Saturday, July 28, 2012

Greased Pig Wrestling at it's FINEST!

At our local 4-H fair they added a new grandstand event...."Pig Wrestling". These were teams of FOUR that were divided into age groups 9-12, 13-17, 18 and over. All teams had to be all boy/men or all girl/women no CO-ED team allowed. Here is a picture of the 37 teams that participated.
 Here are the rules: 
Each team is timed. They have to get the pig and then set it on the tire in the center of the mud pool. They have a maximum of ONE minute before the buzzer. The fastest team to accomplish this wins!
 Here is the lot of pigs! 
The man chose a pig for each age group according to the size of the kids (adults).
 Here is our group "The Four Porkateers" in action!
 Lance is holding on for his you can see the pig had a few things to say about that.
 Every time they got close to picking up the pig it wiggled it's way out.
 They talked and planned for two whole days on their attack on the pig for two days. 
After they were finished, they asked it they could go again because they didn't follow their plan at all.
They didn't make their time limit, but my two boys are already planning for next year! This was by far my favorite Grand Stand Event!! Good Family FUN at it's best!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Homestead Bounty

We have been very blessed on our Homestead this year. It's been a tough year thus far for many we know, the drought has not been fun. Today I wanted to Give Thanks to The Lord and share how He has chosen to bless our little homestead already this year.
These are some beautiful grilled chicken breast from our first batch of meat chickens!
Our second batch is going to the freezer next week.
 We are thrilled how our sweet corn did this year. Despite the drought we fought hard to get this crop of corn. All that weeding, watering, and pampering it paid off. 
We canned 52 pints and 7 quarts, then 5 quarts were put in the freezer. 
(All of this was done during the week of the 4-H was a little crazy!)
We also enjoyed many dozens ears of fresh corn at the supper table!
 Aren't they pretty?
 My blueberry bushes won't produce the amount we need for a few years yet. I bought 30lbs of them at a local produce stand. All of them went into the freezer:13 quarts, 11.5 pints
 This year I am trying a new variety of watermelon called Sugar Baby. I actually had given up hope on them. I thought the vines were so small and they just weren't getting enough sun. Justin came up to the house the other day and said "Did you know you have 2 watermelon out there?" Of course, I thought he was just joking...but after inspection, he wasn't joking at all! We cut into them and they actually we not ready yet (needed to sweeten up still), but I enjoyed eating it anyway.
 I decided to try my hand at making ketchup. My tomatoes are just coming on, but are not in full force quite yet. So with the 12 lbs I harvested so far I made two batches of ketchup! Here's is a super short version of how to make it.
Put 6lbs of tomatoes in hot water and let them sit for 4-5 min.
Drain the water then refill the sink with cold water. Leave them sit for another 5 min.
Peel the skins off, and halve them to remove the seeds/core
Put it into a medium size pot and then smash them with a potato masher.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 min.
 Then add in these ingredients: 1 1/2 cup of sugar, 6 oz ca of tomato paste, 1 cup of vinegar, and one package of Mrs. Wages mix. Then simmer another 5 min. (All of these instructions are on the back of Mrs. Wages package to help you out).
 Then Hot Water Bath for 40 min....Ta-Dah Ketchup...VERY YUMMY KETCHUP!
 I ended up with 8.5 pints of ketchup....
We have very thankful hearts for all that we have harvested already, and look forward to harvesting more as it's beans, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and more potatoes are coming.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

4-H Fair Fun

Last week was our much awaited 4-H Fair! This week I've been playing catch up on housework, laundry, weeding the garden, as well as continued harvesting in the garden. Here is a peek into our week at the fair....
FIRST: You have to grab your cowboy hat.
 SECOND: You have to get your animals looking all nice and clean!
 Still cleaning..... (see the Mallard's head poking out of the bucket?)
 THIRD: Lance awaits Showmanship with his duck.
There were two different judges to impress.....
 This was his first year in the poultry program...we have some learning to do
 The next day was the sheep show, Aunt Christa came to fit our sheep! This was also our first year in the sheep club, again we have a lot of learning to do.
 This is Caleb with Rachel, she won her class! That was a great way to start our day!
 Here the judge feeling Rachel to better judge her composition.
 We went back in for the Grand Champion class and came up empty handed. Caleb did gain confidence and experience in the ring that helped him throughout the day.
 The 3rd day of showing...was the swine show. Here is Lance driving his hog.
 I LOVE this picture of him.....
 Caleb had some rough luck with his hogs this year. One didn't want to drive (instead he wanted to throw a fit and squeal very LOUDLY), his other hog had a bad limp. He still tried his best and I was happy he made the best of it.
 Here is part of our loyal cheering club. Grandpa Cormany, Grandma Gaerte, Grandma Cormany, and was a miserable HOT fair week, but they were there to hang out with us anyway.
Thanks so all those who made such generous financial gifts to support both of the boys during the 4-H auction or sponsored trophies!
Dr. & Mrs. Richard Zollinger: Churubusco Family Dentistry LLC
Grandma & Grandpa Cormany
Grandma & Grandpa Byrd
Grandma & Grandpa Gaerte
Edward Jones Investments: Abby Lindsey
Cormany Farms: Uncle Jim & Aunt Cindy
Ott Club Lambs: Uncle Nate & Aunt Christa
The Chad Graves Family
Without Uncle Jim letting us borrow his trailer, and Uncle Nate and Aunt Christa investing so much time and energy into Caleb's sheep projects we wouldn't have even made it to fair. 4-H is truly a family/community event in our county in so many ways. It's an enormous amount of work and dedication from Spring to Summer......every year it's worth it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Getting Ready For the 4-H Fair!

It's that time of year where things are a buzz with action and we are in preparation for our local county fair! It's one of our favorite times of the whole year. Do you want to see what we are up to? ('s not a real question...ya' know I'm gonna show you anyway, right?)
Woodworking projects are always done at Grandpa Gaerte's house...he has every woodworking tool a kid might need to put together a woodworking treasure.
 This is a common scene you might see while they are working...discussion 
 While the older boys are working....Julia & Zach are playing! Zach is winding her up for take off.
 I think he is pleased with his efforts...if this photo had a volume you would hear a little girl squealing with delight....and terror....and fun.....and wondering what she got herself into.
 We turned in our books at the beginning of the month...always a relief by all involved.
 Caleb is especially happy to have his book work's his least favorite part. 
I think that might be a quote I heard a time or two...give or take a little.
 After the projects have been fully assembled they come home for finishing. 
Caleb made a toolbox and he decide to antique it. (He is my child isn't he?)
 Here he is painting on the primer.
 Lance decided to make a book rack. He just applied a one step stain/poly mix.
 After completing the woodworking, it was time to practice some showmanship with the pigs. Here's Justin is giving the kids a little showmanship talk.
 Even Jasper was paying attention.....
 Well I think I have prepped all I can for now....snack bags packaged, show clothes ready, house tidy, drinks ready for the cooler, EASY meals in the freezer, a super quick breakfast menu planned.
We (Uncle Nate) have to sheer tonight and then it's time to drop off the ducks and sheep. Friday we haul in our pigs and the fun keeps going all through next week! If you think of us during the next week, pray for us. Safety traveling back and forth, having fun showing, meeting/witnessing to new people, surviving on lots of late nights and early mornings.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Homestead Happenings...Projects Completed!

Amid running the kids to different camps, I have had the opportunity to finish up a few projects in June. Here is a little run down of the "Mama Happenings" and what I've been up to.
In our dinning room I was in need of new curtains to keep the HOT summer sun out. For the first year we lived here I had hung some burlap up and then tied it back with some binder twine. Although cute, it wasn't efficient and keeping any hot sun out of your eyes while eating supper. I sent Hubby in search of a curtain rod that would match the one we already had in the luck! I persuaded him to let me try an "out of the box" idea I saw on Pinterest (LOVE PINTERST)! 
 Yep, it's pipe you pick up in he plumbing dept! I went with the black finish. This "rod" and all it's parts was HALF the price as an actual rod of this size. We are so happy with the look and the sturdy rod that I think we are changing out our other one in the room! I was having trouble finding a curtain that was simple with a little primitive feel. So I bought some fabric at a local quilt store and went to work. Then I edged with some fabric I got a garage sale earlier in the summer.
At the beginning of the spring I made a list of things I'd like to find at garage sales this year. One of the things on my list was a chair that I could use in the corner of our dinning room. I was more than trilled when I found this little gem for $5! I had a friend fix a couple things and that cost me $20. I am more than thrilled with my $25 investment!
 I got a call from Aunt Cindy who had some currants she wasn't going to use, and she was generous to let me take them off her hands. Aren't they such a gorgeous shade of red?
 Julia thought is was important to snap a picture of mommy while I was picking.
 I had never made jelly before (only freezer jam) so I was not to sure how this adventure would turn out. You never know till you try it though.....I was excited when we gave it a taste test! AWESOME! Not to mention that it looks just lovely in the jelly jars........ahhhhhhhhhh
 I also completed a t-shirt quilt from the boys' old soccer shirts. I have had the top done for a while but hadn't finished it. So I took the plunge...machine quilted it myself, then bound it! I'm happy with how it turned out. and I backed it with true BOY style. I've also been collecting vacation bible school shirts for a few years as well.....I plan to make a quilt from those as well.
 I think it's great I even found this soccer fabric on clearance at a quilt store this winter!
That's the fun I've been up to this past month. Now we are gearing up for the 4-H fair! So hang on to your hats it about to get CRAZY for the next two weeks! (Did I mention our sweet corn is also ready.....ahem....ya CRAZY! Not sure where we will fit that in!)
I'm linking to The Homestead Revival Barn Hop...check it out here!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Flower Friday

A couple weeks ago I saw that someone had a blog post on "Flower Friday". I really like that title/idea since I'm always posting about my posies. If you do not enjoy looking at flower pics you should avoid this post at all costs. If you do like them....grab a cup of coffee I have plenty of pictures to share this week. 
The following tale emphasizes that you need to keep your eyes peeled for plummeting flower prices and score some great bargains. My first picture is to show how I have no real self control when I stop in the hardware store and all the perennials are only .50 and flats of annuals are $3.00! For under $20 I came home with 5 flats of flowers! "You seriously just can't beat that" my exact quote to my husband. He just smiles and shakes his head and says "Great score honey." Love that man....
Most all of my perennials are starts I have from when we moved a year ago. They are not all lush and super wonderful this year with such dry conditions but they are established well and will be nice and full in the years to come.
 Black Eyed Susan
 I got this Russian Sage  (and another) on clearance last year right in the middle of summer!
 Purple Cone Flower
 Shasta Daisy...these are an example of a transplant that is established well, but not nearly as tall and full as it should be...I keep reminding myself of the long term plan.
 These are my lovely Cosmos! I LOVE them. I planted Dwarf Sensation (grows less then 2 ft.) and Candy Strip Cosmos. They are just coming many beautiful blooms to come!
 My little Zinnia Patch I planted two varieties. A "daisy" looking zinnia and then a "ball" like zinnia (Can you see it in the background?)
I LOVE anything that is galvanized! I also love this OLD chair. When I bought it for less than $1 it was in pieces...but it was all there. It was nothing a little wood glue wouldn't fix.
 This beautiful rose bush was something the previous owner had planted. Such gorgeous HUGE blooms it gives me all summer/fall...I'm not a huge rose lover, but I LOVE this gal.
 I do enjoy Knock Out Roses. Disease Resistant and bloom Spring to Fall, no pruning needed. Workhorses in the landscaping without the high maintenance..Yep I like that!
 Here is another transplant from our old garden. Tickseed. This gal has been blooming since Spring! Those bright orange-yellow blooms are so cheery. I can't help but smile when I look at it.
 This little annual is a Proven Winner variety..sorry can't remember the name, but isn't it lovely? cute! I enjoy these little snowballs of color.
 This year for my annuals I went with HOT pink and yellow for my theme.
 My veggie garden gets some splashes of color...I have a little sunflower garden facing the house.
 I have about 5-6 different varieties ranging from 2ft tall to 5-6ft tall. My taller ones are not blooming just yet but all the smaller varieties are showing their stuff....
 The little yellow sunflower in the middle is called "Vanilla Ice" I just adore her. The sunflower at the very top (darker yellow) is called "Maya"
 Between all the flowers that are in bloom and our garden the honeybees have been mighty productive! I checked the first honey supers on May 28th and one hive (Bee Bellair) has the first super filled except for three frames. The other hive (Honey Hotel) still has some work to do with 5-6 frames left. I didn't want to miss any opportunity to collect honey. In about one month they have nearly filled or halfway filled the whole super! So I decided to add a second honey super to each hive on June the 30th! I actually added a deep box with 5 frames in each to start. It's what we already had, on hand, and besides being extremely heavy (good thing I have a STRONG Hubby) when it's full of h honey I don't see any reason not to use what we already have. Harvest time for honey in sometime after Labor Day so my girls still have a ton of time to be collecting.
 One thing I was concerned about after we placed them in this spot, was the fact that they are not getting direct early morning sun. Apparently that is not an issue, and the indirect sun is getting them out and working just fine. They are actually in dappled shade 100% of the day, which I think they like. It keeps them from having to work overtime keeping the hive cool enough. In turn more bees can be out collecting pollen and nectar and making us more honey! I'll keep you posted on their progress.

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