Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Letherneck's Cool Hand Luke

Luke has been gone a couple of years now, but I thought I would just post some pictures. I think about him and Indy all the time. I will always miss my boys.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Katelynn carved these two pumpkins.
This one is ClaireAnna's. She did it mostly by herself with a little help from Dad.
Ted and the girls ALWAYS make a Gingerbread house for Christmas. This year they found one for Halloween too!
Josh and Lily, ClaireAnna and Cole. ( Lily's nephew) Oh..and Max.
This was Cole's first time ever trick or treating. Lily had told him she was going to take him "Trick or Treating". So when the time finally came, he walked up to all the doors, rang the bells and said, "Trick or Treating!"

Josh and Lily were such good sports. They walked the whole neighborhood with Claire and Cole and I in these hilarious costumes and got rave reviews from everyone on the streets.

Josh has rented a great new house with some roommates and invited us to come over and trick or treat in his new neighborhood. We had chili and hot apple cider and Kate made cupcakes and brownies. Dad and Kate stayed home to answer the door while the rest of us went out with the kids. It was a super fun night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hay Jump

Say a Prayer For "Booth"

We found this huge calf today separated from his mother by a fence. Kate named him Booth. He must have been born close to the fence row and rolled under to the other side. He was very week. We do not know if he had ever nursed but we don't think so. We got him up to scoot him through the gate to his mother but soon after this picture, he fell down. We just had to carry him. Then we got the 4 Wheeler and a wagon, lifted him into the wagon and drove him up to the barn. His mother, Ruthie, trotted along side. We stomach tubed him colostrum and gave him several shots recommended by the vet, but as of 10:00 PM, he was still too weak to stand. We stomach tubed him some more nutrition and went home. ClaireAnna wrote in her prayer journal, "Booth, a baby cow that is sick. I love you Booth my baby cow." We are really hoping the morning has good news for us. ** UPDATE** Booth passed away the next day. :(

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tax Op-Ed Piece

Double click on this to enlarge it for reading. It is a good Op-Ed piece I found in our Little Rock paper. Farm Blog readers who aren't interested can ignore!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A REAL Farm girl would have known better!

Yeah, this doesn't come off! Ted and Kate were out checking a new calf today, when she noticed a bunch of Black Walnuts on the ground. Her dad told her that inside was a walnut. She decided to try to dig one out with her hands! These photos were taken AFTER she had washed out 40 times with things such as soap, vinegar and bleech. Yeah, this is not coming off. Even the internet says it will have to wear off over a period of a couple weeks. Hahahah! Sorry, Kate, but I guess you won't do THAT again!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Life In Homes

St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church, Brighton, WI
When the girls and I visited Jes this past spring, I took the oportunity to drive past all the homes Ted and I lived in over the years. I figured it would probably be the last time I would ever see most of them. It all started here, at the church we married in, St Frances Xavier Catholic Church. It is in the middle of a corn field in Brighton, Wisconsin, just 2 miles from were my Dad lived at the time. We used the church but had our own pastor do the ceremony. The reception was at my Dad's. It was a beautiful place to get married.

#1 - 3509 16th Street, Apt. 2D, Kenosha, WI. Woodcreek Apartments
Our first apartment. Ted moved in just a month before the wedding. We lived here 1 year. Ours was the second floor balcony.

#2 - Emaus Street, Zion, Il

There was a guy who worked with Ted and also went to our church. He owned this house, but couldn't afford to make the payments. He offered to rent us the upstairs while he lived in the basement. Good for him because he would be able to keep his house. Good for us because we would have 3 bedrooms, a garage and nice yard, all closer to Ted's work for less then the apartment we were renting at the time. We shared the kitchen and only bathroom. Both parties made a verbal commitment to this arrangement for 1 year. We shook hands on it. Ted and I worked for 2 weeks cleaning and painting the interior of this entire house. We finally moved in just one month before Jessie was born. Just three months after moving in, This man came to us and said that he had met a woman and was getting married and needed us to move out immediately because he needed time to fix up the house for his new wife! OMG! We were stunned and furious! I actually ended up in an argument with him one night after which he raised his hand to me and I had to leave with my 2 month old baby (Ted was at work) for fear of my safety. I never went back. Ted moved everything out and into his parents garage until we could find another place to live. Lessons learned.

#3 - 36670 N Beverly, Gurnee, Illinois

This is Ted's childhood home. He lived here from age 6 until just 1 month before we married. We lived here for a few weeks with baby Jessie after leaving the Emaus house until we found a new apartment.

#4 - Shiloh Blvd, Zion, Illinois

This apartment was a third floor walk up, 2 1/2 flights of stairs to the front door with a new baby! But is was huge, and across the street from a lovely park, and close to Ted's work. Ours was the top right. We loved it. We lived here one year.

#5 - Crawford Road, Wadsworth, Illinois

While living at Shiloh Blvd, I found an ad in the paper for a caretaker job. It involved about 20 hours a week of outdoor work in exchange for free rent of a 2 bedroom ranch home. We wrote a letter, had an interview and got the job. It was the most beautiful estate in the country with an orchard in the front yard and deer everywhere. The owners were a wealthy older couple. They had a lovely home with an indoor pool on 40 acres. We had to mow, rake leaves, plow snow and agree to be home when they weren't. It was AWESOME for the first year. We even got to use the pool.
Unfortunately, Mr. Shinkunas got greedy and started taking advantage of Ted's hard work ethic. He started to require more of Ted then was reasonable for the Job. They decided to part ways. It was great while it lasted. Josh was born while we lived in this house. We lived here one year.

#7 - 1560 16th Street, Apt. 1D, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We left the Crawford Road house and had to stay with my (#6) Dad and his wife for a couple of weeks before we found our next apartment. We went back to Woodcreek. This time right across from the pool. It was a lovely time when the kids were little and lots of fun. We lived here 1 year. Ours was the lower right patio.

#8 - 247th Avenue, Salem, Wisconsin

There came a time when my Dad and his wife were having some financial problems and asked us if we would move in with them, pay rent and help them out a bit. They had a home on 15 acres. This is the home I lived in when I met Ted. We lived here with them for 6 months. It was nice for the kids to have pets and spend some time in the country.

#9 - 21st. Street, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We rented this 2 flat for one year. We lived downstairs and shared a basement and laundry area with the upstairs people. We had a nice front porch and two bedrooms. Josh was at the peak of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle obsession here and Jessie was into My Little Ponies. When I think of this house, I picture turtles and ponies.

#10 -4227 Harding Road, Kenosha, Wisconsin

We had a choice.....bigger house in a not so nice neighborhood...or....tiny house in a great neighborhood. We choose the tiny house in the Forest Park area of Kenosha for our first home purchase. We had a finished basement, a great yard and a garage. We had a wonderful life here. Katelynn was born while we lived here. We had awesome neighbors and good friends. Unfortunately, after four years, the 692 square feet of space was just too small for our family of five. One day, Ted came home from work to find a realtor at our kitchen table. I said, "Honey, this is our realtor, Jan. We're moving!"

#11 - 8075 50th Ave., Kenosha, WI

We sold the Harding Road house in 1 day for more then our asking price and a nice profit. We were able to buy this beautiful rustic, brick and cedar, 1525 square foot, home in an even nicer area of town. It was the last house on a dead end, had a pool, a great, park-like yard, a garage, finished basement, 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. We loved this house very much. ( I know you can't see much of it in the picture, but trust me, it was beautiful. ) This is where we fell in love with wood burning stoves and front porches. We lived here 4 years. The only reason we ever considered moving from here was because the upstairs bedrooms were quite small and Jes and Kate had to share. As Jes got older, it was hard for her to share with a sister 6 years younger. There was no way to add on, really, so we started looking for another place.
We used the same realtor, Jan Hensgen - our real estate angel! She helped us look all over tarnation for some land in the country. We wanted a farmette and some cows and a horse or two. We looked, offered, lost, looked, offered, least 10 times. This went on for months. Finally, Jan said, "Do you guys think maybe Someone is trying to tell you something?" WOW! Our realtor was telling us that maybe this was not God's timing for us to have a farm. How cool is that?
So we gave Jan a new assignment.....find us a town. One evening, Ted came home with a printout that Jan had emailed to him at work. The picture was fuzzy and dark, but I was pretty sure I loved the house! I got in my car and drove to the address in the dark. Yup, loved it! I called Jan and told her I wanted in that house TOMORROW. She set it up. ( She was AWESOME!) As we lay in bed that night, I said to Ted.....

"Wouldn't it be just amazing if we walked into that house and there in the living room was floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove? Wouldn't that be just AMAZING?"

Our current home, the one I loved but that was too small, had floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove. I just really, really wanted that again, but what were the chances?

So, with my hopes just ridiculously high, we met Jan at 3326 100th Street in Pleasant Prairie. I took one step into the foyer and started to cry imediatly. Yes, it's true....there it was right before my eyes.....floor to ceiling brick with a wood burning stove. I didn't notice anything else about the house....we put an offer in that day. The house was on a beautiful 1/2 acre of park like trees. We had a creek as our back property line with a huge weeping willow. There were 3 baths, 5 bedrooms, a great room, a family room and a sun room. We lived in this wonderful home for 6 years. This is were we lived when ClaireAnna was born. We had bible studies, parties and lots of fun here. We were a happy family of six here. This is the first and last place that all six of us lived together at the same time.

#12 -3326 100th St., Pleasant Prairie, WI

Mama's wood burning stove.

Daddy's woodland front yard.
During the time that we lived at 100th Street, we also had the opportunity to buy a beautiful farm in Arkansas. We figured when the kids were grown, we would retire and be farmers. Hah! God sure has plans of his own, doesn't He?

#13 - 225 Standridge Drive, Dover, AR

In 2003, God moved our family to Arkansas for good and we finally got the cows and horses we had dreamed of for 20 years! God has blessed us with a small, but lovely home and 160 gorgeous acres to enjoy. So...this is home for now. How long it will last, we don't know. What will be next...we don't know that either. We do know that God has blessed us and grown us at every home he has provided for us and at that, much more then we deserve. And we trust Him completely to continue His care for us in the future. For right now, we are happy as farmers in Arkansas

Monday, September 22, 2008

'59 Chevy Apache Fleetside


Redneck Swap

We traded this horse............
For this goat............

Pretty funny, huh? Well, as much as we loved the horse, "Te", we really didn't have a use for her. We had planned to breed her and then keep her once we realized she was broke to ride.
See her story here....
However, we have changed our minds about both. ( Although I would LOVE to keep ALL the horses, Ted rightly says we have too many and must downsize) We have had Te advertised for $500 for several months. She is a WONDERFUL mare, but the horse market is in the toilet right now and we haven't been able to sell her.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the barn is a paddock full of female goats....with breeding season upon us. Our options were to buy a buck or borrow one. We started asking around and found out that Kevin Little, the co-leader of the 4-H Meat Goat Club had a buck for sale. The buck was, however, out of our price range at $650. Kevin raises and shows Boer meat goats and has some well known bloodlines. This buck has already been shown and has won some blue ribbons. So I said, "How about a trade?"
Little did I know that Kevin was actually actively looking for a first horse for his 14 year old daughter. I suggested they take Te for a trial and see what they thought. Well, 2 weeks later, we had our buck. Kevin's daughter, Lena, has fallen in love with Te and is riding her all over the mountains by herself. The whole family loves Te and will give her a great home and we ending up with a buck of much better quality then we would have ever had otherwise! ( The picture above is the buck as a weanling. He will get much bigger and meatier!)
The funny thing is, I had sold Te's daughter to another local family who ended up selling her to Kevin Little. So now Te and her daughter are reunited!
It's a funny small town life..........:)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2008 Pope County Fair


SEPT 9-13

Sunday, Sept 7th

The Fair, this year, started with the horse show which took place the Sunday before, on Sept 7th. ClaireAnna entered just about every class. Kate didn't ride ( back issues) but showed Missy at Halter.

Taking a drink and waiting for the next class.

The judge, explaining to ClaireAnna what to do during the trail class.
ClaireAnna and Caroline Beech put together a "Hay" barn with examples of good barn and horse practices and a "Neigh" barn with junk all around, dirty stalls and danger lurking everywhere! ClaireAnna used her own little toy barns and horses.


Our Wrangler's Club puts together a booth each year for the Educational Building. This year our booth was called "Hays and Neighs". The "Hays" are good horse safety practices and the "Neighs" are what NOT to do around the barn. We all got together and took before and after pictures of the kids with the horses doing "Hays" and "Neighs" around our farm. It was a lot of fun.
Here's Claire's donkey Jack, tied improperly to a fence. A big "Neigh!"
And Here is ClaireAnna with Jack tied correctly with a quick release safety knot. "Hay!"
Aren't they cute?!
Kate and Bailee Miller spent Monday morning putting up the booth.
Stupid me, I forgot to take a picture of the finished booth! We were really disappointed that the judges only gave us a second place on this booth. We thought it was really cool!
Tuesday, Sept 9th

Kate won 1st place senior buck, 1st place junior buck and 1st place junior doe as well as Best Opposite Sex to Breed! ( Kind of like "Reserve Champion") The senior doe beat her for Best of Breed. The girls putting up their Lionhead Rabbits.

Kate won 1st place senior buck, 1st place senior doe, 1st place junior doe. There were no junior bucks and Kate is shown here wondering which of her rabbits will get Best of Breed and Best Opposite of Sex to Breed. Gryffin's Door Hagrid takes the honors. Below are the girls in the rabbit barn with some 4-H buddies and their ribbons.

Wednesday, Sept 10th
One of the other 4-H kids had too many birds in one class and asked Claire to help show one of her chickens. It's a Polish. Claire had so much fun, now she says she wants a Polish chicken for next years fair.
Hmmmmmm......I wonder what Daddy will say about that???
( I was being sarcastic. For those of you who don't know, Daddy gets her anything she wants!)
It's really funny how chickens are shown. You grab them by their back feet and hang them upside down until they relax. Then you can just lay them on the table and they practically play dead and just lay there. The judge comes by and examines each one.
The ducks were judged at their cages because some of them are so flighty that it is best not to take them out. This is ClaireAnna watching the judge with her pair of Blue Ancona Ducks, "Henry" and "Beauty", which were chosen 1st place duck pair as well as Grand Champion "Other Fowl" She's won the "other fowl" category three years in a row now! Yeah ClaireAnna! She also won 1st place duck hen with a lovely black Ancona hen.
ClaireAnna and mom taking the Grand Champion pair up to the table for the Best In Show class.
Here, the judge is explaining to ClaireAnna that her ducks came very close to winning Best In Show except that her hen had a little bit of uneven coloring. Claire was very excited to have "almost" won! She has never won Best In Show but she hopes to some day!
ClaireAnna telling "Beauty", "Great Job!"
Thursday, Sept. 11th

Our market goats did poorly, as we knew they would. They are half dairy goat and not meaty enough. We just bought a nice Boer buck to breed to our does for next years batch of kids. We should get some nice market class prospects out of him.
(Actually, we traded a horse for the buck, but that is a long story! )

Our goats in their pens in the livestock barn.
Thursday, Sept 11
There is an obstacle course every year called the "4-H Olympics". It is fun and goofy and the kids love it. Claire and Clay Metz were partners.
Friday, Sept 12th
On Friday, the kids have a dance from about 9 to midnight. The older kids stay the night at the fairgrounds with some brave parents for chaperons. Claire and I went home but Kate stayed.
Here's ClaireAnna dancing her heart out.
Getting set up for the "recall".

Saturday, Sept 13th.
This is ClaireAnna's third year showing Lucky and they are really becoming a great pair on the obedience course.

Rally obedience course.

1 minute long sit.

3 minute long down.
4 blue ribbons and Peewee High Point!

That's what the fair is all about and both are in abuncance all week.

Three "fair rats" climbing on the cattle stocks while waiting for the goat show to start.
Clay Metz, ClaireAnna and Dayna Walker. Fast Fair Friends.
( I think I will have to start keeping a better eye on Clay as the years progress!)
Saturday evening is usually the Awards Ceremony and afterwards, a big pot luck dinner. So, after the dog show, I went home and made a triple batch of crabmeat salad and took a quick nap. Just as I was getting ready to head back, Pope county went under a tornado warning with the remnants of hurricane Ike passing through the state. The awards ceremony and potluck were canceled! I had to eat crabmeat salad for a week!
ClaireAnna and DaynaTHE DOG SHOWKate with her market goat, "Leah". ClaireAnna showing "Brook" in the market goat class. Getting the goats cleaned up for the show. Hey, it's a lot easier then bathing a cow!Kate showing her Californians.Trail Class. Here she has taken the blue slicker off the pole and has to carry it with her the rest of the ride. ClaireAnna won several 1st and 2nd places in the pleasure division as well as Peewee High Point Pleasure. She entered the speed classes and had a lot of fun, but didn't win any since she doesn't yet lope.
Here are the girls in the breed class with our 6 month old 1/2 Kiko does. They did well, winning 4th and 5th out of a class of 12.