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July 31, 2011

Road Tripin'

One of our favorite things to do as a family is an Indiana road trip - usually a last minute decision, armed only with our Indiana Atlas & Gazetteer (these are awesome, we have several different states, it list all roads and small towns) and a couple Plat Books (coordinating with the county's we are "touring", I think Chris' dream would be to own all 92 county plat books for Indiana) we all pile in the truck and we're off!

Yesterday we piled in the truck about 3:30 with our chosen Plat books for this trip (Decatur and Shelby) and our goal being to eat at Stones Family Restaurant in Millhousen!  First we headed towards Marietta to check out one of our farms to see how the crop was looking.  We then meandered across southern Shelby County, visiting the little town of Lewis Creek, following the Flat Rock river to Geneva, where we stalked knew another fellow blogger lived (Hi Leah), then back to following the north bank of the Flat Rock to St. Paul, taking a beautiful wandering road that at times was right down on the river. At St. Paul we stopped at a little store and bought pop and junk food (always fun, but not too healthy). We then searched out "Hidden Paradise" campground, which is also on the Flat Rock, and scoped it out for future camping trips. Leaving there, we drove to Greensburg through Adams, Milford, and Burney, checking out the big hog farms in that area. Coming to the center of Greensburg, Cole was awed by the tree growing out of the court house tower.






A nice country road took us 8 miles to Millhousen, which is a fascinating glimpse back into time, lots of old brick buildings, a beautiful church with an extremely tall steeple. The town is nestled  onto the sides of a valley, and has lots of character. It was now a little after 6:00, so we had spent 2 1/2 hours of Saturday afternoon just exploring places not far from home, but interesting to us anyway. We had been in river bottoms, flat open land, hilly land with shale riverbeds, and everything in between.

Stones Family Restaurant is in a large old brick building, with a huge front porch. Saturday night offered a buffet of pork loin and fried chicken. Sides included sauerkraut, German potato salad, cucumbers and onion (if you like this kind of thing these were some of the best around), green beans, and mashed potatoes. A very family run feeling accompanied our visit.

Completely full, we headed home up 421, staying off of the interstate. At Shelbyville, we drove around the area near the Little Blue River, where though living near here for all my life, I had never spent much time here. Then through Shelbyville, back onto the old familiar Boggstown Road, which led us back to Johnson County, then to our home, where we got a bucket of feed, went to check the cows and feed the hogs. We were back home about dark.

It is amazing the entertainment we can find anywhere we look, close to home or far away. Our family is definitely good sports for this kind of laid back adventure.  We have a pop-up camper and love to camp in Indiana State Parks and we always include a day trip such as this in the area we are staying and have seen some really cool stuff that otherwise we would of never seen!

July 28, 2011

What I accomplished today!

I am tired, exhausted, past the slap happy stage - we have been going non-stop for well over 2 weeks - I know some family's can handle that but this one can't - I am not organized enough and we are not that social, we really need our space to recoup!  But I feel like I accomplished quite a list today:

*I pressed the sheets on our bed!
*The couch did not move between 1:30 and 3:00 pm - I have never actually seen the couch move but I wasn't willing to risk it, so I held it down!
*I taught my girls some valuable life skills:
       Casey couldn't find all the clothes she was looking for to go visit my sister so I made her wash her own dirty laundry taught her to use the washer and dryer!
        Emi Lou learned to bake brownies because I wanted a snack everyone should know how to do that!
*I surfed the net stayed in contact with the outside world by checking email and face book for any important issues that I should be kept abreast of!
*I played around fixed and modified some pictures of "the cousins" that I took a couple of days ago!

Wow just making the list of all I have accomplished today is wearing me out, I should probably take a break as we are taking Casey out for Mexican tonight since she leaves for Colorado tmw. evening and instead of my homecooking as her last meal at home she chose Arroz Con Pollo, so I should be well rested!

July 23, 2011

Another Notch In Our Belt - Only 11 More To Go

Well we made it another year and am so hoping this year is like childbirth, that the fun, good times and memories outweigh the pain and labor - because if it doesn't we may not be going back!  This year was extremely hot on the kids and the livestock!  I am so proud of the kids in the cattle barn, they spent days hauling buckets of water to the their calves so that the calves could stay under the fans!

We made it thru the livestock sale - but tears did fall!  My Cowgirl also let herself get dehydrated and the heat took it's toll and we finally had to send her home, which meant her sister had to walk her calf thru the auction as well!

Her Birthday happened to fall on auction day - not the best!

Making Cyclone wear the birthday tiara!

Commiserating with friends!

Walking the green mile!

Waiting her turn and getting a hug from her brother!

Hugs from Dad, where I am pretty sure he whispered in her ear "Suck it up, you don't have a choice!"

Sobbing!

Bawling and babbling "I love you Cyclone"!


In the pen during bidding!

The hand-off to Mom, who is now also crying!
(which of course means someone is going to take my pic, I look like crap)

Hugs from friends!

She spent the time in-between her steer and her sisters crying  and hugging her steer!

In the pen with her sisters steer!

The hand-off to Mom - but notice Lou is not crying?
We went back in the cattle barn and she tied Shortie up, slapped him on the butt and said
"See ya on the other side of the meat counter Shortie!"


Today was deja-vu, here is what we did a year ago and we did exactly the same thing today!

July 18, 2011

YES We are that family!

You know the one - that can make a good christian use multiple strings of 4 letter words when they see us coming, the perpetual walking 3-ring circus, the one you cross the street to avoid for fear you will be mistaken as part of them!

We survived the first day with out killing any of our children or cattle - score one for us!  I'll be blunt - it is hotter than hell here and only due to get worse as the week goes on - now I'll be honest - I am a hot weather wimp, it sucks, it makes me whine and complain like a small child  - at least in cold weather you can keep adding layers and drinking warm drinks, in hot weather it just sucks wearing any clothing and it just wouldn't be pretty if I didn't anyway (well that and illegal since I am in public)!

The hot hell-like weather has just about done me in today, we left home around 7am to head in and I decided to wear jeans - my theory: it was early, we bring in from night ties, feed, wash, dry and weigh cattle in, I could head home around noon - shower put on shorts and head back to fairgrounds!  My theory didn't work at 8am it was only 75 degrees but 100% humidity I was dragging some calves, some calves were dragging my children and I know we were making the good folks running weigh-in wish that I had just taken out the kids and cattle yesterday and put everyone out of their misery!


Not pretty and not sure why my kids only take pics of me that suck - but this pic says exactly how defeated and hot I felt this morning!  I had been at the fairgrounds for a whole 45 minutes and was covered in sweat, cow manure, cow snot, cow hair!


Put it this way by the time my kids walked their own calves across the scales they (the calves) got a burst of energy and I ended up having to lead them one by one back to the wash rack, after each calf I would walk back to get the next with tears running down my face (for real), luckily I was sweating so profusely no one noticed - and speaking of sweating, why do some women "glisten" when they sweat or appear "dewy", I don't - my hair gets frizzy, dirt sticks to me, my eyes droop but I definitely don't "glisten", I do stink but I don't "glisten"!  Anyway that is the exact point I hit a brick wall (8:15am to be exact), I grabbed the keys to my truck, jumped in it and drove straight to Kohl's (luckily right next to the fairgrounds), I parked, walked in the front door of Kohl's (which luckily opened at 8am), smiled politely at the clerk and said:
"Good Morning, it is really hot outside and I am sweating by butt off, I am going to walk over and get a pair of shorts off the rack, go into the dressing room, peel off my jeans, put on the shorts, tear the tag off, put my boots back on, pick up my jeans and I will bring you the tag and will pay on my way out!"
Seriously that is what I said and that is exactly what I did, luckily the clerk was very sweet and understanding, as I was checking out she said she hoped that I stayed cool the rest of the day (she was either really sweet or extremely terrified of the crazy woman in front of her)!  I went straight back to the fair and finished working - we washed, dried and clipped heads, cleaned up night ties, cleaned up feed pans, ate walking tacos, had heifer paperwork and tattoo checked, signed up for showmanship -


Much happier in shorts and boots!

- now I am going to head home to take a shower and wash the cow hair off that is sticking to me everywhere and I mean everywhere!  Then back out to the fairgrounds to get the calves ready for the market steer show tonight and the tractor pull (well we'll go to the tractor pull not the calves)!

Chris is spending all day at our hog barns - this heat is so hard on the hogs so he is keeping an eye on the ventilation and putting up extra fans to keep the air moving.  This is also breeding week, which takes a lot of time and extra work especially in this heat, which is why I am flying solo as much as possible at the fair!

On a much happier note Chris and I have been married 19 years today!  He bought a new-to-me truck for me for our anniversary - 4 doors, cab lights and even put a goose neck ball in it for me - I do love that man!



Last night as I was finally able to go to bed at midnight and was drifting off to sleep I said to Chris, "I love you, Thank you for marrying me and giving me such a great life!"  and in his half- asleep voice he said to me, "Oh that reminds me - don't leave for the fairgrounds in the morning without taking the water buckets out of the back of the truck!"  Every day is a fairy tale come true!

July 16, 2011

Crops, Tractors, Open Class & Stalls

Crops:  Yes I truly believe this is a "parent" project!  But the girls ask to take it every year and since we do farm and raise these crops we let them - they have to sit down with Chris and fill the paperwork out and do all the math, so they do know the amount of hours, the kind of seed, type of tillage and chemicals that went into the crop they are turning in - so they are learning something!

We turn in corn and soybeans - it is required that you turn in the entire plant and the roots!
Chris and the girls always go out just before dark the night before we turn them in and dig up the plant and roots.  We soak them in water all night to loosen the dirt.  With the late planting this year due to all the rain we were worried we wouldn't have anything mature enough to send but the first field of corn we planted tasseled a little over a week ago so we were able to find some really pretty corn plants and just a few bean plants that had one or two flowers.  You turn in 2 corn plants and 5 bean plants.

This is the dirt still surrounding the roots after soaking all night.  Alot of people dig theirs up in the morning and pressure wash the roots - we choose to dig the night before and soak the roots - ever tried to dig in Indiana dirt after no rain for a week and a half - hard as a rock so by soaking overnight I can use the hose and gently wash the remaining dirt off the roots with out a lot of pressure and possible damage to the root ball.

A beautifully clean root ball - if I do say so myself!

The dirt that soaked off the roots overnight!

Soybeans are a little easier - less of a intricate root system but they do have nodules on their roots and you want those intact when you turn the plants in.

Clean soybean roots!




Yes we haul the crops in a livestock trailer - I told Chris it would be hysterical to get a sign for the back of the trailer that said "CAUTION SHOW CROPS ON BOARD"!  We lay them on sheets and then cover them so the wind doesn't blow the leaves - yes I realize how insane this seems, it is almost comical!


Turning in the crops at the fairgrounds!


Then we moved on to The 4-H Tractor Driving!
I might add here that Chris was a 10 year 4-H Tractor Driver and even competed at the state level and placed 3rd!
My Midget carries on the tradition - she was the only girl competing in Jr. tractors (they also have lawn mower) and she rocked the house and totally looked cool doing it!  They are judged on time and also deducted points for any poles they hit in the course - she didn't win because she takes her time but she did only hit 1 pole which is awesome!  I truly couldn't be prouder of her!


A little strategy talk with her Dad before her turn!


I LOVE THIS PIC!

And she is off!

Just a small group of her cheering section!

This amazed me - the whole time she was driving the course her brother paced the rope fence kind of mumbling something.  I asked him later what he was saying and he said "I was telling her she could do it and also which way to turn the wheel when she was backing!"  Yes - so sweet and Yes- it made me tear up!  I also had several people notice and tell me that that was really what 4-H wall all about - kids encouraging and supporting each other and yes I am tearing up typing this - I tend to get emotional when I am stressed!

After the tractor driving contest we ate lunch out with friends and actually had a couple of hours to come back home during the heat of the day and finish up Open Class Photography projects!

Too many to post here, but be sure to check Facebook here to see what we entered!

After we turned in Open Class we stopped by the cattle barn to see if stall space had been marked and it sure had so we headed home to load up some equipment and head back to the fairgrounds to set up!

Loading up the fan cage, grooming chutes, show box, my porch swing (yes it goes), fans, signs and anything else we might need!


Everything gets a pressure washer bath!


Setting up!  We always have to keep in mind - everything we haul in has to be hauled home on Friday when the fair is over and we are exhausted!

Today is the parade and final load of stuff to finish setting up the stall!  We might move cattle in tonight, if not they have to be on the fairgrounds by noon tmw.!

July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 4-H Photography

I so wanted something profound for today's post since it has been a whole year that I have been blogging but quite frankly I don't have time for profound so I am going for easy!  I will say that I can't believe I have kept this up for a year and truly enjoyed every minute - I have a severe case of self-diagnosed ADD and therefore this lasting a year is quite impressive for me - besides my marriage and raising my kids this may be the longest I have stuck to anything consistently!  Not having time for a profound (like I ever have anything profound to say) post makes me wonder "What the heck" I was thinking a year ago agreeing to go to an all day workshop on learning to blog - just like today, it was the week before the fair, My Midget had Fashion Revue judging that day, Fashion Revue that night and both girls had photography due the next morning - but as I said in my very first post - I will jump in head first, full of enthusiasm and figure out the logistics of it later - but right now logistics are wearing me out so I am opting for the easy route today!

My Cowgirl is in her 7th year of 4-H and 7th year of photography, she chose to do:

  10 B&W's titled "Picturing The Past":













And a color salon:

My Midget is in her 3rd year of 4-H and 3rd year of photography, she did 10 color:

"Experiencing Color":










We also will turn in open class photography Friday night!