Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunny Days

 Wow, two posts in one day!  What a beautiful day it was!  After several rainy, cold days (which are quite typical in our state in late October) we were blessed with some gorgeous sunny weather today!  There were still some leaves on the trees and the sun glowed off them making whole towns appear dazzling.  I was finally able to get a few pictures I've been wanting to get....all of us children with all of our dairy cows.  All of them are actually dry heifers except for Violet who is about ready to dry up as well.  We're still squeezing the milk out of her though 'cause we need it bad, especially with three new heifer calves! 

 Vi and I

Abigail w/ Emma, Rachel w/ Fawn, Rebekah w/ Ellie

From left-right: Bethany w/ Violet, Abigail w/ Emma, Rachel w/ Fawn, Rebekah w/ Ellie, Josh w/ Lily, Elizabeth w/ Adah, Johnny w/ Myah and Ben w/ Millie

A praise, all of the sickies are up and around!  Wooohooo!  Hopefully no one else will come down with it and we'll be good for the year.  Yeah....uh huh.  We'll see, but I really highly doubt it.  Not with 4 (plus me) kids in public school where germs are everywhere!  Plenty of vit. C for everyone around here! :) 
 Well, hope all is going well for everyone.
 God bless,

Farm Update

Just a quick farm update! 

First, we have a new heifer calf!  Sorry, I don't have any pictures yet.  Her name is Millie....she looks just like Adah so if you were wondering. :)  Another cute Jersey calf. 

Second, my Hamp. gilt is bred!  We are looking at mid. February for baby pigs so that will be a fun new experience!  We bred her with a Duroc, yes a strange cross, but since Duroc's are known for quick growth and I'm going to want something pretty fast growing since they are a little on the late side it should be perfect.  Ahhh, I'm getting really excited already! 

Third, we've got several sick ones around here.  Rachel and Rebekah were sick on Sat/Sun and Rebekah stayed home from school on Mon.  Elizabeth and Ben have been down since Mon, being pretty sick yesterday.  I'm also afraid Josh is coming down with the same thing, hopefully he won't come home from school sick.  Several schools have been closed in our area, so the flu is pretty much hitting everyone around here at once.  Whether it is H1N1 or not, no one's really sure but it's the flu one way or the other.  My advice....keep your hands washed, get plenty of outside air, get plenty of sleep, and eat healthy foods (try to get in lots of fruit).  Just my grand $0.02 of the day.  :P

Exodus 15:2
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

Hope everyone else is staying healthy! 


Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to Dad!!!

Happy Birthday Dad!
 Doing hay in '07
Just messin' around like he does best. :D

Dear Daddy,
Happy Happy Birthday to you!  I'm so glad that you are my father and so thankful for all that you have done for me.  I love you so much!  Thanks for letting us blonds take out such a cool dude to lunch today!  :D 

Your daughter,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

FFA Nationals in Review

I'm home!  FFA Nationals was a wonderful wonderful experience and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to compete with our team.  This might be a long post, so bear with me. :) 

Monday evening Dad and Abigail brought me into Coldwater to my Adviser's house.  She was at a school meeting and didn't get out 'till at least 10:00 and we finally hit the road about 10:30. We made a long three hour drive to Lafayette which was about 3 hours.  I got to the hotel and hit the hay around 1:30. 

Tuesday morning we were on the road again around quarter after 7.  We went to a cattle grading workshop on the campus of  Purdue University.  BTW, that is a highly agricultural university.  They had some practice classes set up as well so we went and judged a few of those.  Worked out some kinks on the hogs, and took lots of notes.  Around 3:00 we went into the town of Lafayette and our adviser did some shopping.  Then we headed into Indianapolis where the FFA National Convention was held.  We went out for dinner at the cheesecake factory then came back to our hotel.  At about 8:00 we started working on tests as the following day we were taking a 50 question test for the contest.  We took probably 5-7 tests each and were finally done around 10:00.   We made our way slowly to our rooms and I finally crashed around 11:00. 

Wednesday morning everyone slept in.  I woke up around 6:30ish and started taking more tests and studied reasons.  I got some breakfast early with my roommate who had to leave early in the morning for her contest so I was pretty much up and ready for the day.  At 9:00 our whole team met and started giving reasons.  We gave two sets before we went to get ready for pictures.  After pictures at noon we went and got some lunch at the golden arches then headed bak for our Keep/Cull and test.  We thought we did pretty well with just one main mistake but we were okay.  In the cattle (Hereford Heifers) we got a 41/50, sheep (Suffolk Ewes) 38/50 (that one was the one we made the big mistake on) and hogs (Spot gilts) 49/50.  Overall we got 128/150 points.  For never really going over Keep/Cull stuff much it was pretty good.  It was probably the most fun out of the whole contest too. :) Test went pretty well, with just a few questions we'd never even heard of.  I somehow managed to work myself out of that one guessing really really well.  :)  I got 82/100 points.  After competing we went to the FFA store and the boys all found boots and I found a belt buckle but none of us bought anything except for Tyler who bought a shirt that said "PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals" on the front and "Vegitarian, the Indian slang word for someone who isn't brave and can't hunt" (or something like that, can't remember the exact wording".   We went to the opening session that night and it was pretty neat to see so many FFA members in their blue jackets filling up a huge stadium.  We got to hear Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" and he had a really good speech.  Then we went back to our hotel rooms and got one more set of reasons ready.  Mine was a disaster but mostly because the whole team was listening to me, laughing and trying to help me through it.  It was rather comical, but whatever.  We didn't make it to bed 'till about midnight.

Thursday morning we were all up early and getting ready for our big day.  We made the 1/2 hour drive to the fairgrounds (State Fairgrounds) and started the competition at 9:00.  We all placed everything quite well except for 1 class each.  It wasn't the same class (except for two of us) but everyone majorly screwed up one class.  I screwed one up even worse than I had thought but must have filled in the wrong space on the sheet.  Arrrgggg.  :(  So we judged 8 classes (Commercial heifers, Market hogs, Hampshire Ewes, Market Lambs, Breeding gilts, Market steers, Performance gilts and Boer goats) and gave 4 sets of reasons (Commercial heifers, market lambs, market swine, performance gilts).  Some of those went rocky for me but I also got a my record high score of 44/50!  We were rather discouraged that evening so thankfully we were able to go out to dinner with the rest of the chapter.  We did see where a huge tanker explosion had been right on the highway in Indy.  It had been so big that it had charred the billboards on either side of the bridge and I also heard that it had charred a nearby cellphone tower.  You can get more info on it here.  That night we all just relaxed.  We were done, no more reasons, no more tests.   Woooohoooo!  :)  I got to sleep around 10:30.

 Friday morning, up nice and early again.  It was rainy and nasty so traffic was moving slowly (which we were all getting rather used to at this point).  We got to our awards banquet which began at 8:30.  We were thrilled that NONE of us got a bronze (the rate you bronze, silver or gold).  3 of us got silver and Jake got a gold!  I was SO close to getting a gold but no I had to screw that one class really bad.  :(  Oh well, it was all good.  Our team got silver and actually placed in the top half of the silver teams!  We placed 22nd overall out of 43 teams so really, not horrible.  My total points were 569/700.  Average score was 546/700.  High was 645/700.  Our total team score was 1,832.  In our team, Jake got 1st, I got 2nd, Tyler got 3rd and Logan got 4th.  So that's kinda the jist of that.  We went to the FFA store after that and Jake and Logan bought the boots they had been wanting so badly.  I looked for the belt buckle but they were sold out. :(  So we went and listened to some of the Creed Speaking Finalists.  At noon we headed out, only stopping to change out of our OD (official dress) and grab a bite to eat.  About an hour out of Indy we noticed that the tire was making a funny noise.  We got out and looked at it but didn't see anything wrong.  About 10 min. away from Coldwater it was really really bad and our Adviser looked at it while driving slowly and saw that it was wobbling really bad.  All of the nuts were loose so we had to get that fixed.  Dad  came and picked me up and we got home around 4:00. 

Here's something I wrote while passing the time waiting for classes to be exchanged during the competition.  It kinda sums up how it feels to have so many FFA members from around the country with you. 

It's an exhilarating feeling when the streets of a downtown Indianapolis are crawling with teens from all over the country who are all dressed in the FFA official dress of black skirt/pants, white blouse and FFA jacket.  They are all here for the same reason, they have a love of agriculture.  Weather it may be for livestock, environment, leadership or speaking  they are all united in a common field.  Some are  competing, showing the skills they have accomplished.  Many are here for the simple reason of learning, having fun and meeting other like-minded teens.  When so many teens are showing their enthusiasm, you don't feel so small or so insignificant.  Our voice can be heard through this coming generation! 

Here are a few pictures of the week:

 Our hotel room
 Our team @ the awards breakfast from l-r : me, Tyler, Jake, Logan
 Our team!  from l-r Adviser Mrs. Hines, Tyler, Jake, me, Logan and teacher Mrs. Preston
 Our team again w/ our plaque Tyler, Jake, me, Logan

So anyway, that's about how my week went!  It had it's ups and downs but it was a wonderful experience overall.  Now we get short break from livestock judging and probably won't start up for a few months yet.  Next year.....our goal is 4H nationals. :) 

In Christ,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Wow!  It's been crazy here and I've finally got a little computer time at nearly 11:00 p.m.  Last night we stayed up 'till 10:00 working on tests for the competition today.  This morning we started out working on tests and working up some reasons.  I gave a total of 3 reasons today.  Our Keep/Cull went great and our tests were tough but I think the most points dropped was 8 so not too bad.  We went to the opening session and saw Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" and he gave some good points. 

Well I'm getting called.

See ya

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day (Night) # 1

Just thought I'd let everyone know that I'm about ready to head off to Nationals.  Our team will spend the night at a hotel and head off to a Grading Workshop early in the morning and then into Indianapolis where the Nationals are held.  So that's the plan for now.  God bless everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Purdue Livestock Judging

Yesterday I left our house at 4:15 and we arrived in Indiana around 7:50.  We were at a fairgrounds near Purdue University.  It was a beautiful brisk morning and we headed outside to judge 12 classes of livestock.  We did 4 beef (3 heifer classes, 1 market steer class), 4 hog classes (3 market classes, 1 breeding gilt class) and 4 sheep classes(1 breeding ewe, 1 breeding rams, 2 market lambs).  We had to give 4 sets of reasons, one on each of the following: Market Hogs, Market Steers, Breeding Ewes and Yorkshire Gilts.  They went okay, but not as good as I would have like them to go.  Still have lots of room for improvement.  :)  I am off today shopping for supplies for my week ahead at Nationals.  I'll be leaving tomorrow night.  We are going to a grading workshop near Nationals Tuesday then starting our competition on Wednesday!  I should be home Friday afternoon/evening.  So it's a busy week ahead! 

Here's a verse that's helpful to me when I'm ready to give up in the tough times of livestock judging.  Yeah, God cares even about livestock judging ('cause He cares about me, isn't He awesome?)

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God bless you all!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Josh and Jenna!

A quick note to two of my best friends on their birthday:

Thank you so much to both of your for your wonderful, encouraging friendship!  It is such a blessing to be able to grow and learn together as we grow older.  The memories we have made together will always be treasured.  God bless you both as you get to that "one year older" milestone!  Happy Birthday!

Your friend,

P.S.  I'm off to Frankfort today!  Thank you to those who prayed for my cold, it's getting better very quickly!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Myah and AA News

Asher Acres welcomes Myah to the farm!  She is a Jersey/Holstien calf and it is easily seen.  Not just in coloring but in size as well.  She is going to make a really really nice milker some day!  For now, she's just keeping Adah company. :)  

 Tired baby
Sorry the picture quality isn't the best.  Calves just DO NOT stand still for their pictures. 

Just for an update on what I've been up to at school.  We are going to be judging steers tomorrow, so pray that will all go well!  On Saturday we are waking up nice and early and heading down in Kentucky for a competition.  We'll be home really really late.  On Monday we turn around and head to Indianapolis for Nationals.  So that's Judging news.  Yesterday we did soil judging and that was really interesting.  We were able to judge soil really close to my house so that was cool!  I haven't been able to work with my steer for the last few days though so that's kinda difficult.  Thankfully a few of my classmates have been stepping in while I'm involved with Livestock judging.  Haven't seen the chicks for a few days either, hopefully they are doing ok!  They only have like 4 more weeks so that's gonna be great to be done with.  I also got a pig for a show in Jan. the we're going to.  I'm really looking forward to it!  It will be an AWESOME learning experience.  Oh, and last bit of news from me, I got bands on my braces yesterday so I can now officially hardly talk.  It's sad, but probably wonderful for others.  :)  However, positive side, I have just like 4 more weeks 'till they are coming OFF!!!!   Yay! 

Well, hope that brings everybody up to date on stuff going on here.  Oh, and how do you all like the new getup here at the blog??? 

Have a great evening and God bless!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Fest!

Hey Everyone!
This week has been full of preparation for the fall party we held at our house last night.   With a total of 161 people attending, it was quite a bit of work but very much worth it!  On Friday, we had a bunch of girls over and they helped us making 19 pies and 4 batches of pumpkin bars.  All the pies and most of the bars were gone by the time everyone left last night.  :)  Thank you, thank you girls!
Here are just a few pictures taken over the last few days.

Annie and Jill rolling out pie crusts.
Wooohooo!  2 down, 17 more to go!  Katie showing off 2 dutch apple pies. ;)  Gotcha Katie!

Peach pie

 9 pumpkin pies in the oven
  The hog for the hog roast!  We burned all the hair off with a big torch.

Rebekah (a friend) posing with the remains of the hog.

 On the roaster!

Hayride!  We took two wagon hooked up together.
There was a beautiful sunset.

Several of us sitting around the fire.
So now you have a little idea of our weekend.  Again, thank you to all those who attended!  It is wonderful to know each one of you, you are all a blessing to our family.

Just for a little update on my livestock judging, I'm going to be judging some steers tonight and giving some reasons there.  We will be leaving in just a little over a week.  Oh, and right now, I'm listening to several sets of reasons from college livestock judging students.  They are really good, and help me pick up more terms, etc.

Well, have a great rest of the weekend!  God bless!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Livestock judging

Ok, here are the results for my Steer's name:

Aiden - 6 votes
Stan - 0 votes
Stu (most liked Stew) - 5 votes
Stevie - 1 vote

So I now have a steer named Aiden!  I'll try to remember my camera today and get some pictures of him and I and maybe some of our fast growing chicks.  They've changed quite a bit in the last week and a half!  :)

We've been working furiously on livestock judging.  I'm practicing next Sunday and Thursday on local farms and going to competition on Saturday where we will be judging 12 classes and giving 6 sets of reasons.  This is like college level, so it will be tough.  Then the following Monday or Tuesday we leave for a workshop in Ohio all day.  From there we head to the Nationals in Indianapolis.  I'll be home that Friday evening.  Hopefully I'll be taking my laptop with me and I'll keep everyone update. :)

I'm posting a set of reasons just so you all have an ideas as to what I'm doing.   I am supposed to come up with these reasons after judging 6 classes of livestock, using just the notes taken on the class and memorize them.  Then I have to say them in front of a judge (he's judging my reasons).  It's quite a challenge!

Here is a set of reasons on a class of market lambs that we judged at the county fair we went to last week.

I placed the class of market lambs 2-4-3-1
In my opening pair 2 wins the class being the heaviest muscled through the hindsaddle.  She is stronger  and longer over the loin and will hang a carcass with more product from the last rib back.  Yes 4 had a thinner hide and longer hindsaddle however this fails to compensate for the narrower, softer handling lamb and therefore I placed him second.
Moving to my intermediate pair of weathers 4 places over 1 exhibiting more desirable degree of finish than the third place lamb.  He shows more natural thickness over his top and will have a more desirable yield grade.  I concede that 1 shows a more stylish figure with a longer loin, however I must criticize him for handling with less dimension.
Apparent levelness placed the dark hided lamb over 1 in our bottom pair.  Furthermore, 3 was longer over the hindsaddle and was deeper ribbed than 1.  I admit that 1 was more correctly finished, however this fails to compensate for the small framed, lightest muscled lamb that will hang the fewest pounds of red meat which placed 4th
Thank You
 So yep, that's what we've been working on.  I don't know if I ever mentioned my team members.  There is Jake, Logan, Tyler and I on our FFA livestock judging team.  Jake and Logan have had previous experience and Tyler and I have had none except for the 5 weeks before we won state.  Ahhhhh, and we still have so far to go!  
 Anyway, sorry for rambling on for so long.  Hope you now have a better understand of what we are doing at Nationals though!  
Have a great day and God bless!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Steer Names

Alright all my followers, lets get some comments on here for names.  You pick your favorite!

#1. Aiden (means "little fire")
#2. Stu (or if you prefer, Stew)
#3. Stan
#4. Stevie


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Aquatic Organisms and new Mammal

Well I've finally got all of my specimens labeled.  Now today my partner should be bringing in his list and we'll see what we've got.  Here's my list so far:

#1. Elasmopus perctinicrus (Scud)

#2. Jaera nordmonni (Aquatic Sowbug)

#3. Arctopsyche ladogensis (Caddisfly Larva)

#4. Thermonectus sp. (Predaceous Diving Beetle)

#5. Culiseta Incidens (Fish Pond Mosquito larva)

#6. Hirudo medicinalis (Leech) 

#7. Libellula saturata (Dragonfly larva)

#8. Glyphodes microta (Pyralid Caterpillar)

#9. Gerris givviffer (Water Strider)

#10. Enallagma cyathigerum (Damselfly larva)

So that's where we are so far, I'm sure there are some that are repeated so we'll have to "fish" for some more.  It's quite a project! 

We also got our steers yesterday at the careers center so I got mine picked out and in his own pen.  Below is a picture of him.  I'm sure there will be many more coming!  Any great name ideas?

Have a great day!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Aquatic Organisms!

 Howdy folks!  Here's just a litttle update on my aquatic organisms project and the farm.  We got out to the pond yesterday (thank you M family!) and came home with several organisms.  I'll be posting more info on each one once I get them all identified.  Here are a few pictures of the day!

 Trying to find organisms in the mud. :)

 This one was easily identified....a leech!
 A few of the specimens. 

 A net that I used to get several organisms.

 There was a pear tree near the pond, and they were all excited to pick pears.  This is Erik helping Ben get some higher ones.
 Dad helped Elizabeth

Our newest addition to the farm is Adah, a little Jersey heifer calf.  Pretty cute, huh?

 Elizabeth and Johnny feeding little Adah.

She's so cute isn't she?

That's about everything that's going on here.  We're off to a wedding today and I get to drive our 15 passenger van with a trailer on the highway for over an hour and a half.  Yikes!  :)

Have a good day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apples, School, Autumn

Wow, nice chilly morning over here!  This day is important for three reasons.  #1. We got the first frost of the year!  #2. We had our first fire of the year in our fireplace!  #3. Bowhunting season begins!  Not like that really effects me at all since I can't go but still a cool fact. :)

Yesterday we were in several different directions so I was glad we have a few cameras. :)  Elizabeth and Ben went with some friends to our homeschool group for lunch and went apple picking afterward.  Thank you to Elizabeth(7) for providing the pictures!  I was off to the careers center where I got a some pictures of our little chicks there.  All of them are doing great except for one, I kinda doubt he’ll make it.  Guess we’ll find out today. :)

 Apples in the tree.

'Course we only get the drops....but they are just as pretty!

 Ben pickin' apples!

 1/2 bushel of apples
 The apple orchard!
 Row 8 = awesome apples
Mind you, those pics were all taken by a 7 year old, pretty good, huh?  ;)

Chickies!  Aren't they adorable?
We also did soil testing yesterday.  We are working on getting ready for a contest in a few weeks for soil testing.  My livestock judging team is going to really have to work to catch up ‘cause we’ve missed a bunch and we are going to be missing again today.  We’re working on that again.  We really are pretty tired of livestock judging, especially since we just can’t seem to get our reasons pulled together right.  It’s rather discouraging.  We’ll work on it though….we have SO far to go!
I’ll leave you on a more positive note however with these encouraging words. 
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
 A sister in Christ,