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March 30, 2011

Antique Pic-ing

I have been wanting to go antique shopping for awhile now but I didn't really need anything, have space for anything or have money for anything!  So yesterday I had this bright idea to just go and take my camera and play around with my new 50mm lens.  I called my Mom and off we went, we had a great time and ended the afternoon with pie at Cracker Barrell.  THANKS MOM - it was a great day!

March 29, 2011

My Balls Are Finally Getting Smaller!

I'll be honest I didn't think they ever would!  But they are shrinking and I couldn't be happier!

This is one of the scarves I committed to making for Superbowl 2012 in Indy!  Yes I said "one" - when I said I would do this project I said "Heck give me 2 - I will whip these suckers out in no time"!  Well "no time" in reality means I am already a month late and haven't finished one - but in true Jennifer fashion have started both - that has to count for something, other than ADD!

So here's to hoping my balls soon disappear!

March 28, 2011

Tip & Tricks From Me To You

Today I am going to share with you some things I have learned over the years washing hog barns!

*Always  get the pressure washer that has hot water!  Don't draw attention to yourself, don't run for the barn (you wouldn't want to look to excited to do this job) but casually make a bee line for the pressure washer with the hot water - it makes the job a lot easier!

*Dress for the job - just because it is cold outside doesn't mean it will be chilly in the barn - working combined with steamy hot water makes for a fairly warm working environment - which brings me to  my next tip, always wear a bra - let's be honest your going to get wet and a wet t-shirt contest in a hog barn is not pretty - spring break or not!

*Be careful where you are pointing the pressure washer wand!  Water has to go somewhere and when you spray it into a feeder or corner that place is right back in your face- and that includes anything that it hits in the process - feed, manure and bits of re-hydrated afterbirth!

*When stepping in and out of crates always hold on to something!  When water is coming out of the wand at 3000psi and you are on one foot - it will knock you on your butt every time!

Take my tips and do with them as you please:  use them the next time you wash a barn or as you lay down tonight and say your prayers be thankful you are not me!

It just doesn't get any more real than this:

March 27, 2011

Spring Break '11 Is Rockin'

How can spring break get any better than to have it start on weaning day!

First order of business - move out the sows!

 How bad can it be when Dad lets you drive!

This one has a soft spot for the baby's but can work like a man!

"Weaning???  -- say what???"

Is it wrong that I love to watch (and take pics) of my kids working?
A sow weighs around 450 pounds - my two littles working here probably weigh 110 pounds together soaking wet!
I heard them say the funniest things to each other:

"She's turning on you Cole HOLD YOUR GROUND DON'T LET HER PAST YOU!"

"Emi Lou get your balls out of your purse and put them on don't let that sow push past you!"

then I heard Chris say this:
"Jent put the camera down and help!"

Then came the best part of the day - I got to go home and the kids had to wean 221 pigs by themselves!
No pics, well because I got to stay in the warm house!

Then My Cowgirl washed the farrowing barns - I am lovin' Spring Break - otherwise that could of been me!


March 26, 2011

They Call Me Campbell

I'm just cool that  way - it has nothing to do with the fact that they already knew someone named 'Jennifer' and by calling me Campbell it was just a lot less confusing - nope, they just know that's the way I roll!

Aren't they dolls!

I got to spend the whole day with them last week - I had a blast!

I got to pick them up from Pre-school then we met Chris at McDonalds for lunch!

After lunch we

mastered the IPad,

spent a lot of time jumping on the trampoline,

did a lot of swinging,

rode the 4-wheeler

and of course checked in on the calves about every 5 minutes!

And while Hannah took her nap Abi and I got to sit on the front porch swing and talk!  It was a great day and I am so glad I got to spend it with such happy little girls!

March 25, 2011

The Cycle of Life - The Beginning - Farm Style

What parent isn't terrified of having to teach their children the "facts of life"?  I kid you not I started stressing about it while I was pregnant with my first - I went so far as to suggest to my sister and sister-in-law that I thought it would be a great idea for us to "swap" kids for this talk - they could talk to mine and I would have the talk with theirs (neither one was pregnant or had kids at the time) - needless to say neither one took me up on the offer!  So I continued to stress for years - but then one beautiful sunny day in January of 2006 the skies opened up, I felt a metaphorical tap on the shoulder and the opportunity presented itself to "talk" with My Cowgirl - I will never forget this day -

We had just brought home her second set of show calves - 2 steers and 2 heifers - we had them haltered and tied out in the lot - she was so proud!  And so excited, the first thing she asked was when her cows would have baby's (this is when I felt the tap, the one I should have ignored - but hind sight is 20/20)!  I heard a little voice saying to me "Take this opportunity of living on a farm and have this conversation with your child", I thought for a moment and before I could turn back I proceeded to explain how "cows" get pregnant!  I explained that mommy cows have eggs, just like mommy pigs like we have down at the hog barns have eggs - and I just kept going, I was on a roll, there was no looking back - I laid it all on the table.
I won't lie - I was pretty proud of myself, I had done it - the rest was gravy compared to having this conversation with my child - I hadn't let the giggling stop me or her protests - this was the facts of life and by gosh she was going to learn them from me - not on the school bus as her Dad thought she should!
I ended with the typical "Now if you ever have any questions you can always come to me and I will be honest!"  At that point I don't believe I had ever seen her run so fast, she booked it to the house and avoided me for hours - but I had done it - until the day about a year later when she got off the bus, ran into the kitchen, looked me right in the eye and said "MOM Did you know people have to do that too?"

Seriously - I said what did you think our "talk" was about?  She said "Animals?"

Obviously my theory of taking advantage of living on a farm and the advantage to having breeding animals had not worked out so well for me - but it just need tweaked, I still believed the livestock angle was the way to approach this sensitive subject!

Kid #2 - My Midget, she had an older sister, surely this time would be a little easier, surly they had giggled and talked about this kind of thing?  This time I revamped - I obviously needed to use a few more "human" terms this time around.  She loves to help Chris breed sows, we AI and also run a boar in for clean-up.  She had been around for at least 5 rounds of AI with the cows.   Obviously I was extremely good at explaining animal husbandry but this time I needed to use a few more references to "humans"!  So one day when she and I were working in the farrowing barn cleaning up afterbirth (which strangely enough is a chore she volunteers for) she says to me "What is this stuff anyway?" - the skies once again opened up, I felt the metaphorical tap on the shoulder and the opportunity was before me!  I said "Well it is called afterbirth - it is what's left inside the sow or momma pig after all the babies are born - it is the sack that keeps the babies safe in the womb, it holds the fluid and baby's, it is the placenta and umbilical cord which is attached to the mother and to the babies, that is how they "eat" in the womb . . . ."  and I went on and on about eggs and sperm and males and females, she never interrupted, she just listened, she never giggled (hind sight should of told me this was not normal) and then I ended with the big finale "This is also how people have baby's - do you have any questions?" and this is when she simply looked at me and said "No, I already knew all that from the bus, I just wanted to know what this slimy gross stuff was called!"

Kid #3- My sweet Lil' Farmer I was not going to let this happen again three times in a row!  Last fall when my boy bought his first heifer, we were driving down the road (just he and I) and he says "So when will Holly's baby be born?" Well no one is going to make a fool of me again three times in a row!  I simply said to him "Well this summer we will have Darryl (our AI guy) come out and breed her or put her in with a bull and she will hopefully have a baby in early 2012", he said "Oh like Dad does with the sows or has a boar do it?"  I said "yes", he said " I just have one question - do people have to do that too?"  I said "well, yes" he held up his hand to my face and said "STOP I don't want to know anymore!"  I said "Thank God - when your ready go talk to the kids on the bus!"

Now go check out all the other posts and stop laughing at me!

March 23, 2011

Ag Day In Johnson County

What a great Ag Day we had here!  We started off the morning at our Farmers Share Breakfast - where you pay only what the farmer would get for the food you are eating - our breakfast cost $1 for biscuits, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, cheesy hashbrown potatoes, yeast cinnamon dounuts covered in icing, bacon, 2 kinds of fruit salad, milk & orange juice - on the all you can eat buffet - pretty good for the price to eat seems like slim pickins for the farmer!

After breakfast a couple neat things happened:
We honored the Johnson County Farm Family of The Year - The Hugh Dunn family!

The Monsanto Fund presented "Friends Of Johnson County Agriculture" with our grant money!
and yes receiving and having my picture taken with the giant check was all I dreamed, my kids even brought it home - they want me to hang it in the house!

"Friends Of Johnson Cty Agriculture" presented a grant to the Johnson County Junior Beef Cattle Assoc. to assist with the open show they are putting on April 23!
and yes that is Amy Kelsay from Two Maids a Milking, she serves on the board of directors with me as well, originally I presented the grant, but my kids were the only kids in the Jr. Assoc. there to accept the money so I made Amy stand in for the picture!

A few hours later we grilled and served around 90 ribeyes to those that had come for the Grain Engulfment and Res-Q Tube demonstration.

Which we were very proud to have a lot of kids from The Franklin FFA Chapter there for lunch and watch and participate in the Grain Engulfment demo.


they engulfed by daughter in grain!

while everyone watched!


they saved her!  Of course she volunteered for the whole thing!

But seriously this was an amazing thing to get to see and for her to experience.  After the public demonstration they trained and certified around 40 firefighters in Johnson County to use these Res-Q tubes!  Thanks to National Starch and GSI for donating 2 of these to Johnson County!

If you live or work on a farm I strongly suggest that you find out if your county has one and where to find it in case of an emergency.  It won't work in every situation but is definatly a life saving tool.


March 22, 2011

The Name Game

Well 2/3 of our herd has calved - we are running 50/50 bulls/heifers right now - everything dropped has been healthy and the momma's are doing a great job of taking care of their young!  The last third is not due to calve until April 9!

So a quick look at the actual numbers:   1 bull, 1 heifer and 1 cow left to calve!

At that - here is the lastest addition to our herd:
We are lucky - all our cows were shown as heifers so they are really broke and used to people and let us right in the pen with them and their calves.

"Hi Maggie, you did good, you have a beautiful calf"
Yes I am in my pajamas - My lil' Farmer checked on Maggie at 6am this morining and came running back in to get us!

"Let's see what ya got here Maggie"

"And it's a girl!  Yeah I am happy"

Why so happy?  Well I told my kids the other day that I would like a heifer for Christmas this year to which My Cowgirl immediatly said if one of her cows has a heifer she will let me have it!  Sweet, Right?  Maybe if she hadn't phrased it this way:
"Mom if one of my cows has a heifer you can have it - I don't like showing heifers!  I like showing steers and getting to buy something new every year and change breeds so you can just have it - unless you wanna pay me for it?"

Not exactly a sentiment from the heart but who am I to complain - I GOT A HEIFER and didn't have to wait till Christmas!

SO here is the challange - a name!

She is a purebred Polled Hereford -
        Dam:  Our Girl Maggie
        AI SIRE:  LaGrand ReLoad

Chris likes simple names (well actually he prefers numbers but "2" just doesn't pack much of a punch) but me I am more of a fancy "paper name"/nick name kinda gal!  Quite honestly the names that people come up with for livestock crack me up but I figure if something we own ever wins some big title (which I am fully aware that it won't since we only show at 2 shows a year - county fair and Congress - and we truly only do it for fun) I want to be fully prepared for our (the calf and me) picture on showsteers.com - a girl can dream!  I have always told  strongly advised helped my kids name their calves but this is serious - this one is mine!

My first stab at it was:   Jennifers Locked & Loaded we would call her JiLL - Corny but a start!

What's in it for you? 
My undying gratitude, the satisfaction of knowing you helped name a beautiful heifer and if you want I will send you a glossy 8x10 of me and the heifer you helped name - heck I will even autograph it!