Published August 25th, 2014 by

Myles + a sheep at the fair // LIfe In Beta

I love fair season. When I was in school, I remember being jealous of my classmates who got to leave early to take their 4H livestock to the county fair. I wanted to BE one of those kids. Unfortunately, I grew up in the suburbs and my parents weren’t about to let me have a pony.

As autumn approaches, there are at least four sizable county fairs held within driving distance. We try to make it to at least one each year to enjoy the food, games and sightseeing.

Ben in a Tank // Life In Beta

Mike and Ben much prefer the midway and the rides, but you’ll find me in the barns with the livestock. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. Even if all the cows and pigs start to look the same after a while, I still like to “meet” them all. This year, I was so excited for Myles to see the animals too! Lucky for me, he seems to take after his mama, being just as enamored with all the critters.

I’ve talked about having a hobby farm for years. I have stacks of books on the topic and love reading about farming and homesteading. I’ve just never lived somewhere that I could make it work. I plant a few tomatoes or peas from time to time, but it never felt like much.

Myles + a horse at the fair // Life In Beta

Seeing Myles’ face when he saw horses, cows and chickens for the first time and petted a sheep … that sealed it for me. He was SO happy.

I know kids love animals, especially approachable, friendly farm animals. It goes deeper than that. When I saw the delight in Myles’ eyes as we wandered through the barns, it made me think about the type of childhood I want him to have.

I’m sure it’s a romanticized notion, but I feel like growing up a “farm kid” has a lot of positives:

  • A priority placed on home and family
  • Learning the values of hard work and responsibility
  • Understanding of where food comes from
  • Appreciating homemade things and not being as caught up in “consumer culture”
  • Taking time to make your own fun at home instead of being constantly on-the-go

Ben playing at the fair // LIfe In Beta

That’s the childhood I want Myles to have and remember. That’s the childhood I hope will shape him into a strong, hardworking, caring, and gentle man someday. I want him to love his home and his family, and not be afraid to get his hands dirty. I want him to take pride in a hard day’s work. I want him to take pleasure in the simple things, and use his imagination and creativity to have fun.

Building a chicken coop so we can have hens and fresh eggs next year isn’t just a whim; it’s about the life I want to craft for my family. It’s the beginning of something much, much bigger.

Chickens // Life In Beta

It is the beginning of disciplining myself to slow down and unplug too. Hungry livestock can’t wait. Gardens need tending or the harvest is lost. It’s a commitment to myself, to my family, and to the living things that depend on us to unplug and engage with Mother Earth.

It’s love.

Hobby Farming

Published August 21st, 2014 by

10 Ideas To Keep You Running // Life In Beta

  1. Change up your tunes.
    Make a new playlist of songs. If you’re tired of music, try listening to stand up comedy albums. Spotify has lots you can stream on your phone. (My favorites are Jim Gaffigan, Kathy Griffin and Hal Sparks.) If those don’t appeal to you, try podcasts or the NPR app. If you always run with headphones, try a quiet run without any music at all.
  2. Get new shoes.
    There’s nothing like a shiny new pair of shoes to break in! Especially if your shoes are worn or bothering your feet, treat yourself to a new pair. Splurge and go to a local running shop where they can analyze your stride and fit your feet. Having a new pair of shoes to break in should get you out the door, and having better-fitting shoes should keep you moving!
  3. Turn off the trackers.
    If you’re obsessed with your Garmin or run-tracking app on your phone, scrutinizing your splits and distances… maybe it’s time to turn it off for a while. Try taking an “unplugged”, free run.
  4. Run with friends.
    I’m typically a solo-runner, but there is something to be said for running with friends. Having a buddy or joining a running club makes you accountable to get out there and put in those miles! It also gives you people to commiserate with when you’re having a bad day…
  5. Read running blogs and/or start your own running blog.
    If you don’t have friends that are interested in running, finding a running community online can be the next best thing! Reading running blogs has been a huge motivator for me, and blogging to share your own running successes and failures makes you accountable to keep going!
  6. Change your scenery.
    Instead of running your same old route, seek out a new place to run. If you’re usually a road-runner, try a trail run to change things up.
  7. Sign up for a race.
    Put down the money and commit to a race, then commit to a training schedule to prepare!
  8. Try mind tricks.
    If you’re not in the mood to run, make yourself at least go for a 10 or 20 minute walk, then decide if you want to keep going or quit. Once you’re dressed and out the door, it’s much easier to talk yourself into going just a few more minutes or miles.
  9. Take care of any injuries.
    Don’t delay a trip to the doctor if something is bothering you. The fastest way to halt your running career is with an injury.
  10. Go easy on yourself.
    It’s not all-or-nothing. Even a short walk/run is better than not going out at all!

What keeps you running? Share your tips in the comments!

Fat Girl's Guide to Running