As farming technology becomes more and more advanced, one Blount County woman is using it to bring people a closer look at what farm life is all about.
"I really started the blog as a way to share photos and updates with my family and friends in Anniston and Oxford who I didn't get to see very much after Lance and I married," Stephanie Miller said. "Pretty soon, though, I started putting everything under the sun on there. So, people who visit the blog now can see what we do on the farm, where we go and what I cook."
The rising star of her blog is Henry, a bumbling little sock monkey whose adventures with Lance and Stephanie are the comic relief of www.thelifeofafarmerswife.blogspot.com.
"I actually won the sock monkey kit on another blog and I'm not a great sewer, but I got him stitched together, and it's been fun to take him along for pictures," said Stephanie, who also shares recipes on her blog and refers to herself as an "Internet cook."
"I started cooking as a teenager only because I loved cheesecake, but nobody in my family made it. So I started looking up recipes for cheesecakes, and I took one to every holiday or other family gathering we had. So, now, everybody expects a cheesecake every holiday," joked Stephanie. "Lance has had to endure a lot of weird things because I get so many recipes from the Internet."
While she enjoys cooking and blogging, Stephanie is more than the farmer's wife - she manages four broiler houses and does the bookkeeping for the family farm, which also includes several row crops.
"We grow cotton and soybeans, and, usually, corn although we didn't plant any corn this year. This is also our second year growing peanuts, which is unusual for Sand Mountain," she explained.
Stephanie and Lance met in college, and after she earned her degree in communications, Stephanie worked off the farm for a while.
"It seemed like every day after work Lance was telling me about someone who stopped by the farm for a visit or something else that sounded great, and I felt like I was missing everything. So for our first anniversary, I got the chicken houses, and I'll take farm work over my old job any day," she said.
Her favorite thing about farm life is being home so much and being her own boss. "Although Lance thinks he's the boss sometimes," she quipped, adding that the two don't spend as much time together as some might expect.
"It depends on what we're doing. Some days I don't see him at all, like during planting season: forget it. But now, I don't miss anything that happens around here," she says.
Most of the recipes Stephanie shares are taken from the Internet and tweaked to suit her tastes, but she says Mama's Chicken Casserole is from her grandmother, Martha Gilmer. And she includes one of her favorite cheesecake recipes as well.