Taste of Indiana Farms

October 6, 2011

One of the fun things I got to do at the Indiana State Fair in August was to run the Farm Bureau Taste of Indiana Farms booth for the southwest part of Indiana.

Each part of the state (“districts,” in Farm Bureau talk) had a commodity to feature. We had pork. Yum!volunteers sm

I worked with Dewig’s Meats so we had some great barbecued pulled pork to give away to everyone who came through the three-day event. We had some great volunteers from our district, including my husband. Hubby Doc had a blast talking to almost 5000 people over three days!!john sm

There was free popcorn in the front of the building, and lots more free food in the back of the building.popcorn sm

Everybody had a blast, even the kids!strollers in line sm

This is not just a Farm Bureau event! The Indiana Watermelon queen was there, giving out watermelon slices.watermelon queen sm

And the Indiana Honey Queen was there, passing out honey samples.honey queen sm

(We tried to get them to have a Queen showdown, to see who was the “Top Queen,” but they wouldn’t go for it. Such well-behaved young ladies!)

Did I mention that Indiana Pork gave us temporary pig tattoos to give out? Everybody wanted a pig tattoo, even me! (I may have put on more than one…)pig tattoo sm

Yes, you could say I got into the spirit of things and collected some flair over the couple of days…flair sm

Mark your calendars – we’ve already got the dates scheduled for next year! Come visit us in the Farm Bureau building at the Indiana State Fair on August 14-16, 2012. I’ll be organizing fruit for next year, so come on by and learn what kind of fruit Indiana grows. I bet you’ll be surprised! There will be free popcorn, free food, and more flair than you can shake a stick at! What else is there?

Oh, and the whole rest of the fair. You’ll probably want to see that also.


Week of travel

August 24, 2011

At least this time, Hubby Doc and I were together on our travels!

Last week was a pretty busy week for us. We left Monday evening to head up to Indianapolis so we could be at the Indiana State Fair first thing Tuesday morning. We arrived after the tragedy of the stage collapsing before the concert on Saturday night, but the mood was still a little subdued on the grounds.

We were working in the Farm Bureau building at the Taste of Indiana Farms event for three days on the state fairgrounds.

Hubby Doc got to talk to new people for three straight days. He hated it.john Or maybe he loved it. Is he smiling?

Friday morning, after our fair responsibilities were done, we packed up and headed to Grand Rivers, Kentucky for the weekend. Monday was our two-year wedding anniversary, and we wanted to have a weekend away that wasn’t tied to work in some way or another.

Grand Rivers is this really tiny village in Western Kentucky, nestled between Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake. Just south of Grand Rivers is the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

We had a very low-key, relaxing weekend. We had no schedule, and no itinerary. It was awesome. We saw a show at the Badgett Playhouse, and spent a bunch of time in the LBL Park.

We slept in on Sunday, drove over to Paducah, KY and spent some more time in the LBL Park before we started a lazy drive back home.

More details to come on all of this later this week. I’m still trying to catch up from the week of being gone! My computer also liked the vacation, and he is whining about having to go back to work this week, too.

Of course, Hubby Doc left this morning for Chicago, and I’m headed to Indianapolis again on Friday… so back on the merry-go-round!

Young Farmers take a trip

August 14, 2011

Every year, the Farm Bureau District 9 Young Farmers group tries to get together and go on a tour of an agricultural operation in southwest Indiana. Last year, we visited New Generation Dairy in Gibson County.

This year, we headed to Perry County, on the other side of our district, to visit Blue Heron Winery and Phil Etienne’s Timber Harvest.

We got a very nice tour of the little winery.

Blue Heron Winery uses stainless steel tanks to age all their wine.stainless tanks

There are sculptures and pictures of herons hiding all over the winery.herons

We got a chance to get up close and personal with some of their grapes, and we had a chance to taste some of their more popular wines.grapes

I brought home a bottle of their On Deck Red. I also meant to get a bottle of their cherry wine, but I grabbed a bottle of blueberry instead. That’s okay, I like blueberry, too!

And did I mention the view? They are high above the Ohio River and have a great view of the river, and Kentucky on the other side.winery view

One of the other features this winery has is the Celtic Cross.celtic cross

This sculpture was carved out of a natural rock formation. It took the sculptor 11 months, working dawn to dusk, 6 days a week.

You can see where they did some excavating to uncover more of the rock (below the dark diagonal line, the rock was buried in the hillside). The rock had an odd leaning shape, so the base of the cross “stepped out” of the rock to match the natural angle.celtic cross back

There is some beautiful detail in the sculpture.celtic cross detail

We also went to a timber yard. This wasn’t as exciting for me (I wanted to go try some of my wine!), but the boys seemed to like it.circular saw

I guess anytime you are dealing with huge power tools, the boys perk up and pay attention. band saw

We ended the day with a picnic and some grilling in part of the Hoosier National Forest. This was one of those weekends that was ridiculously hot, but in the forest, in the shade, by the lake, with a frosty beverage, it didn’t seem all that bad!

Farm Bureau goes to the zoo

July 29, 2011

Last weekend, my Farm Bureau district had our annual summer picnic at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville. This was the first time I have been do this zoo, even though we only live about 30 minutes away!

It was another crazy hot day (because those are so rare right now), and lots of the animals were hiding. I can’t blame them.

Part of the zoo is climate controlled. It is called Amazonia, and (you guessed it) it’s an Amazon rain forest. Well, sort of. Though it did actually rain on us while we were in there!

The first thing we saw in Amazonia was the black howler monkey. He was in a tizzy about something. I have no idea what he was trying to say, but he sure had something on his mind! (Sort of like Martin in the mornings. And the afternoons. And the evenings…)

Amazonia definitely had the most active animals for the day. We also saw some monkeys with cute faces, right around lunch time.snack monkey

We saw lots of animals, many that I had not seen before. And I don’t remember the names of most of them. Like that cute-faced monkey. I do remember that this was some sort of a spoon-bill bird. Because that was hard to remember.spoonbill This is a capybara. I remember this one (although I had to look up how to spell it) because I think it looks like the ROUS’s from The Princess Bride. Anyone?capabarra

These guys are pretty big. I would say he is about the size of a Great Dane, but a little more stocky.

Hanging out with the capybaras was a tapir. Tapirs have a common ancestor to horses. I think they look more like pigs than horses. Evolution, you are a strange thing!tapir

We also met some prehensile tailed porcupines. Again, a thing I had never seen before. And a hard name to remember. 😉 I must have stood here for 15 minutes, and never did get a picture of the little guy’s face. Must be camera shy. Or sleeping… in a tree…?prehensile tail porcupine

The jaguar was sleeping. I walked by 2 hours later, and he was sleeping in the same position. I don’t know any other cats who do thatjaguar

Then we ventured outside to find the animals who were not lucky enough to be in a climate controlled enclosure. And here is where the naming gets fuzzy again.

These are some cow-relatives from Africa with curly horns. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Curly.mrs curly

There were peacocks and peahens just running loose, willy-nilly around the grounds. Luckily, they mostly avoided the people. I have heard that peacocks can be pretty mean!peacock


The rhinoceros has the best idea. He was just hanging out in his swimming pool.  rhino soak

Did you know rhinos have fuzzy ears? I had no idea! I must have skipped that day of vet school…rhino ears

And did I mention that we were actually there for a meeting? Dr. Bret Marsh, the Indiana state veterinarian came down to talk to our district about what the Board of Animal Health is working on.    dr marsh

BOAH has four main branches. The original three things they monitor and plan for are animal health, food safety, and disaster preparedness. They do a lot of monitoring of animal disease and animal transport. They have recently been working on emergency planning for the unlikely event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. A new arm of BOAH is animal welfare.

Welfare has always been a part of the arenas of animal health and food safety, but it is taking more of a prominent spot now. BOAH was recently tasked with creating basic guidelines for animal welfare (specifically for livestock and poultry). Indiana is being very proactive by establishing guidelines for basic “standards of care” for our farm animals. 

After lunch and Dr. Marsh’s talk, I had to get back to Princeton to get ready for that night’s performance of “The King and I.” On the way out, I checked on the jaguar again.

She was still sleeping.jaguar 2