Monthly Archives: November 2013

my cousins
My cousins

Cousins

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love getting together with family. I love the food, the fun, and the joy. After dinner we clear the table and get out our penny jars to play poker. We’ll have just one more small piece of pie, which we repeat several times during our poker game. Our games are limited to penny antes and small change only. 

When my sister, Gail and I were young we could hardly wait for our grandparent’s, aunts and uncles to come over. Most of all we were thrilled to spend the day with our cousins. The basement floor was scrubbed and slick for roller skating and dancing. We'd set up our own area with snacks, and pop music. We'd keep completely separate from the adults upstairs.

When our guests arrived we’d hug and greet each one. I can still smell my grandmother’s wonderful perfume. She'd wrap us tightly into her arms and tell us how much she loved us. Her lipstick always left a mark that we'd rub off. I miss her, she was beautiful.

 When my two oldest cousins became teenagers they'd show us the latest dance moves they’d learned at junior high dances. We'd skate, sing, and dance to the latest pop bands. My sister and cousin, Laura would argue about which of them would marry Bobby Sherman and which would end up marrying David Cassidy.

Cousin's Dan and Steve were up-graded to the adult table once they reached thirteen. We looked enviously up at them from our corner where we sat at a card table with folding chairs. Our seats were significantly shorter that theirs. The adult table was an anomaly; Gail, Laura and I pretended not to care that the boy’s were drinking from “real” wine glasses. Dan and Steve kept turning in their chairs and raising their glasses towards us, we feigned disinterest.

Advancing to the adult table was inevitable for each of us. We seldom get together now. Our cousins’ live in different states. Each of us has our own family now with the commitments that accompany those relationships, but we share a wonderful past. These memories are ours forever. Anchored into our lives are the greatest embodiments of God’s wonderful blessing to us all… Love! This Thanksgiving we'll be greeting new friends and family and mourning the loss of others we've loved. We'll celebrate the joy of past gatherings and the hope for future reunions. This Thanksgiving join your hearts and your hands with those you love and Have a Wonderful Holiday!

 Welcome a stranger,

Seek out a forgotten friend

Keep a promise

Laugh

Listen

Brighten the heart of a child

Encourage the young

Express your gratitude

Be gentle

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth

Speak your love

Speak it once again…

And

Let your heart be filled with

THANKSGIVING

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Waterlines
Waterlines

Boot weather.

On Monday, November 11 it started snowing early in the morning. I was reminded of the Armistice day blizzard of 1940. Luckily,  it stopped snowing around noon. I forgot what I hated most about winter until it started snowing. It's not the snow I hate, it's boot weather. Specifically, it's my left boot. It's a sock sucker. Slowly my sock starts sliding down my leg until it's wadded into the toe of my boot. I can't walk more than 100 yards before my foot is completely naked. Rubberbands haven't helped, tucking my pant leg inside my socks hasn't helped. Not even wearing socks that reach up to my chin has helped. I'd switch to one of my 17 other pairs of winter boots, but each one has another unique fault. One pair makes obscene noises when I walk, another rubs my ankle raw, and then there's the boot with a mysterious hole somewhere that water keeps seeping in. I don't dare buy another pair because Keith's convinced it's not the boots, it's me.

The farm is set for winter. Hay is stockpiled in the pasture, ready to feed. The pigs are out of the pasture until the ground is frozen. This prevents them from damaging the cover crops which will be the first areas they graze this spring. Six new pasture water stations for the cattle are almost complete. This was the last big project of the year. On Monday, during the snowfall, we finished trenching the lines.

I am working on my annual list of what I'm thankful for in time for Thanksgiving. At the top of my list is wonderful, supportive customers like you, thank you!

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Today's post is written by Cookie. We were going through old pictures and I asked him to write about growing up on a farm. Here's what he came up with, enjoy.

Cookie, the prankster at 8
Cookie, the prankster at 8

 

I was eight years old when I first did it. I unplugged the electric fence and waited for something to try and crawl under it. Then I jammed the plug back into the socket. Off yelped a dog, blasted by a pulse of electricity. I was a deranged eight year old, mad with power, using an electric fence to terrify whoever was unfortunate enough to cross his path. My friend David got zapped several times, he always forgave me.

 The fence was four rails made of wood with three strands of electric wire; one at the bottom, second rail, and one strand along the top. My shocking spree lasted several weeks. It was sporadic and unpredictable. At random I’d strike. Dogs, pigs, goats, horses, brothers, or friends were all fair game.

 Then I saw it. The big score. The one to go out with.

It was a frosty morning and the fence needed to be fixed. My dad was on one side, leaning over to reach something across from him. At this point both my parents were blissfully unaware of my newfound hobby, or so I thought. As such, they charged me with unplugging the fence and making sure that it stayed off until my dad was done.

Old habits die hard. In went the plug. Profanity ensued from my father. The deed was done.

Days passed and nothing happened. I was a free man. My alibi of “the wind must have plugged it back in” had seemed to hold up. No one was the wiser. While I hadn’t struck since, I was planning to. In fact, I had unplugged the fence and was sitting on top of it, contemplating when and where to strike next. Shocking people was fun, and I doubted it even hurt that much. Personally I’d never been zapped, but it couldn’t be that bad. Atop the fence I sat, blissfully unaware that I made a perfect target for anyone out for revenge. My mom, intent on teaching me a lesson about mischievous boys, entered the barn behind me.

I was wrong about how bad getting shocked was. When it happened I was taken by complete surprise. If there’s anything worse than sitting on an electrified wire, I’ve never experienced it. Immediately I regretted all my past electrocutions.

From that day forth I've never played with the fencer. Everyone on the farm has been safe from getting an electrical shock from me.

"Good Judgement comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgement". -Unknown

 

 

Here's a little farm quiz to test your agricultural knowledge. Have fun!

Q. In 1945, the farmer got $0.45 out of every food dollar spent. In 1952, the farmer got $0.49 of each food dollar spent. How much will the farmer receive in 2013?

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A. Farmers and ranchers receive only 20 cents of every food dollar that
Consumers spend on food at home and away from home.

 

Q. Does the last milk drawn from a cow have more butter fat than the first milk drawn? Or is the milk the same start to finish?

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A. The first milk drawn is the lowest in butterfat.

 

 

Q. True or false: Your milk cow and dairy goat got into your garlic patch, now their milk tastes and smells like garlic.

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A. True

 

Q. In 1950 the average American ate 4.3 pounds of food daily. How many pounds did the average American eat in 2012?

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A. 4.7 pounds daily (this does not include soda or juice)

 

Q. Not including land prices, how much money does it cost a farmer, per acre, to plant corn or soybeans?

 thumb_agriculture_corn_harvesterA. In 2012 farmers spent $513 per acre growing corn and $301 per acre growing soybeans.  An additional $230 per acre is added for land costs. Bringing cost per acre to $743/corn and   $531/soybeans.

 Q. Which farm animal was used by the Canadian government to detect West Nile virus on the U.S./Canada border?

a. Rabbits

b. Chickens

c. Sheep

d. Goats

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 A. In the year 2000, the Canadian government used chickens as an early warning system to detect West Nile virus entering from the United States. About 600 chickens were placed in special cages along the U.S. border from Maine to Montana. The chickens were tested weekly for the disease.

Well, how did you do? Are you ready to start a farm?

 

 

There are a couple of aging cows on the farm, numbers 049 and 005 are the oldest. Both are in excellent health, there's nothing to worry about, but I worry anyway. The issue is; Can they withstand a harsh winter?

A couple of years ago the winter was severe. One of the cows, 9143 slipped on the ice during a storm that started with freezing rain and ended in fifteen inches of thunder snow. We made a skid to bring her into the barn where she was blanketed, tube fed, and, using a hip hoist lifted onto her feet. Every hour she was raised up for ten – fifteen minutes, then flipped onto the opposite side from the one she'd been laying on for the previous hour. The vet said her age was working against her. In the end she didn't recover.

Garrett joined me on my walk out to the pasture. On the downward slope of the hillside he noticed the slight limp in my gait. “What's up with your leg?”

“It isn't my leg, it's my stupid butt muscle. I pulled it planting bulbs.” Earlier in the day I'd transplanted shrubs, tilled an area in front of the house and planted one hundred-fifty tulip and daffodil bulbs. It was a great effort which was ruined by turkeys, ducks, and dogs digging up the bulbs and scattering them. It will be a great surprise if any make it until springtime.

The single strand of electric fencing was moved aside so the cattle could graze the next paddock in the rotation. “Despite their ages 005 and 049 are moving well. They could give some of the younger cows a good run.”

“Why wouldn't they move as well?” Asked Garrett.

“They're getting old. They'll be fourteen this winter, which is old for a cow.”

“Oh. Hey mom, that reminds me - did you know that of all the kids in my class you're the oldest mom.”

“What!?”

“Yeah, you're the oldest. Me, Brian, and Colten were talking about how old our parents are. You're the oldest.

“It's Brian, Colten and I, by the way. And, your dad's older than I am.”

“Yeah, but he's not the oldest dad, but you're the oldest mom.”

Damn. Throwing Keith's age into the mix didn't help me. “Great. Thanks for sharing, Garrett.”

“The guys like you, they were just surprised that you're so old.”

“Don't you have anything else to do? Maybe you should spend time taking that enormous size fourteen foot out of your mouth.”

“Are you mad?”

“No, I just need muscle cream, aspirin, and Botox along with a good geriatrics program. Then I'll be fine.” Subtle sarcasm is lost on a sixteen year old boy.

“The cows look good, mom. I don't think they'll have a problem this winter. I'm going back to the house, are you coming?”

“No. You run ahead. I'm going around the field then I'll head up the lane.” I didn't want him to see me limping along. These 'old bones' need time to heal before they can kick that sixteen year old's a**.

Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. - Peter Ustinov

The saving grace for the cows; their calves will be weaned soon and calves can't talk. My son's going to be here for a while, a long, long while. It's a blessing and a curse.