Our yard is lovely.  Well....to me at least.  It's not manicured and trimmed with big beds and pretty flowers and there is not the perfect, squishy carpet grass (that's what I used to call it when I was a kid), but it totally covered in trees (for a yard in a neighborhood at least).  I mean, there are a lot of trees.  Which means at this time of year - the leaves.  Eye yeye yeye the leaves!  They are everywhere!  They are a foot thick and covering every surface.  My garage is buried in leaves, my walkway is buried in leaves, my back doorstep is buried in leaves.  And to tell you the truth, there is no reason to do anything about it at this point because in 12.7 seconds the wind will blow and it will look just the same all over again.  But we have some neighbors who, bless their hearts, are rueing the day we ever moved in next door.  They are nice neighbors.  The wife is very friendly and the husband delivered bell peppers from their garden to the whole neighborhood this summer, but they are, for lack of a better steryotypial judgement, OCD a little bit.   At least they look that way when I am silently judging them from my yard.  Their house took a longer than usual time to build because they wanted it perfect and more reinforced than a normal house.  The yard is perfect, the flowers are perfect, the garden is perfect.  There is never a stick that fell down from a tree on the ground longer than a few hours.  And honestly, I hope you don't think I am talking about them negatively - I am just saying that if they are daylight then we are dark.  Black and white.  Could not be more different from one another.  We have toys in the yard.  For the past two seasons our garden has been waist high in weeds.   It's stick-a-palooza out there man.  We are the poster children for deferred maintenance.  And while our two acre yard is a foot deep in leaves, their's is spotless.  I was getting out of my car Sunday afternoon to find him mowing and mulching between the trees in the woods beside their house.  The woods people.  He was mowing the woods.  But anyhoos, my point is, our poor neighbors probably hate our guts because we don't rake our leaves and they all blow on to their perfectly and obsessively manicured yard right next door - causing them to have to mow and mulch obsessively.  In the woods no less.  Dude - he was mowing the woods.

    So because we are yard lame-os who ruin our neighbor's lives with our leaves, we decided to do something about it this weekend.

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We hired this wonderful girl Leslie to rake the whole yard.
    SIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!  We piled them up and jumped in them, throwing caution to the wind and leaving sticks and toys laying around everywhere.

   (warning - the following are photos of my super cute family unit plus my daddy who came for a visit and some of our sweet college kids who stopped by because they moved away and miss us.  If you do not want to see that, then you should move along)
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First we moved the trampoline over to the giant pile and the boys jumped big time.
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But if you know my daddy at all then you know he was terribly nervous that someone was going to get hurt. Then when Turnanator did a cannonball and hit his rear hard on the ground, we listened and moved the trampoline.
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"Sheeeeese" (that's baby for cheese) p.s. - what is up with that kid's hair?
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Didn't take long at our house before a football game broke out. I was recruited to play, but then I was quickly kicked off the team for repeatedly complaining about being improperly brazziered and repeatedly forgetting if I was on offense or defense.
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I am totally going to let you believe that my sweet angel boy caught that pass and scored a touchdown.
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Here is Destruct-o-girl having a large time in the swing because Wo'in (Robbin) was being awesome and pushing her really really high. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! (p.p.s. this was when the hairbow was still able to be located and not buried under a pile of leaves. and that is eczema on the cutie face. it's a right of passage in our family. if you are one of Aaron's kids then you have to have a couple of righteous bouts with the stuff before you can grow up. it will go away one day. I hope.
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Sitting in the leaves with Grandaddy. Priceless.
    Now brace yourselves for what you are about to see, but at first we thought we just had a pile of leaves in our yard.  Turns out there was a monster.  A terrible, awful, scary, leaf monster.  It was heinous.
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Oh wait - maybe I mean it was handsome. Yeah......I definitely mean it was handsome.
 
    You know that feeling you get when you think about home?  I'm not talking about your house now necessarily, I love that one and all, but I'm talking about the house you grew up in.  With your mama.  That one.  Where you had all your best Santa Claus Christmases, and spankings, and you and you siblings made tents.  That's where I've been all this week.  My mama's house.  So sorry I haven't blogged any.  I really wanted to, and should have, but there were lots of reasons why I couldn't.  The fact that I hung out with my Grandparents and Aunt a lot.  The fact that my parents live way out in the country and their internet is questionable at best if the wind is not blowing and the skies are clear.  The fact that I watched the new True Grit with my brothers and sister-in-law.  And the fact that I had not seen my adorable, squeezie, smell-good, cutie nieces in like 7 months and I had a lot of kissin' to do.  So the kids and I have been there for the past 6 days and had a great time.  It took two whole days before anyone got on my nerves or I got on anyone else's.  And I'm a firm believer that if your family doesn't get on each other's nerves, then you aren't much of a family to start with.  
    Since it had been a while since I had been home, and since it was my first time home since I started blogging, and because it is right dead in the middle of farming season, I felt moved, compelled even, to give you a peek into life at the farm.  My home.  The place I grew up that makes me feel all good and warm and gooey inside. 
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So I went out with my camera and took some pics of the stuff that you can only really appreciate if you are from the Delta or somewhere that shares it's way of life.  The stuff that you can't really understand unless you know what it's like to work from sun-up until dark in 100 degree weather, worrying about too much rain or not enough rain or weeds or bugs or broken equipment or the rising cost of diesel.  Stewards of land that has been in families for generations with the hope that it will remain for gerations to come so long as the market, the weather, and the grace of God continue in their favor.  The place my daddy, and now my brothers like him, farm because they love it, or they have to, or it's all they've ever known.  And I wanted you to see it. 

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This is the only bumper sticker on the back of my 85 year-old grandparents' white lincoln towncar.  There is a lot of pride in a place like the Delta.  It is an area and a community solely built around farming, so the feeling of accomplishment among everyone at the end of a season is deep.  If you live there and are not a farm family then you are usually the farmer's banker, doctor, tractor repairman, chemical salesman, ag pilot, or accountant.  It takes a lot of work from a lot of people.

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Not only is there a lot of pride, but history runs deep because in today's day and time, no one just "starts" farming.  Land just doesn't become available like that.  People farm the land that their daddy, or granddaddy, or great-grandaddy farmed first.  You don't have to look far to find families who tell stories of their parents getting off the boat from Italy and moving there with a dream.  My own grandfather moved there from Arkansas when he was a very young man.

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Some things are just a given, ya' know.  But don't be confused.  There's plenty of red stuff around here too.

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Here are some of my family's soybeans.  They farm rice and beans, probably triple the amount of acreage they farmed when I was born, and it takes a lot of good help and equiment to get it done.  There are guys on our farm that have been there since long before I was a twinkle in my daddy's eye, but none of them really wanted to be on the internet I suspect.    So instead I put some soybeans on here.  See the grainbins in the background?  I just love this picture for some reason. 

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This is Judd, the older of my two brothers on the left, and Steven his "secretary" on the right standing in a waist high rice field.  They are really fun to be around and have somehow aquired the names Trigger and Nuttsy from everybody else.  First person to name which movie that's from is the winner of nothing but my love for ya' baby! 

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This is Milkshake the shop dog.  He is ferocious.  Ok, maybe not ferocious exactly, but he will lick you.

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Meet Uncle Bruce and cousin Jake.  They are working together now, and look absolutely nothing alike.  You can't even tell they are related.  Ok, maybe I'm kidding about that too.

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L to R - Judd, Daddy, and Austin
You know that feeling you get when you think about your daddy and brothers?  The one of love and occasional annoyance and deep appreciation and fond memories?  At least I hope you get that feeling when you look at your daddy and brothers because I sure do.  This is a wonderful tailgate load of men in this photo, men I am lucky to call my family.  They are funny and grouchy and kind and good.  And they are excellent farmers.  Thanks for letting me have an emotional moment today and brag on the people and places that I love. 

Love ya' like hot tamales from Rosedale,
Cassie

p.s. - ladies, Austin is single and I am always looking for him a lovely churched lady.  So if you have any prospects in mind please contact me at your earliest convience so that I may put her through the initial, big-sister evaluation.  He will be so happy.  Ok, maybe not.  He will probably want to beat me up for putting that on here, but hey, can't blame a big sister for trying can you?

p.p.s. - also, Aaron has been fussing at me for not having a picture of my Mama on here because she is as integral a part of the farm as anyone, but I'm feeling sort of "homey" right now.  So there will probably be a whole post dedicated to her soon.  She totally rocks.