Thursday, September 30, 2010

Walking in to October

Well, as I have mentioned and alluded to, Monday was in its rarest true form around here.  I was kind of pouting, my house was in shambles, then I pulled a huge muscle in my leg, and the girls have only seen glimpses of Tall Guy in the daylight hours.

Hmmmmm.....only seeing Daddy during the "dark" hours.  October....hmmmm.....a girl could get a little spooked if she didn't know better.

Want to see something else a bit spooky?  I yick-yacked about this on Facebook a bit because it kind of freaked me out, but......well......if you have seen any part or all of Mr. Hitchcock's. The Birds, you might understand!



Not only have I seen this movie several times, (it's probably the only scary movie I have ever seen in its entirety!), I used to show it to my seniors and have them write a paper over foreshadowing, and it usually fell about this time of year.  One of my former students chimed back at me after my bird post Monday, "That's what you get for making us watch that movie!"


Maybe now you can understand why I get a bit creeped out when the black birds start gathering around here and sitting by the HUNDREDS on the wires between the poles that line the road!  Yeah, I hear that "Doo doo Doo doo" music in my head.


It starts out so innocently, just a few birds on a wire,


And then you get to looking around because you think you hear birds chirping........


 AND THEN YOU LOOK UP!


ACK!!!!

Can you remember from other posts that there are TWO silos in this picture?

Can you start doing the math in your head that if the north side of the front one had this many birds on it and you MULTIPLY that times FOUR........

ACK!!!!!!!


When this gathering of birds actually took off, I swear there were about a THOUSAND birds doing that swoopy all-for-one-and-one-for-all flight formation.  That's when I decided to take my self inside and make sure all windows were closed, and thought, like another friend on Facebook hinted at,

Now what would Tippy do?
(Tippy Hedren, the actress who played the blond chick in the movie AND mother of Melanie Griffith)

 Happy October!
p.s.  My leg is feeling all back to normal now.  
Whew... it's heck getting older!
p.s.s.  The Ford truck pictured yesterday is actually seven years YOUNGER than me.  
I'm gonna have to check to see if Oil of O'lay makes a vehicle wax! ;-) 





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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Walking with a Hitch in My "Get- Along"!!


Monday was just not my day in many ways.  I was bummed that I went the big girl route and stayed home to find the floor of my house and the bottom of the clothes hamper instead of running down to Indy to play, brainstorm, and visit with my bloggy friends.  My husband sensed this and, in an effort to cheer me up, asked if I wanted to help him outside.  I went because I am a very dutiful helper.

In the middle of harvest, we also have cattle to feed, and that requires Tall Guy to get out the very big mixer and grind feed ever so often.  This day he was out of one of his main ingredients, corn gluten, so it was time to fill up the canister.  This is the corn gluten canister!

The tall, white, boxy looking storage thing with the auger going up.

Don't you love our truck?

It's a Ford, and I think it might be older than me, but it still runs!



 This is what corn gluten looks like.

And now it is on its way up and in the storage bin....

as Tall Guy looks on.
( I think he has "it" over PW's Marlborough Man, but I am a little partial!)

Now... This is where my helpfulness takes a huge leap, and I end up walking funny for going on two days.  Before this lovely gluten can go in the storage bin, someone has to climb up here

and open a door and put the snout of the auger in the opening so it goes where it is supposed to go.  Do you see how the steps to the left are more spaced out than the steps on the upper right ladder?  Like a three step to five step ratio~!  Tall Guy made the ones on the left himself.  Mr. Six Foot Three himself! Check out this next picture!

Yep, NINETEEN INCHES between each step!  DANG!  I hobbled out yesterday with Bear and Tink to measure the object of my pain.   19 inches is roughly from the bottom of my foot to the top of my knee, (Just call me Mrs. Five Foot Four!  My mom is 4'9 1/2", but that's a whole other story!) so when I climbed up the first ladder, I kind of felt like Mrs. Spiderman all stretched out!

Ok, One cute girly-posed picture then back to my story of pain!

I honestly did not realize I was injured until I woke up Tuesday morning.  My right quadricep muscle felt like someone had punched it all the way from the top of my knee on up my leg.  Apparently I am not in the perfect shape for scaling tall buildings or rock climbing!  Dang!  I thought I was making some progress, but my 48 year old muscles are telling me to stay as close to the ground as possible!  :-P  That's no fun!  The muscles in my back also went in on this mutiny and are all achy too!  Geez-O-Pete!

Well, Back to Monday.... I went up the FIRST time, and thought to myself, "Dang! You should have grabbed your camera!"  As luck would have it, I chose not to wait up there the hour or so it took to empty the truck, so I climbed back down, SLOWLY on the last steps because my whole body had to think long thoughts for my foot to find the step below while my arm held on to the step a couple rungs above!

By the time Tall Guy was ready for me to go up and close everything, the girls had come home and were looking for me!

Yoo Hoo!  I'm up here~!
Yes, I took my camera with me this time!


Here is what it looks like from the "crow's nest."
Down

Hi Sadie~!  

Don't worry everyone; Mommy is just fine! 

NO!
YOU CANNOT COME UP HERE!


Pretty much east. 
You can see our new additions to the house!


Not so much down but still east.  
That's a view of a combine you don't usually see!


Northeast.


Southeast


 Southwest.  


 West!
Hi Illinois!
(It's about ten miles away, but it's always nice to be polite!)

What beautiful panoramas right?  Just about takes your breath away right?  It did mine! ;-)  As you can see we have neighbors, but they are scattered out.

So now I am typing this on Wednesday after a full 24 hrs. of naproxin sodium pills (generic Aleeve), icy hot, and general rubbing of the sore areas.  Sigh.... Why can't we all be 27-28 forever? 

I have one more Monday story to share with you, but I have to stop and stretch now; I'm up for combine duty in about an hour or whenever my phone rings.   Be careful out there, and please keep an eye out for the farmers!
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Bear...A Self Portrait


(She was supposed to be watching her big sister play soccer!)  
Oh well! ;-) 


Lawn Art
(This could be considered a long-necked goose, but it's really a grain auger.)


Harvest

 (The back 160 or so acres!)


Happy Hump Day!  Be careful out there!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Walking with a Noisy Critter

Ok, so I gave up being with my bloggy friends because I had to dig my house out of the piles and piles of stuff that has.....well.....piled up around here with everyone going five different ways to Sunday.  In the midst of my gathering, I grabbed Bear's (I think it's hers) Zhu-zhu pet, and the squeaking and squawking commenced!   Have you seen these little tricksters?  Take a look:





So, when I picked this dear little white critter, seen here.....





........., it started to do its thing.  I ran to my computer and Facebooked the following:

HELP! I accidentally turned on a Zhu-zhu pet, and I don't know how to turn it off! oh heck, well, you know what I mean!

 I had some interesting comments; meanwhile, the little critter turned itself off.  

 

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Walking to the Fire Ring

One clear sign of fall is gathering around the fire ring.  We finally made our own this summer and have had several weenie roasts out there.

What is the ring that holds our fire?

Can you guess?

Pay attention, and I will tell you at the end.


Indiana is known as The Crossroads of America, 
and we see evidence of that every day as we watch 
the jets making their marks in our skies.  
There are many intersections, and here X marks the spot!!
 Cows are rather curious animals.  Of course they have to come out to see what we are doing!
 "UHM.....Yea...Sure those are PORK hot dogs! 
 Apparently we have a doubter in the herd!
 Tink must have grabbed the camera for this one.
 Time for S'mores!  It's gonna be a while if Tink 
doesn't get her marshmallow closer to the flame!

Any ideas yet on what our fire ring was in its first life?
 
 Ah it's getting darker.  
That always make the fire pretty and the girls silly!
Bear and Daddy

Peace out Homeboy!


Ok, Here is a very good look at our fire ring.



Give?

It was once a tractor tire rim!  

We like to reuse things out here on the farm!

Keep your toes warm tonight.  It's going to be another cool one!





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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Walking and taking one from the LongTalk File

I'm a bit tuckered out from all the fun on the farm and soccer field this morning.  I think I will borrow a story to end our focus on the farm, at least for the weekend.  We are kind of "all about" farming right now, so pardon me if that seems to be all I chat about right now.  We should be about half done with harvest.  Woo!

This story is a true story, written in the spring of '01, with just a few embellishments and a couple name changes to protect those involved. Enjoy while I go grab some supper and think about trying to have sweet dreams tonight.
 
 
My evening started out to be a rather normal evening.  I was going to run out supper to Tall Guy and then come back and clean.  I had friends from school coming over the next evening to see where I am going to spend the rest of my life.  On the way home, I passed Grandma pulling a chemical tank out to Tall Guy, who was working ground.  When I got home and changed clothes, Tall Guy called me on the radio to ask if I thought I could drive the chemical tank back home.  I said yes, so I went out to do just that, but once I made it to the truck, Tall Guy saw something he didn’t like on the wheel, and I had to take it in town for it to be checked out.  While at the place where farmers take their chemical wagons to be poked at, I caught heck from Paul and Mike for not saying hello to them that morning.  They had been at the house working on a truck as I left for school that morning.  (I DID look for them, but I was running late and had to go!).  The wheel checked out, and after promising to never be stuck up again, I headed back to the house with the wagon.

I made it home, cooked supper, and headed out to find Tall Guy.  He was in a new field, and I was driving a different truck because I am not allowed to unhitch anything by myself, and I don’t think I would even if I did know how to do it!  We had a nice supper in the truck, and then I took Tall Guy to another farm so he could move another truck with chemicals back with him to the current field.  Did you know farming involves a lot of moving? This is where the night started to change again.  It was almost 7:00 p.m., and I still thought I had plenty of time to clean the house until Tall Guy had a call on his cell phone from one of his cousin's homes saying that another cousin, a few miles north of us, had two calves out.  That call sent us off in “hot pursuit” because the sunlight was fading fast.  We stopped by the house to pick up Grandpa's truck, and then headed north toward the escapees.

There they were, in a newly planted corn field, no fences, about a half mile long and infinitely wide.  It was their first night on the farm.  The two had been bought at the sale barn that afternoon so they had no idea where they were or where they needed to go.  Eight of us headed out to the field;  some went out on foot, I was in the truck, and a cousin was on a motorbike.  Time was a big factor because we were losing daylight.  Did I mention the ultra light?  I actually knew where we were going before we got there because there was an ultra light plane hovering and then diving in the sky trying to keep the calves moving in the right direction.  In hindsight, I’m still not sure how helpful that was.  I’m certain the pilot was trying to to help, but his plane spooked the calves about 50% of the time.  We actually have several ultra lights flying around our skies, but let’s get back to our calves.

At first, we tried to bring them in by surrounding them on foot, but that calves had too much energy.  They were about half grown, too big to be cute but small enough to sort of manage.  Just when we had them out of the field and across the road heading for the house, they bolted back out to the field.  We doggedly rounded them up again and maneuvered them in to a pasture. (That sentence might be simple to read, but the real action was not!)  
 
Now, one was in the barn , but the other one ran through the electrical fence, across the road, and, yep, back out into the field.  By this time it was very difficult to even see the calf; it was dark red.  I went back and got the truck, and Tall Guy, his dad, and his cousin jumped in the back while Tall Guy’s Uncle D rode shotgun with me.  This time we had to drive out in the planted field that I had managed to stay out of until this point.  As we looked for the calf, I had Tall Guy telling me where to go and how to drive from back in the cheap seats and Uncle D telling me where to go and how to drive and grabbing the steering wheel on the inside.  
This all reminded me of a scene from  The Dukes of Hazard, only it was probably the unedited version:  
 
“Go fast!” 
 
“ *&%^&^%& Slow down!” 
 
“ &^%^&5 Stay out of the corn!”  
 
“^%^&^%&^  Follow that calf!” 
 
There were several guys jumping in and out of the back of the truck in the middle of all this chaos.  I truly tried my best, but there came a moment when Uncle D jumped out of the truck to head off the calf, and I did a Chinese fire drill to end up in the passenger’s seat so Uncle D could drive.

After much swerving, speeding, backing up, “nudging” the calf with the front of the truck, and general swearing, the darned thing made it back up to the house and in to the pasture.  Tall Guy had the wired fence fixed, and we hoped the calf was too pooped to try and make another break.  We knew we were too pooped to chase it.  
 
There was some discussion about putting it in the barn, but it was too dark to risk it.  There was also discussion about shooting the dog who started this whole mess and smacking the person who let the calves roam in the pasture on their first night.  (That would have been Uncle D, but no one seemed to want to point out this fact: new calves should be “barned up” for a few days when they first arrive at a new place until they know the place better.)   The final vote was to let it be and head for home.  There was a final bit of discussion about how the farmer whose cornfield we were in would feel about all this traffic the next morning.  I would have liked to have gone up in the ultra light to see how the field looked the next day.  Someone from Arizona would probably think that aliens had landed there or at least tried to leave a message!

By the time Tall Guy, Grandpa, and I made it back home, it was 9:00, and my cat Pumpkin had not cleaned one inch of the house!  Lazy cat!  I picked up what I could, while Tall Guy hopped in the shower, and we called it a night around 10:45.  And that’s how a typical night goes out here on the farm.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Walking and Talking about How I Got Here: Chapter 2

Here we are, ready for Real Farmwives of America.  Thanks to Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs for gathering us all together.  There are links to more stories to read at the end of my post.  These gals are hard working, multi-tasking ladies, most of whom just happen to know how to drive VERY LARGE machinery.  It's what we do; we are farm wives.

So let's see..... where were we in my story, How I got Here?  Click here for Chapter One

Oh!  Off to college I went, Ball State University, English/Secondary Education double major, French minor, and Honors College student.  That last part was so fun and important at the beginning of college, but when it came down to having two classes left to take to get the"Honors" on my diploma, I decided it wasn't that great!  I had just come off taking like six classes in the summer and two full quarters so I could student teach in the spring.  GIVE ME MY DIPLOMA was about all I could think!

So now I am teaching high school English, two years at Hamilton Heights and what would be the remaining 16 years at Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, IN.  I got used to everyone asking me, "When are you ever going to get married?!?!?!!"  One of the great things about teenagers; they ask what they want to know!  Same with family.

One of my single girl friends and I used to go out, and guys would ask us the standard, " So what do you do?"  She was the administrator of a nursing home, so our standard line would go along the lines of, "I am in to futures and she is in the antique business."  Always have to preserve a bit of mystery right?

There was one blip on the romance radar before I met Tall Guy, but let's just say it was a learning experience and leave it at that.  I licked my wounds and met Tall Guy the next year at a 4th of July gathering known as Slobberfest!

Yep!  It sounds about like it was.

Nope!  I'm not going to share pictures, mainly because I am not sure what box they are in.  Also to preserve any conceptions you have of me as being an angel with my halo all bright and shiny!

Tall Guy was introduced to me as a farmer, dairy farmer to be exact. And while it was a kind of slow start, I was pretty sure he was the one by September, and positive by November.  Him?  Hmmmm...... Have you ever known a farmer to do anything quickly?  SIX YEARS LATER, almost to the day, we married.  I may go back and fill in some blanks some day, but that's our courting in a nutshell.  Me hanging out at the farm, getting to know the back end of every milk cow as TG and I chatted during the milking, riding in tractors and combines, sitting beside him at Purdue basketball games, and country line dancing on the weekends when he could make it.

No, he doesn't dance... well except for the slow ones, and then he still doesn't move too much! ;-)

It has been a learning process, actually living the life of a farmer, a livestock farmer.  We farm about 2000 acres, and guess what!?! 160 of those acres are my Grandma Phyllis and Grandpa Bill's farm!  Yep!  Want to know a secret?  I cannot wait to get on some piece of machinery and be on that ground.  

I have such memories of that farm from my little girl brain.  We used to ride on the fender of the tractor. (Yes I know a HUGE no-no, but that's what we did back then.  I'm not sure how I survived dangerous cribs, not wearing seat belts, and riding my bike without a helmet!)   I listened to the voices of Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreau and telling me how Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and the rest of the Chicago Cubs fared on game day on 720 am WGN!  I still like my Cubbies via the radio!  My brother and I played in the beans and all the wagons.

Oh....uhm....back to Tall Guy and me right!

We live in the house Steve has lived in all his life.  His parents moved in town, and we farm our ground and family ground.  We also raise feeder cattle.  The dairy was sold in April of 2001, and we were married in June of that year.  My Tall Guy loves his cows, so when the Holsteins left the farm, he and his dad invested in a cow/calf operation.  That means we had mostly heifers (young, "inexperienced" girl cows) and a bull.  A few months later we have a lot of pregnant cows who calved in the spring.  That sounds fairly simple, but it was a lot of work, and so we sold the mommas and their calves.  We now raise feeder cattle, which means we buy the calves after they are weaned, and feed them until they are ready for market.

As a side note, about eight years ago, Tall Guy slipped on a rock he had thrown up on the steps of the combine, and landed on his rump roast.  This fall led to severe back pain and a herniated disc.  He has had three surgeries in the years between now and then.  Two what I call "nip and tucks" where they nipped the ruptured part of the disc in hopes that it would mend itself.  When two of those surgeries didn't work, his back went out again last November 15, it's the day before Bear's birthday, so I remember it.  January 19 he went in to have his disc fused together, and this surgery seems to have been the right choice.  All three surgeries happened in the winter months when his folks go south for the winter so that left yours truly to feed and tend to the cows.  That is a whole other experience I will tell you about soon!

Time to end this rambling with some pictures.  Glad you all likes the "vintage" pictures from yesterday's post.  I will go back and fill you in on the family tree when the snow is flying and there is more time!  Here are some fun farm pictures from our modern day life.  A few you have seen before and the rest ....... well I think they will make you smile!  Don't forget to visit the gals at the end of my picture parade.  You can take a whole field trip to the country one farm at a time!















Nighty-night from the farm.  Stay tuned for more chapters to our story.  Right now, Tall Guy just walked in; it's 10:00 p.m., and we are heading upstairs for some shut eye before the sun rises again.

Be safe, enjoy your the meals you prepare for your family every day, and please know that we are doing our very best to provide you with the safest, least expensive food in the world.  Please do not be afraid of "high fructose corn syrup," or other "red flags' the media put out for you.  Ask a farmer, ask one of these ladies, ask me any question you have about what we do, and we will give you a straight forward answer.  We are families, we are farmers, we live real lives, and just about every day on the calendar is a good day on the farm.

Now, enjoy meeting the ladies below and learning about what they do.

o   Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs
o   Amy & Liz at 2 Maids A Milking
o   Marybeth at Alarm Clock Wars
o   Leah at Beyer Beware
o   Jennifer at Farmgirl Follies
o   Jeanette at Fence Row to Fence Row
o   Lauren at Four Ransoms and a Farm
o   Jane at Going Jane
o   Cris at GOODEness Gracious
o   Meggie at Hoosier Farm Babe
o   Jent at My Front Porch
o   Denise at Who is the Grown Up?


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