Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chopping Silage

We were busy at our place last week, chopping feed to last the cattle all winter.  It was a pretty long, uneventful week with relatively few hiccups.  The boys (and I) enjoyed spending so much time out with the men.  We brought lunch every day and Kenyon helped run the dozer with his dad.  It's crazy to think that this is his fourth time chopping feed.  The first time I brought him down to the silo he was just barely a month old.  Time flies.

The Pioneer Woman I am not.  My meals are hearty and filling but not much to look at.  That, and it's just impractical to transport and drink out of mason jars.  Let's get real.  We use water jugs.
Hour 3 of chopping feed.  It adds up pretty quickly...
Of course, he had to check all the nuts and bolts and make sure everything was kosher.
This is out in the corn field.  The cutter runs along, chopping feed and dumps the feed out of the tall spout into the bed of the truck. 
The truck driver dumps the feed into the silage pit... husband smooths out the feed so it can then be packed down tight. 
Kenyon loves to ride the dozer with his dad. 

Back and forth, back and forth.  Packing silage.
Why pack down the feed, you ask?  The entire goal of storing silage for feed is to decrease the amount of oxygen (thus the repeated packing) and increase the acidity of the pile.  This increases levels of beneficial acids such as lactic acid.  This lactic acid in turn is then in turn transformed into a volatile fatty acid (VFA) and utilized by the animal.  (See?  My education was not a complete waste!)

Is your head spinning?  Here's the take home message: Packing silage helps ensure that you are providing the best feedstuffs for your animals.  Not packing your silage is the equivalent of purchasing a new vehicle but not filling the tires with air.  What the heck?  If you're going to do something, do it right so you get the full benefit out of it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Than A Hobby

Please bear with me - I'm going to brag a bit.  

I'm a great woodworker.  (Provided I have the time, the right tools, no children around, blah, blah, blah.)  

Do you know why I'm a great woodworker?  I had the best teacher.  Ever.  

When I was in junior high I spent many days of my summer vacations at Larry's shop, honing my skills and soaking in all of life's little lessons.  I have no idea why he let me work with him; I was an awkward little girl with crooked teeth, frizzy hair and too many questions.  I slowed down the most simple of tasks by checking and double checking measurements over and over.  I took away his valuable time when he could have been working on projects by himself, 100 times quicker.  

During our summers together we built quite an array of projects - saddle rack, saddle blanket rack, picture frames, a book shelf and a few other odds and ends.  I am so thankful for our time together.  He gave me an appreciation for woodworking that I otherwise wouldn't have had.  He made my high school shop classes a breeze.  To this day, when I am stuck in a meeting I find myself doodling furniture plans and dreaming in shades of red oak, cherry and walnut.  

He was a wonderful teacher for me.  And now it's time for him to go Home.  If you could, say a little prayer for my wonderful teacher, great friend and as-good-as grandpa, Larry.  

I'm not sure how you adequetly say 'thank you' when someone helps shape your life so significantly.  Until then, I'll keep doodling furniture plans...  Thank you, Larry.  God be with thee til we meet again.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Friday Night Fun

We were hanging out in the shop on Friday evening when a little (we thought) pop-up thunderstorm rolled in.  

It all started out innocently enough.  But doesn't it always?  

It was just a little water...

And then there was just a little dirt...

But then you have to wash the dirt off your hands...

And then there was probably some dirt on his shirt, so he had to wash that off too...

Don't ask how he lost his boot; he didn't know.  I asked the same thing.

But then of course he needed to wash off his leg, his foot, his entire body.  Really, he was just trying to help me out in the bathing department, I'm sure. 

When you say your wedding vows you utter the phrase, "in good times and in bad."  

This was one of the good times.  One of the best.

Nearly two inches of rain later, he was stripped naked, thrown into his car seat and taken home for a proper bath following his impromptu shower.  What a wonderful night this was.  He turned three years old roughly 5 hours after this occurred.  I'd say he spent the last hours of his two year old self pretty perfectly. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


I've always been a people watcher; it's a hobby of mine.  I like to study human behaviors and personalities.  

I also enjoy playing a game of bingo.

I present to you: PARENT BINGO (patent pending): the game you never knew you needed and now forevermore will never be able to live without.  

If you find yourself stuck at a basketball game, livestock show, little league game or junior rodeo, feel free to now whip out your bingo card and have a little giggle while your kiddos play.  Chances are, it will help lighten everyone's mood in a world that is becoming far too serious these days.  

Like traditional bingo, please mark your cards when you identify a parent that fits a particular description, either with an X or bingo chip.  If a parent in your vicinity happens to exhibit more than one behavior at a time, please choose only one behavior.  That parent cannot be used again for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to allow other players a fighting chance.

Below is a non-alphabetized glossary of terms to assist you, as well as 30 randomized bingo cards and one master calling card.  Be advised, this list is by no means exhaustive, rather, it only highlights many common parenting personalities.  New editions of PARENT BINGO with highly specialized categories are currently in testing phases with our research and development team. 
  • 5 o'clocker: Knows that it is five o'clock somewhere... like Tibet.  Who cares that they are eight time zones away?
  • Chihuahua: A little too high strung, tends to be incredibly jumpy and skittish.  Be careful with loud noises around these.
  • SUPER Busy:  Spends most of their time telling you how SUPER busy they are, because they are SUPER.  Spends most of their time in meetings on a phone, checking email or not paying attention.  You know, because they are SUPER, SUPER BUSY. 
  • "For The Kids":  Their mouth professes that everything is "for the kids" but their actions leave you scratching your head.
  • The Jolly One:  Always smiling, always giggling.  No reason needed.  Often the comedic relief of the group.
  • Hot/Cold:  These parents go from Mother Teresa to nuclear warfare in the blink of an eye.
  • Chicken Little:  Their life was forever ruined because the piano was out of tune during a talent competition in 1980; their child's life is now ruined by a missed shot/red ribbon/foul ball, etc. 
  • Headless Chicken:  The parent that constantly runs around like a chicken with their head cut off.  Missing ball point pen?  Someone alert the president.
  • Intensity:  Don't talk while their child is performing.  Don't blink; don't breathe.  We will win and we will win at all costs, even if it kills us.  (This generally means that everyone in the vicinity wants to inflict harm upon YOU.)
  • Gloater:  A cross between "For the kids" and Intensity.  They may smile and say something like "bless your heart" but then follow it up with "you tried but we just did better!"  This is often followed up by a cheerful "Maybe next year!"
  • Living Vicariously: This parent had aspirations of becoming the next Troy Aikman but fell just a little short.  As a result, their child has been in football pads and a helmet since birth.  
  • Space Cadet:  They show up to events but forget the major accessories (i.e., going to a baseball game with no glove).  Common phrases often include "that was today?" or "can I give it to you later?" or "is it really necessary?".  
  • Rules, but...:  The rules apply to everyone, all the time.  Except this one time for my kid. 
  • Babysitter:  They enroll their kids in extra-curricular activities just so someone else will watch them for a few more hours.
  • Scheduler:  Practice must end by 5:01 because we must all be across town for piano lessons at 5:07 and then off to ball practice at 6:15 before tutoring at 7:30.
  • Social Media Maven:  Every waking minute of their child's life is documented on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the family blog (yes, I see the irony there and trust me, that's why I try to only update once a week).  
  • Old School:  They sit back and watch as their kids' earn some bumps and bruises.  Common phrases include "when I was your age" and "it builds character".  
  • Cool Mom:  For reasons unknown, they try reeeeeally hard to be liked by a gaggle of 10-15 year olds.  Their verbiage includes words that no one else understands, like fleek, bae and bish
  •  Perfect Parent:  This is a unicorn.  It does not exist.  If you mark this space on your bingo card you are lying.
  • The Complainer:  Nothing is ever good enough and everyone around them is stupid.
  • The Thinker:  They know everything - just ask them.  All of the world's problems could be solved if you had just asked them.