Henry County Fair 2016


Champion first place showmanship in the pre-4H

What a fabulous time we’ve had at the fair this week. What we’ve learned…


Best of show


Second Place market lamb

Second Place market lamb






Reserve Grand Champion

Reserve Grand Champion



How have we learned and cultivated all these character traits? Well, these pictures here just show the culmination of months of hard work, diligence and planning. The kids raising the hogs have had to monitor their weight gain, deal with worms and parasites, feeding and watering issues, work out duty assignments, pay a surrogate caretaker. The lamb girls have had to research diet and nutrition, plan and prepare for multiple shows and expos, establish and maintain a relationship with a show feed distributor, exercise and groom their animals, learn to give their animals shots, trim hooves, set up temporary pens and bedding. And the crafts! Such a fun activity, but a learning experience as well. And I think they really stretched their creativity this year with the neat items they entered. Here’s what I love about this experience. All my kids helped each other. Mia is diligent and would remind the others to feed the hogs and check their water. Tommy is brilliant and hooked up an automatic water nozzle for them. Susie is sweet and does whatever is needed and has an eye for what will make things easier. Katie showed Charlotte all she knows about caring for a show lamb that is rather high-maintenance. Charlotte cared for and exercised the lambs while Katie traveled and was away. They all worked on different crafts, but each of the girls took the time to help a younger sibling do a craft so that they would have something to enter into the fair as well. And when it came time to fill out record books, well that was a team effort as well. Tommy did the trouble shooting when the computers and printers would act up. Katie came up with creative wording about their goals and experience. Mia kept meticulous records of purchases and expenses. This was a family endeavor and all those kids are champions, in my opinion!

First place showmanship

First place showmanship

Garden update Mid August

IMG_3392We have had record rains these last few weeks. Morningside farmers market has closed down for the season because of the water. Plants are scorching, or drowning. The wood chips in the garden keep my ground very easy to work with, though! The bugs are terrible because of the water though. We have mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. And squash bugs the size of beetles. IMG_3381But I also have a beautiful green canopy of southern calico peas. New zuchini coming up. Hundreds of luffa gourds.IMG_3385 My flowers are just about done for the season, so if it ever dries out I’ll go and collect all the seeds for next year. Zinnia’s are the gift that keeps on giving. All these plants were volunteers from last year. I didn’t really even want them there. I’ll have to be ruthless next year and pull them up. Jeremie says he’ll do it. He doesn’t like my jungle, lol.IMG_3389 Tomatoes are just about done as well. Perhaps they would still put on a lot of fruit. So I guess it’s more accurate to say that I’m done with the tomatoes. IMG_3384 I’ve got new cukes coming up for the fall. Some nice looking birdhouse gourds growing on the deck in containers. And in related garden news I’ve bought some guinea keets. Jeremie tells me guinea’s won’t scratch up the garden. Hmmmm….I’m not sure I believe him. But I’ve got to do something about the squash bugs. They keep overwintering in the mulch and come back worse each year. So I plan to put them in a tractor over bug-infested areas and let them do their work. I’ve also been sprinkling D.E. but with the heavy rains it just washes away every day. IMG_3394I’ve started some seeds for the fall garden and hope to put the plants in the ground soon. And in other related news, Jeremie got the stuff to make a vermicompost harvester! So I’ll be able to lay down a nice layer of worm castings over the wood chips for the fall. Hurray for fall gardening!IMG_3377

Time for Tea

IMG_20160813_190613937_HDRThe girls and Jeremie recently attended a Daddy Daughter Tea party. They had so much fun. There was a photo booth with lots of fun accessories. Speakers and singers. Elegant tea party food. And a special keepsake tea cup for all the girls.IMG_20160813_190544294_HDR It’s so important for father’s to “date” their daughters! It really shows them how special they are to him. Special enough for him to travel a distance. Dress up. Stop working. Have fun with them. This bond ties their hearts together until the fateful day they give their heart to another man that we pray will treat it so tenderly as well. IMG_20160813_190752922

A passion of mine

IMG_3427A circle of girlfriends. Fancy coffee. Warm bagels. No babies. Good conversation. The topic of “what is your passion?” came up amongst us. I stumbled and fumbled for an answer. A mom is so wrapped up in her kids, she can quite easily lose herself. I’ve not really had the chance to deeply reflect upon myself lately. Words of loving to do hair came tumbling out of my mouth. But upon reflection, I am not the same 15 year old girl who would cut, color or clip anything attached to a head. I met my husband young, married young, and started a family young. The passions I had as a youth are not the same things that stir my heart in these adult years. But what? IMG_3378In quiet moments I would analyze my actions. My reactions. What got my heart racing? What topic made me prattle on for hours to anyone who would listen? What do I make time for, no matter how busy things are? I guess I discovered that I am selfish to the core. I think we all are, when the layers of pretension are peeled away. If I am passionate about something I will make time for it. I will carve out a moment to indulge my passions each and every day. So this is what I came away with. I am passionate about being intentional with my children. Not a day goes by that I don’t intentionally pour all of myself into them. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell my bigger kids why I do what I do. What it means to cherish God’s blessings. And I am passionate about homesteading. Raising our own meat. Yes, I guess that means I am passionate about running fence lines. Passionate about castrating pigs. I am passionate about growing and preserving all we can from our land. These are the things that ignite a fire within me. IMG_3379Somewhere along the line, somewhere between babies and butchering, I had lost sight of that. The children, the intention, the homesteading, the fences, the butchering, the preserving…it had become drudgery for me. I resented having to feed and water. I resented having to chase loose animals. I resented having to discipline kids. I resented having to get up to nurse. I resented living with the mess of 12 people in a double wide trailer. But when I realized my passion for these things, BAM! I got my joy back! That was another topic of our girlfriend talk..where had my joy gone? Acknowledging and claiming my passions has given me such happiness and peace, I cannot even tell you.IMG_3406 Discipline issues? Yep, love it. Because being intentional with my kids is my passion. Loose pigs? Love it. Cause raising food is my passion. Interrupted sleep for 18 years running? Yep, love it. Because I love nursing my children. Squash bugs? Well….let’s not get carried away. Still don’t love them. But every day I feel so thankful, so incredibly blessed that I get to live out my passions. I’m not pining away, wishing I could do or be something else. Like someone once told me, I’m “living the dream, baby!”

It matters not that we don’t have a paved driveway or streets. They will insist upon racing around on the sidewalk that runs along the back and side of our house. Careening around the corner, brakes screeching, wind flying through their hair. Watch for the littles! IMG_3363

Slow down

IMG_9553Time, go stand in the corner. Do not come out until you agree to slow down. No more of this dashing away as fast as you can.IMG_9475 No more slipping through my fingers. You may stand still. IMG_9476And after you have shown that you can obey, you may walk slowly. Go on, put your nose against the wall until further notice. I mean it. IMG_9472


We were happy to glean corn from a friend’s field again this year. Last year when we picked, we were dripping with sweat in the 100 degree weather. This year we were dripping, but not from sweat. It was pleasantly cool and drizzling rain. It was fabulous weather to pick in! All the crew pitched in to get it cleaned up and in the freezer. Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. H!IMG_3145


Here at the Funny Farm we have added a cross-fit center. Monthly memberships beginning at only 1K a month! Classes held outdoors as long as weather permits. Come join the fun!

This is how lunatics mow the lawn. By pushing the mower back and forth.

This is how lunatics mow the lawn. By pushing the mower back and forth.

More pigs

IMG_3173Ya’ll know how excited I am that we have welcomed another two litters of piglets here to the Funny Farm! Excited, I tell ya!IMG_3166 I wouldn’t have even posted on the blog about this, but the pictures were so cute they had to be shown. Enjoy!IMG_3169


IMG_3351Benja just turned 7! He is our only summer birthday and he celebrated the way he likes best. With the table strewn with Legos and his brothers all around to build with him. He received a few different sets for gifts and was in Lego heaven all day. He did take a break when Daddy said he would take him down the river in his new kayak that also was a gift. All the kids except G got to go. They returned home hours later, wet, scraped up by the “rapids”, tired and happy. I’d say it was a fabulous day for a fabulous boy.IMG_3349