Blogs

Longing for the livestock, on one bad leg

Have you ever tried to feed livestock on one leg? It’s not easy, let me tell you.

After I tore the Achilles tendon in my right foot/leg (see my Feb. 7 blog post), I attempted to go out and feed the replacement dairy heifers I raise for my dad a couple times over the next few days. I even hopped a barbed-wire fence and climbed into a couple bale rings to fork hay to the edges for the heifers to eat. While I got the jobs done, I also managed to get my crutch covered in mud and other more stinky organic matter. And, let’s just say the protective boot on my right leg didn’t smell so good afterward either.

I did these few tasks as sort of a last hurrah prior to my surgery, which would lay me up for a month or more. My doctor said the tendon was already torn, it’s not like it can tear any more, so why not, right?… Continue reading

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Farmers Union spirit

Ohio Farmers Union is the yin to Ohio Farm Bureau’s yang. They are the voice of the left in the often right leaning politics of Ohio agriculture. So many times it seems that if Ohio Farm Bureau has a position on something, Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) is just the opposite – often a lone swath of blue amid a sea of Republican red.

This voice of Ohio’s blue-collar farmer, though, has been mostly silenced in recent years after the OFU’s former Secretary/Treasurer was caught embezzling money from the organization. The bottom fell out for OFU in spring of 2009 and the organization scrambled to maintain the viability of their insurance programs and other necessities. The tremendous financial loss from the crime severely crippled the OFU and forced the organization to cut staff and close its Columbus office. Heroic volunteer efforts of OFU president Roger Wise and others managed to keep the Ottawa office open, though their work in the Statehouse was all but eliminated.… Continue reading

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Even in bad times, goodness can appear

For as long as I can remember, basketball has served as my escape from the stress of everyday life. Once on the court, the concerns of work, finances and relationship issues went out the window, and the thrill of competition and teamwork took over.

To scratch this itch, ever since I was a student at Ohio State in the early 1990s, I have gone to the recreation center on the Columbus campus to play basketball several days a week. At first it was after classes were over for the day. Then, after graduating and getting at job working for the OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, I’d head to the rec center after the work day was done.

After moving on to Ohio’s Country Journal, I was still able to get in some basketball at Ohio State, because our office is in Columbus. Although, as my family began to expand, my time for basketball began to diminish.… Continue reading

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Don’t put daddy’s toothbrush in the toilet!

By Matt Reese

My wife and I try not to have a long list of silly rules for our children to follow, but sometimes, their actions warrant rules.

Here are a few of the strange rules in Reese family law.

  1. Do not stand on the table. There are clear safety issues when an 18-month old is standing on pretty much anything. Plus, no one wants the feet of anyone (even a cute kid) in, on, or around the food.
  2. Do not unroll toilet paper for any reason. There are, of course, very important reasons why toilet paper needs to be unrolled. But, due to our children’s seemingly insatiable desire to unroll the entire roll onto the floor and around our home on a regular basis, we had to enforce very strict guidelines. For now, mom and dad do the necessary unrolling to prevent an in-house TP party.
  3. Do not pet the dog.
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Don't put daddy's toothbrush in the toilet!

By Matt Reese

My wife and I try not to have a long list of silly rules for our children to follow, but sometimes, their actions warrant rules.

Here are a few of the strange rules in Reese family law.

  1. Do not stand on the table. There are clear safety issues when an 18-month old is standing on pretty much anything. Plus, no one wants the feet of anyone (even a cute kid) in, on, or around the food.
  2. Do not unroll toilet paper for any reason. There are, of course, very important reasons why toilet paper needs to be unrolled. But, due to our children’s seemingly insatiable desire to unroll the entire roll onto the floor and around our home on a regular basis, we had to enforce very strict guidelines. For now, mom and dad do the necessary unrolling to prevent an in-house TP party.
  3. Do not pet the dog.
Continue reading

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Actually Filling the Shoes

I will never forget one of my first lessons in my career. It seemed a little silly at the time, but the more and more I see it happen, the more I believe it.

The saying is that “you never want to replace the legend, you want to replace the one that replaced the legend”.

This could go for anything. A CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a popular morning radio DJ or any type of star. Nobody wants to see a legend move on because the reason they are a legend is because they are loved by many and disliked by few.

As I mentioned, this rule of thumb has lived up to its words in a majority of examples, but not all.

As the Super Bowl approaches this weekend I have no favorite team or even one that I will cheer for more than another. But I can’t help admiring what the Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has done over the last 4 years to get his team to the pinnacle of the NFL.… Continue reading

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Oilseed radish the lamb

I’ve got another interesting addition to my post from a couple of weeks ago (see Conservation Stinks from Jan. 11) about the stinky oilseed radishes in my neighborhood. If you read that post, you’d know that the unbelievable smell of rotting oilseed radishes has been a regular topic of conversation in my family because we drive through the cloud of stink almost every day. My three-year-old daughter now says, “Whooo-weee. There are the oilseed radishes” whenever we drive by that farm.

The other night, I was home while my wife and daughter were out. We were expecting a ewe to lamb in the barn at any time, so I went out to see how she was doing. To my surprise, she had just given birth to a buck lamb. I quickly prepared a separate pen for her and the new lamb, just in time for the arrival of a second ewe lamb.… Continue reading

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Say cheeeese!

A portion of my duties at the OCJ includes taking photos to accompany the stories I write. In addition, I have been taking photos for farm-related calendars in the last couple of years. Along with that I do a few senior pictures every year and an occasional wedding.

As a result of all of these endeavors, I have spent a fair amount of time behind a camera and I am relatively comfortable there. Unfortunately, I am much less comfortable on the other end of a camera.

While my face is generally somewhat normal looking, it seems to morph into some hideous grimace when confronted with the end of a camera I am less accustomed to working with. The resulting photos reveal a distorted, ridiculous face that looks almost nothing like the visage I see in the mirror when I shave.

This perpetual problem of mine comes up every so often when I am in a wedding, my wife wants a family photo or it is time to update the OCJ staff photos.… Continue reading

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A Tough Lesson

I know it’s wrong. I know that as I watch TV coverage of a disgraceful act, like the tragedy in Tucson, feeling numb to it is not right. Simply saying, “It’s a sad world we live in”, and putting it in the back of my mind goes against everything I am about. Sadly, that was my reaction, until ABC broke into my Wednesday night comedies that help me make the world go away, to bring us President Barack Obama speaking about the event and addressing the victims and their families.

As he was speaking, my daughter was lying on the couch with me getting settled down and ready for bed, and she began watching too. As with any 6-year-old, she was bored with the speech in a matter of a minute and just laid beside me for a bit. It wasn’t until a picture of the 9-year-old victim was shown that her interest perked up.… Continue reading

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Conservation stinks

In the weeks prior to Christmas, we would load up the kids drive off to wherever we were destined. And, every road trip, just about a mile or so into our journeys, we would smell something awful. At first, we thought some small mammal had crawled into our engine and died.

After a few more trips, in multiple vehicles, we determined that is was not just our car, ruling out the dead-animal-in-the-engine theory. Then it occurred to me that the smell originated in the general area of David Brandt’s farm. He lives just a couple of miles from us and is nationally known for his work with long-term no-till and experimentation with cover crops.

I have heard him talk several times at various meeting about one of his favorite cover crops, the oilseed radish. This cover crop has many benefits, but is best known for its ability to break up compacted soils.… Continue reading

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A Comeback Story for My Kind

Ty Higgins

When I was first hired as an on-air radio personality right out of high school, my Mom, although she would support whatever I chose to do, told me that DJs were a dime a dozen. Now that I am older I understand that even though she broke my heart back then, she didn’t mean to. She was being my Mother, only wanting what was best for me, not believing radio would be a sustainable career path.

I have been very fortunate with my career path over the last 15 years. I have many stories to share and have had many opportunities that I will never forget. With that said, I have seen many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the radio industry not have the luck I have had, even though most were far more talented.

It is a tough business, and Mom was absolutely right. There have been days when I told myself I should have listened to her.… Continue reading

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It was a great Christmas for the Reese family

We had a really nice Christmas at the Reese house. The kids are just getting old enough to really have fun waiting for Santa.

After a nice Christmas Eve candlelight service, we went home to tuck in for the long winter’s night. Our daughter woke up at 3 am looking for Santa’s sleigh. She did not find evidence that night, but the next morning her full stocking, the presents under tree, the cookie crumbs, and the missing carrots for the reindeer were ample evidence.

They had a great time opening presents. Then we went down the road to my in-laws for a great breakfast, some more presents and then an afternoon nap. What a great Christmas. I hope yours was just as great.

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Christmas traditions on our farm

By Matt Reese

In this year of the 500th anniversary of the decorated Christmas tree, there is quite a bit of talk about tradition. For my wife and I, the annual holiday tradition starts with a massive Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ home where we eat heartily.

This year’s guest of honor at the feast was a 40-pound turkey we got at the Fairfield County Fair. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey, but she suggested a five- to six-hour cooking time. We soaked the bird in brine for nearly a day and a half. We got up at 3:30 in the morning to rinse the bird outside with the hose and bring it in to rub it with butter and start cooking. Fortunately, we measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeked in there. The turkey was actually done much sooner than the anticipated cooking time and it was spectacular (visit http://ocj.com/blogs/lets-talk-turkey/Continue reading

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We’re staying busy at the Christmas tree farm

We are having a BIG year at the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. Despite the cold and windy weather this year, we have been very busy cutting down Christmas trees. In the recent blizzard conditions we were still fairly busy. My daughter got to cut down her first tree this season. My 1-year-old son is still a bit young, but he is growing fast and has a bright future on the farm as well. My wife has also sold around 1,000 homemade Christmas cookies and 500 delicious cinnamon rolls (I have to conduct regular taste tests for quality control). We have been hearing similar reports of successful sales seasons from many other Christmas tree farms around the state as well.

For more about the farm, visit www.Kaleidoscopefarms.com.… Continue reading

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We're staying busy at the Christmas tree farm

We are having a BIG year at the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. Despite the cold and windy weather this year, we have been very busy cutting down Christmas trees. In the recent blizzard conditions we were still fairly busy. My daughter got to cut down her first tree this season. My 1-year-old son is still a bit young, but he is growing fast and has a bright future on the farm as well. My wife has also sold around 1,000 homemade Christmas cookies and 500 delicious cinnamon rolls (I have to conduct regular taste tests for quality control). We have been hearing similar reports of successful sales seasons from many other Christmas tree farms around the state as well.

For more about the farm, visit www.Kaleidoscopefarms.com.… Continue reading

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Let’s talk turkey

My daughter and her friend got to “meet” our Thanksgiving turkey at the Fairfield County Fair in October. This monster bird looked good in feathers and it will look even better on the table. After being dressed, it came in at a whopping 40 pounds. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey. We measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeks in there. It has been soaking in brine for nearly a day and a half and I have high hopes for this delicious meal. Our daughter has also been regularly checking on her fair acquaintance both in the freezer and in in the cooler where it is soaking.

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Let's talk turkey

My daughter and her friend got to “meet” our Thanksgiving turkey at the Fairfield County Fair in October. This monster bird looked good in feathers and it will look even better on the table. After being dressed, it came in at a whopping 40 pounds. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey. We measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeks in there. It has been soaking in brine for nearly a day and a half and I have high hopes for this delicious meal. Our daughter has also been regularly checking on her fair acquaintance both in the freezer and in in the cooler where it is soaking.

Continue reading

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