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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!

Dogs vs. Cows

In my last post, I said that I would discuss the differences between cows and dogs. Well, in my opinion there really isn’t much.

I am going to walk you through a typical day for each. Rosie is my bloodhound rescue dog and Bell is the rescued Jersey cow.

5 AM
Rosie heads out the door for her morning bathroom break after a series of stretches to limber up her muscles.
Belle picks up her head when I open the barn door, stands and does a full body stretch. Then proceeds to poop like the movement was too much of a strain! 🙂

6 AM
Rosie and Belle follow me around as I complete morning chores. Feeding, watering and picking up poo in and around the cow and poultry barns.

7 AM
Belle heads out into the pasture to eat grass and say hi to the rest of the herd.
Rosie heads inside for her dog food breakfast and to lick the cat.

8 AM to 10 AM
Rosie is usually found snoring away on the bed.
Belle is usually found laying with her head tucked on the top of her leg chewing her cudd or snoring away.

11 AM
Snack time.
Belle gets a wad of additional hay and her daily brushing.
Rosie gets a biscuit or a bone and then her daily ear cleaning (damn long ears) and a brush down.

12 Noon
After each gets a drink, you will usually find them lounging in the sunshine.

1 PM to 3PM
Belle is typically found wandering around the pasture nibbling on grass.
Rosie goes for her daily run to the pond (about 500 yds.) to swim and bark at the fish along the bank. She is also known to just sit in the field and do nothing.

3 PM to 5 PM
Another round of water and it’s time for another nap.

6 PM
Rosie will usually be found hanging in the barn curled up laying on a pile of dry hay while I clean up, replace bedding, feed grain and more hay and milk Belle.

7 PM
Rosie and I head to the house as Belle finishes her dinner. Rosie gets feed her evening meal. Then both usually lay back down to relax for the rest of the night until the sun comes up in the morning.

To go even further…Belle will run and jump when she is feeling playful. She likes to have just behind her ears scratched and even lifts her leg to have her belly scratched. She likes getting treats (apple bits for horses) too. If you go sit in the past next to her during nap time, she will lay her head on your lap.

Still think cows don’t like the same treatment as dogs? Guess you should come spend a day with Belle!

Animal Cruelty

Amid much controversy and bad press…people seem to think that all farmers treat their animals with neglect or abuse. Please consider this: Are all people the same? Do all people treat dogs the same? Let’s use the dog analogy! I will bet that everyone under the sun heard all about a nameless (not really but I don’t want to play that game) well know football player gets charged with animal cruelty for fighting pit bulls. But…just how many people walked away from football because of his actions? Not many I bet.

Coming from a person who has seen first hand what animal cruelty really looks like and still lives with the aftermath of the long term effects it can have…Let me walk you through what some of us have done to overcome animal cruelty.

As many of us do, my first rescue was a dog. She was a beautiful black and tan coonhound that had been left with other dogs that were severely aggressive. She had to fight to get any scraps of food that her former owner would throw full a chain link fence. Most days she would go without food. She became a shy, yet food aggressive animal. When the owner contacted me, I was 11 years old. Can you imagine someone giving away a dog like that to a kid? I begged my dad to allow me to have her…I will never forget bringing that 40 pound beast home in the backseat of my dad’s little Ford Fiesta! She looked horrible and smelled even worse. She had earmights, fleas bad enough to make part of her hair fall off and scars that no dog should ever have. I still loved her immediately though. We connected somehow on some strange level that I have never been able to explain. This dog was my constant companion. The one true soul that loved me no matter what. After getting her cleaned up and slowly working with her to overcome her issues with food, she turned out to be one of the nicest and prettiest dogs you have ever seen! She lived with me for another 6 years until God decided that she had a better place to be.

It seemed to be a long time before I had the chance to have another dog. Again, I took in a rescue that, unfortunately, the owner didn’t seem to understand that hound dogs and 7 kids don’t always get along so well. They might have if the kids had been “punished” like the dog was. Bourbon came to me as a three year old mixed breed (bluetick/redtick) severely underweight at 35 lbs. He was a sweet dog. Not one that like being inside yet, loved his area outside where he could bark, run and play. He stayed with me for eight years before he finally passed away from cancer.

Whiskey came not long after Bourbon did. Don’t make fun of the names either…who else names their dog after alcohol they rarely drink? 🙂 Whiskey came as a very young pup along with her momma and five other pups. Their original owners were going to drown them in the creek behind their home and shoot the momma if someone had not taken them. I managed to find great homes for them all but the biggest of the bunch. Whiskey lived with us until the rip old age of 14, when she too gave up her battle with cancer. She was very much a part of our family, she used to share my oldest sons pacifer when he was a baby and she was just four or five months old. She is still loved and greatly missed.

In Loving Memory of Whiskey

The next rescue was Rosie. I had always dreamed of having a bloodhound of my own and several of the local SPCA’s and dog wardens knew it. One day out of the blue, I get a phone call from a warden about 30 miles away. He had a bloodhound that had been with them for nearly six months that wasn’t adoptable and would I come visit her. If she got along with me, I could have her. Needless to say, I was almost evicted from my own home but it was love at first sight. She came out of her stall, came looping over to me and put her big paws on my shoulders, laying her head up under my chin. She looked horrible but it didn’t matter to me. With tears in my eyes, I told them I would come pick her up the very next day. I got her into my vet, had her all checked out. Come to find out, she had been eating lyme to stay alive for nearly a week prior to the time the warden had picked her up. They had kept her, put about 15-20 pounds on her and she still only weighed in at a whole 50 pounds when I brought her home. Some really good food, lots of love and she now weights just shy of 100 pounds. She had been so severely beat at some point, that when I brought her home she wouldn’t even go to anyone else in the family. She still hides behind does at loud noises and is extremely terrified at her own shadow. She has done very well here on the farm. She adopts all of the animals, including the chickens and gets sad when she can’t visit them.
Rosie after being with us for six months.
A moment of rest while checking hay fields

Then I got a phone call one day from a young man that knew all about my background growing up on a dairy farm. He explained about this girl who ran out of money to feed her cows due to bills for school. Instead of selling them, she just stopped feeding them. It was April of 2010 and the pasture grounds here in Upstate NY hadn’t even started to grow. This cow, who had two calves nursing, was literally starving to death to provide milk for those two calves. Immediately, we put up fencing and scheduled to have the cow and her calves delivered to us within a matter of less than 48 hours. When she arrived, she almost feel flat on her face as she came off the trailer. As I watched her walk out into a short grassed pasture area, the tears started welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe that someone could do this to an animal.

This is Belle. She was taken in as a rescue from a farm that couldn't feed her properly.
We took care of her, gave her gain, hay and all the fresh grasses she wanted. Slowly, overtime she started looking much better and back to the way she should look. She recovered from a wound in her back that we managed to get a chunk of wood out of her back that was about 1/2 inches wide by at least two inches long. It’s amazing she could even walk considering this “chunk” didn’t miss her spinal column by much more than an 1/8th of an inch. As time went on, she regained her weight. She has the most amazing attitude. She loves to have calves around and loves her attention. She gets brushed daily and looks like a completely different animal.
Belle after a year and a half on our farm.

Since then, we have adopted two calves and a bluetick coonhound from bad environments. I think some people just don’t have the respect for animals and the welfare that some do. The calves and the newest hound were not really treated horrible or starved to death but they we not given the proper care and attention that they really needed either.
I know this blog is long…but I just want to point out to those of you with a bad taste in your mouth for agriculture that not all of us within the industry are the same. Some of us really do care about our animals. If I have time later I will type up an article on how animals act. Kind of a dog vs. cow comparision that might really get some minds wondering!
Til then…God Bless and Have a great day!

Storms and No Power

Well, things over the past two days have sure been crazy. From 80 mph winds to driving rains, broken trees to flooded roads…Mother Nature has shown her ugly temper once again in our area. We have been without power for much of the past two days.
Feeding calves and making sure that animals have water has been interesting. Last evening, after not having power for over seven hours, I collect rain water from the eves of the house to ensure that the calves could have milk replacer. I think all I really needed to do was wring my clothes out since I was soaked from head to toe after about five seconds of moving around outside.
So, I need to apologize and get busy post nearly three days worth of inspiration! Hopefully, things run smother around here today and since I have some free time, I should be able to bring everything up to date fairly quickly.
Signing off for now! Time for morning chores!
Good Bless you all!

Inspiration Number Eleven-Nature

Having a farm means spending time in and around all forms of nature. There are beautiful sights that we get to see every day…whether in a tractor seat or walking through the fields checking crops.
From different sorts of bugs:

Grasshopper

Swallowtail Butterfly

To wildflowers:
Morning Dew on a buttercup


To watching Eagles in a hay field:
Bald Eagle in the field

And even watching trees season:
Almost time to harvest apples

Inspiration Number Ten-Stress Reduction

To me, having a farm means less stress…well, maybe the same about of stress, just a different variety. Having worked in sales and marketing for nearly 20 years and then working construction for a handful in there, farming brings a completely different aspect to my life. A place to escape……
When I get stressed out too much from work overload, I go sit in the pasture with the cows.

Davy, when he was young, greating me and wondering what I am doing.

When I just get sick of dealing with people and all of their drama, I go sit with the chickens and watch them dig and scratch around the yard.
Barred Rock hen digging for bugs and worms

When I just get tired of everything, I go hang out in the barn. When I get agrevatiated or too upset, I just spend hours outside around the animals.
Relaxation Time in the Barn

Sometimes, I think it would be better for me to just live in the barn and not have phones, cell phones and computers…to live the “old way” of life. To have no electricity. When running water meant having to use the pump. When you went to the basement to pull root vegetables out. When ice was delivered during the winter months to keep our “ice boxes” cold during the warm summer months. To use horses to plow. All of that sounds like heaven to me.

Inspiration Number Nine-Leaving a Legacy

I guess one of the biggest reasons I like to farm is to pass on what was taught to me. To love nature and animals. To treat them with respect and respect what they provide. There will be only one photo today that speaks volumes to this. Being a grandmother has shown me that I can do the same as what my grand parents did for me. I can teach my grand daughter how to grow vegetables, to use silly things like dandelions to make something delicious, to think outside of the box. I can also teach her how to care for animals and the value of hard work. Leaving a legacy behind ensures that there will be a future generation to carry on the things we do.
I can’t wait for the day when my little Miss Lilli is old enough to learn how to ride and how to drive a tractor! She sure is genetically predispositioned to adore cows!

My grand daughter, who is fascinated with cows.