Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a boy and his beloved dog

from the garden

Fresh from the garden tonight, green zebra, (grown by Andrew in his own garden) lemon boy (yellow tomato) and mortgage lifter (pink tomato) and basil, combined with a few other ingredients makes for the most delectable bruschetta ever, and colorful too I might add! My mouth waters every time I look at these pictures. It was that good!

guess who this is.....

...you guessed it! Sawyer!!! They turkeys were out in a new patch of grass today and 8 of the 9 were perfectly content to stay in the turkey tractor. 1 of the 9, Sawyer the renegade turkey, was not. Three times he flew up over the top before I clipped his wing, again. Andrew was upset by this and told me that he didn't understand why I was doing it as "God intended for them to fly." I took his comments to heart and explained why I did what I did and that I wished I didn't have to do it. He pondered this for a minute, nodded in understanding and went on helping me with them. Ahhhh, from the mouths of babes!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dairy Show Time!

For the past three days now we've been at the barn where the kids are leasing their dairy heifers and trying to get ready for the state dairy show, ugh! I say ugh, but really it's a wonderful learning experience for all of us. First off, none of us can get over how fast these girls have grown! WOW! So much so that when we walked into the barn we didn't recognise them at first, we had to check the ear tags to make sure, we couldn't believe our eyes. Then, the second day they needed to wash them. I don't know how many of you have ever washed a cow; much less a young heifer; but it was about as easy as nailing jello to a tree! I sincerely hope it gets easier as they get older, but at this point I'm thinking it'll be more like trying to wrangle an octopus! That being said, we had a nice time and the heifers were as patient as I could expect them to be given the lack of experience on all counts.

Andrew heads in first to spray them down.

Faith has just realized how much poop can be stuck to one heifer... and I don't think she was impressed...

Oddly enough Andrew's heifer was reasonably clean, ironic since he is a living, breathing Pigpen, (from the Charlie Brown comic strip!!! Literally!) but he's happy and I'll bet he gives his immune system a run for it's money! Oi vey!

Nope, not impressed. We had no carding comb, so it was picking off the dingle berries with our fingernails and/or scrubbing them off with the brush. We found a combination of both worked nicely, it just took a long time. I asked her if she wanted to do this again next year, fully thinking she'd say no, as this really was more Andrew's 'cup of tea' and his idea. Her response shocked me, she said "Yes!" but with that preteen attitude that had just a hint if 'Duh Mom' in it.

Soaking the switch (the proper name for the fluffy part of the tail) really seemed to help loosen the dingle berries, too bad we couldn't soak the entire cow!

As I mentioned above, Andrews heifer was markedly clean compared to Faiths, so he had a bit more time to walk her around and practice as if he were in the show ring. I was glad to get this picture of him, I think it's pretty much the essence if Andrew: working with his cow, on a farm, covered from head to toe, grinning from ear to ear.

I think he was 'setting her up', but in all likelihood he was probably "heifer whispering."

Finally! We get to the rinse down and not a dingle berry in sight. Let me tell you that took a particular mindset and a whole lot of determination!

It's late in the day but Faith was able to get in a bit of practice, it didn't go as well as Andrew's did, but this heifer was tired and had had ENOUGH! Faith is not as confident as Andrew and gets frustrated easier, but was able to take a breath and get relaxed enough to get a bit of 'good practice' in and ended on a good note. This heifer is also a few months older, a great deal larger and pushier. I'm sure once Faith gets to practice without her having just been maxed out things will go as smooth as they had previously. It's a nice confidence builder for her that's certain.
The show is Monday morning and it's the state show, not a 4-H show. I missed the deadline for that, and I was very upset with myself, but it just hadn't made it to the top of my priority list at that time. This show will have more competition than a 4-H show but the kids are so excited anyway and it doesn't matter to them how many people there will be, they are just happy to be able to try it. We'll be at the fairgrounds most of Sunday and Monday with the barn that owns the cows helping them do what all they need us to help with, I'm assuming we'll be on poop scooping duty again and possibly washing, brushing, grooming, feeding, etc. So it will be interesting for sure.
Oh! I forgot to mention that today the kids got to learn how to clip the heifers! I'm not kidding when I say that after washing for three hours the previous day and clipping for about an hour and a half today these kids are dedicated! I took pictures, but because if the lighting in the barn and the movement of the heifer and all they didn't come out well so I opted not to post them. I know I learned a lot about this whole process (and it's not even my project!), so I'm sure the kids did too. Now I'm off to iron the 'dairy whites' that they need to wear in the show. I'm not sure who's bright idea it was to choose a white shirt and pants to wear while having anything to do with a cow, but it is what it is, right? Talk about about crazy, don't they know cow poop splatters!

good quote

"Farming looks mighty easy when you plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

any day on horseback is a good day!

The kids went to mom's house for a few days for some "Nana Time" which meant that I had a day to do whatever I wanted. There were many things I should have done, but since that doesn't happen very often (by choice) I took advantage of it and goofed off!! I went riding!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I made YARN!!

These are two skeins of yarn that I spun myself on a drop spindle! It's a mohair/lamb blend and I think its to die for! I'm pretty pleased with how it came out having never taken a class or anything and being my first time. My sister showed me how to use a drop spindle a few years ago and I've puttered with it periodically. The wool I have from my animals is currently raw fleece, I do not have a carder so I can make it into roving, fortunately I live near a small spinning mill and they will do that fairly reasonably. I purchased this wool to blend in with my fiber, it was not what I needed and wouldn't work, so I opted to give it a whirl. Literally!
Once I had enough on my spindle I did a bit of internet poking around, found out what the next step was, spun another spindle full, plied the two together, soaked it, stretched it, dried it and voila' this is the result!
Hmmm, now what to do with it....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

picked because they were cute

What an adventure yesterday turned out to be! It started actually many months ago when the 4-H leader said they should do a market hog as a project, ..."it's easy and a good first show project," is what we were told. So we decided to go for it, figuring why not?! I'm sort of known for acting then thinking, despite the fact that I do usually try to think things through it doesn't always happen... but I digress. So the day before yesterday the kids and I spent a great deal of time trying to teach the famous sitting pigs to walk up a ramp, the reason for this is because I do not have a trailer; stock or horse, yet. So the pigs were going to have to ride in the bed of the truck to and from the fair. I'm fairly strong but cannot pick up a pig weighing between 150-200 pounds even if it wanted to be picked up. These pigs did not. So the only way to get them to the fair was in the back of the truck and the only way to get them in the truck was to teach them to walk the plank, or ramp I built to facilitate this event. It was easier than you might think, pigs are VERY motivated by food and if you train them with food it seems to go well. So after they seemed comfortable walking up the improvised ramp and before they lost interest we stopped and anticipated the following days event. Getting the pigs to walk a much steeper incline and into an unfamiliar place.

Morning arrived and the kids and I got ready for the day, got all the things we thought we'd need for the show and an all day trip away from the farm. Staying in clothes that we'd change out of in the event that it would be messier than the day before. That was a good idea! Pig poop s.t.i.n.k.s.! I drove the truck to the pen and corralled the pigs into a corner and set up the ramp, put sides on the ramp making it more of a chute with very little room to escape and hoped this would work. Bethany, (skinny stripe) went first and needed a little coaxing, once she found the grain bin she practically hopped up into the truck, Freedom, (wide stripe) needed more convincing, I think she smelled a rat! It didn't take as long as I had anticipated and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, beginners luck I guess.

The pigs certainly could not ride in the back of the truck with out some sort of side wall height, the last thing I needed was a pig or two flying or jumping out of the back of the truck, so I used a hog panel; that worked great; and secured it with fluorescent orange ratchet straps. They'd also need cover or shade so I threw a bright blue tarp over the top and secured that to the hog panel with zip ties. I cannot imagine a more hucklebuck way to get the pigs to the fair, fortunately we didn't have far to travel. Unfortunately for the pigs, is was far enough on the back roads to make them carsick. I felt awful when I realized that let me tell you!

So we arrived at the fair and offloaded the pigs and let them settle in and chill. The kids found the 4-H leaders and had a mini clinic on how to show the pigs, did I mention this was the first show?! They had a chance to practice with the pigs before the show and it went well being their first show, both the kids and the pigs! They changed into their 'show clothes' and put the finishing touches on their 'show pigs' and the show started. They guided the pigs into the ring and away they went. Onlooking were both sets of grandparents, an aunt and cousin, two proud parents and many fair goers. The first class was showmanship. Part of showmanship it for the judge to ask random questions about your project and you are expected to know and give the answer. Both kids were in separate classes because of age, but both were asked about their pigs and gave an appropriate answer. I'm so proud of the way they carried themselves in the ring and how they handled their pigs. Not an easy task, pigs have a mind of their own and will go where they want for the most part, especially at 150+ pounds! Both kids took first place in their class and went back in to compete for grand champion and WON! I couldn't believe it! The judge talked about the confirmation of the pigs and why Freedom and Bethany were "more correct" over the competition, he talked about the butt (ham) area, length of body (bacon and loin of pork), width of shoulders, etc.

Good stuff we've got here and to think we picked them out strictly because they were cute! Although I do admit, besides the cute personality they do have the cutest butts, especially when they are jiggling while they trot away from you! Excuse me, the cutest hams!

watering the pigs and helping them to settle in...
spitshining the pigs

Aw mom... do I have to have a bath?! I'm a pig!!!

Faith's up first, entering the ring!

First place!

Andrew's up next!

Grand Champions!

Like I said, what an adventure!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a fish tale

This weekend we had a nice family reunion at my sister-in-laws camp. It was a perfect opportunity for Andrew to go fishing with his cousin. They were just out "trollin' " and Andrew had a bite on his line and pulled this puppy out of the water! He was told by his fishing guru cousin; who has caught many fish, that it was the biggest sunfish he'd ever seen! Of course Andrew's chest was puffed out WAY beyond anything I'd ever seen! He had a great time and truly has a big fish tale to tell!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh NO!

Sooooooo not ready!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hay Day #2

I spent the day doing hay with my kids; of course; and my nephew, another 150 bales in and not a complaint among them! It was very windy here today which was nice because it kept us cool, but was a bit of a pain because it blew the loose hay around us like we were inside a snow globe. At one point Andrew put his swimming goggles on to keep it out of his eyes, they didn't last long due to the fact he steamed them up almost instantly. Haying is hard but oh so rewarding work. Too cool off before dinner I took them to the lake, I'm surprised they had the energy to swim!We also dug potatoes and picked cucumbers to go with dinner tonight. After dinner cleaned up the pasted butts on the newest chicks. Out of 50 I think there were 6 that needed attention. Who but Twistie could make that fun?! After the butts were cleaned up they needed to be held to dry off, it was hard to find children willing to hold adorable baby fuzz balls, but I managed. ;-) So now as I write this the kids are getting ready for bed, we've got another early day tomorrow and it'll start with a taking the second batch of chicks; which are now beasts, to be harvested. I'm too exhausted to transfer and posts the pictures tonight, in fact I think I might even skip Army Wives tonight and head straight to bed! Thankfully the DVR is set to record it in the event that that is what I decide.

I am so thankful for these kids today, they worked as hard as I did and we had such fun. Not many kids; I know of a few, would be willing to work that hard or do work that hard and do it with a joyful heart. The best part of it all for me is that I never even had to ask for their help. I fully expect to do all the hay myself; I'm the farmer, and it is so nice that the kids help without being asked. I'm so proud of all of them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

my blackberries are ready!!

round 3 Ding!

Yesterday round three of broilers arrived, no boredom here!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

headed out

I'm headed outside with a pillow, blanket, flashlight and my babies to watch the meteor shower.* Does it get any better than that?

*Now that's what I call family entertainment! Heavenly!

daytripping - for mom

For you in February... enjoy!


Yesterday my sister called on her way to the beach and asked me if I wanted to come along. I thought about it for a moment and figured that since I didn't have anything that was due that particular day and we've been working really hard this summer I could take a day and go along, after the chores were done. Well, it was a perfect beach day, not too hot, nice breeze, sunny and the beach wasn't crowded with obnoxious people! Yeah! Swimming off the coast of Maine is an experience one doesn't easily forget, or do too often! If you look at the pictures and see chunks of ice don't worry, that's normal. I kid, of course, but the color is icy blue for a reason. When you go to the beach; in Maine at least; it's more for the beauty and serenity that it offers. Seldom will you find adults in the water, as often times their bodies are still trying to thaw from their childhood dip in the pond! Seriously, the water is mind numbingly cold, one wave up around your ankles and your doing lamas breathing and hopping up and down like a lunatic! Despite the freezing temperatures we had a beautiful day! I took lots of pictures as usual, my sister forgot her camera as usual and Mom was surrounded by lots of grandchildren, as usual!

Thanks for the invite, it was a very welcome break from the farm.

This is the epitome of the Maine coastline, rugged rocks, sandy beaches, pine trees and icey blue water.

A place we popped off the beaten path for a bit of exploring and yes, more picture taking!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We'll have the smartest pigs at the county fair!

I couldn't help it, I had to see if I could do it! I've read they are smart and I'd agree with that, but trainable too?! This video was taken tonight so it's dark and I apologize, but thought you'd get a kick out of it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

doing a happy dance! hoping to make it rain! lol!

My latest acquisition! I'm SO happy to have this rain barrel, you have no idea! My sister-in-law and her husband, besides being such caring wonderful people are creative and industrious! They are always building things, like a beautiful home, a cozy camp, pretty much anything those two can build and I SO admire that. They built this rain barrel too! The red thing on the bottom is to hook up my hose to! It's got window screening over the top to keep the leaves and bugs out. Now I've got the difficult task of finding the perfect, most useful place for it, as there are many!
Thank you guys so much for this, it will most certainly be well used!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

stopping to enjoy the beauty

While out picking blackberries the kids and I got to watch these two beauties enjoying the flower.

konks for Colorado

I first started canning and putting things up when Faith was 6 months old; we had just moved from Colorado and I was anxious to learn how, Mom was more than eager to teach me, but I think it was more because she could spend time with her "grandbaby." I started with strawberry jam in June because it was the first thing in season. I'll tell you, there are not too many things better than tasting jam you made in June in the sweltering heat, during the middle of a snowstorm in January tucked in with loved ones. Yum! I moved on to pickles and eventually beans, sauce, tomatoes, pears and applesauce, once I knew how the sky was the limit. I've kept doing it ever since, I find it rewarding. A friend of mine in Colorado saw the picture in this post and told me she'd like to raid my pantry! We emailed back and forth about it and suffice it to say...
...these babies are headed to Colorado! Why are they called konks you ask, well, that was what the kids called them when they were starting to talk, I have no idea how it came to be konks, but it is what it is. Now every time we make pickles, I think if them when they were younger sitting beside me on the stool helping pack the jars to make "konks."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

good quote

"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, August 1, 2010

quilt show causes identity crisis

See a pattern here?!

Mom, Faith, Andrew and I went to a quilt show yesterday and once again were in amazement at these beautiful hand crafted works of art, so inspiring!We've been going since I was pushing the kids around in a double stroller. Not the place most kids would want to spend the day, but my children look forward to this yearly. So anyway, I got home, transferred the pictures I took to my computer and scanned back through them and thought hummm there is definitely a theme going on here. Do you see what I see?! Mind you this is just a small sampling of the pictures I took, (there were over 100, not too bad seeing as there were over 800 quilts!) Apparently I like quilts that feature squares, squares on point and stars in blues, greens and browns. Ugh I had no idea, but it jumped out to me as I looked back through the pictures. All my life I've been told I'm "unique," "bold," "eclectic," "twisted," "out-there," what have you, and loved every minute of 'freaking people out, being unconventional, going against the flow' but this made me question that. Am I as 'twisted' as I've been told? are people just saying that? what makes me drawn to this one particular style? Am I dare I say predictable? Gak! I hope not! Ugh! Well there it is, my freak out identity crisis, it is what it is I guess. I'm comfortable with who I am regardless whether I'm predictable or not and I suppose that is what matters.

one of my favorites! (above)

Not anything I'd ever try, but SO beautiful and meaningful! No this is not a painting, it's an actual pieced together quilt!

LOVED the sentiment of this! Having said that or thought it on occasion!

Would really like to make a quilt similar to this, only incorporate more of the farm.

Stunning and mostly appliqued!

Maybe a combo of the farmers market quilt and this one, loved the Nubians! Very well done!