Monday, August 30, 2010

Yoder Heritage Day

Had a great time this weekend at some of the Yoder Heritage Day events. I always love this annual gathering, the fourth weekend of August, to commemorate the founding of the small community of Yoder, Kansas. As they say on their little website,
"In 1906, A.M. Switzer plotted the little town of Yoder as a central point for surrounding Amish communities. Today, Yoder is still considered to be that. Though many businesses and homes have moved in around Yoder, the picturesque town has stayed the same size."

Bright and early we watched the teams of horse-drawn farm equipment plow up the sod in a demonstration on the south end of town. We toured the vendor booths, watched some of the childrens games, and most importantly, found a seat for the parade. Even though the parade doesn't start until 10:30, you had to find place by 9:30 or earlier if you hope to have a good view. So while I saved seats for Steven and for my sister, Steven roamed about checking out more activities. He purchased two wonderful old screw drivers from a junk/antique type booth, and picked up a few things we needed anyway at the Yoder Hardware Store.

Here are some of my favorite shots of that part of the morning:

After that, everyone walked to the north edge of town (town is only about one block long) and gathered around the arena for the buggy races and the horse events. There weren't as many Amish gentlemen entered in the buggy races this year than last, it seemed, but still a good show.

They had a horse/shooting showmanship display, and then started "horseback football" which pitted the local Amish young men and their horses, against a team from the Wild Mustang and Burro training program out of Hutchinson. Last I heard, the local gents and their very well trained buggy horses were quite a bit ahead in score in that game. (The game involved two teams of men on horseback, one small ball, and two barrels, one at each end of the arena. The goal was to get your ball down field and into the barrel to score. Much horse and men jostling occurred. They could pass it off to teammates, etc.)

There were many other events I would have loved to watch but we were limited on time. It was absolutely perfect, beautiful weather. Good crowd of people, of all types, from all over the country. I am always surprised how many use this as a "home-coming" event, and travel long distances to attend. The announcer for the parade as for a show of hands of people who traveled 100, 200 and over 300 miles to attend. It was impressive.

I also asked my sister to take a photo of my son Steven and I, so I would have a more recent picture to put up here on our profile.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost September!

I am so thankful for the cooler weather we have been experiencing this week! It is amazing how that helps lift the spirits and gets everyone in the mood to get things done. The full moon at night has also been bright and encouraging.

After a couple of August weeks with very hot temperatures here in central Kansas, rain has cooled us off and it has been beautiful. Last night we went to the poultry auction (sold our oldest rooster, New Hampshire, and our white-n-brown drake duck) and it was gorgeous weather for the outdoor auction. We thought about buying a set of turkeys, but they weren't quite what we wanted. There was a good turnout, although many of the "regular" people didn't seem to be around.

There were also some "tourists" at the poultry auction. Yoder will be hosting their annual "Heritage Days" this weekend, and that brings in people from all over the country. Well, some of them were there early (snowbirds in big RVs) and they came over to watch the poultry auction. We got several chuckles out of things we would overhear them say to each other about the birds -- it was obvious many did not understand anything about poultry!

On the way home we stopped at a farm to purchase a few bales of prairie hay to keep for the goats during the worst parts of winter. Always good to have on hand, and great to find a local supplier that we drive by once a month on our way to the auction.

Steven says we are now pretty much "set for winter" -- meaning we really don't need to sell or buy anything more (livestock-wise), except for a new Boer buck. He is looking for a young buckling (doesn't have to be registered) or younger buck, but has not yet found exactly what he is seeking, as of yet. I think that about him -- he is picky enough to get quality, and patient enough to wait and keep looking until he finds exactly what is needed.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I don't have any firewood cut.

That thought dawned on me yesterday when we finally got a break from the record-setting heat of last week, and enjoyed a gentle cool down with blessed rain. While traveling yesterday, I saw blackbirds flocking up, noticed the corn almost ready for harvest, heard locusts drone their evening chant, and saw young white-tail fawns in the pasture, which brought to mind upcoming dove and deer hunting seasons.

That's when it hit me -- it is almost fall, and I'm not ready. Not nearly ready.

It is hard to think about wood cutting in the heat of summer. It's hot work anyway, but who really even thinks about the coming winter when it is 105 outside? I know that last winter I told myself I would use summer time to go mark the best deadwood and get a supply cut up and put away for this winter. But somehow those plans never came about. Winter seemed like a long ways off.

We were blessed last year (our first year to heat with only wood heat) to have quite a bit of "pre-cut" wood in the back 40 -- some that had been cut by friend several years prior and left to lay -- all we have to do was pick it up and split it. But that supply is all gone.

Technically, with good planning, a person should be cutting two years in advance -- like I should be cutting now what we will use in the winter of 2012 -- to allow plenty of time for it to season and rest, even though I only cut deadwood. So I am not only months behind-- I am YEARS behind.

You probably think it odd that I talk about chainsawing wood - since I'm female, and have a grown son at home. But actually that is an 'understanding' we have around our place. I'm kind of the "bwah ha ha ha Tim Allen" type when it comes to power tools; while Steven detests power tools and likes to do as much as he can by old-fashioned hand tools (and he absolutely hates the noise of power tools). That is why I cut, and he splits. I still think I get the better end of the deal - especially because he still does all the gathering and stacking and loading and feeding the logs toward my saw -- all I have to do it stand in one place and cut. (he wears ears plugs when I do this). We have it going as a really good system, actually. Understand, he could use the chainsaw if necessary (and has). This is just the way we choose to do things.

I think this week I'd better make a priority of getting the saw out of the shed, taking it apart for maintenance and cleaning, a little tune-up, fresh fuel, sharpened chain, and get busy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Heat

I feel I should post an update — after all, it is August already — but don't find that I have a lot going on to talk about lately. This is the part of the year where we simply endure the hottest days of summer (109 degrees yesterday) and keep the critters watered and don't get a whole lot more than that done.

Steven has been painting the garage (I will hunt for a pic to post) so it a stark bright white now, compared to our other buildings. Eventually they will all get a fresh coat.

The weeds and grass around the place are armpit high in places, due to my tractor and bush hog being inoperable at the moment. They will just have to stay like that for now — fall and winter will come soon enough, and that will knock everything down to where we can get a handle on it again. We aren't big on "appearances" or aesthetics (making this 'look pretty'), but more interested in using our time on improving the overall infrastructure of the farm, and on growing things that provide food for us year round.

We don't have air conditioning at home (never have). My mother pointed out last night that she has made it 72 summers without a/c, and she figures she came make it through this one and all the future ones, as well. In the evenings, as the shade begins to lengthen, we sit in chairs on the lawn and enjoy the breeze. While sitting there, (instead of in front of the TV like so many people stuck inside with a/c do) we can busy ourselves with shucking corn, or shelling beans, or eating melon, or doing nothing but talking to each other. I think it is a fine way to spend an evening.