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Friday, October 31, 2008

Playing with your food


You probably thought when you read the title that I was going to blog about Ellen playing with her food. Actually, at this point, she isn't too bad about doing such. She either pokes it in her mouth or leaves it alone. Or, she chucks her plate on the floor when she's through, if we aren't quick enough to take it when she announces; "Done!"



No. I took the above photo during a trip down to Silver Dollar City near Branson, Missouri. The theme was some kind of salute to farmers or agriculture. In one building we found this; a man in a refrigerated box carving a cow and a farmer from butter. While we were standing there watching this, two thoughts came to my mind; "it must be so cold in there that the dude's hands must get stiff," and "what a sign of decadence; only in America would we play with our food like this."


Hubby also had a couple of thoughts; "there must be a metal superstructure under all that butter or the cows spindly legs would collapse (we later found out this is true)" and, "that butter man is standing in a really dangerous place; the cow could swing her head around and send him for a loop." The second thought obviously comes from a man who has worked with cows for most of his adult life. No matter how tame they are you generally want to take care to stay out of range of their heads, she could swing it around to bite at a fly on her back and if you were in the way you'd get a good kawallop; their skulls are really heavy.

Here's another country saying that MIL picked up in the dr waiting room the other day, it was in a conversation about the upcoming presidential election: "It's like shearing a sow; a lot of noise and not much wool." We all thought that was pretty good.

NaBloPoMo begins tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Throwback Thursday


Here is a pic from the past...not too terribly distant, but with my 4th anniversary coming up I have been thinking about when I first came out here, in June of '04. We went on a float trip down the Niangua River; this was one of the pictures I took.


Dairy News:


The flies and other insects are having their last hurrah now. It has been hovering at or below freezing during the nights now, but warms up in the day. We spend our days chasing and swatting the flies in the house. Also yesterday we saw the first of the nasty Asian ladybugs coming in. Ick.
Anyway. I do have a story here. Hubby takes this flyswatting seriously. He just HAS to get them no matter where they land, or might land after having been swatted. Last week we had just finished eating supper when one landed on the light fixture above the table...SWAT! went hubby. And splat!..right into my plate, thank you very much, kicking its last little death throes. We hadn; 't had dessert yet, so I took the plate and put it over by hubby's plate, at which point he looked at it, picked up the plate and flicked the fly across the room. *sigh* He got a good laugh out of it and said he was sorry. I said it was OK, just something more to blog about.
HA!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"I thought you'd burned it."


"No, dear, it's not a regular pineapple upside-down cake; it's an upside-down pineapple gingerbread."
This was a conversation my hubby and I had about the above cake. It was alright, but I probably will never make it again. The topping was really, strongly, molasses-y....if you know what I mean. I just like making new things.
Lots more to write...no time to do so.
I think I will NaBloPoMo again next month...stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An interesting new-fangled thingy...


Hi, I'm back again...


This past Friday Ellen had another play day with the Parents As Teachers program in Buffalo. It's offered through the school system. The focus of this particular session was on brushing their teeth, though the gal from the health dept wasn't too prepared for her presentation and focused more on the older kids. (This play day deal focuses on kids birth through pre-school, I believe, though based on the name I think it's as much for the parents as for the kids.)
But she passed out toothbrushes to all the kids (and adults too for that matter) and for the little ones she had these as pictured above (taken with an old adult tooth brush for size comparison); an infant-toddler safety toothbrush.
I haven't tried it with Ellen yet. So far Snoopy is doing a pretty good job. However, I am going to try it.
Another bit of info I picked up is that "they" are now saying that you ought to begin flossing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come in; flossing is more important than brushing. Heh! I can appreciate the truth in that theory, but "they" have obviously never tried to BRUSH an infant's teeth, let alone floss them. I actually tried it this past weekend and couldn't even get the floss in her mouth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Y'ain't from around here, are ye?"


"No, cousin, I am a gen-you-wine registered black angus from the upscale Blank Angus farm just west of here. I haven't a clue how I got here, this place stinks, you all are too tall and I want to go home NOW! BAWWLLL!!!"
This angus, on the right, got lost. Was in one of our pastures up the road and of followed hubby home when he brought a calf and cow back here from up there. He shut her up last night and left a message for her owner, but no response. He did call back this morning. He's in Montana and ranch hand in charge was out of town for a week. This is one of his three prize registered cows who might have a set of twins up the road. Great. Well, they are going to try and get her tonight, I believe.
When we first had her shut up back here (I took this pic early this AM, so their eyes are gleaming wickedly.) we were looking at her and thinking the same thing; hmmmm...nice steak potential. But we wouldn't do that to a neighbor.
It's funny how our cows had to come by and check her out. Anything out of the ordinary has to be investigated, plus she WAS pretty vocal about her plight. I dunno why the phrase "curious as a cat" came about...it ought to be "curious as a cow." They check out anything new.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hay Ride

It was a busy weekend. On Saturday Ellen and I went to the annual church hay ride and fish fry. I was hesitant to take her because I knew the ride would last forever, but it turned out to be fun; she enjoyed it.






This has become more of a community event than a church event so there were quite a few people there, many of whom I did not know. There were 4 wagons of people, both kids and adults. What it amounted to was a tour of one church member's fields with various stops along the way to chat with Biblical characters.




The first stop was with Zacchaeus (or however you spell it, I always forget), perched on a limb. He told us about how he was inspired to repay all he had cheated from people, after he had an encounter with Jesus:





Then one of the stock ponds became the Nile River where we saw Moses in a basket by a clump of reeds. Taking his life in his hands the preacher (who did all of the interviewing with a portable microphone) braved the inflated plastic crocodiles to interview Mirriam, who was hidden in a clump of oak trees by the pon---excuse me, on the bank of the Nile. (The top picture was actually taken by the po---err..Nile, but the actual shot I got of Moses wasn't really flattering of one of the tractor drivers. Ha!)




Then I think we went a little further and had the tug of war with an ancient rope, but the rope broke and everyone fell, so next year's budget will include a new rope. The tug of war is supposed to represent the fight of the flesh and the spirit being waged in everyone's life.





After the botched spiritual battle, we headed off to one of the kids' fav spots; the pumpkin patch. This is where they all get out and pick their own pumpkin. Last year the coons ravaged the pumpkin patch and this year Farmer couldn't get them to grow very well, so for the past couple of years the hayride budget has had to include a few pumpkins. Here is Ellen with her pumpkin. This was all new to her, so note the thumb in her mouth, what she does when she is out of her element. (She had unthawed enough by this point to drop the dolly at least)












After the pumpkin patch we circled back around and found Balaam's Donkey, who was courteous enough to tell the story from her point of view. She was kind of persnickety though, she got really restless and jumpy and when Preacher asked her what was the matter she told him his cologne stunk, which got a good laugh. (Of course this was all set up with one of the teen girls in the front wagon on a separate microphone. Note the speaker and mic and script on the haybale.)




We finally got to the last part which was the story of the Prodigal Son, acted out by the Preacher himself, it is his favorite story from the Bible. This stop included a corral of 3-4 pigs. Then they called out certain age groups of the kids and had them go in and chase one pig around and each child got to catch it and pick it up. They used a different pig for each group of kids. This was a popular stop, though quite a few kids didn't want to get in with the pigs. (I don't blame them.)






The Prodigal Son story was acted out in two locations. At the first stop the kids were to pursuade him to go back home to his father. At the second stop he came running in out of the trees to talk to his father, who told him he would put a robe on his shoulders and go kill the fatted catfish....at which point we FINALLY went down the hill to the fish fry.




I should have got a picture of the table (or actually it was a wagon) of food. It was amazing. At any rate, it was quite the adventure. Ellen and I brought back a few mosquite bites, but it was worth it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Odds and Ends

Lately we have had quite a run with getting heifer calves. The day before yesterday we got a set of twin heifer calves. This is only the second set of twin heifers that have been born since I came here about 4 years ago. The rest of the twins, and there haven't been too many of them, have been 2 bulls or a bull and a heifer all of which we have sold because of the risk of the heifer twin being a freemartin (sterile).

At any rate, that made 10 calves on the bottle for us, which is quite a few for such a small operation. We average between 30-40 milkers in the herd and only have about 100 head or so.

I told hubby I'd have to get out there at the time he starts milking to be able to get them all bottle fed, and he said "Yes, the milk man would show up and the tank would be empty because we were feeding it all to the calves." HA. Well, with 10 on the bottle that'd make about 20 gallons of milk down their gullets every 2 days, which is a whacking chunk out of the milk check if you add it up for the 2 months before they get weaned.

So...good old Craig's List to the rescue. Hubby went on-line and checked out the prices at the Norwood Auction for Thurs. Then yesterday, Fri Oct 10, he listed 6 Holstein Heifer calves for sale; $2350. He got one email advising him that that was an awful lot of money, didn't he think? Then we got 3 calls for them. The first guy showed up with trailer in tow and cash in hand and 6 hours after posting them for sale our calves were whizzing down the road. The guy's wife was a heifer raiser.

Hubby, always wanting the last word, emailed the first guy back and said: "Yes, it's a lot of money, and it's in my pocket and the calves are off down the road."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What might these be?


Hedge apples. I had never heard of hedge apples before I came here, but they are pretty common. They come from trees known as "Osage-orange". They are commonly used to repel insects, but it is said this is a myth. I dunno, I have never tried. These "apples" are sticky to the touch and are just plain weird. They aren't edible, you can find out more about them at this website.
Dairy News
There really isn't too much going on that is newsworthy on the dairy. Lately our new first calf heifers that come on line to milk have been pretty disappointing as far as production goes. Their udders are pretty much non-existent. Last night hubby said something to the effect that this last one was a dud. I had one of my rare insights; "Oh," said I, "she is a milk dud."
Bwa hahahaha! (OK, so you had to have been there to really appreciate it. Plus you have to know that a milk dud is a type of candy.)
Never mind.
One other time I had such an insight. Hubby got a John Bean pump to put on the well drill rig for pumping water into the hole as he drilled. He was pretty proud of his Bean pump, they are considered really high quality. It was red and he was thinking of painting it green to match the drill. I told him that'd be cute; a Green Bean pump. hehehe.
OK, I will stop now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

An Ellen post with picture...


Not too much exciting to post about lately so here is the latest picture of Ellen. I took this on Sunday after church. She does really well posing for me at home. I need to get more formal pictures at a studio again, but I haven't because I dunno how she'd react to the photographer. She might be grumpy.
For those of you who have been wondering; yesterday she FINALLY took her first steps on her own. At 19 months she certainly hasn't been in a hurry to walk, but she's on her way now. She uses the little push walking toy she has quite a bit and likes to walk holding our hands, but she has been too cautious to venture on her own. No so any longer. We were excited.


Other news:


Not sure if I have mentioned it on here yet or not, since I haven't been posting much lately, but I have found myself in a "situation." Ha.

For the last two years a family at church has run the Christmas program for the kids. This year they have too much else going on so they declined. So one Monday I get a call from the gal at church who does the little kids program; "hey," she says, "we can do this together." "ummm...ok," I say. Then this past Wed she says something to the effect; "oh, you go ahead and decide, you're in charge." And so I say, "wait a minute, when did that happen?"

**sigh**

Well, there's nothing like a new adventure to make great blogging fodder. We are doing a skit I found on the internet; a news anchor does man-on-the-street interviews to find out about how different people have Christmas joy. It's pretty funny. The REALLY funny thing is that the preacher's daughter has insisted on being the tipsy woman. She did a pretty bang-up job last week when we were rehearsing. I told her her father'd be proud.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A series of unfortunate events...

This actually happened in early Sept, about a month ago.

It was a blazing hot Friday and I had just spent the morning in town doing the dreaded grocery shopping trip. At about 1 PM or so when baby was asleep hubby came in and asked if I would consent to go up the road with some grain and catch the cow that had just had a calf. He'd caught the calf earlier, but the cow wouldn't follow at the time, so he'd left her for later.

Oh, sure, I said. It's not that big of a deal to whip up the road on the 4-wheeler, chuck out some grain and shut up the cows when they come in. Providing of course that they want to move from their shady spot on a warm afternoon.

So I buzz up there. They didn't seem disposed to move themselves from the shade on the other side of the pasture so I buzzed over to them. At this point the 4-wheeler died; right in the middle of shifting gears. I did everything I knew to get it started. But no lights worked. I figured it was the battery. I thought, well, I can at least get the cows caught, so I toted the bucket of grain across the field, in black rubber boots that were hot as stovepipes, and only about 4 out of 7 of the cows followed, and NOT the one I wanted so I didn't bother putting the grain in the feed bunks, but trudged back across the field. I checked the 4-wheeler again. Then I began the three quarter mile hike back to the dairy; up the road in black rubber boots hot as stovepipes.

This takes much, much less time and frustration to write about or to read than it did to experience. After about 50 minutes or more altogether my hot, frustrated, sweaty and grumpy self was just rounding the corner and was in sight of the dairy when I saw my husband pulling out of the drive to come looking for me. He'd got the baby up from her nap after he'd realized I'd been gone too long.

To shorten this up a bit, the 4-wheeler had blown a fuse. I will forever remember my husband's hair blowing in the breeze as I watched him in the rear-view mirror while I was towing him home with the pickup. Ha.

Then next morning I went up there with feed and caught the cow I was SURE was the one we were after, but it turned out to be the wrong cow. So we had to go back up there and try for her AGAIN.

And yes, after 3 tries we did get the right cow.

Sigh.