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Monday, July 21, 2014

What Do You Wear When Going Out to Work Livestock and Fair Update

After Tink came out to the barn wearing striped and very colorful leggings with her 4-H shirt to work the calves, we got to thinking, What do YOU grab and put on when you go out to feed/work your calves? I asked for her permission to use this picture before adding it.  Without it, there could be a terrible rift in our mother/daughter relationship! I also told her I would throw myself under the fashion bus and share my post on this outfit with you from a few winters ago.

Fair Update:  Whew!  We turned in all projects....2 scrapbooks, 2 posters on shooting sports, 2 baskets, 1 latch hook rug, one geology project, and one photography poster...., and the girls earned some very pretty blue, lavender, and purple ribbons.  We are totally IN. LOVE. with the Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine with Cricut Design Space Free Online Software that I broke down and ordered.  It will pay for itself in no time just by creating titles for projects.  No more half used letter packages because we ran out of a's or e's or n's.  You just can't buy a vowel or letter like the Wheel of Fortune peeps!  I'm sure there will be many more posts coming once I start trying a few of the DIY projects this machine can do!

With fair projects all judged, we get to turn our full attention on the 4 calves that go in on Wednesday. We have learned a lot from last year's experience and are a bit more comfortable with the calves.  Bear's steer and heifer are more "spunky" that Tink's, so we are trying to help them learn proper holds and techniques for stopping and leading them.  Honestly, the best trick is to keep working with them: walk them, feed them, brush them. wash them, blow dry them, and give them a good pat and encouraging words.  No, I'm not saying calves understand English, but I do believe they pick up on fear and uncertainty.  Talking to them in a firm but positive manner can't hurt.

Ok, it's off to the big town to pick up last minute supplies AND school shoes....There is always something coming up right after a big event!  TTFN!  (Tigger-speak:  Ta Ta For Now!)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Mystery of Corn

I really wish I could find the inspirational drawing for this blog post, but my feeble mind cannot remember with such exactness any more.  I can, however, describe it for you.

I saw a picture of a corn stalk, and at every leaf joint, the artist/cartoonist/whoever, chose to put a golden ear of corn!  There were like EIGHT ears on a stalk!  I'm not making this up!

Here's a question for you dear readers:  How many ears of corn does one corn stalk produce?  One?  Two? Three?  Eight?  Ten?

Here is the answer I found when I googled this question: ( Click here for the link back to the original page)

Ear number and size can vary greatly from cultivar to cultivar. Most sweet corn varieties will have one to two ears per plant because they are mature rapidly and are generally short statured plants.

* Early maturing sweet corn will have one ear while those that mature later have two harvestable ears. Commercial corn growers only harvest the first ear because the size and quality of the second ear is inferior. Ear quality (size, flavor, tip fill) depends on temperature during pollination, plant nutrition and water availability during ear growth.
* Field corn, which is used for corn oil, silage and corn flakes to name a few, generally has from one to two ears. Field corn contains high amounts of starch and low sugars so fresh eating quality is poor. Field corn can cross with sweet corn, making some of the sweet corn kernels starchy and flavorless. Ear size is larger than sweet corn since field corn grows taller and for a longer time.
* There are specific selections of field corn that produce six to ten ears per plant. These varieties were selected specifically for the production of baby corn which is used in stirfry and salad bars. Baby corn is harvested from regular corn plants when the ears are very immature. The ears are harvested one to three days after the silks emerge. At this early stage, yields are very low. Growers of baby corn use varieties that produce many ears or plant at very high numbers of plants. Since production costs are so high, very little baby corn is grown in the United States.
Posted on 16 Aug 1999

Dan Drost
Vegetable Specialist

NO!  We don't grow those baby ears of corn....  Do you like them?  Every time I see one, I think of Tom Hanks:

Ok, back to the number of ears on one corn stock.....One or two ears!  Let's see what happens when I Google cartoon images of corn stalks:

This one is interesting.....the number is within the answer of one or two, but it does not grow out of the top of the stalk!

Hmmm.....This one has the ears kind of in the right place on the stalk, but the top most ear is too high.  The stalk would probably blow over if it existed around these parts!

This artist has one too high and a fourth ear coming out of the leaf?

And again, an over-optimistic four ears......

And this one belongs in a fairy tale!

Our corn usually has two ears on each, but there is usually one dominant ear and one lesser ear.

See?  There isn't an ear of corn shooting out from the top of our corn plants.  This is the tassel, full of pollen that will fall onto the silks of the ears and pollinate them so the ears will grow.

And you might be able to tell that there are TWO different kinds of corn planted and growing in this picture.

Any guesses as to what kind of corn the shorter plants are? 

You are soooo awesome!  Of course it's Indiana Sweet Corn!  And as usual, it looks to be heading to full buttery delight about the time our fair starts!  Looks like we will be quite busy one day about a week from now!  

Shoot!  This was going to be a post with more pictures than words, but I feel a lesson coming on.....

Honestly, it's quite busy around here every day at the farm.  This past week we have cut, raked, and baled grass from our waterways and hauled them home. (This is about a three-day process if the rain clouds are "forever in your favor!") The wheat was cut, straw baled and stored from part of the 19 acres we had.  The other part received a healthy dose of "fertilizer" compliments of the cows on our lots. 4-H cows walked for two hours each morning for three mornings then walked, washed, brushed, fed and watered by the girls all of us. 4-H projects due this next Saturday were closer to completion and record sheets are filling up.

One last little funny from the farm...... One of the highly valued young men who came out to help work the straw racks asked Tall Guy what he did at his other job.....  Several farmers do have other jobs to help with insurance and money for years when the crops do not produce their best.....  Tall Guy told him that his job around the farm fills his days and could take about every hour in some parts of the calendar.  

His innocent question was a good one, and it also inspired this blog post because farmers and what we produce seem to fall under several misconceptions.  If YOU have any questions about what we do on the farm and/or how we do it, please ask them!  That's kind of what this whole blog centers around.  

This is also the season of county fairs, and I hope you are able to go out and visit the hard working kids and their exhibits at these fairs.  Kids and their families put a crazy amount of hours in to most of the projects you see.  We are getting ready for ours.  Projects are due the 19th, and the fair kicks off on the 23rd.  If you don't hear from me for a little while, I promise you I am knee to neck deep in 4-H projects.  Hope to see you at our fair or hear that you went to your county's fair!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Putting a name to a "Factory Farm"

I'm joining forces with The Farmer's Daughter to put a face to those farms society sees as being "Factory Farms."  It's my husband, (Tall Guy), my FIL, (Gpa), me, and an occasional extra running the show here on 1800 acres and 130 head of feeder cattle.  I don't see how 3-4 people can be called a factory!  

Please feel free to create your own collage and join the linky party on her site!

Indiana Family of Farmers sponsored this post, but all ideas, thoughts, and old things are my own.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making Memories Then and Now.....

I saw this picture on Facebook, and it brought back memories.  We had a pole just like that with two nails at one end to hold the clothes line and keep it from sagging, which pretty much worked unless the wind decided to be funny.......

Those were the days.  Can't say I always relished the chore of hanging clothes out on the line, and I remember quite a few mad dashes to get the clothes down before the rain hit it.  Did you hang clothes individually or together, like towels/sheets/shirts overlapping each other?

I kind of miss those days,but don't tell my mom though!  We would also use the clothesline for a badminton and/or volleyball net.  If we let the line hang without the pole, we could throw sheets or blankets over it, and we had an instant tent.  It wasn't always easy to mow in the general area of the clothes line.  If you did any daydreaming or became lost in song, you might soon find yourself fully understanding the sports term "clotheslined." I think someone was actually knocked off the riding mower....I'm almost 75% sure it was my brother ;-)

There was a clothesline here on the farm for a while, and I did hang out jeans, but the southerly wind off the cow lot and flies kind of put a damper on clean laundry with that fresh, outdoorsy scent, and the clothesline was eliminated when the sunroom came into being.  This means our girls won't get the experience of hanging up clothes....It got me to thinking that I really need to get them out of the TV/computer game mode to embrace these last few years of summer freedom and build some lasting memories with their imagination. They also need to know the difference between a weed and a flower and how to mow in a straight line.

We have been spending equal time inside and out working on 4-H books and then going out to feed and wash 4-H calves.  Bear and I also need to get out and find the ten perfect subjects for her photography project.  She really has a knack for finding great shots, and as I think I have mentioned before, I am SO GLAD we have reached the digital age!  We would go broke developing all her film. Here are a few of her good ones ( at least deemed so by this proud momma):

If anyone has opinions as to which cow, windmill, reflection, and chicken picture looks best, please let us hear from you.  Is the dandelion picture clear enough or too blurry?  It's so hard to decide! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Baling Wire and Duct Tape.....

There are a lot of sayings that revolve around baling wire and duct tape and the farm. Sometimes we do use and reuse baling wire.....

The picture above shows how the baling wire holds two sections of fence panels to a fence post, actually a metal post.

Yes, the wire was once holding a bale of straw or hay together......

Sunbeam and PJ like that last use so they have a nice place to curl up and relax!

After we use the bale, the wires are gathered up, bent and twisted together, and then put here for when we need to secure things.

There are a million and one uses for baling wire on our farm.  Here are a few more:

Just in case---- one hanging on the grain wagon ladder.....

One lying on the workbench....

One to help secure a safety/slow moving vehicle sign......

One of my favorite uses:  An extra latch to hold a gate open while cows go in and out.

 If the job looks too big for baling wire, we switch to chains.

Oh!  The Duct Tape????  Well, the girls have tons of it and are always coming up with creative ways to use it.  The guys have been known to grab it, put a bandaid on an owie, then wrap that in duct tape so it won't come off during the day, and the wound will stay clean.  Here it is helping secure the homemade auger that shuttles seed from the grain wagon to the planter.

We are big on reusing, repurposing, and recycling around here.

Another saying around the farm is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  While we have replaced some of our bigger tractors to keep up with the larger implements, 

there are still some sage ol' work horses out in the lot.

The utility tractor that runs the auger via its PTO shaft to moving hay bales, spreading gravel, scooping up organic material, teaching 4-H calves to follow a lead, and so much more.

We reuse a lot of things out on the farm.

Not quite sure what this truck bed is waiting on....maybe it is there so I can take a picture of it.

Maybe I should have the guys pull it to the front of the house and use it in my new landscaping????  Wonder what Tall Guy would think about that???

Indiana Family of Farmers sponsored this post, but all ideas, thoughts, and old things are my own.


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