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Showing posts from August, 2008

Twenty Years in the Making

Twenty years ago this week I met the man of my dreams. I was just a wee little girl (Ok, I was a freshman in high school), so what I had back then was schoolgirl crush more than anything.

The guy was older, so much older at age 19 then he will be when I'm 80 and he's 85. Luckily, we were both good kids and back then that meant that we kept our interest in each other to a little flirting in public, under the watchful eye of more people than we'll ever know.

Our courtship was very seasonal. We saw each other at the county fair and then, perhaps, not for months. I went on to my high school things with friends, boyfriends and prom dates who weren't the legal drinking age. He went on to college, which included studying about farming, actual farming, watching basketball in Columbus, playing basketball behind the dorm in Columbus, eating at Wendy's--and not much else, actually.
Eventually, FINALLY, according to many, I got to be college age and we began dating officially. T…

Making Memories at the County Fair

My kids are filthy, my carpet is littered with sawdust, there are no clean blue jeans in the house. Yep, it's county fair time!

For a farm family, the county fair is part livestock bragging rights, part social gathering, part family reunion, and part marathon. For us, it means making sure our seven-year-old is ready to show his gilt (female pig), the four-year-old has eaten something more than the candy he got from pee-wee showmanship, and the two-year-old hasn't been run over by a cow--because the cow would not want to know her wrath.

The Montgomery County Fair is the culmination of our summer of hog showing. This year our combined family (ours plus my husband's brother's family) brought six gilts, four head of dairy (cows), plus a myriad of cakes, cupcakes, scarecrows, etc.


Here, Justin, Ryan and Morgan pose with the 2008 Montgomery County Pork Queen. Believe it or not, that title is a big honor.

They are celebrating Ryan's grand champion gilt and Justin's win …

Swine Lecture Series - Auctions

Welcome back students. I hope you enjoyed your summer off, but now it is time to get back to our Swine Lecture Series.

When a farmer needs a new pig or wants to expand his herd, the best way to buy is at an auction.
Many hog shows like the Summer Type Conference auction off the exhibited pigs--using the results to determine sale order.

Some farms also host their own pig auctions at the farm to sell boars (males) and gilts (females) to other farmers who want to use them as breeding stock. Here are some pigs ready for a farm auction.

OK, so they're not too excited yet. But in a few hours, they will be heading off to a new farm (we hope) to fulfill their happy pig lives as the mothers and fathers of the next generation of purebred hogs. You may recall that the black and white ones are Hampshires, the all-white ones, Yorkshires.


Now let's review the key elements to a successful pig auction on the farm. Like any event, you need to market the date/time/location with advertising, Web sit…

Life Under the Big Top

To say things are crazy here would be akin to making a vast understatement similar in proportion to saying that pig poo doesn't really smell.

In other words: Our lives this month, like every August, are out of control. A real circus.

See... we even have the tent to prove it.



Yes, that is a county fair-quality tent right behind our house.

Why do we need a tent, you ask? To hold our annual pig auction, of course.
Huh? We are holding what's called a "production sale," selling boars (males) and gilts (females) to other farmers who want to raise pigs.


In addition to hosting a pig sale in the barnyard this week, over the course of the month we made two trips to the Ohio State Fair to show hogs, one trip to the Indiana State Fair, took one kid to flag football, two more to swimming lessons, hosted crafts at Bible school, and won a church softball tournament (husband only).

After the pig sale we will spend a week at the county fair with our six pigs, four dairy calves, sc…

PR Idea of the Week

My college roommate had an umbrella that said Alabama: Open for Business. It became a joke we said to each other whenever it rained. But here it is a decade later and I remember that tag line.Maybe because that branding made us pause to think about Alabama in a new way. If the umbrella had said, Alabama: Come tour the Old South or Alabama: Not as Backward as you Might Think, I don't think it would have made as much of an impact.Here in Dayton, we ["we," as in all people of greater Dayton have a stake in this] have just launched a new branding campaign: I think it does a good job of saying We are doing smart things here in Dayton, you should check it out. Our previous tag lines seemed to say Um, hi, we invented the airplane here and the ice cube tray, so please look down and smile or something next time you fly over.I especially like the part about originals wanted. It's a call to action. While our previous slogans seemed to try way too hard to convince people we were…

Mama Said

There are things that every mother has to tell her kids. Pick up your toys, wash your hands, turn off the TV... CLOSE THE DOOR!!

But farm mothers have to come up with additional instructions like:

Don't wear those manure-covered shoes to church

Yuck, leave Daddy's semen collection cup alone

Be careful with that rusty wire

Don't eat that after it fell on the barn floor


Apparently, I must also now add: Do not drive your battery-powered John Deere Gator into the swing set.


Thankfully, both boys escaped unharmed. While a rookie Mom may have spent the aftermath of this wreck comforting her sons and admonishing them against future stunts, as a veteran Mom, I simply went back inside and got the camera.

A Moment Not to Miss

There are many moments in parenthood when you wonder what you have gotten yourself into. When your baby projectile vomits in the car. When your toddler dips his hand in his diaper and smears poop on his nose in the middle of JC Penney. When you finally break down and start channeling your mother: Do I have to Stop. This. Car?!

But thankfully there are other moments. Moments that you can't even blog about without getting all emotional. Moments that remind you why it was a good idea to reproduce, after all.

Of course, I'm talking about the day that your little baby boy becomes a man. The day he buys his first pig at auction.

Our Ryan began shopping for a Hampshire gilt (black and white, female pig) as soon as he arrived at the Ohio State Fair. By the time of the auction he had investigated every pig in the barn, cross-referencing against the sale list. A feat made all the more challenging by his kindergarten-level of reading and writing.

He picked out a lovely gilt from Iowa named M…

PR Idea of the Week

Anyone who has EVER worked at a marketing or PR agency or has been at the bottom of the corporate food chain can relate to this video. It shows what would happen if we let a modern day corporate marketing team develop the stop sign.

And as much of a mess as they make designing their simple sign, those of us in PR can just imagine what horrors became the press release announcing the new sign. I take a (tongue in cheek)stab at it myself below.




Creating A Stop Sign - Watch more free videos

New Innovative Signage Solution from Acme Corp to Minimize Accidents, Appeal to Motorists

NEW YORK--August 1, 2008--A new innovative sign was unveiled today by the state, EPA, and Acme Corp, the worldwide leader in innovative solutions. The sign, designed to appeal to female motorists, will appear at all major intersections and appeal to the good nature and courtesy of drivers.

The sign invites drivers to stop briefly at the intersection and then encourages them to proceed carefully. Each sign is designed b…