Friday, May 30, 2014

Back to Walking

Whew!  Life has finally slowed down a bit, enough that I can get back to my morning walks.  It's been a while, so Sadie and I ventured down the windmill path just across our road.  It's about a 1.75 mile walk, and I can stretch it into 2 miles if I walk around the barn lot a time or two.

In that short walk, Sadie and I can learn a lot about the farm across the road!

First off, the waterways are doing great and will be ready to cut for grass hay soon.


Waterways are important to our farm.  They are created because in heavy rains, the water naturally flows into these areas.  Growing grass here save  us the frustration of having crops drown out in heavy rains, and the grass serves as a filter for the water to run through and clean itself as it moves toward ditches and through tile.

It's also a nice place to stash our 4th crop and great lawn ornaments!



This walk was taken a week or so ago, right after a few days of rain that ran our rain gauge up to 4+ inches. See how the grass keeps the dark dirt, the good, rich top soil, from floating on down the stream? It kind of looks like a snow drift.



You can see how the water flowed through the field to feed in to the waterway.


Because we had just had a lot of rain, it was easy to see who all had been walking down our path.

Sadie

Me


Deer


 Hopefully, you can see the tracks of the deer as they J-walked right through our field like they owned it!


Snake?



Whew!  Upon closer inspection (I can't believe I actually got closer!), this was a plastic tube!

It's smaller relative, the worm!


and, oh yeah!  CORN!



The cracks in the ground tell you that it got hot after the rains, which it did.  The corn is a bit more yellow that we like, but when we got the rains, it was cooler, and that combination makes our corn yellow.  It's nothing a bit of sun and heat won't green right up!

Have a great weekend!  Go out and take a walk.  You never know what you might see!






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

6 Questions NOT to Ask a Farmer....

I love working with my Real Farmwives of America blogging buddies.  We pretty much speak the same language and live the same lives.  Today, as she usually does, Jent Campbell made me chuckle.  She writes for her blog, From My Front Porch AND Indiana Prairie Farmer, and her post on Prairie Farmer's website is the one inspiring today's post.  She talks about "5 Things I Have to Repeat to My Children," and that got me to thinking about what we say/ask/tell each other all the time around here.  The girls aren't heavy into the farm chores yet, but Tall Guy and I have several anecdotes to share...

1.)  "Did you know there is a pile of beans/corn back there?"  Be it harvest or planting, this falls under stating the obvious because someone either overshot the grain wagon/semi or spilled seed while filling the planter.  A bag of beans runs about $80.00, so piles are not a good thing to point out.  It will usually result in a nasty look from the farmer and the asker being told to grab a shovel and put them back where they belong. Thanks to my neighbor for reminding me of this one as we chatted on our morning walk.

2.)  "How deep did you say that was?"   Refer back to this post......... Enough said!

3.)  "How long do you think I will be out there?"  Many is the time a simple cold drink run will turn into an 8 hour trip.  Things break down, and I have to run for parts. I end up helping them load the planter, or moving them from field to field.  I have just learned to use the bathroom and grab a snack and drink for myself before heading out to the rescue!

4.)  " How much did _________ cost?"  I've talked about this before, but when you go from paying the bills of a single teacher to paying the bills of a farmer.....there is Sticker Shock!  $300 for ONE tire, and that's on the small side; bigger tires = much more $$.  A bag of beans costs $80.00 on average.  When I say there goes my new house down the road, and point to the combine, I am talking my beautiful spacious house with a pool and cottage!

5.)  "Where are you?"  This one used to mess me up every time I had to go out to find my guys.  Each farm has a name, Hawkins Farm, Brothers' Farm, the 80, the 160, Benner/Grogan Farm and Silver Leaf.....I'm getting much better at finding these farms by name, but some days I still have to ask.

6.)  "Huh?"  This is probably the one I use the most and Tall Guy likes the least.  You know how husbands and wives sometimes do not speak the same language right?  Bump that up a couple notches, add mysterious hand signals, and you are headed for a "discussion."  Case in point:  The other day TG needed to feed hay, and I went out to help him.  Yes, I went back in to the cow lot, and thankfully all material  on the ground was pretty well dried up!  I had to open one gate, shoo all the cows off the lot and shut that gate, then open another gate to let him in the south lot.  After we were done, he told me to "put the gates back like they were," so I closed the two gates that I opened for him and headed back to the tool shed.  He catches up with me and asks me
"Why didn't you let the cows back on to the lot?"
Me:  "because you didn't tell me to...."
Him: " That's what 'putting all the gates back the way they were' means!"
Me:  "Really?  Then you should have said, 'and let the cows back onto the lot!'"
It was an Amelia Bedelia* kind of moment.  

*Amelia Bedeliais a character in a series of children's books who is very literal with directions...If you tell her to dress a turkey, she puts clothes on it!

Like I have said many times, life on the farm is never boring.  And some times you need a secret decoder ring to understand our communication snafus.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Trying to Get Back into the Field and Remembering Those Who Served our Country


Thankfully all of our corn is planted and up, but only one small beanfield can say the same.  After all the rains from last week and the few wet moments we have had this week, the next couple of days might see the ground dry enough to work and plant.  Happy Memorial Day to  those who have left us and also those family members who have served our country and either gave the ultimate sacrifice or have passed on.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Don't We Clean Up Well?

Let's see......... The last time you saw me, I was stuck in a bunch of poo.....

These just came in the mail today, and I wanted to show you that we DO know how to look "purty" when asked.  I wish I could show you our last church pictures to see how much we have changed.  I had long hair, Tall Guy might have had a bit more hair, Tink was just a little tinker, and Bear was nothing but a gleam in our eyes.

Time moves more swiftly than we realize!















 Sniff...sniff......Now back to our regularly scheduled mess-making!

P.S.  I know, I haven't got back to blogging about our new room, but I AM working on it.  Life keeps getting in the way, and other subjects are cutting in line!  Hang in there with me a bit longer!

Where's the Beef?

It's that time of year again.  Time when your hamburger is almost gone, and you have eaten your last steak. The freezer is almost bare, well, except for the mink!

We sell quite a bit of freezer beef, and throughout the process I have fielded many interesting questions.  I thought I would revisit this process just in case you are interested in buying your meat from a local farmer. This post from last year goes over our set up here in Wallpe World

Many people ask if our cows are grass fed.
Answer: Well, technically NO.  We feed our cows grass hay and alfalfa, and they do get to graze on the pasture, BUT their main source of nutrition is grain, primarily corn and corn silage.

Why do we feed grain to our feeder cattle?
Answer:  My best answer is that the taste improves 110% in this girl's book.  Others will agree.  Your beef has to have a bit of fat in it to bring out its natural flavors.  Our cows are not fat, but thanks to the grain they eat, they have good marbling in their steaks.  Imagining a grill full of  ribeye steaks is enough to make your mouth water.

Why buy a quarter, half, or even whole cow to put in your freezer? Say a little prayer, because the English teacher is about to tell you a math story. *Prices of beef fluxuate with the markets and change daily, so be aware that these are loose figures.  Same goes with the size of the cow.

Answer:  Let's say a cow weighs 1200 lbs.  At $1.42 a pound, you can buy the whole cow for $1704.00, or you can buy half of it for $852.00, or you can buy a quarter of it for $426.00.  Now the cow is taken to the processor.  Let's work with the quarter of beef.  About 63% of a quarter of processed beef comes to 268 pounds of nicely packaged meat ready to go into your freezer.  Our processor charges around $.50 a pound to cut and package your meat.  So....add $134.00 to your $426.00,  and divide that by the 400 lbs. of meat you started with.  That all comes to $2.09 a pound for your beef, hamburger to filet and NY Strip.

Another question that pops up more often than you think is, "What quarter of the beef will I get?"

Answer:  Think of it as sharing jelly beans with four kids, and go with the "One for you, and one for you, and one for you, and one for you!"  The meat is divided by cuts, so if there are 12 round steaks cut, and there are 4 quarters, everyone gets 3 round steaks.  Same with the roasts and hamburger.  Now you all are gonna have to arm wrestle for the organ parts, like heart and tongue.  The liver is divided equally (but you can have my share of that stuff if I'm sharing my quarter with you).

The next question is a logical one: "How much room does a quarter of beef take in my freezer?"
Answer:   About two shelves in an upright.

This is our meat freezer, all nicely defrosted and holding the 1/4 of beef we had processed.
See?

Steaks

Roasts and short ribs

Hamburger

Now usually we would have a little less roasts and a little more hamburger, but we are still working on a surplus of hamburger.  Since we do, the chuck roasts, Swiss roasts, and round steaks stay as they are instead of being ground up for more hamburger.



What are those two little packages on top?

Liver.    I don't eat that, much to Tall Guy's dismay.  He has to give those packages to his mom and eat it at her house.  I know......, but I still don't like it!

If you can afford the upfront costs, buying a quarter, half, or whole cow is very economical.  You also have a better chance of knowing where your cow was raised and how it was raised.  In addition, having some control of the thickness of your steaks and packaging of your hamburger has advantage to it. The best part of having beef in your freezer?  It's there for you to use when you want it!

I'm sure there are beef farmers close to many of you.  If this method of buy meat fits into your budget, you too can have a beef section in your very own freezer!  Most if not all the people who buy from us say they will not go back to the store for meat again.  Do business with a local farmer, and learn that the answer to the question, "Where's the Beef?" should be "In my freezer!"



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Don't Know How My Dad Did It!

I really don't!  Dad taught drivers education to high school kids in southern Tippecanoe County for 35 years....I really wish I had invited him down to help me teach Bear how to mow the yard!

I should have taken pictures or a video of this great moment, but there wasn't time, and I didn't want you to hear the language I was muttering was too caught up in the moment to take them.

GOOD GRIEF!

Tink took her turn a couple days ago, and Tall Guy monitored her while I was busy inside.  No problems.  This girl always thinks INSIDE the box and is very careful and detail oriented about such tasks.  I could say she is like her father....

Bear, on the other hand, cannot stay inside the box~!  That speaks highly to her very imaginative mind and creativity (just like her mom); HOWEVER, these qualities are not the most desirable when your child is on a big mower trying to follow the lines her mom set for her.   I am a straight-line following mower. It's probably the only (or one of the few) times I pay attention to guidelines and boundaries.

I wish I had video-taped her, but I will try to paint the picture for you.  She was mowing out in the back yard, and I had already trimmed around all the fences, buildings, and the swing set.  All she had to do was drive straight east, turn around, and drive straight west.  Simple right?  Well, not always.

First she, like a lot of us, decided that mowing the lawn was the best time to try out her singing voice. Bear truly embraced the moment, taking in all of her surroundings while belting out the song from Frozen and a few others like Band Perry's "Chainsaw."  If she knew the words, I probably would have heard the great song from Oklahoma, " Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!" This would have been quite entertaining, but she was looking up at the sky as she sang, turning a pretty straight rectangle of mowing space in to lopsided triangles.

5 out of the 7 times she went to turn around, she turned the wrong way....A couple times she turned before she was done with the path she was on, and other times she turned the right way but didn't go back in on her cut line until she was about 4 feet into that round.

Not what this momma had in mind... We have already mentioned that Lana backwards is Anal right?

I was trying to get her attention with hand signals and a loud voice, but she just went on her merry, musical way, until I trotted out and stood smack in front of her.

Tall Guy said I should just relax and, to take from the song, "Let her go.  Let her go!"  His philosophy is to just let Bear and Tink mow to their best ability, and we will tidy up after them once they have finished a spot.

BAH!  You have to know, dear reader, that this is an absolute polar opposite situation between TG and me.  I'm usually the one blurring the lines, and he is an exact, by-the-book kind of guy.  I was also the daughter of a very good, long standing driver's ed teacher.

The end result was that Bear did her best, and I went back to trim up her misses.  It's not a big deal, but I can't help but transfer these lawn mowing skills to the inevitable moment we both get behind the wheel of a gator/tractor/truck/van/car.   I think I will let Tall Guy teach driving lessons!  It isn't good on the nerves of OCD mommas like me!

Monday, May 19, 2014

7 Questions for You on Monday Morning

1.)  Can anyone explain the computer game Minecraft to me.....uhm...or is it Mindcraft?

2.)  If they both only take up about one week each on our calendar, do you think we could just get rid of spring and fall?

3.)  Is there a way to stretch out jeans that fit fine one week yet seem to be a size to small the next week?

4.)  Do your kids love asparagus?  (Our girls do!)

5.)  Tulips or Iris?

6.)  Liquid Downy or dryer sheets?

7.) Michael Jackson real or MJ via hologram?



Friday, May 16, 2014

After 6 Years of dating and Almost 13 Years of Marriage, IT Finally Happened! CRAP!!!!!

 ARGGGGG!
Thanks Mr. Schultz for creating this character who expresses most of what I am feeling right at this moment!

I still cannot believe it!  TWICE in the short span of twenty minutes I accomplished what I have never accomplished before! This story is going to take a while to tell so go potty, get a drink, and get comfy!

Do they give medals or awards for this moment.......uhm.....I hope not!

It all started with me going out to help Tall Guy move some cattle around. For those of you not living in the midwest, it might be important stop to say we've been having a bit of rain here, like to the tune of 4+ inches in the last week.

Lot before the rain:


Lot after the rains:


After moving new calves off the lot and bringing another set in to feed, we needed to move the new calves into an alley way (one side of a cattle barn) while we unhooked electric fences and opened gates for them to get into the pasture.

Cows waiting to eat:


New cows waiting on moving to the pasture:



Tall Guy went over to feed the first group and sent me off to unhook the hot wire (no, this story has nothing to do with the hot wire being left on!), and then open the gate to the pasture.......

Only I never got that far.  While walking through the part of the feed lot that had a cement pad to stand on, I could see I was going to have to do some wading to get to the other side.  Slow and steady, that's my motto when walking into a lot with mud and shi manure liberally in my way.  I almost made it to the hay feeder when it happened....... I lost my balance.....sigh...

No I didn't go head first into seven inches of muck, but in trying to "right the ship," my left foot came out of my boot!!!!!!

Refer to picture of Charlie Brown at the top of this post.

Now what the heck do I do?  I am stuck in a three-legged downward dog position, the fourth leg is flying up in the air, and the boot its foot needs to go back into is about five inches from my nose!  I'm not sure if I have ever been flexible enough to get myself out of this position, so with two hands and one foot "firmly" placed, I tried to wait patiently for my husband to finish feeding his precious cows.

You think that this would be the end of my story.......I wish!

In the five minutes I waited for TG to come out and save me, two things happened.  The leg firmly stuck in the muck started to cramp up, AND my beloved father-in-law pulled in to the farm.......

After a very short debate, I swallowed my pride and decided to call to him for help.  He heard me, but he thought it was one of the barn cats squawking...........SERIOUSLY?????

By the time he realized it was his beloved daughter-in-law stuck out in the lot, Tall Guy came moseying over to see what all the commotion was about......

Well, as you can probably imagine, they had to take a moment to chuckle and regain their composure before helping me out of my shi crappy/muddy mess.

And you think that would be the end of my story right?  Oh NO!  This only gets better for the spectators and you, my dear reader!

I went around helping do other things that need done while in the cow lot because I didn't think I could get much dirtier.  My one foot had poop on it, and there was poop in my boot so I squished along because I was needed.

Just as I was heading up to the house to clean up, Tall Guy discovered a short in the electric fence, and he hollered at me asking if I would get him a few hot wire holder thingies and bring them out to him.  He's out by the manure pit!

I found the doo-hickies and trudged back out to the lot, trying to figure out how I was going to get them out to him without having a repeat performance.  I saw a path that stayed up by the barn, so slowly I moved out toward my goal.  I was walking on cement again, and the "stuff" wasn't too deep.......

......until my boot took the damning step off the concrete (yes, again!) and sank about 10 inches deep right back into the same muck as I was in not twenty minutes before....

What's a girl to do?  After encouraging TG to get his parts over to me as quickly as possible, I had to indulge both father and son a few good-natured pokes at my predicament.  I even, in the spirit of full disclosure, let TG snap a picture of me before pulling me out yet again.


See how deep I was stuck?  I really thought I had lost that right boot, but it finally came out, and I said I was going inside.

I guess if I can manage to make two farmers laugh after watching it rain for the last five days, I have accomplished my good deed for the day.  Now if I could just get my fingernails and cuticles completely rid of organic material.......


This is the way some mornings go on the farm!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Remembering Ms. 4 and Ms 300 T

In searching back through my posts to find some material, I came across this post from April 11, 2011 and thought it good enough to repost for Throwback Thursday.  Enjoy!

 Good ol' Miss 300 T.  What a persnickety old bitty she was!


She used to be the Queen Bee of the feed lot, and she and I had our moments.  Well, there is a new kid on the block now, just as cranky and nasty as her predecessor if not more so, Miss 4.

Tall Guy asked me to help him work the cows the last time we had a dry day.....when was that anyway?  I ran the head shoot and de-wormed them while he gave them a shot in the ear.  You de-worm them just like you would a dog; put the stuff on their back.  The only difference is that I used a HUGE squirt gun thingy.  Oh yeah, and these puppies were weighing in at around 700 pounds!

It's kind of hard to get that much weight to happily go through a narrow alley, and it's even more fun to catch them in the shoot with just their heads coming through.  I would have pictures to show you if the good Lord had given me two more arms and hands.  I caught MOST of them the right way.

It was Miss 4's turn, and she was not a happy camper or cooperative in any way shape or form.  We finally got her in the shoot, but she would not let Tall Guy get near her head.  She shook, snapped, dropped to the ground, and flung her head.  TG was getting a bit miffed with her, and I, in true female fashion, was trying in my best teacher/Mom voice to talk her down and reason with her.

After one last snap that almost broke his hand, Tall Guy went off to find something to hold her head still.  I took it upon myself to step up and try talking to her one last time.  We made eye contact, I spoke with a stern but calm voice and said that her behavior was not going to do her any favors,

and then she did it.

She looked me straight in the eye and

SPIT COW YUCK ALL OVER ME!

I am so serious about this.  I was dumbfounded.

Tall Guy came back with a small but effective tool to hold her head still, she got her stuff, and off she went to join the others.

I'm still shaking my head.

No, I don't believe I can talk to cows, BUT I do think they respond to calm words.  I just can't believe she, with what seemed like premeditated gall, spit on me!


Sadie!  Where is Miss 4?  I want her picture on my wall of Cow Poo(ps)
 Have you seen #4?

Boo!  Nope it's not you.


Ladies?

How now Brown Cow?

Hey Sadie!  Do you see her now?

"She'd just around the corner Mrs. Farmer."

"Mom!  I found her!"  (Actually Tink found her, but we'll let Sadie think she did!)

See, Can't you just see her attitude written all over her face?

"I think I can take her!  I love you Mom!"

Please say a prayer for the farmers.  I just saw the 10-Day forecast on Lauren's blog.  Sigh......We live just a few miles from each other so her rain is our future too. This could be an interesting planting season.  We are looking at three inches of rain total in the next week.  We need warm, sunny days with a LITTLE wind to dry things out around here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

OOPS! (AGAIN!)

ACK!  I invited everyone from RealFamrwivesOfAmerica to visit my blog and see the posts that led to the big reveal of our new room, and they are all still in my DRAFT file!

AND I am trying to use new sections for my blog, but I created them and added them before I put anything in them!  OY! Hang in there folks!  I have the best of intentions........

Sigh.....
I'm so embarrassed!  But in my defense, Nature called me away from my computer.

We had one good week to hit the fields and plant and spray, and that's what we did.  I'm not equipped to blog out in the great outdoors, and there's rarely a connection anyway so it would have been an exercise in futility.

Here's what I have been doing via my Instagram posts.  I will get those other construction posts up ASAP!


An impromptu tailgate moment in the garage cooking a steak to share and celebrating the finish of spraying all the bean fields!


My hands, dry scratched and messy from a day hauling chemicals, picking asparagus, still trying to get the graphite out of my fingernails, and delivering lunch with mustard on it.


Finishing up the corn planting!   Graphite in the seed bins to help it go through the planter, boxes of seed, and bags of refuge corn, corn that is not bug-proof.  Side bar..... We plant refuge corn with our anti-bug corn so that the bugs do have a bit of a food source and do not become immune to the insecticide we use on the majority of our field corn.


Riding with Tall Guy and learning the steps it takes to spray the bean fields thanks to John Deere's auto-guidance system and GPS!

Enjoying a sunset.

OK, I'm off to start these "drafts" and share our fall/winter house project!  OH!  You can follow me on Instagram for the latest, greatest, craziest, impromptu thoughts, sights, and events.  Look for ibcfarmgirl; that's me! And if you want to see the end of the story first about our new room, click on the RFOA link at the top of this post.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Was for the Birds!

Hello! These pictures were actually taken Sunday. You know Sunday....One of those restful days where you can recharge, rejuvenate, and let your hair down... Yeah... Not so much here! We went to 8:00 church, then Tall Guy went out to start planting, then the girls had to go back to Sacred Heart because they were singing in the choir for First Communion, then after dropping them off, I helped TG load up the planted and sent him on his way, THEN I picked up the girls from church )changed dirty shirt!  Thank you very much graphite dust!), brought them home to change, and ran up to the great metropolis of Brook, Indiana to see my mom.

Now I have to start a new sentence because my awesome 70+ momma is recuperating from double knee replacement surgery. She ROCKS! We also think she gained back a bit of height since she WAS 4 feet 9 1/2 inches tall at her tallest! So right before we left to go up there, I chatted with Dad, and he asked me to bring up my camera because a large number of very cool birds were taking up residence around their feeders. Here they are in all their beautiful color!

Mr. Cardinal

\
 Mr. GrossBeak


Mr. and Mrs. Purple Finch (YES, They are more red than purple: NO!  I dont' know why they are called purple finches!)


Mr(s). Finch


Find the sparrow and dove!


Mrs. Finch


Mrs. Oriole


 Mr. Oriole


Mr. Oriole by the bath

Mr. Finch showing off 


One of these days, I am going to have these lovely birds hanging out at my feeders!  Just wait until I finish landscaping outside our new addition....

New Addition???  Yep!  I am just about ready to share with you all the craziness we went through during the very long and COLD winter!  Coming up next:  our new addition!