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Showing posts from July, 2008

Answer: Pig Gel

The wait is over! I have the answer to our online quiz: What in the World is that Farm Thing? The white blob of material at the top of the semen collection cup is pig gel. The gel is manufactured by boars as a stopper to keep the other fluids from exiting the sow after breeding. And if you think THAT is the nastiest thing my husband has touched--then you don't know anything about farming.

A Bad Day on the Farm

Yesterday was a very bad day on the farm. The tractor wouldn't start, so we had to call someone to fix it. Then, the hay baler got run in some rocks, so it was a mess. Our new pig pens didn't stay up, so we had to rebuild them. One bright spot is that we did buy two new cows. And we did pick up a new tractor at an auction. There was a little bit of trouble with manure hauling. And somehow, our farm was overcome by Morgan's tea set... It turns out that even pretend farmers can have rough days. And in their effort to "keep it real" my sons have perfected the daily rhythm of farm life. When something seems to go very wrong every day. But as they say, a bad day on the farm, still beats a good day at school.

This Sums it Up

There was a little girl, Who had a little curl, Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, She was very good indeed, But when she was bad she was horrid . -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (and my mother)

What in the World is That Farm Thing?

Welcome back, everyone to America's favorite online game What in the World is That Farm Thing? Today's mystery item is pictured below, it is small enough to hold with my hand, yet icky enough that I don't really want to touch it. It contains genetic information on our new boar but it can't really be read. Here is a BIG HINT: If you think you know what this is and dare speak of it in a public forum, then leave your guess in the comment section. One lucky winner will get to shake my husband's hand.

Field of Dreams... and Memories

I may have married into a farm family, but when it comes to down home family reunions, my family reigns supreme. There's no picnic shelter at the public park for us. We have built it (a campground in the barnyard) and they come (80+ this year). My family is not so much about farming--Grandpa's farm hasn't seen pigs, cows or tobacco fields since the 60s--but about plumbing. So, of course, our country campground features an open-topped hand-made portable shower, with dressing room and hot water heater. And in case you think we're all high-end RV'ers , we do have a tent section too. We spend an entire weekend together and have developed many traditions, including a golf outing, hayride , games for the kids with golden toilet plungers as prizes, two big meals under our own tent, four White Mountain Freezers of homemade ice cream, and a pinata for the kids. Over the past 19 years, this weekend in July has become the time to introduce boyfriends, share family go

PR Idea of the Week

Every spring my husband makes sure to attend the pig auctions held by other farmers. No, he doesn't plan to buy anything--he has hundreds of his own pigs at home--but he goes to show support for his fellow farmers, knowing full well that the psychology of auctions holds that the bigger the crowd, the higher the prices. And while there are lots of people there and the farmers are very busy staffing their event, they notice who is there. And they reciprocate. So later in April when we have our own pig auction(selling small pigs to 4-H kids and their parents), these same farmers are also there lending their support. A similar etiquette exists online. Bloggers read the comments left on their site, then they reciprocate with a visit to your site, coupled with a comment of their own, and so it goes. But how do you reach a lot of people or how do you reach those influentials who are way beyond noticing your comment on their blog. Enter " egommunication " coined by Rohit

'Tis the Season

We were driving through town the other day and I couldn't help but capture this assortment of plastic holiday icons all assembled together, for possibly the very first time. I was struck by the very novelty of Santa, Frankenstein and the Easter Bunny all hanging out together. And left wondering if this home owner had sworn off holidays or just decided that plastic lawn ornaments weren't in the decorating scheme any more. And how very small town America for them to leave this lovely assortment right on the front yard for free.

As (not) Seen on TV

Ladies, have I got a deal for you today. For just nothing, plus the cost of shipping and handling, I will share with you my revolutionary new method for keeping track of your husband at all times. Yes, you won't have wonder any longer if you husband is home in the house or outside drowning in the pig manure lagoon. You won't have to stop cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, or feeding the mousetraps to know that your loved one has made it inside, surviving another day of potentially fatal farm work. And my system is so simple and cost-effective, than anyone, even wives who have been trying to track their husbands for 50 years, can use it immediately. Just listen to these testimonials: Josie from Eaton - I NEVER knew when my George was back in the house. One night I even went out to look for him in the barnyard. I almost got bit by a raccoon. But after using the Desperate Farmwife Husband Tracking System, I can rest assured that it's George, not the dog, I hear sno

PR Idea of the Week

PR people always cringe at being the subject of articles. Our work is supposed to happen in the background, with good press clips speaking for themselves. But while we individually hate to have our methods aired, we LOVE to get a peek behind the scenes at other PR people's successes (and failures). So a recent New York Times story about the success of PR efforts for the little-known Center for Health, Environment and Justice gives us a little voyeuristic thrill. The The Bad Pitch Blog goes as far as to include an image from Psycho to introduce their link. But the most interesting gem in the New York Times article isn't that some media "fell" for their debunked study on shower curtain toxicity, it's the precious quotes from PR people giving their "magic words" as PR Week calls them, to ensure media interest. Apparently, the best words for press releases these days are "green," "sex," "cancer," "secret," &qu

Hey, That's Not Hay!

There's one thing you can count on when the mercury rises in farm country. It's time to cram that air conditioner in the window again. That too, but what I really mean is that it is time to bale the hay and straw. So here's a little tutorial on straw, just to keep you from being one of those annoyingly ignorant people who thinks any respectable hayride operator would actually let you sit your be-hind on their valuable hay while you are pulled around on their wagon. Straw is a by-product of wheat. It's actually the stalk of the wheat--the part spit out the back of the combine. Our neighbor, "Horn," is harvesting his wheat in this photo. After the wheat grain is hauled away, then farmers come through with the hay baler (it is still called a hay baler, even when baling straw). And upon determining yes, it is the hottest day of the entire summer, they proceed to bale the straw, a process that requires a tractor operator (always the best job), and at least

Making a Big Splash on the Farm

Last week we traveled to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds in Louisville (or Lou-uh-vull as my seven-year-old son keeps correcting me) for the Summer Type Conference . Type of what? You ask. Well, type of pigs, of course. And we met this little guy. Isn't he cute? (Not Ryan, I'm talking about the pig!) His name is Big Splash and he comes from a farm in South Dakota. We bought him at the auction, loaded him on the trailer , and brought him back to Farmersville. Being the new pig on the farm is kind of like being the new kid at school. Everyone is wary of you at first--even the adults, who keep you separated from all the rest for a while. Then slowly you gain acceptance until before you know it you're fathering all of next year's State Fair offering. Oh, I guess the analogy should end now. Anyway, please join me in welcoming Big Splash, a purebred Yorkshire boar, to our farm. He is going to love it here this winter.

PR Idea of the Week

One of the most brilliant and enduring PR stunts of all time is the Nathan's hot dog eating contest. I once had the opportunity to meet the quiet yet amazing PR guy behind the invention of this event, and I remain in awe. This photo in USA Today is more brand promotion and positive goodwill than you could get for thousands of dollars of PR budget. The trick for PR people is to uncover the hidden "hot dog eating contest" in their business or client. I firmly believe if left to their own creative devices (this rarely happens, BTW), truly good PR people can find a cool story in any company.

Knee High by the Fourth of July

There's an old saying in farm country that corn should be "knee high by the fourth of July" if it's going to be ready for a good harvest in the fall. So enjoy a few fun corn pictures of my kids and kin and a few corn facts you can throw around to impress your carpool buddies as you exit the cul de sac. Economic Fact: Corn is currently selling for more than $7 a bushel . This means that it is more expensive to feed cattle and pigs--and will affect meat and dairy prices at the store . You Will be Surprised How Many People Don't Know this Fact : The corn raised on farms by livestock farmers and grain farmers is NOT the same as what you eat. Farmers grow highly evolved "field corn" that is harvested when it is dry and the kernels are hard. People eat "sweet corn," which is very different breed of corn and is harvested when it is still green. (A little trick here: sweet corn is also grown by farmers BUT different farmers) Fact to Show how I