Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This little piggy....

Sorry for my absence in blogging, but life kind of got in the way for a few days! Darn life thinks it can just mess things up!

Last year Big Son was involved in 4-H and his project was pigs. We have an old barn that we use for 'things' like this. Some of our livestock is seperated out based on its needs and the pigs were in need of houseing. We bought 4 of them and Big Son wanted to share the pictures we took of them when we first bought them. When you show a pig for a 'meat animal project' they have to be of a certain weight range to be considered as part of the project. They have to be under 60lbs to be able to show for the local fair. That way everyone participating has a good shot at 'making weight'. Makeing weight means they have to be a certain weight by fair day 'weigh in'. If they are under that weight, they are not allowed to show because the are not a 'finished' animal... I know - lots of farm talk in this! Weigh in, finsihed, making wieght etc.... Anyway, he wanted to show you pictures of last years pigs. These pictures were taken March/April of 2007.

We had bought a 1 barrow and 3 gilts with the hope that we would raise a few of our own. A gilt is a female, unbread pig and a barrow is a 'nutless' pig.... I love saying that instead of fixed sounds naughty right! Otis was the barrow and Tillie, Bessie and Maude were the girl pigs. In the above picture from left to right is Otis, Maude and Tillie.

Bessie is the white pig - we call a pig like her a blue butt because they have blue spots or markings on - well, thier butt. Bessie has issues with having her picture taken. When others say talk to the hand, she says speak to the rump.

Now, when you are looking for a pig that is going to be a great 'meat pig', you want hams baby! Bessie had hams!! Her 'butt cheeks' were nice and round yet long and muscley, is that a word muscley? If not it should be...

Otis was Big Sons 'show pig' - He was the lucky one to go to the fair and be judged as a meat animal.

Otis had a thing for Big Sons boot - it tasted like chocolate he told me. He did, I swear...

Here Big Son and Lispy are 'pig wispering' - Lispy thinks its a crock of crap. His theary is, get the "pig cane' and they will move where you want them to go. However, Big Son is more in touch with his emotional side and would rather convince the pigs that they want to do somthing than force them to do it.... whatever works huh.

Here Lispy is trying to demonstrate how to handle a pig. She weighed more than he did at the time but he is fearless - FEARLESS I SAY!! I know some of you are thinking, why is she letting those kids get close to those animals like that? I was in the pen with them and the pigs were small compared to when they grew. We strive to teach our kids how to 'handle' animals and never, no matter how much you love them, care for them or trust them, that they are an animal and they DO turn on you at times. We have very calm livestock for the most part, because we feel it is important to work with them so they are used to us, but that NEVER asures us that they will not have a bad day just like people do.

So, Big Son did well his first year and the judge told him that he had a great pig!! Otis was bought at the meat auction by our neighbor who is a butcher. All of the animals sold at this auction are going to be processed for meat, so he knew all along it was coming. That said, it does not make it any easier sometimes. Knowing who bought Otis did help him know that he would be well cared for in his last day and that he would not 'suffer' in his death. Our neighbor told Big Son that he had done a great job in raising Otis and that he had lived a great life at our home. We raise animals for a living. For milking, meat, breeding etc. - but we care for them as though they were gold. In our eyes they have a purpose, wether for milk production, meat production or for the eggs we sell - they have value and are a living creature that deserves respect, love and a good home. We like to make sure that they have everything they need to be healthy and happy as an animal can be.

So, anyone got questions about raising pigs or showing in the fair? I would love to post more about what we do on the farm if you are interested.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I have thought of a way to identify our boys without giving out thier real names - so ya need a pen and paper to righ these down....

The 22 year old we shall call 'Palmer'. The reason for this is because his hands are HUGE. He is only about 5 11' but his hands could be on a pro basketball player they are so big.

The 19 year old we shall call 'Dale' - because he has a huge fascination with Dale Ernhart senior.

The 9 year old we should call 'Big Son' - sounds Native American dont it - because he is always telling me he is my big son... seems fitting then right.

The 3 year old - well we like to call him 'Lispy', yes we are mean and cruel parents because he does lisp with some words and off and on he stutters. He does not have a social problem because of it, so of course we feel the need to torture him.

Here is a picture of Palmer:

That is Lispy with him in our garage after a bad hair cut..... I'll write about that later - much later.

This is Dale....

This picture was taken about 3 years ago at our local fair. We raise purebred Angus and the boys would show them. Dale got 2nd place behind his brother - Palmer. Beautiful steaks standing their I tell ya.....

This is Big Son....

He had mananged to spill - God knows what on his shirt and had been making 'experiments on my table, which then spilled to the floor and found its way to my rug
You can see by the floor that I need new flooring - SO early 80's.... New cupboards too, but that wont happen for a while I am afraid.

And last but not least by any means - this is Lispy..

Now doesnt he look like a handful to you? A regular Dennis the Menace - you NEVER know what to expect.
A couple of days ago I was trying to get some things together for the baby, like washing the little socks, t-shirts, etc that I have left over from the other 2 boys. Lispy had been playing with his toys, the ones in his grubby little paws in the picture, when suddenly it was quiet. Dead quiet. A mother knows with a child like that, quiet is NOT GOOD!! So I bolted out of the bedroom, as fast as a fat woman can bolt, steped on the army guys he had prepared for battle, tripped over his 3 wheel push cart - why did we buy that thing - and finally fell out the patio door to find him holding one of our 10 week old kittens. Our cat, Hope the Dope - yes thats her name - had kittens and they feel the need to live right on the deck. Anyway - I had been canning saur kraut the day before from my 10 gallon crock and left the canner out on the deck when I was done. It had gotten late, 10:30pm and I was to tired (lazy) to bring it in. During the night it rained like a monsoon and it was half full of water. Here's where the poor kitten comes into play - this is the conversation that insued.

"Lispy, what are you doing" I ask

"Hi Mamma - da kitty vanted to doe fwimming" was the answer that I got....

"Lispy, you know that kittys dont like water. Now look she is shivering, cold and probably very afraid of you" I state.

"No her not siverin, her just trying to dance...." At this point the poor kitten was shaking her feet to get the water off of them - but he saw it as dancing.

I continue to attempt to explain that the kitten is not dancing, does not like swimming and would probably like to be with her mamma.

His reply was classic paroting of what I tell him " Mamma, I told you free (three) times, dat her is dancin - why you no understand me - Do I talk funny or lumpthing?"

At that I turned around, stumbled through the door and went back to sorting baby cloths. I told the Milk Man when he got home and about split a gut. I am ALWAYS saying that - dont you understand me? Do I talk funny? when the kids dont do as they are asked/told/begged/pleaded with to do.

I guess I do talk funny....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hello from the Farm...

The Country Doctors Wife has asked me to guest blog on occasion and I accepted.... hope she doesnt regret it in the morning.

Howdy everyone!! This is an atempt to blog about the crazy, full, blessed, chaotic, loud, loving, happy, sometimes smelly life that I live on a dairy farm in the upper midwest. I am married to my childhood sweetheart and we have 4 boys with number 5 coming in July. The ages of our boys are 22, 19, 9, 3 - and still simmering. The older 2 boys are not biologically ours but are - by all means ours. They were foster children, full brothers, that lived with us for several years. When they graduated from high school, they chose to stay with us on the farm where they had grown up. They have some 'challenges' because they were born with fetal alcohol syndrom, so at times they have a short circut that will malfunction. That is just part of loving them and teaching them to be more than what most feel they can be.

My husband and I have been married for 13 - almost 14 years and I have mangaged to stay 27 this whole time! Who's happy for me!!! I am 27 - really! sure I am, why must you doubt? Anyway, CWD wanted me to write a post so here it goes. This happend a couple of years ago when our 3 yr old was about 18mo.

In the basement of our home we have a mud room, a shower and laundry room that make up a section of the basement. The shower and washing machines are in the same area to make it easier for me to fill them up as everyone strips for a shower. The older of the 2 is for the barn cloths only because they are SO dirty, smelly and down right STANKY. At times it has been known to spring a leak in the bottom of the tub so that a nice smelly puddle of water forms right near the floor drain. Of course it never gets to the drain because we have a small recese in the cement NEXT to the drain. SO, one night we all got home from the barn and headed to the basement. The wonderful man that my husband is took our, then 18mo old, to the basement to shower with him so I could get supper finished up. Within a matter of about 2 minutes I heard my husband laughing like a madman. Of course, not wanting to be left of of the fun, I run down the steps to see my baby, belly down , arms and legs flailing about like he was trying to swim in 'The Puddle'.... That would have been ok but then it happened.... he tried to drink it..... yes, I said - drink it.. I started to gag and I have a cast iron stomach. I grabbed him as I was gagging and he stunk like wet dog, old socks, dirty wash water and basment all at the same time.. I stripped him down naked as he screamed murder and up the stairs we went to the tub. It took soda water to finally get the smell off of him and it was not a quiet bath by any means. For some reason clean water is not as much fun as dirty wash water. Maybe it is a guy thing already - I hope not.