There's a mantis at the door

What do you think about symbolism? I've heard that a praying mantis comes to us when serenity and peace is needed in our lives. So, I found it inspiring to stumble upon this creepy creature on our front porch the other day. I could definitely use a little less chaos in my life. Although, my reaction to her at first glance would suggest otherwise. I was absolutely terrified. There was a lot of screaming, 'sqeaming' and jumping around... quite chaotic. Anyway, after realizing that she wasn't going to ferociously attack, I swept her up into a mason jar and onto an ear of corn for a closer look.
She was aware, calm and living life at her own little peaceful pace. It seemed as if every quiet step and glance was a well-thought-out decision. I did a little research and read that in most cultures these insects symbolize stillness, creativity, awareness and patience. So maybe this was a good omen. Sure, a praying mantis is predatory bug whose main function is to eat other bugs (and sometimes their mate's heads)... but who's to say that when one perches at your doorstep it doesn't mean more than a pest-free yard? Either way, I'm taking this encounter as a little reminder to slow down, find balance, and to be mindful of the choices I make.
Message received, mantis. Thanks!


A fan's verse

Cheers pound steady as a bass,
that deeply beats without slack...
The crowd's passion fills this place, 
a booming sea of gold and black.
Beside three rivers, with spunk and zeal,
roaring and rooting in the city of STEEL!


Mom's mums

Goodbye, sweet summertime! Today commences the first day of fall. This bittersweet transition brings the joy and comfort of cozy clothes, warm eats and a nature's most beautiful color palette. To embrace these seasonal changes, I'd like to share my Mom's autumn garden chrysanthemums with you. I find their stunning array of hues and shapes to help ease the pain of summer's passing. They're all just so whimsical and gorgeous! I really wish MY yard was strewn with all of these lovely blooms. In fact, I think I need some gardening 101 from Mom next year. No matter the season, her green thumb never ceases...


Cattle Xing

Well, this past Tuesday morning started off like any other regular rainy day, but it ended pretty irregularly. I was scheduled to train on accounting in the office, while Chris was to start weaning some of the calves from their mommas. Our work tasks were carried out accordingly, until around 11:30 am...
While sitting at my desk, I received a phone call from one of Chris' coworkers who was helping him separate the animals. He said, 'Keri, you need to come up here. I think Chris broke his leg.' That was all. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach, profanity flew out of my mouth, and a huge, disgusting lump formed in my throat as I hung up the phone. I quickly left the office, got into my car, and drove Chris' cousin and myself up to the barn. Words can't begin to describe what went through my mind in that (long) 30-second haul up the road.

Upon our arrival, we found Chris back down in the mud, ghostly pale and profusely sweating. Coworkers described the incident as, 'he was stepped on by a cow, then there was a 'crack'.' His entire face and body clenched and scrunched as he grabbed onto his left knee and leg. Chaos swarmed as others arrived at the scene. After I realized he wasn't really responding to our questions, I immediately cleared out the trunk of my vehicle and pushed the back seats down. We slowly got him into my car and stripped him of his manure- drenched uniform.

As he sat there, wounded and dirty, I noticed him start to come around. Luckily, there were no protruding bones or bleeding orifices. His only visible injury was a red hoof-like print beside his knee that dragged down his calf, but we still opted for an ER trip. I drove off to our house for fresh clothing, and then to the hospital. After we arrived and he was wheeled in, my nerves finally calmed as he began to joke about his low pain thresh hold. Thank goodness his humor was still intact... and that I'm the one who will (one day) birth our children. 

Of course we waited, and waited, and waited, and then, waited some more. And in between all the waiting I listened to the tale of Chris vs. cow. All of the hospital personnel seemed to think it was the greatest story ever told (I heard it about seven times in three hours). But I guess it's not every day they treat a cattle-trampled victim. Anyway, x-rays were finally taken to reveal great news: NO BROKEN BONES! Chris is one lucky guy... I cringe at the thought of what could have been. The nurse practitioner set him up with crutches, a pain-killer prescription and baby-blue booties, then sent us home.

Needless to say, he was well taken care of (and loved every second of it). We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee, then to Arby's for a quick lunch... note that I am ashamed we stopped at two drive-thru eateries on the way home, but making lunch was just about the last thing I wanted to do, and Chris really wanted coffee (it was Indiana's DD grand opening!!). When we got home, I tucked my bruised honey into bed, cleaned the cow crap out of my car (gross), and then made my way to the store for a few get-well essentials.
Despite his pain and agony the last couple of days, I do believe Chris enjoyed the doting. I guess men rarely find the chance to babied, so when the opportunity arises (IE: being run down by an angry mother cow), they take full advantage to soak up as much love and tenderness as possible. Chris kept tissues, ginger ale, his meds and the t.v. remote bedside, only getting up to use the bathroom, and was served all three of yesterday's meals in bed. I made him peanut butter toast for breakfast and two different types of (homemade) soups for lunch and dinner. He even kept those cute hospital socks on for the majority of his recovery. While this is kind of adorable, I am in no way undermining his injury, and I think that being plowed over by a 1,200-lb. beast is very manly and bad ass. Although, I never want to experience this kind of fiasco again, ever, I am happy to report that Chris is feeling much better and back at work today.


A final dose of summer

While chasing a bumble bee with my camera the other day, I snapped this picture amongst the last of my Mom's summer blooms. Regardless of the present chill in the air, these flowers still boast warmth, happiness and sunshine. *SIGH* It's almost officially over, but I want to hold on, just for a little while longer...


My refreshed perspective

It recently came home from New England with me...
 I found it at the ocean's edge, while in the company of my very best friend.


Embracing the process

About a month and a half ago I started working part time at the farm... in the office, that is. It hasn't been the easiest transition, considering I know nada about the agricultural industry, and working with family is also unexplored territory for me. But I'm eagerly and steadily learning how to process these changes. I just have to keep in mind that while the start of my own involvement is a huge challenge now, it will ease up and come with reward in the future. On the 'bright side', I've already found that I'm beginning to comprehend the complexity and hard work that goes into my husband's job. I might not fully grasp the farming lingo, but the ability to (somewhat) intelligently discuss family AND farm happenings with Chris surely beats a blank stare and confused mind.

One of the ways I've learned more about the farm is through my first big project. Helping to gather and write content for their new website, set to launch by month's end (fingers crossed), is the perfect introduction into Fabin farming basics. So in the spirit of change, personal growth and the processing of new information, I'd like to share soybean growth and processing with you...

Soybean 101: The farm's soybean facility is capable of processing 10,000 bushels of soybeans per week. Just to give you an idea, one bushel weighs about 60 lbs... I can't even begin to wrap my head around those numbers (probably never will). After they are cleaned, the beans run through a chemical-free process that naturally converts them into meal and oil. The oil can be refined into thousands of different products including bio-diesel, human food and cosmetics, while the meal provides a high-quality source of protein and amino acids for livestock. The farm produces and markets around 12,000 tons of meal and 350,000 gallons of soy oil per year. The process is really quite interesting to see up close (stop by if you're ever in town), AND it totally smells like popcorn!!
He thinks he's a soybean :)
 Edamame with soy sauce is one of my all-time favorite snacks. Coincidence?!


A birthday post

Today marks the beginning of my 26th year, but I've been sharing in birthday celebrations with family all week. Lucky for me, both sides know one of the ways to my heart is through the consumption delicious food. On Sunday my Mom threw my Dad (his b-day was on the 3rd) and I a tiki-themed shindig where we engorged ourselves on apps, drinks and a scrumptious surf-and-turf dinner. Then last night, Chris' mom made a yummy lasagna supper, followed by homemade raspberry-filled cupcakes for my brother in law and I (his b-day is tomorrow). Mmmmmmm is right! While I'm not quite sure what's in store for me today (or what I'll have for dinner), I want to start off this 'new age' of life with a special post. So, in typical blog fashion, I'm sharing a photo... from 1985. It's one of my favorite pictures with one of my favorite people. I miss her every single day, and I'd love to be able to celebrate today with her... though, I'm not sure she would have cooked/baked anything for me. Luckily, her hugs and kisses were always enough.
Grandma Margaret & I


New family

I have a lot of new family, considering I just got married this May. Chris' family is huge... much much larger than mine. His mom has five sisters and three brothers, and his dad has three brothers and two sisters, and the majority of them have children AND grandchildren. Trust me, all those numbers add up. It's quite the event when everyone gets together... which happens once a year on both sides. It's awesome. The Fabin family celebrates the fourth of July together on the farm, and the Wiley crowd reunites mid summer as well. Anyway, I think my favorite part of all this new family is being an aunt. It's a pretty cool title, and I think I'm doing alright at it. According to our niece, Alaina, at a recent family dinner, I am '500% fun, and Uncle Chris is only 2%'. Chris didn't like that very much, but she's a pretty smart five year old, so I trust her judgment...
Wiley Reunion potato-sack races: Brady, Ryan, Jack & Alaina
Little Julia
Ok, so let's talk about the teenie, tiny inspiration behind this blog post: The newest of my new family! Drum roll, please. On August 30, our family grew just a smidge bigger... Weighing in at 8lbs. 8 oz., meet the brand-new, dark-haired, blue-eyed baby Fabin: Emily Morgan!
There's absolutely nothing in this world like a new baby. Congratulations to her proud parents, and cheers to auntiehood!
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