Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The SWEAT Pledge

We shipped out A LOT of cattle this past month.  It's just that time of the year.

And it rained A LOT in the first part of the month.  We had something like 3 inches in 24 hours at the beginning of July and then it rained steadily up until about a week and a half ago.  The fields, gardens, and flowers look fantastic, but I am watering the garden these days because I don't want mother nature's hard work to go to waste!

One of the pitfalls of all the rain, though, is MESSY cattle!  (And smelly, but I'll spare you that torture.)

The other morning (after sending 4 loads of cattle off to... eh hem... market), Dave came in for breakfast stinking to the high heavens.  His jeans were caked in manure. What followed was something like this:

Carrie: "You're disgusting!"
Dave:  "You shoulda seen the cattle."
Carrie:  "I feel sorry for the high school drop-out who has to deal with that mess..."  (I'll let you use your imagination to figure out the first step in cattle processing...)
Dave:  "Hey now, don't judge.  He's probably a union worker who makes more than you and I put together."

Touche, touche.

I couldn't stop thinking about this lovely conversation that the hubs and I had...

Fast forward a few days later when I found this interesting post by my TV/Bathroom cleaner crush Mike Rowe!  He strongly believes that 4 year degrees aren't the beat-all-to-end-all, and is trying to pump more life into skilled trades!  (Personal disclaimer:  TOTALLY AGREE!!! WHEN WILL THE AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM REALIZE THIS!?!?!!)

He is awarding $1 million in scholarships to UTI--Dave's alum-- Universal Technical Institute.  All he asks is that if you are awarded a scholarship, you also sign his S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, which stands for Skill and Work Ethic Aren't Taboo.  Please click HERE:   to go directly to his web page where you can read more about this program.

My favorites of the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge items are:

3.  "I believe there is no such thing as a "bad job".  I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it is up to me to make the best of them."

4.  "I do not "follow my passion".  I bring it with me.  I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm."

7.  "I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is."

and my VERY favorite:

9.  "I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success.  I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me.  I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free."

Finding and reading this S.W.E.A.T. pledge grounded and humbled me.  Sometimes I get caught up in my professional, white collar world where "Everyone should go to college!" is being shoved down my throat every time I turn around.

God bless the guy who has to clean the hides off the beef that come off a semi-trailer after riding for hours to the packing plant.  Seriously, what would life be like with out that guy?  I hope he IS paid well, finds his work satisfying, and brings his passion with him!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Matter of Perspective...

I was walking back up the driveway from the mailbox today and saw this sight:

I thought to myself, "What are they doing?  Filling the combine with corn from the bin?  What could be the purpose of that?  I thought they were trying to empty out the grain box on the combine so that they could start harvesting oats and wheat?"

Also, I don't know why the sky is gray... stupid phone camera.

Then I got a little closer and it became clearer...

...that my eyes are really getting bad.  It's just a perspective issue.

And then as I was actually upon the scene. I felt really dumb because, in reality, the combine and the auger were a solid 20 paces away from each other.  Boy, did my eyes play tricks on me!  As I took this picture, I was standing under the yellow auger, the one I thought was filling the combine.

Moral of the story:  I MUST see an optometrist sooner than later.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What to do when it rains on your pool party...

Emma turned 7 last Sunday and the rule at our house is that you get to have a "friends" party when you turn 7.  So, we intended to have her friends over for a pool party.

She found cupcakes on Pinterest that were baked in ice cream cones and decorated to look like teddy bears were swimming in rings or floating on rafts.

Piece of cake...  Mix up a box of yellow cake mix, put them in the ice cream cone, fill ONLY TO THE LOWER RIM and bake for 20 minutes.

Yeah.  Right.  Pinterest FAIL.

Oh well, I had 2 cake mixes, so I whipped up the second one and went straight to cupcakes.

It was fun decorating them, Emma was pleased with how they turned out, and they incorporated her favorite thing:  gum!  The beach balls are little gum balls and the rafts are fruit-stripe gum.  Special hint:  Emma found that you have to put the teddy gram inside the gummy lifesaver before putting them on the cupcake.

I bought $0.99 beach balls and wrote "Emma's 7th B-day 2014" and each girl's name on them before the party started.  The girls took turns signing each other's beach ball as a reminder of the day and who they partied with.  They had a good time doing the signing, and hopefully we will be able to keep track of Emma's so she can remember her special party in the upcoming summers.

Because it was too cool and dreary to swim (although 4 of the girls and Holly did get in the pool for a few minutes), Drew and I concocted a game to play.  They did a soda-tasting thing where they had to identify what kinds of soda were in the numbered glasses (pretty easy since the choices were root beer, 7-up and Coke).   Then, we gave everyone a piece of paper and had them number 1-5.  We put a piece of candy in each person's hand and they had to guess what it was and write it on their paper.  We had M&Ms, Skittles, mini Starbursts, mini 3 Muskateers, and mini Milky Ways.  It was fun and used up some of the time.  No one got all 5 right!

I give all the credit in the world to moms who host big parties (or even little parties) for bunches of kids year after year.  One per kid is enough to do me in!  It was a busy day, but a fun one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy National Cow Appreciation Day!

I'm finding conflicting information on the EXACT date for Cow Appreciation Day, one website says it was July 11th, but Facebook told me it was July 15th.  We're celebrating it on the 15th.

Here are the cows we are appreciating this summer:

Baby Blair!  Isn't she adorable!  She's Danny's bottle calf, she was orphaned this spring when her mom (Danny's cow, "Bernie") got sick and died.

These are our bred-heifers:  The black-white faced cow is Danny's 3rd heifer, Belle, and technically Blair's older sister.  She's a DOLL!  Love her to pieces!

The red-white faced Hereford-looking cow is a replacement heifer that belongs to my parents.  She spent the winter in the 4-H pen and is SUPER friendly, so the boys have broke her to lead and will show her--just for fun--at the fair.

These are the boys' steers:  The black steer is Danny's.  His official name is "Bugsy" because when he was a little calf, his eyes were too big for his head and it looked like he had "bug eyes".  The Hereford is Drew's purebred calf from his fancy, purebred cow that he bought two winters ago.  "Chuckie" won Grand Champion Hereford at the fair last summer.  Hopefully he will do o.k. this year, as well.

We are a stock and custom feeding cattle operation, so we are in the business to MAKE BEEF, not fluffy show cattle.  We feed a ration to put on weight, not grow hair, so we never do very well at cattle shows, but we "hold our own".   It's a fun time nonetheless, and the kids are learning a lot about animal husbandry and RESPONSIBILITY.  So in the end, they really are winners!

Monday, July 7, 2014

More new house... and a little something extra...

Here is the kids' bathroom.  The teacher in me fell in love with this shower curtain at Kohls last winter.  HAD TO HAVE IT!  Isn't it cute!  I think this will benefit the Pecatonica Community Middle School and Pecatonica High School (eventually) academic bowl teams because there might just be a question or two somewhere down the line about something random that I bet my kids will be able to answer because of all the time they'll spend on the crapper looking at it.  Like, did you know that "Virginia is for Lovers"?  Or that Kentucky is horse country? (Well, everyone knows that, I guess.)  I also have been reviewing my knowledge of which state is which...  I can now correctly label Alabama, Arkansas (completely landlocked--which I had forgotten...duh...keep me in the math department, please!), Louisiana and Mississippi.
Anyway, its kitchy, I like it, and it's colorful and educational.  What more could you ask for in a shower curtain!

In other bathroom-related news, I came across this can of bathroom cleaner with the DREAMY, the HUNKY, the MANLY Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs on it!  Again, HAD TO HAVE IT!  (It was pretty cheap, too.)
See, I really like Mike Rowe.  I just love a guy who's not afraid to work hard and get dirty. He's got such a cute smile, too!  I'll bet that when he gets all cleaned up, he smells good, I know he looks good, and I'm pretty sure he can show a gal a good time.  Maybe not.  I don't know.  Also, I think he's nice to his mom.  

(I don't know if I'd buy another can of his bathroom cleaner, it's nothing special. But I probably will keep the can around long after it's empty!!!)