The State Fair is More than Fried Food and Rides for Me

For many people, the NC State Fair is about fried food, rides, and giant pumpkins, but for me it is so much more. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting fried cheese, bacon pimento cheese hushpuppies, and blooming onions. I always ride the Ferris wheel and bumper cars, and always take a peak at the giant pumpkins.

DSC_2979

BUT…that’s not why I go to the fair.

I go to the fair to drive and nervously back trailers in the heart of Raleigh. I go to help my brothers wash pigs, watch them compete against hoards of others in the ring, and coach them along the way. I go to fluff and trim goats. I go to the fair to walk sheep in the ring, pick straw from their fleece, and to see if we’ve improved from last year. I go to compete for the blue ribbons and champion titles. I go to take a thousand photos, to see friends, and spend 6 days in a barn. I go to the fair to spend time with my family and make memories. I go for the livestock experience.

I look at the NC State Fair through a different lens than many who walk through the gates. It isn’t just a place to find entertainment or unique food. It is a place where both heartache and joy has taken place. It is a place where I have run around with so much adrenaline and energy, but also been utterly exhausted. It is a place where I have learned lessons. The NC State Fair is a place that holds a special place in my heart. This year was no different.

NC State Fair 2017 Recap

While there was a great deal that took place over the course of the fair, I just want to give you the highlights. The first day, Mom, the boys and I went to check pigs in. All went smoothly. We headed back home to pick Dad up and head once more to Raleigh to stay in a hotel. We had a super early morning and didn’t want to deal with Raleigh traffic the next morning. Although an early morning awaited, I was to have a late night.

You see, Garrett was arriving on a flight at midnight! I hadn’t seen him since I left him in Nebraska back in August. I was so excited! I am ashamed to say, that I dozed off and was 15 minutes late picking him up from the airport. It all worked out, and I was reunited with my fiance!! Fair wouldn’t quite be the same without him.

The next morning did indeed dawn bright and early, but I was too excited to be tired. Today was the pig show!! My boys did an amazing job showing Arnold and Schwarzenegger. Both pigs were in the top 10 and Isaac received a super showman pin. I may have teared up a bit.

DSC_1595DSC_1772DSC_1782DSC_1758DSC_1702

DSC_1784DSC_1790

On Saturday, I returned once more to the fair, this time alone. I arrived in time to walk Garrett’s little red pig in the sale ring. Goodness do I miss driving a pig in a ring.

DSC_1944-2

My primary reason for coming back to the fair wasn’t to walk a pig, though.  I was set to photograph and video the Sale of Champions. I love auctions, livestock, and the fair, so being able to capture it all with my camera, is such a joy! Alec was also recognized as a scholarship recipient.

DSC_2462

The next day of the fair was to be on Monday. We loaded 4 little goats on the trailer during such a rainy day. Because all the goats were born within a couple of weeks of each other, they were all the same size and in the same class. Sadly, we only had 2 Linton boys, but 4 goats. They couldn’t very well show 2 at a time. Thankfully, we had friends in the barn who helped us out! Mom, Dad, and the boys went home, while I stayed in town to spend time with Garrett. He would fly out the next day.

DSC_2489DSC_2486DSC_2463DSC_2545DSC_2537DSC_2531

Wednesday arrived. We loaded 12 sheep (all of which had been washed and clipped). Because there were so many, we had to take the big trailer which is always more nerve-wracking to drive. I take that back. It is fine to drive but scary to back. I’m happy to say, though that I was able to back it perfectly! With the sheep penned and the trailer backed, we were ready for the next day.

DSC_2550DSC_2548

Another early morning greeted us. Today the entire family was able to be at the fair together. Showmanship was up first. Isaac and Gideon went head to head in juniors. Gid came out on top, which worked out well. Isaac beat Gideon in pigs. Alec received reserve champion senior plus showman despite an irritable sheep. We were off to a phenomenal start!

DSC_2559DSC_2593DSC_2610DSC_2604DSC_2628

Costume class followed showmanship. Isaac dressed up in a red, white and blue theme to highlight wool in America. Gideon showed off tools of the trade to raise sheep. There were so many cute costumes!

DSC_2731DSC_2729

With 12 sheep, we were in and out of the ring constantly. All of our girls did well, and I was even able to show during the open show.

DSC_2663

DSC_2635DSC_2556DSC_2598

DSC_2782

Isaac was extra proud of his Astrid sheep. He bought her with his own money earlier in the year, and she ended up winning her class! The face says it all!

DSC_2694DSC_2705DSC_2710

Interestingly, Alec ended up with the best sheep–Georgette. Last year, I did not like Georgette. She placed behind all our other sheep, and just wasn’t my favorite. This year, here fleece was gorgeous, and the judge agreed. She won her class and went on to compete in the champion drive along with two other of our ewes–Astrid and Evelyn.

DSC_2715

I held my breath as the judge looked over all the blue ribbon sheep. And then…she shook Alec’s hand.

DSC_2723

Georgette won Supreme Champion Junior Ewe and Got to Be NC Grand Champion Junior Ewe. I may have screamed a bit.

DSC_2762

We have come so close to Supreme Champion several times, and it finally happened. What made it even more special was we raised Georgette on our farm. She was Countryview Farm genetics. It didn’t stop there, though. In the open show, Georgette also won Supreme Champion Fleece, and our new ram, Church, won champion medium/fine white ram.

DSC_2775DSC_2784

It was such a good show!

DSC_2813

We celebrated by eating our favorite fair foods, walking around, and riding some rides.

DSC_2896DSC_2906DSC_2908DSC_2905DSC_2893

DSC_2909DSC_2910DSC_2889DSC_2880DSC_2884DSC_2882DSC_2881DSC_2877DSC_2935DSC_2978DSC_2980DSC_2984DSC_2987

I found my bacon pimento cheese hushpuppies, Dad and Alec snagged them a blooming onion and Isaac and mom grabbed a funnel cake.

DSC_2915DSC_2916

Gid discovered a new favorite –Poutine (fries covered with cheese curds and gravy). This gravy loving boy was in heaven.

DSC_2913DSC_2921DSC_2922DSC_2919

And with that, the 2017 NC State Fair ended for the Lintons. We loaded up and headed home. For us, the fair is about family, livestock, friends, and some food. See you next year!!

DSC_1786

 

Our Engagement Pictures

I’ve been dreaming of having engagement pictures done for a long time, and it finally happened!! My dear friends (and future bridesmaids), Joanna and Emily, were gracious enough to brave the heat with us for a few hours for pictures. I am so grateful for their friendship, camera skills and sweet spirits! Thank you guys!

IMG_8705

We started at the NC Art Museum which is a favorite place of mine and Garrett’s. After melting a bit, we went down the road to our next location, but not before having to pull over for me to frantically dance and beat my dress. Wasps stuck inside your dress somewhere who decide to sting your leg and hand tend to make one do those things.  I survived, though, and we made it to our second location–NC State’s Beef Unit where Garrett and I first talked to each other during a judging contest. We laughed a lot, but also managed to get some serious photos. Gideon says the pictures make him seasick, so that’s your warning if you’d like to continue viewing.

Regardless, I am beyond excited for May 19, 2018 to roll around so I can marry the man God picked special for me!

IMG_8051IMG_8029IMG_8077IMG_8120IMG_8123IMG_8130DSC_7820IMG_8141IMG_8161IMG_8252IMG_8262DSC_7875DSC_7870

IMG_8258

DSC_7830

DSC_7836DSC_7840DSC_7848IMG_8410IMG_8384IMG_8380DSC_7904DSC_7895DSC_7912DSC_7911IMG_8351DSC_7974DSC_8040DSC_7991DSC_7992DSC_7993DSC_8002DSC_8034DSC_8035DSC_8037DSC_8032DSC_8016DSC_8065IMG_8602

IMG_8587IMG_8581IMG_8589IMG_8554IMG_8551IMG_8678IMG_8655IMG_8711IMG_8737IMG_8733IMG_8732

Red, White, and Blue

Fourth of July is always one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. We all get together as a family for a cookout that includes burgers, chicken, hot dogs, pasta salad, fries, and fruit. We always conclude our day with fireworks and sparklers. This year, we conducted a flag retirement ceremony. Grandma had two flags that needed to be retired, so we all took part in the proper way to dispose of them. It was very impactful and special to do on Independence Day.

DSC_8189

DSC_8195

DSC_8172DSC_8170DSC_8171DSC_8179DSC_8176DSC_8177DSC_8165DSC_8167DSC_8147DSC_8153DSC_8145DSC_8140DSC_8131DSC_8209DSC_8208DSC_8200DSC_8201DSC_8204DSC_8218DSC_8220DSC_8221DSC_8237DSC_8234DSC_8238DSC_8222DSC_8225DSC_8228DSC_8242DSC_8230DSC_8311

DSC_8317DSC_8324DSC_8329DSC_8322DSC_8327DSC_8325

DSC_8292

Grand Canyon/ Vegas Trip

After looking at more than a thousand photos from our Grand Canyon and Vegas trip, I’ve narrowed it down to a handful to share with you all. It was such a wonderful trip filled with a ton of adventure. Garrett’s family was gracious enough to invite me to come along. They promised fun and adventure, and boy did we get it! I hope you enjoy this little recap.

Day 1:

This day was filled with smooth travels…minus the time Garrett got stuck behind a lady who reclined her seat in the plane. That doesn’t bode well for his large frame. Regardless, we finally arrived in Las Vegas. We met up with the rest of the group (Grandma Murphy, and Garrett’s aunts—Kristen & Melanie) who were coming from other parts of the country and set out for a late dinner. We ate at a Mexican restaurant near the strip that had the best tacos and the coolest lighting. After that, we were all pretty pooped, so we decided to call it a night.

Day 2:

We ate breakfast and hopped on the monorail to head to the strip.

DSC_3577

We started at one end and worked our way down. Ya’ll, the strip is really long, and we definitely did not make it down the whole thing. After exploring Hershey’s Chocolate, eating at Gordon Ramsey’s Burger joint (best pork burger ever!), and looking at a lot of the sites, we went back to the hotel to change for our show that evening.

DSC_3592

DSC_3590

DSC_3611

DSC_3637

DSC_3670

We went to the LINQ to see Matt Franco, a magician. If you don’t know who that is, look him up on YouTube. He was super good and funny. We even got souvenir playing cards from the show. After the show, we headed to… well the food court. We each chose various places to eat (Garrett and I chose Panda Express…unique I know). The real winner, though was in the Venetian (my favorite hotel). In the Venetian is gelato!! When I went to Italy, I fell in love with gelato, and what they sell in the stores just doesn’t cut it. This, though, was the real deal. As you can tell by my face, I was excited! It was a perfect way to end the day.

DSC_3724DSC_3722DSC_3701DSC_3736DSC_3708DSC_3719

Day 3:

We started the day with brunch at Payard Patisserie & Bistro in Caesar’s Palace. Super yummy pastries and omelets were served!

DSC_3755DSC_3753DSC_3772DSC_3776

Afterwards, we explored Vegas more. Our last stop on the strip was Circus Circus. We had a little too much fun playing ski ball, arcade games, and winning tickets for prizes. I walked away with a cup and 5 whole Tootsie Rolls. The kid came out in all of us.

DSC_3786DSC_3790DSC_3791DSC_3795

Once our prizes were claimed, we went back to the hotel to change for dinner and a show. We ate dinner at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris with the most delicious steak. We then went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and watched the Bellagio light and water show from the top. While cold at the top, the view was awesome!

DSC_3831DSC_3810DSC_3805

Finally, we booked it to Treasure Island to watch cirque du Soleil Mystere. Let me tell you, that was the oddest show. Good but odd. There were amazing costumes and acrobatics, but there was a weird story-line involving adult babies. I was left a touch speechless at the whole thing. That would round up our third night in Vegas.

DSC_3698

Day 4:

We said bye to Vegas and looked to a more natural landscape. On our 5 hour drive to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at Red Rock Canyon to travel the scenic drive and hike some. There were some gorgeous views.

DSC_3844DSC_3858DSC_3866

DSC_3870DSC_3901DSC_3883DSC_3889DSC_3924DSC_3904DSC_3930DSC_3890DSC_3935DSC_3942DSC_3962DSC_3963DSC_3947

DSC_3906

We also spotted bighorn sheep. Of course, I didn’t bring my zoom lens the one time I needed it. I still took pictures, but they aren’t too close. We hiked to a waterfall, that ended up being more of a trickle. Nonetheless, it was a really nice stop and adventure. Once we got back on the road to the Grand Canyon, we stopped at In ‘N Out Burger for lunch. I’m a proponent for them bringing those to North Carolina. Milkshakes and animal fries are where it’s at. The sun was setting when we arrived at the Grand Canyon, so we headed to our hotel rooms and got dressed for dinner at the El Tovar. The El Tovar was built in the early 1900’s . I think it was my favorite meal of the trip. I had chipotle tomato soup and prime rib with potatoes. The desserts (creme brulee, tarts, and more) were also to die for. I was a huge fan. It was a good thing that we ate a big dinner that night. I would need the sustenance the next day.

Day 5:

The morning started with a quick hike to the rim to make sure the Canyon really did exist. Once that had been established, we grabbed breakfast and made a game plan. The plan was to hike the rim trail until it was time to grab our flight over the Canyon. I think we hiked about 2 miles of the rim.

DSC_4039DSC_4025DSC_4053DSC_4076

We then went to a tour place that had flights. We hopped into an 8 passenger plane and flew over the canyon whilst listening to a guide. It was really cool to see the Canyon from that point of view. I was nervous about the takeoff and landing of a little plane, but it ended up being smoother than any of the big planes I’ve ever ridden in!

DSC_4092DSC_4099DSC_4100DSC_4101DSC_4103DSC_4162

After our flight, we went back to the Canyon to hike the Kaibab Trail. We (Me, Garrett, Michael, Emma, and Dr. See) wanted to hike the trail before it got dark. This trail goes down the side of the canyon in cutback dirt trails.

DSC_4235DSC_4232DSC_4243DSC_4245

They say that however long it takes you to get down the trail, it will take you twice as long up. It took us 30 minutes to reach Ooh Ahh point and see a view that literally will make you say oohh ahhh. Best view of the week!

DSC_4270

DSC_4286DSC_4274DSC_4298DSC_4299DSC_4278DSC_4310

DSC_4321

IMG_5252IMG_5263

We turned around to go back up, and suddenly I was doubting my decision to hike so far down the trail. We had gone a mile down with 700 feet drop in elevation, and now we had to go back up. There were no flat spots; it was a constant uphill. There were several times I thought I was gonna die. I may or may not have stopped to “take pictures” just so I could catch my breath. Finally, we made it to the top. Once I caught my breath, I no longer regretted my decision to hike the trail. When we got to the top, two older women came up and said they had just hiked all the way down to the bottom and back in a day. They hiked 11 hours with only 45 minute break for lunch. I felt like a total wuss after listening to them. It’s ok, though, I did it.

Once we had all learned to breathe again, we went back into town and grabbed Wendy’s for dinner and headed towards the Imax theater to watch a show about the Grand Canyon. It was the perfect way to end the eventful day.

Day 6:

You’d think that after the Kaibab Trail, I’d be over the whole hiking down the canyon deal…not so. We started the day with breakfast and started a hike down Bright Angel Trail.

DSC_4341

This trail was very similar to Kaibab, but slightly less strenuous. We only went down 500 feet that day. It was infinitely better. It also helped that we hiked at a much more leisurely pace.

DSC_4351DSC_4360

We even spotted petroglyphs. We also checked out a museum featuring photographers from decades ago. We then grabbed lunch and drove down to Desert View Drive, where we would stop at certain places for hikes. These hikes were very flat and leisurely, but still had amazing views!

DSC_4435DSC_4442

IMG_5434IMG_5353IMG_5379

At the end of the drive, we toured the Watchtower. The tower was built to look old and built by natives, but in reality it is just designed to look that way.

DSC_4463DSC_4465DSC_4471DSC_4490

IMG_5402IMG_5391IMG_5404

Finally, we watched the sunset. The night ended with dinner at Bright Angel Lodge and some souvenir shopping.  We called it an early night so we could be up by sunrise the next morning.

DSC_4510

Day 7:

5am came early. I didn’t worry about hair or makeup, but I did worry about layers of warm clothing. I even borrowed a blanket from our hotel room. We found a good spot to watch the sunrise and got our cameras ready. Although, way early, it was quite magical to watch the day begin at the Grand Canyon.

DSC_4581-Recovered

DSC_4552DSC_4578

DSC_4587-Recovered

Now that the sun had risen, we headed back to the hotel to actually take a shower and get ready for the day. Our time at the Grand Canyon had come to an end.

DSC_4612

We packed up and headed to the Hoover Dam. I love the history of Hoover Dam, and it always amazes me what man can build.

DSC_4634DSC_4627DSC_4625

After our stop at the dam, we continued our way back to Vegas. Once back in the city, we stood in line to take pictures at the iconic Vegas sign, ate way too much food at the Golden Nugget buffet, and went to Fremont Street.

Ya’ll I have been to Fremont Street before and it was definitely PG-13. They have bumped up the rating since then. My eyes hurt a bit after some of the sights that I saw. Nonetheless, the light show, experience, and live bands made for the perfect last night in Vegas.The next morning we’d be headed home.

DSC_4657

Day 8:

Just kidding! We thought we were done with Vegas, but Delta had other plans. We stood in line for 5 hours that day, waiting to get new tickets because the storms had made a hot mess. The issues had still not been fixed 4 days later. We heard many a horror story of people’s luggage being sent on without them, but they had to stay behind, or sitting on a plane until midnight only to have the flight cancelled and told to get off. It was so much fun! Delta did give us vouchers for hotel, transportation, and food, though. We wouldn’t be getting out of there until the following day at 11pm. The food vouchers could only be used in the airport, though. So, we grabbed airport Wendy’s, grabbed a cab, and checked in to another hotel. We decided to grab a show last minute that was on sale. The Mentalist was really good, but I was terrified he was going to pick me to participate. Thankfully he didn’t! We ended the evening at a delicious nacho joint.

Day 9:

The decision was made to purchase 2 tickets for Michael and Emma on another airline so they could get home early as Michael had to work. After seeing them off, Garrett, his parents and I hit Vegas again. We went to the pawn shop that is on the show Pawn Stars. That was really neat. After grabbing lunch, we grabbed our luggage and went early to the airport…just in case. Today was not nearly as bad as the previous day. We checked in no problem. We used some of our food vouchers at Chilis for dinner, but we still had a bunch left. The rest of our time was spent going to all the different stores buying food with our vouchers. We went to Starbucks, a smoothie place, Hudson News, and cookie store. The vouchers were for $15 and you could only use it at one store. So, if you only bought $5 worth of stuff, you lost the other 10. Therefore, we tried to get as close to the $15 mark as possible. Just so you know, jerky and a bag of chex mix is $14.98. Boom! We ended up with a lot of snacks for the plane, but it was fun to use them all up.

It was finally time to board our flight!! We were standing in line when over the speaker, they said you have 30 minutes to get on this flight or it is cancelled. What?!! Mind you they don’t just let you on. You have to go on according to your zone. People slowly made their way on the plane. I don’t know if people didn’t hear the announcement, didn’t believe them or thought that if they made it on the plane they were safe, but they could not get a second gear. One lady asked for ice. Ice! Those of us (me included) who were taking the 30 minute deal seriously were telling folks to hurry up. I even grabbed one person’s luggage for them so they could sit faster. The guy in front of us had been on 2 planes already that day and had them cancelled. Still, people would not hurry. I was texting my mom giving her a play by play. Prayers work, though, and all of a sudden, the door closed and we were moving towards the runway. People started to say, “oh, I think they were serious about cancelling the flight.” Ummm yeah they were. The pilots were about to time out. It all worked out, though. We flew overnight (not fun) and landed in New York at 8am, hopped another plane, and finally landed in home sweet NC. We were all pretty tired, but safe and home. Our luggage made it, and we headed to the car only to find the battery dead. Oh Monday, you do show yourself up sometimes. We got that fixed and finally headed home.

I grabbed a shower, and went into work in Raleigh. I finally made it home to my neck of the woods around 8 that evening. With that, the adventure was over. Our trip went longer than expected, but we had a blast! If you’ve lasted this long through the whole dialogue, thanks for reading! If you decided to ignore the words and make this more of a picture book, that’s cool too. Happy weekend!

IMG_5220

Linton Family | VA Beach

On our recent spring break trip to Virginia beach, we had a photo shoot at First Landing State Park. The original plan was to take beach pictures, but alas, my vision of sunset beach pictures were thwarted by awful wind. So, we regrouped the next day and found a much less windy location. Mom always likes to get annual pictures to update her wall in the living room, and we always have a good time while taking the pictures.

DSC_3329DSC_3395DSC_3398DSC_3182DSC_3207DSC_3199bwDSC_3432DSC_3187DSC_3000bwDSC_3420DSC_3291DSC_3267DSC_3267bwDSC_3139DSC_3110DSC_3130DSC_3452DSC_3117bwDSC_3027DSC_3027bwDSC_3172-2DSC_3048DSC_3048bwDSC_3435DSC_3095DSC_3374

DSC_3019DSC_3019bw

Behind the Scenes

DSC_2991DSC_3034DSC_3377DSC_3292

For the Love of Lakes

As I sit in the midst of a busy week, I can’t help but think back to a much less busy time–the lake. For 7 blissful days, the world is much more quiet, life is a bit more simpler, and life is considerably less hectic. Every year, our family packs the camper and boat to head to Kerr Lake for a week of family time and relaxation. Filled with hammock naps, fishing, kayaking, boat rides, reading, and campfires, the week at the lake is a treasured time that flies by all too quickly. It is something that we look forward to, but is bittersweet as it marks the end of summer. At least there are memories and photos to visit on weeks like this one where busy and hectic are the norm.

dsc_0309

We started with 2 tubes, and by the end of the trip, we had broken them both…oops!

dsc_0842

dsc_0859

dsc_0845

dsc_0866

dsc_0786dsc_0787dsc_0510dsc_0535dsc_0549

One of the days, we drove the boat up to a town for lunch. After docking the boat, we ate lunch at McDonalds, went to some shops, and got some ice cream. 
dsc_0576

dsc_0563

dsc_0564

dsc_0566

dsc_0571

dsc_0580

I feel as though, it is a right of passage for all Linton boys to learn to drive the boat.

dsc_0604

dsc_0581

dsc_0543

On one day, we always head to the marina to feed the ducks and fish, and grab some ice cream.

dsc_0461

dsc_0411

dsc_0409

dsc_0401

dsc_0459

dsc_0438dsc_0895

dsc_0893

Islands are everywhere at the lake, and it is one of the boys’ favorite things to explore them.

dsc_0354

dsc_0322
This is perhaps one of my favorite photos.

dsc_0308

dsc_0370

dsc_0371

dsc_0619

dsc_0614

dsc_0633

dsc_0635

dsc_0876
Daddy turned another year older while at the lake. Mom made a birthday cake in the camper (talk about skills). The number on the cake may or may not be accurate. I won’t tell.

dsc_0919

dsc_0924

dsc_0941

dsc_0921

dsc_0907

dsc_0963

dsc_0504

dsc_0499

dsc_0949

 

Lintons Take Ocracoke Island

This week the Lintons are all on island time. We made the trip to Hatteras Islands for a few days. Alec and I came up by ourselves yesterday because the boys had baseball games rescheduled for Sunday. Today we were finally all able to be together and go on adventures.

We boarded a ferry and made the hour long voyage to Ocracoke Island where we visited a lighthouse, hung out with Blackbeard, toured all the beach houses, had a fabulous dinner, and soaked in a gorgeous sky on the beach. All in all, a great day despite chilly temperatures. Wish us luck tomorrow as we climb all the stairs to the top of Cape Hatteras!

DSC_0694


DSC_0668

The Ferry

DSC_0832DSC_0825DSC_0553DSC_0831DSC_0554DSC_0841DSC_0824DSC_0763

Ocracoke Lighthouse

DSC_0571DSC_0583DSC_0581DSC_0572DSC_0593DSC_0585DSC_0604DSC_0575DSC_0504DSC_0598DSC_0576

The Beach

DSC_0750DSC_0745DSC_0749DSC_0634DSC_0629DSC_0686DSC_0769DSC_0736DSC_0702DSC_0765DSC_0723DSC_0690DSC_0643DSC_0647DSC_0688DSC_0621DSC_0654DSC_0721DSC_0649DSC_0676DSC_0768DSC_0808DSC_0801DSC_0813DSC_0800DSC_0787DSC_0773DSC_0698DSC_0804DSC_0799DSC_0792DSC_0785DSC_0865


Copyright Rural Ris Photos 2016 | All Rights Reserved | Pictures Available for Sale Upon Request

Ice, sword fights, and boys

Typically, I have a love/hate relationship with the weather, but right now it’s mostly hate. It is causing one heck of a mess around here. The grossness isn’t just about inconvenience, it is causing a lot more work too. The ice caused a lot of limbs to fall, and of course loads of mud. While these photos are from the first ice round, I thought it appropriate considering yesterday’s ice and today’s rain.

DSC_1328

DSC_1316

DSC_1301

DSC_1325

1

DSC_1320

DSC_1308

DSC_1315

DSC_1332

DSC_1343

DSC_1309

DSC_1336

DSC_1350

4

DSC_1284

DSC_1353

During all the cleanup, there was a bit of an accident too.

DSC_1358

How? Well, let’s just say boys will be boys, and let the next picture do the rest of the talking…

DSC_1357

Yes, that is sword fighting. Everything turned out fine, though. Mom cleaned up Isaac’s wound and put some butterfly strips on it. He was good to go, and now has a cool upside down v scar.

6

DSC_1364

Needless to say, the weather is taking  bit of a toll on us. It’ll be fine, though. We’ll just keep praying for sunshine.

DSC_1337

 

Life of a Farm Boy

As I was flipping through photos, I was struck by what a great life farming provides. Sure it is hard work and dirty, but there is no better place to grow up in my opinion.

I always knew that I enjoyed the farm life, but wasn’t sure if I was an anomaly. There is a 12 and 13 year age gap between my youngest brothers and myself. This has allowed me to really take in what it is like growing up on a farm. I’m thoroughly convinced  that we are incredibly blessed to live this life.

Recently, a woman visiting the farm mentioned that this was her daughter’s dream. I mulled that over. My reality was her dream. Wow! How lucky am I? How lucky are my brothers?

Living on a farm can be inconvenient, dirty, and hard. Going on vacation means finding someone to feed the stock. After a ball game on Saturday, we return to make fence repairs, medicate animals, or clean barns out. By a young age, we kids know and have experienced the miracle of life and the woes of death. Everyday is a go outside day (sometimes it is just a matter of how fast can we feed).

BUT, living on a farm is… well, just scroll through the photos. It is the life of my brothers. It is the life of farm boys.

DSC_1166

gid

fort13

trio boys

DSC_0097

IMG_20140920_152552_958

giddd

DSC_0954

020314 005

DSC_0003DSC_0583

isaac alec plant

DSC_0498

DSC_0134

DSC_1185

DSC_0172

DSC_0541

alec wool

DSC_0618

DSC_1168

DSC_0066

DSC_0934

DSC_1182

DSC_0504

 

Family, Black-eyed peas, Collard Greens & 2016: Slow-cooked NC Eastern Style BBQ Recipe

Pork was the theme for our New Year’s Eve and Day. New Year’s Day was your typical southern fare with black-eyed peas cooked with ham hock, collard greens, bacon, and ham. If you didn’t eat collard greens and black-eyed peas, then, I’m sorry but wealth will not be in your 2016. It is tradition, you see, to eat greens and peas for good fortune.

DSC_0762.jpg

There isn’t really a tradition for New Year’s Eve in terms of food for our family. I made the command decision to cook a pork shoulder for BBQ (Eastern style of course), green beans, and loaded mashed potatoes. It was all good, but the pork was the star of the show. Clearly, it had to be, what with it being the last meal of 2015. It will not be left in 2015, though. It will surely make an appearance in 2016 at our house. I definitely recommend trying it at your house too!

bbq

Ingredients: Pork Rub

  • 9 lb Boston Butt Pork Shoulder (this can vary based on the crowd you are feeding. 9lb fed our family of 6, and we had leftovers)
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Brown Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Liquid Smoke

DSC_0672.jpg

Ingredients: Sauce

  • 1.5 cups of white vinegar
  • 1.5 cups of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of hot sauce

Instructions:

  1. Rinse your shoulder and pat it dry with paper towels. Set it on a piece of tin foil. Do not take any fat off or the bone out.
  2. Coat all sides of the shoulder with mustard. After all sides are coated, liberally sprinkle other seasonings on all sides of the meat. Squirt liquid smoke on once all seasonings are on.DSC_0665.jpg
  3. Dump all sauce ingredients into a crock pot on low heat.
  4. Place the meat (fat side up) and tin foil on a baking sheet and put it in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for about 2-3 hours or until the middle of the meat registers 95-100 degrees. The oven will create a nice bark on the meat.
  5. Take the meat out of the oven and place it in the crock pot full of sauce. Cook on low until the meat registers 140 degrees Fahrenheit (around 2 hours).DSC_0673.jpg
  6.  Once the temperature has been reached, take the meat and place it on a pan to shred. If there is any fat left on it, carve it away. Take two forks and shred the meat. It should fall right apart.DSC_0684DSC_0692.jpgDSC_0698.jpg
  7. Put the shredded meat back in the crock pot full of sauce for 10-15 minutes. Serve on sandwiches or by itself.DSC_0701.jpg

*Note: If you like things spicier, add more hot sauce and crushed red pepper flakes to the meat and sauce at the end. I also made a separate batch of sauce to put in a bottle and squirt on top of the BBQ. The only difference in it and what was put in the crock pot, is I didn’t include apple juice and simmered it in a pot. 

This makes a great family meal, and provides loads of leftovers for our family of 6. We have even frozen the meat for pre-made meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! [p