Monday, August 30, 2010

Walking to the IGA for Great, Quick, Ready-To-Eat Food!

As a farm wife who always has to come up with at least lunch for whoever is working that day, our IGA is an awesome friend!  How great is it to have a grilled sandwhich just waiting for me to pick up after Saturday morning soccer games????  Stop there at 11:00, and I am good to go for lunch!  Did you check out the prices?  DANG!  You just have to love these guys and gals and the great service they provide us on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons several times through out the year!  Big HUG to my IGA peeps!

Tuesday Tag-Along

Mommy and Me Monday!

This was taken on Mother's Day.  Is there a limit as to how many floral prints you can have in one picture?  

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walking and Sighting Some Travelers Passing Through the Farm

Tall Guy called me and told me to bring my camera.  Dang!  He never does that unless there is something good to see, so off I went out the door with my trusty Canon G9.  38 of these travelers had stopped by the cow pasture for some dinner.  I like how in this first picture the geese mirror the windmills.  Kind of looks like they are saying good bye to their northern friends as they turn and head south for the winter. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walking into the First Part of Harvest

Well, as most of you guessed, my Wordless Wednesday photo was a picture of silage, fresh from our corn field!  Harvest started here on the farm Wednesday with our first crop.  Silage is chopped when the corn is still a bit green, so that it will help "cure" itself in the the silo.  You all have probably seen a silo before; it is a tall round tower-like structure, but I bet you never knew what was inside of it!  For those of you that do farm, our corn tested about 29-30% moisture.  It needs to be down to around 14-15% before we like to pick it to store in our bins, and we store just the kernels in the bins, no cobs or other parts! 

Let me show you how we make our silage that feeds our cattle:

Ok, First we have to get out all the equipment.  The rule on our farm is to put everything away ready to use the next time, so Tall Guy and his dad usually just give everything a once over with the grease gun, and then we are good to go!

Next, we bring out the wagons.  These are special wagons that help move the silage around once it is blown inside.  My friend from Cranberry Morning will like the fact that these wagons hale from Wisconsin.  I think they are the only red pieces of farm machinery we have around here!

 Last comes the actual chopper.  Looks like the great, great, great, great ancestral granddaddy to a lobster doesn't it?  As you can see, it picks two rows of corn at a time, and those teeth start the chopping process up.  Silage uses ALL parts of the corn plant: stalk, husk, corn, and cob.  I will say, though, that the cob parts are the last to go in the feed bunker.  Cows must like them about as much as I like lima beans!  They are always the last veggies left in my bowl of veggie soup!
 From the picture below of the entire chopper, it is easy to see where the corn goes in, and then it comes out of the shoot in the back.  That snout will be pointed right into a wagon.  Let's get the whole thing together so you can see it in action!
 There's Tall Guy bringing out an empty wagon .
 And here is Grandpa chopping silage.  You can see it shooting through the snout and in to the wagon. 
 Here is a better look:
 The chopper is powered by the tractor by the yellow top round thing.  That "thing" is actually a PTO shaft, and this is probably one of the most dangerous parts we have on the farm.  The motor of the tractor turns the PTO shaft, and that makes the "wheels go 'round" on the chopper.  It turns VERY FAST!  You never want to be too close to a PTO shaft in action.  You also want to make sure your hair is tied back, if you have long hair, and all clothing is tight and secure.  Loose shoe strings and sweatshirt strings are other no-nos around a PTO shaft.  All of these personal items can get caught in the PTO shaft, and that is how we lose limbs and lives. 
 Now we have moved back to the silo, and Tall Guy is going to unload the silage and put it in the silo.  Now if you memory is good, you will know that these big guys, silos, are REALLY TALL!  How do we get the silage in them?  We blow it up another shoot with a very powerful blower, again powered by a tractor and PTO shaft!
 The arms with tines move the silage forward, and (you may have to scroll back up to the first pictures to see this, but there are also conveyors on the bottom of the wagon to help bring the silage forward) and it is dumped in to the blower below.
 Here is my picture from Wednesday!  All that you see are chopped parts of the corn, stalk to kernel!
 This is the blower.  You can see another PTO shaft 2/3 of the way down the picture.
 Here are our giants.  The silage blows up the shoot in the bottom left picture.  The pic on the right is there to help you  judge size.
 So, there you have it. Food fit for cows and home grown!  It will sit in the silo, and from its own weight, all the oxygen will be pushed out of the silage.  The lack of oxygen will stop the fermenting process so the silage will not rot.  Actually, silage is just one of the many food options our cows have to eat.  They can graze on grass, chew on hay and straw, and they also get a ground corn mix that also includes corn gluten, minerals, and other nutrients that are good for cows.  Tall Guy has a recipe to mix all this together, compliments of our feed man.  This recipe changes depending on how big our cattle are and/or how close they are to finishing out.

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope today and the weekend bring you opportunities for fun and time with your families.  The girls and I are headed back out to the soccer field tomorrow for morning games.  Woo!  At least I am pretty sure it will not rain on us tomorrow.  Be safe and happy!
My Wee View

Smart and Trendy Moms

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Walking with a Little Pride in My Step!

DANG!  I won my first Blog Award!  Thank you so much Cassiopeia for honoring me!  Stop by her blog and help her decide which way the stand alone toilet paper holder should be facing.  I loved her sense of humor and can't wait to read more about her!

To go with this award, I am supposed to answer the questions below so you will get to know me a bit better.  Here goes:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now?   

I think I struck an middle ground by not using anyone's name in my family but my own first name.  I like that.

 2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side.
Me Stubborn?????  Well......I am a Taurus, so if I am bull-headed, I can blame it on the stars.  I guess I try to let the little things in life slide by so I can did in my heels on important matters.  On a lighter note, I never knew how OCD, anal,  particular I was until I started scrapbooking, and had to make sure my pages and pictures flowed and were symmetrical.  Oh.... I also keep all my videos/DVDs/CDs arranged in alphabetical order despite the efforts of the girls to put them in any which way.  I don't throw a fit when they put them away; I am so tickled that they remembered that step in the chain, but I will sneak back every so often to get my ABC order going.  (p.s.  Did you realize that Lana spelled backwards is anal?  As my friend Cris says, "just sayin'"  ;-))

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

I see 60 pounds less of me!  I am still baffled as to where that 27 year old me went to, but I'm ok with the person looking back at me now.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

Water, and those lovely green drinks that come on the rocks with salt! 

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

I like to read and work on my pictures/scrapbooks.  I also try to walk at least five times a week.

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

Getting the girls up in the morning and on the bus without raising my voice?  Seriously, I am so happy with my life, that it's all good, but I do want to continue to grow, learn, and travel as much as I can.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the class shy person, or always ditching school?

Most definitely the good girl/overachiever.  I always brought my books home to study, and I never ditched school until the last day.  Not sure that counts because we just went "out" for donuts and were back in time for graduation practice???

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what do you see?

I think that would be our wedding day, followed closely by the birth of our two girls and any memory that involved my Grandma Phyllis.  I loved her so and still miss her ten years later!

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I like being myself; that's why I am blogging.  I am a 48 year old mother of two girls, ages almost 6 & 8, and I am a farm wife.  I want to get the message of what we do out to those who have been gone from the farm, and I think the stories that include the girls and my efforts to keep up with them are fun.
10. If you had the choice to sit and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

Read because I can get easily distracted if I am on the phone with everything going on around here.

Thanks again to Cassiopeia for this lovely award.  Now the really great part it that I get to pass it along to some great bloggers.  I don't mean to leave anyone out, but, again, here I go.....  These ladies have all been great mentors and cheerleaders for me as I started my blog and continue to watch it grow.  Please give them a visit!  Their blogs are beautiful,, funny, and (to appeal to the teacher in me) educational!

Cris at Goodeness Gracious
Leah at Beyer Beware
Megan from Gal in the Middle

Judy at Cranberry Morning
Kate at Southern Belle Simple
Lauren at The Ransom Family 
Ann at Butterflies, Gourds, and More

Well Dang!  I have my seven, and I had several more I wanted to mention.  I will save you folks for my next award, whenever it comes!  

The answer to my mystery photo from Wordless Wednesday is SILAGE!  Harvest has officially started here!  Stay tuned; tomorrow I will take you on a little tour of how we make silage here in the Hoosier Heartland!

Have a great day!

Walking with a Mystery for you on Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Can anyone tell me what the subject of this picture is?

HINT:  Rhymes with mileage!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Walking, Nay, Running Right Back to my Precious VAN!

Last week, after running all over creation for about three weeks, my van issued an SOS message and said it was ready for a service call.  Dutifully I called the dealership and scheduled said appointment.  I also asked for a loaner vehicle so I could do all my running around in the big town while they worked on it.

Well, when I got there, my service man was so excited because he had scored an 2010 Honda Civic for me to drive!  Wooo!  As soon as I opened the door and plopped myself in the seat, I began to feel terrified!  My rear end was only SIX inches off the road!  I could barely see out of it!  The speedometer looked light years away, and I kept frantically looking for the button that raised my seat, only to find there was no such magical button.

Dang!  How did I drive for 25 years like this?  It's only been seven years since I drove my own car.  We bought our first van when the two seated stroller ate the entire trunk of my grandma's Cutlass I had inherited.  Loved the room, loved the extra space, but most of all I LOVED being up high enough to see!  We have big trucks, tractors, semis, and a combine that put you right up next to the clouds.

I managed to drive around Lafayette, run my errands, and not wreck into anything, but I tell you I was getting paranoid about other drivers looking DOWN in to my car and worried that they wouldn't even see me down here right next to the road kill!

What a true blessing it was when my phone rang, and the man's voice said my van was ready to be picked up!  WOOO!  I almost kissed it.  I grabbed my keys and pushed the wonderful button that makes my back door open by itself.  I threw my packages into the roomy storage area.  Doesn't that just sound better than a trunk?  I did, by the way, take a peek inside this car's trunk, and I swear my van's glove compartment is bigger!  I did my little "hop" UP to get in the van, closed the door, and praised my van for all its wonderful qualities.

Good-bye dreams of owning a Corvette or other such cars.  I now know that I am most happy when my tush is at least two-three feet off the pavement.

Have a great day, and don't forget to check out the fun canning tips and how-to's on  a latte' with Ott. A and From Mess Hall to Bistro!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Walking to the Kitchen This Week!

Hey!  I want to give a big shout out to two of my blogging buddies who are going to be hard at work in the kitchen this week giving us all great ideas for canning those fruits and veggies we have been nurturing all summer or could not resist at the local farmers market!   Their link is in the top right had column of my blog, so give it a click and let them show you how to enjoy fruits and veggies well in to the winter months.  Here are links to their blog pages:


Do you can or freeze?  I have very vivid memories of canning as a girl.  I think I had the brownest backside in my neck of the woods because we would be out from picking strawberries in the spring and work our way right through summer into fall with cherries, bean, corn, tomatoes, with onions, peppers, peaches,broccoli and all sorts of fruits and veggies in between.  You name it, we probably grew it a least once in our garden.  And we canned or froze it all for yummy eating in the winter and spring!

My mom and I can do something that many people cannot do: we can fit our hands inside the small mouth jars to pack in the green beans!    Ever tried to do that?  I wish the rest of my body was as small as my hands, but that's a whole other blog post !  Dang!

I do have to say, though, after I moved out and lived on my own, I got away from canning.  I would go home to help, but it's hard to have a garden in an apartment complex.  Since coming to the farm, I have tried to keep a garden, but honestly it's a lot of work, and I had my little hands full with two girls and the farmer.  I think next spring will be the year of the garden for me.  I'm going to try to rein it in and not be too ambitious with what I plant, but I would like to get back to putting up food for us to eat.  

Ok, It's game on starting Monday, so give these girls a shout and click in to learn all sorts of fun ways to revisit this very old way of preserving our food.  There are even a few give-aways for those of you who like that added perk!  

Have a wonderful Monday, and let me know if you are joining in on the fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Walking Driving Around the Country to Pick up Hay Bales

** To learn how round bales are made, click here to visit my friend's story over at Alarm Clock Wars!

Last night Tall Guy asked me: Got anything going on tomorrow?

Me: Nah, I said, just laundry, picking up the house, making goodies for soccer on Saturday, updating my
blog and a couple more things....

Tall Guy: Well could you help me pick up hay bales tomorrow?

Me: Sure Honey, No problem!

Cut to today. See Tink and Bear off to school, take my two mile walk with Sadie. Oh! Did I mention that I have been up since 3:30 for about the third night in a row. The "M" word is really messing with my sleep again! GRRRRRRR! But I'm off topic....Ok I start to pull out in the truck with the hay wagon contraption that you will see later. Just about picked off Uncle D! DANG! Here he is. I got to follow him ALL the way down the mile and a half road. There's a good story about Uncle D and crew in my Long Walks/Talks section.

These two homes above and below belong to two of Tall Guys cousins. We have our very own family road, kind of!
This is a brand new water way~! Do you know about them? It's one way farmers conserve soil and protect the ground we farm. I will tell you more about this in another post, but we bale the grasses in these waterways when it is ok to do.
Farmers don't do too many things in a big hurry, and driving trucks that pull things is one of those slow things!
Note, I am also in a lower gear so I don't have to "ride" my breaks all the time.
Now I am eating Tall Guy's dust. We are almost to our first field! Do you know this is the first time all year we have been able to cut hay? The weather has been just too wet and humid to get it done. It takes three good dry days to cut hay, rake it, and let it dry enough to bale.
Ok, There goes Tall Guy! I am headed down to one of the windmill roads to get out there with the truck and trailer. See these windmills are everywhere and very useful!
This is a baled water way. We don't farm them because they tend to be too wet to farm. Believe it or not, my county has no body of water larger than a creek, or "crick" as I like to say, BUT we were at a LEVEL 3 Emergency this summer will all main roads covered in water and impassible! These water ways can become rivers during the big 3-4 inch rains we tend to have at least once a summer!
Time to start loading and put the truck into 4-Wheel Drive. DANG! Can I get a Yee Haw?
Below is what I am pulling to carry home the large round bales. Tall Guy and his dad made this (TG's dad loves to weld and is pretty darned good at it!) I'll show you how it works in just a minute.
Basically a bale goes on either side of that short middle bar. We use forks attached to a utility tractor to pick up the bale, and the bars coming at you help guide the fork and bale in to the right place.
Another purty picture
Doesn't this remind you of Dr. Doolittle's Push-me Pull-you? Here we go!
Up and centered.....
Then down it goes!
I carry SIX of these puppies home at one time, plus the two Tall Guy brings with him! Wouldn't you know there were NINE bales at this place, so he had to go back for the last one. I had to keep my eye on this bale in my rear-view mirror. See how it is leaning? I swore it wouldn't make it home, but it did. I have "dropped" a bale or two in the past, but the ground is less that level, and these things are, well, ROUND!
There we are home with the first group. See that truck out back by the bins? That's yet another project going on here at the farm. We are putting in a new drying system. I will tell you about that in another blog too! Dang! I'm going to have a lot of blogging to do about this place!
Tall Guy stored this first group and some of the next in this barn, right out where we feed our cattle.
See how the forks go on either side of the bars to slide under and pick up the bale?
Works slick as a whistle!

Everyone loves a parade! The horses above are miniatures with a donkey or two mixed in, and below are a few of our future freezer guests! Anyone need any beef?
So I realize that I neglected to include a picture of all the bales lined up all ready for winter chewing for this crew or rather the new crew to come. Dang! It's too hot to do it now, so I will include it in the farm tour I am planning for next week. Everyone have a great weekend! Tink and Bear have their first soccer games tomorrow, and I need to scoot and make snacks for Tink's team. I think we will have some hamburger tonight, compliments of those bovine who used to peek through the siding! Toodles!