Life on the Farm – 5/15/17 – Happy Mothers Day!

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So many decisions about where to put the pens in an existing barn with walls, a roof and concrete.  “Thank goodness the house was already built when Joe and I met.”  The thought did cross my mind a couple times as our family worked together to make a spiffier place for 4-H pigs and calves to live.

It’s never too soon to learn how to use tools…or provide a spot for them to rest.

Team work makes the dream work. Especially when the dream is still young and people are patient!

Move over calves – the pigs are getting some of this space now.

He seriously said, “I wish I had a self ratcheting thing.”

Assembling the cup waterer and napping.

The Little Farmer changed two shovels. He removed them himself.

He got some help to squeeze the pliers and tap the new shovel on. Team work makes the dream work…especially when you find good people for the team!

Life on the Farm 5-7-17

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Last weekend we made a big pen for the two Holstein calves that the Little Farmer got for 4-H projects when they were a few days old.  He’s bottle fed them in individual pens, and now that they’ve grown we put them together.

dairy bull calf eating

The little farmer got pretty excited about this big feeder for his calves…so he gave them a LOT of feed.

DIY treehouse

Then he had an hour, so he quickly built the tree house he’s always dreamed of that we’ve never provided. #DIY #HighDesign

After a self taught crash course in becoming a builder why not build something legit?

The thinking shot

The action shot.

Checking on the fair pigs which are about to out grow the nursery barn.

Life on the Farm – April 30, 2017

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He noticed a loose piece and got the tools to fix it himself! He said he could be Luigi on Cars 3

I’m glad somebody can keep us Plowing Through Life 🙂

Chore time

A good man working to keep fuel in the tractor and food in the fridge. He’s knows regular maintenance is just as important on equipment as it is in the marriage. True and dedicated!

The girls are fueling up this time. The little turkey is checking for broken or missing bolts, shovels, etc.

We had to do some work so we pulled the tractor to the grass. Our first #FarmHer selfie!

I asked for help, but all she did was try to eat some grass.

#LikeAGirl #LikeACEO #FarmHer #GetErDone  Where are the boys now?

A Legacy full of corn. Do it cheap!

Keep costs down.  Measure and mix yourself. 2 buckets of corn, 1 bucket of supplement, 2 buckets of corn and mix with the shovel.

Making and moving piles of calf manure and raking and hauling grass clippings in his wagon are his favorite self-chosen hobbies.  I so desperately want to coach him to be WAY more efficient, but I also love that he’s elected to be outside doing something.

Pilot. Pile it here…

Pilot. Pile it there.

Life on the Farm – April 28, 2017

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Bunny ears…on Easter…haha

Black N Gus’ Mowing Services

We’d much rather the kid learn to handle electricity than mow the backyard ourselves!

Lean in & hurry up. The mowers will be MOOOving our way soon!

I had a hose for 3 seconds and somehow sprayed myself in the face. Ugh!

She heard some people over cook pork.

Fueling up. So they can keep PlowingThroughLife…

Instruction time.

Getting in position to apply what we’ve learned.

The automatic grease gun Joe’s always dreamed of.

Life on the Farm – April 16, 2017 – Happy Easter!

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I got a baby and a 4-Her in the same winter.  I know how the baby showed up, but I’m clueless about how the little farmer got to third grade already?  He bottle fed two Holstein calves that are two months old.  We are working on training them to walk with us.

I hope we’re better at taking care of this calf than taking selfies!

See me wearing the baby? She and the calf are ON AN ODYSSEY…lol

Now boarding the #StruggleBus

Compliance training fail #54…for calf and baby.

Poop happens. Somebody’s gotta clean the barn, might as well do it in your own style. #Fashionista

Loaning out the farm hat is a consolation prize for having to stay inside with mom and work.

My Grandpa is a farmer too. He was born in West Virginia.  #MyRoots  #NuffSaid

The little girl shrieked louder than the air brakes when I turned them on and off to test them for Joe.

#Troubleshooting #Maintainence And then I over heard one brother say to another brother, “Even an IDIOT trucker knows that.”

I’m pretty sure somebody stopped by just to get my father-in-law worked up and try to make him feel behind. #RelaxPeople

Some people say the line that “Barns protect animals” is just big ag rhetoric.

Where eggs are made the eggs at hunts are hard boiled. #ThrowBack

Life on the farm can be noisy. Live prepared.

Life on a farm – April 9, 2017

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making feed for fair calves

Mixing feed by hand. 80% whole corn and 20% supplement. Applying the fractions learned at school to feed the fair calves!

Lately I’ve been really excited about finding more farmers to share pictures and stories about life on the farm on the internet. Yet I live on a farm, have pictures and haven’t done a great job at sharing myself. Let’s see how long this lasts 🙂

The calves are learning to wear a halter and walk with humans. Compliance training for all.

32nd birthday

Happy Birthday to the best turkey farmer we know. When you get this old you celebrate with a big cake and milk 🙂

We kicked off our visit to Joe’s family farm with a delicious birthday cake made by his mom.  In the background you can see some of our stuff.  We are at the stage where packing and unpacking may take as long as the trip.

That’s the youngest brother, looking on as the adults put a long auger back together.

The little farmer climbed a ladder to watch the auger rebuild from the roof. Then one of Joe’s brothers took away his ladder.

Baby princess in a farm shop.  It’s never too soon to learn how to do maintenance work.

First Gator ride

Shut yo mouth boy!

 

How to Remember Loved Ones

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I’ve been asked a few times lately for ideas about how to remember someone who died too young?  How do we pass on their legacy, their personality, their character, to children who are too young to remember them?

I appreciate friends who got a nice journal and asked people to write down stories for my Little Farmer.  He was only four months old when his biological dad died.  I appreciate the family and friends that wrote a story about Mark, a way that he interacted with them, a special memory, something that Henry can learn from, and see in himself when he is older.  Pictures, memories and special belongings are the only things that we can give.

I know that it was difficult for most people to participate, but I’m truly grateful for those who did.

I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to marry Joe.  He comes from a large, loving family.  Right around a year ago he lost his young, healthy, cousin to amniotic fluid embolism during the birth of her first child.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her very well, but she made a positive impression on me and I want to share that story with her son.

Here is a story that I will write in a journal and give to her family this holiday season.  I’ve been praying for them, but I also want them to have a tangible reminder that she is not forgotten.

how to remember loved ones

Dear William,

I am so grateful that that I had the opportunity to meet your mom.  Even though I didn’t know her well, she made a positive impression on me.

I come from a small family, so going with Joe to large family gatherings was a bit overwhelming at first.  Your mom was one of the people that would always go out of her way and make a point to say “hi” to me.  She always welcomed me with a warm, friendly smile.

The example and effort that she put into being warm and welcoming to strangers is what Jesus calls us to do.  That’s how He asks us and shows us how to treat people.  I’m so grateful you have a Christian foundation to build your life upon.

I understand that life isn’t fair and often doesn’t go as we expect that it should.  I know that it will hurt to learn what you’ve lost, but my prayer for you is that you will focus on all that you have.  You have a biological mother that really wanted you and loves you dearly.  You have a family here on earth that loves you deeply.  And most importantly you have a Father in heaven who loves you more than words can express.  Put your faith in God and He will guide and help you as He has Henry and me.

Love,

Jennifer

How to Make Toy Round Bales of Hay

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Our Little Farmer loves to carpet farm.  He loves activities and making his own supplies for the farm.  So, when we visited an older friend who has a farming set-up that little boys dream of in his basement we knew we needed some homemade round bales of our own.

how to make toy bales of hay

Our friend gave instructions to buy a wooden dowel rod.  We purchased a 3/4″ dowel rod and another one that was 11/16″ or 5/8″.  My recommendation is to take a plastic bale that is the desired size with you to the store and match it up to the dowel rod of your choice.

We cut those dowel rods to the desired length.  We made sure they fit inside the small round baler before cutting the entire rod.  Then the Little Farmer and his dad sanded the corners of each bale.

The most difficult step was finding the Krylon “Make it Stone” paint.  Our friend had found some at a local Ace Hardware.  We learned that even if the product isn’t on the shelf, some stores can order it for you.  We also learned there are at least a few shades of green in this special paint.  This paint really gives the bales a more realistic texture.  Even little farmers know real bales of hay aren’t smooth.

Krylon make it stone spray paint

Krylon make it stone spray paint. We found ours at Ace Hardware.

making toy bales

We talked about how to spray paint and I gave a demonstration before the Little Farmer took over.

spray painting hay bales

He might have missed a few spots, but I believe that you learn by doing!

Henry had fun painting the bales on his own.  He missed a few spots, but he got more practice painting and he enjoyed “making hay.”

Gender Reveal Party – Tractors or Tutus?

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I’ve been a bit quiet on social media and my blog over the past few months because all of my energy has been focused on getting the basics done.  One of the new basics has been growing a baby!  We are all very excited by the anticipated addition!  When the Little Farmer found out that he’s going to be a big brother he immediately responded, “I’ve always wanted somebody to play with!”

My energy has returned, and I’m excited to share pictures from our gender reveal party.  We are so grateful to my mom and sister-in-law who threw us a most excellent party!

balloons on streamers

Balloons on streamers made cute decorations and fun games for the kids during the party!

We preferred the idea of a gender reveal party over a shower because it was easier to convince men they should come.  We enjoyed the all inclusive party!

Gender reveal with balloons

We used these balloons for decorations and let go of the color that we wouldn’t need during the gender reveal.

My sister-in-law made some cute, yet simple activities for the guests to enjoy before the big announcement.

tractors or tutus

Stock photos printed and attached to clothes pins served as an easy way for guests to vote boy or girl

The decorations were cute and functional!

large diaper cake

Gender neutral baby shower diaper cake.

diaper bouquet

diaper bouquet

Pieces and parts to a diaper bouquet. These are super cute centerpieces for a gender reveal part or a baby shower.

small diaper bouquet

Seven size 2 diapers were rolled individually and a wide ribbon was tied around the outside. The paper flower was stuck in the top.

When my mom is involved there is always food…lots of good food!  We got BBQ pork from GFS and cooked it in a roasting pan as well as heated up pre-sliced ham for sandwiches in a slow cooker.

Here is the table on which she spent the most time – the dessert table!

pink and blue cakes

How about these amazing cakes?

baby shower dessert table

My mom made an amazing display of desserts for the crowd to enjoy!

Guests brought a package of diapers or wipes.  Some people count their wealth in cash, but we’re at a point in life where we count our wealth in diapers.  We feel really rich after this party 🙂

man with burp cloth

One of the turkey farmer’s good friends got him this burp cloth. The friend said what several thought – he didn’t know if he would ever see Joe like this 🙂

Here’s a pic of the drink table.  Everything was so cute!

drink table

Blue Hawaiian punch and pink Countrytime lemonade made cute drinks to go with the pink and blue gender reveal theme

one year old playing with ice

I’m one and I can do what I want!

Even some of the guests were cute.

The big party revealed that we’re expecting a girl!  We’re grateful to all who came and celebrated.  We have so much to be grateful for!

Why Do Politics Matter?

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Most of us have been frustrated by politics, especially this election season.  Regardless of how irritated we may be, a recent trip to Washington D.C. with a group of Young Ag Professionals, reminded me how important it is to be involved in the political process.

US Capitol Building

Ohio Farm Bureau group of Young Ag Professionals and AgriPower participants by the United States Capitol Building

Since we need money to live, we all have a job, or receive some other sort of assistance.  Either way, our income and lifestyle can directly be tied back to decisions made in our nation’s capital.  As a part of Ohio agriculture, I can directly see how the Farm Bill and regulations affect our family’s business and income.  The Farm Bill is written, debated, re-written and passed on Capitol Hill.  One of my favorite sessions on this trip was hearing from staffers on the Senate Ag Committee share how they are involved in creating the Farm Bill.

Senate Ag Committee

Senate Agriculture Committee staffers explaining the Farm Bill process to our group.

We had multiple speakers to discuss how trade deals are written, negotiated, and passed.  Trade is a critical issue to agriculture and to my family’s small farm.  We visited the French Embassy to learn about trade agreements with the US from their perspective.  Since we are least cost producers, free trade benefits domestic agriculture.  There are far more mouths outside of the United States than inside of our borders.  So, as we look at opportunities to grow markets for agricultural products, increasing exports (via trade agreements) is a huge component.

Our group spent time at the American Farm Bureau office to learn how to have a successful meeting with our Congressperson.  We were given an overview of hot agricultural topics, and we planned who in each group would discuss each of these issues with our elected officials.

The following day we took a tour of the United States Capitol Building, and then we met with our elected officials or their staff.

On our final day we visited the United States Department of Agriculture to learn about young farmer programs and discuss trade agreement implementation.

OFBF Group by USDA

Ohio Farm Bureau group in front of the US Department of Agriculture

A resounding message that I heard from many of our speakers is how much they want to hear from us.  Our elected officials, their staff and agency employees actually want to hear from us, the people that their decisions and policies affect.  We need to stay abreast of the issues that affect us and communicate with our elected leaders.  A personal letter, e-mail, or phone call about an issue that is affecting us can make a difference.  Each vote can make a difference.  I was reminded that each voice matters!