Thursday, October 29, 2009

1,000 Year Flood

Not really a 1,000 year flood but it is really, really wet around here. The normal rainfall for October here is 3.75 inches. So far in this October, we have had around 11 inches. That is a lot more than normal. The ponds are super full and the ground squishes when we walk around outside. The ground is saturated to the max. Today we got close to two inches in less than an hour and all of it went as runoff. Needless to say, we had a little flash flooding going on. I have never seen it flood on the farm like it did today. I took a few pictures.

This is the main pond by the chicken coup. The water is going in from off the hill and out the spillway

This is below the other pond by the barn. That pond was overflowing like crazy and water was coming off the hill. It looks like a river

This is down by the road by the corner by the barn.

The culvert going under the road could not handle all the water and the water was going over the road. This is a whirlpool that was created where the water was going into the culvert. The whirlpool hole was about a foot wide.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Leaves are on Fire

The leaves have been changing the past couple weeks here in Northwest Arkansas. This year was one of the best I have seen. In my humble opinion, I think last Wednesday through Sunday was the peak. We drove down to Mena last Friday and the part between here and Ft Smith was awesome. Most of that drive is all mountains and trees, no development or billboards. It was kind of overcast that day which I think makes the colors look even better. I read an article by the online Forbes magazine that rated the Ozarks in Arkansas as one of the top 15 fall foliage drives in North America. I hope you all got out and enjoyed it.
Now that the leaves are changing they will all be falling off soon (wah, wah). You know what that means...time to rake and bag leaves. And guess who wants your leaves after you bag them. That's right, we do. I use them for mulch in the garden. So please, if you have any bagged leaves just contact me and I will come and get them. It would be a great help to me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mmm, goat

We butchered a goat on Friday. We had saved one to butcher from the ones that were born this year. I am not sure how big he was, maybe half grown. We had several people out to watch the game on Saturday so we decided to butcher him and cook him for dinner after the game. We ate him as fajitas. It was really good, even the people who had never had goat thought it was pretty good (or at least that is what they told me).
The main thing I wanted to share on here was how I butchered it. Margo didn't want to take gory pictures to put on here so I will just have to describe it. Usually I shoot it to kill it, then I skin it, gut it, and then cut it's head off and cut it up into pieces to cook. This time I decided to not gut it. Last year when I was deer hunting, a guy from another deer camp was talking about how they butcher deer and how they don't gut it and it totally made sense to me. You see, with deer or in this case goat, you don't eat the ribs (at least I don't). There is not enough meat on them to worry about. So, the main parts of the goat that you use for meat are the front shoulders, the two hind quarters. You don't have to gut them in order to get these parts. Sometimes you can get the backstraps and tenderloins if they are big enough but with small ones like this one there is not enough meat there to worry about. So, all I did with this one was kill it and skin it (and cut off it's legs while skinning). Then I cut off the front shoulders, cut off the back hindquarters. This is all the meat I would get off of it anyway and I did not have to gut it. It was really easy and a lot less messy this way. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Return of Learn to Farm Day

Tomorrow evening (Friday) after work and before dark we will be having a learn to farm event. I will be butchering a goat. This will involve killing it, skinning it, gutting it, and cutting it up. Anyone who is interested in helping or seeing the process, just let me know and we can work out an exact time for you to come out.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Farm Aid 2009

A few months ago, Margo found out that she might be able to go to Farm Aid. It moves around to a different place each year and this year it was in St Louis which is not too far away. Well, in fact she found out she was going to go as a work trip. She would have a booth for her work at the event. And she got two passes to the event. Guess who volunteered to go along. Since this was a work trip for Margo our gas, hotel, and food allowances were paid and we got the passes for free. Pretty sweet. So, on Saturday morning we drove to St Louis. That evening we had to check in and set up Margo's work's booth. We also got our "Exhibitor" passes for the next day. The concert was being held in the Verizon Amphitheater which holds about 20,000 people, some seats are actual seats and covered but most are on the grassy knoll. The next day we had to be there early to put the finishing touches on the booth so we got there around 10am. The common concert goers were not allowed in until 12:30 and the concert started at 1pm. During this early time while Margo was setting up her booth, Josh decided to wander around. I checked out what other organizations had booths, food options, vendors, etc. I then decided to check out the actual seating area. Our exhibitor passes just allowed us to sit on the grassy knoll not in the expensive seating but I was ok with that since as I mentioned before it was FREE. While I was walking around they were doing sound checks on stage which I really was not paying attention to. Then someone started singing and I recognized this voice as the voice from my favorite band. That's right Dave Matthews. He and Tim Reynolds were warming up. I went down to the main seating area and there was an event staff guy there. I asked if I could go down front and listen in to them warming up and he said YES. So, I went down to the front row and got to listen to Dave and Tim warm up for like 20-30 minutes. I was so close I could almost touch them with a ten foot pole. I was so very excited and happy. I don't know why it was such a thrill for me but it really was. He sang a few songs and they worked on the mics and sound. One thing I discovered it that he is really funny. In between singing he would be talking to the sound guys and stuff and cracking jokes. It was great. I took some pictures and a few videos with my picture taking camera. Here are a few of them. They are not great quality because these were taken with our cheap camera that fits in my pocket.

Here I am with a cheesy look on my face

Here is a short clip I took of them playing during their sound check and warm up

Here is another clip of Dave saying something funny. While they were doing the sound check Dave noticed that every time his forehead got close to the mic it would feedback. So he kept doing it over and over, it was really funny, you can see him doing it in the video. During this clip he says that, sometimes I hit my head against the microphone and it scares the sh*t out me, then I try to cover up and do a little dance. It was cracking us up, you can even hear us cracking up.

The main concert was really good as well. It was cool to get to hear a bunch of bands at one place. The concert lasted about 10 hours total. That is a long time of drinking for some of the concert goers who got really drunk on $9 each beer. It was a long day but well worth it. The bands I enjoyed the most were Wilco, Lukas Nelson, Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, Phosphorescent, and Neal Young.

Here is a list of the complete lineup with a few of my thoughts about each.
The Blackwood Quartet - they are southern gospel which is not my fave but they sing really well together
Phosphorescent - I really like their new folk kind of sound
Will Dailey - not very impressed, unoriginal popular tv music type stuff
Ernie Isley & the Jam Band - one of the Isley Brothers, it was a fun set and cool to hear some of the old songs
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - Willie Nelson's son, was actually unexpectedly pretty good and he has a really cool voice, enjoyed him a lot
Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses - he was pretty good as well, kind of a folk rock
Jamey Johnson - country singer, kind of an older style, not to bad for country
Gretchen Wilson - I don't really like new country music especially the kind she sings
Wilco - I really like them as a band, their show was pretty good
Jason Mraz - he is ok, a little to excited and wanting everybody to dance for me
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - really, really good, it was just the two of them playing acoustic guitars, Tim is amazing
John Mellencamp - I appreciate his contribution to music and some of his songs are pretty good but he was a dork. Trying to be way too cool instead of just playing his music
Neil Young - I really enjoyed hearing him. He was really funny as well. I need to get some more of his music and I would like to go to a concert of just him.
Willie Nelson - a legend and still really good as old as he is. His music is not something I get really excited about but he is a legend.

I definitely recommend checking out Farm Aid if you ever get the chance. I hope I get to go again.

This is a crowd shot during the concert

And here is a pic of the stage during the concert

Here is one more video for you during the concert when Dave was playing. I did a little crowd pan as well that may make you a little nauseous.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Musical Weekend

This weekend was very exciting for us. Back in the spring we bought tickets to see Dave Matthews Band with Willie Nelson opening. The concert was on Friday night in Tulsa. Dave Matthews Band has been my favorite band for as long as I have thought about who my favorite band is. The only thing is that I had never seen them in concert. I have never been a big concert goer overall. Then, a couple months ago we found out we were going to get to go to Farm Aid. Margo was going to go to represent her work and we were going to get free tickets. The crazy thing was that it was this same weekend but on Sunday and in St louis. So after the concert on Friday in Tulsa, we drove Saturday to St Louis for Farm Aid. This particular post is going to be about the Friday night concert, I will cover Farm Aid in my next post.

We went to the concert Friday with our friends Evan and Emily and Steve and Kathy. It was a lot of fun to go with good friends. It was really cool to see Willie Nelson since he is such a legend. I like some of his music but it is not something that I listen to often. His part of the concert was pretty good but was not super exciting for me.

However, I was super pumped to see Dave and he did not disappoint. They are so dang good. It is pretty funny how excited people get to see him play, they go crazy. He put on a great show and did some great songs. To make things better Tim Reynolds was playing with him. I had forgotten how awesome of a guitar player he is. Dave also has a couple new horn players playing with him and the trumpet player (Rashawn Ross) is unbelievable, I was in total awe. There were three main highlights for me at this concert. 1. Dave scatting- I love to hear him scat. He does it at his concerts, I have seen it on his concert dvds. He is really good at it and it is really cool. 2. Willie Nelson came out and played and sang a song with Dave. They did Grave Digger together. It was great. 3. All Along the Watchtower- they ended the show with this song (with a little stairway to heaven mixed in). I realize that this is not Dave's song, he is just covering it. However, I do think that this could be as close to musical perfection as you can get. If you have never heard them do it, get the version that is on the Live at Red Rocks cd and listen to it.

I wanted to also tell you about a funny observation we made regarding the difference in Dave Matthews drummer and Willie Nelson's drummer. These are pictures I found on the internet so I could show you what I mean.

Willie Nelson's drummer

Dave Matthew's drummer

All in all it was a really great concert. We also got to meet and hang out with our friend Emily's family on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning which was a lot of fun also.

Be sure and stay tuned for the next blog post about Farm Aid because it was great and had a great unexpected thing happen, I might even be so bold to say...a highlight of my life.