Sunday, October 24, 2010

Venus fly swatter

We got lucky this summer. We hardly had a fly in the house, despite the little gap between the bottom of the screen door and the sash. And despite Dan's bad habit of standing in the doorway with the door open wide while he tries to decide if he should go out or stay in.

Well, our luck has changed. The flies have now commenced moving in like college freshmen. And somebody must have told them there was free beer and pizza at our place.

You can't even sit down to read the Dairy Star without a fly buzzing about your head.

So, out came the fly swatter. (I actually had to search a little to find it.)

And the swatting began.

We're a couple weeks into the war on flies now and my swatting is in top form. I'm like Venus Williams with a fly swatter. Except I'm not wearing one of those little outfits that could just as well pass for an undergarment.

Venus Williams
I've got a forehand and a backhand and an overhead (for the flies on the ceiling).
I take a swing. Ace! I step back, adjust my racquet, er, swatter, and look around for the next one. And the next one. And the next one. It seems like break point never comes. The flies just keep coming.
I've even got my own cheering section (Dan) who's all too quick to tell me when I miss one. Don't worry, I tell him, Mama will get it the next time.

Eventually, the indoor insect population declines enough to sit down and read the paper.
But they'll be back.

And if this tennis season doesn't come to an end pretty soon, I'm going to develop tennis elbow. 

I think maybe I should leave the swinging to Ms. Williams. Does anyone know if Venus Flytraps make good houseplants?

Venus Flytrap
P.S. What do you think of the new cartoon header? I'd love to know.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wonders of the animal kingdom

One of the reasons Glen and I are dairy farmers is because we love animals. I mean really love animals.

How big is this love? My 4-H show cow is living out the rest of her life on pasture. At 13.5 years old, she's no longer milking, but I'm not willing to sell her. She means too much to me.

Last year when we were on vacation, one of Glen's favorite cows got sick and had to be sold before we returned. When the call came to tell us what happened to Lollie, Glen couldn't hold back his tears.

So it warms my heart to see our children developing their own love for members of the animal kingdom.

My favorite black rooster was Skippy's latest chicken-attack victim. Dan saw the rooster lying on the ground and started crying. It was the first time he expressed sorrow over the death of an animal.

On a brighter note, we finally took the kids to the zoo to see all of the animals Dan professes to love. (Thanks for the tickets, Midwest Dairy!) Unfortunately, the zoo didn't have a giraffe, and we heard about it for quite some time. But there were lots of other amazing animals.

What surprised me most about the trip was Monika's interest in the animals. She giggled and squealed non-stop while we were stopped in front of the prairie dog display. (I know what you're thinking. Prairie dogs? But their antics were quite entertaining.)

Both Dan and Monika were fascinated with the coral reef aquarium. So was Glen.

My favorite animals at the zoo were the grizzly bears. Because there was a blond one named Sadie. I told Dan, "Now you know why Mommy growls sometimes!"

It was also really cool to watch the zookeepers while they tried to bottle feed a camel calf. I imagine we were the only visitors that day who could truly understand the challenge of the task. (If I had been thinking, I would have shot video of the feeding.)

We didn't go to the zoo's farm exhibit. (Our kids see those animals every day.) Posing for a picture in front of the Land O'Lakes Elevator is as close as we got. But I think we'll check it out next year, just to appease my curiosity.

Until then we'll enjoy life here at our own little zoo.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One of those days

I think they both woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

All Monika wanted to do was pull all the note paper out of the desk.

Monika's favorite temper tantrum pose.

Dan didn't think he needed a time out.

He didn't want his picture taken, either.
Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully a good night's sleep will cure the crankies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dan's new best friend

I couldn't resist sharing this photo of Nougat, our first (almost) purebred Brown Swiss, who also happens to be Dan's new best friend.

Needless to say, she's getting way too much attention, which isn't exactly a good thing for a Brown Swiss. Can anyone else imagine Nougat at 1,500 pounds, both stubborn and ├╝ber-friendly?

There might be hope, though. Nougat's mother, Skippy, is one of the most well-behaved new cows we've brought into the barn in a long time, despite being outrageously obnoxious as a heifer.

(In case you're wondering, Nougat's name came from her great-grandmother, Snickers, who was so named because she was as persnickety as they come. Her grandmother's name is Peanut.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perfect autumn

What a harvest this is shaping up to be:

Last Friday, Glen started our fall tillage (way ahead of schedule).

He helped his dad and brother chop their corn silage on Monday.

Our neighbor combined his corn the same day.

Another neighbor combined his soybeans the day before.

Thankfully, Glen said no when our neighbor called to ask if he could combine our corn this week. There was just too much going on.

The neighbor who chops our earlage stopped by to check that corn as well. (We planted our earlage corn after we took a cutting of alfalfa off the field, so that corn is quite a bit behind everything else.)

The ideal autumn weather these past two weeks has farmers bustling about like bees making honey. And the custom harvesters are just itching to get everything done.

But farmers aren't the only ones hustling.

Our pit pumper came today to knife the fields that are already open. He said his normal fall schedule was thrown out the window by the rapid pace of this fall's harvest. Everybody wants their pit pumped now.

"By the end of the week, I'm going to have a lot of guys mad at me," he said.

The fuel truck driver said he's feeling the rush, too.

"I haven't stopped for lunch in the past 10 days," he said.

With very little precipitation predicted for the next week, I'm guessing he won't be stopping for lunch anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Expo ladies

A few photos of the ladies at World Dairy Expo...

Charlotte, Daphne, Tudie and the rest of the ladies from our herd who posed for the photo, now enshrined as part of the Dairy Star's display. It's probably the closest our cows will ever come to being at Expo.

The ladies from the Dairy Star, who were there for the second half of Expo. From left to right, Lori M., saleswoman, me, Krista S., writer, and Andrea B., online editor.

The real ladies of Expo: the top Holsteins from the Junior Show lining up for the announcement of Junior Champion. I watched the Parade of Champions and crowning of the Supreme Champion for the first time ever, too, but I forgot to take my camera out. Maybe next year.