Summer Report Card about Life on the Farm

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Our family of four enjoyed an outstanding first year as a 4-H family at the fair.  There were a lot more details to tend to than we realized, but we have been overwhelmed by multiple offers to help.  There is a steep learning curve, but we all agree that the investment in time, effort, sweat and cash has been worth it!

Boy in red shirt thinks…how did our pig pen end up next to this crazy kid’s pen?!?

We were in line to have the calves weighed in when a 4-Her in her final year asked Henry if it was his first year.  When he said yes she asked if he was doing showmanship.  When he said yes she offered to practice with him.

In America the girls teach the boys how it should be.

There was a lot of washing and rinsing this week!

These girls adjusted the calf’s halter and the boy’s attitude before he walked into his first round of showmanship.

These ladies did well because this boy channeled his inner GRIT and held the head of his calf higher than his while continually working to set him up properly.  He won fifth place in junior showmanship!

Then there was an announcement that he tied for fourth place for rate of gain with the same calf.

Oh yeah and we had a baby there too…

 

While we worked on lots of details random people watched the baby. It seemed to go well.

I know that it’s sad to see a kid in a dairy related barn eating sherbet, but the rest of us ate real ice cream everyday.  Joe tried to tell him that a cow dies every time someone eats sherbet, didn’t work.

So much time has been spent learning to care for animals. These steers have been on our farm since January 29th.

This post doesn’t even address the countless hours 4-H advisors spent helping us weigh animals, explain how things work, practice showing at home, etc.  Neither of these awards would’ve been possible without coaching, time, follow-up and more.

A farmer at the fair gave us vet wrap in between classes to make the show halter easier to hold.  Some people helped rinse, feed and lead calves.  We had help with passes to get in the fair.  So many people have sacrificed to offer support.  So many people made our fair fun and possible.

I’m nervous about what the ribbon holder thing will lead to…

Next thing you know our Little Farmer is given a special tender, loving care award in memory of a past 4-Her.  The award came with a plaque.  I NEVER saw it coming, but Henry came up and joyfully shared that he found a friend to hold his awards while he sold.  My mind is still blown with this series of events.  I knew it was a slippery slope…

Until next year keep scooping!

We’ve had a fairtastic, funtastic and fantastic week thanks to so many for caring, helping and sharing!

Life on the Farm 7-30-17

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Farm work, office work and 4-H project work have been keeping us all hopping!

square knot

Learning to tie a square knot.

Ya do what ya gotta do!

fair calf bedding

Baby coaches with random shrieks while boys shovel.

I dig the pig

Could there be a more perfect shirt for this picture?

cow tipping

#RuralLegend #CowTipping

The boy used the baby to deter pigs from entering. #FarmSmart #UtOh

state fair cooking demo

Promoting what we grow by giving a pork cooking demo at the Ohio State Fair

Feeding the World is a Privilege This Week & Always

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Farmers like to tout how hard we work and how many challenges we face.  Farming and ranching is tough.  I won’t argue that for one minute, but this week I want to share how much of a privilege every farm picture I took this week is!

We have the luxury and privilege of multiple types of transportation to choose from.

bike to work

Sometimes we bike to work now that we have a sweet used trailer from a friend!

Our son has the privilege of being in 4-H and raising animals.  Sure, it’s work that has decreased the amount of discretionary time and income we have available, but those are investments in his future.  By the time kids have reached 4-H age they are halfway to adulthood.  Being able to complete projects is a wonderful opportunity!

dairy feeder calf break to lead

Still {trying} to teach the baby to lead one of his calves. I mean two calves, two kids, it’s just logical that the baby would step-up and help soon!

I’ve heard cheers many times over when touting, “We feed the world.”  We sacrifice sleep and vacation and more to raise cattle that help make beef…because we choose to.

Seriously, can you even believe this view?  How many people in the world would sacrifice much more than we do just for this view?

feeding the world is a privilege

Feeding cows is feeding the world is a PRIVILEGE

cows eating corn in the pasture

One of the most beautiful scenes that God has made for us to enjoy.

kid in wagon

I put the baby in the Tula, the feed in the wagon behind the mower and made the kid walk. Nonconformist way to feed cattle.

I’m not even going to start on what a privilege it is to get to care for these kiddos for a little while.  I’m just going to hit publish and spend more time being grateful for the opportunities to be a care taker.

Life on the Farm 7-9-17

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feeding cows

Family feeding time!

Every time he does hints of real work I think to myself, “It’s so nice to finally get some return on all of those years of investment!”

unloading bales of straw

Unloading bales of straw off a wagon to stack in a mow

mama pigs

Mama pigs next to the mow. They will enjoy laying on the straw to keep warm in the winter.

unloading straw in the mow

Meeting in the mow.

Worker, manager, father. Can’t recall if the baby was concerned about her brother or the smell of fresh sweat on her father.

inside a chicken barn

We had a county Farm Bureau board meeting at a chicken farm. Andy showed us how they collect fertilized eggs!

We loved showing our friends around the farm and explaining what equipment is used for different jobs.

We took a wagon ride to a small patch of wheat that was not harvested and shared how to harvest and thresh grain with your hands. The farm abounds with Bible lessons.

Life on the Farm 7-2-17

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Life on the farm is never dull.  Especially on Joe’s family farm.  A few years ago the in-laws took the whole family to Maine on a vacation.  We created many memories to treasure!  One was driving the ’94 Suburban.  The beauty made it there just fine.  They didn’t even have to work on it until we were at our destination.  Logically they wanted to keep a classic vehicle like that in a nicer garage.

Mercer Co. Barn Raising

Had a nice lunch and cake for the MIL’s bday then had a family barn raising. The kids are doing team work to keep the boards coming.

quick 5k

The barn was finished by mid afternoon, so a few motivated family members ran a quick 5K.

Just kidding…about finishing the barn.

pre wheat harvest

Pre wheat harvest in Fort Recovery. The equipment is ready so that a healthy dose of peer pressure can kick in as soon as someone else is spotted working in their field.

tractor square dancing

Turns out tractor square dancing is a real thing. And it was fun to watch!

feeding fair pigs

The Little Farmer is feeding pigs and calves twice a day everyday for 4-H.

baby holding calf halter

She held the calf for a few because everyone is expected to contribute

After the baby broke the calves to lead (ha) this guy walked them both at once (ha)!

And then he washed the calves

Life on the Farm 6-18-17

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I realized when looked back at pictures that my Little Farmer had been wearing the same clothes much of the week. There was also a day he was so busy working that he didn’t eat anything until lunch. Laundry and healthy eating may leave a bit to be desired, but the good news is we’ve built some other life skills each week this summer.

picking up rocks

There are no words to describe the sheer joy this child got from pulling his wagon around to pick up rocks. #honestly

Consolidated Grain & Barge on the Ohio River

I had the opportunity to join the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Trends & Issues Conference at Consolidated Grain & Barge on the Ohio River near Cincinnati.

This is a barge being loaded with soybeans to take to the Mississippi River.  North of New Orleans several barges will be loaded onto an ocean going vessel to go to far away places.  My family grows soybeans that may end up feeding farm animals here in the US or somewhere around the world.  It’s neat to learn more of the ways that we’re all connected!

Consolidated Grain & Barge on the Ohio River

Ohio farmers grow soybeans that take boat rides all over the world! Soybeans are used for human food as well as an ingredient in pig, turkey & chicken diets.

massey ferguson tractor

He was confident she would enjoy sitting on a Massey Ferguson tractor.

Life on the Farm 6-11-17

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Somebody shared a story about how they reacted to a tragic accident with me this morning at church.  The accident was years ago, but it made an indelible mark on their life.  There’s always a lot that we could do, but let’s focus on what we NEED to do.  Accidents aren’t planned.

supplement in feed grinder

My dad needed to make food for his pigs.

pig feed 4-H

Then the little farmer needed to make a little feed for his little 4-H pigs.

counting round bales

Counting bales. If you think this is tough you should try counting animals…that move!

massey ferguson and hay rake

My dad getting equipment ready for my mom to rake hay.

instructional tractor seat

Some tractors have an extra seat called an instructional seat. Oh how I wish he could’ve ridden longer and received a lot more instruction. Some days he just needs it!

Life on the Farm 6-4-17

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We like mooers more than mowing so the whole Steak Maker thing just makes sense for our family!

Can you see the husband, helper and child helping a lost calf catch up with it’s momma?

Momma cows mowing for us. Being pregnant and making milk doesn’t take as much energy as growing, so grass and a little corn is good for this crew.

This farmer is outstanding in his field…which was especially annoying because he was snapping me in a sticky situation.

The baby heated up some pizza and brought me dinner in the tractor to help redeem her dad who might’ve made fun of me on snapchat earlier in the day.

Then the baby told her daddy to fill the drill with more seeds while her mommy ate and she played with foil.

Big brother holding off curious cows so I could get the stroller in the barn.

If you think nobody loves you take some corn in a group of cattle.

 

The Weight of Glory

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I remember sitting at my desk in August of 2013 when a school official called me to explain new school transportation rules.  This phone call ruined the plans that I had struggled and worked so hard to make for my son.  I was a single parent of a soon to be kindergartner, building a house, selling another, a widow, a Christian.

I thought this call would make my life so much more difficult.  It didn’t, this call was another example of a change in direction that didn’t seem great, but it certainly turned out for the better.

Henry’s school is K-3.  I just got home from the third grade clap-out.  Parents lined the halls as the third graders walked through and we gave them high fives.  Henry was one of those third graders.  He made it!  Despite the phone call that I feel like I just hung up from and several more trials in between…he made it!

I shared some feelings with my husband a few days ago and said, “I hope I don’t end up rolling around on the floor and crying at school.”  He replied, “Well then you could be a YouTube sensation.”

3rd grade clap out

I love that we handle serious conversations with sarcasm, but I want to share that I walked in the house just now and cried.  I cried because I saw the faces of so many people that got Henry and I to this point in life.

Back to the phone call in 2013.  I took that struggle and shared it in my Sunday School class.  One of my friends and classmates thought out loud and said, “Well I suppose my daughter is old enough to get Henry off the bus.”  Her parents both work, so other family members brought her to our house just before the bus arrived.  I saw one of those family members today.  She is one of the many faces.  She’s spent time, travel and effort that she could’ve used elsewhere on Henry, on helping me.  She didn’t have to.  I’ve given her nothing.  She had no obligation.  I didn’t even know her 4 years ago.  She is one of so many.  More people than I can count or know that have served us.  This is God’s glory at work here on earth.

The tears roll again and that’s the weight of glory.

I can easily think of things Henry could do better.  There are many things we could all do better.  Today instead of seeing those gaps.  I see the grace that has covered those gaps and gotten us to this point.  We’ve come so far.  Amazing Grace has brought us so far.

I feel peace in my soul and that’s the weight of glory.

That girl that was just old enough to start babysitting almost five years ago drives now.  She’ll be babysitting Henry’s infant sister this summer.

Our life is so rich and so full of God’s glory today.  I pray that you may be able to step back and experience glimpses of that in your own life today.

Ohio Farm Life – May 21, 2017

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The same week precious brought home a book from the local library with the words “Agricultural Pollution” on the cover I came across litter in the field.  The trash was two empty plastic bags of lawn fertilizer.  #Ironic…in so many ways.  I haven’t seen many finger pointers win, that’s not the goal here, I just couldn’t resist sharing the irony.

Filling the drill with soybeans is a family affair.

That’s an empty plastic bag of lawn fertilizer, just past my reusable water bottle.

Working ground. #Felfie – that’s a farmer selfie

A couple gentle taps got the job done. He is getting really good at replacing worn shovels!

Do I stay or do I go?
Big decisions are exhausting.

Ohio Association of Nutrition & Dietetics in downtown Cleveland. The attendees had a lot of great questions about farming.