Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pinewood Derby

Tyler joined boy scouts this year. And is absolutely loving it. But that should really come as no surprise when your Daddy was a boy scout clear up until he graduated high school and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout (5 palms). One of the activities is the Pinewood Derby. And we've had the car for it since last fall, Todd and Tyler didn't start working on it until this week. Todd had a co-worker cut the car out and sand it, and then brought it home for Tyler to finish sanding and paint.

Then Todd and Tyler attached the wheels, put weights on it (which involved a late night trip to home depot to get a wood chisel) and made sure it was ready to go.

Friday night we had to take it up to the church and get it weighed in, and Tyler was allowed to take a couple practice runs. I made him stop, as it was flipping over when it hit the end of the track it was going so fast....

Saturday we were there all afternoon. Each boy competed against his den members, and each boy got to race 4 times. Tyler managed to win all 4 races, and ended up 1st in his den!

After all 3 dens were through, he got to go through the semi-finals, where he managed to win about 1/2 of his races. He didn't place in the top 3, but he was happy with winning among his den members. He also won the award for most patriotic.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon....Tyler is ready to start working on his car for next year already.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wall of photos....

When we go to all of the bigger shows, the kids want to get thier pictures taken with their animals. And while it is expensive ($10 for 2 4x6 prints) they want them and so that is one thing we've tried to get every year - a good picture with each animal they've shown.

Then of course is the dilema - what do we do with all of these pictures. And then I found inexpensive frames at Wal-mart. The 5x7 frames are $2 each, and the 8x10 frames are $3 each.

Jessie's room is currently cotton candy pink. And her furniture is white. So I painted her frames cottage white by Behr. I figure the white will work with any color room she comes up with when we repaint her room in a few weeks....

Tyler's room is red, white and blue. But I went with leaving the frames black for him. Partly because I'm lazy and painting all of these frames has been driving me batty.

(one of his pictures that I took this past weekend before I put it in the frame)

I try to also print off pictures that I've taken of them actually in the show ring. Which was a challenge until recently when I got a new camera. Because usually in the showring, they are several hundred feet away from me. And my little point and shoot camera just doesn't zoom well that far. So I cashed in some rewards and got myself enough gift cards to Best Buy to buy a Cannon DSLR camera. I'm still learning it, but I do manage to get some good pictures:)

So I do have more pictures to frame and put up here. And then they both asked if I could print off some pictures of them showing pigs and frame them.

I think they are going to run out of room......

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This is the time of year I love the most. It's getting warmer, the sun is out, and we are so close to having baby calves on the ground!

Rondell should be the first one to calve, and she is looking pretty miserable. Last fall we had everyone ultrasounded to see if we were having calves, when they were due, and whether they were bulls or heifers. Rondell should be having a bull calf (we have 4 bull calves for sure coming if the vet was right). Jessie has already laid claim to this one for her next feeder calf/market steer project.

After I took this picture in the morning, we brought her in last night. We are supposed to get some cold/wet/nasty weather now through the weekend, and we really don't want to be chasing her around the lot.
We also brought in another cow that is looking rather uncomfortable and close to calving, but I couldn't get a good picture of her. She kept laying down with her rear end facing me.

This is the first year that we have all of our calves coming in a 6 week time frame, if everyone does what they are supposed to do!

When we were running out of room a few weeks ago, and had to separate Tank so he didn't eat his way to weighing 1800 lbs. at fair, we tossed the 3 yearling heifers outside for a few weeks. 2 of them (Smokie and Famous) are going to a show over Memorial Day weekend, and we will bring them back in here in another couple weeks to work with them. The solid black heifer will go out with the cows once everyone is closer to being done calving.

Tonight we are bringing back into the barn another steer that Tyler will show at the 3 or 4 shows we have coming up. It's too hard to show heifers and steers at all these 1 day shows so we will just take Tank and Huey to the next several shows.

I cannot wait until these calves hit the ground!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beef Expo......

This past weekend, we were in Columbus for the Ohio Beef Expo....and I am beat.

We left Friday about noon, and it was non-stop work until we got home Sunday night about 7:30. Well, the kids and I got home about that time...Todd and Jason got home about 8:30 with the calves. My lead foot must have come in handy coming up I71. That and cruise control:)

But both kids had a blast showing their animals....and did very well in the process!

Jessie showed Tank in showmanship on Saturday. We are now calling him the antsy pantsy steer. He's not bad....but he wants to know EVERYTHING that is going on around him. So she didn't place because he wasn't walking like he should.

Sunday was when the fun 6:30 in the morning washing a calf. Jason brought a registered Angus heifer in the sale on Saturday, and Jessie showed her bright and early Sunday morning. She did well - 6th out of 12. Considering the fact that "Fancy" had never been shown before, it was a good experience. And when you are up against the best of the best (the class winner was recently purchased for $50,000), I'll take being in the middle of the pack any day of the week.

There is now talk about her going to some big Angus shows with this heifer....including State Fair and Louisville, KY this fall.

Then she had to show Antsy Pantsy again, and got 6th out of 13. He was better - still not good, but she handled him very well.

She is realizing just what the level of competition is down here, and is perfectly happy with how she placed.

And then it was Tyler's turn. The little turkey. He's been on the fence about showing. He likes it, but he is super competitive and it hasn't clicked in his little mind that being in the middle at this level of showing is very good.

But he showed Fabulous and got 2nd in his class out of 12, and then had to go back in for the championship drive for Crossbred heifer. Where he didn't have a chance up against some of these heifers that show at the National level but hey......

He will take 2nd and the money that he won with it:)

It was 3:30 by the time we got done showing, and at 4 as we were cleaning Fabulous up, Todd was going to get the truck and trailer. He had to wait in line until 6:00 but he finally made it up to the barn, we tossed everything in the trailer and headed for home.
And the kids? They are ready to go to a show in Wabash Indiana this weekend, but I think I need a weekend to recuperate.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I've been playing

and not with fabric or yarn either:)

Last year at the County Fair I took a picture of Jessie and Punx that I absolutely LOVE:

Don't ask me why I love it, because you really can't see her face except for maybe that she is smilling for all she is worth as the judge is talking about her while he was placing this class. Todd hates this picture - she is growing up to fast and looks way to old....

Problem was: a) it has a "grey tint" to it; b) I was too far away (I was maybe 100 feet away from her) and c) my little point and shoot camera just doesn't cut it for distance.

But I played around in Photoshop Elements (the cheap version of Adobe Photoshop). And I got this, which is much better:

And after playing around some more, I got this, which is better yet:

I played with these a few months ago, and I honestly don't remember what I did. I just know I was on Pioneer Woman's photography site and doing what she told me to do (as far as layers, colors, etc.) step by step (look under photoshop elements - it was one of those posts).

Here's another one from the Spring Show last year:

And after playing with it:

The original of another all time favorite of Jessie and Punx:

And the edited version:

And then I had to play with one and make it black and white:

I love the more colorful "edited" ones for printing off and framing - we've started picture walls in each of the kids' rooms of all the steers/heifers/pigs they've shown. One thing I did find out though (much to my dismay) -don't use those edited photos on your desktop. Your eyes really won't appreciate it.

Fortunately, I still have the oringal-straight-out-of-the camera that I can put on my desktop - much nicer:)

We are headed off to another steer show this weekend - The Ohio Beef Expo. 3 adults, 2 kids and 2 calves going down Friday morning....3 adults 2 kids and 3 calves coming home if our friend Jason buys a heifer through the sale down there. And I've got a new to me DSLR camera (brought with a bunch of gift cards) that I am anxious to try out....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tank.... a growing boy obviously!

We went to weigh in's for the county fair January 15th....and had a mild panic attack when we realized he weighs 838 lbs. We think about it, regroup and move everyone around into new pens, kicked some outside, and figured out what we were doing. We had 8 months to county fair at that point, and obviously, Tank needed to go on a diet while Huey and the other calf needed to be pushed, seeing as they only weighed 600 lbs.

So a heifer came in to stay with Tank (to keep him company) and we sort of coasted along the last month and a half.

Beef Expo is coming up, and we thought that just for kicks we would weigh Tank last Sunday.....

....and the sucker weighs 1019 lbs. Seems he is such a feed hog - he pushes everyone out of the way and eats all the feed. We thought Smokie (the heifer we put in with him) would be more aggressive, but apparently not. So her butt got kicked outside with the rest of the heifers, and Tank is now flying solo in the barn. He wasn't very happy about it the first night, and there were even some tears on Jessie's part thinking he was lonely...but taht sucker is enjoying it now.

The new game plan? Monitor his feed intake, switch feeds and show the daylights out of him. Hopefully by showing him 6 or 7 times between next weekend and the end of May, it will slow him down a little bit. I'm not counting on it cause nothing fazes this calf but....we can always hope:)

So now I've had to buy all new feed (we didn't need shredded beet pulp for Punx, who had to put on weight, not hold him) and Tank is not a happy camper:) And I'm learning all over what feeds you feed to put on weight, and what feeds you feed to hold and fill him up! While Tank does not like shredded beet pulp in the least little bit, it has no nutritional value and will only fill him up - not put any "real" weight on him......

It's only March and it's getting interesting here with all the feed......

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Since the weather is so crappy out there, I've been doing lots of sewing and knitting. In between boy scout meetings for Tyler and basketball practice and games for Jessie. Thank goodness this weekend is the last weekend of basketball games. However, from now until the middle of May we have steer shows every single weekend but Easter weekend. Mainly to get her some more practice but also to keep Tank's weight in control. The boy likes to eat, we can say that much:)

I'm chugging right along on my Heleborous Yoke sweater. Interesting construction - you start with the right front and work your way around sideways. I'm just about to the part where I do the left sleeve.

It goes very quick, mainly because it's on size 10 1/2 needles with big yarn. I'm worried that it's going to be big, but I'm trusting that since it's supposed to be worn with 4" positive ease, and I made the size 38, it should work. I know my yarn guage is a little off, so hopefully i'll end up with it just about right.

In digging through a basket of odds and ends of yarn while we had our knitting party last weekend, Jessie found my Cherry Vanilla sweater. I love this sweater. I do not love size 6 needles. But I'm going to finish it here shortly with any luck. Mainly because my Heleborous Yoke is getting to big to be dragging around to basketball practice and friends' houses for dinner. Although it's making a nice blanket to keep warm with!

I managed to get through 2 repeats of the lace before loosing steam (and ambition) last fall, but I think I have about 25 rows to go before separating for the arms.

This sweater pattern is great - you can make it long or short, long sleeved or short sleeved. I'm thinking long with short sleeves so I can wear it this summer. But then again, if it takes me all summer, I just may make it hip length with long sleeves so I can wear it this fall:)
I also need to finish up my socks. My Mom started them for me, and then I took over and knit until I got to the heel shaping. She did that, and now i have to knit the feet. Again, love the yarn but do not love size 1 needles in any shape or form:)

Be back later!