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March 30, 2012

I blame my Dad . . .

. . .for my sweet tooth - for my love of ice cream, pies, cake, peanut M&M's, brownies, black & brown cows on Sunday afternoons.

. . .for my pride in John Deere tractors - there is nothing like being a farm kid whose Dad owns a John Deere store.

. . .for my respect for agriculture, the land and work ethic (well he might of thought mine could be stronger, but I seriously couldn't of had a better example of doing what you needed to do because that is how you lead your life).

. . .for my lack of patience - because I think he got my share also - I will never know a more patient man in my life (my husband is a close second) - and believe me I tested his and Mom's patience as a teenager, every last freaking ounce- I truly don't recall my Dad ever losing his temper (well maybe once when I took off out of the driveway in my '72 Mustang and threw gravel but I probably deserved to be beaten with a big stick a few other times!).

. . .for my sarcasm and love of corny jokes.

. . .for my love of cattle, I can remember getting to go feed with Dad, hauling cattle to the stockyards at night and a few walks thru the pasture.

. . .for my love of morning - I'm not always as cheery as him but I can't hardly sleep in - my Dad has always thought the world started turning at 4:30am EVERYDAY - no matter where he was, even in Colorado visiting my sister he would stay on Indiana time and rise and shine that much earlier.

. . .for my desire to see all 50 states - to this day I have seen 46 mostly thanks to him and Mom - he has seen 49 - missing only New Jersey and he says he really has no desire to see that state anyway!

But mostly right this minute I blame cancer for taking him away from these 11 kids who NEED him:

to come to school programs, softball & basketball games, 4-H livestock shows, high school graduation.
to be there for family dinners for no good reason on a Sunday afternoon.
to talk over which colleges they would like to attend.
to hide Easter eggs - because nobody hides an Easter egg like my Dad (Mom would always find at least one 6 mo. later-he was that good!).
to teach them to make the world's best homemade ice cream and eat it with them.
just to watch them grow up - they deserve to know him!

March 27, 2012

The first spark scares me everytime!

And it is supposed to spark - but every time I jump - I line the welding rod up where I want, put the helmet down, touch the rod to the metal, it sparks, I jump, break the connection and have to start over repeating to myself  "Don't jump it is supposed to spark!" - SERIOUSLY EVERY SINGLE TIME!

A few years ago I found some old horseshoes and decided to weld them together in the shape of a flower and then weld the flower onto an old piece of rebar and waa laa I had some yard garb!  I love them, they have been in my landscaping for about 3 years now, I have 3 of them - then I had a friend (Hi Emily) who said she loved them and wanted some, so I made her a couple for her birthday and then another friend wanted one and another friend wanted one . . . and so on but then I had a friend who opened up a store in town and thought these would be perfect in her store - so now I actually do something that makes some money - not a windfall or anything but Chris is just pleased I am getting paid to do something!

No two horseshoes are alike so no two flowers are alike, I just kind of play around with them until I find the ones that "fit" together - sometimes it is 5, sometimes 6, sometimes they are a little cock-eyed on the rebar - it all adds to the uniqueness of them!

I learned to weld in high school ag class - Thank You Mr McGown!

Knock off your slag and WAA LAA - repurposed yard art - The Happy Horseshoe Flower is born!
Please don't judge my welds, they hold together that is what I am going for - BUT I will say every now and then I have a whole piece of slag pop off in tact-just sayin'!!!!!

Here they are at Amy's store - she has the cutest stuff - every time I take some flowers in I end up walking out with something - don't tell Chris, he thinks this is a purely profit gig not a way for me to barter our old rusty stuff for other people's old rusty stuff!

So if you are ever in Franklin I highly recommend that you stop by "Bird On A Wire" (also go "like" it on Facebook) and do a little shopping - be sure you mention my name and blog - it really won't do anything for you but I have always wanted to say that and this seemed like the perfect time!

March 24, 2012

You Can't Feed A Nation From The Back of a Pick-Up Truck!

I hate being sucked in, I usually do a pretty good job of avoiding it but I have been officially sucked in – I have purposefully kept my blog light hearted because these are the things I want to remember when I am old as well as trying to be somewhat informative as to the how's and whys we do what we do on our farm; therefore I have tried to steer clear of political issues having to do with agriculture BUT -
enter the term “pink slime” – I truly find news media scare tactics unprofessional (i.e. swine flu – nothing to do with hogs but who would be shocked and horrified at the term H1N1?)  So whose attention is the media going to attract with the term “boneless lean beef trimmings” – absolutely no one!

The whole issue of food is in dire need of perspective.  Food borne illness is not a new subject, but today the sources are not as easy to detect as even 50 years ago because we are a global food world now more than ever.  It used to be that if a family member got sick from food it was easy to trace because you simply recalled what was eaten and went to the cellar and removed the source!  Food rots, bacteria thrive on that – it is why we call it perishable!  But we must also consider the alternative and how far we have come!
Our great grandparents would be amazed at the selection at our local stores year round.  They ate what was available at that moment and what they were able to preserve.  Now I will admit that I prefer a garden tomato to a tomato bought in town on Nov. 15 – but isn’t it wonderful that I can even get one in November!
People are very distanced from their food, particularly meat.  Slaughtering animals for food is a very messy, dirty, risky deal.  Meats such as boneless lean meat trimmings are not new.  People have been trying to utilize the “whole hog” for century’s.  Eating high on the hog means getting the loin chop, the premium parts.  The peasants figured out how to survive on the scraps and make them edible.

Pink Slime!
This is “pink slime” (well this looks purple but you get the point) – it is a child’s toy, they use is to gross out other kids and adults, they pretend it is a giant booger!

This is “boneless lean beef trimmings” – this is using everything but the moo and oink at it’s nutritional best!

Try what your ancestors had to do – butcher your own animals and raise your own vegetables – it is truly hard work – food is perishable by nature.  Always has been.  That is where the risk comes from, whether it is handled in a mega plant, in the back of a farmers market truck or from your own garden straight to your table - it is prone to bacteria, our "industrialized" system has just figured out ways to make process our food to be safer and keep longer.   The food processors have the burden of handling the 97% (or more) that is actually our food supply.  Local is a luxury – one that I like but I do recognize it as just that, a luxury and therefore I don’t think we can overly criticize our industrial system that now allows the majority of our population to pursue things other than toil in the fields growing food for our family’s.  A hundred and fifty years ago a housewife spent all year budgeting and planning her food supply month's in advance just so they could make it thru the times of the year that nothing would grow.  And while we blame the industrial nature of food processing for illness’ and outbreaks, that is not always who is at fault.  In recent memory there was an outbreak of e. coli in organic spinach that was eventually traced to wild animal droppings prior to the crop being harvested, this could of just as likely been your garden!


There are 6 billion people now and it is estimated to be 9 billion to feed by the year 2050 (and the number of acres of production ground is decreasing).  The world will have to grow more food in the next 50 years, than has previously been raised on this planet, as there are more people alive today than has ever lived.  And so far, agriculture and our industrialized food system has been up to the challenge.  Food security in the US is at an all time high and hunger in the world is from distribution and economic difficulties.  While I like local, the world, including us in middle America need mass quantities of easy to transport and store food.
So if you chose to only eat locally or vegetarian or organic or grow all your own food – I say “Go For It” (absolutely no sarcasm intended, seriously) feed YOUR family the way you choose, that is the great thing about America – but don’t make those decisions based on scare tactics by the media!  And if you live around me and want the names of some great people who raise and sell freezer beef just email me I would love to give you their names and numbers!
As for me and my family I will be headed to the grocery store for the majority of our food- we are lucky in that we have a freezer full of our own pork and during the summer I will most definitely be making trips to Taylor's Farm Market for in-season vegetables and I know where to buy beef locally when I am not in a hurry - for that I will be buying my hamburger at the grocery store -  but I don’t have a green thumb (odd for farmers, I know) so while we can grow thousands of acres of  corn, soybeans and wheat to help produce food for the world, a garden I can not grow – but I TRUST AMERICA’S FARMERS (I know a few personally) and I trust the USDA to provide safe food for my family!

P.S. I could not of written this without the help of my co-writer, reviewer, 2nd conscience and amazing husband - Chris

March 21, 2012

Executive Decisions Made Today

#1 - Kids are going to school!  I make this one daily as they are not easy to get up - but it is either fight with them in the morning to get them on the bus or put up with them all day - really that is a no brainer!

#2 - Breakfast!  Today it was crescent rolls & Tang the breakfast of . . you work with what you got!

#3 - Wardrobe!  I made the conscious choice to put on the same pair of jeans I have been wearing the last 2 days - they have hitch grease on the butt already (don't ask it wasn't pretty how it got there) so it won't matter that it will most def. happen again today!

#4 - Tanning Bed!  NEED to find time to go - tanned fat is more acceptable than pale fat - you can't argue the facts so don't try!

#5 - Mothers Day present request!  More on this later - I have decided what I want but my hope is that they give it to me early, like this weekend or even tmw - won't happen but a girl can dream!

#6 - Dishwasher!  ALWAYS ALWAYS check twice to make sure that it has run!  One should never have to take the first drink of the morning from a dirty glass . . . ever again!!!!!!

#7 - Tank F6!  I would not like to drag it anymore as part of a set of doubles - it weaves too much - you can only drive 23 mph with it and that means it takes almost an hour to get to our Marietta field -  that's a loooonnnnggg trip!

Still taking these under advisement:

*A complete and mental breakdown - a padded room sounds quiet and relaxing right now!

*Going on strike!

And yes I realize that none of these amount to a whole lot but it is about the extent of my power and I chose today to exert ALL my power - Good Night!

March 16, 2012

It Doesn’t Get Much Better

Than to start the day with homemade cinnamon rolls, Campbell Farms bacon and breakfast with my Dad!

Than to spray burn down for the second day in a row!
Than to eat lunch in the field!

Than to ride 4-wheelers with the cutest boy around - -
…well maybe that could of gone just a little better (I did this not the boy!)!!!!!

Than to be a 4-H calf that gets turned out in the lot to run around and then chill out in the shade!

Than to feel fresh tilled dirt in your hands while your very handsome hard working husband runs the field ciltivator!

Than to chill with a cocktail on your best friends porch while you can smell the fresh turned soil and hear the tractors working in the fields!

It has been a busy, stressful, hectic last 2 weeks and today was medicine to my soul!

March 8, 2012

WOW She won too!

Another amazing day celebrating Agriculture Month in Indiana!  We spent last year at the State House when the oldest won the ag day essay contest!

And this year the middle won her division of the essay contest held by The Indiana Humanities Council and Indiana Family of Farmers so now she has an iPad as well and a better understanding of The World Food Prize!

We started the day off with a great tour of the State House and then went outside for the awards ceremony and the Tractor to Truck event in front of the State House along Senate Avenue!

Our future representative???

Emi Lou was immediatly impressed with the Lt. Gov. and her office because she had several statues of elephants - Emi Lou loves elephants!

Here is the link to all the winning essays this year:

It was a great day celebrating agriculture!

March 7, 2012

Yesterday VS. Today


When I looked at the clock at 5:30am and knew I needed to get up I cringed and got mad.

When Cole whined instead of just getting dressed for school I wanted to beat him regardless of the fact someone could of called CPS on me.

When I realized I had done 5 loads of laundry the day before and I still couldn't see the laundry room floor I almost cried.

When I couldn't find a clean spot on the kitchen counter I cussed the kids (honestly) and myself for being pigs.

When I went down to my "new office", sat in my chair and was staring at a cement block wall, smelled a musty basement smell and could hear when someone flushed the tolit I felt sorry for myself.

When I tripped over a bag of trash that Chris hadn't taken down to the dumpster in 2 days I got pissed off at him.

When Casey texted and said she wouldn't be eating supper with us that she had eaten in town with some friends I got my feelings hurt.

When Emi Lou threw a fit about going to bed when I told her to go to bed and she just wanted to stay up and sit on the couch with me and Chris I yelled at her.

Today my world took a direct hit and all of the above seemed so inconsequential and I realized that I should of known that yesterday!

March 5, 2012

It's Our Job

Feeding the world is a huge job and I’m proud that my family is a part of that task. The American farmers that accomplish this work hard every single day. Growing up on a farm, I experienced this first hand. The cold mornings, the long nights, the working holidays, and the rainy Sundays when the chores still had to be done. American farmers not only feed, but clothe, employ, provide fuel, and stimulate the economy for the 6,991,422,434 people on this planet. While the population is growing, the land used for agriculture is shrinking. The world’s resources are decreasing, but our standards of living are increasing. In today’s world, the weather challenges us, with flood, drought, and heat. American farmers accept these challenges however, never to give up, to provide for the world.
            American farmers do have help with these issues though. Genetically modified organisms and other improvements in agriculture help farmers fill those gaps the world leaves on farming. These modified crops were bred to produce more product per plant and advance the overall health and life of the crop. More productive fertilizers and pesticides to better the plants productivity have been developed over time to prevent infestations and to yield more at harvest, all at the same time having less harmful effects on our environment.  Farmers and other agricultural committees have also developed practices to conserve the environment and to improve their technologies and conditions. Such as practicing soil health, by applying minerals and fertilizers, and also by using no till farming for advantages. By the advancements the world has made in agriculture farmers are better able to meet the demands of a growing world.
            The weight on American farmers’ shoulders is enormous. American farmers have to adapt to a growing population, shrinking land base, the stress on the world’s resources, and face the challenges every farmer has to face, all while insuring the world of agriculture for future farmers. These challenges include the weather, environmental concerns, including responsible use of resources, over application, and contamination of food. The production farmer has to keep logistics and the economics of America in mind also. The food and money is seldom where it is needed most. The next time your family sits down to a table full of food, thank the 2% of Americans who grew what is there before you.  The farmers of America have gaps to fill, cliffs to jump, and challenges to overcome. Never giving up, these farmers never fail us.
By Casey Campbell written for the 2012 National Ag Day Eassay Contest "American Agriculture: Feeding The Future, Filling The Gaps

While she didn't win I couldn't be more proud of her for trying and for her obvious love and respect for American Agriculture! 

Happy Ag Week!

March 2, 2012

WHY ME?????

I have tried have to have the "talk" with my kids, I gave it an honest effort and quite frankly thought I was done - I thought the youngest and I had come to the consensus that if he did have any questions about that subject he was to get them answered on the bus!

The other day Chris comes in and looks me straight in the eye and says "Boy that was a close one!"

Me: What?
Chris: Well Cole and I were breeding sows and Cole looks at me and says "The thing I don't understand is why don't people have to do that?"!
Me: Well what did you say to him?
Chris: I said "Well Cole the truth is they do" and prayed that that would be the end of it.  But then Cole said "I figured it was a little more . . . sophisticated (I swear this is the word he used) than that" so I said well "it is but you will learn about that someday" - I thought I handled it very well!
Me: WELL THANK GOD you were finally the one around when the subject came up!
Chris: I think I did good, I don't think he will bring it up anymore anytime soon!

Fast forward to last night (which happened to be Thrusday night, Man Night - whole other subject) while Chris is GONE:

Cole: Mom do people breed like hogs!
Me: Well men are pigs!  ummm I thought you and your Dad discussed this the other day at the hog barns?
Cole: He didn't really tell me anything he said I would learn it later!

I instantly grabbed by phone, speed dialed Chris and said in a somewhat panicky voice at 100mph "Oh My God you told me you took care of this - YOU LIED - Cole says you didn't answer his question just told him he would learn later - well later is now and of course you aren't around only me!"
To which the response I got was "You are in direct violation of Man Night Rules - you handle how you see fit and we will discuss this at a later time" admist giggeling (yes I said it) giggeling men in the background!

Me: Well Cole yes they do, just like boars have boy parts so do guys and sows have female parts like girls, there are eggs in girls and sperm in boys and when they get together they can make a baby!
Cole: Well what is it called?
Me: sex
Cole: oh ok
Me: Do you have any questions?
Cole: Well (his signature word) pause for effect - seriously . . .not right now but I am sure I will after I contemplate(I swear this is the word he used)  this for awhile.

Seriously if he is smart enough to use the words "sophisticated" & "contemplated" in the correct form can't he just Google "sex" like a normal kid and then ask the kids on the bus anything he doesn't understand?