Monday, July 25, 2011

Lil' Britches

Adin all dressed in his whites.
 Sunday Morning was an exciting day for all of us.  The show wasn't until 1 pm that afternoon, but the kids were stoked and so were the adults.  Adin thought that he should dress in his show whites right away.  NOT!  As any mom of 5 year old boys know, white doesn't last long. 

We spent the first part of the day looking at exhibits and usual fair stuff.  We ran into old friends who we haven't seen in 15+ years for some of them.  Way to long.  When the time came I let Adin get ready and boy was he excited.  From that moment he was Mr. Professional and took the showing very seriously.

Watering Lally.

Lil' Britches started long ago, I can't even remember when, but Nessa was it when she was little.  It was created to promote the Dairy industry and help get youth who were too young for the Jr. Show interested in dairy and showing.  I remember the first few years it only having a handful of kids.  Boy do thing change.  There were so many kids who took part this year.  It was fabulous.  One of the cool things was to see the kids of many of people we used to show with participating.  Oh the memories!

Adin talking to the "judge", MC Dennis Frame
who is also a dear friend and mentor from the past
when I was showing.

As Dennis, "The Judge" talked to each child asking them different questions about the animal, or their parents, ect. he had a chance to walk us all down memory lane and pick on us, his old 4-H dairy and Jr. Holstein kids. 

Adin and Rachel waiting to see the "judge."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Show Day at the Fair

Oh the memories. They all came flooding back as the alarm went off at 4:00 AM today. Today it was only to watch my youngest cousin show cattle for the last time as part of the Jr. show at the Trempealeau Co. Fair, but back in the day.... I was the one showing. 

This morning as I packed up the kids, still sleeping, and started my 4.5 -5 hour drive I thought of what all was part of the Friday morning show day prep.  My sis and I were always up early with feeding and washing our animals, cleaning of the barn and lots of primping (the animals - not us).  The primping included lots of time on top lines, blendings, tails and what not.  My sister really became master of the top line, I was good, but not as good as her.  Time was spent milking wifferent quarters on the cows to balance the udder just right, fortunately our cows were pretty balanced to start with.  Then it was a waiting game, keep the cattle clean and wait.  When the time came we dressed in our whites and away we went.  Oh the memories!

Nessa did fabulous with her two heffers.  On her fall yearling she got a 1st blue and on her fall calf she got a 1st blue, Junior Champion Holstein, Supreme Junior Champion and 1st place Sr. Showmanship.  We were all so excited for her.  Adin was beside himself knowing that on Sunday, he would be showing Nessa's winning calf for Lil' Britches Showmanship.  Sunday can't come fast enough for Adin.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bean Race Begins

Last year when my green beans started, they didn't stop.  They just kept right on producing and it was a race to keep up with them.  The race is on once again.  This year I have both Green and Wax beans planted together so it is fun seeing the beautiful yellow mixed in with the green. 

This morning I picked what was ready and left tons of little beans to continue to grow for later harvests and these work-horse plants are still flowering also.  I love it.  I had just over 2 pints of beans to can this morning so I let the girls eat the extras that just wouldn't fit in the jars.  They were happy with that outcome and were asking for more.  I am guessing I'll be doing small batches of bean canning every couple of days to keep up, which is just fine with me.  I love canning and can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen so I can start making spaghetti sauce.

Ever since the storm and after living through the "aftermath" I have been pretty particular about wasting water.  I had left over water from boiling the beans and filling the jars this morning, so I decided to cool it off and use it to water some of my container veggies.  I figure it can't hurt them and any nutrients lost in the water during the brief boiling process can go back into the soil for the other plants to use - instant compost.  Best of both worlds. 

I am still blogging at the Library, so sorry no pictures yet. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Library Blogging

Well, here I sit at our local library, blogging.  Our internet is still not working and now I am beginning to wonder if the storm didn't fry my modem or something.  I didn't have the phone line hooked up for some strange reason that night, but who knows. Ah the world of technology. 

A few Tuesday tid bits that I have missed over the last few days.
* The chickies got to come out and do some free ranging - although they didn't venture more than a foot from the coop.  They did partake in a very exciting dust bath.  Oh how cute were they.  I have pictures, but can't upload them from here.  Sorry.

*My beans are close to being ready, I should be able to pick and can a bunch in the next couple of days.

*I have tons of baby tomatoes all throughout the garden, as well as baby cucumbers and more baby zucchini.

*I discovered some more "volunteers" in the garden.  Lots of tomatoes and one lone watermelon from last year.  We'll see if it amounts to anything. 

*And last but not least, my 2nd year carrot is looking nice and the flower heads are beautiful.  It is huge and needs to be staked.

Well, my time here is almost up so I best be getting home.  Until next time - happy gardening, preserving or what ever makes you happy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Missed the Strawberries

I have been calling the "Berry Line" for a  local "U-pick" to get in on the prime picking for many weeks now (things were running late), and now I have missed it.  The picking season was very short this year.  The prime picking was right after the storm and I could have picked, but would not have been able to process them.  So fortunately they was a special at our local grocery so we picked up a bunch and I got to making jam.

I have never made strawberry jam by my self, but helped my mom and Grandmother's a lot in the past.  I always remember squashing berries in a bowl with the bottom of a glass.  Not this year... I used my food processor.  I loved it, it went so quickly.  I have now canned 2 batches and still have 2 lbs of berries in the fridge.  I think I'll freeze 1 lb as is and eat the other fresh.  The kids love berries, along with veggies and all that.

I also picked what was ready of my sugar snap peas and froze them as well. 

Today I have been thinking a lot about my Bumpa (my Dad's Dad).  It was 10 years ago today that he passed away.  He was a good old Norwegian farmer, who loved family, reading, brownshwager (if that is how you spell it), playing cards and striped overhauls.  I had the blessing of being there when he passed with my Grandmother and my eldest Aunt.  It was very difficult, but I got to say good-bye and that it was time for him to shave (that was always a long standing joke between us.)  I am glad I was there.  I love you Bumpa.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When it is Hot, Head Below Ground

Today is nasty, and that is an understatement.  It is so ishy outside that I do not even want to step foot out side, so I decided to head underground.  Too hot to be in the garden, let's finish painting the root cellar.  After a few coats and a few breaks (to get out of the smell) and lots of help from Adin it is a beautiful bright white.  Now we just have to put in the flooring and some shelves and we are set for storage. 

Yesterday (when it was nice and cool and a beautiful day) the kids and I did a ton of weeding and pea picking.  My shelling peas were just about past their prime (do to the fact that the storm set me back) so we picked them all and pulled the plants and Adin and I commenced the shelling process.  He is a good little sheller, granted a few of them got away and were rescued by Maya.  She loves fresh veggies.  I came up with 24 oz. and after canning them I had 2.5 pints.  Very fun.  Now to head to bed, it was a long hot day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Aftermath - Day 8

Even though we have power, there are still a ton of people here in our area that do not have power.  Some are saying that it may still be 2-4 more weeks.  I am very thankful for us, but very sad for those who are still without power.

Things around here are starting to get back to normal.  My garden is beginning to recover, which is good.  I will be doing a lot of work in it this weekend.  Not much more to post now as I am still blogging on my phone.  UGH!  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I got home from work today to hear a strange sound... I asked myself what it was and low and behold... it was the AC.  That meant we had power!!!!  I didn't know what to do first; take a shower, do laundry, flush the toilet or water the garden.  It was the most wonderful thing ever.  I had a very busy night re-scrubbing out the fridge/freezer and cleaning up.  The most wonderful thing was to take a shower.

I am still remote blogging because our internet is still not working.  No fun.  More later..

The Aftermath-Day 6

Not much new to report. It is still hot, dry and still no power. The kids are getting crabby a bit and bathing in lake water is getting a bit, well let's just say I am ready for a modern shower.

It is nice to not be using electricity but we have to use gas for the generator. Rain in the forcast for tomorrow. I am praying it actually shows up because the garden needs it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Aftermath-Day 5

The news on the street is that maybe Friday we might have power, we'll see. Not sure of what is happening out there in the rest of the world, but maybe that is ok. Life on our courner is simpler.

It was supposed to rain today, but it all went south. Dang. My garden needs water! My compost barrel got lots of great things this week that were cleaned out of the fridge and small freezer. At least we'll benefit from it down the road.

On a happy note: I have baby zucchini. I'll post pics when we get power. They are so cute and I am looking forward to eating them. Happy gardening all, enjoy your water. I miss ours a bit. :)

Mobil Blogging

As we approach hour 84 without power things start to get old. For one, blogging on my iPhone is interesting. I have never been a texter so typing on this little thing leads to lots of spelling errors, sorry, and just takes time.

We have gone from the buzz of chain saws (some still going) to the hum of generators. Today will be an old fashioned laundry day. They are now saying that maybe by the end of the week for power but they don't know. They aren't even to the point of working on residential power yet. One area they are saying 4 weeks til power. Yikes. Glad we don't live there.

We are surviving and with rain in the forcast for today my garden will be happy too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Force of Nature and Powerless Feeling it Can Leave

On Friday evening around 6 pmish the sky turned green, a gailforce wind blew and torrents of rain fell. We were visiting my parents at their camper on Lake 26 as we picked up the kids and ran for the bath house. There were my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, 2 nephews, my 3 kids and I waiting out the storm in the concrete building.

At first I was flooded with memories of day gone by when I used to work at camp and would be huddled in that very same building with fellow staff and camper waiting out a storm. Then I began to think about home, what was happening there, only 7 miles or so to the southwest. I tried calling Scott, who was working dispatch and could not get through. Little did I know that the damage and distruction was county wide and cell towers along with most power lines went down.

After the first wave of storms we decided to head for home but could not even get half way due to powerlines and trees down. You can only drive in so many ditches. So we headed back to camp and took refuge in the Lodge with the summer staff that had hung around for the weekend. The kids thought it was great, they got to "camp out" and stay up late.

I didn't hear from Scott intill about 2:30 or so on Sunday morning. He was supposed to work until 8 on Friday night, but didn't leave intil midnight. He managed to get home quick, check on the animals and the place and headed back to work then and got a couple of hours of sleep before he had to work again at 6. I have one tired Hubby! I am so thankful that we cut down all the big old oaks that were so close to the house last spring or we would have been in a world of hurt.

When the sun came up on Saturday we could really see the damage. Some place they are saying 7-10 days before we get our power back. I began to worry about our freezers full of venison and Scott's taxidermy projects. "How can we make it a week without loosing everything?". I didn't know. I sent out a facebook plea for anyone with a generator that they were not using and within 5 minutes a friend of mine from the Cities had one for me, I just had to meet her halfway on Sunday. So after 44 hours with no power, I got that beautiful gennie up and running by my self, transfered the contents of 2 freezers into the third chest freezer and away we went. God bless good friends, social media and a 3 hours trip to get the generator. We did loose most of the contents of the fridge/freezer, but what can you do?

It feels like we are camping in our own house or really getting "Back to our Roots." We are cooking over a fire or grilling, getting water from a hand pump 7 miles away at camp. I am so glad that I still had all my milk jugs from sugaring. I just wish we had an outhouse here. I know - funny wish - but it would be easier than haulling water to flush the potty. We have swimming to keep clean. Now I just have to figure out how to get my pressure canner going, my peas are ready to be canned.

On a side note: my garden took it pretty hard but I think most of it can recover.

Well as the sun goes down and we reach 51 hours of no power, I have to sign off as my light and phone batteries fade. Not sure when I will be posting again. Please keep us and others in our county in your prayers. Thanks.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just Plain Hot!

Today is HOT! 103 with nasty humidity. Fortunately Adin and I got to spend the day at a waterpark for his end of summer school field trip. It was even hot in the water, but we had a blast. Came home to find the house nice and cool, thanks to the AC, which we only have on during the extremes. Storms are a coming late tonight.