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July 29, 2012

God Bless America!

I feel like I have a hangover - and I didn't even drink anything!

The other day Chris comes to me (a little giddy) with an ad out of the The Farm World and says "I want to go to this tractor pull in Osgood!  Look at these classes - it should be a fun and interesting pull"

We do like tractor pulls  (A Farmers Heaven On Earth, God Bless Small Town America) so of course there was no twisting of arms for us to go!

So yesterday evening we jump in the truck and head to Osgood to The Ripley County Fair!

Sit back and enjoy some commentary from our evening:

I am a people watcher so of course one of the first things I do as we find a seat in one of the coolest wooden grandstands was take a look around at the people I will be spending the evening with - which immediately prompts me to start poking the oldest and pointing at a women a few rows in front of us, whispering in her ear (the oldest not the oddly dressed woman's ear) "don't people look in the mirror before they leave the house, who walks out of the house looking like that" I am just going on and on not relenting on the poor woman when I look down and catch a glimpse of my britches - UNZIPPED, barn door wide open - and has been since I left home, which means I have been walking around The Ripley County Fair for at least an hour with various judgemental people looking (and no doubt laughing) wondering if I bother looking in the mirror before I leave the house!!!!

These grandstands were awesome - very much like the ones that recently burnt down in Shelby County, my home county fair as a kid!

I was completely green with envy all evening of all these people

who got to tailgate in the infield watching the pulls - they looked they were having so much fun and no danged safety fence to watch thru!

I also wanted to be these guys sitting on the tractors that they would be pulling later in the evening

At one point this Monte Carlo pulled into the infield

you couldn't miss it - it was loud and so hopped up that the guy had to keep pushing the gas to keep it running sitting at an idle - I look at Chris and say "I don't get it why would anybody want a car hopped up like that when it won't hardly stay running at idle."  What Chris heard was "I don't get it why would anybody want a car hopped up like that when it won't hardly stay running at idle?" - - See the difference, it's settle but it was there-the punctuation - so Chris starts in on this explanation of engines and high octane fuel, it was all probably pretty interesting but really to be it sounded like Charlie Browns teacher talking until he got to the end and said "I'd pay $5 to see that make a run down the track - that's hot - either that or it is misfiring because it is missing a spark plug!"
This tractor came pulling in late - long after the pull started - a pretty new John Deere 9330 -
I said to Chris "wonder why that guy is so late?" and Chris said "He probably had to wait for his Mom and Dad to leave for the evening so he could sneak the tractor out for the pull!" - he of course was teasing but we started calling him "Sneaky Pete"-he pulled in the very last class very late hope he got that tractor back in the barn before his Dad woke up this morning ; }!

There of course was cotton candy

They interspersed the truck pull classes between tractor classes - I am honestly not a big fan of truck pulls where just your average joe pulls in off the road and hooks - after about the 5th drive shaft that drops I want to stand up and yell "Yo Dude your truck wasn't made for this" but of course I don't and just sit thru the next what feels like 300 4-wheel drive trucks to hook and pull, drop a drive shaft and be pushed or pulled off the track!

We were towards the end of the track and couldn't really see the start but during one of the truck classes we kept waiting for the next truck to come down the track and finally they called to have it towed - as they towed it down the track the name on the front of the truck was "The Fortune Teller" - I said out loud "Well dang if he is the fortune teller he should've know that hook wasn't going to work" - I. had. the. stands. rolling. - OK fine not everyone in the stands, OK fine Chris thought it was funny but the two gentleman in front of me chuckled also!

At one point I looked at Cole and asked if he thought he would ever want to pull when he got old enough, he said "oh yeah but I don't know which tractor to pull with" -I told him I thought it would be cool if he used the 4430 and his eyes got big and he said "I know right where the chrome stack is too" and Chris' eyes filled with fear!

The farm classes were great - exactly like Chris loves - tractors right out of the field, turned up some and just pulling for fun!

But the class he couldn't wait to see was:

No Weight Limit Open Farm Class

and of course it was the last class!  Do you remember those Monster Truck Rally commercials where the guy says "SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY  we'll sell you the whole seat but you'll only need the edge" well that is what I expected out of this class and when they finally announced the line up for the final class of the night I was ready and going thru my head was "SUNDAY SUNDAY -oh wait it is Saturday, no wait (I look at the time) nope it is SUNDAY" and at 12:41am the first hook of the No Weight Limit Open Farm Class happens and I am on the edge of my seat -

and here we go - have you ever seen 4-wheel drive tractors pull?  Here it comes, still coming, I think it's moving, yep here it comes, still. coming. - they. . .are. . .slow. . .and. . .steady - so I just scooted back and used the whole seat cause it was gonna be awhile!

We finally decided at 1:30am and 2 kids passed out cold in the truck to head home - it was a long night and I believe that I am getting to old to "party" all night like that but it was fun and so glad that we went!

I also learned that while I like hotdogs it should NEVER be the last thing I eat of an evening and especially at 11pm at night!!!!

July 23, 2012

Third Times A Charm!

The things I am willing to do or more appropriately not willing to let a calf do so this pair could go in the show ring one more time during the county fair!

The kids have several opportunities at our fair to have their calves in the ring - Market Steer Show, Showmanship and The Steer Show -
Weigh-in is first thing Monday morning of the fair - our calves usually have no problem making weight - calves have to weigh so much to be able to be in the 4-H auction and so much to show in the Market Steer Show on Monday evening but this year we had one we knew would be close for market steer which required weight is 1050 pounds!

So Monday morning as I am getting up "the Boss" (aka the oldest who now possess a drivers license and has previously informed me that she will be in charge of fair week so we can be professional because when I am in charge we are nothing but a circus - but I digress) informs me that I am not needed at weigh-in that she can handle everything I can just go back to bed!  I tell her I will be bringing Cole in so that he can weigh his steer and heifer in himself since it is his first year, he should do his own and I want pics but that she and her sister may go on in and take care of theirs.  Much to her credit she and the middle get in to the fairgrounds, get the cattle in from night ties and head to the scales with their 3 steers - 2 are just fine but the middles is too light only weighing in at 1010 - and let the circus begin!  A frantic phone call to her father (because we don't need Mom) and he informs her that they need the calf to drink a whole 5 gallon bucket of water!  Much to her dismay we have picky calves who do not like city water and won't drink unless we truck water in from home which she did not take that morning and so who else gets the job but this ringmaster - I throw my clothes on, grab the boy, fill some buckets and head into the fairgrounds!  The calf immediately sucks down a whole 5 gallon bucket of water - Halleiuah - and back to the scales we go -

to weigh in at 1041 - 9 pounds shy!  Back to the stall we head praying that he will drink more water - luckily he was thirsty after he got away from the middle on the way back and ran in circles around the show ring trying to avoid getting caught - so he sucks down a couple of more gallons of water, we mosey past the wash rack (water on the outside has to weigh something right?) for a good rinsing (don't want to be dirty going across the scales for the third time) and we walk the hundred foot to the scales - all I am thinking is "I wonder how long it takes for water to make its way thru a steer before he pee's all the water weight out" when I suddenly catch out of the corner of my eye his tail going up in the air about 25 feet from the scales - it was like slow motion - I yell "NOOOO" grasp his tail and smash it against his rear end so that no "weight" can escape him - I am hollering at Lou to walk faster - luckily there is no line at the scales she leads him right onto the scale as I am following "closely" behind they close the head gate and any "weight" that he is now relieving himself of is on the scales with him - and we have a winner - 1055 -they open the head gate and this circus makes it exit!

I tell this story for 2 reasons - it is hysterically funny and because I can't get across how appreciative I am to The Williams Family and all who work so hard to make 4-H about the kids - getting this calf to weigh 1050 wasn't about winning, it was about making sure that the kids get to be in the ring as much as possible and be proud of the hard work that took them all year to get to this point - I was fully aware this calf had no chance of winning a market steer show - he was a meat wagon no doubt but he was small framed and had just stopped putting on the pounds-but it was about Lou being able to walk in the ring one more time with a calf she had fed herself for almost a year, broke to lead herself and cared for daily - and isn't that truly what 4-H is about?

July 22, 2012

13 years ago at this time . . .

I had been home for about 5 hours taking care of a 3 and half year old and a newborn!

Happy 13th Birthday to my surprise little girl!

Emi Lou was supposed to be Brett Coleman, right up until the second she was born and the doctor said "It's A Girl" and in a daze of painkillers I was thoroughly confused and kept insisting that the Dr. was wrong and it was a boy, while my sister was just outside the door looking at the nurses saying "Did he say a girl cause I think it's a boy?"!  Seriously we had spent the last 4 months preparing for a boy, it didn't really matter that she was a girl we just were expecting a boy - that is what they said at the ultra sound so that is what I was prepared for!  Now my Mom on the other hand kept insisting it was a girl - so much so that she even insisted 2 days before I was induced that I go to the store and buy a cute pink outfit to bring "her" home from the hospital in!  I am positive I rolled my eyes but indulged her and purchased a little pink & white striped outfit - I remember bringing it home setting it by the door in the sack with the receipt in the bag so that when the baby was born a "boy" I could return the outfit immediately!  We (Chris & I) even picked her name out 2 days before she was born - we just looked at each other that night and both kind of said "Oh I don't know, like it matters but I guess we will just go with Emi Lou"!

Mom was right!

Emi Lou joined us on July 22 at 4:30am and she was a girl!
Good thing we had that pink outfit!

And at 2:30 that afternoon Chris looked at the Dr. and said:
"She looks pretty good (nodding towards me) and the baby seems healthy do you think you might go ahead and release them so we don't have to pay for the extra night in the hospital?"
We had/have self-employed health insurance and no maternity and the Dr. knew that he looked me and the baby over and said "Sure I don't see a problem with that"!

Seriously, I am not kidding - we loaded up and came home - Emi Lou has never spent the night in a hospital!

My girl is energetic, talkative, caring, loving, stubborn, independent, needy, imaginative, messy, ornery, a girly tomboy and a lover of all things pink - she is a ball of fun to be around but stay out of her way when she is mad (wonder where she gets that?) and I couldn't love her anymore if I tried!

Happy Birthday Emi Lou - you are a blessing - Welcome to your teenage years!

All well wishes go directly to her and sympathy wishes to me!

July 18, 2012

The Love Of My Life - God Bless Him

20 years!  It is one of those things when you stop and think about you can’t decide whether it feels like “Wow 20 years it has gone so fast” or “Wow-20 years-seems like a lot longer!”!

Chris and I met in January 1991, had our first date in July 1991, got engaged in November 1991 and married July 1992 – happiness and bliss have been our life since the day of our first date (don’t worry even he knows that is dripping with sarcasm)!  But in all seriousness I am truly blessed have been since day one and love him with all my heart!

Our first date was on a Tuesday night, we went to Stuart Anderson's Cattle Co. to eat and afterwards on the way home he says to me “I like to go on a first day on a week night that way I don’t have to entertain you all night!” – yeah he swept me right off my feet!  Every time I tell this story he interjects that he meant “first dates can be awkward I just meant on a week night you don’t have to stay out late” but he did not clarify that the evening of our date – I did go home and tell my Mom what he said and we both just kind of rolled our eyes and thought ‘wow but whatever’!  Of course that didn’t stop me from jumping at a second date the minute he asked!

Our third date- The Johnson Cty Fair tractor pull

We also went to the state fair on a date!

In November of that year after dating for 4 months we got engaged!  Chris sold a load of hogs in Columbus to Mariah Packing drove over to Fairoaks Mall walked into a jewelry store and bought a ring-I am pretty sure he changed his boots but also pretty sure that the scent of hogs was still with him and probably a first for the jewelry store staff - I'll be honest I can't remember the exact date that we got engaged officially - I do recall that the night before Thanksgiving that year we were talking about it and I said "Aren't you supposed to ask my Dad first" and he said "Why don't you take care of that, mention it to your parents and see what they think!" - so I did on Thanksgiving morning sitting in my parent's kitchen while my Mom was cooking and my Dad just looked at me and said "I don't see a ring" - my Dad was very practical, I am not sure if he maybe thought I was just musing but mostly thought I needed to make my own decisions.  I know he didn't give me the ring that day but it must of been that weekend - I know I should probably know this stuff-but details aren't much my thing I just knew we were getting married and I was ecstatic!

When it came to choosing a date I knew I wanted warm weather - I wanted a hog roast in my parent's backyard!  So the first thing Chris did was look at me and say "OK no spring or fall - no April, May or early June because of planting, no September or October or early November because of harvest; we wean these dates so none of those weekends; we breed these dates so none of those; we farrow these dates so none of those; the county fair is always the end of July (it was back then) do we agree we want to be here and go?  So pick a date!"

And about the only one left was July 18!

It was perfect - although I don't remember a thing I was so nervous!

And everyday since has been storybook perfect - The End!

OK but seriously it is a wonder that Chris put up with me all these years - I might have a slight attitude problem, be a tad short tempered, maybe just a little stubborn and most def. he has spoiled me rotten which is great for me not so much for him - but we have made the most of the really good times and struggled thru the bad together.  We were blessed with amazing family on both sides, friends that we adore, 3 of the best kids, 8 nieces & nephews, doing what we both love for a living - we have seen drought, flood, crashing hog markets, the continual roller coaster of the grain market, the loss of 3 of our grandparents, losing my Dad - BUT WE DID IT ALL TOGETHER and I wouldn't trade one minute (good or bad) for anything different!

I love you Chris Campbell, thank you for the most amazing 20 years

 - here is to another 130!

FYI Chris - this is your card and present all rolled into one that didn't cost me a dime - aren't you proud of me!!!

July 16, 2012

Stall Setup & Annual Airing of the Grievances

Well we have made it thru judging week, set-up & the annual airing of the grievances (I hope)!  Def. made it thru judging week, def. survived set-up and I am hoping we have made it thru the airing of the grievances - it wasn't so much a knock down drag out screaming match this year so I am not counting my chickens before they are hatched - it has been known to happen as late as Wednesday of the fair during grooming for the steer show - but we did have a scuffle so am hoping the gods count that as the official airing and we are done for the year!

What is the Annual Airing of the Grievances you ask.  Well it is truly a sight to behold if you are not involved - it is the one time of the year Chris and I have our knock down drag out - we have scuffles, disagreements and bicker thru out the year but this annual event is on a whole different level for us - funny thing is it isn't always just about the fair and showing even though that is what seems to set it off - things come flying out of left field during this 'confrontation' - it has become somewhat expected and a joke between us really - sometimes close to the fair something will happen and instead of 'discussing' it right then one of us will look at the other and say "just save it for the airing" or something will happen and after it is over one of us will say "oh that is so coming back up in the airing"!  But this year has been different, maybe it is the fact that I am no longer the ring leader of this circus but according to the new boss (yeah the oldest) she is whipping this outfit into shape and 'finally' making us look professional - I say more power to her and handed her my jacket with tails and black tophat (cause she is so gonna need them to look professional

We actually accomplished set-up pretty low key this year - the kids did so much of the work, I really can't believe how responsible they have become - now ask me at the end of the week if I still feel that way!

These are from our first trip in - moving the mulch around, setting up the fan cage, hanging fans, running the electrical cords and bringing in the show box.

This is my favorite picture - I have one from every year!

And the final result - takes us 2 trips with the trailer, second load is swing chairs, hay, straw and grooming chutes!  My hope every year is that it looks this good at the end of the week!

Tmw. read about our first day, a rousing game of Bullshit and what I had to do to make sure the middles steer made market weight- it's classy only in a way I can pull off!!!!