I’ve been on vacation from railroading for the last two weeks.  My July sabbatical; I have always tried to take off as much of July as my seniority would allow.  The first week has been dedicated to our county fair, where my daughter has shown market hogs, turkey and chickens through 4H.  This year was a tad different since she moved on to FFA.  With her move came a bit of relief for me.  I had volunteered as the swine leadership for her 4H club in the last five years.  I took it pretty serious in the sense that I was to be available to help the kids and their parents with dang near every aspect of raising up their pigs for show.  We had many new people come and go through the hog barn.  Some got into it and really helped their kids enjoy a great learning experience,  others not so much.  With my daughters move to FFA I was relieved of the title of swine czar and relegated to normal fair going peasant.  Lucky me!  I actually enjoyed much of the fair I had missed before.  I did get to have several of the kids from her club come find me and escort me hand in hand to view their entries.  Very satisfying!

My daughter took charge of her entries fully this year.  She did a pretty damn good job considering she did not realize how much we had done to help her out in the past few years.  Stepping back and letting your kids make decisions on their own can be tough sometimes.  I still offered suggestions when asked, about her course of action.  I feel fortunate that she did not always follow my advice, even though it was frustrating at the time.  It’s all about teaching them to think and seek out new ideas and learning to learn.  I love watching her think.

She spent much of her time working with her favorite gilt Hampshire.  Not so much with a blue butt barrow that ended up placing second in the class he landed in.  Her hamp didn’t make weight.  She was extremely disappointed, but didn’t show her displeasure publicly.  With the blue butt placing high in a class that moved her way up in the sale order at the auction.  That’s always a good thing when folks are bidding and there are 86 entries to sell.  She has been very good at marketing her projects for the sale with hand written letters to potential buyers and making appointments to deliver her letters,  greeting the bidders and telling them a little about her project and the work she puts into it.  That aspect of the project paid off with a $4.25 selling price on a 242 pound pig. We have excellent community support for our youth in agriculture.

She also competed in a business pitch competition.  She partnered with another FFA member and presented a farm to table livestock business with an aspect of agri-tourism and education involved.  They did a dandy job with the presentation and won!  There was a cash startup prize awarded but I’m not sure what the amount ended up being yet.  There were eight proposals presented and the judges split the cash awards by placement.  Apparently she will be building some of her own fence shortly.

With the fair week behind I moved on to resurrection of our weed garden.  The almost constant rain;  28 of 33 days in one stretch, had left our patch a mucky muddy puddle of gelatinous goo.  Too wet to walk even on the tractor paths.  As the week marched on the rainy pattern took a rest and the brush cutting commenced.

A terrible start for our tomatoes and peppers, but I’m sure they will start to catch up and give us enough of what we crave.

I like to jump around from job to job with my full menu of projects I have going.  I’m trying to get our house painted.  A warranty claim with James Hardy siding has delayed a steady progression on painting until resolved.  So I get done what I can and make progress on the long list, some to completion, some closer.

Wrapping cedar trim around all our windows


Finishing interior window trim and baseboards from the floor replacement in bedroom/bath/closet and washroom

Framing a wall for new plumbing install in the basement


New hydrant in the barn

Finish hanging windows in the barn and putting hardware cloth screens in openings


Building new hay feeder in the barn for the goats

Hauling hay

Hauling manure for the compost pile


Cutting wood

Hopefully this coming week will be a bit slower since my grandsons will be out for a visit. We plan on spending a couple of days at a friends cabin on the river.  Fishing will be on the top of next weeks menu.



  1. Ed said,

    July 20, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    Although I lived on a farm, I was never in 4H growing up mostly because we didn’t raise any livestock at the time. I could have done other things for 4H but it seemed like raising the livestock and showing them was where the fun was out. Later I was in FFA and had a lot of fun. I went to state on a parliamentary procedures team and almost got to go to nationals for that. I still have my jacket somewhere, though it long ago stopped fitting for some reason.

    Congrats to your daughter on her pig!

    • Woody said,

      July 21, 2015 at 6:01 AM

      She has really enjoyed the whole experience. This past fall she placed second at the state level for public speaking.

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