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FarmingFridayRecent statistics show that just 1% of the U.S. population considers farming their primary occupation. Since John & I fall into that 1% group, I believe it is important to share about our work in food production. Since 100% of American’s eat, every Friday I write to those who may wonder: Where does my steak come from? What does a farm look like? Who are the farmers and ranchers? What do they do?

This week…was wonderful! 

On Friday night, we had a reception in town at the Legion Hall & had a chance to talk with all of our friends and neighbors who couldn’t make it to our wedding in Missouri!DSCN5876

The next morning, I ran a 5K in Lake Preston & was able to wear my South Dakota TEAM BEEF jersey for the first time! After the race, I went out to the farm to take John breakfast & he snapped a photo of me in the alfalfa field.DSCN5890

Alfalfa fuels our cows during the wintertime and beef fuels me when I run! I’m not kidding, there’s nutritional data that backs up my theory:

  1. Beef has 8 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc and 2.5 times more iron than a skinless chicken breast.
  2. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
  3. A substantial body of evidence shows protein can help in maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle and fueling physical activity — all of which play an important role in a healthful lifestyle and disease prevention.

After the race, John continued baling and I had the rest of Saturday to myself. I was able to do three things I really love all in one day! Running, writing and quilting! DSCN5909

However, by 8:30 p.m. I was pretty much ready for John to come home. He had been baling late  (by late I mean 1a.m.) several nights this week and it felt like I hadn’t seen him in days. DSCN5893

Actually, I hadn’t seen him much in a few days. I was beginning to have the overwhelmed-about-being-a-farm-wife feeling again. I was starting to feel downright sorry for myself. There’s never going to be a slow time on this farm. John’s always going to work about 12 hour days. Plus, there several times during the year where that will turn into 20 hour days for several weeks on end. Then, I had the bright idea to google, “Being a farmer’s wife.”

I know this sounds lame – but I don’t care. Google is awesome. Instantly, I found a blog post by girl about my age, in my exact same situation. Only, she’s been married about 2 years. Her post was titled, The Truth about Being a Farm Wife, she spoke very openly about the distinct differences in being a farmer’s daughter (or cattlemen) and a farmer’s wife.

She listed off about 25 reasons that she thought she was well qualified to be a farm wife because she grew up in a farming family; including, know how to back a trailer, capable of dropping everything to run for parts or deliver seed, knows how to rake hay, can cook, can garden, knows how to show cattle and pigs.

I felt I was totally on the same page as her. I can do all that stuff. (Except cook and garden, I am still learning. I burned the heck out of something this week!)

Yet, I felt a bit unprepared for nights that I would finish working around 6 p.m. and then find myself alone until 9, 10:30 or 12 p.m (we’ve already had several of those and it’s only been three weeks). She also felt that even though at time’s her role was hard, she still absolutely loved it & their way of life. (I agree, there’s no where else I’d rather be!) DSCN5900

Thankfully, her blog post had a super happy, super helpful ending – for which I am so, so, so grateful. She and her husband suggested a few ways to happily cope (and still love) with the life of a farmer’s wife. Here are their suggestions:

  1. Start a blog (Hey, I already did that!)
  2. Get a hobby (Hey, I do that too! Quilting and canning!)
  3. Decorate your home (what – heck yes – maybe I’m doing better than I thought!)
  4. Run (She just finished running a half marathon.)
  5. Don’t sit around waiting for him to come home! Stay busy girl!
  6. Tractor dates. They suggested having “dates” as meals and precious time together spent in the tractor. Because, let’s face it, there are certain times of the year that “tractor time” is going to be the only time I’m going to see him.
  7. Help him with farm work when you can!

So, I cried for a while. Then, I decided to get over it & accept “my new reality.” That’s when the blessings started to roll out to my feet, showering my whole soul.

The next day, John needed some help fencing a water gap & moving some cows that had gotten into the wrong pasture. I canceled my plans (just a trip to Target), went along and had a wonderful time!DSCN5948

The ornery cows had gotten out, but not by the usual means of a hole in the fence. This time, they just swam around the fence into the neighbors truly delicious  pasture. (They are saving this to bale & so no cows have grazed it yet this year. I swear it came up to my shoulder in places.)DSCN5970So, John had to pull on his waders and head out into the water to fix what they had torn down. DSCN5974And, we had to lure the cows out of the beautiful prairie grass!DSCN5945 DSCN5965

In the end, I lured the cows out of the gate with a small bale of alfalfa & much calling and he gently urged them forward. After an hour or so, we finally moved them across the pasture, around the lake and out of the small gate. DSCN5966

John even said of my calm cow-girling skills, “You did pretty good for a rookie from Missouri.” DSCN5963

Never mind that I practically begged him for a compliment by saying, “Hey, I didn’t pretty good didn’t I?” I don’t care. A compliment is a compliment no matter how it was baited out.

I did one thing well and then two minutes later, I fell into the water. Up to my knees, instantly filling John’s boots with water. Oops. They’ll dry. My pants were a bit soaked.


To continue the week, John did a whole bunch more baling & hay hauling. (We’re talking like a couple hundred more bales here folks. And, we’re also getting close to 10 semi-loads hauled home.) DSCN5893

I stayed busy and happy for the rest of the week. I didn’t mind the late nights & I wrote a column for the newspapers, walked several miles, played with the kittens, quilted, wrote for a new client, cooked a WHOLE chicken (first time, check it!), made home-ade chicken pot pie, cooked sweet corn, watched three little league games in town with our neighbors and read half a book. Plus, that’s just the stuff I did for fun. I also worked!DSCN5908DSCN5911DSCN5940

So, my new non-wimpy outlook on being a farmer’s wife is this: I’m going to be the world’s most prolific writer/blogger/runner/cook/sewist because I am going to have plenty of time to do all of those things! Seriously, need some writing done? Give me a call!

And, to top it off, I think I’ve got the Lord’s blessing on the whole deal. It’s 8:45 p.m. on Thursday night (John is still working). Shortly after I began writing this post, an unexpected shower began and it only lasted a few minutes. It produced this beautiful rainbow, right over our farm. The left side literally touches down in the Blachford’s corn. DSCN6007

The rainbow, and the Lord’s goodness, literally covered our little home! DSCN6012

So – all in all – we had a wonderful week as newlyweds, it was full of small trials & big blessings!20130604-091530.jpg


  1. Katie

    It sounds like you are learning so much! I ;ove reading about your new life 🙂 And love the rainbow that touched down on your farm!!! SO COOL!

  2. Lucy

    Way to be brave and share that part of your heart. I loved the story and it encouraged me in my marriage with oh so different trials.

    • Sierra Shea

      Thanks! I was a little nervous to post this one, but glad I did!

  3. Sally Thomas

    Beautiful story!

    • Sierra Shea


  4. Karen Kinder

    Loved every thing you said and loved the photos even more! I want to paint them! I really need to get to your farm!

  5. Meredith

    This is beautiful, Sierra! I am SO looking forward to seeing your corner of the world!

    • Sierra Shea

      I am looking so forward to it too! 🙂

  6. Eva

    Great story…love the pictures and your wonderful productive outlook!

    • Sierra Shea

      Thanks Eva 🙂


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!