster most days.  My hair has lost its luster.  The bags under my eyes are there to stay.  I used to feel so put together, now I feel gross almost all the time.  But do I love spending time with that little man!!!

I have had time to really think this over...in the wee hours of the AM rocking little man back to sleep. Things are only going to get better if I take action.  I came up with a plan.

I'm going to use this blog to keep myself honest. I intend to change my diet and Lord help me - find time to exercise. This means getting up in the wee hours of the morning. The only time I have available that isn't devoted to my baby or household.  Goal is 3 times a week. I also hope this summer allows for more of a chance to get outside. This early spring cold snap has kept us house bound. Too chilly for little ones....

Soooo here goes nothing!
Tomorrow is Day 1 - Goal - get up at 5:00 - walk a mile or so........NO junk food - and that means no 3:00 pm soda. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Farm Auction..........The Results

Just wasn't in the cards for us this go around.

The auction started at 10:30 a.m. and after the legal description had been read aloud, we were immediately out of the race.  HA! 

But no one bid at the opening price and for a brief moment it appeared that we might actually have a shot....and then that thought was immediately squashed from a man with a mustache standing directly behind us.

Granted, I knew deep down in my heart of hearts we didn't have that great of a chance.  I had guessed the property within a couple thousand of what it actually brought today which makes me feel good about by overall judgment and assessment skills.

It was a good experience and we have an idea of what the bank is willing to do for us - which will be handy in the future.

In the meantime we will keep our eyes open and maybe the right farm will find us at the right time!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Farm Auctions

Buying a farm is no small feat.  Especially if the farm you want is for sale at a public auction.  Mr. Martin and I are going to go after a farm property at auction this week.  I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. 

We found the listing earlier this month.  In one night we kicked around ideas on what our max bid could be.  How did we come up with that? Well to be honest – it’s a wild a$$, best guess. 

There were a couple of things we considered. One major point of consideration is the type of farm.  In this case it’s pasture, hay and has a house and some sheds.  Set up just right for a small size cow/calf operation. So in theory it shouldn’t bring as much as straight crop ground.

Some top notch pasture ground in our area has been going for around $4,000+ an acre.   Next we consider the house and buildings. This farm has a house built in the 1930’s and it has some oddness, which we are hoping will make it a little less appealing to most.  The sheds are really nice! All the buildings add value.

Finally we found a plat book and checked out the neighbors.   This farm has some pretty big operations around it.  Why are we considering this?  Well to be honest in my humble opinion – all farm auctions have a couple of wild card factors; sentimental value and neighbors.  I don’t know if there is an aggressive farmer in the area who has to have all or if it shares a boundary with someone who would want to, “square up” his farm.  I don’t know if there is a dispute between siblings and this could be the, “home place” up for sale.   These two factors can turn ordinary auctions into bidding wars and things can get stupid expensive in a hurry.   

I don’t necessarily begrudge these people who can keep bidding, and bidding. We’ll maybe I do a little because it is frustrating.  If more farms were sold privately I honestly believe we could get more young farmers into the picture.  It would take a couple of those wild card factors away and maybe make things a little more fair.  But life is not fair….officially getting off my soapbox.

Ahem….So taking all this in and all the what if’s, we put together the max offer we think would be reasonable for us.

The next night I actually penciled out a budget.  With the help of an online amortization schedule and checking out my local banks interest rates I got a pretty good idea of what we can expect in a payment. 

If you have never considered buying a farm something you should know is that most banks require 20% down of the agreed upon price.  We’ve been saving for a long time and also have some equity in our current residence.  We are lucky and in our situation our local lender is willing to work with us and help balance the needed cash down should we win the bid. 

Some programs offered through the Farm Service Agency are designed to assist those who do not have a down payment and may not obtain credit through traditional means.  But those programs are really hard to use when the real estate is offered at auction.  Auctions also typically require 10% down day of sale.  Something a local FSA office could not provide.   But that is neither here nor there. 

In this case we figure high on the max bid and go from there.  By figuring high we know anything below that max bid should be affordable. It also gives us a number to talk to our lender about. It’s important to be prepared when visiting with loan officials. Anyone can come into an office with a broad goal and a dream.  Do your homework. Put together projections and estimates!   

So now we have a green light on what we can offer at the auction this week.   We may be out of the race with the opening call. We will have to see.

But hey a girl can dream.


To be continued…………………….



Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas in the Country - the REVEAL !

Ok - nothing like waiting till almost the last day to link up.....but.................................

We survived the Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And that is a statement.  2 Dogs, 2 Adults and one baby and all the gear that comes along, plus gifts! Whoo. It's hard to pack "cowboy light" for 3 nights away from home with a 3 month old. 

In addition to all this we had borrowed the folks stock trailer - which meant we needed to return in that weekend too.  So we stuck our gifts for everyone in the neck and away we went - jingle all the way!

One of the holiday events I look forward to is Christmas in the Country - Blog Exchange.  Thank you Jamie and Laurie for putting it on again! 

My blog exchange partner was Alison from Illinois - she is a former Ag teacher and as a FFA/Ag Nerd till the end I've got a lot of respect for Alison! She blogs over at Outside the Ag Room
I had a lot of fun checking out her blog and creepin on pinterest :). 

In the end I sent her a Pioneer Woman candy dish.  I love the blue depression style glassware and its just the right pop of vintage color! I also included some homemade soap from Shoofly Soap Company.  Because homemade soap is the cool-est.

A couple of days before Christmas I received a lovely surprise from Val in Iowa!  She blogs at Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids! 

She sent me a really neat wreath!! It's currently hanging on our door to welcome all those that come to visit!  How did she know I have wanted to get a wreath for our door ? Val did a great job!!! We love it - and how cute are the little pennants?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gift Guide For those Nasty Chilly Midwest Winters

This is my least favorite time of year.  The lack of sunshine puts me in hibernation mode; which isn't good for my mood nor my waistline, and the fact I'm packing around some extra love around my waist from having mini Martin a couple of months ago anyway, thrills me to no end.  

But this week beyond the darkness we have added 24/7 rain....the chilly, misty, cloud burst kind of rains that makes everything sloppy and disagreeable.

Before this week the landscape still had those lovely gold and dusky purple tones that I just love.  And when that setting sun hit those orange leaves the woods and grasses glowed. It's like the rain has washed away all that color - leaving a muddy miserable sloppy mess behind; like a mucky watercolor painting. 

In coming to terms with the fact that snow and ice and blustery Northern winds are just around the corner I've complied a list of a couple gifts to help cope with the winter.  If we must endure winter, at least we can be cozy and downright stylish to boot!  In honor of Cyber Monday - a little shopping list for all those farmer and rancher friends who have to fight the weather!

1) Stormy Kromers.  I got one for the hubby a couple of years ago.  He was skeptical at first and my father-in-law teased him about wearing it.  He thought it was a little "Elmer Fuddish" I thought they were both nuts.  Since that first day however, its my husbands go to winter weather hat and now the father-in-law wears one too.

2) Wild Rags.  Where we live the wind is always blowing it seems. Hubby works outside and has long complained about the wind blowing down his neck.  Naturally a scarf would be the answer but he has a problem with their length and bulkiness. So we found Wild Rags.  These colorful little scarves can be tied around the neck and help keep the wind out.  Another winter essential and something Hubby doesn't leave the house without.  I also have one - and it also doubles as a cute fashion accessory!  We've purchased rags from NRS and Wild Rags by Doris.

3) Socks.  Hands down the best cold weather accessory.  Wool, tall, whatever. 

4) Under Armor Long Underwear. 

5) Muck Boots - for those cold sloppy days.

6) Gloves - now I have yet to find the perfect winter glove that does it all - keep hands dry and warm and allows you to actually use your hands.  I typically layer gloves or wear mittens when outside working.  If anyone has the ultimate glove I would love to learn about it!

In the end - anything that keeps you safe and dry in my book makes a wonderful Christmas gift!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Small Introduction

After much consideration it seemed the best thing to do was just start over.  Fresh start.  So welcome to the Purple Martin - I know its a funky little title.  But that's us.  I'm going to do my best to honor that title and post about a variety of things that interest me and hopefully a few of you.

For those of you just tuning in here is a little bit about ourselves.

My husband and I have been married for four years - good lord how that time has flown by.  We are pretty comfortable with each other.  That happens when you work cattle together, move four times (yes once per year) and come down with the stomach flu together in a one bathroom apartment (sometimes real life can be rough!) and eventually we decided to start a family.  We welcomed a healthy baby boy this fall. To say our lives have been forever changed and how blessed we are is a huge understatement.

We fancy ourselves as farmers or ranchers depending which side of the county you live on. A couple of years ago we bought 4 Hereford heifers and slowly began building our herd.  If all goes well we will have 7 head of our own by the end of this year.  Our goal is to buy a legit farm and have our own cow/calf operation. So yes that means we will be moving again...eventually and while 7 is not a huge number we are pretty proud and it's a honest to goodness start especially when starting from scratch. We have some BIG ideas; just need time.   

In the midst of this I juggle a career and I'm learning to be a mother and not freak out at every slight noise our mini Martin makes.  My husband and I are trying to find a new balance and keep moving toward our goals.  That's the long and short of it.  

Until next time.