Friday, October 29, 2010

One Week Ago

Just a few more pictures of our experience one week ago today, when the Eldon FFA Parliamentary Procedure team was named National Champion!

It has been an amazing week.  The kids have been on our local television station.  They have made the front page of both of our Eldon newspapers.  The whole town is talking about the National Championship.  The school is in the process of having signs made that proclaim Eldon as the home of the 2010 FFA National Champion Parliamentary Procedure team that will be posted along the highway at several entrances to our town. 

Eldon FFA Parliamentary Procedure National Champions . . . has a nice ring to it doesn't it ? ?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IN AWE!!!!!!

I am a huge fan of Hillsong United. You know from Hillsong Church in Australia?   Their songs are amazing, and absolutely Holy Spirit inspired.  One of my favorites is "The Stand." 

"You stood before creation, eternity in Your hand, You spoke the earth into motion, my soul now to stand, You stood before my failure, carried the Cross for my shame, my sin weighed upon Your shoulders, my soul now to stand. So what can I say, what can I do, but offer this heart O God, completely to You.

So I'll walk upon salvation, Your Spirit alive in me, this life to declare Your promise, my soul now to stand.  So what can I say, what can I do, but offer this heart O God, completely to You.


Are you truly in awe of the One who gave it all?  If you aren't, then you should be.  He died for you.  Did you deserve it?  No.  Can you earn it?  No.  Can you receive His salvation by just asking Him?  YES!!!

To know Jesus is to be in awe of Him.  In awe of His love and mercy and grace.  If you don't know Him, today can be your day of salvation.  Ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart.  Ask Him to lead you and guide you.  Ask Him to save you.  He already paid the price.

If you do know Him, please take just a few minutes and focus on Him.  May we never be too busy to stand in awe of our Lord and Savior.   He is AWESOME.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


It was announced Friday evening in Indianapolis, Indiana that the Eldon FFA Parliamentary Procedure team is THE NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!!!!!   That's our son Cole, the second from the left!!! 

It was such an exciting time I hardly know where to begin.  Our team competed Thursday morning, one of over 40 state champion teams, and Puerto Rico.  Thursday evening it was announced that we had made it to the semi-finals, consisting of the top 12 teams.  Friday morning we competed against the other eleven teams.  It was announced at noon on Friday that we had made it to the FINAL FOUR!  These four teams, Missouri, Texas, Arizona and California, competed beginning at 1:00 on Friday afternoon.  We were the last team to demonstrate.  We were in the Indiana Convention Center and they competed before approximately 1,500 people. 

There was a banquet Friday evening for all of the parliamentary procedure teams.  Parents were not allowed to attend.  When the banquet was finished and the awards began, they opened the doors so we could come inside.  When it was announced that the team from Missouri had won we screamed, we cried, we jumped up and down.  It was absolutely INCREDIBLE.

The team consists of our son Cole, Peyton Atteberry, Kelsi Mueller, Arika Meyers, Abbey Thomas and Jill Blankenship.  These kids, and their advisor Mr. Matt Biddle, have practiced for countless hours.  They have worked for months and months to perfect their presentation and it definitely paid off.

The parents who went to Indiana this week had a prayer service Wednesday evening before the Thursday competition.  Thursday evening we again had prayer and all of the students were invited to join us.  I am proud to say that EACH student, and our advisor, joined us for prayer.  We asked God to bring all things to the remembrance of the team.  We asked for a calm and peaceful spirit to surround the students.  We prayed for boldness and confidence.  We asked for the favor of the judges and we asked for the students to do their absolute best.  And each time we prayed that above all else, God's will would be done, and we promised Him that we would THANK Him, no matter the outcome.

I am so very proud of each one of these kids, and of course we are extremely proud of Cole.  The caliber of the teams we competed against was outstanding.  Any of the other three Final Four teams was deserving of the championship, and we cried with the students who didn't win, and we congratulated them on their accomplishments.

Thanks to each one of you who prayed for Cole and his teammates.  It was very much appreciated.  Now I ask that you join me in praising God for His goodness.

I don't think it has quite sunk in, to me or to the team.  NATIONAL CHAMPIONS.  I remember how excited and proud we were when they won the State FFA competition.  This, this is beyond our wildest dreams.  So today I praise the Lord for blessing these young men and women.  Thanks again to each one of you for praying. May God bless you!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Beans

Our garden didn't do very well this year.  We had a very wet spring, and a very wet summer here in Missouri.  And while gardens need rain, they don't need THAT much rain.  We got our garden planted pretty late, waiting for it to dry up.  And even after we planted it just kept raining.  And you can't till muddy ground.  A lot of our seeds rotted in the ground due to the moisture and the seeds that did grow got crowded out by the weeds.  So, in July, we gave up and my husband plowed our garden under. 

The thing that really hurt about plowing under our garden was, we didn't have many green beans left from last year.  We eat a lot of green beans at our house.  And for those of you who say you don't like green beans, I proudly reply "you haven't tried MY green beans."  Bacon, onion and Lawry's seasoning salt, plus my home canned green beans.  Whooeeeeee!  De-LICIOUS!!!!!  Now when I say we didn't have many green beans left, we probably only have about 40 quarts.  Sounds like a lot, but believe me 40 quarts go pretty fast.

So we (and I say "we" very loosely 'cause it was actually BP, the CEO here at Down On The Farm) re-planted fall beans.  And can I just say that our fall beans did OUTSTANDING!!!  Fall beans are so much better than summertime beans.  There aren't as many weeds, aren't as many bugs, and it isn't 100 degrees in the shade when you're picking them and canning them.  The problem with fall beans is, you never know when its going to frost and if the beans aren't mature enough to pick before the frost, then you have NO BEANS!

I won't try to detail the entire canning process.  There are plenty of sites that do a much better job of that than I could ever do.  But for you non-canning folks, these pictures will give you an idea of what we did last week.  We canned 42 quarts of green beans in one night.  Our plants still have lots of beans on them, but we just don't have time to can beans AND go to Indianapolis to watch our son.  So, if it doesn't frost between now and this weekend, we'll probably pick more beans and can more beans.  Those beans sure taste good when it's cold and the snow is flying!

If you've never planted a garden and you love food, do yourself a favor and grow SOMETHING!  Get a five gallon bucket and plant a tomato plant.  Dig up a 5 foot square and plant some lettuce and onions.  There is nothing like the flavor of home grown food.  And there is a real sense of satisfaction that just does something to you when you know you are eating food you've grown yourself.  Remember God planted a garden . . . and He called it Eden!

Monday, October 18, 2010

National FFA Convention - Indianapolis

As I am typing this post my son, Cole, and his Eldon FFA parliamentary procedure team mates, are on their way to Indianapolis, Indiana for the National FFA Convention.  Cole's parliamentary procedure team won 1st place at the Missouri FFA Convention this spring, and they are competing this week at the national level.  On Wednesday several other FFA members are heading to Indianapolis separately to attend the convention, and BP, Alex, my mother-in-law and I will be heading there as well.

Today I would ask for your prayers.   Please join me in asking for traveling mercies for all students and advisors and parents that are traveling to the convention.  I ask that God would go with these students, and go before them.  I ask that He would give our Eldon team a boldness and a confidence in their competition and that they would remember everything they need to know in order to compete.  I pray that they would have peace.  I ask that they would trust Him in all things.  That they will do their absolute best, and leave the results up to God and praise Him, no matter the outcome.

Thank you all so much for your prayers.  I am blessed beyond measure to have this opportunity to share my prayer needs with you and I know that when you say you are praying, you ARE.  The Bible tells us to pray one for another so, thank you my blogging friends for lifting your prayers along with mine. 

May you have an absolutely BLESSED day!  Always remember, this is the day that the Lord made, and we are to rejoice and be glad in it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Show Calf

Every year about this time our daughter, Alex, gets her show calf for our county fair, which is in July.  Alex feeds the calf, gives him a bath, brushes him, and breaks him to lead.  Now she does get some help with the "breaking to lead" part as these calves can be fairly cantankerous at first.  Amazing how much more well behaved they are when my husband, the CEO of Down On The Farm, has the halter and lead rope in his hands.  He shows them who is BOSS.

This is what Alex will be showing next summer at the Miller County Fair:

This calf has no name yet.  Alex puts a lot of thought into the names of her steers.  Last year Alex named her steer "Ticket."   No word yet on what this year's steer will answer to.

The county fair is kind of a "beauty pageant" for steers.  You want the steer to be in good shape so this animal is well fed.  You want him to be very gentle in the ring.  The steers pose to show off their "shape."  These animals are styled and trimmed and blow dried and hair sprayed.  Really, it's quite a process.

Living Down On The Farm is different - some kids take out the trash - our daughter raises a show calf.  An excellent opportunity to teach responsibility and maturity, and have some fun too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Missouri In The Fall

It is fall here in Missouri.  The days are definitely cooler, the sky is bluer, the humidity is lower . . . no wonder fall is my FAVORITE time of year.

The only thing missing are colorful leaves and we don't have too many of those.  Here are some pictures taken around our farm this week.  You will notice there's not much color in "them thar hills!"

Just a HINT of color.  We haven't had frost yet at Down On The Farm.  Some folks a few miles away had frost a couple of weeks ago, but no frost here and we are THANKFUL.  Our fall green beans are just about ready to pick and a frost would have ruined them.

Wasn't it really cool for God to give us seasons?  I mean, really, I would have just done one season and said "it is good."  But not God.  He gives us exceedingly abundantly more.  He gave us warm beautiful spring with budding leaves and blossoming flowers.  He gave us hot summertime and trees with lots of green leaves and summer breezes.  He gave us awesome cool fall with stunning leaves and orange pumpkins.  And He gave us cold crisp wintertime with a beautiful blanket of snow to cover the brown earth.

God is so amazing.  Today I am so thankful for everything He has done.  Every good and perfect gift comes from above.  Thank you Father.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy 25th Anniversary to Me!

Yep, that's right, today is our 25th wedding anniversary.   In the past 25 years we have lived thirteen different places.  I can't even count all the vehicles we have owned.  I've given birth to two absolutely awesome children.  My husband has buried his father.  I've proudly watched five of our nieces and nephews graduate from high school, and one graduate from college.  I lost my sweet grandpa to lung cancer and two cousins to muscular dystrophy.  When I woke up on October 12, 1985, I was a 21 year old kid.  Today, I am a 46 year old wife and mother.   I have worries and responsibilities that my 21 year old self couldn't even imagine.  But my relationship with God is so much deeper and sweeter.  The past 25 years have brought heartaches, but oh, so much happiness.  I wouldn't trade one minute.  I am so incredibly blessed. 

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband who has shared every second of the past 25 years with me, the good times and the bad, just like we said on that day, so long as we both shall live.  I pray we have many, many more happy and healthy years together.  I sure do love you BP!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prayers Desperately Needed

I had a beautiful fall post I was going to share with you this morning, but I just became aware of a tragedy and I need you, my blogging friends to pray.  A dear couple that I go to church with are struggling this morning with the death of their daughter.  An investigation is ongoing, so I can't share any details.  But, as you can imagine, these people are in desperate need of the comfort of the Holy Spirit. 

I ask that each one of you lift this family before our Lord today.  He is able to sustain them through an unimaginable time.  I also ask that you pray for our pastor and his wife today, as they minister to this family.  That God would give them words to speak, and that He would strengthen them as well.

Thank each and every one of you for your prayers. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Turkey Question and Answer

Last week we got another flock of baby turkeys - - - about 20,000 baby turkeys to be exact. 

Lots of people ask questions about raising turkeys so I'm going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions.  These pictures were taken in the brooder barn, where the baby turkeys are. 

1.  How long have you been raising turkeys?  We bought our farm in February of 1998 and the turkey barns were on the farm when we bought it.  So we've raised turkeys for nearly 13 years.

2.  If turkeys look up in the rain will they drown?  No, although our turkeys are raised inside and are only outside when we haul them in trailers from the brooder barn to the grow out barns.

3.  What is the difference between a brooder barn and a grow out barn?  The brooder barn is the barn where all the baby turkeys are delivered.  All 20,000 turkeys we got last week are in this brooder barn, and they will remain in this barn until they are 6 or 7 weeks old.  At that time, they will be moved to one of the three grow out barns on our farm.  The grow out barns is where they will remain until they are shipped to the processing plant, somewhere between 15 and 18 weeks of age.

4.  Where do the baby turkeys come from?  The baby turkeys are delivered in refrigerated trucks and they come from the "hatchery."  The chicks are between 24 and 36 hours old when they are delivered to us.  No turkeys are "born" on our farm and our turkeys don't lay eggs.

5.  What do the turkeys eat?  Cargill delivers all of the feed and I can't honestly tell you exactly what is in it.  I do know that the turkeys are fed different types of feed, depending on their age.  For instance, the baby turkeys get a different type of feed delivered than the turkeys that are in the grow out barns.  The feed is delivered in semi trucks and each turkey will eat approximately 60 pounds of feed during the 15 or 16 weeks that it is alive on our farm.

6.  I've always heard turkeys are really stupid, are they?  Yes, they are.  Seriously.

7.  Do turkeys stink?  Yes, there are times that they do stink.  The floor of the barns is covered with wood shavings and we run a piece of equipment called a "house cleaner" through the barns on a regular basis to remove manure and leave the shavings but, of course, anytime you have animals you are going to have some odor.  There are days we can have our windows open, and days we can't. 

8.  Do you own the turkeys?  No, we do not own the turkeys.  We are paid to "babysit" or "raise" the turkeys and, in case you are wondering, we get paid for every live bird we deliver back to Cargill at the end of the 15, 16, or 17 weeks that they live on our farm.  The turkeys that die on our farm  -- we do not get paid for those, only the live birds.

9.  What is the hardest thing about raising turkeys?  My husband, who actually is the turkey farmer and does the real manual labor would probably tell you that cleaning out the barns between flocks and setting the brooder barn up for the baby turkeys is the hardest part.  Or maybe cleaning up a water spill in one of the barns.  Yuck.  Since I don't actually do much of the turkey work, I think the hardest thing is not being able to get away from the farm.  There is never a day that we don't have turkeys and we grow turkeys all year around, not just around Thanksgiving!  While we can get away for a few hours to go out to eat or go to a ballgame, you can't leave the turkeys unattended for very long at all.  The temperature in the barns has to be regulated, sometimes water lines break, feed lines break, all kinds of things can go wrong, and when things go wrong turkeys die.  And when turkeys die, we don't get paid.  If we want to be gone from the farm we have to pay someone to do the work and that makes getting away pretty expensive.  In the nearly 13 years we have lived on our farm my husband has spent less than 30 nights away from our farm and I am not exaggerating.

10.  Do you eat your own turkeys?   Nope, we don't.  Since we don't own the turkeys, to eat one would technically be stealing so if we are eating turkey we bought it at the grocery store.  I like turkey for thanksgiving, and we eat turkey sandwiches, but other than that, we eat about as much turkey as any family.  But we really appreciate it when all of YOU eat lots of turkey :0!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of information about life here at Down On The Farm!   It really isn't just the title of my blog, it is our way of life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hog Roast - Eldon FFA

This past weekend was the 28th Annual Eldon FFA Hog Roast.  FFA has grown from being a small organization for "farm boys" to being THE most popular student extra-curricular organization in Eldon High School.  The Eldon FFA Chapter has over 260 members, and is the 4th largest in the state of Missouri.

Last Saturday at the Hog Roast we served over 1,260 meals!  BBQ pork steak, pulled pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls and dessert.  YUM YUM!!!  And, yes, it is all you can eat!  I say "we" because I volunteered to serve from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

After the dinner they have a work auction where juniors and seniors are "auctioned" off.  It really is a great fundraiser for the FFA Chapter, and is a lot of fun.  This was Cole's final year of being auctioned.

Alex and her friends had a great time working that evening too!

A wonderful evening of good, clean family fun, and a great meal too!!!  Even though it seems as if my kids are in everything, and that we have some type of school function or ballgame every single night, I truly don't regret one second of the time spent watching them.  I know that these are times I can't "do over" and I can honestly say I have missed very, very few things that Cole and Alex were in.  So for every hour I've spent in a car watching them practice, sitting on a bleacher watching a band concert or a ballgame, for every pie I've baked or crock pot full of chili I've donated, I am thankful.  I am so thankful to be blessed with beautiful, healthy children.  God has been so very good to me.  Cole's school years are coming to an end, and as I look back I realize what a wonderful life I have.  So, for all you moms out there feeling overwhelmed, HANG IN THERE.  All too soon it will be over and you don't want to look back with regret at what you've missed.  Your kids deserve your very best!   

Monday, October 4, 2010

Senior Pictures

Another marker of a year going by much too quickly . . . Cole got his senior pictures taken yesterday.  My cousin, Randy, is an amateur photographer (his day job is co-owner of a manufacturing plant!) and he and his beautiful wife and daughter came up yesterday and they spent the afternoon taking pictures of Cole and Alex.  I am so glad I decided to get the nerve up to ask my cousin to take the pictures, because Cole was so relaxed.  Randy did such a great job making Cole feel at ease and just encouraging him to relax and be comfortable.

I took a few pictures with my camera and I think they turned out really great:

I am so very very blessed.  I had such a nice day visiting with my cousin and his family.  They are awesome Christian people and I am so fortunate to have them in my life.

I can't wait to see the professional pictures they took.  I know they will be amazing!