Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Zoo

Blair and I had a busy trip to Atlanta last week. She saw the early intervention specialist at the Atlanta Speech School first. She started with a farm animal activity. Blair has known farm animals for months and months, and she acted like she didn’t know them at all. It’s the funniest thing… sometimes when we go up there, she acts like she doesn’t know anything. We put two animals on the table and asked her to get a specific one, and she chose the wrong one. Every time. I told her teacher that Blair had to be doing that on purpose because farm animals were cake for her – in fact, I think she might have been a bit bored – but I don’t know that the teacher believed me. She said that maybe Blair didn’t recognize her farm animals because they were different, or that she didn’t recognize the onomatopoeia sounds, but Blair points out farm animals in every book, puzzle, and farm she sees and knows what they all say (she doesn’t say all of them correctly, but she tries). Maybe I’m just stuck in a cloud of severe denial, but I think that the child is smart enough to pick the wrong animal intentionally. I don’t think she would have done it every single time on accident. And, one of Blair’s past games with her daddy is playing with a little four shape sorter we have. She tries to put the blocks in all of the wrong holes first and saves the correct one for her last try. Brad says, “Nooooooo…” every time she tries one that doesn’t fit, and she laughs and laughs. And if you try to get her to put it in the right one, she won’t until she’s tried all of the others! Anyway.

After dropping some clothes off at my brothers’ apartment, we headed over to Grant Park, which was gorgeous, and the zoo. It was a beautiful 60 degrees and a sunny day – a perfect day for the zoo. Blair loved it. I think her favorites were the giraffes, the lion, and the snakes – of all things! She liked the elephants and the meerkats too.

first trip to zoo 111910 (1)Checking out the Meerkats.

 first trip to zoo 111910 (3)“Two Meerkats!”

She tried to count the giraffes. If there is more than one thing, she always says, “two…” no matter how many. So she said, “two giraffe.” And when counting each, she can say one, but doesn’t get past that on her own. I helped her count them since there were four (one baby!).

first trip to zoo 111910 (7) Excited to see giraffes!

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And she wanted the lion to get up. She kept saying, “wake up lion!” with a hand motion as if she were directing a choir to stand up.

When we went to the reptile building, I showed her a snake or two then the frogs, but whenever I showed her a frog, she wanted to see a “big snake” instead. Then she wanted to see “other big snake.”

We had a great time, and I really want to take her back when Brad can go. I wasn’t able to get really good pictures since I had her by myself and was very vigilant about the kids near her and what she touched. She certainly would love Brad there too!

After the zoo, we played in Grant Park for a few minutes. Singing “fall leaves are falling down.”

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I had a hard time getting the sunglasses away from her after she saw them on the seat of the car.

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Throwing and kicking leaves

first trip to zoo 111910 (31) first trip to zoo 111910 (36) first trip to zoo 111910 (39) first trip to zoo 111910 (41) first trip to zoo 111910 (44) And she’s gone.

The trip home and what happened after is another whole long story. Short version: picked up new chickens, found out next day one new chicken was sick, chicken died, gave others away. The story includes lots of antibiotics, disinfectant, and stress on me and on the poor chickens. Lesson learned. I will not be buying adult chickens again unless I know the person from whom I’m getting them. More on that later – I have lots o’ tests this week and next! Then I hope to catch up on these blog posts I have in the works!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Farm Bureau District Meeting

Brad and I attended the Farm Bureau district meeting a few weeks ago. We had a yummy supper that included a carrot casserole. I have never really loved cooked carrots, and I honestly got a spoonful of the stuff thinking it was sweet potatoes – although I made a comment about never having had sweet potatoes with powdered sugar on top! I ended up finding out that it was carrots and have vowed to cook a carrot casserole someday!

The meeting part was good too. One of the neatest things was that out of the five county awards given, our county won four – Outstanding Young Farmer Committee, Women’s Committee, Secretary, and Legislative Committee.

DSC_0693 Some of the county attendees.

Brad and I will be more involved in the district meeting next year because we are going to be the Young Farmer Chairs for the district for the next two years! We’ve participated in a number of Young Farmer activities over the past year, and I’m looking forward to being even more involved and meeting more new friends!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And then there were five.

I lost another chicken. I have no idea what happened this time. No feathers or anything, but I’m definitely missing a Barred Rock. Now I have two Wyandottes, two Barred Rocks, and a Production Red.

The only thing I can think of is that a hawk got her. There’s also a black cat that hangs out behind our house. I even saw him kill a squirrel this weekend, but I don’t think he would bother the chickens. They are so much bigger than he is. Who knows though! I hate I lost another one. I don’t know what we’re going to do about all these disappearing chickens – right from the middle of town!

The good thing? I’m getting three more on Friday. I had already planned to get them before this happened because we really need more eggs than we’re getting. The new ones are about the same age as my others, but they are Welsummers. They supposedly lay dark brown eggs. My sister bought some Welsummer chicks and was going to give me a hen or two, but it turned out that she only got ONE hen out of 12 chicks. At least I’ll have a rooster!

I think I might get another Production Red or two come spring. I really like the one I have a lot. She lays a huge brown egg with a few dark brown speckles – every single day. She’s really sweet too. She makes the most awful noise unlike any other hen I’ve heard, but that’s okay!

I’ll post pictures when I get my Welsummers settled. Hopefully my ladies are nice to them!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cotton Elementary: The Cotton Picker and Harvest

Brad and the guys have been steadily picking cotton. Blair and I have been out there a few times but not as much as last year. Blair enjoys being on the picker, but she wants to press all the buttons!

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We fixed her a little seat, and it was perfect. She loves stuff her size!

This post is about the cotton picker, so I’ll get to that! Again, if you know more about the cotton picker than I do, just excuse my choice of terms. I’m only in Cotton Elementary after all!

This is the cotton picker. Brad’s picker is not one that bales cotton inside. Those are really nice, but they cost as much as a really, really nice house. This picker picks six rows at a time. Each row goes in between the little yellow triangular things. The cotton gets picked off of the plant, and it gets sucked up through the black chutes on either side of the cab and into the basket.

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This is what Brad calls a head. He drives the picker so that the cotton plant goes into the head and through those metal things you see in there.

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pickin and ridin 102210 (95)Poor thing hanging on to the window for dear life.

Each head has two cylinders that are covered in little long spiny cones. (Not the proper terminology, but hey, we’re still learning!) I just remembered… the cones are called spindles.

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These are spindles. They spin around while the cylinder also turns. As the cotton goes into the picker, the bolls come in contact with the spindles, and the little spiny things catch the cotton as they are turning and pull the cotton out of the boll.

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The cylinder keeps turning and the spindles pass through the yellow part you see below. Each spindle goes in between those yellow rubber pads (they’re called doffers) and the cotton is knocked off. It falls down below onto the floor of the head. (We have the side doors open, and when they are closed, the cotton is kept in there and is sucked up into the basket.)

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After the cotton gets knocked off, the spindles to in between the moistening pads you see on the door (on the left part of the picture). The pads clean the spindles, leaving them slightly moist – I’m guessing this helps them pull the cotton even better.

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There are actually two whole cylinders of spindles, two sets of yellow pads, and two sets of moistening pads, so the whole process happens twice per row. In other words, the cotton gets picked twice by each head. In this picture below, you can also see the reservoirs for the cleaning solution. It’s right at the top of the picture above the cleaning pads.

cotton picker 2010 (10)Above you can see both sets of spindles and both sets of moistening pads.

Below you can see the front and back spindles. And on the floor, you can see how it is worn from the cotton passing through.

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After the cotton is picked,  it goes up into the black chutes on each side of the cab.

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And here you can see how the chutes lead up to the big basket that holds the cotton.

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The basket looks like it is covered in cobwebs – dirty cotton!

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So what happens when the basket gets full? Well, the picker tells Brad with an alarm, and he turns on his flashers to signal to the guys to bring the boll buggy. He dumps the cotton into the boll buggy which transports it to the module builder.

pickin and ridin 102210 (74)    Brad dumping the cotton into the boll buggy.

The boll buggy goes up to the module builder. (Here it’s not completely full. I got this picture when he was moving up some so that the module builder wouldn’t overflow.)

cotton harvest 2010 (4)cotton harvest 2010 (3)  Into the module builder. You can see two modules behind it.

cotton harvest 2010 (26)Cotton going into the module builder. It’s almost full so he has to be careful not to let it go everywhere.

The module builder has a big press that mashes the cotton down.

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Someone has to operate the module builder. They can put it on automatic, but it doesn’t work as well.

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When they finish a module they open the back of the module builder and pull it forward with the tractor. They put a top on the module, tag it, and the gin will come get it.

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That’s about all I know about that! If you missed the other lessons, you can find them here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Where We Live: The Bathroom

We doing Kelly’s Korner’s bathroom tour today!

We have one bathroom in our house. What is funny is that it bothers Brad way more than it bothers me. I grew up in a house of 7, and we all used one bathroom for the most part. I’m used to it. I can get ready anywhere. Brad on the other hand… he’s not like that. (I’ll stop there before I get in trouble!)

The week before I had Blair, we had our bathroom redone. It was the only room in the house that had not been remodeled, and boy, did it need it! This house is old, and it’s been rented and everything else though the years; it’s got some wear! The shower wall thing had cracks in it, the fixtures were gross, and the tub looked dirty all the time. So we tiled the floor and the shower walls, got new fixtures, and painted. The one thing that didn’t happen then is a tub refinishing, so we did that recently. You wouldn’t believe the difference in the before and after pictures! Wow! (We’re not dirty people; our house is old!)

tub before and after 082010 (6) tub2 002 Before and after. Oh. My. Goodness.

The top picture is obviously before refinishing, and the tub is clean. It was just really stained from all the years. I have no idea how old that thing is.

I might say that our tiny bathroom is my favorite room in the house. Probably because Brad had redone all of the rooms before we married, so this is the one I got to do all the way!

As you walk down the hall, you see my doggie pictures my mom got me for Christmas a few years ago (and in the hall, the old shutters I found at a flea market!). The green bathroom walls are a bit brighter than I intended them to be, but paint does weird on plaster, and I was in the hospital when all of this happened and didn’t even get to see it really until Blair came home two months later! Although I’m sure it blinds everyone else, it has definitely grown on me!

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I am really pleased with the tile we used. I picked it out at the home improvement store. And now that the tub is refinished, leaving the shower curtain open is not that bad!!

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My shower curtain was also a gift from my mom – for my birthday. It’s from Pottery Barn. I usually get tired of fabrics, but I still adore this one! I love the arch. We have another one in the den, and they are part of what makes me really love this house. You can see the vanity there on the left. There’s no place to prop things, so I do makeup and hair elsewhere. Brad did put an outlet in there for me. How sweet is he?!

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There’s not much to our bathroom, so that’s about it! Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not my best decision ever.

Last week Blair and I were playing outside, and I was throwing the ball for the dogs. Both very usual things around here. Then the dogs couldn’t find the ball. This is also very usual, so I went to the neighbor’s yard show them where it was. They were looking around for the ball and happened upon something in the grass. I looked down and saw that it was a tiny snake. Neat! But he looked like he was dying. So I did what most weird people would do, and I picked him up -- with the chuckit (the ball thrower that keeps my hands from getting super slimy with dog slobber), not my hands. I took him over to the house and put him in a little square plastic dish to see if I could figure out what kind he was. He still looked like he was dying, so I put a tiny bit of water in the bowl, but he didn’t do anything. I even tried to get him to turn over, and he would just go right back to belly up. So, I did what most weird people would do and set the poor, tiny, dying snake – in the little dish -- on the table on the glass porch for Brad to see when he got home.

I go back to playing. We played in the sandbox, we swung, we threw the ball, we saw the chickens…. And then we went back inside. And on the way inside, guess what was NOT in the little plastic dish or anywhere near it?! Yep, I let an unidentified baby snake loose on my porch. And he’s nowhere to be found. Not the best thing I’ve ever done.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Makeup

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Her Very Own Pumpkin

I ended up with a weekday off a couple of weeks ago, so I took the opportunity to take Blair out to the pumpkin patch. Last year we went to Calhoun Produce, which was fun, but this year we went to another place I had heard good things about – Mark’s Melons. Last year Blair and I meandered around at Calhoun Produce looking at pumpkins and animals, and we were practically the only ones there. Mark’s Melons was a whole different experience – like 12 school buses different. I thought a weekday would be perfect because Mark’s Melons has big events on the weekends in October, but it did not even occur to me that every school within 100 miles would be going on a field trip there! Oh my gosh – it was SO crowded – at 10:30am!

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And instead of a few pumpkins sitting around, Mark’s Melons is a real pumpkin patch. How ‘bout that?!

marks melons 102210 (10)Here’s one! marks melons 102210 (18)Sweet girl!marks melons 102210 (24)We’re glad Gigi came! Blair is always glad to be with Gigi, and Mommy would not have had too much fun if she had been by herself trying to keep Blair away from everyone, take pictures, keep her from running off, and keep her hands clean.

I really love the fairly new tradition (It seems new to me at least – we never did this when I was little!) of taking kids to the pumpkin patch. The pictures are great, the kids have a blast, and you can always find the perfect pumpkin to accompany your fall decor (that would be decor that I do not have this year because that would require time, which is something else that is not very abundant).

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Blair loved everything!

And speaking of great pictures. This is what happens when I try to get a great picture with Blair.

marks melons 102210 (38)crop Silly.marks melons 102210 (40)cropEyes closed.

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Cheesy smile or more silly. And that’s about it.

Mark’s Melons is a really cool place. They have old buildings spread out on the property, sunflowers, zinnias, a hay ride, a jumping pumpkin, and lots more cool stuff. We basically let Blair look at all the pumpkins and watch all the kids playing on everything. She had a ball. 

marks melons 102210 (51)“Uh oh. Off.” (It’s dirty!)

So we chose another display set up on straw instead of sand.

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She wanted to pick up the pumpkins!

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Lots of pumpkins. Lots of pictures!

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Blair heard and spotted an airplane, “AH ah AH ah AH ah….” (Anyone who has been to speech probably heard this.)

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She rode a tractor. This was not a new experience. Obviously.

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The place is enormous. They had picnic tables for kids to eat lunch.

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marks melons 102210 (228)And lots of decorations!

Plenty of old equipment and plenty of pumpkins, of course!

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And they had piles of green peanuts and a woman hand-picking them. 

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They have a store with all sorts of southern foods, watermelon, cotton by the bunch (really?!), boiled peanuts, pumpkins….

marks melons 102210 (102)marks melons 102210 (171)“Dada watermelon.”

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Playing in the store.

marks melons 102210 (184)I don’t know what she’s doing with her eyes!   

marks melons 102210 (267)Boiled peanuts!

marks melons 102210 (216) She found a piece of string and thought it was hilarious.

marks melons 102210 (221)And she had to get a “taste” of ice cream!

Folks were loading up! I really don’t know what I would do with that many pumpkins.

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She enjoyed watching the kids jump in the blow up pumpkin.

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And we put our faces in for each animal – twice!

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She really had a ball.

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Another attempt with mommy…

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More silly and hiding her underarms in case someone were to try to tickle her.

marks melons 102210 (162) Get all the silly out!marks melons 102210 (163)

Then we went to see sunflowers….

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And pick a pumpkin!

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And she sacked out on the way home, pumpkin in hand.

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