Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Signs of Spring Adventure

The kids and I went Easter clothes shopping the other day and found these cool flowers.  Okay, so we got a little off task--but we did get Easter clothes too.

We thought they were a sign of spring and the kids decided we should go on a 'signs of spring' adventure.  When we pulled in the drive we saw our first sign of spring.  Ryan had brought the planter home to get it ready! It had been stored in the shed at the other farm.

We walked around the yard and found daffodils getting ready to bloom, tulips starting to come up, strawberries starting to show some green and some trees budding out.   Then, the kids decided that no adventure was complete without a trip down to the creek.

We had lots of fun looking around.

The biggest sign of spring for Mom came when we got home--- a couple of fresh cuts from walking around in the timber. 


Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Blogger Award!

I received this award from DebH over at Dakotagoats: http://dakotagoats.blogspot.com/.  She's a wonderful women.  You'll have to read her '10 things' too! Thanks, Deb!

Here's the rules for the award:

1. You must accept the award.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award.
3. Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
4. Paste the award on your blog.
5. Write 10 things about yourself that others might not know.
6. Pass the award on to 10 others.

Okay, ten things about me that others might not know:
1.  I am Catholic.  I married a nice Catholic boy too.  : )  He came complete with the traditional large family--19 first cousins!
2.  I used to have my own scrapbooking store.  I still have quite a bit of merchandise left.  Hmmmm, I'm thinkin a giveaway on my blog in the near future.
3.  I like to eat prunes.  I just bought a bag at the store the other day.  They're so delicious!  My husband thinks I am so weird. 
4.  I own two guns.  My favorite is a pink pistol that I bought last year.
5.  I have.....tendencies.   I like things to be done 'just so'.  I don't have an overly clean house by any means, but if something is put away it is put away right...and neatly.  Also, if something is not where it should be, I can't find it.  At work they dusted my desk and put my stapler in a different spot.  I couldn't find it--it was in plain sight.
6.  I live in the house I grew up in, except it's on our farm now.  We bought my parent's house and moved it to our farm.  Quite an interesting project. 
7.  I had the Grand Champion Rabbit at our county fair when I was in 4-H.  It was a Netherland Dwarf named Oreo.  He was black with a white belly and I thought he looked like an Oreo cookie. 
8.  I'm not a baby person.  Let me explain that..  I LOVE babies, who doesn't?  I've just never been one of those people that holds someone else's baby and says, "oh, I miss when my kids were babies".  I love watching my kids grow and each new thing they do amazes me more than the last.
9.  I drive a pickup.  I have wanted one since I turned 16.  Finally, last year my wonderful husband bought me my very first pickup.  Now I'm a kid haulin, mulch movin, feed bucket takin, seed bag gettin Mama!  It also seems to be my husband's ride of choice when he and his buddies decide to go on a casino trip!
10.  I have only been blogging since last month (I'm already addicted though).  So, I don't know 10 other bloggers to share this award with yet.   I will share with some great people that I have met so far though.
I will pass the award on to the wonderful blogs that I follow:
1. http://janetphillips.blogspot.com/
2. http://thelifeofafarmerswife.blogspot.com/
3. http://intheshadowofjuniperhill.blogspot.com/
4. http://laughing-duck-farm.blogspot.com/
5. http://mycountryblogofthisandthat.blogspot.com/
6. http://www.raisingcountrykids.com/
7. http://smallfarmgirl.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 26, 2010

Muck Boots

In our opinion, no farm is complete without a pair of Muck Boots.  Every farmer, farm wife, farm boy and farm girl needs a pair.  We are in ours all the time.  They are much easier to walk in than the big ole 3-buckle or 5-buckle overshoes.  We have a friend that swears by them for hunting boots.  They are warm, waterproof and comfortable enough to hike the many miles of hunting.  They're much more comfortable and convenient than traditional rubber boots too.  The stretchy tops make it really easy for the kids (and the parents) to tuck their pants into them.  Ryan's and mine are black, but they also come in different colors.  Quentin's are navy blue and they have some really cool pink and purple ones that Maci likes.  Hers are not the actual Muck Boot brand.  I wish they were.  I think she could tuck her pants into them herself if they were.  They are big brother's hand-me-downs, but we wanted hers in the picture too, of course!   

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Fund Hero Party

It is finally starting to seem a little like spring around here.  We didn't have to wear our coats today.  It was beautiful.  Maci and I took the tractor to go move some hay again when we noticed that my sister and her kids were at my mom and dad's house.  Their house is three miles from ours and only about a half a mile from where we were getting the hay.  So, we decided to give her a call and see if Cousin Brody wanted to come help us in the tractor.  He did, in fact he took the job very seriously...

After we got all of our hay moved and Quentin got home on the bus we decided that we would drive our Ranger (ATV) to take Brody back.  Quentin and Maci are trying to save money to buy 6 more chickens.    In Iowa, pop cans have a redemption value of 5 cents.  So, on our way they collected pop cans from the ditches. 

As Quentin was walking he stopped and looked kinda funny at something.  Then he said, "Huh?  A cell phone.  That's weird."  WHAT!?  A cell phone?  THAT'S MY CELL PHONE!!!  I lost my cell phone about a month ago.  The same night Ryan got his tractor stuck and I had to take him a chain.  I stood along the side of the road and took a few pictures for my blog post that night: 10 Great Years!  It must have fallen out of my pocket when I was taking pictures!  Great job, Quentin!

I had an old cell phone that I had hooked up, but it was several years old and didn't have any of my contact's numbers in it.  I thought they were all lost.  Now, what are the chances that this thing will actually work?  There was a ton of snow on the ground the night I lost it, it's snowed twice since then AND it's rained twice.  Well.....I plugged it in.....and it's charging!!!

Quentin, you're a hero!  So, we had a Hero Party for him.  He got to pick anything he wanted for supper.  He chose tacos from the Mexican resturant.  Sounds good to me!

Oh, and after we got home the kids counted out their "can money" for the chicken fund.  The total came to: $7.15 and one cell phone!  Not bad!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Rascals

By now we have quite a few baby calves and they've formed quite a posse.  Today Maci and I were coming home and what did we see waiting for us at the end of the driveway?  All of the baby calves!  They are getting way too brave.  It started out that they would venture out under the electric fence, but never get too far away from mama.  In these pictures you can see that they are close to the yard.  The electric fence actually ends back where you see the mamas standing. 

That was all the further that they had ventured....until today.  Today they came into the back yard, around the house and down the driveway.  I honked the horn and they all went running back to their mamas.  Problem solved?

Nope, they ventured out again.  This is them wondering through our back yard.  They also went into the timber area and wondered around.   ...or, as Maci put it: "Mom, they're goin' into the prickers and thorns!"

Then, they wondered into the side yard.  That's where all the fun toys are! ...the playhouse, the soccer net, the swingset, the sandbox...

Then, Maci and I decided that we shouldn't let them get any farther so, we shooed them back to their moms.

Usually, when we're not home our trusty dog, Myles, makes sure these little runaways don't get too far.  It was raining today, though, so we left him in the basement while we went to town.  We did let him back out later...and forgot about him for a while.  What's a dog to do when it's cold and rainy and he's stuck outside?

Hang out by the dryer vent to keep warm!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It didn't flood!

I posted earlier that we were afraid it could flood in our area.  Well, we were safe.  The auction at work went off without a hitch, but it was REALLY deep!  I tried to get out of the office long enough to get a few pictures. 

Believe it or not they weren't stuck here...

The equipment...

The swimmers bidders...

Jon (my boss) taking bids...

The auctioneering truck...

It was a looong day for everyone!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

National Agriculture Week - Class Visit

Last week was National Agriculture Week and Maci and I visited Quentin's 1st grade classroom to talk about farming.  We told them about the things we have and do on our farm.  We brought along a duck and a chicken egg.  The duck egg brought lots of questions and so did the brown chicken egg.  We also brought some of our farm toys.  We brought a tractor, round baler, mower/conditioner and a semi with a grain trailer.  The mower/conditioner really stumped them.  One little boy knew what it did, but he couldn't think of what it was called...pretty good anyway. Then we read them a story about farm animals and gave them all a kids farm magazine.  The magazine was Little Green.  Quentin has a subscription to Little Green and he really enjoys it.  The people at Little Green were so kind to donate enough for his whole class.  They were all SO excited when they got their magazines.

We had a great time!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Will it flood?

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for our county.  As I said earlier, we've had a ton of snow this winter and now it's all melting....and it's raining.  I included a portion of the official advisory because I thought it was a little funny.  Just read, you'll see:


Don't drown!?  They actually put that!  Funny!

Anyway, at our house this just makes a mess of...



my pickup... 
..pretty much everything!

However, at work we are getting ready for a farmer's consignment auction on Saturday....and we are about 1/4 of a mile from the river. 

Here's what the river looks like today.

It's pretty full, but it looks like some of the water from the fields around is flowing INTO the river.  Which is good.  If the water in the field near the river was flowing away from the river that would mean flooding. 

We sure hope it stays that way.  Everything is already lined up and ready to sell.  Much of the equipment that was brought in earlier is already on the lower ground.

For now, we're crossing our fingers and hoping for the best!

The river has been out the last two years in a row.  Here are come pictures from two years ago when it flooded.  It got clear up on our lot and up to the sidewalk, but not in the building.

I only work part-time, so today Maci and I are at home, inside keeping dry.  We decided it was a good day to make rice krispie bars!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I was published!

Okay, we're not talkin' Newsweek or anything, but I was excited.  I wrote an article for the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman and it was published in last week's edition.  Here it is:

Pride in our Farms, Strength in our Numbers

By: Christi Slater

My husband and I have recently returned from a Farm Bureau Young Farmers Conference. While we were there, speakers Troy and Stacy Hadrick told us the importance of being an ‘Advocate for Agriculture’. They told us that there are many aspects of farming that people are simply not aware of and it is up to us, as local farmers, to speak out.

We have only been home for a few hours and I have already seen the same television commercial three times. It is for the Humane Society of the United States . Most of you have probably seen this commercial. It has those awful images of abused and neglected dogs and cats, a horse and dairy cow. It stars actress Wendi Malick asking you to give a monthly donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

 This commercial is very disturbing, but it also paints a very untrue picture of how agriculture and, more specifically, livestock production actually operates. I found many falsities within this advertisement. One in particular that I would like to touch on was the dairy cow getting pushed with a forklift. As life goes, livestock does die. Whether it be from illness or to feed families. Pushing them around with machinery is NOT normal practice. However, the fact that we have to use machinery to move deceased animals is the truth. These cattle are massive, heavy creatures. Overweight people in nursing homes are moved with a lift system.

We care about our animals, even when we have large quantities of them. Our cattle are fed at night before we even feed our own family. We take pride in our herd. We take pride in all of our farm. It is our life. If we don’t have a healthy herd of cattle when it comes time to sell, then we don’t have money to put food on our table and clothes on our kids.

We know each one of our cattle individually. Some of them even have names...until our kids ran out of names for them. Just like children, these cattle each have their own personalities. We can tell you which one will be first to the feed bunk every night. We can tell you that ‘Red Cow’ (told you we were running out of names) likes it when you pet her right there on her head. We can tell you that every night when we feed them ‘Barb’ will nudge the other girls out of her way. While most producers don't give their cattle names, they can individualize the cattle in their herds. Whether a producer has a herd of five head or 500 head. They can stand at the gate and tell you about those cattle.

  Before hearing the Hadrick’s speak I was not aware of the challenges that face all of us in the agriculture industry. The HSUS uses more than 95% of it’s budget for travel and lobbying against family farmers. None of the $19 per month that they are asking you to donate goes to your local animal shelters. They are not affiliated with local shelters or Humane Societies. Perhaps if you want your money to go to better use you should donate it directly to your local animal shelter. This is where there are kind, caring people that volunteer their time to help animals in need. Many of them are even family farmers just like you and me.

 It is not just this organization that portrays us in a false manner. Family farmers need to be aware that these are the images of us that are being portrayed. More importantly, these are the images that people believe to be true about us. Let people know this is not who we are. Many people are simply not educated or aware. Get involved in your local organizations. Just join. You don’t have to sign up to be president, committee chairman or even bring a covered dish. Just become a member. Farm Bureau offers a number of opportunities to connect with other farmers and hear speakers that educate within the agriculture industry. There are also many online groups you can join that will increase your agricultural awareness. There is strength in numbers. It is not just my family that loves our livestock, land and lifestyle. It is every farmer, rancher and cattleman. Take pride in yourselves and your farms. As the saying goes, a day in the country is worth a month in town.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clover Kids

Last night Quentin attended his first Clover Kids meeting.  Clover Kids is a 4-H club for kids that are still too young to join 4-H.  They have a booth at the county fair where they display their projects (that aren't judged).  They also have a carnival booth that they have to work at during the fair to raise money for their club.

I have just begun my term on the Page County Fair Board this year.  I explained to Quentin that I go to meetings about the fair and that I would be helping with the fair.  He has been bugging me ever since to let him join 4-H so he can be a part of the fair too.  Last night was the first meeting that he has attended and he had a ball!

One of the projects they did was to make snow.  They put a tiny bit of 'snow' in their containers, then added some water.  Then, the snow grew and grew and grew.

After the projects they all got cupcakes for treats.

Quentin can't wait for the next meeting!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hooray! Hooray! Today is the day!

Today was FINALLY the day that our kids got their new chicken house.  They were SO excited!  It all started last year about this time...Ryan took the kids with him to the farm store and they had their spring chicks and ducklings in stock.  The kids loved them and, of course, wanted some of their own.  So, being the coolest dad in the world, Ryan told them if they would do jobs around the house to earn money they could buy some.  Then arrived the two most helpful little kids you have ever seen!  They earned their money and we brought home 8 chickens and 4 ducks.  We had an old chicken house that was on the farm when we bought it, so my grandpa fixed it up a little and we were in business. 

We don't know anything about chickens or ducks, but I will say that we have had so much fun with them.  We had one fatality, Chicken Little died shortly after we brought them home.  Other than that everyone appears to be healthy. 

Throughout the summer my grandpa (who helped fix up the old chicken house) realized that the little chicken farmers were pretty serious about this and things were going well.  He decided that the kids needed a nicer chicken house. So, this fall he started in on the project.  He did an awesome job.  It has nesting boxes, roosts,  a window...the works.  With all the snow we've had this winter we haven't been able to get it moved from his shop in town out to our farm.  Today was FINALLY the day!  The kids were so excited.  We went to town to watch them put it on the truck...

Quentin and Great-Grandpa lead the way to our house...

they unloaded it...

Great-Grandpa put a few of the finishing touches on it...

Quentin checks out the inside again..

Two very excited kids and one proud Great-Grandpa!

We won't be able to move the chickens and ducks for a little while yet.  We need to wait until it drys up a little to get the outside fence put up, but at least it's here now.

Thanks Grandpa!