Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife: Old Mac

 Old Mac

Gail Kittleson

Farm dogs contributed to family farms back in the day. A friend named Dave tells stories about Big Mac, the boxer/bulldog mix that accompanied his younger brother and him all over the farm. Old Mac even leaped on the hayfork’s precarious load of hay or straw bales and hitched a ride up to the haymow during the harvest.

Their dad had a dilapidated 1948 de Soto he kept for doing chores, and when the boys were about ten, Dave started driving to various parts of the farm to check on crops or animals or to fetch something for his dad. Dave calls the de Soto’s doors “suicide doors” because they opened in the center, and if you leaned too hard on them, you could land on the ground.

One day, a story circulated around the nearby town about Big Mac driving that De Soto up and down the road. En route from one piece of property to another, Dave or his brother perched Big Mac in their laps, and scooched down in the seat. To the driver of an oncoming car, it did, indeed, seem that the dog was driving.

As Dave puts it, a nearby farmer who ‘wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer’ believed what his eyes told him and spread the story.  

Big Mac reminds me a little of Old Brown, the farm dog in In Times Like These, the first of the Women of the Heartland series. Too old to attempt escapades like Big Mac’s, Old Brown still provided an alarm system when anybody approached the farmyard, companionship and a sense of comfort to Addie in her home-front battles with her unpredictable husband.

At that time, Addie would have been the last to believe what lay ahead for her—a trip across the mine-infested Atlantic in a Red Cross ship, a stenography position in a government office, and amazing second chances at happiness. The sequel to her story, With Each New Dawn, describes these, and readers can learn even more in book three, A Purpose True.

What a fun story, Gail! I love that Old Mac ‘drove the tractor’. We have four dogs here, but they are not much help with the farm animals or the machinery!

A Purpose True releases soon! For more information, please check Gail’s website. In the meantime, Gail has shared a great book trailer with us. Check it out here!

 

A Purpose True cover not final

(This cover is not yet final. Please check back with Gail to see the final cover!)

Southern France – Spring, 1944

 

German panzer units crisscross the region, dealing ruthless reprisals against the French Resistance, and anyone suspected of supporting its efforts. Secret Operations Executive (SOE) agent Kate Isaacs is tasked with providing essential radio communications with the Allies, while her guide, Domingo Ibarra, a Basque shepherd-turned-Resistance fighter, dedicates himself to avenging the destruction of his home and family.

Thrown together by the vagaries of war, their shared mission, and common devotion to liberty, the last thing Kate and Domingo anticipate is the stirring of affection that threatens to blossom into love. But how can love survive in the midst of the enemy’s relentless cruelty toward innocent citizens?

Everything hinges on the success of the Allied Invasion – L’Invasion.

When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in one edit Gail Kittleson headshotor another, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. She also facilitates writing workshops and classes, both in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the incredibly gorgeous Ponderosa forest under the Mogollon Rim. Favorites:  walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

Don’t you think Gail’s books sound so fascinating? I certainly do, and I hope you all will check them out on Amazon!

I will see you next week with the Thanksgiving edition of Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife, where I’ll be talking about things to be thankful for on the farm. Beginning in December, I will be spotlighting Books to Beat the Winter Blues. I hope you’ll enjoy learning about new authors and new stories along with me! Thanks for being here. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, please do. I have some extra special announcements and secret spotlights coming in December just in time for the Christmas season! You can sign up here, and receive a free digital scrapbook detailing some real-life locations that inspired scenes in Callum’s Compass--available on Amazon now!

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Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife: You Could have Fooled Me + GIVEAWAY

You could have Fooled Me!

Rose Allen McCauley

I know girls who said they would never marry a farmer—mostly farmer’s daughters! But, since I had no experience with a farm except my great grandparents’ farm where I remember visiting once as a child and seeing my Mammy chop off a chicken’s head, which caused me to not eat chicken for a very long time after that! (funny side note…now chicken and turkey are the only meats I like to eat!) And, I planned to become a teacher, and teach at Portland Christian School in Louisville, KY.

But, God has a great sense of humor, and the one guy I fell in love with while in college was…you guessed it—a FARMER! We met our freshman year, and started dating a few months after, then got married in May of our sophomore year of college, and moved to a trailer on a piece of land my husband had bought while in high school, knowing he ALWAYS wanted to farm full time.

But, God still had other plans in mind, as my husband got the call-up for his draft physical not very long after we married, so he joined the Air Force eight months after we said, “I do.” Then, he left for basic on April Fool’s Day, a month and a half before our first anniversary, so the top layer of our wedding cake remained in his parents’ freezer (tightly wrapped, of course!)

So, we spent our first anniversary in 1969 (and several more) apart, with him in Texas for Basic Training and me back in KY teaching school. Still no cake! In 1970, he went for his first deployment to Thailand in March, so no cake again, until in May of 1971 he was back in the states stationed in Myrtle Beach, so we ate our dried-out cake! He also had one more deployment to Thailand, but not during the month of May! The next two years weren’t much better for anniversary dinners, but at least we were together. In 1972, the whole base was on-call on May 11th where the guys had to have their duffels packed and sit by the phone until 9 o’clock that evening. We finally went to a steak house, and Chester ate a big dinner, but I didn’t want much so late at night. Then in 1973 he was discharged in April, so we could go out for an anniversary supper, and he ate a good dinner, but I was pregnant with our firstborn, so was too sick to eat anything!

Finally, in 1973, we moved onto the 200-acre farm we purchased while he was in the AF, (another joke on us—we were allowed to walk around on the farm, but could not get into the house until the day we moved in!)  We lived there and raised three children for 42 years, and my husband got to finally see his dream come true of being a full-time farmer. He raised beef cattle, hay, corn, and tobacco. For health reasons, my husband has now semi-retired, so we moved to a small town in KY a couple years ago, but he still goes back several times a week to our old farm (which our daughter and son-in-law bought from us) plus drives to our son-in-law’s farm several more days each week to work there. Our son and his wife live in a small town, and both of our girls and their husbands have chosen to raise their children on farms, so I think we did something right. None of our children went into farming, but our son-in-laws both farm plus hold down other full-time jobs, which seems to be more common nowadays, and the girls and children help out too. Farming is a great way of life and a great place to raise kids, and I thank God for the blessings of a close family after raising them on a farm.

Looking back, I can see that God had a much better plan than I did, and I wouldn’t want to change anything! He has blessed us much more than we could have asked or imagined! (Ephesians 3:20—my fave verse in the Bible!)

rose allen mccauleyRose has been writing for over a decade and has six books published. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, they enjoy their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website www.rosemccauley.com or twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook http://on.fb.me/1LrXNoS

Destination RomanceRose is a contributor to an intriguing-looking and -sounding book titled, Destination: Romance, and she is giving away a free paperback copy!!! Leave a comment for Rose and be entered to win. I will draw one winner on Friday, November 17th, 2017, at 11 AM EST from the commenters.

From a cave in the hills of Missouri to a sandy beach in Grand Cayman, romance blooms for five heroines when they least expect it.

Bare Feet and Warm Sand BY Kim Vogel Sawyer

Marine biologist Tamiera is determined to protect endangered sea turtles against man’s intrusion. When Joe arrives on the island of Grand Cayman with plans to build a resort near the turtles’ nesting grounds, will she be able to convince him to put the needs of God’s creatures above making money?

Sufficient Grace BY Constance Shilling Stevens

An abandoned Cherokee burial ground keeps secrets and draws a picture of deep, enduring love for Nora, but land surveyor Donovan threatens the place that holds sweet memories for Nora’s grandfather. Will Donovan follow his boss’s orders or follow his heart?

Better Together Than Apart BY Rose Allen McCauley

On a K-Love cruise to Jamaica, Natalie re-connects with Ken, a boy she met six years earlier on a high school summer mission trip. Attraction stirs, but opposing goals threaten their romance. Will they listen to God’s leading for their best place of service?

A Shelter in a Weary Land BY Julane Hiebert

A cave in the Missouri hillside was to be a shelter from pillaging Union soldiers for Charlotte and her unborn babe. But will she be safe when a wounded enemy seeks the same place of refuge?

Cotton Candy Sky BY Kristian Libel

When a Kansas girl falls in love with the ocean, she thinks nothing could be more exhilarating than life on a beach…except maybe falling for a traveling photographer who introduces her to more adventure than she’d ever imagined. But is their connection one that can last, or will their time together simply remain a fond memory as they go their separate ways?

(Pssst–I am hanging out on Rose’s blog today too, and I’m giving away a copy of Callum’s Compass, so please go check it out and leave me a comment to be entered to win!)

Release Day!

It’s November 7th! Woohoo! I am so excited to go to Amazon today and see that Callum’s Compass is officially available in eBook and paperback. Will Kat and Ryan be freed of their painful pasts_ Can they let God, and love, into their hearts_ (1)

There has been so much excitement and so much preparation, it feels so good to make it to this day. I would love for you to check it out, maybe follow my Amazon author page, and definitely let me know what you think. It means a lot to me each person who purchases the book and each person who tells a friend about it.

 

Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife: Lambing Season

We only have a handful of sheep, but lambing season is crazy anyway. I can’t imagine having thousands of them to assist. If you don’t know, sheep breed in the fall and lamb in the early part of the year. When it is freezing cold. We’ve decided around here they hold their babies until the coldest night and then lamb. The colder it is, you can bet they will have their lambs. Every year we set up a lambing pen in the front yard so all we have to do is peek out the window to check on the mommas. Complete with heat lamp, warm straw, and a thick tarp covering the area, the moms settle in a couple days or a week before they are due. And it never fails, the lambs are born in the middle of the night. It is an exhausting time of year!

I have no idea how large sheep farms manage to keep their lambs alive. Because every single one of ours that is born needs assistance once on the ground. They are wet, slimy, tiny, absolutely helpless things that freeze to death if we don’t intervene. We get them under the heat lamp, dried, and help them nurse the first time for that wonderful, nourishing colostrum. If we can keep them alive for the first couple days, they usually make it. But that isn’t always the case.

Isaiah 40:11 reminds us that, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Our lambs would not survive without our help. Neither could I survive with Jesus’s help. He saved me when I was 19, and ever since then he has been carrying me along through life, protecting me, feeding me, and leading me. I wouldn’t be able to make it without some help on most days. I am so thankful that God sees fit to look down on this one little mom, struggling along through life’s battles, and to wrap me in His strong, warm arms. His bosom is where I find safety and peace.

The picture above is of a lamb born this past March that my daughter named, Cake, because it was her birthday. In comparison to the mom, this little girl weighed around 7 pounds, while the mom weighs around 150.

There is a LOT going on with Callum’s Compass right now! The book launch event is on Saturday in Oak Ridge, TN. If you live locally, please come. I would love for you to attend! If you can’t make it, I will be hosting a Facebook party at the same time. More information on both events can be found here.

Callum’s Compass officially releases on Tuesday! I am SO excited! If you haven’t snagged an eBook copy yet and planned to, now is the time. The price goes up on release day (but will still be reasonable, I promise).  And, I have been busy, busy, busy guest blogging on some amazing ladies’ blogs lately! You can check out the full list here!

There is still time to enter some awesome giveaways too! The preorder giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card ends tomorrow morning at 10 AM EST, so if you have ordered a copy you have to let me know before then so I can enter your name. The rules and details are here.  I’m also giving away a copy of Callum’s Compass through two different blogs (one copy each): Leslie McKee, Edits and Reviews by Leslie: Callum’s Compass by Sara L. Foust and a giveaway through tomorrow, November 3rd, and Amber Schamel, Stitches Thru Time: Weekly Windup, Comment to Win Callum’s Compass by Sara L. Foust through November 11th. I hope you will check out these opportunities, and if you do, good luck!