I hate to jinx it

I hate to jinx it, but we have all of the fair projects ready more than 12 hours ahead of the fair. This worries me.


It’s not that I like to worry, it is just that being ready for the fair ahead of time is not normal. I’m sure there are mothers out there who have nice categorized and labeled bins that hold completed fair projects months in advanced. Not in the Martin household. Nuh-uh. Not going to happen.


Please don’t misunderstand. We are NOT ready for the fair. We have many things left to do. Clothes need washed. Jeans need starched. Snacks need to be bought. The trailer needs loaded. Chairs need to be rounded up.


But for the most part, the critical things are done. The boys’ projects are ready. There will be no late-night picture mounting this year. We will not be crossing our fingers hoping the paint dries on the welding project before it is judged. We’ve got the pigs clipped and the chickens washed.

And early Friday morning it all begins. Wish us luck – and hope that I haven’t jinxed us by writing about being done early.


Life before air conditioning

This past weekend, we went to a pig show, which is really not all that unusual. In case you haven’t picked up on it by now, we do that a lot.


That’s my oldest son and Big Mama at the show this weekend. But this pig show was different because (I bet you think I’m going to say something really great here like, they gave away a million dollars, or the winner won a new car. You will be sorely disappointed.) we had no air conditioning in the pickup. I don’t mean, the air blowing out of the vents wasn’t ice cold. It was more along the lines of a convection oven. Did I mention it was hot last weekend? It was. Really hot. To compound that problem, for some reason the engine heat was blowing on our feet in the front seat – even with the fan off.

So we sweat. And then we sweat some more. I think it is safe to say, it wasn’t our most pleasant trip out to show pigs, but the boys didn’t complain once. Neither did my husband. I may or may not have complained a time or two. It was hot, I tell you!

And what do you know? Lo, and behold a news item comes across my desk this morning: It’s the 110th anniversary of air conditioning. On July 17, 1902, Willis Carrier drew up blueprints to what would soon revolutionize the way our country beats the heat. The design was built for a printing company that had a difficult time dealing with the increased humidity and heat in the summer. But he didn’t stop there. Just think about what Las Vegas, Pheonix and Houston might look like today with no A/C. I can certainly predict that Wayne Newton wouldn’t be crooning in a suit. He’d be going with the Speedo look.

For some reason, today I have a greater appreciation for that particular invention today than I had last week. We didn’t have the pleasure of partaking in the celebration of the air conditioning anniversary party. In case you didn’t pick up on the subtlety of her name, Big Mama is a big mama. She’s pushin’ 300. And when you weigh 300 pounds and can’t sweat, you get hot. As is always the case, we were more concerned about her welfare than our own. We bed her down on bags of ice, stopped and misted her down and generally treated her like the queen she is. We, on the other hand, climbed back into the pickup and proceeded to sweat.

And then do you know what we did? Drove to another pig show that same day and showed that evening. Yes, we are crazy. I justified the move by saying at least we could stop, cool off and finish the drive when it was a cooler evening. Which is all true. But the “cooling off” part was relevant. It was over a 100 degrees in the cab of the pickup so stopping to where it is 99 degrees makes a big difference. What? You don’t think so?!

Red, white and blue

Happy Flag Day! (Do me a favor and pretend this post was yesterday. I didn’t get it posted yesterday like I intended.)




A line of the red, white and blue flying in the wind is a beautiful site.

I pretended to be a real photographer


See those people? They are my friends, Cassadie and Jordan, and they got married last weekend. Technically, I’m probably friends with her parents because I remember when that beautiful bride was a toddler digging in the dirt in the cattle stalls. I’ve known her a long time. And her family is “good people.” Like salt-of-the-earth, do-anything-for-you people.

Cassadie’s family is now big into the goat business, which is how she met Jordan. I’ve taken pictures at their goat sale every spring. You may or may not have noticed that I like to take pictures. This, perhaps, is the understatement of the year. And I do it as a part of my job, but portraits are not my thing. A goat sale? No problem. A wedding? Not so much.

So when Cassadie hired my friend Tracy from Tracy Ellen Photography to take her wedding photos, I some how weaseled my way into getting to be second shooter. Being a second shooter means that you go to the wedding, take a lot of secondary photos but you have none of the pressure of getting “the kiss” or worrying about the candles that are growing out of the bride’s head in her formal photo. Really, second shooter is a pretty good gig.

I did get a few good shots.






This little guy (aka my youngest son) did a nose dive for the garter. Those are some guns, now.


Tracy did better than I did. She might have done this a time or two:






Working with Tracy was great. I did a lot of “Ohhhh. It would look good from here,” and “What if she stood there?” By the end of the day, Tracy probably was looking forward to next week when she’s on her own again. But I enjoyed it. And we were able to capture Cassadie and Jordan’s special day. I was glad I could be a part of it in a very small way.

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Country churches

Where I live, country churches are everywhere. There doesn’t even have to be a town. Their spires rise up out of the fields like the monuments they are. It’s a beautiful sight.
Small town churches epitomize the country in this area. They are everywhere. Even where there are no towns.

Hello, there.


So long about March, my boys and I – all three of them: the big one AND the two smaller ones – went on what I called the “Pig-scapade.” We loaded up in the truck and pointed east. We have friends that live in Ohio and raise pigs. We, or more accurately, Campbell shows pigs. We decided to combine a family trip to visit friends with a pig shopping trip.

Normal people go to the beach for Spring Break. We go pig shopping.

As we pulled out of the driveway and headed down the dirt road, I pulled up Facebook on my phone and say, “We are embarking on the Martin Family Pig-scapade of 2012. I envision something similar to the Griswold Family Vacation.”

And I was right. No, there was no Aunt Edna strapped to the top of the car, but there was a pig box strapped in the pickup bed. Does that count?

A few of the Pig-scapade updates:

Pig-scapade update: stayed the first night at a trucker motel with a security guard, down the street from a strip joint and near an ‘adult super store.’ I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say this isn’t a common stop for families.

Pig-scapade update: A tip on how to annoy your sons in the backseat Crank up the 80s rock music and sing so loud they can’t hear their iPods.

Pig-scapade update: Lincoln is trying to learn the words to his “new second favorite song” Beer for my Horses. He listened to it on his MP3 player 27 times and sang every word. Every. Last. Word. 27 times. His brother is not impressed.

Pig-scapade update: It does not take near as long to drive across the state of Illinois as it does the state of Kansas. Just so you know.

And that picture up there? That’s my favorite picture from the trip. Hello, there, you adorable little pig you.