Category Archives: Uncategorized

Out to Pasture

Katie out for a run

When the weather is nice outside like it has been lately here in NY (60 degree the last week in November), I like to let the calves out to get some exercise. It gives them time to stretch their legs and play.

Katie, shown above, really enjoys running around the pasture as fast as her body will allow her to go!

DJ and Katie

It also allows the calves to mingle and socialize.

DJ follows like a puppy

That is…IF they don’t follow me around like puppy dogs anyway. DJ is my best bud and I really enjoy spending time with him…with both of them actually!

Katie shows some Love
DJ giving kisses
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Planning Day

Well, today turned into a HUGE planning day! After my morning chores, I decided to try my hand a couple of different craft things that I have been thinking about for a couple of years.

Oh wait, I almost forgot….I am obsessed with Christmas decorations! Handmade, custom decorations…not those store bought glass blown jobs but, homemade straight from nature. Or maybe some things made out of recycled Christmas cards from last year or from old clothes.

I really only have three small boxes of things that I keep around every year. Some of the ornaments tucked within were my Grandma’s. Then of course I have the lights. Which are a complete tangled mess! And my angels for the top of each tree….yup, I do two separate ones! Crazy I know. One is artificial and the other we always get real from our Christmas patch that is just off from the Sugar Bush. Another annual tradition.

Here’s my list of things to go out wandering for:

Pine, Pine and more pine – One large 7′ tree, four at 3-4′, 10-12 of them that range from 6″-2′

Pine Cones – I need lots of them this year in all different sizes and shapes, thinking somewhere around 100-125

Red Berries – We have some wild roses that have perfect berries on them this time of year and lets not forget the spearamint berries either! We have about an acre of those growing around here and there.

Leaves – All different kinds, if I can find some that are in relatively decent shape.

Dead branches – Since we have broken apple limbs out in the orchard, I will start there.

Wood “plates” – Oh goodie…chain saw time! I need a “slice” off the end of one of the logs we use for firewood! Maybe two.

Grape Vines – I need to pull some of them back and out of the trees in the lawn anyway. Might better put them to good use.

Burdock and Thistle heads – AS MANY AS I CAN FIND! Wait til you see what I do with these!

Moss – Not much of this, about a milk pail full.

Stones – White and Peach colored Shimmery Quartz stones in all different sizes. Need to start with around 15.

Chicken feathers – Specifically from the Rhode Islands.

Turkey feathers – preferably the fluffy ones.

Dead grasses – the tall stalky kind with bigger leaves.

And of course, firewood chunks for in front of the fireplace.

Since I like to be organized for this BIG project, I draw everything out and make notes!

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There will be tutorial photos coming up as I go through some of these projects!

Happy Holidays!

Mondays are Maddening

Around here…Mondays are the worst. I always have the worst time rolling out of bed after my “day off” on Sundays.

Today is especially maddening! I feel like I have been run over by a truck and my head is pounding. I have deadlines that are fast approaching but I can’t seem to concentrate on anything! Argggg! Yes, I am moving around the house sounding more like a pirate today than a farmer! Those eye patches and bandanas are sounding better by the moment!

So, you are asking…”Why is your Monday so maddening this week?” and probably thinking “Other than being sick?”

To make a long story really short….

Mondays are days when everything goes wrong! First off, I got up late (yeah alright 6:15 am really isn’t late but it IS past my normal time of 5:45). Being a half hour behind on everything sucks.

I am starting to realize that I have scheduling OCD’s! I hate having my routine changed! I like to get up, take my time, have coffee then head to the barn NO LATER than six. Needless to say, this morning I had to rush to get dressed. I didn’t have my coffee before heading to the barn (which makes me into a horrible wench anyway). And I didn’t even stop to brush my teeth which just plain irrates me!

Then I had to rearrange how I did my chores! Instead of doing the feeding first, I had to milk. Can not mess up that schedule by even 20 minutes! Already feeling ill and then with bending up and down and the movement just set my tummy on edge! Nothing like puking your guts out on the barn floor and then having to clean it up too! The calves were all over the place, getting into the bags of feed and being total mischiefs this morning too.

Once milking was done, I fed the two little calves..and amazingly that went fairly smooth. Especially considering the one is just coming off a bottle and his first attempt  at bucket feeding was the night before. I did have to fight with them to take in a mouthful of grain but overall that was the best experience of the morning chores!

Feed grain, feed hay, refill water……..

Grain is now all over the barn floor due to the calves tearing into a bag and me not realizing there was a hole in the bag. Clean up the grain. Put into another bag. Hide the bag!

Feeding hay is usually done a whole lot easier when you can get the layers peeled apart. Needless to say, it didn’t come apart but broke half way between the bale and the feeder! Clean up the hay spread all over the barn floor.

Loose calves equal little piles of slippery poop places where it shouldn’t be…so off I go trying to move around in the barn while feeling like I am playing on small pieces of a slip and slide all over the barn. Clean up the poop. Put poop on manure pile.

Let the chickens out…find out there is no scratch grain mixed in the tub. Fight with bags to get more mixed. Spill grain all over. Clean more grain up! Feed scratch to chickens.

Attempt to fill waterers. Damn hose is frozen solid. Cart buckets from one barn to the other. Make about ten trips and notice water is now running from hose. Finish filling cow bin of water.

Head into the house. Spill milk while slipping on mud. Cough, hack and gag when the wind slams me in the face. Enter house….find a huge pile of dog puke in the middle of living room floor! Clean up puke while make multiple trips to the bathroom to get sick.

Strain milk in kitchen sink. Spill milk due to coughing fit and missing the top of the container. Clean up jar. Put milk in fridge. Clean up mess of milk spilt on the counter and floor (another coughing fit).

Sit on the couch. Notice a wad of poop on the back of your sock and pant legs. Stand up to remove pants and notice a wad of poop on the couch. Strip pants, put in washer, put on another pair of pants, scrub couch….get a cup of tea (coffee isn’t staying down) forget you cleaned the couch and sit in the wet spot! Another change of pants……

Isn’t it time to go back to bed? Um nope! Now the phone starts ringing off the hook. Time to start working on upcoming deadlines and questions for different organizations.

Mr. Farmer calls, starts complaining about focus. Get really mad. Screw it…I am going to bed. I have nothing further to contribute for today! Hopefully I will feel better and manage to find more patience later than I have right now!

Ag Humor

From now on, every Saturday, I am going to do an AG HUMOR page. To those of us in the industry we sometimes get bogged down by everything that needs to get done and to those outside of the Farm Life, all they hear is whining and complaining! I think, wait…I KNOW that everyday there is something that just makes you laugh around the farm. Stupid antics of animals or visitors who just ask the strangest questions!

Saturday, November 19th, 2011
Have you ever had one of those moments that you knew would stick in your mind forever as an unforgettable moment? On of those moments you just know you are still going to be laughing about on your death bed?

I had one of those “moments” yesterday! The whole story isn’t nearly as funny in text but it is still funny enough that I think many of you will be laughing about it. So…here goes!

As many of you already know, I work on Mr. Farmer’s Uncle’s Farm too. When we do haying every year, all of the large round bales (balage) are wrapped and stored at their farm, exactly 5.5 miles from home. Normally this is no big deal because we are there daily anyway. Yesterday was no different. Other than a few mishaps along the way…

The first issue started when the steering arm on the tractor used to load the bales broken. A quick “fix-er-up” with some wire got us rolling enough to get the bale loaded onto the back of the truck. Now with a round bale in the back and a calf that needs some addition one-on-one attention into the farm truck, I headed home. I did good til I hit Rt. 79 (3/4 of the way from their farm to ours). I knew I had a trail of plastic wrap behind me, but I also had a calf tagging along that I really needed to get home. I pull off the side street, went about 1,000 ft. when I noticed traffic moving up very fast behind me and then swerving looking for a place to pass. Being nice, I edge over to the side of the road allowing the cars to pass by.

I was watching in the side mirror for all the cars to go by, when I notice a state police car. The car kicks on his lights and follows me to the curb of the road. Mortified, I watch him pull a piece of plastic from the round bale into the back of the truck. Understand, I didn’t realize that the plastic was hanging out about 12 feet. He comes to the window and says “Do you know why I pulled you ov(insert a calf bleat here)er?” A look of awe and astonishment on his face now, the conversation goes (The officer) “This is a first for me.”  (me)”Would you like to take a picture?”  (officer)”That would be great!”  and then the guy just backs into the road in front of an oncoming truck with his camera phone aimed at the truck! Thank God there were no injuries!

Katie takes a ride in the front of the pickup

He got his photo, (I assume it looks something similar to the photo above) which was immediately sent out to his whole address book in his phone! (Insert a really red face on my behalf now please). I told him where I lived and the guy literally followed me home. In his excitement, he never checked my seatbelt (which I wasn’t wearing) or asked for my license (which I didn’t have on me)…but he did run the plate!

He pulls in behind me once I arrive on the farm and he gets out, watches me unload the calf, start asking all types of questions and is just being a general pain in the rear…BUT atleast he is interested in learning more. As patiently as I could, I tried to answer all of his questions. This gentleman even asked to come back for a visit with his kids! You know, sometimes it is amazing how a farmer can connect with the outside “Ag” world!

Just thankful to have walked away with a few laughs and no ticket!!!

Lincoln-Part One

I have been doing a bunch of reading on a person who is a true hero and inspiration to me. Abraham Lincoln was not just a great American President. He was a man who had pulled himself up by his “boot straps” to make a better life for himself.

Abraham Lincoln was born and reared in a log cabin, like many other familiar figures in American history; but you will search in vain for one whose origin and early life equalled Abraham Lincoln’s in wretchedness. Born in Kentucky on a farm consisting of a few barren acres, his father a typical “poor southern white.” His father was shiftless and without ambition for himself or his children, constantly looking for a piece of land on which he might make a living without much work. His mother, in her youth she was beautiful and bright. She aged prematurely in features and became bitter by daily toil and care. The whole household cheerless and utterly void of elevating inspirations. Only when the family had “moved” into the backwoods of Indiana, his mother had died, and a stepmother, a woman of thrift and energy had taken charge of the children, did the shaggy, ragged, barefooted, forlorn boy of seven, “began to feel like a human being.” Hard work was his early lot. When a mere boy, he had to help in supporting the family, either on his father’s clearing or hired out to other farmers to plough, dig ditches, chop wood, or drive oxen teams. Sometimes he also “tended the baby,” when the farmer’s wife was otherwise engaged. He could regard it as an advancement to a higher sphere of activity when he obtained work in a “crossroads store,” where he amused the customers by his talk over the counter. He then soon distinguished himself among the folks as one who had something to say worth listening to. To win that distinction, he had to draw mainly upon his wits. While his thirst for knowledge was great, his opportunities to satisfying that thirst were slim.

At the age of 23, he fought in the Black Hawk War and was named captain of the volunteer crew. His most notable accomplishment during the war was not in killing an Indian, but in protecting against his own men, at the peril of his own life, the life of an old savage who had strayed into his camp. After the war, he turned to politics. He ran for a Legislative set. His popularity in New Salem, had not spread far enough over the district, was not great enough and he was defeated. Then the wretched hand-to-mouth struggle began again. He set up a store-business with a dissolute partner, who drank whiskey while Lincoln was reading books. The result was a disastrous failure and a load of debt. He then became a deputy surveyor, and was appointed postmaster of New Salem. The business of the post-office being so small that he could carry the incoming and outgoing mail in his hat. All this could not lift him from poverty, and his surveying instruments, along with his horse and saddle were sold by the sheriff for debt.

He used to walk miles to borrow books from a school master until a lawyer mailed him a copy of Blackstone, which was the only law book at the time. People would look wonderingly at the grotesque figure lying in the grass, with his feet up a tree or sitting on a fence absorbed in a book. He learned to construct correct sentences and made himself a jurist. At once he gained a little practice, paying attention to miniscual details before a justice of the peace for friends, without expecting a fee. Judicial functions were thrust upon him, but only at horse-races or wrestling matches where his acknowledged honesty and fairness gave his verdicts undisputed authority. His popularity grew quickly and soon he was a candidate for the Legislature again. Although he called himself a Whig, an ardent admirer of Henry Clay, his clever stump speeches won him the election in the strongly Democratic district. Then, for the first time perhaps, he thought seriously of his outward appearance. He had been content with a garb of “Kentucky jeans,” not usually ragged, but patched, and always shabby. Now, he borrowed money from a friend to buy a new suit of clothes–store clothes fit for a Sangamon County statesman. Dressed like this he set out for the state capital, Vandalia, to take his seat among the lawmakers. His legislative career, which stretched over several sessions–for he was re-elected three times, in 1836, 1838, and 1840–was not remarkably brilliant. He did not lack ambition. He dreamed even of making himself “the De Witt Clinton of Illinois,” and he actually distinguished himself by zealous and effective work in log-rolling operations by which the young State received a general system of internal improvements in the shape of railroads, canals, and banks,–a reckless policy that burdened the State with debt and produced the usual crop of political demoralization. One thing, however, he did in which his true nature showed itself, and which gave promise of the future pursuit, against an overwhelming numbers in the Legislature and followed by only one other member, he recorded his protest against a proslavery resolution. That protest declaring “the institution of slavery to be founded on both injustice and bad policy.” This was not only the irrepressible voice of his conscience. It was true moral valor, for at that timein many parts of the West, an abolitionist was regarded as little better than a horse-thief, and even “Abe Lincoln” would hardly have been forgiven his antislavery principles, had he not been known as such an “uncommon good fellow.” But here, in obedience to the great conviction of his life, he manifested his courage to stand alone, that courage which is the first requisite of leadership in a great cause.

His reputation and influence as a politician grew his law practice, especially after he associated himself with another lawyer of good standing. He became a successful lawyer, less by his learning as a jurist than by his effectiveness as an advocate and by the striking uprightness of his character and it may truly be said that his vivid sense of truth and justice had much to do with his effectiveness as an advocate. He would refuse to act as the attorney even of personal friends when he saw the right on the other side. He would abandon cases, even during trial, when the testimony convinced him that his client was in the wrong. He would dissuade those who sought his service from pursuing an obtainable advantage when their claims seemed to him unfair. Presenting his very first case in the United States Circuit Court, the only question being one of authority, he declared that, upon careful examination, he found all the authorities on the other side and none on his. Persons accused of crime, when he thought them guilty, he would not defend at all, or attempting their defence he was unable to put forth his powers. One notable exception is on record, when his personal sympathies had been strongly aroused. But when he felt himself to be the protector of innocence, the defender of justice, or the prosecutor of wrong, he frequently disclosed such unexpected resources of reasoning, such depth of feeling, and rose to such fervor of appeal as to astonish and overwhelm his hearers. Even an ordinary law argument, coming from him, seldom failed to produce the impression that he was profoundly convinced of the soundness of his position. It is not surprising that the mere appearance of so conscientious an attorney in any case should have carried, not only to juries, but even to judges almost an act of right on his side, and that the people began to call him, sincerely meaning it, “honest Abe Lincoln.”

But, even with all of his success and steadily gaining respect, Lincoln still found himself thrown into the depths of depression. During his rise to fame he had private sorrows and trials of a painfully afflicting nature. He had loved and been loved by a girl, Ann Rutledge, who died in the flower of her youth and beauty, and he mourned her loss with such intensity of grief that his friends feared for his life. Recovering from his depression, he bestowed new affection upon another lady, who refused him. And finally, having prospects of political distinction before him, he paid his addresses to Mary Todd of Kentucky, and was accepted. But tormenting doubts of the genuineness of his own affection for her, of the compatibility of their characters, and of their future happiness came upon him. His distress was so great that he felt himself in danger of suicide, and feared to carry a pocket-knife with him. He gave mortal offence to his bride by not appearing on the appointed wedding day. Now the torturing consciousness of the wrong he had done her grew unendurable. He won back her affection, ended the agony by marrying her and became a faithful and patient husband and a good father. But it was no secret to those who knew the family well that his domestic life was full of trials. His wife was known for embarrassing fits. This only added more worry to his heart as time went on and his political gains added more for him to worry about.

All of these happenings in his life were prior to his election to office. Part Two will discuss more about his future struggles, internal and out.

My words of thought on these lessons learned from Honest Abe Lincoln:
No matter what type of environment you were born into, you can make a decision to treat people with honesty and respect.
Being born poor is no excuse to not learn about things that interest you.
That, no matter what status or station you hold, you should always be truthful to yourself and follow your heart.
Respect is earn, not freely given.
Hard work and dedication are important.
Honor your own beliefs in what is right and wrong.
Failure isn’t the end, it’s just guiding you to another turn in the path to follow your dream.
Don’t let your fear override your trust.

Newest Arrival

O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago and now you have accomplished them.” Isaiah 25:1

There is always something everyday that God amazes me with. Simple acts of kindness to perfect, healthy newborns. God has blessed me countless amounts of times and the blessing still continue to come everyday!

Yesterday, I talked about Belle…the rescue cow. Today I will tell you that she provided us with a great joy around 7:30 PM last evening.

New Born Calf

By 8 PM, our newest addition had a name and a coat to keep him warm. A full belly for the calf and some good hay for Momma means peaceful times in the barn.
New Momma and baby

The morning brought DJ some additional colostrum and a change of covering to keep him warm.
DJ, snug as a bug

We really are blessed here with so much. As the saying they goes…My cup runith over! With joy and a glad heart, I bid you a good day!