Into the Woods: Litter Hunting

A walk in the woods typically involves peace, beautiful sights, birds, trees, and maybe a deer. That was not the case for us today. Mom’s 4-H club, WHEP, took a romp in the woods; however, it wasn’t what you might think.

DSC_0116Big Sweep is an initiative in our county where groups collect trash along waterways, and records what is picked up too. For years, WHEP 4-H club has participated in this initiative. We are on our second location (we ran out of trash to pick up in the first area). Last year we started “litter hunting” at a boat ramp along the Neuse River. We thought last year held some interesting finds–a swimming pool– but this year took the cake.

We ended up finding 3 televisions, 1 recliners, a ton of carpet, a nightstand, 12 deer skeletons, like a thousand bottles, a lawn chair, and a host of other things.

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All in all, we collected a grand total of 720 pounds of trash!! Can you believe that?!

Everyone was such good sports too. The kids actually loved hunting for litter and seeing what they could find. Into the woods they would go, and run out, excited about the virtual living room set they just found.

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There was definitely a lot of gross stuff, but in the midst of the trash, there was still God’s beauty. It just needed a little (or rather big) sweep.

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Meet the New Faces of Food Network–The Brothers

Our family is heavily involved in 4-H, and one of the things that we participate in every year is presentations. It has taught all of us kids to learn public speaking skills and confidence–something that I have been extremely thankful for over the years. This year, was the boys’ first time doing a presentation. Following in their older brother’s footsteps, they chose to do the outdoor cookery category. In this section, they have to actually cook a piece of meat for judges on charcoal grills. Do you know how cute a 9 and 10 year old are grilling? Let’s just say they could be the stars of Food Network.

It isn’t just about grilling some scrumptious food, though. The kids have to field the judges’ questions about what temperature to cook the meat to, why they wear gloves (side note: Mom was quizzing Gid on why he should wear gloves, and was trying to get him to remember the word salmonella by thinking of fish. He had the worst time picking the right fish. If you hear him say the flounder disease, you know what he’s talking about), grill safety, and even nutritional facts about their meat. When they age up to senior level, they have to give an additional presentation discussing the industry and more for a chance to go to nationals. Impressed yet?

The boys had already grilled at the county level, and were now competing at the district level. Gideon is still a Cloverbud, so he was non-competitive. Isaac was a junior and ended up winning gold, so he will be headedĀ  to state next month. They were both cooking turkey tenderloin. Now, I used to be a only turkey at Thanksgiving kind of girl, but when we started grilling turkey tenderloins for these presentations, I reevaluated life. It is so very good, especially if you follow their recipes (see below). I know I may be partial, but I think my brothers are just too cute and ever so talented.

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Waiting for the coals
Waiting for the coals

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Clearly, it was superb
Clearly, it was superb

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Isaac and Gideon have very opposite personalities. Isaac is more quiet and Gideon is sassy, so it is only fitting that their recipes parallel with their personalities. They have been kind enough to share their special recipes with you guys so you too may enjoy turkey this summer. Here is Gideon’s. It is has more of a kick.

turkey on targetIssac’s is more subdued and sweet.

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Not only is it delicious, but turkey is also nutritious.

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And don’t forget, turkey needs to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and to wash your hands after handling raw meat lest you get “flounder diseases.”

I hope you enjoy the recipes and be sure to look out for Food Network’s new faces–The Brothers–coming soon. šŸ˜‰

the bros

Giant Jenga and a Farm Visit

One of my favorite things to do is share agriculture with others (I’m sure it is in no way obvious), especially kids. This past week, we had a passel of kids come out and visit the farm, and it was a blast!

Mom’s 4-H club came out for their end of the year party. We had a ton of games for them to play like giant Jenga, lawn Twister, Kerplunk, giant tic-tac-toe, corn hole, washer toss, horseshoes, pick-up sticks, and even a fossil dig! We also set up an archery station and hay ride. While it was a lot of work making all of the games, it was also a lot of fun. We went through a ton of spray paint and hot glue. We also may or may not have used chainsaws, battled mosquitoes, and gotten sunburnt while preparing for the big day. It looked great in the end, if I do say so myself.

The games were ready, but we were inviting the group to a farm. It only makes sense to introduce them to a bit of farm life. We penned up a few of the more friendly animals and the babies for the kids (and parents) to interact with. Minus Dodger, all the animals behaved. Dodger was nice to the people, but he has jealousy issues and did not want to share the attention. Since he decided to be a bully to the other animals, I tied him up outside the pen beside me.

The day ended up being a great success. Some of the kids had never been on a farm before, so that was really special to have them experience farm life. I watched some kids walk into the pen, very hesitant and somewhat nervous, but by the end of the day, they were going in there and catching the goats all on their own. They cracked up at the goats nibbling their clothes and even fed the animals treats. Many questions were asked, and it was so fun to answer them. Garrett even brought pigs from his farm to let the kids see and touch. All in all, the kids were able to interact with a donkey, goats, sheep, and pigs.

I think it is so important to share agriculture and farm life with others. When only 2% of the population live on farms, many do not get to experience what it is like. Sure, they didn’t learn what it is like to shovel manure, give shots, or trim hooves, but they did get to have a hands-on experience with livestock and learn a bit too. To me, that is what it is all about. Take a look at some more pictures from the day, and if anyone wants to come back out, especially to learn the dirty side of farming, then come on!

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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?

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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.Ā issac and

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They asked great questions too.

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This morning they started to put their new knowledge to useĀ  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!