- Van Wert
Diary of the Schwab Family - January 24-31, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Tonight Jeff is attending a Farm Bureau meeting. He’ll plan ahead by going out earlier than usual so he can finish at the end of the day in time to get cleaned up and be at the meeting on time. Jeff doesn’t have the luxury of asking to leave work early like most of us at our jobs. The work has to be done no matter what. Jeff has been farming for over 30 years and I am still amazed when someone from his side of the family asks him what he’s doing today or tomorrow and he should take a break or vacation or sleep in for the day. I then ask them, “Do you want fed today? Do you want to eat today?” They give me a strange look until they figure out that if Jeff didn’t do his job even for one day or one afternoon the animals wouldn’t get fed…and neither would they since the world’s population depends on farmers to grow the food they eat. I like to tell those who wonder why we farm, “As farmers, we do what we do because other people choose not to raise their own food.” And we love doing it. We’ve included a lovely black and white photo of the barnyard.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Besides the regular work with the animals, Jeff took some time this evening after supper to draw up some dream plans of how he can update a barn to make it easier on us and the pigs. Pretty cool drawing. Toni received a call from a 4-H parent. We are planning a 4-H meeting. We already have a couple of good ideas for field trips this year. Last year was Ryan’s last year in 4-H. I will truly miss not having our own children’s 4-H animals at the fair this year. Jeff received an invitation to a professional training program for farmers in Greenville. Jeff is always looking for new ways to stay updated and educated about best practices that will benefit our farm and the animals.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
We make it a priority that all animals are cared for every morning before other tasks are even considered. Think of it like when Mom feeds the kids breakfast and gets them dressed and ready for school each morning before she does anything else. After these tasks, and with the help of Lauren and Ryan, Jeff focused on inspecting the ventilation fans and temperature controls today. It is very important to have good air quality in the barns and to keep them at comfortable temperatures during the winter months. I’ve mentioned before that I spend a lot of time doing records and creating forms to use on the farm. One of the most useful forms is the checklist that helps all of use make sure no task is skipped by mistake and really helps us to give top notch health care to the animals.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
We maintain a wooded area. It’s peaceful to take a walk this time of year and still see the large population of wildlife in the area. Many deer, rabbits, birds, squirrels, wild turkeys along with many other animals, call this area home. Being good stewards of the land is something we take seriously. Being a farmer and being a good steward of the land are tied together. We remind the kids, when you take care of the land, it will take care of you. As usual on Thursday, Jeff hauled pigs to another farmer’s nursery. Ryan spent time in one of the barns checking on a pig. He is hand feeding the pig to make sure it gets the best care. It will be returned to the group in a couple of days. I’ve included a photo of Ryan with the pig.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Happy Friday! All of us are looking forward to a non-eventful weekend so all of us can spend time catching up on chores around the barns and around the house. I can’t wait to start a garden again. The garden is usually Ryan’s thing, but we all enjoy the homegrown vegetables, especially the tomatoes. Can you tell we are already waiting on springtime? We were surprised to get a call from the Ohio Pork Producers Council. They are asking different farm families for their favorite pork recipe. They want to put it on their handout that features, “farm family favorites.” Toni’s favorite recipe is hand-rubbed pork roast. She probably likes it best because it always turns out just right.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Toni has been diligent in not going to the grocery store unless she has to. Gotta save money here and there. She took inventory of the freezer and frig. Toni made some of her homemade chili. The big batch will go a long way of feeding everyone and having some left over too. This time of year is great for some warm-up-your-bones chili. A family friend stopped by and gave us 18 brown eggs. They were overloaded from their chickens and wanted us to have some so they don’t get wasted. We are always happy to share our extras and have others share with us too. Lauren spent the evening working on a school project.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Jeff, Toni, Lauren, and Ryan got up extra early like we do every Sunday in order to make the 10:30am worship service. After church service, we treated Jeff’s mom to lunch, but we do this every week. Lauren got home first and in her usual “get-ur-done” style, she started the afternoon feeding and watering before we could even get our church clothes changed and head out to help her. Later, Toni went inside to make a batch of homemade laundry soap. She can make it for pennies as compared to buying it in the store. She washes tons of stinky work clothes and this time of year is even worse with all the coats, coveralls, hats, and gloves on top of the usual work clothes. The batch will last a few months, so that helps out too. Pretty soon it was time to wind down and start making a to-do list for Monday morning. Toni got a call from another neighbor about needing a ride in the morning to school. Toni doesn’t mind and enjoys spending time with the girls in our 4-H club on the ride to school in the morning. She’ll just have two passengers instead of one in the morning.
Monday, January 31, 2011
The last day of the month and we are always amazed how fast the days fly by. Today is the monthly herd visit from our veterinarian. It is important to have a good client/vet relationship in order to give our herd the best possible care. The same vet comes out monthly to discuss how we are doing and to give the animals a “check-up.” Just as people like to see the same doctor since they keep your history and understand your health over the years, the same is true for keeping a good relationship with the same veterinarian over the years. Our vet brought an intern with him who is from Louisiana. They even took a look at our two cats. The cats are fine and love living out in the barns. What an extra busy day. Besides getting all the usual work done, we had to allow at least a couple of hours for the vet visit and we knew we had to prepare for the incoming winter ice storm tonight. We had to grind extra feed today because getting around the barnyard tomorrow with the tractor and grinder would be impossible on the would-be skating rink we call a barnyard. Lauren is planning on attending her weekly bible study tonight and this evening Ryan went to the other farm to check the feed supply and get ready for the ice over there too. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting a small glimpse into our daily lives this month and what it means to us. We wish everyone a heartfelt blessing for 2011.