1/22/16

It's that time of year! Barns begin to fill with livestock that are preparing to delivery offspring!

Many of you are saying, "Ah how cute" or "I'd love to do that."  

Realistically I think of the many, many farmers across Pennsylvania watching the weather forecast and waiting to see what track the storm is taking. They are not thinking about whether they have bread, milk, water, batteries or flashlights for the house, those items are extremely trival. Farmers are focused on how they will meet the needs of their livestock and dairy animals. They are thinking about quantities of hay, food and water required by those animals. Pondering how they will move all that snow in order to reach the barns and sheds where the livestock is in order to properly care for their animals.

 The dairy farmers are also thinking about what happens if the milk truck can't arrive. Ever lost a paycheck? Well that's exactly what will happen if dairy farmers must dump milk because the roads are shut and milk haulers can not get in to pick up the farmer's milk.   Bills will still need paid but the income will be lost. Farmers stainless steel bulk milk tanks do not hold an unending quantity of milk. Farmers rely on their milk tanks being emptied on a regular basis by the milk hauler who delivers the milk processing plant to package into the milk you buy in the store. 

As you shovel your driveway, walks and/or take your dog for a walk or feed your pets indoors think of the farmers, snow removal crews and emergency workers struggling to keep up with the work load and pray for their safety, strength and stamina. If you have the opportunity to remain indoors and wait out the snow storm, be thankful, very thankful!

Our prayers are going out to our many friends and family in the path of the storm.

It appears we may be spared from the larger snowfalls, and we are very thankful.

1/11/16

Time flies when the kids are home for the holidays!

Many projects were completed! Thankful for cooperative weather everything from manure hauling to swine registrations, broiler harvesting and PA Farm Show prep was accomplished by our youthful assistants!

As a family our focus has been on PA Farm Show prep, after all if you have McConaughey blood flowing through you the first of January brings the annual trip to Harrisburg and participating in another Farm Show pig show.

Yes, once again our family converged at the hog barn at the PA Farm Show. The one place, once a year where usually you can find my siblings and nieces and nephews! (Not sure why we never made the beach or an exotic vacation location the tradition!)

Fun facts:

1) Our kids have NEVER missed a PA Farm Show!

2) Our family has been showing at the event since 1939.

3) My grandfather first traveled there via railroad, riding in the railroad car with his dairy cattle to care for them during the 2/3 day trip from Indiana County! 

4) There is a page in the new Farm Show book about my dad and his Farm Show experiences.

5) This year the 1st scholarship in memory of Clyde & Hattie McConaughey (my grandparents) and Lois McConaughey (my mom) was presented to Taylor Conley! My dad wanted to encourage youth in the purebred swine industry and he established a scholarship to do that.

While Farm Show offers a great opportunity to visit with friends and family we don't see often enough. It also provides an opportunity to make new friends and learn from them just as they learn from us! We educated many; answering questions in relation to our pigs.

We also learned a lot as we visited with other PA and Northeast farmers regarding their farm operations. Many of the farmers were there for the bred gilt sale where all the open class pigs (pregnant females) were sold to new owners, farmers and 4-H families to raise their own pigs on their farms. It was a great sale.

THANK YOU to all our buyers for making it successful. We wish each one the best of luck with their gilts. We hope the gilts will be profitable for the farmers as well as create priceless family bonding moments, as many of the pigs are birthed, sorted, grown and shown at fairs by 4-Her's. 

Great Farm Show travel weather was a blessing! However, Garrett made up for it with long flight delays during his travel back to Iowa State on Sunday. We are thankful the good Lord allowed safe passage even though slow and frustrating at times.

It's the middle of January and lambing and farrowing are fast approaching, will seek to keep you posted on life on the farm!

12/17/15

Many exciting things have happened at MCF in the last several weeks!

It was wonderful having Bob's parents, George & Maddie, and Bob's youngest brother, Ed, Colleen, and Marissa visit over Thanksgiving weekend! 

We even got a room painted over Thanksgiving! Extra hands are a great help.

The great weather has been an asset on the farm. It allowed me to paint the inside of our market trailer last weekend.

I spent three days this week in Harrisburg with one of my day job tasks, assisting with Growing Pennsylvania's Organic Farms conference. 

Morgan attended the conference and spent her time learning about pastured poultry production from Jeff Mattocks and Casey Rogers from Fertrell Company. She and her dad continue to develop a plan for pastured broilers for the 2016 season.

Are we ready for Christmas? Yes, it's easier with more mature kids. I have not pulled all the decorations out...bringing them down two flights of stairs certainly prioritizes what I "need" out. 

Our wish is for everyone to focus on the real reason for the season. The most important gift ever, baby Jesus.

11/24/15

Life has been a little busy! Last week I spent two days working in eastern PA.

We enjoy holiday as it usually means our college kid comes home for a visit! Garrett is a Junior at Iowa State and is far enough away he doesn't make it home on the weekends. It takes a weeklong break for him to get back home.

We are very thankful for his college friends and their families who have allowed him to be a part of their families while living in Iowa! This time he shared stories of making apple cider with an old hand crank wooden apple press this Fall. He needs to learn to take pictures so his mom can enjoy the events too!

Yes, his dad has chores just waiting extra hands! The wagons of hay and fodder are now all unloaded! All the hogs have been critiqued and the rest of the animals checked out. 

Now it's nearly Thanksgiving and we look forward to having both Morgan and Garrett home for a meal or two together.  Then we'll be headed back to the airport and Garrett will head off to Iowa State once more.

Some people ask why he goes so far away. We ask why not, it's a great school. Garrett is where he's suppose to be! Iowa State and The Salt Co. have been a huge blessing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/9/15

This week finds us juggling many tasks, including preparing for the Community Seed Swap on Saturday at IUP. We certainly want to encourage the students in their endeavors. It's an opportunity to educate and share with people about agriculture, our farm and what we do here. 

It also will be our first Saturday buying club delivery! it's a good opportunity for multitasking. 

Of course my day job keeps me busy throughout the week too. I will be at a Western PA Fruit/Vegetable event on Wednesday in Prospect, PA. PA Farm Link will have a booth there sharing information about upcoming events and sharing a bit more about the non-profit.

11/2/15

It's a beautiful fall day and we don't want to take it for granted! In northwest PA the winters can be a bit unfriendly.

Bob is celebrating by mowing hay. Yes, it's November 2nd and my husband mowed hay. He warned me he was going too. He said someone may stop and suggest he's crazy. (He has to be to put up with the rest of us!)

I am happy at the thought of having more hay in the barn for the winter. It will be put to good use.

He said he would mow one of the well established fields. He didn't want to cut his newly seeded hay fields because it would stress the planting too much over the winter. (I also learn something new every day.)

Believe he also mowed corn stalks so we'll have some corn fodder for bedding as well.