Blogs

A calf in the basement

Growing up, I feared my Grandpa and revered him at the same time. The first time I remember crying was when Grandpa told me I had done something wrong. From what I remember, he didn’t have to say much but the tone in his voice and the look he gave was frightening.

At the same time I knew that he was a good man, an honest man. It didn’t take long for me to figure that out by the way people talked about him, even when he wasn’t around. Those stories and seeing my Grandpa doing things for others without a second thought will never leave my memory and I try to live the same way he has. Those silent lessons have been invaluable.

Now that I am a man and father of two I can say, somewhat jokingly, that Grandpa is also pretty nuts. In the days of his life where he should be taking it easy or seeing other parts of the world, he is working cattle.… Continue reading

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Dodging Amish buggies 2.0

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My husband, Mark, and I planned an overnight trip to Berlin in early January. We’re really not huge Amish Country fans (we have Amish friends at home), but we like to get away without being too far away. We spent most of our time in nearby cities, shopping or eating at restaurants.

On a Saturday evening after dark, we were traveling back to our room in Berlin at 50 or 55 mph (the speed limit) on a state route and we were still more than 20 miles away from Berlin when out of nowhere two tiny red lights appeared out of the darkness. I started screaming at Mark to slow down — he still hadn’t seen the red reflectors.

I wasn’t really sure what was ahead of us, but I was afraid it might be something with red eyes. No matter what it was I didn’t want to it hit it.… Continue reading

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Snow rollers showing up in Central Ohio

The windy snowy conditions left a front yard full of these unusual “snow bales” or “snow rollers” at the home of Mike and Alison Ryan in Fairfield County. The largest are about a foot in diameter and almost two feet long. They seem to be around structures and not in open fields.

According to Wikipedia, snow rollers are a rare meteorological phenomenon. The following conditions are needed for snow rollers to form:

  • The ground must be covered by a layer of ice to which snow will not stick.
  • The layer of ice must be covered by wet, loose snow with a temperature near the melting point of ice.
  • The wind must be strong enough to move the snow rollers, but not strong enough to blow them apart.
  • Alternatively, gravity can move the snow rollers as when a snowball, such as those that will fall from a tree or cliff, lands on steep hill and begins to roll down the hill.
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Interesting comparisons farming in the north verses south

My brother-in-law attended Mississippi State University and currently lives down near the Gulf. As a result, my family has made several trips down South to visit.

When spending time south of the Mason-Dixon, there are some notable cultural differences.

I do not eat much fast food unless I am travelling. On trips to the South, I have found that fast food is no longer fast and sweet tea is REALLY sweet. I have to drink half sweet and half regular. A pop is a Coke in the South but a Coke is a pop up here.

My northern fish out of southern water tales, though, are quite limited in comparison to those of the Purdy family. They farm in Ohio and expanded their operation down on the Mississippi Delta in Arkansas a few years ago. The Delta, with its sticky weather and sizable insect, snake and rodent populations, is home to many wide-open acres of farmland and very few people.… Continue reading

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2014 Draft horse sale dates

Flat Rock Farm Percheron Mares

It is that time of year again — draft horse sale season. Since it was so popular last year, I have once again compiled a list of dates and locations for a few draft horse sales that are held in Ohio or states close nearby.

Be sure to follow the links below (when available) for more information and to verify times and dates.

Happy shopping!

February 6-7, 2014: Great Lakes Draft Horse Sale, East Lansing, Mich.

February 18-21, 2014: Mid-America Draft Horse Sale, Gifford, Ill.

March 4-7, 2014: Mid-Ohio Draft  Horse Spring Sale, Mt. Hope, Ohio

March 5-7, 2014: Southern Indiana Spring Draft Horse & Carriage Auction, Montgomery, IN

March 18-21, 2014: Topeka Draft Horse Sale, Topeka, Ind.

March 25-28, 2014: Waverly Midwest Horse Sale, Waverly, Iowa

April 24-25, 2014: Buckeye Draft Sale, Dover, Ohio

Apr 24-26, 2014: National Clydesdale Sale, Howe, IN

May 2, 2014: Northern Indiana Carriage & Antique Auction, Shipshewana, IN

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Winter storm sends even snow-loving livestock inside

Last week’s weather seemed extreme to almost everyone. Although I was fortunate enough to only receive a couple of inches of snow, the negative degree temperatures combined with high winds still made for a miserable few days.

I spent much time debating with myself about whether or not the horses should be turned out during such extreme weather. Spending the day outside allows them to exercise, which is good for them, and it means less stall cleaning for me, but I couldn’t believe even they would enjoy being outside in negative temperatures.

In the end, it was my draft horse, Julie, who helped me make the decision. She is the only horse to have access to a stall and a dry lot 100% of the time. She is from the state up north so she loves the snow and cold temperatures and often stands outside no matter what the temperature to enjoy snow.… Continue reading

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The crooked icicle

The crooked icicle is shaped in a storm,

With the cold winter wind forging its form.

It is outlandish, unique, glaring, and bold.

It takes center stage hanging there in the cold.

It is more prone to breaking and the first one to fall,

Though it clearly stands out from them all.

By its vertical brethren it is a bit fickle,

But such is the life of the crooked icicle.

crooked icicle smallContinue reading

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Pictures show that snow isn’t all bad

Although the snow and cold made life difficult for most of the country this past week, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these scenic barns in the winter.

Set against crisp blue skies and snow-covered pastures, these picturesque barns are a sight to behold.

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“Early in the morning, fog froze to every surface on our farm, creating this beautiful wintry landscape,” says Kerri Lehman of Dalton, Ohio.

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A gorgeous mountain farm sprinkled with snow near the town of Joseph, Oregon.

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Snow softens a sturdy old barn, an antique thresher and a mower on the Moser farm in Hickman, Nebraska.

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A snowstorm settles over this colorful barn near Hunter River on Canada’s Prince Edward Island

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A 110-year-old barn in Pickford, Michigan, houses Tennessee walkers and a horse-drawn antique collection

These are courtesy of “Country.”Continue reading

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The Frozen Truck

I know when a publicity stunt is a publicity stunt, but when it is a stunt as cool as this one (pun intended), I had to share it.

Canadian Tire set out to prove that their top-tiered Eliminator battery can withstand temperatures that are even hard to handle for the most seasoned Canuck, so they created something that has never been created before; an Ice Truck.

1186951_10152238493859059_1897659477_nNow I am not talking about a truck that delivers ice around town, I mean a truck MADE OF ICE! This slicked-up Chevy doesn’t have seat-warmers and it may be gone as quickly as Frosty, but for one mile through this Canadian town, it was the coolest truck in the world.

There were some bumps in the road, so to speak, as far as putting this project together. According to Yahoo! Autos, When automakers build vehicles, the material used for the bodywork must be extremely strong and as light as possible.… Continue reading

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Top videos of 2013

Each year, online videos are becoming a more important way to deliver pertinent information (and some entertainment) to our online audience. Thanks for watching and we will keep those videos coming in 2014.

Here are the top videos of the year.

1.  “I still think my jacket’s sexy”

If you have not yet watched this do yourself a favor and watch it. In one of the more unusual and bizarre projects ever undertaken by Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net staff, “I still think my jacket’s sexy” is set to a popular country tune that is among the most widely viewed videos we’ve ever posted. This is well worth watching just to see Dale Minyo squeeze into an FFA jacket from yesteryear.

2. A Cab Cam with Josh Houck in Madison County

One of the first farmers in the field to plant the 2013 corn crop was Pitstick Farms.… Continue reading

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Counting down the top posts of 2013

As our website has grown in popularity in the last few years, it is really entertaining for us at the office to see what stories get the most “clicks” or visits from interested readers. It is almost like a video game we play to outdo each other with our various posts throughout the year. Who can get the most clicks?

We think it is interesting to review the top posts for the year to see who’s posts won, but also to gain insight into how to better serve those on the web and in print and radio with the content and information they are most interested in learning about.

In addition to the top posts we will be highlighting, other noteworthy drivers of web traffic in 2013 included the Ohio State Fair livestock show results, the Ohio FFA Convention and videos. Over the next few days we will be wrapping up the year by counting down the top posts of 2013.… Continue reading

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The Christmas manger

Have a very Merry Christmas from the Reese family. Here is a Christmas tale for you…

It was time to prepare for the Christmas nativity play at church and the youth group was in charge of the show. The group really had risen to the occasion. A couple of talented students put together an elaborate set, while others carefully practiced their choreography and lines to meticulous perfection. The costumes were bejeweled and beautiful, and were the subject of no small amount of discussion among the ladies of the church with an eye for fashion. Many of the youth group members spent hours in preparation, each according to their own talents, and, by nearly every measure, it was all coming together splendidly.

Vern Stephens was in charge of the manger, which seemed like a pretty simple task considering the grandeur of the rest of the production. But, in the eyes of most, Vern was a pretty simple guy.… Continue reading

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I told you reindeer were real!

A year ago my husband, Mark, and I got into an argument about the existence of reindeer. I was trying to convince him to visit a Christmas display that included live reindeer, and he thought I was crazier than normal.

The conversation went something like this:

Kim: “I think we should visit Pine Acres.”

Mark: “Why would we want to do that?”

Kim: “I think it would be fun. There are lights and Christmas displays and live reindeer.”

Mark (rolling his eyes and laughing): “Right. Reindeer!”

He then tried to turn his back and walk out of the room to end the conversation, but I followed him.

Kim: “What do you mean?”

Mark: “There are no such things as reindeer.”

Kim: “Please tell me you don’t really believe that?”

Mark: “Seriously Kim, stop trying to convince me they are real. It will just be regular deer dressed up to look like reindeer.”… Continue reading

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Farming: One of the Worst Jobs of the Year

Congratulations farmers! You have chosen to work in one of the worst careers of the year!!

Of course that depends on who you ask but according to CareerCast.com, a career website, your job on the farm ranks the 190th worst job of the year.

The site ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies.

At first this infuriated me. How dare they say that one of the noblest jobs I have worked, and have covered hundreds of others doing, is among the worst! Then I took a second look at the criteria and you know what, maybe they’re right.

As far as jobs that have physical demands, farming takes top honors. That is what has built the character of the hardest working people in the nation.… Continue reading

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Bearded broadcasters and hairy writers vie for best facial hair

 

We have wrapped up no-shave November and here are the hairy (and not-so-hairy results) from this unprecedented display of manliness and testosterone at our office. This first photo was taken in early November.

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Notice in the before picture that Joel Penhorwood is not pictured. He is in the second photo on the far right, but in his case the after is not all that much different than the before.

beards after2

Our wives (Joel is not married) have been generally supportive of the facial hair frenzy at the office, though the reviews are mixed. I plan on keeping mine at least through Christmas.

I have found that, when the cold winter wind hits my beard, it swirls around a bit before it hits my face and feels a bit warmer. With this in mind, it may be wise to leave it until spring.

We have been debating at the office who has the best beard.… Continue reading

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Deer saved from coyotes by hunters

Deer season is often full of adventure for those involved but this video is amazing. Apparently, two bucks’ antlers became permanently latched together while they were fighting. One buck died, either during the fight or by being eat by coyotes, while the live buck remained attached to the dead buck. The dead buck quickly became a feast for a group of coyotes.

Some hunters took pity on the buck and decided to save him from the same fate his sparring partner had received. Much effort was put forth to untangle the live buck from the dead one.

Enjoy the video and remember most hunters care as much about living wildlife as they do filling their tables with meat and their walls with trophies.

I originally watched the video at LiveLeak.comContinue reading

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Kristin Reese featured on “The Balancing Act” this week

I have written multiple times about the adventures that result when my wife, Kristin, leaves me home with the children for multiple days. Well, now you have a chance to see the other side of the story by getting to watch my talented (and beautiful) wife in action.

Her most recent multi-day absence from home was in October when she flew to Florida for a television shoot for a morning program on the Lifetime Channel. She did a holiday cooking demo for a segment on the television show “The Balancing Act” that airs on weekdays at 7 a.m.

While I was home caring for the livestock and the children, she dealt with the rigors of meetings on the beach, makeup artists, wardrobe consultants, and television sets. She is a real pro, though, doing a great job in just one take!

This was all through the CommonGround program, a grass-roots movement to foster conversations among women on farms and in cities about where our food comes from.… Continue reading

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Draft horses and chainsaws: A match made in heaven?

I recently spent time in the woods with a crew of loggers that used horsepower to move the harvested timber. I was collecting photos and information for an upcoming article in Ohio’s Country Journal.

Generally, I picture the woods as a quiet and peaceful place to spend a fall day, but when this crew was working, the woods were filled with noise as the buzz of chainsaws filled the air. The saws sounded rather loud to my sensitive ears so I was surprised to find the Percheron draft horses working that day unfazed by the noise. As they waited (unsupervised) for a path to be made to allow them to safely reach the next set of logs, they munched on leaves or napped. I guess they are a lot more used to the noise than me as they spend a lot of time working in the woods.

I made  short video of the horses as they waited.… Continue reading

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Wild turkey encounters

I grew up in Clark County, Ohio. Although I realize that wild turkeys do exist in the county, I don’t recall ever seeing one during the time I lived within its borders. I have lived in Morrow County for more than a decade, and I often see large groups of turkeys. It is amazing what an hour’s drive can do to change the habitat, and therefore the wildlife, that lives in it in this great state of Ohio.

During my time in Morrow County, I have seen large groups of turkeys searching for insects in fields, and I have seen them flying across the roads. Their ability to fly surprised me because I don’t spend much time in the woods and I have a general lack of knowledge about turkeys. I didn’t realize they could fly.

This past spring, I learned something else about turkeys. They are fast even on the ground. … Continue reading

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MoVember

The men of “Ohio’s Country Journal” and Ohio Ag Net decided to celebrate “MoVember” by not shaving in November as part of the global effort to raise funds and awareness of men’s health issues. Ty Higgins, Dale Minyo, Bart Johnson, Joel Penhorwood (not pictured) and I have been fuzzy faced since Nov. 1. Kirby Hidy already had a beard. This photo was taken with some of us about mid-month. Stay tuned for a final photo to see how hairy we get by December.

We may look funny with facial hair, but the issue behind MoVember is very serious. Dan Boysel, from Delaware County, shares why:

In November each year, my wife Kerry lets me grow a terrible looking beard, not because of deer season, but because of our story.

“Dan, the tests indicate a cancerous growth.”

This is what an average guy from Delaware County never expected to hear.… Continue reading

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