They grow so fast

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Was this really just 12 months ago? Daniel and Squirt May 2011

I am in awe if how much weight a calf can gain in 12 months.  Squirt was a sweet little calf a year ago.  Now he is a huge mellow pushover.

Just a little bigger then before.

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Daniel and Squirt May 2012.

Mickey, was a stubborn little calf last spring.  He would plant his feet and refuse to move.

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Amanda and mickey May 2011

And a year later he its still bull headed, but a but sweeter. At least he will walk now.

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Amanda refusing to look at at the camera, with mickey May 2012

Vegetable gardening. Lets keep it small

When we first bought this house 16 yrs ago,  Rob rototilled me a vegetable garden.

I swear it was big enough to feed a small village.  I was overwhelmed. Every summer it would be waist deep in weeds by the end of June.

I was always overwhelmed, 5 summers and 3 babies later enough, I planted grass.

This year I  asked for a small garden.  Three kids are old enough to be helpful.

So, we have started slow.

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Mike helping plant tomatoes

20×15.  And using landscape fabric to minimize the weeding.

Just enough to can a bit of salsa, have fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers. 

I hope to add watermelon and cucumbers today.

Next year it can be but bigger, but only if it stays under control this year!

Small town America on Memorial Day

Little towns across the US mirror each other today.  Parades, BBS, baseball games, family gatherings.

Our town (population 500ish) had the annual parade and chicken BBQ hosted by the volunteer fire department. 

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Kids from the church throwing candy from the float

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Amanda playing the flute in the high school marching band

The whole town looks patriotic.

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Beautiful flowers and bunting on my husband's uncle's house

Maybe because of my Naval service years, or maybe I am just very patriotic, but this holiday always brings tears to my  eyes.

Thank you to those that have the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live free. 

This is a wonderful place to live.

The pigs have arrived!

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The piglets arrive, being ear tagged by breeder

The pigs just arrived.  We now have 6 pigs, 2 per kid.

Each kid picked a primary (most show pig potential) and a back up.

Hogs are such a short project (june though september) but time consuming. 

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Mike trying to get close to scared pigs

The pigs are timid, the kids sit with them for hours to get them friendly.

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Well, amanda is actually just siting on the feeder texting instead of paying attention to the pigs. What can I say? She is 15

It is guessing game to figure out which pig will turn out to be show quality. 

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Daniel sitting with the piglets

They get along as well as I can hope.

Sigh.  A 145lb mastiff and a barn tom cat.

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Zoey with Fluffy the barn cat

The cat loves the dog and the dog wants to “play”.

For now they remain peaceful.  But the mastiff is always leashed!

Zoey the dog gets along with the livestock fine

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Zoey hanging out in the barn last year before the leash was mandatory

But unfortunately she has no love for the horses pulling Amish buggies past our house, so she is always leashed.

I wish I knew why she is completely tolerant of cats, pigs, calves, and full grown steer but not horses.

Taming the wild beasts

Teaching a calf to walk on a halter is not easy.  Imagine leash training a  puppy that had no desire to please you. 

Dogs want to be a part of the pack, and look to you as the leader.  Calves dont feel the same!  They want to be with the herd, not you.

The kids have been struggling with the calves.

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Amanda trying to sweet talk Frosty into a walk.

Mike’s calf has been the most agreeable, but even he objects to a nice controlled stroll around the yard.

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Buddy trying to loose the halter.

And worst of all, has been the sweet little Brown Swiss, Rusty.

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The kids know to hold the halter close to the calves head, but they clearly werent listening tonight.

Even though the calves are frustrating, they are still well loved. 

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Buddy being mellow for a moment.