One (free) Click Supports Food banks

Of course I would think this is cool, please watch the video and give it a “thumbs up” on YouTube.  Each view means another pound of pork for the food banks!

Ohio hog farmers have been actively involved in the fight against hunger for years, donating more than 750,000 meals of nutritious pork to Ohio foodbanks since 2009.

This Easter, the Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) is making it easy for everyone to do their part to make sure that no child, adult or senior in Ohio goes without the basic necessity of food.

OPPC would like to celebrate “The Year of the Farmer,” along with generous supporters like the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Farm Credit Mid-America and many Ohio hog farmers and businesses. OPPC has committed to honoring “The Year of the Farmer” in the state of Ohio. Each time someone visits Ohio’s hog farmers on YouTube to watch this fun “Pork from Fork to Farm” video, OPPC and its partners will donate one pound of ground pork to Ohio’s foodbanks.

“We can’t say enough about what this support means to the hungry people our foodbanks serve,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “By taking a few moments to view this video, you will be helping us to provide Ohio-raised, Ohio-produced pork to people in need, some of the most protein-packed food we are able to provide all year. Plus, you will be supporting our state’s outstanding agriculture industry—the people who work hard to feed all of us, every day.”

Thanks to the donations from Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, and many other farmers and businesses, OPPC can provide up to 35,000 pounds of ground pork to foodbanks in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

OPPC is proud to continue its commitment to fighting hunger in Ohio and encourages other agricultural leaders and everyday Ohioans to join them.

Take action against hunger with just one click by viewing the video today.

My New Favorite Snack!

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I don’t even remember buying this package, but I opened the freezer in search of frozen strawberries and I found this.

tropical smoothie blend

Tropical Smoothie Blend from Kroger

Then I made a smoothie following the recipe on the back.

1 c. orange juice

1 c. milk

1 banana

2/3 T. yogurt (I thought really? and used 2 or 3 or more T)

I was even hesitant because I thought, do milk and OJ really mix well in this deal?  Let me tell you what…my first drink was like the first time I took a bite of “America’s Favorite Pork Chop.”  I thought that was pretty cliche, but dude, they’re both AMAZING!

I made a goal to write a blog post each week.  I’ve obviously dropped the ball on that even though my kid and life in general provide countless entertaining stories.   The moral of the story here is that this smoothie was good enough to write about, and I’ve had a lot of good stories happen since I last wrote.

What’s A Farmer with the Flu to Do?

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The Little Farmer laid in the hallway and asked me to hand him his sippy cup which was two feet away because he was too “stiff” to reach it.  I wondered if this was a new effort to get attention.  I brushed it off and tried to do what I could to help him feel better for two days.

Then my nose filled up, just like his.  Hind sight shows he was achy, a symptom of the flu.

This adventure began one week ago.  So, we’ve spent a lot of time in the house.  Weeks like these make me appreciate legitimate opportunities to leave the house, like my job.

We’ve watched a LOT more television than usual.

Here’s what transpired as the weather warmed up:

Looks like we've got a problem.  The Little Farmer devises a plan and takes off running to put the plan in motion.

Looks like we’ve got a problem. The Little Farmer devises a plan and takes off running to put the plan in motion.

mud

He’s bent over hooking a little chain to the rear end of his combine and rear end of his pedal tractor.

Let's give this a try and see if it works.

Let’s give this a try and see if it works.

Operation successful - see the thumbs up?

Operation successful – see the thumbs up?

Problem solving Little Farmer

Problem solving Little Farmer

 

 

New Year’s Resolution Success

I like setting goals, but most of all I value realistic, practical, applicable to real life goals.  I accomplished one of those goals recently.  For the first time in my life I read through the Bible in a year.

read the Bible in a year

Front of Bible in a Year reading plan

Back of Bible in a Year plan

The other side of the plan to read through the Bible in one year

I wanted to set myself up for success so I read ahead in the early months of the year because I knew it would be harder for me to keep the pace in the spring.  This plan included four readings six days a week.  Each day there were two old testament portions, a small part from the gospels and another new testament reading.  Some days I would only read a few chapters from one book because I thought that helped me to better focus at the time.  I used the plan as a general guide of where I needed to be to get done in one year.

I’m positive that I can’t identify all of the blessings that have come through completing this commitment, but I’m confident there were many.  So, if you want to make a resolution that will make a difference in your life in 2013, I encourage you to find a plan to read through the Bible in a year and get after it.

 

Bullies, Interns, and my Little Farmer

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I enjoy a good working relationship with some others with similar jobs, and I have been known to successfully employ unknowing, innocent people to help me promote pork, clean my house, etc.  Let’s be frank, these are mutually beneficial relationships.  However, I tend to get harassed simply for being wise enough ask for help with my work.  Sometimes these bullies will say things like, “I am not your intern, do it yourself.”

To those bullies I write this post.  It’s fine that you don’t want to be a team player anymore, I’m grooming my own 4.5 year old personal assistant at home.

Last Friday night after work I went to my parent’s to fill up their portable air tank.  My well pump has been running more than usual and I remember when this happened before Mark put more air in the pressure tank.

The Little Farmer recently learned to fill the portable air tank when I borrowed it to fill the wheel barrow tire.  So, he wanted to fill it again.  I’m surprised at how quickly he picked up the best angles, where to hold his fingers to make a tight seal and how to watch the gauge.  I told him not to put more than 100 pounds of air in the tank as I went to brush some dirt and kernels of corn out of my car.  He replied, “I just didn’t know air was so heavy.”

When we got home I had to figure out how to get to the pressure tank, locate the drill, bits, etc.  While I did that, the Little Farmer took a bag with a four foot Christmas, dragged it up the stairs and began building it.  I wish I had a picture.  His efforts lately have been amazing.  He was working so diligently to get the each branch pushed all the way down in its slot that he got warm.  So, he just took off his John Deere bibs and kept on working.

Another five year old boy rode with us and asked what was on the floor of our car.  My Little Farmer said, “It’s a crow bar.”  The other kid said, “What’s a crow bar?”  He said, “It’s a long bar with a hook going one way and a bend going the other way.”  How would he know this?  Well he’s been helping me use it on various projects around the farm.

Last night my Little Farmer and I helped some neighbors with their Christmas cards.  He put the cards in the envelopes, and then he carefully placed return address labels on package.  I was planning for us to work on our cards tonight, but my assistant fell asleep on the couch at 7 p.m.  So, I wrote this instead and saved the cards for him to work on tomorrow.

Lacking True Gratefulness…but Not For Long

Am I the only one that knows I should be thankful this time of year (and always), but haven’t really felt deep down truly grateful?  I could post some stuff everyday on Facebook and make life sound great.  I could give a nice speech and easily offer comments about the people and things for which I’m grateful.  Then when I get home all alone and quiet, in the deep, down center of my soul I just haven’t felt that grateful lately.  There’s just a lot of hard, bad stuff in this world that I’m allowing to feel bigger than the good things.

There’s got to be somebody out there who can relate?

As I look back over what I’ve learned in the last four years these are the critical points where I choose to wallow in self-pity and reverse progress, or I make the conscious choice to move forward towards becoming healthy and whole.  Just because I feel like my problems are big doesn’t mean my feelings are right.

I’ve spent some time praying about it this week.  I understand that I’m not being logical.  I’ve tried to beat down the bad and bring up the good.  The Little Farmer learned a great song from Vacation Bible School a couple years ago and the tagline is, “Let’s have an attitude of gratitude.  Thank God for everyday.  Let’s have an attitude of gratitude.  Thank God for everything.”  Yes, I do make him sing it and I sing it to myself.

I’ve been listening to a great sermon series by James MacDonald called “Big God, small me”.

I think another thing that will help me re-focus again is talking less and listening more to others.  Like today, the Little Farmer and I just crashed a really nice family’s Thanksgiving dinner.  Three years ago on Facebook my friend’s mom posted something to the effect of “Anybody is welcome at my house for dinner.”  I didn’t have plans, so guess what I did.  I’ve gotten a personal invitation each year since.

This year was cool, because their daughter brought some of her neighbors from the Chagrin Falls area.  The man grew up in communist Poland, the woman in England and their son is a first grader and pure American it appears.

This will shock you – pork came up as a conversation topic around a turkey filled feast.  The man shared how he remembered helping butcher hogs growing up and he said they used every part but the hair.  The conversation transitioned to growing up in a communist country.  He said sometimes they had nothing for dinner and they would go into the woods and try to find mushrooms or berries.  Food distribution was handled by the government.

This dude isn’t too much older than me.  Listening to him for three minutes reminded me I’ve never come close to having legitimate problems like that in life.

Another tactic I recommend to beat down the bad and bring up the good is referring to scripture.  That’s how we’ll close.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

A Pig’s Tail – Another Perspective

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You know what makes me uncomfortable?  Cities, parking garages, elevators and continuous impervious surfaces.   I bet I’ve only hailed a cab a couple times in my life.  If I had to do it tomorrow I know that I would be nervous.

Was the world created for large sections to be covered in in concrete, steel and iron with pipes, parking and subways running below ground level?  That is certainly a scene that could be painted to be very impersonal, cold and unnatural.  And the inner workings of the city, or the behind the scenes sewage, energy generation, and trash removal would certainly disgust the common person.  Yet billions of people live in cities.  Maybe millions live there by choice.

As a country dweller that enjoys working the earth, caring for animals and doing manual labor outside I personally feel like being made to live in a city would be punishment.

Do you know why all this makes me uncomfortable?  I believe it’s uncomfortable to me because it’s not what I know.  I grew up driving tractors, using a parking garages was a rare pre-adulthood occurrence.  Aren’t most new experience more challenging than doing what we’ve always done and know?

Is change wrong?

I do not believe that change is wrong.  I do not believe change is universally right.  I believe change should occur for a good reason, not just for the sake of change.

old barn wood removal

I’m not very creative, but we’re going to do something cool with some of this old barn wood in the future. The Little Farmer was using his crow bar to pull out the nails.

As the sun rose one day this week my son and I were taking boards off of old (probably more than 100 years) barn that was blown down this summer in a storm.  I had some help working on it last night.  My friend asked if I ever remember pigs being in the barn.  Absolutely.  I remember feeding gilts (female pigs pregnant with their first litter of piglets) regularly.  I remember a waterer that we reached down inside of on a regular basis and dug the solid dirt, mud and crap that had sunk to the bottom out so that their water would be a bit fresher.  I remember the waterer freezing in the winter.  I remember pouring feed on a frozen ground for the pigs to eat off of.  I remember pouring feed on the driest spot you could find in the lot when it was muddy.

I remember remodeling barns and installing newer, better waterers that stayed cleaner.  Then I remember building a couple brand new barns with even better technology like a drinking fountain, so there was always fresh clean water available.

The same story with ventilation.  That old barn that fell down this summer, it didn’t have a fan or a heater.  The newer barns are designed to allow space and appropriate design for newer, better, more efficient fans and heaters.

I believe that if you seek out some real farmers, watch some real videos inside real and have conversations with a variety of farmers you might be surprised how much barns have helped our hogs and our farmers over the years.

When we consider a Pig’s Tail from multiple perspectives our own outlook may change, more than once.

Better Than Homework – Farm Work

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Preschool is back in session, so the Little Farmer is expected to trace his name twelve times over the course of a week.  He has a few other words to trace and maybe a picture to color to color as well.

My dad got out the disk to prepare the fields to plant wheat.  The disk had a couple springs missing that should be holding on a harrow (smoothing out dirt tool).

working on the disk

The Little Farmer was all over helping fix it.

Working to hook up the small chain to the bottom of the spring

The springs arrived at my parent’s house.  The kid ripped the packing paper out of the boxes and started carrying the parts one or two at a time to the shop.  I watched the first trip through the window.  He knew where the springs went.  He held one up for like a second and a half.  It obviously didn’t go on as easily as he expected, so he put that one down and picked up another identical spring and tried it.  That one didn’t work either.

He made a couple more trips carrying parts from the UPS box at the house to the shop.  Then I gave him a try your best and don’t cry talk and he got it.  Pretty quickly.

He walks with an attitude when he gets confident after doing something, knowing or thinking he knows something.

Confirming that it works

After getting the job done he went back to the house to work on some homework.  My dad asked him if he’d rather work on the disk or homework.  Thanks dad for giving a Little Farmer unhelpful options.

Then my dad held him and helped him with his homework.  I was very grateful for that!

Project complete

smile

Tickled Pink As Perfectly Cooked Pork

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I’m about to share something really big.  Today I found some shoes to fit that are fairly cute, fairly comfortable and very affordable.

I know I have some friends that are true shoe shoppers.  Not me.  I don’t care about purses either.  I’m just grateful to be able to afford both of them.  I find both of them useful.  Shoes are the most critically useful to me day in and day out.

Back in my late twenties a friend told me my shoes could use some work.  I don’t come from a fine boned people if you know what I mean.  I shop on the larger and sometimes wider end of the shoe department.  Comfort is key for me, and it has been incredibly hard to find.  I can’t image that my feet are a freak of nature, so the challenge has not been logical at all.

As I rolled from my roaring twenties to whatever the thirties are I decided that it was time to drop the shoe victim mentality and invest some time and money in the deal.  So I got online, and I ordered some pricy shoes in various sizes.  Wouldn’t you know NONE of them worked!  So, I returned them all.

Then Kohl’s sent a coupon for $10 off of a $30 shoe purchase at the same time that I had some Kohl’s cash to redeem.  If not for this combination of events I certainly would’ve been too discouraged to even try on more shoes.

Then I accidentally stumbled upon the Sonoma brand of shoes.  I don’t even remember seeing those before.  They’ve probably been there, the department experience has just been too traumatic to remember the details and still function in daily life.

My haul…all for $50!

If I had a dollar for every time I tell people at pork promotions that, “Eating properly cooked pork will change your life,” well I’d have a lot of dollars.  Quality pork can be found at nearly any local grocery.  They key is how you handle it.  I just feel like the shoe deal is more in the manufacturer’s hands than mine.  I’m hopeful that actually wearing these Sonoma shoes for more than 10 minutes will be as enjoyable as properly cooked pork!

30

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So many song lyrics, “One more day with you” “In my next thirty years” “If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over with you” “Live like you were dying” run through my head on occasion.

I turned thirty this weekend, and I’m grateful to have had friends & family with which to celebrate the milestone!  We made it a little bigger deal than other birthdays.  I recall many friends offering different thoughts as they turn thirty.  I also remember talking to Mark several years back and sharing goals to accomplish by the time we were 30.

So for those of us 30 and above, does or did your life look anything like you thought it would “when you turned 30”.  Mine sure doesn’t.  In a lot of ways it’s far better than I could’ve ever imagined.  Through loosing Mark and really strengthening a relationship with God my life is so much fuller than I could’ve ever imagined.

Back to those song lyrics… Would one more day matter?  The things that I want the Little Farmer to know, he couldn’t pick up in a day.  How to handle on-going situations, how to interact with different people, how to solve problems.  You can’t show up for a day, jump into life and then just leave.  I think we learn the most from people who are there, people who hang around through the long-hauls.

Like a lot of the people at the party.

birthday party

Amazing kid & cake!

bacon cake

Yes – my mom really made two cakes and this was one of them!

straw maze

My brother & sister-in-law thought up and carried out this idea!

straw mazeI think there should be more good wholesome parties in life.  I’m going to work on that in “My next thirty years.”

sunset

The sunset on my first thirty years and rose again this morning. Cheers to the future!

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