Thursday, September 28, 2006

CAUTION: Slug Crossing

One of the largest specimens of wildlife that roam the range at Bradrick Family Farms was spotted today crossing the driveway. After holding up farm trafic for the better part of an hour, this slimy creature slugged its way to safety on the far side of the road.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wood Cutting

Every year, as the summer draws to an end, and as days grow shorter, and nights grow colder we take to the woods to spend the day storing up wood for the winter. Now if you are one of the many people who heat their houses with gas or electric heat you truly miss out on one of the most satisfying days of the year. That is, wood cutting day. Well let me fill you in on today, our first wood cutting day of the season.

After a good nights rest and a morning of chores and preparing equipent for the day's labors, we headed out to the woods pulling our sixteen foot stock trailer. In it we had all the necessary tools for the task: chainsaw, axes, splitting malls, gloves, ect. For the next twenty minutes we wound up our valley and off onto logging roads to a remote place where cull logs had been left from a recent logging opperation. Daddy fired up the chainsaw and began cutting off rounds of wood.

The race was on: man and machine against malls and muscles. We were feeling our oats but we knew the name of the game was endurance.

As round after round was cut, Stephen and I began hauling them to the trailer and splitting for all we were worth. First it was one log, then two, then ten. The trailer began to fill with split pieces.

After we had exausted one area of accessible wood we moved to another. Although our backs began to ache and sweat covered our foreheads the satisfying feeling of a large log cracking and splintering under a powerful well placed blow was enough to keep us going.

When ever we paused for a moment to catch our breaths we could hear the drone of the chainsaw, and knowing that every second we paused caused us to fall behind, we again pushed on.

Although it felt like days, after four hours of intense labor, our trailer was filled to the gills with aproximately three cords of wood. (Which being translated means a whole lot.) As we straightened up after throwing the last log in, we could not help but smile at the amount of work our three man opperation had just accomplished and the months of warmth we had just stored up for the winter to come.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


After weeks of warm, sunny, dry weather the grass at Bradrick Family Farms began to slow in growth and its vibrant green color began to fade to weaker shades and seem to cry out to heaven for rain. When the grass runs low we have to suppliment our cows and sheep with grass hay or alfalfa and this creates more work and expenses for us. So we too looked up to the God of heaven from whom all good things come and prayed for rain. In His perfect time He opened the flood gates of heaven and poured down on both farm and farmer pure, cool, refreshing rain. And then, with Job of old, we marveled at God's wonderful provision.

"But as for me, I would seek God,
And I would place my cause before God;
Who does great and unsearchable things,
Wonders without number.
He gives rain on the earth
And sends water on the earth. "
Job 5:8-10

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Heavenly Highlights

As a farmer, one of my most faithful companions and co-laborers shines down from the heavens above. To us, the sun is an absolutely essential part of our farming endeavors. That sphere, guided by the Omnipotent Hand, faithfully morning after morning rises to greet us, shine light on our way, and provide the solar heat necessary to make our vegetative valley brilliantly flourish. Without it we could not grow grass, which means we could not provide you with quality “grass-fed” meat.

Although the sun runs its course from east to west day after day, it continually finds new ways to express its brilliance and declare the glory of its Maker. Here on the farm, we particularly enjoy watching the sun at sunrise and sunset. Often the sun rises, veiled in misty dreaminess, and shines its shafts of light into our fog-laden valley as if groping to pull this vapory blanket from the sleepy lowlands.

And then, when work is over and the day comes to a close, the sun frequently bids us farewell with a dazzling show of color. Now you have to understand that being a tough cowboy I am generally not too excited about pinks and purples. But when they are projected onto an endless screen and given character by puffy clouds on which the sun’s last gleams dance and play, the scene is absolutely breathtaking. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some of them with me.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back In the Saddle

After a wonderful two week vacation and trip back to the east for my brothers wedding it feels good to be, once again, back in the saddle. I reached home one week before the rest of my family in order to keep things going on the farm. In hopes of breaking up my loneliness as the sole cow poke on the ranch, our dear friends the Bittners stopped by and spent most of the day playing with horses and picking black berries. As you can see I was not the only one in the saddle that day.

Stephen Bittner (age 15) stayed for two whole additional days to help me finish a suprise project for my sisters and mother. For several years they have been hoping that I would build them some rose arbors for their climbing roses in our berry garden. Well, with the right materials and some hard labor some respectable arbors arose. I was very thankful for Stephen's great assistance because positioning these large arbores into place was definitely a two man project.
P. S. Don't spill the beans. They get back late tonight and won't see them untill tomorow morning.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Last Farewell

This is our last night at the Bradrick Family Farm. Phillip arrives tomorrow to take over the reigns and begin the process of hopping back into the saddle again. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone but what a time we have had! From escaping sheep to fishing the Wynoochee River to sightseeing Aberdeen via an ambulance (my own personal tour) to harvesting a bounty of wonderfully fresh organic vegetables to bike riding at Ocean Shores and so much more! You know I realize that as fast as I tend to talk I could never fill enough pages to describe our wonderful, amazing, and enjoyable time at the farm. There are just too many terrific memories but I will highlight a few more for all those inquiring minds out there.

This last week we had one of the cows make a secret escape to the neighbor’s field directly behind the farm. Amazingly enough cattle can jump, not very well mind you and kind of in the same vein as a chicken that tries to fly, but they can jump or at least this one did. Somehow this crafty cow climbed and circumnavigated not one fence but two. Well, if these guys are going to be that smart what chance can old cowpokes like us have? So somewhere tonight there is one cow boasting of his “Great Escape” among the neighbor’s cattle. Who knows, maybe the sheep are supplying the cattle with wire cutters? Either way, I’m beginning to think the phrase “the grass is greener on the other side” is actually code for, “Break out tonight at 10:00 pm…meet at the red barn…pass the word!”

A few days later we took the kids to downtown Montesano to see the Grays Harbor Courthouse. It is a wonderful old building with a dome similar to the one at our state capitol in Olympia. The inside is filled with these huge paintings or murals depicting the founding of Grays Harbor and even Biblical scenes. As we were acting like typical tourists and clicking away our cameras, an attorney leaving the building decided to play tour guide and show us where a deputy tried to stop a fleeing inmate with a shot from his gun and instead shot the door. This kind man was so sweet and so funny because you would have thought he was describing the shootout at the O.K. Corral. In fact, when that story ended he went to the hair raising escape of another inmate (I’m beginning to see a pattern here) who jumped from the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Even though he broke both ankles he still tried to hobble away before the police finally caught him. By now I’m thinking if we just hang out a little longer we might be able to catch some real action shots on film or at least see Wyatt Earp. I think this town should put up a new welcome sign with a catchy town slogan like, “Montesano - Home of the most attempted escapes made by man and beast alike!”

How can anyone not spend two weeks at the Bradrick Homestead and not have a great time. Thank you Bradricks for giving us such great memories and if you ever need farm sitters again, all I can say is, “Sign us up!” Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have so much fun blogging on your site Phillip! It has been a wonderful experience. One only has to spend a few minutes here to see why you love it so much and what a blessing from the Lord you and your family are to so many people. Welcome home!

May all your trails be happy ones,
Mrs. B and her posse
A few tears in the farming process

Sometimes teams are made up of individuals each with an agenda of their own. Other times you see teams that work together for a common goal. It’s not hard to realize that those teams, the ones with a united vision, are usually the teams that have the most victories. I shouldn’t be surprised by this and yet it is easy to forget even when the coach of the team has to depend on its members to carry forth towards the goal regardless of whether or not the coach can lead in person. Here is an example in point.

I told some friends the other day that sometimes there are things you blog about and other things that you just leave out. However, after today’s Holy inspired message at church by Pastor Pollock, I had a reversal of decision. You see last week I had a valuable lesson in pride, humbleness, dependence, and trust. I wasn’t even going to blog about it because I felt embarrassed. Yet, if I can’t share lessons that the Lord has shown me then perhaps I have lost sight as to what my purpose on earth really is. I must bring glory to God in all things and this is one of them.

We invited some dear friends over to the farm after church so the kids could enjoy some time together. We were having such a grand time playing at the river, feeding the animals, playing with the dogs, and just visiting around the garden that we soon decided one afternoon wasn’t enough so they spent the night. My friend has two boys and they were relishing the idea of rising early and doing farm chores and being real cowboys for a whole day! So at dawn we wiped the sleep from our eyes and made our weary bones move in the direction of the back door. Everything was going great! The boys were loving every moment of their adventure and even poor Janet (my dear friend) was being a true trooper to walk out to the pasture to help me get a horse to round up one of the sheep.

My desire (and I must emphasize that tell-tale word “My”) was to show off my peeress with the equine family so I quickly snagged one of the horses named Comet. By the way names of horses should be dead give-a-ways as to a horse’s temperament but I’m optimistic by nature which basically translates to “very slow to catch on.” As excitement in the air grew with anticipation of wrangling one of these sweet critters I mounted my mighty steed. Now there are times when one must show an animal who is boss and then there are other times when the animal shows you who’s really the boss. This would be one of those times.

Comet wanted nothing more than to have the morning spent in grazing bliss among all his buddies in the East pasture when I decided to spoil his plans for the day. I had ridden Haley a few days before and it was so much fun and I was looking forward to some more “fun” when Comet, true to his name, took off like a streak across the starlit sky. Only this sky was a bumpy pasture and Comet decided to show some of his buckaroo skills bucked with all his might. You know it just dawned on me where this word must have originated from. A buckaroo was one who either stayed on a horse during the bucking or was the one who flew off during the bucking. I, unfortunately, was the later. In my pride I said to myself, “I know that I will never get bucked off a horse because I never have.” Does that sound as ridiculous as I think it sounds? Yet, I really felt that since I had spent my younger years jumping horses and doing vaulting with horses and never falling off, why should I do so now? Gee, maybe that could be considered optimistic but really I was simply being prideful.

With a bolt and two or three bucks I soon realized that my hypothesis was wrong and the truth of Newton’s law of gravity was soon to be proven. What goes up must come down. I just failed to come down in the saddle. In fact, I don’t even remember feeling the saddle. But as I flew over Comet’s neck and on to the ground two thoughts passed through my mind. One, I now know for sure how Humpty Dumpty felt when he fell off the wall and Two, I kept seeing a giant bottle of Elmer’s glue. Now I’m not sure if I was thinking that I would have to be glued back together or whether I was thinking that Comet would look really good as a bottle of glue but either way one of us was heading to the glue factory. Once again I took that prize.

As I laid on the ground in complete embarrassment and humiliation beyond belief I was trying to think of what to do next. Everyone is gathered around this “buckaroo” and asking all those questions at once; “Are you all right?” “Can you move your legs?” “Where does it hurt?” “How many fingers am I holding up?” Of course all I’m thinking is, “Good I can move my legs so maybe if I click my heels together all this will be just a bad dream and I’ll be back in the house waking up to a nice cup of tea.” Problem number one – I have no ruby slippers and problem number two, this was real not make believe. Finally, as I am beginning to catch my breath I reassure everyone that I am fine and under no circumstances was anyone to move or touch me until I felt it was safe to move. After laying there for about five minutes (which felt like five hours) one of the boys poignantly points out, “Well, you can’t lay there all day.” I knew that but I was considering exactly how long I could stay out there before moving. With Janet sitting by my side, Leanne and Matt grabbing cell phones, I finally relented to the fact that I would have to call 911. I would have to resolve myself to God’s Holy Spirit to move upon my pride and humble me once again. Yet, this is where my amazement came to fruitition when I saw how the “team” worked together despite the absence of their coach.

Leanne and Matt immediately took hold of the situation and opened gates for the ambulance, caught the horse, gave medicine to the lamb, called Daddy at work, called all the necessary people to cancel appointments, and took care of the farm while I was whisked away to the hospital in Aberdeen. My team won a great victory that day and I learned a very valuable lesson. Everyone falls in life and as Pastor Pollock pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:7 today “There is a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” I speak today because sorrow does allow us time to see with heaven’s eyes and not our own. We stop seeking worldly pleasures and desires and we seek God and His comfort, His truth, and His purpose in all things. I share that my pride got in the way of enjoying a day on the farm and caused anxiety and fear for my dear friends. Yet the paradox is that it served to open my eyes to my sin, it served to bring praise to my lips in seeing my children work as a team in a critical situation, and it served to bring a voice to these silent lips. May we remember that pride cometh before the fall – literally!

Oh, and before I forget, I am feeling better and I have no bruises or broken bones. I’m sore and in time that will heal but for now Comet has a reprieve from the glue factory and the doctor’s have managed to put this old Humpty Dumpty back together again. Praise God for He truly is faithful and merciful.

Many Blessings,
Mother Goose and her little goslings