Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Traditions I : Butcher Day

After a conversation last week with my husband, I realized my family has some pretty long standing traditions. We have had homemade vegetable soup for 104 straight butcher days (AT LEAST!!!). Two per year for at least as long as my mother has been alive. CRAZY! Then I realized I had better get vegetable soup tutoring soon before it is too late since my grandma is the ONLY one who knows how it is made!!

So I thought it'd be fun blogging about family traditions.
Between Friday and Saturday my family butchered 4 pigs. We do pigs once a year and cows once a year and it is enough to feed our three families. I don't mean to offend any vegans or vegetarians out there, but it is what we do and have done for generations. Stems back to our rural roots and it is a capital F Family Tradition! As crazy as this sounds, we still use the same butchering table that my great-great grandpa used in the late 1800's.

It kind of works like this. Men work in the garage, cutting, sawing, and complaining about their wives. Women work in the basement packaging, complaining about the cut of meats, and complaining about their husbands. Me and sis travel from workplace to workplace, informing one side what the other side has said. Love it.
Let me show you me and sis's fav part of pigs: sausage stuffing.
Step 1: Trim fat and grind pieces in grinder (no pic sorry). That grinder has prob been in the family at least 70 yrs. It is old!!

Step 2: Lindsay mixes in the salt, pepper, and fennel.

Step 3: Use antique sausage stuffer to stuff sausage into casings. Lindsay is a PRO! Grandma aids in putting it on the tray and I turn the handle slow and steady.

Step 4: Package sausage into bags for freezer!! We did 150 lbs yesteday!!! Enough yummy sausage for a year.

There you have it. Bacon and hams cure for awhile and dad cleans up with the powerwasher!

Tell me about some of YOUR family traditions! The weirder the better.

P.S. I promise "Family Traditions II" will be less gross!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dippin Dots

I have been a weather-nerd for YEARS but this is the most exciting weather event I've ever witnessed: DIPPIN DOTS SNOW!!! The texture of this stuff was the coolest thing I could ever dream up and reminded me of dippin dots icecream.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cross Country Ski's

I've wanted to try cross country skiing for quite awhile now. I needed a good winter exercise other than skating b/c the ice is so touch and go in Ohio. I normally only get to skate about 1 month the whole winter if I'm lucky.

However, I didn't know anyone with ski's to "borrow and try" and I didn't want to just go buy them in case I hated it. It was just pure luck that the guy who Nick has been shadowing at work for the past 2 years is moving to Arizona for retirement and wanted to get rid of his skis. EVEN BETTER; they were my size!! (I have massive feet haha).

I tried it out in the dark the first night; in the field behind my house. The next day I went to the towpath and went 2 miles. I was pretty sore. LOL. I need to watch a few instructional videos on youtube to get my technique under control. haha.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mess of the Century

Nick just randomly got it in his mind one day that THAT would be the day we would insulate our kitchen. Oh yeah and it happened to be Sunday. I got home from church and before I knew it, he had 36 holes drilled into our walls, and the entire contents of our kitchen (or what seemed like it at least) in my hallway and living room. It has now been one week since that fateful day and only now is everything getting put back into place.

Can you tell we had the greenhouse fan sucking air through the kitchen and out?

I am just as happy as I look about this job. LOL. At least it was daylight. Last time we did this it was March and COLD and dark.

Holes Holes Everywhere!

This should NOT have happened! Guess we found the hole that we didn't know about (so that was how the mice were getting in! LOL).

And some other random pics: Before and After the rain storm!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Last Week

Well thank goodness it is a new week!! Last week was the worst week!! Sarah Palin did not get elected vice-president (like my wording?), our school levy got defeated, my family's farm got robbed (they broke into a locked garage) and we are now missing 2 new motorcycles and my favorite 4-wheeler EVER, AND a local business got robbed of $45,000 of 4-wheelers, motorcycles etc.


The school levy going down basically means local taxpayers don't want to give money to our schools. Our district gets less money than the average district does from the state of Ohio. We have to rely on local taxes to get money and voters are saying NO. So now the district is making kids must pay to play sports, cutting principals and teachers, cutting vocational programs, and as of January cutting bussing to the high school and within 2 miles of elementary and middle school buildings. Scary stuff!

But it is a new week and my kitchen now has insulation!!! YAY! And I figured out I have enough money to buy our house new windows (TRIPLE YAY!!).

Monday, November 3, 2008

School Levy

Today one of my students said, "I hope the levy goes down in smoke". I got so mad at that comment I almost couldn't contain myself.

A friend of my sister had on his AIM away message: "Proud to be helping defeat the school levy".

Some "people" today seriously don't understand that our schools are the building blocks of society. So maybe they disagree with government's idea of school funding, or maybe they think they could do a better job running the schools than the superintendent. So What??!! By voting down levies, it is the children who will be the ones suffering. It is society that will end up being worse off in the long haul.

Then I get home and find out my mom's two "vote yes on the levy" signs got stolen last night.


And yes, even if I weren't a teacher, I would ALWAYS vote YES on every school levy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bell Choir

Bell choir is a huge part of my life. I have played since 3rd grade and that is how I learned to read music, leading me to trumpet, etc. Since about 7th grade I've played the base octave pictured here (we were at a mass ring when I took the photo hence the other ringers EVERYWHERE! totally neat). I'm in two bell choirs now and LOVE IT!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fort Wayne Zoo

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Our pumpkin is the 1200 lber that is the base of the panda. We donated it to the zoo. Too bad I didn't get to see it in person since we live 3 hrs away. But it looks sooooo cool!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is it Winter Yet?

A teacher at school asked me the other day, "Aren't you dreading winter?" I thought, "ARE YOU KIDDING!!??"

I can't wait until winter. Not because I love snow (I actually do), but I want to HAVE TIME TO ACTUALLY SWEEP MY HOUSE. Haha. This last month has been such a whirlwind. Every weekend we've had a cross country meet AND a weighoff to attend. And these things aren't local either. One meet was an hour and a half away, and one weigh off was in Indiana. We are gettin around!! I am sort of depressed this life-style (travelling everywhere and never being home) will end once we have kids but it will be a relief in a way and an open to a different amazing chapter in life. But there is still another year or more until that so don't get any ideas. :)

I really do love how life unfolds.

This year was amazing for our pumpkins. Best ever! We really lucked out because most of the "heavy hitters" had bad years so we could place higher than normal. I finished 2nd in Indiana, and Nick was 5th at Canfield. Definitely our best ever. We still have one weighoff left in Columbus this weekend.

Boating this year was fun as always. Warm weather was a major plus.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September, a wind storm, and other people's blogs

Just some pictures I took at home last week before the wind storm ripped through and did in my porch planter baskets and our artichokes (at least that is what I think the tall flowering plants are that are taking over the north end of our house....Nick's experiments gone wild as normal).
Hurricane Ike brought more winds to Ohio than any hurricane I can remember and lots of people in our township were out of power from Sunday until Friday! Yikes! But no flooding or anything so I'd say we were lucky.
This September is flying by. We lost one more pumpkin (probably would have been my 2nd largest of the year) but have 4 more and are looking forward to weighoffs in the next few weeks.
I have to miss the New Bremen weighoff for cross country and am sad because they are having a pumpkin derby; turning pumpkins into cars. Should be interesting for those who attend.

I always make the mistake of going online and linking to blogs of people who live in more adventurous places than I. I always say this, but as much as I want to live in Alaska / Montana / anywhere I love, I would miss my family way too much. I mean, COME ON, what can be more beautiful than an Ohio September evening seeing your grandma and husband with puffy clouds and blue skies, looking over the patch. I've had the honor to grow up next door to amazing grandparents who taught me so much about life and God and music and agriculture and and and......
And now that she is going through radiation for breast cancer, I am just happy I can see her as often as I want. Through her surgery and everything, I don't think she missed one Sunday from playing the organ at our church. She's been doing it since she was 16 and she is now 76. What an honor it is to play in her bell choir!!!!
I can see my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle anytime anywhere because they all live within ONE MILE of here.
Where was I going with this? I think Ohio is beautiful. I appreciate it more and more as I get older. I admire / am jealous of people who 'get away' but am happy with how my life is right now.
I love where I live!!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

School Started!!

School started and so has the madness of my life. Cross country is in full swing and the fair was last week. It didn't help that my hubby was in Texas and left me at home to get the punkin down to the fair alone. And this week he's in New York! Must be nice. Oh yeah, bells started this week!! I am in two bell choirs; one at my church and one that is community based that I had to audition for. Next time I can see any freedom in my future: November. Here is my winning fair entry, 1046.5 lbs. yay.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I want to start by saying, "I DONT EVEN LIKE PICKLES"!!! So when I saw hubby planting about 10 plants of the dumb things, I was like "I hope you will be picking those!". Of course I knew that answer to that. I would be picking them. And getting stung on the hand while doing so (if you've never seen a pickle plant, they are VERY fruitfull and VERY full of blossoms and bees no matter what time of day).

Luckily he is like a housewife when it comes to making pickles and strawberry jam (but not when it comes to cleaning!) so he did the canning and taught me to can them so when he was out of town I would have to pickle 13 quarts of them. GAH! Our fridge doesnt even have room for milk anymore. We will be sneaking a dozen cans or so into my mom's fridge pronto.
Oh the joys of marriage and putting up with his gazillion pickles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blog Name

I thought I would dedicated a post to why I named my blog what I did. You see, all my pictures so far make it look like I live in the country. BUT I DONT!! I live within 10 miles of THREE WALMARTS!! Yes 3. One north, one east, and one south but all within 10 miles I swear.

What is ironic is one basically sits right beside the land which was the farm where my grandma grew up. But anyways. Back in the 1950's when my grandparents bought their farm in this township (one south of where they grew up) to "move away from it all," this township was nothing but farms. Well the suburbs did their creeping as all suburbs do and now I feel like I am part of a farming family in the middle of the 'burbs. I mean our family still farms, we butcher all our own pork and beef, but if I went to school and told my students that, there would be no-one in my classroom who could relate. They are the children of doctors and lawyers and well to do families that barely even understand anything but tennis and abercrombie.

So that's my story. I still live on a street with dairy cows and corn fields, but it doesn't even take driving half a mile to see that this isn't the same community my parents were raised in!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Flowers and Cows

I love where I live because all I have to do is go out my front door and the cows come running. They are curious about anyone working outside. I took this pic and liked how it turned out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Patch

We've been growing giant pumpkins competitively since 2002. First we were boyfriend / girlfriend so 10 miles separated our patches and we competed against each other. When we got married, we started growing at the same location but in different patches. Well to keep life simple this year with a big vacation on the calendar and all, we decided to share and only grow 7 plants. Share patches / plants / caring for them, etc.

WHAT WAS I THINKING ?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our growing philosophies can't be any different and pruning / weeding / burying just turned into a time when Nick would yell at me that I was doing everything wrong. So that sharing thing lasted about 2 monthes. I officially have the south 3 plants and he has the north 4 now. I have better soil. He has better genetics. Life is much calmer!! We'll see how this turns out!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008


The Pacific Northwest!!!!
I was very blessed to have gotten to travel to another "pre-kids" location this summer. We wanted to make sure to travel to a few places before starting to have kids and this was the last major one on this list. We had already done Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Alaska. Next biggie: Oregon / Washington. Let's just say the trip was heavenly!! What beauty. I always say I want to move somewhere with mountains, but in realty, I know I could never live in a different county than my family!! haha. Ok you got me. I could never live on another street than my family!! (Yes I still live on the street I've lived on since birth). We saw 1727 miles of the Pacific Northwest and I took probably about the same number of pictures. Pictured above is my hubby hiking near Mt. Rainier.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I always look forward to the fall because of the cooling temps, giant pumpkins, beautiful leaves, and glorious sunsets / cloud formations. Not that you can't see good sunsets at other times of the year, but there is nothing like the fall.

Well, I am here to say these last few weeks of SUMMER (!!) have had the best sunsets and cloud formations EVER!! I am in awe almost every night. I look forward to running out of the house with my camera. Look at what I've captured.

P.S. I don't think I'll ever be able to move away from my house because I will no longer have this red barn as the backdrop to every weather photo I take. LOL.

Double rainbow. Yay. I like how you can see the first rainbow IN FRONT of the trees!!

My favorite so far:

Friday, June 13, 2008

First blog entry

Hi. I like clouds. And farms. And ponds. And I looooove weather. All kinds of weather.
This is my first blog entry EVER. A few monthes ago someone asked me if I blogged or read people's blogs. Nope. Never. Then I linked on from facebook to a blog of an aquintance from HS. I linked to someone else. To someone else. Added it to my favorites, then did another. And I was hooked. Now it's summer break and I am bored so I want my own. It was bound to happen. My favorite hobbies for the summer are growing pumpkins and wishing I had airconditioning. Now blogging.