Monday, June 23, 2008

Back from fair and I'm exhausted

Hey everyone - I'm back from fair week! It was wonderful, and all my kids did great. I of course am totally exhausted, but it was fun.

This was my 17 year old son's first year and he definitely wants to do it again next year. He got "A" ribbons (top award) for his photography project and he did well money wise when he sold his pig and chickens at the auctions.

My 13 year old son, third year 4h'er, got a trophy for best pen of broiler chickens (third year in a row), as well as a trophy for best single broiler (2nd year). For those of you who aren't into 4h or farming, broilers are those big white chickens that grow so fast that their feet and legs can't keep up with them and you butcher them after they are about 12 weeks old. His pig weighed in at 285, but that was only because we put it on a diet at the end of May (they couldn't weigh over 300). My son had to walk him twice a day, and we cut his feed back to about half of what he was getting in the beginning. Let me tell you, by the time we went to fair this pig was ornery!!! :-) He too did well money wise at the auctions.

My 9 year old daughter, third year 4h'er, first year as a non cloverbud (which meant that her accomplishments would actually have points attached) did awesome in showing her pony. She took first place (and got a trophy) in horse showmanship in her age class, then she took first place in overall horse showmanship for her age class. That meant that she had to do overall showmanship for fair - she had to show a horse (not hers), a pig (again not hers), a sheep, and a steer. Out of four kids in her age class for that, she took fourth, but we thought that was awesome for her first year, especially when you consider how many kids in 4h that she beat out for that fourth place ribbon! :-) She also got a trophy for Reserve High Point in barrel racing, and one for Reserve High Point for Western Pleasure. For those who don't know, Reserve means second place in her age class. She also took second place with her Fancy Bantam chicken and was in the running to be chosen to go down to the Michigan State Fair (she lost out to a boy who is in his teens and never been picked). She wound up getting 11 ribbons and 3 trophies and did just fine at the auctions.

Finally our 6 year old, second year 4h'er, got her Cloverbud participation ribbons for showing her rabbit and chicken. Next year she will be old enough to show a horse with me leading her around the arena. She can't wait until she can move up to the "walk, trot, canter" age bracket, which is where her sister is this year. She isn't able to sell any of her animals until she is nine, but she is waiting anxiously for that.

Anyway, between getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and then going to bed between 11:30 and 12 at night, sleeping in a camper in a double bed with my girls when I am used to a king size, and walking miles and miles each day, I was more than ready to come home and get into my own bed last night. The upside to all the walking was that I lost some unwanted poundage!!! :-D


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Internet joys.

So, today we have this huge line of thunderstorms go through - lightning flashing, thunder crashing - the whole nine yards. I figure I'd better get the computer turned off and unplugged before we lose power (which happens quite often in our rural community). I'm at the computer using the mouse, when this huge lightning/thunder strike shakes the whole house, and blue sparks come from somewhere in the vicinity of the computer tower. I scream and jump out of my chair, because I remember some TV program that I watched where a lady got electrocuted through the computer, and I don' t want it to happen to me! Finally get the computer shut down, get the surge protectors unplugged from the wall and leave everything alone.

A couple of hours later, after the storm has blown over, I turn my computer back on and try to check my email - that is how 99% of my work is done, over the internet. Anyway, I get nothing. The email program can't find a connection, my internet won't connect to any pages, I got nothing! So I unplug everything, wait the required five minutes, plug everything back in, turn it on - nothing. I do that a few times during the afternoon, then finally call my internet provider. They tell me that yes, they did have a few glitches this afternoon, just wait a few minutes and try rebooting again. I wait 1/2 hour, reboot twice - still nothing. I call them back, they get onto my tower and tell me that nothing is showing up as being connected. They have me move wires around and all of a sudden - presto, I'm showing up again. Evidently, my tower took a hit from the lightning and it fried my router, hence the blue sparks!!! Well by this time it's after 5 p.m., but I have to go into town (8 miles away) at 6 p.m. for a 4h meeting, so the guy says he will wait for me to come in - just bring my blown router and the plug for it and he will have a new one waiting for me.

So I hurry up and get to town, go to my 4h meeting, come home, go to set up the new router's different from the one I took in! So, here I am at 10 p.m., trying to figure out exactly where things should be plugged into this one, since there were no directions with it. Finally get it plugged in right, get it set up and TA-DA - I have internet once again!

Now if I could just figure out why a little bubble keeps popping up telling me that a network cable is unplugged, we'd be golden. :-)

Until next time.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Getting ready.

Well, fair time is almost upon us and we are scurrying around to get ready. We have under two weeks left until we have to camp at the fairgrounds for a week.

The kids wrote their letters to the buyers for both the small animal and the livestock auction yesterday. Let me tell you, they were not happy with having to write 12 letters (6 for each auction), they thought they should be able to type them on the computer.

We just got the last rabbit tattooed on Monday, so they are now all done. We quarantined the sick rabbit and just hope that she didn't expose the other three, and if she did that they won't get sick before fair time. It's bad enough that we have to leave the one home and the girls have to share. I don't know what we would do if any more got sick - someone just wouldn't be able to show I guess.

I am also trying to get things fixed up for transporting the chickens. We have to take them up to the fairgrounds on Saturday to get banded and the cages we got from a neighbor need to be fixed up a little bit. So my goal today is to go see exactly what we need to do to them to get them ready to carry 10 - 12 pound chickens (4 per cage)!

And, last but not least - we are trying to keep one of our pigs from going over weight. They can only weigh between 220 and 300 pounds or they can't be sold through the fair and when we weighed all three of them at the end of May, one weighed 260 already! They gain roughly 2 pounds per day and we still had 21 days til fair so if he stayed true to form, he would be over 300 by the time fair gets here. And we were worried about them not making minimum weight. So, we talked to a few people and asked their advice and were told to put him on a diet and exercise program. He literally has had to have his feed cut, and gets exercised outside the pen at least once a day! Have you ever heard of anything so silly - exercising a pig. LOL! The one good that has come out of this is that my son is getting great practice at being able to control where he wants the pig to walk, which is a great plus for being in the livestock arena doing showmanship and at the auction.

Now if only my daughter could get her horse to mind her as well.....

Until next time.