Monday, July 23, 2012

Boots for all Occasions

I'm guessing if you are reading this, you are either my Dad, my husband's Grandma or my daughter's friend Meredith.  My readership is relatively small I am sure:)  

So you probably already know this, but I rocked a pair of blue ostrich double stitched cowboy boots with my wedding dress 14 years ago.  I was so excited the day I ordered them from the Nocona Boot salesman that called on us at Circle H!  I loved working there and treated it like it was my very own store.  My heart still works there! Buying these boots even at wholesale cost was a big investment for me.  Sadly, after three kiddos, these size 61/2s don't even come close to fitting me anymore.  Neither do all those teeny tiny jeans I used to wear. sigh!

A Farmer's Trophy Wife is giving away a pair of boots over at her blog!  Hurry, hurry and enter to win them!  It's super easy and the boots are wicked cute!  


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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Pigs

Today, I thought I'd share a real, just as it is,  shot at life with a small herd of show pigs.  


1. Showing pigs is addictive, just as a warning, if you try, you might just love it! 

2. Our show pigs are always born in January or February of the show year and shown in the summer.

3. Our pigs ultimately end up in our freezer come fall.

4.  Show pigs have a good life.  They are cared for very, very well.

5. We don't breed our own pigs, but buy them in the spring and sell them for meat or breeding in the fall. We let someone else, who loves to go out in January and February to care for a ginormous grouchy sow as she gives birth to 152 babies (not really 152, but many) have that pleasure.

6. Pigs each have their own personalities with likes and dislikes as well as eating/drinking/pooping habits.  Like human babies, eating/drinking/pooping = important to monitor.

7. Show pigs make for some fantastic bacon on a lazy Saturday morning in January when breeders are schlepping water to a ginormous sow laying under a heat lamp with 152 babies. I'm gorging myself with thick, black pepper laden slices of bacon.  

8. Our show pigs make some great convenience food when I cook a pork burger in 7 minutes flat to feed MY 152 babies and their friends.

9. Pigs prefer to drink from a nipple system in their pens.  (I should post some pictures of that.  Pink curly pigs' tongues around that nipple contraption is a funny thang!) Also, the word nipple makes me giggle.  

10. Pigs like you to scratch their bellies, rub behind their ears and lay with them in their pens, while the fans blow on the two of you. 

11. (Bonus) Pigs are smart.

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My oldest son was playing hide and seek at the 4H fair with his buddy.  I think hiding next to a 250 lb hunka hunka of love is a great hiding spot, don't you?  Thanks to my good friend for catching the moment with her camera.


This is Boss Hogg. We heart Boss Hogg.  He is a gentle giant.  He loves the kids.  He is kind.  He is big.  He is pink.  (technically he is white, but it's my story, he is pink.) 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

I Spy Farm Style

I spy with my little eye….

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What, what is that I spy?

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This is my daughter's photos of our newest addition.  She is a dairy cross goat.  That means she is a mutt of sorts. She is a mix of two kinds of dairy goats.  Dairy goats are for producing milk.


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But, it's only fair to let you all in on a little-known factoid…..tuck it away, and some day, if you lead a very exciting life like I do (wink wink) you may be able to pull this information out and wow your friends at a dinner party.  Here goes:  a dairy goat doesn't just produce milk all the time.  She has to be bred to start producing milk, then once the babies are weaned, PEOPLE keep milking her and keep her body thinking that she has babies to feed, so it keeps producing milk.  Actually, when she has babies that are nursing, people can milk her extra times and make her produce more milk than her baby can use.  So did you know that?  The same goes for dairy cattle.  

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Our girl's name is Cookie and  she was a twin to Cream.  We bought her from a friend of the family when she was just a "bottle baby."  Her mother wasn't able to care for the twins so she had to be fed with a bottle.  We bought milk replacer and mixed it with water and fed her every day. Aw…..I can hear you now.  So sweet.  Bottle babies are generally more attached to their humans, as you may expect.  We love Cookie, however, her attachment goes a little far for us on occasion.  She is ALLLLLLLL over us!  Case in point:

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"Naaaaaaaa, you can drive."


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Entertain Kids In the Summer et al

Wow, it has been HOT HOT HOT!  I can't even tell you how many 90-100 degree days we have had here and how little rain we have actually had on our home farm.  We farm in several areas around our home farm and some of them have had more rain than others.  However, right here on the home farm it's almost a joke.  Home farm, home farm, home farm.  Ha. My 11 year old daughter said yesterday as she gazed at the dark blue sky to the north, then 30 minutes later, to the east "it's almost like it's trying NOT to rain on us on purpose!"  So true.  Thirteen miles away, my brother -in-law got over an inch on Saturday!  Here....just enough to wet the walk.  

I am sure the hubinizer knows just how much rain we have had here in the last month exactly.  I'm just going to say, it taint much! In the hot sun, in the heat of the day, the field corn will curl a little like in this picture. It's kind of like us squinting our eyes, it just reduces the bright sun's influence.  

I am so positive the farmers reading this would not choose to describe it like this, but hey, it's my blog!  Our corn has been doing a lot of squinting these days.  Sadly, it's been focusing it's efforts on squinting and wiping sweat from it's brow and not putting much energy into growing full, healthy cobs full of juicy kernels.  We shall see, but some of the crop looks a bit iffy to say the least.  

On another matter, no matter the weather, this 1972ish golf cart is our number one go to entertainment around here.  This belonged to my husband's grandparents who used it to tool around their yard and pond.  We inherited it many years ago and it is a staple.  

My advice:  if it's feasible.  BUY ONE OF THESE BABIES FOR YOUR KIDS!  It's fairly slow, you almost can't tear it up (though we have done some damage over the years) and it's cheap to run.  

Just do it.

You'll see a lot of this baby on my blog.  I should name her.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Gajillion Nails

We are installing hardwood floors! Yeah!  
We have to tear out all of our old flooring. Boo Hiss.

The floor you see here is the third floor we are tearing out of our kitchen.  We had:
1. hardwood
2. linoleum
3. underlayment
3. this linoleum type stuff
4. black foamy, sticky yuck

This floor covering is very, very old.  Great Grandma who lived in this home for 40 years starting in the 40's doesn't remember this flooring.  So it is OLD!  
This flooring was what my kids' great great grandparents walked on.  Wow.  Call me sentimental, but that is neat history there.  

We also had to tear out carpet from what we call our great room.  The carpet was a breeze. After the carpet, we had to remove the underlayment.  Whoever built this house for the hubbinizer's grandma did a fab job.  They put more nails in that floor than I can fathom.   Each nail had to be pulled by hand.  We called in the troops and everybody started pulling nails.  Even Grandma MiMi. She's a trooper....
 Our Tack Strip man on the crowbar.  Eight year old destruction on the loose!
Seriously, it's 2012, and ramming a little claw-nosed crow bar under 25689300000 nails is the best plan we had?  Where is the inventor of the drill bit that digs these babies out with one pull of the trigger?  

This is the black-foamy-sticky-yuck that's left on top of the original wood floors. 

All the work will be worth it when the new floors are in! 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Show Em Your Piggies

Oh the joys of living in the country.  Hog Shows. Swine Shows. Pig Shows.  Whatever you call them, they are a blast. This is our oldest and she wanted to show pigs a few years back.  What's any good set of parents to do, but dive in!

When you show pigs you need MANY items to get going.  One of these things is "bling bling" jeans and a shiny belt.  For the record, this belt doesn't cut the mustard, but is going to have to do (says mom.) Look at that cool clip to clip of her number, yup, gotta have one of those special clips too!!

We are at national show here that is held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. There were over 1000 pigs here for this event.  Pretty awesome I'd say!  The temperature is 102 so that's rough on all these pigs who are already out of their element by being at the show, but you know what? PIGS DON'T SWEAT!  So you gotta keep them cool or they keel over.  Read---very bad deal for show pigs to die! 

Look at all of those fans!  The barns weren't really all THAT hot, with all of the fans going.  The kids and adults were very, very busy watering down and washing off the pigs to keep them cool during this heat.  

The picture above is just one of the reasons we dove into this pig showing business.  Daddy and daughter sweating it out, working hard, taking care of something outside of themselves.  We walk, feed and wash these pigs 2-3 times a day.  That's what SUMMER BREAK is for us. You know what, we love it!  It's teaching hard work and responsibility and animal husbandry.  Love it.

 The show ring is the center of it all.  We primp, wash, clip, spray, feed, water, walk, exercise and weigh the pigs in anticipation of the moments spent in the ring.  The showmanship is important too.  Presenting the pigs just so to the judge.  Such a fun dance it all is! We don't have the best of the best hogs.  We are just beginners, but we are still competitive even at a big show like this.  At county fairs, now that's more comfortable territory, but it is all great!
Little man is always right there in the heat of it all.  A pig bit his tiny arm this summer trying to eat the marshmallow he was holding. Luckily he just had a little bruise on his arm, but he was m.a.d. that the pig slobbered on his flip flop.  Though he will tell you each time he sees a pig in a picture book: "pig bite you," that doesn't stop him.  He's in it to win it.  Or maybe I should say, he's in it because we are.  Slopping the hogs with dad looks fun doesn't it?

Though the middle guy doesn't want to show pigs this year, and didn't want a pig of his own, he is there to help.  (A bit of parenting advice from me: buy your kid a hog sprayer like this.  I mostly only see orange ones, and it's probably not safety tested but it's worth HOURS of entertainment for kids of all ages.)  We are making this a true family event, where we all have a role, we all work hard, we all take care of the livestock and each other.  Most of all why we love it...we are doing it together!    

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