Show and Sale 2015: Preparation Days

This week marks one of my favorite weeks of the year–our county’s livestock show and sale. While I can no longer show because I’m an old lady now, I do get to go watch my brothers and other youth younger than me show.Even though the show is not until Wednesday and Thursday, preparations are in full swing.

Prep work for the show starts days beforehand. In reality, it really starts the day we get the animal. From that moment, feeding, training, practicing, and learning are all done in preparation for the big day. It is a matter of hard work and some serious dedication. This week, there has been some added prep work that goes along with the days leading up to the show.

Yesterday, the boys and I finished clipping the goats and pigs. We trimmed the goats’ hooves and horns and then moved on to haircuts. I let the boys trim all they can by themselves on both sets of animals. After they have done all they can, I come in and do the tricky parts and touch-ups. When they get older and more experienced, they can do it all by themselves. Clipping is always an adventure, because the animals don’t always want to cooperate. I was covered in goat hair after the goats. We had to clip the pigs on the go as they walked around their pen. I was standing on my head a couple of times or had to let them chew on my boot to preoccupy them while the boys clipped. It is an adventure that requires an immediate shower afterwards.

Can you see the difference clipping makes?
Can you see the difference clipping makes?


Today, we went to the fairgrounds to set pens up. The boys picked their pens out, spread shavings, and dusted off the fencing. On Wednesday morning we will go back to weigh in the animals and put them in their pens. Wednesday evening is the goat show, and the hog show will be Thursday morning, followed by the sale that evening.


Well, that is the latest from the farm. We have a big week coming up. If you are in the area, feel free to drop by the Wayne County Fairgrounds to cheer our showman on! If you can’t come by, stay tuned for updates as the show progresses via social media or here on the blog.

Tutorial Perfect for Decorating Brown Eggs

Easter is right around the corner. I can practically hear the Easter Bunny’s hops in the distance Fun fact: I dressed up as the Easter Bunny for several years for a local group. I feel that I have a closer bond with the real Easter Bunny, now. Anyways, back to Easter shenanigans.

My family’s tradition is to color Easter eggs on Saturday evening with normal dye. We are all given strict instructions to only take a certain amount of eggs; however, every once in a while, there is a miscount. The creative juices get going, and our math skills waiver. Things happen, you know?

Easter is the one time where we buy eggs. Our chickens graciously provide an abundance of eggs to our family and others. We will use a couple of their eggs for dying, but they are all brown, and the colors aren’t as vibrant. So, we buy big white eggs from the store. I did get a head start on the egg decorating this year, and thought I would share what I did with you.

I didn’t use any dye, just a bit of Mod Podge and a napkin. There is so many things you can do with this, and perhaps you will try it too. It was ideal for my home grown brown eggs for sure! Without any more waiting, here is the Non-dyed, Mod Podge Easter Egg.


  • Paint brush
  • Modge Podge or equal parts craft glue and water mixed together
  • Egg
  • Napkin or paper (the napkin works best with its flexibility)supplies


  • If you are taking your egg straight from the fridge, it will probably sweat a bit, so be sure to dry it off well.bunny
  • Cut your napkin into whatever pieces you want to put on your egg.
  • Next, brush a bit of Mod Podge onto the egg. Not a lot at all. Take your piece of napkin and lay on top of it. Brush another layer of Mod Podge on top of the napkin. glue egg
  • While we are letting it dry, let’s talk about some egg statistics:


As of December 2014…

  • There are about 306 million layers.
  • They averaged 79.9 eggs per 100 hens
  • Iowa is the top producer of eggs
  • There are around 175 egg producing companies that have flocks of 75,000 hens or more and these represent 99% of all layers in America.
  • 66 egg producing companies have over 1 million layers which represents 87% of total egg production.
  • 16.6 million hens are cage-free and organic producing layers.

Instructions Cont.:

  • If it is dry, then you have a completed egg. Enjoy! Come back to the blog on Friday for more facts about eggs. They are certainly interesting.eggegg doen


10 facts you may not know about St. Patrick’s Day

As many well know, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. If it has slipped your mind, then I suggest quickly changing your wardrobe plans to include wearing green. I would hate for you to get pinched. Now that we have gotten the obvious out of the way, how about a few facts about St. Patrick’s Day that you may have not known.

  1. St. Patrick was actually a British guy not Irish. He was kidnapped as a teenager by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland. He ended up staying in the country, even after escaping his captors, to be a missionary.
  2. Green is not the original St. Patrick color. Originally, the saint’s color was blue. Green came about due to the connection with Ireland and shamrocks.
  3. Speaking of shamrocks, St. Patrick used these to tell the story of the Trinity. Later, Irish used the clovers to stick in their lapels as a form of national symbolism. So, there aren’t any four-leaf clovers on St. Patrick’s Day.
  4. Corned beef and cabbage are really an Irish-American deal. To celebrate the special day, Irish-Americans would splurge on a special meal. Brisket was the cheapest meat and cabbage was a cheap vegetable, giving us the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal.
  5. Mythology says that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, but in reality, Ireland never had snakes in the first place.
  6. The first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was in 1762 in America.
  7. For the first several years, all bars were closed during St. Patrick’s Day because it fell during Lent; this was lifted in 1961
  8. The Chicago River will get 45 pounds of green vegetable dye dumped in it this year during St. Patrick’s Day
  9. St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in space twice. The most recent was by Chris Hadfield in 2013.
  10. Traditionally, leprechauns are only male. There are no girls.

So, there you have some facts that I bet you didn’t know. My family will be celebrating the day with green dyed food. There is such a thing as green eggs and ham at my house, at least for one day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

st patrick's day


St. Patrick’s Day: the history, myths and fun facts

The Old House in the Woods: A Childhood Wonder Goes Up in Flames

When Mom would tell my brother and I to go play outside, one of our go to things was explore the woods that edged our property. The woods were always a magical place, full of adventure and lots and lots of briers. We would discover animal tracks and pretend to be explorers. On one of our many explorations, we discovered an old house.

old house

It wasn’t some mystery house that no one knew about. My grandpa used to know the lady who lived there, but to my brother and I it was a domain filled with wonder and adventure. The old house had been abandoned for 20 years after the woman living there had died. Inside, there was still some of her dishes, an old fridge, a bed, and so much more. Most of the windows were still intact and you could still walk on the floors, though one side sagged.


My brother and I always felt some sort of reverence when perusing the house. At a point someone lived there, and left behind were the earthly belongings she could not bring with her. To children, the house was filled with mystery. We could only conjure images of the way the house used to be from our imaginations. Oftentimes, we discussed if we would find forgotten treasures (we never did and wouldn’t have kept it anyway). Adding to our wonder were words written on one of the walls. There, written in pencil was the name of my grandpa and his telephone number. To a child this might as well have been the discovery of Egyptian hieroglyphics. We were so excited and ran to tell my grandparents about our find.

Over the years we explored the area around the old house, discovering a well that we were strictly forbidden to go near. We also explored another abandoned house in the woods at my grandparents. This one had been abandoned since the 60’s and was too far gone to enter. Instead, we would peep in and use it as a backdrop for photos.


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The old houses always held a certain allure to me. They were my castles in the country. We made sure to share the fortresses with my two younger brothers as well, and they dubbed it Monster House after one of their favorite movies. Just as it had for my older brother and myself, the old houses captivated and intrigued my youngest brothers too. It is a special part of our childhood–being able to step back in history.


Last night that history was laid to rest in a display of fiery inferno, providing one last mystical show for my brothers and I. The owner of the houses decided it would be best to allow the local volunteer fire department to receive training practice and burn the buildings. In this way, the houses wouldn’t pose a threat to anyone as they further dilapidated and would also give the fireman in the community a chance to practice their fire fighting skills. It also gave us quite the show.





boys and fire



fire sheepLast night we said good bye to old friends. Gone is the childhood mystical fortress that held such wonder. In its place stands a lone brick fireplace and the memories of days gone by.

foundation (2)


It was n”ICE” to have a good day!

Around two inches of ice covered the landscape today. While it was pretty gross to do chores in, it made for some pretty pictures. Enjoy!

scen heart chain

Apparently, Rocket is adverse to going in his shelter.
Apparently, Rocket is adverse to going in his shelter.

twig pig ice arrow chicken coop shep pasture goat and gid monkey graass isicles golf cart sheep issac and all sheep eating

Our little fighter, made it through the night. We have been tending to her throughout the day, giving her bits of milk. While we were amazed that she made it this far, we are not out of the woods yet. The next few days will be crucial. She does not like to suckle on the bottle, but we are working with her. Time will tell, but until then, she is a little miracle that I like to snuggle with on the couch. 20150217_173910[1]

Farmers Take Field Trips Too

Sometimes I think I have a fairly good grasp of agriculture…sometimes. Most of the time, though, I am keenly aware that there is A LOT I don’t know. I may have competed in national competitions that look at how much you know about livestock, and won, but I will still tell you there is a lot I don’t know. Even the things I feel I have a good grasp on, there is always more to be learned from others. That is why farmers take field trips, and I got to go on two this past weekend.

The first one was to the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, NC. farm shwThe whole family went to tour the many buildings filled with farming equipment. There were tractors of every color and size, cattle chutes, irrigation systems, trailers, trucks–you name it, they probably had it.

farm showDespite being around farms all my life and living on one, there was some stuff, I had no clue what it was. My poor dad was bombarded with questions from my brothers and I. If you knew how much stuff was there, you’d feel for the amount of questions he had to field.

After the boys had climbed on almost every tractor, combine, and Bobcat, and questions had subsided, we made our way to the horse pull and coon jump. We watched draft mules and horses pull max weights of 6,500 pounds and 10,000+ pounds respectively. It was amazing to see their grit and gumption to move the sled with weights. We also got to see the coon jump which is where mules jump from a stand still over a pole. The winner of that contest, jumped 54 inches flat-footed. The coon jump contest originated with raccoon hunting. Mule owners would brag about how high their mules jumped chasing the coons. To prove themselves, they started coon jumping. Neat, huh?

horse pull

The second field trip was to Rocky Mount, NC to attend a 4-H show pig clinic. Mom, the boys and I went. pig clinicWe had a great instructor who talked about everything from picking out your pig, to feeding it, to showmanship. While a lot of it was review for me, there was some things that were brand new too. wasThe boys learned a lot too. They created a skit with the other youth about the right and wrong way to show a pig. Both Isaac and Gideon got on all fours to pretend to be the pigs. They were also able to reverse roles and practice showing with actual pigs too. It is a great warm up for the up coming show in April. issac and


They asked great questions too.


This morning they started to put their new knowledge to use  when they worked their own pigs. I quizzed them a bit too. “What did Mrs. Cally say you should do after walking the pigs?” They remembered after a little searching in their memories.

Even though we live on a farm everyday, we don’t know everything. There will always be someone who has a piece of knowledge that we don’t and it is important to seek out the opportunities that teach us new things. Not only is it fun, but we better ourselves in the process. Field trip for the win!