Monday, January 31, 2011

My Monday Morning Disaster....

Apparently the water heater decided to quit.

I got the biggest ice cube in town.
Probably won't thaw out til June

The water pump nozzle was frozen shut this morning too.
I was able to get it cleared out and working, but my fingers went numb doing it.

Then the hose exploded when I tried to fill the 10 gallon Tupperware container I rushed home to get.

I am always optimistic.  You have to be when you live in a state that is frozen 9 months of the year.

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vermont Farm Show

The Barre Vermont Farm Show is the largest agricultural showcase in the state. The Farm Show is a farmer focused trade show held each January.  It gives agricultural professionals (farmers) an opportunity to explore new products, machinery, meet with dealers and industry leaders, attend association meetings or enter a recipe or product in one of the many competitions schedualed.

More than 200 dealers were on hand giving farmers a chance to talk to experts about equipment, livestock, seeds, feeds, maple syrup or any other agricultural product.  Lots to see, lots to do, lots of organizations to visit, lots of people to meet and great food to taste.   A Disneyland for farmers.

Too many tractors to count, but I will present the most popular here.

This Monster blue tractor had crowds around it all the time.  Huge.

Of course you gotta try it out.....

and make sure the wife also likes it.......

Bobcat has a nice looking tractor that the Forestry folks like.

This sounds like me with coffee...

Green is the color of Vermont. 
John Deere was born here and was a blacksmith here.        We are a loyal bunch.   

And with the amount of snow we have had dumped on us lately, this particular green model was very very popular.      I would like to have two.

For the younger Vermonter, these models are available:

Every color, shape and size tractor were available at this incredible Farm Show.

 These red tractors started much whispering amongst the crowds....

What I heard was:

Friends don't let friends drive "red."

For those who can't buy NEW, there were many lists of used equipment at all the dealers booths. I saw 2 tractors that would be perfect at the farm, but still unaffordable.     *sigh*

The exhibits were all "Made in Vermont" from Vermont products, by Vermont farmers.

The Maple Syrup competition was full and long.

Judging took an entire day!

The soil in Vermont is fertile, rich and healthy.   That kind of soil makes healthy food.  Healthy food makes healthy people.

This is a turban squash.  I saw it and had to buy some seeds.  These colorful squash are healthy, easy to grow, low calories and the cows will love them.

Vermont hens were busy trying to become a finalist in the egg contest.

One of the lucky pumpkins that did not end up floating down the river during the intense flooding that took 500,000 field pumpkins from many fields and farms and headed them south down the Connecticut River, in October.

The big interest, all 3 days, was the Hay.   All the dairy and livestock farmers rely on hay to make their products (milk and meat).  Many farmers entered samples of their hay into the hay competition.

Going into the "Hay Room" and smelling the sweet smells of last summers grass was just an incredible experience, especially with 20 inches of snow coming down this week.
Seeing the blue ribbons lined up on the winners of the different hay catagories was really exciting. There were many proud farmers showing all their friends and family their hay...and blue ribbons.

This sample had been my pick for a Blue Ribbon, and I was right!!

Books, videos and magazine subscriptions were available for every kind of agricultural practice.  I renewed a few of mine.

Our state cattle associations were front and center.

 Don't tell my mother....   I purchased a $2.00 raffle ticket for this Ayrshire calf.
I am anxiously waiting for my phone to ring...

Legendary shepherd, Chris Hall, giving away Grassfed Farmers Association directories

Farmers have a high incidence of skin cancers because of the amount of time they spend out in the sun, day in and day out.   The free screening was a big help. I got a full screening last year and the nurse found a "suspect" area on my skin.  I got it checked out and am alive today..and still farming.

Every where I looked, I saw Vermont made products.

Maple Syrup

Grain made from Vermont grown grains

Sunflower oil, sunflower livestock feed and bio fuel made from sunflowers grown right up the street from me!!

Wonderful Emu products

Honey from very happy Vermont bees

Lots of Vermont Agriculture students came every day.

They are the future of agriculture

Forestry students looking at cattle chutes

Start'n them young....

and the schools they can go to for agriculture

The BEST organization in Vermont for farmers!
Rural Vermont


Things you can learn from a cow

Round hay balers

There were several cattle chutes, this one was the best and less stressful for cattle.

Heavy duty clothing for heavy duty agricultural professionals

Tubing for maple trees and all the sweet sap.

And fudge for all of us with a sweet tooth

There were some cute faces in the crowd....

And lots and lots of FREE milk.   The chocolate was verrry popular...

The Tunbridge Worlds Fair had an excellant exhibit. If you want to see fiddles, snowshoes, candles and other real Vermont products hand made, go to the Fair.
There is an amazing 17th and 18th century museum on the fairgrounds that took me 5 hours to go through.

I found a nice tractor that I would love to see parked at the farm.

It has the quick-off bucket attachments

Hay, hay and more hay.

All kinds of Organic hay were on trailers outside of the buildings and not a single farmer could walk by them without touching and putting their nose into them.

The seed dealers were in full force and large bags of garden seeds were being purchased. 
I saw lots of smiles.

When farmers get together they inevitably start talking about accidents with livestock, tractors, fencing and pitchfolks.
Soon, they start showing their numerous scars.
I love those conversations.

You meet all kinds of folks at the Farm Show.
Neighbors, friends, long lost relatives, well known farmers and unknown farmers.  You just never know who you are going to run into.

This guy has a few beef cattle.
I can't remember his name.....

And like everyone else, I found a tractor I really wanted.
It already had forks on it so I could move our big rolls of hay.

Unfortunately, someone had taken the keys out of it.....

Hope you have enjoyed the tour.

Try to attend your local state Farm Show.

If you like to eat, make sure you chat with a farmer.