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Friday, November 26, 2010

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

By Dr. Seuss

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When you think things are bad,

when you feel sour and blue

when you start to get mad…

you should do what I do!

 

Just tell yourself, Duckie,

you’re really quite lucky!

Some people are much more…

oh, ever so much more…

oh, muchly, much-much more

unlucky than you!

It’s a troublesome world.  All the people who’re in it

are troubled with troubles almost every minute.

You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot,

for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not!

Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!

Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot,

and left all alone in some punkerish place

like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.

 

That’s why I say, “Duckie!

Don’t grumble!  Don’t Stew!

Some critters are much-much,

oh, ever so much-much,

so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!”

 

 

Adam wanted to read this book the other night, and as I read through Dr. Seuss’s silly examples of how life could be so much tougher, I thought it was a very timely book.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Multitasking – Buy quality toys for Christmas AND help a mommy in need

Hey everyone,

Remember how I had an insurance “nightmare” last week?  This makes my situation look more like a lovely daydream.

I just found out about this woman, Jennic.  She is a mom of a 5 and 7 year old, and entrepreneur who owns a toy store in Des Moines, Iowa.  Ten years ago, she had (and beat!) Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  However, she is still virtually uninsurable because the cancer is considered a preexisting condition.

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(Photo from www.dmregister.com)

In August, she had to have an emergency appendectomy, which has left her with $27,000 in medical bills.  She has set up a blog where you can donate to help, but there will also be an auction featuring mostly children’s toys from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7.

If you would like to help Jennic and her family, visit her at her blog Fighting the System, check out the Auction or maybe just consider purchasing your Christmas gifts from her online store – Kangarooboo

 

So go ahead – get your gifts AND help out someone in need this holiday season!

 

Katie

Turkey Tuesday – Where’s your turkey coming from this Thanksgiving?

This is a post that was originally posted at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs last Friday.

 

Fill in the blank.

Potatoes are from Idaho, cheese is from Wisconsin, oranges are from Florida, and turkey comes from _________.

Anybody?  (crickets…)

Minnesota is the top turkey growing state in the US, but directly south, here in Iowa, we have a large group of turkey farmers, as well.  However, this was news to me when I met my husband back in 2002.  He grew up on a turkey farm 10 miles from me, and I didn’t even know turkeys were grown in Iowa until I met him.

Now, I am wife to a 3rd generation turkey farmer and mom to the 4th generation. 

 

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Heather asked me to write a guest post about our farm.  I decided to cover just the basics, since few people know very much about raising turkeys.

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Twenty thousand (20,000) male baby turkeys (poults) come to us when they are 1 day old.  We unload them into a big, toasty, 90 degree barn called the “brooder.”  They live there until they are about 5 weeks old.  Inside the barn, there are automated feeders and waterers, which are triggered by the turkeys, so they have unlimited access to these.  The temperature in the barn is controlled by a thermostat, and there are vents that open and close automatically to help adjust it if needed.  The turkeys are not in cages – instead they are on sawdust bedding from a local sawmill.  For the first two weeks, chores take a few hours each morning, because of the supplemental feeders and waterers that we fill by hand.  We also chore the poults at night, but this is usually a quick walk through to make sure all equipment is running smoothly and that the turkeys seem comfortable.

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Around 5 weeks of age, we move the turkeys to one of our two finisher sites.  (This is what I did all day yesterday.)  The finisher sites have two 528 foot buildings, so the turkeys have plenty of room to spread out as they grow.  These barns also have automated feeders and waterers and again, the temperature is controlled for the turkeys’ comfort.  Our finishers are tunnel ventilated, meaning that there are huge fans at one end that suck air through, creating up to a 10 mph breeze in the barns when necessary. (Most livestock barns have curtains instead and rely on the natural breezes to cool animals.) We also have misters that cool the birds in the summer.

 

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The west finishers are on the left, the brooder in the middle, and the east finishers are on the right.  Our 100 year old farmhouse is near the brooder, closer to the gravel road.  The trees are surrounding Squaw Creek.

 

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The turkeys stay in the finishers until they are ready for market at 19 1/2 weeks.  Until then, my husband chores them twice a day, walking through to check equipment, pick up dead, and look for any signs of distress or disease.  At the time they go to market, they average about 41 pounds.  These are not your Thanksgiving birds!  Our birds are processed for lunch meat and ground meat.  In fact, the processing plant we use supplies turkey to all the Subways west of the Mississippi River!

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In the meantime, we would have already started a new flock in the brooder.  At 5 weeks, they would move to the OTHER finisher site.  In between flocks, there is about 4 weeks to clean and disinfect, and that is actually the busiest time for us.  So, every 9 weeks, we get a new flock of 20,000, and there is no break in between!  We raise almost 6 flocks, or 120,000 turkeys, in one year!

If you want to know more about turkey farming, learn about the remodel of our 100 year old farmhouse, or just stop by to say hi, I’d love for you to become a follower!

Friday, November 19, 2010

All’s Well that Ends Well?

My insurance crisis is over.  But apparently hubby had a turkey crisis today, too.  Some piece of machinery malfunctioned and there are several tons of feed in a mountain on the floor in one of the buildings.  He’s a little stressed about it because tomorrow he has to figure out how to clean it up and fix whatever it was that broke. (He’s not quite sure what happened because parts of the feed thingy are under the mountain of feed.)

Now, back to my insurance…

Last year, working full time, the school paid my entire premium.  This year, working 1/2 time, the school pays half.  I am responsible for the other half.

Last spring, they asked if I was planning to stay on school insurance and pay my half (about $300/month) or go onto different insurance.  Bart and Adam are both on private insurance, but after researching and finding out that my coverage would cost about the same either way, I decided to stay on the school’s plan for consistency.  But maybe I didn’t tell the school this?

Because they thought I was going off the school plan and canceled my insurance when my part time contract started in August.  So I was covered for August and September, but as of Oct. 1, I had no insurance, and I just found out today, after getting a $500 bill for my ultrasound and asking about it.

Happily, they were able to add me again, dating back to 10/1.  I didn’t notice that they weren’t deducting my premium because my paycheck went down so much anyway, and I foolishly didn’t look at it very closely, so I now owe 4 months of premium.  So that kind of stinks.  But it’s better than paying for a baby out of pocket!

 

Now, hopefully I’ll have a good update on the turkey feed mountain tomorrow.

Some good news and some bad news...

Good news...

I'm subbing for the Home Ec teacher today.  The Foods class (3 senior boys) made fudge desserts yesterday.  The lesson plan said "evaluate yesterday's lab and clean up kitchens."  So we ate fudge.  Which was great because...

Bad news...

A bit of miscommunication means that my health insurance was canceled.  So I am pregnant, without heath insurance.


Can I have more hot fudge now?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pregnant Party #5 – Adam’s Birth Story

I forgot to host the party last week, and I noticed that some of our later-linker-uppers didn’t get any comments from the other linker-uppers.  So, if you wouldn’t mind, head back to the last party and check out the links!
There have been some great birth stories linked up, so I am putting Adam’s birth story here.  I wrote this shortly after he was born and I’m just going to copy and paste it here.
Adam David was born Sunday, July 13th at 2:20 AM. He was 8 lbs 14.5 ounces and 21 inches long! I was having contractions Friday but they went away. Saturday, I was having contractions but I went shopping in DM with my aunt and cousin (the one who is letting us borrow EVERYTHING - swing, stroller, etc.) and her 15 month old. After shopping, Mexican food, and carrying the little one around, my contractions became really strong and painful (back labor) on the way back to my aunt’s about 6:45 PM. When we got there, my 15 year old brother was mowing my aunt's lawn, so he drove me home. It was kind of funny - they were telling him to wash his hands and take latex gloves in case he had to deliver the baby. He was freaking out, but he did a really good job taking care of me.
I got home around 8, and the contractions were lasting 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and coming every 4-6 minutes. We got to the hospital at 9:50. Emily (who was in my water aerobics class while I was pregnant!) was my nurse until 11:30. Things were going pretty slowly at that point.
At midnight, my nurse checked me and I was 4-5 cm. I was having bad back labor so I got in the whirlpool. Around 12:30, my body started spontaneously pushing and I was having a hard time controlling it, so I got out of the tub and she checked me again. At 1:00 AM I was at 6 cm and struggling not to push.
At 1:15 my water broke, and I spent the next half hour trying to keep from pushing. I was so scared that my cervix would swell. But at 1:50 I was complete – 10 cm! I was so relieved when she told me I could push! Thirty short minutes later, Adam was born! So I was only at the hospital 4 1/2 hours and the whole shebang lasted around 7 1/2! Crazy! And no pain medication (although I took all I could get afterwards. :) )
Adam's heartrate dropped shortly before delivery, but he came so fast it wasn't a big deal. He also had a "true knot" in his cord. He had done a flip through his cord sometime during my pregnancy. The dr. on call who delivered and said they only see 1-2 a year and had it been pulled tight at any point during pregnancy or birth, he wouldn't have made it. I feel very fortunate and blessed that it was okay.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience. I could not imagine it going any more perfectly. I didn't have any pain meds, which was my goal, and it was so fast! My nurses were amazing, and Bart did a great job, too. He helped me breath through the contractions and stop the pushing.
Adam is a great baby and I am completely in love. I can't wait to have another. :)

 
 
 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey Tuesday - Winter on the Farm

Another blogger asked me recently if winter was a little less busy for us on the farm.

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In short, no.

Because our birds are in buildings, turkey growing goes on as usual no matter how cold it gets.  There are a few differences, though.

#1.  It’s easier to keep them warm than keep them cool.  However…

#2.  It costs more because we use more propane to heat the buildings.  We actually have to heat the brooder (baby bird house) year round to keep it warm enough, but it obviously costs more to heat a barn when it’s 10 degrees out than when it’s 70!

#3.  Hubby’s chore clothes come into the kitchen.  In the summer, he changes in the unheated entryway of our house, and that’s also where he keeps his chore clothes.  But in the winter, he refuses to change out there, so the clothes leave a longer trail of sawdust bedding.P1070205

#4.  The clothes are bigger.  Coveralls…two or three pairs hanging around all the time.  These things take up a lot of room, and are not really easy to wash.

#5.  Sometimes we (Bart) has to put heat tape on the pipes that carry feed from the bins into the buildings.  Otherwise, it freezes up, and that’s a bad thing.

#6.  The sun goes down earlier, which means we actually see more of Bart in the evenings.

#7.  The biggest difference:  instead of mowing, we’re moving snow.  Last year was brutal.  We have about a 1/4 mile long lane that has to be cleared to the brooder house, plus huge driveways/lots around the other 4 buildings.  These HAVE to be kept clear for feed trucks, propane trucks, and semis to get through.  And it takes a LONG time.  There were also a few days last year that hubby dug out the road to the highway so that I could get to work, and he dug out the neighbors more than once.  The near-record snowfall totals last winter made our first snowy season on the farm kind of rough.

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(A snow pile at one of our finisher sites.  Behind the snow, you can see the brooder in the distance, and our house to the right.)

 

So, no winter vacations for us!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This is real life.

Did you see Lazy Mom’s PSA?  It inspired me to post these two pictures side by side.
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We don’t have a toy room.  And since Adam’s room is upstairs, he can’t play up there alone yet. This is it.  The living room floor.
So although putting a bookcase in the corner and arranging the room this way might not be the best DESIGN decisions, they are the most practical for our family.
I’ve been obsessing about decorating lately, which means that I must be stressed about something.  Remember way back in January (of course you don’t…I didn’t have any followers then) I posted about how I decorate when I’m stressed?  I think I displace my stress and focus on decor, even though that usually is NOT the important thing that I should be spending my energy on.  It’s a pleasant distraction, and somehow, worrying about something that is so relatively insignificant keeps me from freaking out over the big stuff.
Except this time, I’m not sure what the “big stuff” is.  I even called my best friend to make her figure it out for me.  But I’m still not sure.  So I must really be displacing my stress this time, since I don’t even know where the stress is coming from!  It may have started when Adam got the stomach flu and then threw up 4 out of the next 6 nights, but it stuck around since then, so…

Anyway, the point of this post is to remind myself that my house is not going to be magazine perfect as long as I have a kiddo running around, so I need to quit obsessing over fixing every little thing, and be thankful that I was blessed with a little boy who messes up my decor plans.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Planning for the Living Room

I cleaned my living room today.  And I’m going to show you some pictures.  And ask you some questions.
This is what you see as you walk in from the dining room.  I used to have the screen door propped in the corner behind the chair but it’s busy being useful now.
So now, the corner seems a little empty.  Like maybe it needs a tall bookcase to fill it up?

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Like maybe this one?

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Or this?
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They are both about 6 feet tall.  Which do you like best?
Or, do you think a bookcase will make that wall too busy?  Maybe I need a piece of furniture with doors, so that I can shove all kinds of junk in there, but it will be less visually distracting.  I’m terrible at making these decisions, and I change my mind a lot.  Can you tell?
Across the room, this is our TV stand.  I have some plans here, too….I want to paint the bottom of the cabinet cream, and leave the top stained.  Normally, I don’t like to paint stained pieces, but this has so many scratches, I have to do SOMETHING, and I really want to lighten it up.
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And then, I’m going to surround the off center TV with frames like Emily A. Clark did here.  I’m hoping it will also help hide the heat vent you can see at the top of the picture, too.
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And, proof that a two year old lives here…
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

Is it too early to be thinking about this?

 

Last year, I used a lot of red in my Christmas decorating.

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But even by the end of last year, I knew I was going to go more neutral this time around.  Our tree will be in the dining room bay windows, with its traditional colored lights and collection of mismatched ornaments.  And the dining room will have more traditional Christmas colors.  But in the living room, I’m going to put up a table top tree that is “pretty” with white lights and matching, neutral gold and cream ornaments.  The rest of the room will be accessorized in the same peaceful colors.  Here’s some inspiration:

This is a “family tree.”  Each tag has a family member’s name on it.  How cool is that?

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(Country Living)

I LOVE Miss Mustard Seed’s Christmas decorations this year.  In fact, I made a few small ones myself yesterday!  But they’re not quite finished, so pictures will have to wait.

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Some decorative stockings like these from Cherished Vintage.  I’m going to use my massive collection of tan/cream remnants (remember, I used them on my pumpkins, too?) to make some pretty stockings.  I know I commented on someone else’s blog, who had made a collection of beautiful stockings from a variety of neutral fabrics…but doggone-it, I can’t find it again!

 

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Linking this up here:

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Friday, November 5, 2010

New Friend Friday

Haven't done this for awhile, but linking up to New Friend Friday!

Adam made it without throwing up overnight, so I sent him to daycare (he’s been begging to go all week) and I’m going to a scrapbooking retreat.  Can’t wait!  See you all later!

 

Katie

 
 
New Friend Fridays

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pregnant Party #4 – Weird Things that Happen to your Body While Pregnant

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(That is not me.  But it is funny!)

We’re having a rough week on Squaw Creek.  Adam got the stomach flu Friday night, and Bart and I got it Sunday night.  As if a puking two year old, who pushes the bucket away and turns his head to the side isn’t bad enough, Adam has thrown up 4 out of the last 6 nights.  Everyone else who go the flu had it for 24 hours, but not my boy!  The pediatrician said it’s a carryover from his infant reflux and told us to let him have ONLY WATER  in the 2 hours before bed.  Yeah, we’ll see how that one goes over.  We’ll be eating lunch early and napping later, I guess!

On to the pregnancy related topics, I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while now:

Weird Things that Happen to your Body While Pregnant

(such a creative title, I know.)

For me, it’s worse this time around.  I do not have a black hair on my body, but this time, during the super hormonal first trimester, I ended up with BLACK WHISKERS!  High up on my cheeks, like my dad’s.  And even worse than that, they showed up on my chest, too.  My chest!  And they were the terrible, grow-an-inch-overnight kind, too!  I’d thoroughly inspect and pluck one day, and it seemed like the next day, there’d be a couple more long, black hairs on my cheeks, chest, or neck.  Yikes!!!

And when I had Adam, I was sooo proud that I made it the whole time without any stretch marks.  Until I was in the Target dressing room 6 weeks post partum and saw them on low back/upper butt!  What?  Six weeks AFTER?  On my butt?!?!?! I didn’t know that was possible!  Apparently my hubby noticed them about 4 weeks after I had Adam, but wisely didn’t mention them to me.

Gotta love being pregnant!!

So what are your (un)pleasant side effects??

Or link up anything else pregnancy related.

 
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