Monday, July 30, 2012

Window Shmindow

In the last post, the porch was starting to look awesome, but was also looking very windowless.

Well I'm pleased to say, we now have windows!

We also, to Elsie's chewing/destroying dismay, picked up that mess of old boards and nails that had quietly been sitting to the left of the porch.

Putting in windows was surprisingly very easy.  Each one took about 10 minutes.

My dad got 'em from good ole Home Depot.  I'm pretty sure he's made about a bagillion trips there in the past month.  First thing first, we'd unwrap each window and then play "pick up all the plastic wrap and cardboard before Elsie gets a hold of it". 

My dad put a line of caulk all the way around the window frame.  Each one took about a tube a piece.  This will hopefully ensure no leakage.  When the wind was out of the right direction, our old porch was a notorious rain leaker.  And if you were the lucky person (usually me) to leave your boots within a foot of the windows, you ended up with some soggy socks.

With a little heavin' and hoin' the window was put in its place.  My dad did an excellent job framing.  Every window was very close to level and required very little shifting around.  Once everything checked out as level (or level enough for Nacke standards) my dad put, what seemed like, 100 nails around it.

The finished product...

Like I said each one took about 10 minutes to install so we had all 3 done in less than a half an hour.  Pretty fast work for a month long porch project.

My dad is currently working on framing in the door which requires some flashing... err wait, that doesn't sound right, let me rephrase that... requires that metal flashing be bent and put around the trim.

I can already see the worry in Elsie's beady little eyes as little by little her pooch palace is closing her out.  Two mornings in a row she has drug my dad's electric saw out to the yard and managed to mangle the cord.  She's a maniac, who apparently has a thing for power tools...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tomato Neglect

Our garden has been lacking in the upkeep department lately.  We have just been too busy to give it any attention.

If you'll remember 2 months ago it looked all pretty.

Now it's some hot mess.  Please don't call DTGS (Department of Tomato and Garden Servies) on us!  We promise to take better care of them... I swear.

Our biggest problem is they didn't get tied to those lovely stakes.  It just kind of slipped our busy minds.

But no worries, there are still plenty of matters.  You just have to bend down a little farther to pick them.

We harvested our first ones this week!  Back before the garden became neglected we tried to water them every once in a while, but since about a month ago, we've let aqua-duties slack as well.  Despite the dry desert conditions, they all seem to have plenty of good sized, green tomatoes just waiting to mature.  They aren't as big as usual, but who wants tomatoes the size of your head anyway?

As I've said, no one in our family, besides my mom, really likes tomatoes.  So if you're feeling like some matter action in the near future, stop by Nacke Farm's.  We will have plenty!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Last weekend we weaned 3 calves.

This means a lot of loud mooing at Nacke Farm's.  Momma's moo, baby's moo, everybody moo moo...

We usually wean calves between the ages of 5-6 months.  By this age, most calves are eating grain and hay in our creep feeder and transition pretty easily into life away from Momma.  The calves will spend a week penned up in our barn, slowly getting acquainted to their new diet of all you can eat grain. 

This year, all of the older calves are at the pasture on the other side of town, so we found ourselves waiting on a semi cool chance to bring them home.  With a high of 89, we finally got that chance.

First there is this big ole boy!  We bought him and his Momma from a fellow cattleman in February.   He was born all the way back in December, so he's clocking in at a way too old 8 months.  I'm betting his Momma wasn't too sad to see him go.

Then we have our own pretty heifers.  The bigger one (top picture, front) is Crazy number 8's January baby.  And yes, her Momma is just as crazy as her name suggests.

And then we have sweet Momma number 1's heifer calf.  She was born in February and, while being a bit smaller, is stocky as all get out.  Pay no attention to the hereford creeping in the background.

Hopefully, in another 2 weeks, we will be bring home the 4 other calves and then my parents will have a chorus of loud moos greeting them every time they step out the back door!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Porch Update

The porch project is coming along... slowly but surely.

Actually, quite a bit has happened since my last post.  Just all over a 2 week period.

So I'm coming atcha with a mass update!

The studs around the soon to be door flew up.

This allowed for the rest of the wall to be demolished and the floor to be finished.

Since the old floor went completely under the inside wall, we had to improvise by cutting as close to the wall as possible and then butting the new boards against the old.

My dad took the opportunity to install new wiring for an outlet that will go along the side wall.

He cut the end of the boards even and then primed the portion where the new wall would go.

Then, I don't stop by my parent's house for 2 days and my dad gets all motivated.  Next thing you know he's proudly posing in front of his accomplishments, PBR in hand.

Here's the same dealio minus the daddio.  The windows are going to be a little different than the older one on the already built end.  But, I think the new windows being longer will look better and give the porch a lot more light.

Carrying on with that motivational kick, I arrive home a day later to this!  That's a whole lot of stud action!  Things are beginning to shape up now.

If you look closely, you can almost see my shirtless dad in the pic below.  I strategically positioned him behind the studs.  Sorry for any hoping to get a glimpse of an old man beer belly.  But trust me when I say, I don't think you or Green Acre's blog is ready for that.

The the plywood is going up now.  This will excitedly be followed by some wrap, new windows and a very doggy proof door.

Then I suppose it will be onto siding and painting... but one step at a time!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Last week, I posted about our poor little baby calf catching a bad case of pneumonia and then becoming horribly dehydrated and weak.

After some much needed TLC...

I'm glad to report that not only has he improved by leaps and bounds, he also has acquired the name "Wobbles", due to last week's shaky circumstances.

The first day was rough.  Poor little wobbles was so weak he couldn't even stand to eat.  My dad had to bottle feed him and we were pretty sure, by the end of day one, he was not going to make it.

But he is a resilient little booger!  He survived through the night and by day two he was showing some improvement.  Wobbles was standing, with a helping hand (he was after all very wobbly), and nursing from Momma Robin.

On day 3, Wobbles was finally getting his little calf vigor swagger back.  I feel after surviving pneumonia at a  little over a week old, you achieve swagger status. :)

I must add, Robin has been one awesome Momma!  She has stayed by her sick little baby's side, and let us get close enough to support him while he nursed.  Of course, having a Momma snack of a few flakes of hay always helped the situation remain stationary.

I visited little Wobbles this weekend and he was up and jumping!  Literally, he was jumping and bucking around.  It's great to see your hard work and diligence pay off when you have livestock.  If we wouldn't have given this calf the care and extra attention he needed for a few days, he would not have made it.

Here's a few pictures of the better, faster, stronger, and always adorable, Wobbles!

Friday, July 20, 2012


County fair time is upon us!  So once a week, for the next few weeks, I'm gong to do a recap of a few of my favorite calves from my past years of showing. 

Of course I have to start with the best... Thomas... Oh Thomas!

Anytime anyone brings up the name Thomas at Nacke Farms we get a little misty eyed. 

Thomas was a red and white shorthorn steer I showed during my Freshman year of college.  He was short and round and most of all fluffy.  And he was with out a doubt the best steer I have ever shown both winning and personality wise.

At the time, I was traveling around showing with a great group of people and we all loved Thomas.  He was our pet.  You never had to yank him around, he'd follow you like a loyal dog.  We even got in the habit of letting him explore the show ring the night before a show.  We'd shut the gates to the ring, turn him loose, and let him have his fun in the sawdust.  At one particular large show at the Illinois State Fair grounds, instead of turning him loose in the ring, we let him wander around the barn.  This may or may not have occurred after a few drinks. :)

Thomas was the epitome of a cool calf!  Of course it helped how well he was doing at shows too.

We have never spent tons of money to buy the best cattle.  And because we do not AI there is no way to get those top notch genetics that so many other breeders have available to them.  In the show ring, I'd usually place somewhere between middle to last place.  But we didn't do it for the ribbons, we did it for the good times.  Thomas was the exception to placing last.  He won quite a few classes, reserve champions, and even allowed me, for the first time, to place 1st in a class at the Illinois State Fair.

But ask anyone, he was more than a class winner, he was Thomas! 

Very regrettably after his show carrier was over my dad took him where all good show steers must go, to the local sale barn.  To this day my dad and I still wish we would have kept him, let him grow old and fat, and continue to be our loving pet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bessy Will Have Another

I recently read an article detailing how farmers in France are giving their cattle wine.  Apparently this produces a superior quality to the "luxury" beef which, has a special texture and the ability to caramelize while cooking.

These cows have been wino's for so long, they've started to build up a tolerance to the alcohol, and now drink up to 2 bottles a day.  I know what you're probably thinking, how can the farmer's support such a lush habit.  No fears, these alchy cows can bring around $55 a pound for a taste of what they've got going on.  That's some serious "moolah".

We aren't really wine drinkers here at Nacke Farms, but my dad has been known to go through the Pabst Blue Ribbon on a daily basis....

So I'm thinking Green Acre's has found our niche.

The first ever cattle raised on PBR!

You know that's got to be some great tasting beef. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bad News

Troubling news at Nacke Farm's.

Remember our new baby?

Well, before I left my parent's house last night I decided to go check up on him.  He was laying in the doorway of our barn and as I approached him I could tell something wasn't right.

First of all, he was all splayed out like he had been trying to get somewhere but couldn't.  So I straightened his legs and after some prodding and poking I got him to somewhat stand up.  I could see he was ganted up majorly which, means he definitely hadn't eaten for a while.  He also couldn't stand by himself for more than 3 seconds with out tumbling back to the ground.

I went out to get Momma who was grazing in our front pasture.  As soon as the little guy saw her he gave it all he had to feebly get up and move towards her.  He looked like he had been hitting the whiskey pretty hard as he staggered around, finally falling about a foot from Momma Robin.

At this point I was really concerned so I yelled at my mom to tell Dad to come outside, something was wrong with the calf.

I heaved the calf up and helped him make it the next foot to Robin and he immediately started nursing like he was starving. 

By this time my dad had made it out to the lot and he supported the weak little baby while he ate as fast and as much as he could possibly guzzle down.

We let him nurse for about 15 minutes and then gave him a little break.  He was breathing hard.  All afternoon he had been laying, baking in the barn doorway bathed in the hot summer sun.  I'm convinced he had tried to get up and move, but was too weak to do so.

My dad and I decided to go ahead and give him a shot of Baytril, which helps sick little calves with scours or a respiratory cold.  And the way wobbles (as my dad called him) was breathing, we were pretty sure he had some sort of baby calf cold.

Once we returned and administered the shot the little dude was feeling much better.  In fact, with a little help getting up, he managed to stand by himself to finish nursing.

After he finished and plopped down in the shade, my dad had the bright idea to get a towel, soak it in cold water, and cover his neck.  This would cool him down because he was still really hot from an afternoon of unneeded sun bathing.

This picture cracks me up! I said he looked like a sheik.

Meanwhile, Bandit grew envious of the cold compress for the calf and decided to take a front paw dip in the water tank.

And of course, Bandit can't do anything without Elsie wanting in on the fun.  She's a water dog and loves dunking her head under... just plain crazy.

Also, you can't do anything for too long without the nosy cows ganging up and watching with interest.

The calf seemed to be feeling better after getting a much needed meal and cooling off.  I'm really hoping he makes it.  Right now, he probably has a 50/50 chance.  I wish we could have caught him sooner... I'll be kicking myself if he doesn't live.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Haulin' Hay

Due to the lack of rain this summer (over half of the US is facing drought conditions including Green Acre's and surrounding areas) just about everywhere you look the grass is burnt up and reduced to a yellow dead mess that makes a crunchy noise under your feet.

For this reason we have been feeding hay for the past several weeks.

This is something crazy for us to do so early in the summer.  Usually no hay is needed until late August and sometimes not even until fall comes. 

But we've got to keep our cows in good condition, so they happily eat up our hay supply.

See that somewhat muddy looking place down there... yeah usually there is a creek running.

By the way, my dad would like all you awesome blog readers to know that all heifers are for sale here at Nacke Farm's.  He'd take a cool $2,000 for any of our awesome girlies. 

Now that he's in on the whole blog experience I think he's looking on a way to capitalize from it! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Look Up

Look up!

And you'll notice a few more buttons to choose from in the tool bar above!

I've decided to make the blog a little easier to navigate.  I've grouped together past posts into easily accessible pages.

For example, let's say you love yourself some cattle blog posts and only want to view those...

Well, after a little clickin' around you'll find that the button entitled "Rawhide" will take you to a page where every single post I've ever written about our cattle is linked!

If you're feeling like a good story click on the button entitled "Hee Haw" and you just might be entertained for a wee bit.

I'll leave the other 2 new buttons to your own discovery... Happy exploring!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The End

Robin calved!  It was a bit of a surprise because she was about 3 weeks early.  She had the calf without problem, in fact we didn't even know she had calved until my dad happened to see the baby while filling water tanks. 

It's a sweet little roan bull.

This seems to be the summer of roan.

Here he is with his Momma, Robin.

And here is Robin enjoying a well deserved Momma snack!

While I was on the calf kick, I decided to take some other pics of the babies.

This is Cali, Moonie's baby.  She's a little over 2 weeks old and still as cute as ever.

And here's Big Roan.  At a month and half old he's getting... well bigger! 

All the rest of the calves were hiding out in the barn doing things that little calves do... probably scheming on their next big adventure... so that's all the baby pics I got.

Robin's little guy marks the last calf for this year and brings the grand total to 15.  We've never had so many calves before but then again, we've never had so many cows.  We are to the point of getting so many little red fuzz balls running around, it's often hard to tell which calf belongs to which cow as they get older.  So next year I've decided we are going to have to start ear tagging our calves. 

Soon, if we ever get a break from the heat, we will hopefully be bringing some of the older calves home to wean from their mothers.

The End!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Throwin G's On This Blog

Hello all!  I have exciting news... Today, current page views for Green Acres blog have surpassed 1,000!

Holy cow, happy dance, and jump up and down excitedly.

When I started, not quite 2 months ago, I had no expectations what so ever.  I couldn't imagine Green Acres bloggin' to be that enjoyable to anyone and had no clue who would really want to read about any of this. 

But you people are amazing!

It blows my mind that I've actually had 1,000 people click on my links and read what I've wrote.  Kind of horrifying, but in the most spectacular way!

I'll keep posting as long as ya'll keep reading.  I'm trying to maintain a steady 3-4 posts a week which is surprisingly much easier than I thought it would be.  Who knew how much actually went on at Nacke Farms?!

A side note:
Most of you have been commenting on Facebook about my posts which is totally awesome and fine.  But feel free to also do some comment lovin' on the blog itself.  It's nice to hear some feedback and ideas.  And I'll take requests if there is anything you have questions about.

Another side note:
You can follow my blog by putting in your email address in that little box on the right side of the page.  Then you get nifty little emails when I post.  Then again, I totally understand the horror that is weeding through pointless emails and spam.  So no pressure there either!

All just friendly suggestions from an extremely happy blogger!

(If my happiness was proportional to the amount of exclamation marks in this post alone, it would not be enough to capture how truly excited I am!!!)

Here's to the next 1,000! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beef, It's Whats For Dinner!

One of the greatest benefits of raising your own cattle is the never ending supply of beef in your freezer. 

This weekend Arren and I picked up our half of beef from the local butcher and put it in our brand new used freezer.

I'll admit, for someone who took a meats class in college, I had no clue what I was doing when telling the lady behind the counter what kind of cuts and how much I wanted.  But she was super helpful and got an A+ for her knowledge of cuts of beef and what each one could be used for, as well as putting up with my constant sputter of uhhs and umms.

A ton of what we got was made into ground beef or hamburger patties. 

I don't know why, but I thought there would be more steaks.  But then again, one calf can only produce so many.  I take for granted how easy it is to just throw a couple steaks on the grill and not have to pay for them at the grocery store.

We also got some ribs.  My parents usually have the ribs made into ground beef so here's hoping they are decent to cook with.  I don't like grilling ribs, they fall off the bone too easily and seem to dry out way too fast.  I've made them before by throwing them in a crock pot on low with some BBQ sauce and holy cow (no pun intended), those babies were delicious!

Of course we've got roasts coming out the wazoo.  Arm Roasts, chuck roasts, rump roasts, sirloin roasts...  I've never made Italian beef but I'm a big fan of my mom's, so this very novice chef is going to have to try it out.  Of course, you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned roast with potatoes thrown in.  And I'm also thinking some shredded beef BBQ is in our near feasting future!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Grab Your Cane Pole, I'll Grab the Worms, We're Going Fishin!

This may be a little late in coming, but I'd like to pay homage to the late Andy Griffith who passed away last week.  Most folks would think I'm too young to remember Mayberry or Aunt Bea.  But when I was younger my dad made sure that I got my share of TV Land and the shows that he loved growing up.

I was never the biggest fan of Andy Griffith.  The show seemed too slow paced, too hokey, and too goody-goody for my taste as a kid.  It didn't have the laughs of All in the Family or The Honeymooners.  And it just seemed too annoyingly prefect in an imperfect world.

But as I grow older, I find myself wishing we could return to those slower and somewhat hokier days.  When your dads and moms were sirs and mams and there was always some little bit of gossip traveling around the town.  Where your neighbors knew who you were and would see to it that you never had any troubles.  And where problems didn't seem quite so big or negativity so strong.

So for those reasons, I thank Andy Griffith for giving us a taste of the Mayberry life.  A glimpse into an ever vanishing world being consumed by technology and fast paced growth where America is trying desperately to hold onto it's legacy of greatness.

So take some time out of your busy schedule today, kick back on the front porch, pop open a cold bottle of coke and watch the world go by as you reminisce about the good ole Mayberry days.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So Long Porch... (Well Half Of It Anyways)

Only on the second hottest day of the year (the hottest being the day that followed) would my dad decided to start on the front porch project.

I arrive around noon to find this...

Dad decided to go all out and rip the whole left half of the front off.  Then, realizing that the post in the middle was now the only thing keeping the roof from falling in, decided that was a good demo start!

Game plan: finish rebuilding the left half of the porch then move onto the right.

This works for multiple reasons, 1 the porch roof doesn't fall in, 2 the porch still has somewhat of a rain gaurd in case we get a monsoon (yeah right), 3 we have a little more shade from that hot summer sun, and 4 we won't have to actually move the deep freezer off the porch, just switch sides.

My dad had also managed to rip up a short little square of the floor.  We decided that since that corner cabinet is not coming out, we will be leaving those floor boards (that run under the cabinet) above that little square.  But those really aren't in too bad of shape for being as old as they are.

We moved onto more floor demo.  The odd method of cutting all those little foot sections out can be explained in the picture below...

That icky looking front board holding the whole front of the porch up was rotting from years of rain and wear and tear.  So it also needed to be cut out and replaced.

Here it is completely removed and already looking better.  My dad and I then realized we had no suitable 2x6's on the property to undertake the huge job that is supporting the front of the porch.  So, we gratefully took a quick (air-conditioned) trip to the near by lumber yard and stopped for a sandwich.  Because who can work on an empty tummy?

Fast forward to full, happy tummies an hour or so later and this is the result!  The front support is looking much better.  My dad said he will have to add mortar to where that huge gap is between the new boards and the foundation.

Here is a close up of more floor demo.  We had to take apart the threshold under the door so we could remove the old floor boards, but it will look much more porch chic when it's finished.

Then it was onto the actual floor laying which went much faster than any of the demo.  Those are tounge and groove boards just like the orignals.  Well sort of like the oringinals...

Apparently 3 inch lumber in current days is somewhat smaller than 3 inch lumber from long ago.  The only thing I can figure is someone lost a few quarters of an inch off their tape measure somewhere along the way and now you pay much more for less.

This caused some mismatching which, from the picture above, is hard to tell but if you look closely where the short boards become long, you'll notice we had to splice the longer board.

But no worries, the mismatching will be less noticeable when it's all painted the same color.

So that is it so far folks!  I'll be sure to keep ya updated.  It's looking to be a long haul project.  Here are a few of the things we need to finish short term
  • Add about 4 more floor boards and cut all them to length to complete the left side of the floor.
  • Add a 1x6 to the front support board and then mortar in the cracks.
  • Start building the left wall.  This includes installing the new door.
  • Once the left side is somewhat complete we can then move onto the right side and repeat!
Hopefully the next days of work on the porch will be cooler and a lot less sweaty/grimy!

p.s. To all those worried that I'm taking a picture in my car, I was actually not in drive...  Safety first :)