Thursday, June 26, 2014

Putting a name to a "Factory Farm"

I'm joining forces with The Farmer's Daughter to put a face to those farms society sees as being "Factory Farms."  It's my husband, (Tall Guy), my FIL, (Gpa), me, and an occasional extra running the show here on 1800 acres and 130 head of feeder cattle.  I don't see how 3-4 people can be called a factory!  

Please feel free to create your own collage and join the linky party on her site!

Indiana Family of Farmers sponsored this post, but all ideas, thoughts, and old things are my own.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making Memories Then and Now.....

I saw this picture on Facebook, and it brought back memories.  We had a pole just like that with two nails at one end to hold the clothes line and keep it from sagging, which pretty much worked unless the wind decided to be funny.......

Those were the days.  Can't say I always relished the chore of hanging clothes out on the line, and I remember quite a few mad dashes to get the clothes down before the rain hit it.  Did you hang clothes individually or together, like towels/sheets/shirts overlapping each other?

I kind of miss those days,but don't tell my mom though!  We would also use the clothesline for a badminton and/or volleyball net.  If we let the line hang without the pole, we could throw sheets or blankets over it, and we had an instant tent.  It wasn't always easy to mow in the general area of the clothes line.  If you did any daydreaming or became lost in song, you might soon find yourself fully understanding the sports term "clotheslined." I think someone was actually knocked off the riding mower....I'm almost 75% sure it was my brother ;-)

There was a clothesline here on the farm for a while, and I did hang out jeans, but the southerly wind off the cow lot and flies kind of put a damper on clean laundry with that fresh, outdoorsy scent, and the clothesline was eliminated when the sunroom came into being.  This means our girls won't get the experience of hanging up clothes....It got me to thinking that I really need to get them out of the TV/computer game mode to embrace these last few years of summer freedom and build some lasting memories with their imagination. They also need to know the difference between a weed and a flower and how to mow in a straight line.

We have been spending equal time inside and out working on 4-H books and then going out to feed and wash 4-H calves.  Bear and I also need to get out and find the ten perfect subjects for her photography project.  She really has a knack for finding great shots, and as I think I have mentioned before, I am SO GLAD we have reached the digital age!  We would go broke developing all her film. Here are a few of her good ones ( at least deemed so by this proud momma):

If anyone has opinions as to which cow, windmill, reflection, and chicken picture looks best, please let us hear from you.  Is the dandelion picture clear enough or too blurry?  It's so hard to decide! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Baling Wire and Duct Tape.....

There are a lot of sayings that revolve around baling wire and duct tape and the farm. Sometimes we do use and reuse baling wire.....

The picture above shows how the baling wire holds two sections of fence panels to a fence post, actually a metal post.

Yes, the wire was once holding a bale of straw or hay together......

Sunbeam and PJ like that last use so they have a nice place to curl up and relax!

After we use the bale, the wires are gathered up, bent and twisted together, and then put here for when we need to secure things.

There are a million and one uses for baling wire on our farm.  Here are a few more:

Just in case---- one hanging on the grain wagon ladder.....

One lying on the workbench....

One to help secure a safety/slow moving vehicle sign......

One of my favorite uses:  An extra latch to hold a gate open while cows go in and out.

 If the job looks too big for baling wire, we switch to chains.

Oh!  The Duct Tape????  Well, the girls have tons of it and are always coming up with creative ways to use it.  The guys have been known to grab it, put a bandaid on an owie, then wrap that in duct tape so it won't come off during the day, and the wound will stay clean.  Here it is helping secure the homemade auger that shuttles seed from the grain wagon to the planter.

We are big on reusing, repurposing, and recycling around here.

Another saying around the farm is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  While we have replaced some of our bigger tractors to keep up with the larger implements, 

there are still some sage ol' work horses out in the lot.

The utility tractor that runs the auger via its PTO shaft to moving hay bales, spreading gravel, scooping up organic material, teaching 4-H calves to follow a lead, and so much more.

We reuse a lot of things out on the farm.

Not quite sure what this truck bed is waiting on....maybe it is there so I can take a picture of it.

Maybe I should have the guys pull it to the front of the house and use it in my new landscaping????  Wonder what Tall Guy would think about that???

Indiana Family of Farmers sponsored this post, but all ideas, thoughts, and old things are my own.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HOT off the Press: Keeping It Real on the Farm!

3:30  I get home from a meeting.

3:30 - 4:00 I rest and cool off from this heat (I don't do heat well).

4:00  Make our bed with the clean sheets I put in to the wash before I left.

4:20  Catch up on FB and e-mail

4:45  SHOOT!  I should start supper before we take off to our evening meetings!

5:15  Look at the recipe Spectacular Roast Chicken and Vegetables and realize it needs 45-50 minutes to bake/roast/ get done.

5:15 Start prepping vegetables and chicken.  Tall Guy comes in, sees supper isn't ready, and decides to go out to the BACK cow lot and try to fix their waterer.  First, though he takes me down to the basement to make sure I can turn off both water sources before he goes out.....this is BECAUSE he always does that man-thing of screwing a valve as tight as he possibly can then usually goes off only to come back because I cannot make the stupid thing budge!

5:30 Finishing or trying to finish cutting up chicken when my phone rings

"Ok, Honey, can you run downstairs and turn on the water...."

"Yep"  said while trying to wash off slimy chicken stuff from my hands and then off I go downstairs, cell phone in ear to turn one source back on.....

"Looks good Honey!"

"That means I can go back upstairs right?"


So back up I go to finish chopping chicken, washing my hands first of course.  Just finished the last bit and started to wash hands (again) when my phone rings..... I do that two-fingered-pick-up-your-phone thing when your hands are still wet and/or icky.

"Can you go back downstairs and turn the water off?"


Down I go again, and turn off the water....and wait....turn the water back on,,,,,turn the water back off....

"Still need me?"


Up I go as quickly as my tired legs would take me, toss the chicken in oil, put on top of veggies and just as I am putting it all in the oven, (It's now 5:45), my phone rings....


"Could you go back down and turn it off one more time?  I think I know what's wrong."


"Sure, no problem....."

Down I go....turn water off.

He thinks it's really working this time....

I say a silent threa  prayer, and pull myself back up the stairs.

Dinner will be AFTER our meetings...

This is just a brief look into my husband's secret mission to help me get back into shape!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Do You PiYo?

PiYo, PiYo, It's off to class I go.....

Yep in my little town....
Where there is only one stop light in the whole county....
Where the only fast food chain to find is one Subway (a great one to have).....

I attended my very first PiYo class!  (I have to tell you that Yoga is so far removed from my vocabulary that when people ask what PiYo is, I usually biff and say "Pilates + Yogurt!")

Will there be any pictures of me enjoying my first class?
Heck NO!  You should Google it to have a visual that will not mar you for life.

Will I go back next Monday for another round?
Heck Yeah!

You see, I need to move much more than I have been.  I know it sounds like I lead a pretty active life, but it doesn't always allow a solid 15-30-60 minutes of heart rate-elevating work.

Also, I went to see a doctor recently to see why I am having continual pains in my legs and other parts.  This doctor said, after ruling out Lyme's Disease, that I have Fibromyalgia.  GREAT! (not!)  Right now I am on a medication for it, and the lovely little pill is allowing me to gain weight! I really didn't need any help with that part.  So I need to MOVE and STRETCH and LOSE some weight.

PiYo was pretty fun.  I've actually mastered a three-legged downward dog, and I can hold that pose for five minutes if I have to!  But there are more movements and stretches to learn.

YEAH!.....Kind of.... Was it easy?  Nope.
Did I do each movement perfectly?  Nope.
Did I do ALL of the movements?  Nope.

I don't think I have sweated so much doing so little!  My left side got a better work out than my right because my entire body was pooped after doing the one side.  When our instructor said (from a plank position) "Now shoot that right leg up near your hands," it took me a couple extra moves to get my leg and foot to where they were supposed to go.  When she showed us the "table top" move, going from a plank position (face down) to a table top by flipping one leg and arm over so that now you are looking at the ceiling, Yeah, I had to cheat a bit there too.  Oh and then you are to raise one hand and pulse down for two counts and up for two counts.  My hands stayed firmly planted on the ground.

Guess what though?  After the second stretch, I could bend at the waist and touch the GROUND!  Woo Hoo!  I even had an obstacle in my mid section to reach out and over to do it!  Points to me!

Dear Ol' Friedrich Neitzsche told us "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."  I think he stole lines from Benjamin Franklin, but whatever.....He is right!  I was able to get out of bed this morning without too much extra pain.  My feet, one of the big areas of ouches, felt pretty normal, and I was able to go outside and help move dirt around the house as we prep it all for landscaping.

Moral to this story:  We need to take ourselves out of our literal or figurative comfort zone, and try new things as we move down this merry road called LIFE.  Keep on trying and learning Peeps!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Just in Time for Father's Day

Ah, Rhubarb Pie!  I often wonder if this......vegetable?  fruit?  plant is as well known in other states as it is in Indiana?  Chime in with a shout if  you love rhubarb!

I'm going to link back to the post I wrote last year about this Indiana delicacy.  The recipe and all the how to steps are at this link.  I had a surplus in my refrigerator, and an expectant farmer in my kitchen just waiting for me to make this special treat for him.

Tall Guy LOVES rhubarb pie!  The rest of us are starting to have more favorable opinion of it as well.

I am trying to hone my food photography skills and get better acquainted with the manual settings on my camera.  On Tuesday I went down to Indy wine and cheese tasting gathering but first we got to sit in on a class about food photography given by Lindsay Ostrum of A Pinch of Yum sponsored by Indiana Family of Farmers, Indiana Dairy, and Indiana Wine.  She gave us a chance to become more familiar with our cameras in manual (M) mode, and added in some great tips and trick s she has learned from her years behind the camera.  She even has an e-book Tasty Food Photography that will walk you through all the Aperture (A), Shutter speed (S), and ISO settings needed to take better pictures.  You will learn about blur (also known as Bokeh), and different ways to use natural lighting to enhance your food pictures.  My attempt is above, a new picture of rhubarb pie.  It was a cloudy late afternoon shot, not the best of times, but that is when the pie was done, and I knew I had a very limited time before Tall Guy's nose put him onto the hunt for his first piece.

Have a great Father's Day weekend if I don't get back on here between now and then.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Date with Tall Guy......

During Planting Season, quality couple time is pretty darn scarce, but the other evening Tall Guy asked me to out with him for a ride.  Aw.........

It was in the gator, and we were head out to the corn field to look for tile holes, but hey we were out there all by ourselves, the sun was setting, so we will count this one as a date!

As a little background, farmers are putting more tile in their fields to drain off excess water from rains.  The crops need water, but too much can flood crops out or stunt growth.  A wet field also means no tractors can go out to work ground or spray.
This picture shows a hole were tiles were not connected correctly.  When this happens dirt gets sucked into the tile and create weak points in the field or holes!

Here, you can see old clay tile and new plastic tile.... We saw the disconnect where water was flowing, but I apparently neglected to take the picture!

This next one is my favorite: Tall Guy "out standing" in his field.

 This shows where ground is settling around the tile, and this could be a potentially dangerous spot to keep an eye on.  You wouldn't want a tractor or combine to fall into this depression.  It HAS happened in the past!

Flagging another hole.

One tile line emptying into the ditch.

Looking east, you can see where the tile line is and the subtle high and low points in the field.

Dadgum Coyotes!  Grrrrr!!  We do NOT like them!

Dang, it's a little swampy here!  Potential plugged tile.  We will have to watch this as well.

Where all the water from the field drains to is called a drop box.

A little blurry, but you can see how the waterways all flow to this point.

As our date comes to an end, so does the day.