Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bear's Version of Nanny McPhee

Seriously!?!?!  This girl is obsessed with losing her teeth.

Happy to report it came out yesterday morning, and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. with a bolt because I remembered that the Tooth Fairy forgot to visit before going to sleep!

This Mommy stuff can get a bit crazy some days!

Hope yours is a good one!

Linking up to Miss Pinke once again for all her Wordless Wednesday fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Year Ago......

Still running around like that crazy, headless chicken, but here is a post from last year that shows you what has us hopping around the farm this time of year!

HEY!  I think I missed my blog's birthday a month or so ago! DANG!

Time sure flies when you are living in the fast lane!  Enjoy!

 Harvest started here on the farm Wednesday (Actually this year it started Monday) 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.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Good Lord Works in Mysterious Ways

No pictures for this one, but it's a good story.

We, like most people I've talked with lately, have been going non-stop for what seems like forever.  Last night we spent the evening with friends around a bonfire, roasting weenies, marshmallows, and laughing a lot.  I posted on Fb that we were watching the Milky Way and eating s'mores.  What an awesome night that lasted well past two little girls' bedtimes.

Cut to this morning:  Tall Guy wakes up first around 7:00, and I meander down about thirty minutes later.  I had tried to get the girls up, but no one responded positively.  With this information in my hat, I went down and proposed that we miss church today so the kids can get caught up on some much needed sleep.  It passed with the stipulation that this not become a habit, and we went on to making a yummy breakfast just for ourselves and reading the Sunday paper out in the sun room.

This whole scenario is a rare treat around here, and I was so enjoying myself.  After finishing the paper, I threw it all down on the floor, grabbed a pillow and settled in next to Tall Guy, hoping for a nice back scratch.


HUH?  I had my eyes closed ready for some relaxing time.  When they popped open, I saw a cow standing out in our backyard!


Now we are in Chinese Firedrill mode because just like we do not usually have just ONE mouse in our house, we usually do not have just ONE cow out!  They like to buddy up for such adventures, taking along 1-20 of their best friends.  Tall Guy ran outside, because he was already dressed, but I had to make a mad dash upstairs because I was NOT properly attired to chase cows.  I was still missing one rather important undergarment, but I was downstairs in what I thought was record time to help with the round up.

Well, seems the dear cow flew solo on this mission, so it was actually an easy fix, but we had to go check fences, and remove a part of a gate that was touching said fence, causing the short in the electric deterrent we use to avoid such early morning scurrying.

All of this happened just about the time we should have been leaving for church, so I guess the Good Lord knew what he was doing when he planted the idea to stay home in my head.  I sent a big Thank You on up for letting us be here when Bossy decided to be an adventurer.

Now I think I'm ready for a little nap!

Happy Sunday :-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cool Water

Back at the beginning of this month, after surviving our sauna county fair, we were able to sneak off the farm for a bit of R 'n R with Tall Guy's family at Raccoon Lake.  It was so nice of Mother Nature to help us out and cool down the weather for us during our stay.  Tink and Bear were able to spend some fun time with Little Cuz, below looking like she wants to be a Navy Seal when she grows up, and Little Cuz's brother, who is turning into a Mini-Me of his Grandpa!  Fun times!

Boat time on the lake, and everyone is jumping for joy.  Yes, even I jumped, and my ears are still trying to recover.  It's amazing how the body reacts to situations differently as you age!  No more jumping in for me!

Bear is right there with me on the No Jumping idea, but this little one is no wuss!  Keep scrolling!

Yes, I did manage to get myself into a standing position on the tube, but of course, no one was behind the camera to document it the feat!  Probably a good thing, but I seriously made it on and up!

After some coaching, the girls are ready to head to open water and crank up the speed!
 "Are we there yet?"

 As you can see, the youngest and oldest baled on Bear, so she road with Daddy.....

and she road with Mommy, again you just have to take my word for it.... and then Cousin Joe.....
Then she wore out Joe and rode by herself back to the no wake zone, where I believe Tink at least joined her for the safe ride in.  Little Bear rode that tube for over an hour and a half and was still telling her Uncle Eddy to "GO FASTER!"


I know.

She is the one who will put the gray in my hair before she's out of the house, but you should have heard the joy and fun in her whoops and giggles while she rode!

I'm linking up to fellow RFoA pal Miss Pink here.

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe #6 Grandmother's Waffle Cookies

Yep,  Cookies you make with your waffle iron.

I've had my eye on this recipe for a while, and the day before school started, Tink and I finally found some time to make these interesting cookies.

Survey says:  They are YUMMY!

The recipe is very simple:

Did you check out the yummy idea for a quick, FAST FIX cappuccino?  LOVE these hints at the bottom of each recipe page!

I want Mommy points for letting Tink crack the eggs all by herself!  NO SHELL FRAGMENTS despite her heavy touch.  She will get the hang of it with a bit more practice.

Now the 1 C. brown sugar

Then the 1 C. white sugar

Then the one cup of melted butter, slightly cooled.  The vanilla went in here too, but I forgot to snap a pic of that step!  Dang!

I added the flour, and I am starting to use a whole grain flour when I bake.  For this recipe, I used 2 C. white flour and 2 C. whole wheat.  This new whole wheat has extra fiber in it, and that has to make this a healthier recipe, especially with the 1C. butter!

Now this was the fun part.  I rolled the dough and put one ball in each quarter of the waffle iron.  Sigh..... Yes, I need to take a scrub brush to my waffle iron. Soon......

Wait just about a minute, and poof!  Cute little waffle cookies!

My taste testers.......

 are all smiles after their first bite, so we have yet another winner here!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday! Woo Hoo School!

 Monday we did this..............

(Yes Tink cried, but LONG story short, she did it,and only one of us had a melt down!) Whew! that we could look like this today for our first day of school!

PST!  Yes, their earrings match the color of their book bags!  How cool is that? (paraphrasing their delight when they discovered the coinkydink!)

Some "sad" mommas and I met down at the big town at Pepe's for some "tea and sympathy."  hee hee!

Stay tuned for some yummy new cookies made with a kitchen appliance other than the stove!  Yes, they ARE baked!  Curious?  I'll tell you more very soon, I promise!