a story of Southern agriculture

Sweet – Now Over (Praise Be) – Summertime

Hi Friends,

Welcome to the first days of Autumn!


How are you?  Did you have a grand summer?  Did you sweat more than your share?  Did you swim and fish and vacation?  Did your livestock or children nearly frazzle you?  Were you glad when school started back?…or not – blinking school zone signs cramping morning commutes.  How did your garden grow?  How are your cousins?…family reunions, anyone?  Let us know how you are and how you faired…please…we’ve missed our conversations.

So, what did we do this summer? I’m not sure that I can cover all that, so I’ll metaphorically summarize whilst I breathe crisp, cool air and finish crawling…

– with dignity –

– but crawling nonetheless –

…into autumn.


This was a good summer, I claim!  It was not without its high and low moments and rabid humidity…

…yeah, humidity can be rabid down South…

…but `twas a good summer if for no other reason than now it’s over.


My Farmer and I cleared and covered a lot of ground this summer – various fields of personal and professional potential

– fields that were overgrown, prime coyote habitat

beef calving season-3


– fields that needed overhauled from previous purposes to current demands

– fields left lying empty…well empty of our attentions, but ever vied for by weeds and turkeys and deer and ghosts of plantings past.


Figuratively and literally, we took a new approach this summer – we purchased a new-to-us cab (read: air conditioned) tractor and paired it with this 20 feet wide bush hog…


…and we worked hard AND we paid top notch helpers to tear it up out there on the field and in our private tendings.  We cut a wide swath…

– crushed coyote habitat

– reinvented areas of neglect

– and fostered acres of future hopes and dreams….all while keeping up with our normal days, and not feeling like super humans.


I know I’m waxing metaphorical. I cannot live this life of seasons and cultivation and not find parallels.  Literal thinkers hang with me…


Therefore, at the advent of this much anticipated autumn, we are happy to report that we feel the usual measure of summertime survivor’s relief

…and a heaping portion of having lived on the tail end of life, but having eventually taken life by that stinky caked up tail and somehow gotten around to the other end of the matters, laid hands on the horns and wrestled this burdensome beast of farm summer and summer season in life matters and MERCY…you tired yet? I am…and slightly exhausted and addled by summer




…and brown recluse spiders, etc…



In short, we made good management decisions personally and professionally this summer – it wasn’t easy to turn the direction of pasture management and personal life mid summer – but sometimes, though you planned all winter, various spring time hurdles have you huddling up again by the 4th of July readying yourself to launch again mid year – renewed with a mid year mostly fresh start.

Isn’t this a glorious farm life lesson?!  The spring times of life – the beginnings like the first weeks of a new job…or the start of brown recluse breeding season – they can have their glory blooms as well as tornadoes – but these beginnings don’t necessarily define the results.


Every year, we never know really how things will start out, yet we start – just as you do with whatever your endeavors.  Then, regardless of the well laid plans, there will be scoops of the uncontrollable, which give us the chance to regroup and start again right where we are.  After a few restarts, you get smart…and buy a bigger bush hog.

Mid summer and late summer, we mow down the tall weeds, allowing sunshine into the undergrowth where what we want to grow has been choked out, but given this extra sunshine makes its way forward again.


I thank God for bush hogs…for having purchased a BIGGER bush hog…


…and for good looking, good hearted agriculture men…Amen.


Here’s to whatever seasons bring – enjoying the good – and circling back as many times as it takes to let the sun. shine. in.



That was our summer in a metaphorical and literal nutshell.



Now, for photographic evidence that we had a little summer fun, I submit for your enjoyment…


sra august 15-27


My Farmer left me one Friday night this summer in pursuit of volunteer hours as a first responder.

I always hate to see him leaving for this, but, mercy me, it’s no hardship to see him in uniform.

Since I was deprived of my own personal hunk for the evening, a few girl friends and I loaded up and drove to a rodeo in the area.  I photographed the magnificent competition – small town rodeo or not – it was an excellent evening – here are the unedited images.


These photos are followed by a gallery of images with drama edited into the scenes.

It’s always good to see the real circumstance before the drama gets a hold of it.



sra august 15-25

sra august 15-23

sra august 15-21

sra august 15-19

sra august 15-17

sra august 15-2

sra august 15-3

sra august 15-1

sra august 15-4

His Mama is a Brahman.  Brahma-mamas make confident little guys.

sra august 15-8

sra august 15-6a

sra august 15-11

This Bull!  Mercy, he doth werk it for the camera.

sra august 15-13

sra august 15-15




Here’s the more dramatic version…click any image for larger view.



{ All images captured with a Canon 60D and 85mm 1.8 lens.  There was precious little sunlight as the event opened at 8pm and the sun began to set shortly after.  Therefore, there’s a lot of grain from high ISO settings, but I think this lens and camera did an excellent job.  I used the available light from the overhead spotlights and shot on shutter priority.  Since this was my first rodeo photography attempt, these images are a combination of figuring out the camera math on the fly + spray and pray you’re near the spotlight circles when the animals do their awesome.  This – THIS was fun.}

{Also, I am quite intent on respecting privacy, so you’ll find that I have darkened some faces.}

{Rodeo brought to me by the Southern Rodeo Association.}



One more summer in the books!  Ready for fall, y’all?

Emily Grace



P.S. No animals were injured at the rodeo – but I’m sure a few humans limped for days afterwards. 😉

P.P.S. Remember you can follow along on Instagram @beefandsweettea


you can keep up with Instagram farm goings on right here at the blog – the Instagram images are available at the very, very bottom of each blog page – in this footer, you’ll see our latest Instagram pics.  Just click on the little thumbnail images to view a larger photo and caption.  No Instagram account required to view my images.  Thanks!

8 Responses to “Sweet – Now Over (Praise Be) – Summertime”

  1. MNGobbleGal

    So fun – and somewhat exhausting! – to read your summer recap. I was a bit sad to see summer go, but we don’t get nearly the ongoing humidity up here in MN that you all do. That said, it’s 80 here today and I’m kind of wishing for cooler weather to I can wear my boots and scarves. Life always marches on, yes?

    I also loved your rodeo pictures! 🙂

    Take care!


    • Emily Grace

      Hi, Lara!

      I tire myself with remembering summer. It’s my least favorite season. I think I was geographically misplaced at birth and then that was reinforced by marriage. Ah, well. We press on and we garden…gardening is summer’s redemption. (:

      Boots and scarf weather! Yea!

      Have a great week.
      Emily Grace


  2. Kate Donovan

    Emily! I have been thinking about you a lot these past few days… so good to pop on and see a new post! 🙂 Our summer has been good… yes, the kids have been driving me crazy! 😀 And we’ve gotten a lot started in hopes of new growth in our professional lives… Hubs is starting another side business, & I’m trying to grow my own business. (*trying* being the operative word there…)



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