Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Farm Fun

It's been a rough week to say the least.  I've been working on a research proposal for my Masters degree for well over a week...the rough draft is due Saturday...I'm not even half way finished yet.  I don't get stressed out.  I never have been one to stress, but this research proposal combined with state tests for my sophomores next week, and working on all the "end of the year" stuff is about to push me over the edge.  I've woken up the past three mornings with headaches...I've been sick to my's been bad.  Last night when I was on the verge of tears, Nick started talking about my favorite farm stories.

I didn't really think about cattle having personalities until I started dating Nick.  I changed my mind quickly.  The ones that end up being my favorites are the ones with the most personality.  Like S42...she is funny.  She's a complete pet, and she gets jealous when her calf gets more attention than she does.  About 6 weeks ago she had her calf outside in the pasture, which isn't usually allowed to happen at the Elgin farm.  So my husband and I went out to help my father-in-law bring the calf into the barn.  Nick and my father-in-law got the calf into the bucket of the tractor, and I was supposed to drive it in (although they didn't tell me that until they were both in the bucket with a wriggling calf).  While I was getting into the seat, S42 marched right up to the bucket, looked my father-in-law square in the eye, and literally about 3 inches from his face let out the biggest bawl I've ever heard from her.  She may have even stomped her foot.  I got to laughing so hard I couldn't get the tractor in gear, which just irritated my father-in-law.

My other favorite (aside for Laila, who is a stubborn as they come) is T57.  T is nosey.  She's always at the fence checking out what we're doing.  Our barn has two huge sliding doors on each end.  One opens into the barn lot, and the other opens into the allyway that leads to pens, with the bale-yard on the other side of the ally.  When the barn gets cleaned, the dirty bedding goes into a pile in the bale-yard until spring.  So we had both doors open, all gates down and Nick and I were waiting for my father-in-law to finish feeding hay to come clean out the bedding, when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  I looked up, and T57 was sauntering through the barn like she was thinking, "Don't mind me.  I'm going going to sneak past and check it out in the barn lot."  When she saw me watching her, she stopped dead in her tracks and you could almost see her think 'well crap'.  I started toward her to turn her around and she gave a huff, and turned around and headed back to the pen to be with the other cows.  I closed the gate to keep her in the allyway and stood there with T right beside me watching every little thing that went on.  She was the first one back in the barn to check out the clean bedding.

I never would've guessed that stories about cows would be the thing that makes me laugh on days when I've barely even smiled.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mothers Day Barn Quilt

I have to admit, it's nice to have a project to blog about.  Between Masters degree homework, and the fact that southern Indiana has had 8 days without rain in April, there hasn't been a lot of opportunity to do much.  I did, however, take advantage of the break in the rain yesterday with the help of my husband to get started on the Mother's Day present for my Mom.  And Mom doesn't read this blog, so for those of you who know her, don't say anything about it. 

Barn quilts are big around here, and Mom's been wanting on.  I looked at some, but why buy something I can make for cheaper?  So that's exactly what I did.  My husband cut the plywood for me into a 42" x 42" square, and I sanded it down on the front so I'd have a smooth painting surface.  The sander is, by the way, the only power tool that I'm actually allowed to use.  Once the plywood was cleaned, I primed it, and gave it a couple of coats of white paint.

I found the quilt block that I wanted to paint in a book that I borrowed from my mother-in-law and used a trick I learned in Art class long ago.  I divided the plywood into 10 1/2" squares to make it easy to lay out the quilt pattern.

Basically all this pattern is was triangles, so it really wasn't too complicated to lay out.  Basic geometry skills help.

Once I got the pattern laid out, I went through and marked which triangle should be which color.

After that, it was time to paint.  If you aren't sure handed, you might want to tape off the triangles, but I refuse to use painters tape, mostly because I'm too lazy to.  Plus all those Art classes helped.  I got sample pots of paint from Lowe's to paint the triangles.  My sister suggested mixing my own, but I'm not very consistent went it comes to mixing paint colors, so I went with the sample pots.

It took a couple of coats of the light and medium blue color, but the dark blue took 3 coats.  Once all the triangles were painted, all that was left to do was get rid of the grid lines.

I painted over the lines with white paint, but if you have primer, it would be a good idea to paint it with primer first.  It took several coats to cover the pencil 10 coats, no lie.  The final step is to spray it with a clear coat of sealer to keep the paint safe.

But I'm happy with the finished product, and I'm excited to see it hanging on the barn at my parents house.

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