CHANGES, CHALLENGES, COURAGE

As I reflect back on this year, three words come to mind – CHANGES, CHALLENGES, AND COURAGE. 

The changes in my life this year have been unbearable at times.  The loss of Murray, the love of my life, my soulmate, my rock has turned my life upside down.  I asked myself how can I continue on?  What do I need to do next?  How can I go at this alone?

The challenges were many.  Do I keep the farm?  If so, do I continue to grow flowers?  Will I be able to handle working full-time AND raising flowers and pumpkins?  Do I continue to cash rent the rest of the land?  Will I be successful at any of this without Murray? 

I felt like a line from Against the Wind by Bob Seger  – “…deadlines and commitments, what to leave in, what to leave out.  Against the wind, I’m still running against the wind.  I’m older now but still running against the wind.”  The wind that I was facing felt very fierce at times.

I have lived on a farm since I was 5 years old.  But Murray was the farmer.  And he was so very good at it.  He was also very good at documenting and keeping records.  Without me even realizing it, he gave me the instructions and guidance that I needed to carry on.  He also gave me two wonderful sons who have stepped up to fill the big shoes left by the death of their dad. 

And so we planted flowers, and pumpkins, and squash.  The flowers did beautifully and the squash were quite plentiful.  The pumpkins on the other hand, not so good!  We are still learning!!!  Thanks to so many people – my cousin Jim who tilled the field, Kevin for farming the rest of the acreage, Jill and Vern for doing whatever I needed and all the neighbors who have been keeping an eye on me to make sure I am ok. 

Thank you to all my wonderful customers and friends!!  I sold out of flowers almost every day.  Your kind notes, hugs, and prayers helped me navigate through such a hard time.  I am eternally grateful to all of you.

And I discovered that when I was in the midst of the flower field, I felt an amazing sense of calm and healing.  A sense of reassurance and encouragement that this is where I need to be and this is what I need to be doing – raising flowers. 

I have always been the kind of person who likes to do things myself.  I am sure my family will agree that I am very independent and perhaps a bit stubborn!!!!!  So as I started planning for next year, I decided that we needed to be able to do more things ourselves, like tilling the gardens, seeding down areas, and clearing brush.  And we needed to expand and grow more!!  We needed a utility tractor.  After searching the internet for a good used tractor, I decided the best way to go would be to purchase a new one.  And so I mustered up my courage and contacted Prairie State Tractors in Lacon, IL.  I was so fortunate to speak with Blake, who so kindly and patiently worked with me to get me exactly what I needed.  This was delivered on October 8!!!!

The boys and I have big plans for next year.  We will be moving the pumpkins to north of the house and using the entire field in front of the house for flowers.  There will be grassy walkways to help control the weeds, make harvesting easier, and make a beautiful flower field.  I also want to do lots of landscaping with several flower beds around the farm. 

With Thanksgiving next week, I am thankful for so many things.  God has certainly blessed me in so many ways.  I am so thankful for the 43+ years I had with Murray and for the life that we built together.  I am so thankful for this farm that I will continue to steward in his memory.  I am thankful for Corey, Ryan, Audrey, Allison, Lainey, Ella, Nora, and Henry, the absolute best sons, daughters-in-law and grandkids that anyone could ask for.  And I am so thankful for my sisters, Pam, Carla, Kathi, and Angie.  I could not have made it through this year without them.

I miss Murray terribly.  But I am looking forward to next year and bringing the farm to life in his memory and honor.

Wishing each of you a very happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time,

Pat

Life’s Difficult Changes

For the first time in 43 years, I am facing life alone.  My dear, sweet, love of my life, Murray, died from Covid on January 7.  I am still having a hard time believing that he is physically gone from my life.  His chair sits empty; my heart is breaking.  But life moves on and I will carry on.

I am extremely fortunate and blessed in so many ways.  The outpouring of overwhelming love and support from family and friends has helped sustain me during this incredibly difficult time and has helped me to move forward. 

With lots of help and support, I will continue to plant flowers and pumpkins.  Murray would have wanted me to do so.  The seeds have been purchased and plans are in the works.  This past Sunday afternoon I worked outside for three hours tilling the first flowerbed to be planted and will start planting as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer.  Right now it is snowing!!!!

I am looking forward to bringing the flower cart out, filling it with beautiful bouquets of flowers, and maybe being outside to say hi when you stop by.

Until next time,

Pat

HAPPY NEW YEAR – HAPPY NEW KNEE!!

Happy New Year, everyone!  I realize the New Year is about seven weeks old, but I am just getting back into the swing of things since my knee replacement in mid-December.  This is my second knee replacement.  My left knee was replaced twelve years ago.  I vowed that I would not wait so long to have my right knee replaced.  But I did.  Too many things kept coming up and my procrastination was in full force.  And, ironically, when the time came, it almost didn’t happen.Read More »

A FACELIFT FOR THE SHED

One of our big improvement projects on the farm this summer was giving our shed a facelift.  As we continue to transition from being a corn/soybean farm to a flower farm, we are looking for other ways to use our shed.  Since we don’t have the large farm equipment any longer, we now have a lot of space to work with.  The first thing we did this summer was to give the shed a much needed paint job.

1Read More »

IDYLWOOD FARM

The land on which my husband Murray and I live has been in the family for over 150 years.  The farm is recognized and registered with the State of Illinois as a Centennial Farm.  In 1850, William Trigger and his wife, Mary Ann Trigger left England and came to the United States, where they settled in Peoria County. In 1857, they made their home on the property on Grange Hall Road.  Their son, Richard N. Trigger was born on the farm on Grange Hall Road on September 26, 1860.  On January 11, 1893, Richard Trigger married Edith Irene Douglass.  On May 27, 1896, their only surviving child, a daughter, Dorothy Viola Trigger was born.

1Read More »

SPRINGTIME

Spring is my favorite time of the year.  The farm is changing daily with new growth and blooms.  My morning walks are even more enjoyable as I am serenaded by the singing of the many birds as they welcome each new day.  Last week we received some much needed rainfall.  I am anxious for the return of sunshine and warm weather.

1Read More »

A LONG WINTER FILLED WITH LIFE’S TWISTS AND TURNS

Life is truly filled with twists and turns.  The best laid plans can be changed or altered in an instance.  The only certain thing in life is the uncertainty of life.

My goal for this new year, 2016, was to rework the blog and introduce some exciting plans for this spring and summer.  But my plans have been put on hold for now.  In mid-December I came down with asthmatic bronchitis.  The first round of antibiotics did not do the trick, so right after the start of the new year we tried a second round of a different antibiotic.  Last week, I spent the good part of an early morning in the emergency room.  The lingering asthmatic bronchitis has turned into pneumonia.  Interestingly, I had pneumonia last April.  The first time in my life that I have had pneumonia or bronchitis.  And now I have had it twice in the past 10 months.  So now I am on a third antibiotic and doing breathing treatments.

Life’s twists and turns.  It is so easy to get discouraged when you are dealing with a lingering medical condition.  I choose to focus on all the good things and blessings in my life.  Like being able to work from home and the wonderful people in my office who are covering for me in my absence.  Like my wonderful husband who is always there for me.  Like my caring sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren who are more than willing to help in any way I need.  Like my faithful church family for all their thoughts and prayers and visits.  I may be a bit under the weather, but I am feeling strong and determined from all the support I am receiving.

So my plans are moving forward, just delayed a bit.  Ryan and I will be reworking the blog in February and sharing the story of Idylwood Farm and my hopes and dreams for the future of the farm.  I am also experimenting with taking pictures to see if I can get some better pictures for the blog.  Not sure how that will come out, but I am determined to try!

Life’s twists and turns.  Stay strong, everyone.  Life is good.

Until next time,

Pat

MID-JULY ON THE FARM

With another round of thunderstorms and severe weather in the area last night, I took a quick walk around the farm to see how things were growing.  Since we have had record rainfall this summer, the crops and flowers look fantastic.  Luckily, we have not had any standing water in the fields so things are lush and brilliant.  I hope you enjoy these pictures of what’s growing on the farm.

1Read More »