Friday, August 24, 2012

"Friday" Fail

Well, I had a major 'FAIL' this week.

(Honestly, I've had more than one major 'fail' this week - this one is just a funny fail; the others are 'Jessica is a sinner and fails to be good, kind, loving and gracious' fails - which, let's be honest, I don't want to post about right now. I'd rather be funny.)

This week kicked off the first week of school at the University of Arizona.  This also kicked off the first week of Dan's crazy schedule. He teaches on TR (that's Tuesday/Thursday to you non-academics) until 7; has livestock judging practice on W from 6:30-9 and F from 4 - 8/9 and Saturday morning/early afternoon.

In my effort to be a great, supportive wife, I did some meal planning that revolved around me making this on Tuesday night: Pinned Image

Anyone else love how giant this picture is? That's about how much I built it up in my head, effort & success at being such an awesome wife. (Remember that loving, kind, gracious area I'm failing at - yeah, that MIGHT be more important than fall-off-the-bone rotisserie chicken.)


On Tuesday nights, we made plans for Buffalo Wild Wings - so my meal plan got delayed a day. (This is not the fail part, BTW. Agreeing to go to BWW's is a major win.)

Wednesday morning came around and I got the bird ready, complete with removing the gizzards and what not from the middle. Gee-ross. I used this recipe as a guide: Again, let's be honest, I just put Emeril's Original blend on because it basically contained all the ingredients she used.

Before Dan's practice on Wednesday night, he came home to have dinner. On the drive home, he asked what we were having - and I described to him. He was well pleased.

We walked in the door...and were not greeted by the smell of delicious chicken. We were greeted with no smell at all. I looked at the chicken and said to Dan, "This doesn't look done at all!" (It should have; it had been cooking for 8 hours.) He says, "Well, it's [the crock pot] not on."

I looked at the knob - it was on the off position. I looked back at Dan, incredulously. I knew that I turned that to 'Low' this morning before I left; I could see me performing that step in my mind. Maybe he had just turned it off when we walked in. He must've known what I was thinking, and said, "I haven't touched it."

I felt the crock pot. Stone cold.

No fancy-schmancy rotisserie-style chicken for us that night.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tetanus Tuesday

July 1995:  Received my second tetanus shot at the Adair County Fair. The Adair County Memorial Hospital was giving away free shots. It had been 10 years since my last one. Awesome.

August 9, 2012:  Received my fourth tetanus shot because of an incident at the Shiawassee County Fair.

The scene:  After a hearty dinner of brats and delicious sweet corn with the extended Kiesling and Riley clan at the camper, my sister-in-law, niece, nephew and Dan's brother's girlfriend headed to the horse barn. 
(You know what's exciting about being married? Kim is my sister-in-law now, not just Dan's.)

As we strolled through the barn, Brenna and Henry (niece and nephew) wanted to pet the horses. So, I thought that I would be the 'test dummy' - who sees if the horse with his/her head near the gate is friendly and nice enough to allow a little petting. Things were going along swimmingly. In fact, at one point, while I stroked a horse's face, I thought, "Hmm. This (the fact that I was really enjoying petting horses) is proof that I am away from animals too much." Normally, I'm not a big horse 'petter.'

Then, as we were nearing the exit of the barn, we saw the last horse with his face near the gate. I tested him with a little pat. He seemed fine. Kim and Henry came up and were petting him. Then, I pet the side of his face...and he reached over and nipped me!

We all jumped back, startled. I've never been bit by a horse before. In fact, I've never really been bitten by any animal before. (although once, I kicked at a sow and my foot went into her mouth. Remember that, Matt? She did not bite down. All was fine.)

It was a small bite - not any larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser. First, it turned white around the outside and in the middle. It stung. Then, it started to bleed.

We headed to the arena were all the guys were watching the steer show. I told Dan that we had a "medical emergency." Brenna started to get freaked out by the cattle and what had just happened with the horses. She said, "I am never touching a horse again." I felt guilty - for I don't want my poor choice to pet that horse to cause her to write off horses forever.

Dan, Tim, Brenda, and I headed to the first aid building. When I informed them that I had a horsebite that needed to be treated, they looked at me incredulously. "A horsebite?"
Yes. A horsebite. For goodness sake, we are at a county fair where there are horses present.
They informed that all they could do for me was clean it up.
Great. That is exactly why I came to you, actually.
Then, they told me that I should probably get a tetanus shot.
"Probably - like I'll be okay if I don't get one?"
"You should get one...sooner rather than later."
"Sooner - like I will be in Tucson next Monday and get one then OR I should go get one right now?"
"You should probably get one before you're back in Tucson."

Umm..okay. Thank you. Very helpful advice there, medical professionals.

Very soon afterwards we ran into Dan's Aunt Polly, a nurse, who informed me that while tetanus shots are good for ten years; once you're past 5 and you get bitten, scratched, step on a nail, etc. - it's time for a new one, and I had a 72-hour window to get one. Excellent. Thank you, Aunt Polly for that very helpful and timely advice. :)

So, I got a tetanus shot on Thursday morning at Walgreens.

My bite is healing very nicely. My arm did not fall off. My jaw did not lock up.
It was so small that most people looked at it and said, "Oh. I've never seen a horsebite that small. I've seen much bigger."  Later in the week, one of the EMTs recognized me and asked how my horsebite was doing. How nice that he remembered. Must've been a slow week. :)

In fact, the Sunday that we left to come back, Brenna checked out my bite and said, "Oh! That is healing very nicely."  She also made multiple trips back to the horsebarn during Fair Week - so apparently, she was not traumatized.  (She's still not crazy about cows, though.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Matt Monday - Michigan

For at least one and a half years, Dan has told me that I had to experience the great Shiawassee County Fair - "the BEST county fair in all of Michigan." So, we planned to come visit. Then, he was asked to judge the youth swine showmanship competition. Well, he couldn't turn that down! Isn't that the sign that you have officially made it? When your old stomping grounds asks you back as an official?

The deal was sealed; we would go to Michigan - and we would need to be there by Sunday, August 5. We were able to score some pretty sweet tickets on Allegiant airlines. If you are familiar with Allegiant, you can only fly on certain days. Flying from Mesa to Grand Rapids, we were limited to travelling on Thursdays or Sundays. This paved the way for us to get away to our beloved Midwest for TEN. WHOLE. DAYS!

I digress. This post is supposed to have pictures and have something to do with my brother.

Well, I must admit that the Shiawassee County Fair's youth swine show was quite impressive. There were just over 200 youth showing hogs. This meant that Dan had quite the job to do! Judging those youth split into 4 divisions took about 5 hours! During each round, he spoke to each child about the ways that he/she could show the hog off better to the judge.  While it took a while to deliver that kind of personal advice, I must admit, it was far more attention than I got while showing. :)

Dan's brother Tim is a leader for one of the 'hog clubs.' (For the Iowans, Shiawassee County Fair has 'project clubs' as opposed to the community clubs that we're familiar with.) One of Tim's club members has purchased pigs from my brother and been very pleased with them.  This year, she bred one of the gilts purchased from Matt and ended up with a litter of 14 show pigs.  Nine days later, the barn was up in flames.  So, she, her parents and Tim headed to Iowa in April to buy some more "good Iowa pigs."

Let me tell you what, those were some gooood Iowa pigs! One of the show superintendents told her, as they were weighing in, "Those are the largest boned pigs I have ever seen!" When Lindsay came into the ring for showmanship, I thought the same thing. He was a big boned, heavy muscled beauty.  I was impressed. Then, I was told that this one didn't even compare to the one being shown as the market individual.

The next day during the market show, it was very fun to watch since I had a 'stake' in it. Of course, I wanted the judge to choose my brother's pig! However, as the day wore on, I saw the judge consistently pick Hamp and Spot pigs...and not the York or blue-butts. I wondered if he had a bias against the more 'maternal' breeds.

Well, I had little reason to worry.  As soon as that pig entered the ring, the judge spotted it.  He won his class handily.  He won the Heavyweight Market Individual easily.  So, it was no surprise - but we were certainly elated - when he was selected as the Grand Champion Market Hog. He was explosive! (Unfortunately, my pictures don't quite do him justice.)

Cindy, Lindsay and Greg Richmond with "Cy"

Lindsay with her hardware. (If I was a better show-animal photographer, Cy would have his head up, so that you could really see how long and stout he is.)

Lindsay with Cy's buyers at the sale. Here you can see more of Cy's length and power.
It was very fun to watch Lindsay win. This win could not have come at a better time or to a better family.  It has been a tough year for them, and success never tastes sweeter than when it follows a time of suffering.

It was also very gratifying to watch one of my brother's pigs win.  His foray into the show pig business really began from similar circumstances.  In January of 1999, our farrowing house caught fire - killing 14 sows, each with a full litter.  The loss came at an awful time in the pork industry - when producers were receiving $.05/hundred pounds.  While the decision wasn't easy, it was clear. Our family would not continue in the pork industry.  However, my brother would still have enough pigs for 4-H and FFA.  At this point, he had an opportunity to build a herd with show characteristics.

Growing up, we showed pigs selected from our herd. They did alright - but they weren't bred for the show. They were bred for market.  ...and they looked like it. ...and, receiving a blue was expected. Getting penned was a highlight. Winning?  A dream...but not too likely.

Then, Matt had this opportunity.  Has he ever capitalized it! He has invested so much time, sweat, and effort into transforming the herd and our farm. It is amazing to see his vision take shape.  Every victory that he experiences has been hard earned.  I am so proud of him.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pure Michigan, Pure Joy

We have officially been returned from our wonderful, ten days of rest, relaxation, fair and family vacation to Michigan.  To describe the trip as 'amazing' or 'blessed' seems to fall short.  Both Dan and I felt wholly refreshed in our souls, our calling, and our place in the world.

I feel like Michigan is our place.  I feel incredibly blessed with an amazing family by calling (in-law doesn't capture the warmth or love they bring).  When Dan first took me to Michigan (again, for an extended vacation) to meet the family, that was when we both knew...where Dan first said, "I love you," where I cried when we drove away because I felt so welcomed and accepted.  This trip reinforced that acceptance. I truly feel like I belong; like I am part of this family, immediate and extended - even though many miles separate us. It is a beautiful and BLESSED thing. 

It was so nice to see Dan rest and relax.  He needed a chance to just connect with those who know him best - and he got to do that many times over.  We're contemplating making this trip an annual event.  Being 'stationed' at the Shiawassee County Fair allowed us to spend many days and quality memory-making moments with family and friends - far more than we would have done on a holiday trip.

I will recap the week using pictures on the blog this week. (Yes, I took pictures!) Just know that it was everything we needed to return refreshed & relaxed!