Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Joss & Main

I'm taking a break from the farm and the cows to talk about shopping.  All of you guy readers can now groan and quickly close this post.  Unless, you are interested in getting an awesome deal!

I stumbled upon Joss & Main about 3 months ago.  And then I thought to myself... oh my gosh, why haven't I been checking this site sooner.  The site takes any home good you can think of and groups them into daily sale categories.  You do have to act pretty fast, because things usually sell out and the sales only last a couple of days before they are gone.

I've gotten a couple of things from the website.  And I thought I'd share!

When I first found the site, these babies were on sale for $2 a piece, marked down from $8.  And since I'm crazy about cows I snatched up that deal.

At the same time I bought this nest bowl for $9 marked down from $12.  Not a huge deal, but I didn't mind paying 9 buckaroos for something that would be featured on our living room coffee table.

It was about a month later when I started looking for a lamp to sit on our new (used) cabinet that currently holds all of our DVDs.  I had been checking Target and Overstock for a Tinffany lamp look-a-like and just couldn't find a quality light in my price range.  Then, low and behold, one day Joss & Main had an actual Tiffany lamp sale.  I figured everything would be way out of my price range, but boy was I wrong.

I got this pretty boy for almost half of his original price of $175.  I paid $80, which included shipping.  It was a little more than I had originally wanted to spend, but it was the real deal so I went for it and I'm very glad I did.

Fast forward another two months, after we moved in our awesome antique find. I had been looking for an accent chair to replace our lime green college-esque round chair we had just shoved in the corner when we moved in.  Joss and Main had some good ones, but they all seemed to be $200 or more and that's more than cheap little me wanted to spend.

Then I found this baby...

And it was love at first site!  I was looking for something with a pattern but didn't scream "hey look at me, I'm bright fricken yellow".  Granted the pillow on it doesn't really match, but I felt like it needed a little accent.  And the best part, was of course the price.  The original price tag was well over $300 and I purchased it for $140, shipping included!

Joss and Main is not paying me to rep them, I just thought that I should share some of the cheap lovin' the site offers!  If you are looking for any home item they sell it.  They even have kitchen ware, outside furniture, games, books, paintings, and I could go on and on.  If you can put it in your house, you can bet it will show up on the site.

If you do decide to check out the greatness this site has to offer, you can always cite me as a reference.  If you follow the link below, and sign up with the site, I get a awesome credit.  You can also just sign up with out citing me, your choice! :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

From Hillbilly Spectacular To...

Thanks to two of my Uncles' help, the outside of the porch is finally finished!

When I last left off, it was looking like this...

And now, in all it's splendorous glory, it's looking like this...

Yeah, go ahead and say it.. "holy cow it looks like a totally different porch"!

My dad managed to do all the J-channeling around the porch on his own during the evenings.  Then this weekend, two of my Uncles came over to lend a helping hand (and brain) into actually siding the sucker.

Surprisingly, thanks in large part to my uncles, it only took half a day to side.  My Uncle John amazed my mom, aunt and I.  He can eye ball a measurement, saw a piece of siding, and voila it fits perfectly.  I guess being a contractor allows you to develop a super human measuring tape eye... I'm picturing something like The Terminator's, but with less killing and more precision cutting.

Here is a close up of the siding.  Each piece was 2 layers and then the next piece just snapped into place over the first.  Sorry there are no during pictures, the guys were moving so fast, I didn't want to interrupt.

After my uncles called it a day, my dad and I had one last part to finish.

This little baby gap needed regular siding that was used on the rest of the house.  My dad had plenty of extra siding lying around from years ago.  He used his table saw to cut small 6 inch sections.  The saw caused some minor crack-a-lack-age, but we went ahead and used it anyways.  My dad's electric saw met an untimely death when Elsie got a hold of the cord and chewed it off...

But getting back on track, it really didn't take too much time to finish.

Here is the view from afar.. Lets all ooo and awww. 

Brace yourself for the before and after for comparison.

We took the porch from the Hillbilly looking spectacular it was, to the respectable and dignified extra house appendage it now is. 

This coming weekend we have plans to get out the power washer and finally spray off the green nasties growing on the house.  So when it's all through the house will gleam white and probably cause wrecks along the highway!

Then the outside will be finished, but the inside still needs a lot of work.

The floor needs primed and painted.  And the inside walls need scraped and repainted.  Later this fall, my dad plans on insulating the whole shebang and putting up some tongue and grove boards along the the outside walls to really country up the place.

Meanwhile he wants to start painting the entire south barn and I've begun trying to halter break two heifers (look for a post on that thrilling adventure later this week)... the projects never end.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seat wondering if our corn bales made the (feed) grade.

As I explained in an earlier post... Corn likes nitrogen, too much nitrogen kills cows.  Therefore, these bales better have acceptable nitrogen content or else all that hard work will go to waste in possibly the world's largest bonfire.

No fires at Green Acres!

My Uncle played the guinea pig and fed 5 bales to his cattle over a period of 2 weeks.  To anyone with cows and giant corn bales, I would not recommend doing this.  This method could have easily killed off his whole heard in a matter of 24 hours.  But he was out of hay and... what the heck, why not.

Even after 5 nonlethal bales, my dad and I were still sceptical and wanted to have a few bales sampled and tested.  That whole premise fell apart however when we attempted to unload a full rack wagon.

Three bales busted. Right in the middle of our pasture where any cow could easily run up to them in a frenzied rush and feast away.  My dad burned one and was going to burn the others (side note: a burning corn bale smells horrible) when I talked him into just letting the cows have it their way.  With 5 successfully fed bales, I was sure that these bales would also be OK.

Well they were.  And now we have this mess.

The cows love, love, love the corn bales.  Seriously, my dad put out an oat bale and they haven't even glanced at it.  It's like the lima beans on the edge of the plate no one really wants to eat, but sooner or later will have to.

So all that hard work did pay off.  And we are lots of corn bales richer!

Now we've just got to keep an eye on the heard to make sure the herd stays well fed.  The corn bales serve as an apparently delicious filler, but do not have any real nutritional value.  As long as the grass stays somewhat green (we've thankfully had a few inches of rain in the past weeks) the cows should stay plump.  But if the grass stops growing, we may have to start supplementing grain.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hay Loft

There is something about a hay loft.  Quite, dimly lit, peaceful.  And it smells wonderful.  Seriously, there in nothing more intoxicating than the smell of fresh hay.  And being surrounded by it is heavenly.

Look at those views!

I suppose it is what cows would refer to as a gold mine.  But instead of mining for gold they are searching for hay.  And instead of making nice jewelry, they just eat it all.

Too bad cows can't climb ladders...

They will never find the hidden treasure.

But every night we are good, nice people and let our cows feast on some of their gold. 

While the poor dears on the other side of the fence look up in agony as they wait for their treasure to fall.  I guess the grass hay is greener on the other side.

But we leave no cow unfed, because after all... a full cow is a happy cow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Clara: Part 1

One day, several years ago, my dad was driving down a country road and up ahead spotted 3 little black dots.  As he neared the mysterious dots he slowed down and realized that 3 tiny puppies were running down the middle of the road.

So he stopped, hollered, and watched in amusement as all 3 turned on the spot and and started running towards him.  Of course this meant that the pups were soon settled in my dad's truck and headed towards Nacke Farms.  That night, when my dad called me on the phone and told me his findings, I begged him to keep the 3 little amigos until the weekend, when I could make it home (I was attending college) and see the undoubtedly adorable pups.

To my dismay, before I could make it home, 2 of the male puppies left for new homes.  So I hightailed it to Green Acres on Saturday to see the lone female left.

She was, without a doubt, the cutest puppy I have ever seen and incredibly tiny.  She was friendly, good-natured, and would follow your feet around.  Of course I begged my mom and dad to keep her.  At the time we only had Bandit, and he needed a friend.  

Bandit wasn't to thrilled at first.  I'm pretty sure he had never seen anything so little.  It is actually pretty funny to watch a big Saint Bernard run away and hide from a 5 pound pup!  Here is the big chicken hiding by me wearily watching our new little pup bounce around.

I also have to share this picture because after all these years, it's still a toss up to which one is cuter! :)

To my delight, I persuaded my parents and Clara stayed with us and soon became my favorite dog we have ever owned.

Stayed tuned for "Clara: Part 2, the crazy years"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nat Needs a New Pair of Shoes

A few years ago we had an abundance of tomatoes so we decided to set up a produce table in front of the house.

We had lots of people stop by and even some kind souls that left some spare change on the table.

So, I had the bright idea to get a styrofoam cooler and cut a hole in the top for "donations".  Unbeknownst to me, my dad decided to further explain what donations would be used for.

The first time I ventured out to collect change, the box read:

Nat Needs A New Pair Of Shoes

It got quite the laugh from friends and neighbors.  In fact, everywhere I seemed to go that summer someone was asking me how the shoe fund was doing.

We ended up making about $100 which was pretty awesome considering our orginal goal of just getting rid of excess tomatoes.

Towards the end of summer, I went out late one afternoon to collect the daily funds and saw something strange in the box.  It was large, wrapped, and had to of been a pain to get through the tiny opening in the top of the box.

I delicately removed the duct tape around the lid and laughed as I discovered what the mysterious package was...  Someone had brought out a pair of ballet flats and stuffed them into the box.

I'm pretty sure they were kids size and way too small for my boat sized feet, but it was a nice gesture from the stranger with a great sense of humor.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


And another small excerpt from "The Show Calves Nat Loved" series.

We raised Buddy the Bull.  He was bottle fed and cared for by me and quickly became my favorite calf.

I begged my dad to let me keep Buddy as a bull and then show him the next year.  My dad was not fond of me showing a bull, but he was already so tame, so what could it hurt.

Buddy grew to be the tallest, lankiest, most horrible looking bull.  But I loved him and he would let me sit on his back and lay next to him in the stall.

My wish came true the next summer and I got to show him at our county 4-H show.  Being the only bull there he won Grand Champion and I beamed. 

Then after a couple of months passed, we had a bull that was taking up valuable pasture space and we didn't want the monstrosity he was breeding our cows.  My dad (thinking that if he sent Buddy off to the sale barn I would forever be traumatized) convinced my Uncle to get ride of his current bull and take Buddy. 

My Uncle kept Buddy for 2 years.  His calves were complete and utter knotheads.  Just like him they were big and lanky and ugly.  After 2 years of horrible calves and me growing older we sold Buddy, no doubt for McDonald's hamburger.

But I still have fond memories of the first bull I ever showed, no matter how horrible he or his calves were!

I'm heading to the state fair which always meant a fun filled week and also sadly the end of the summer fair season.  So this will be my last post in "The Show Calves Nat Loved".  It will also be my last post for the week as I am headed to the state fair tomorrow.  Have a great weekend all!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Saddam the Pigeon

This may be one of my all time favorite stories from Green Acres.

It was the summer of 2002 and things were great at Nacke Farm's.  That was until the formidable day Saddam showed up.

We first noticed pigeons hanging around early that summer.  A few wasn't a big deal so my dad ignored them hoping they would move on to bigger and better barns.

It was a couple of weeks later when a large male pigeon made his presence known.  It wasn't long after that and his harem started to grow.  Before we knew it, we had a pigeon uprising on our hands.

The male pigeon became known as Saddam and his arrival was sure to bring a certain demise to my dad.

Now most would think that pigeons are harmless.  But they are nasty birds that leave layers of bird feces where ever they nest. They had picked one of our barns to nest in and proceeded to make a mess of our hayloft.

This was no time to second guess, this was war.

My dad eliminated quite a few of the birds with his .22 riffle.  But Saddam evaded every shot.  Somehow he could sense every time my dad would go for his gun and would hightail it out of dodge until the coast was clear.  This went on for another month until there was only Saddam and a few of his female friends left.

It was a hot humid day.  There was a restlessness in the stale air.  My dad was out for pigeon blood. 

Saddam was shot, he was down, and he wasn't going to get away this time.  My dad had succeeded in killing the pigeon that had taunted him for so long!  Victory for Nacke Farms at last.

While the events above were unfolding, my dad of  had been telling all of his coffee shop buddies about the drama.  That night after Saddam had been shot he had me type up a news bulletin explaining that Nacke Farm's was now rid of the pigeon terror!

I wish I still had that document saved somewhere.  It was written on my parents old computer and was lost when they got a new one.  But you can bet my dad beamed that next morning he strutted into the coffee shop telling everyone how the reign of Saddam the pigeon had come to a decided end.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flashing and Flying

Hello good lookin'!

Of course I'm talking to you, new front door!

Yes, my dad has been flashing and flying through porch update after porch update.  I'm gone for 2 nights and come home to find a new front door.

Before the door was installed my dad framed it in.  Then with my uncle's help and metal bender they put flashing around the door frame and installed a new threshold.

He also had to put a side board on the left of the porch and 2 corner boards on the right side.  And some more flashing action took place.

Here's the inside of the porch so you can get an idea of what it's shaping up to be.  Sorry these are so dark but a closed in porch is... well dark.

Elsie is in distress.  She hates this.

The siding has been ordered!  It's not your tipical plain ole straight across siding.  My uncle recomened we get this kind of siding because for one we won't have to drive ourselves crazy matching the old siding with the new, and also it will set off the porch from the rest of the house.

So this weekend we'll be having a siding party at the Nacke residence, feel free to come by and lend a hand!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Corn Bales

In case you haven't heard, we are in a drought.

A bad one.

And it's taking a toll on our pastures and hay fields.  Which in turn takes a major toll on our winter hay supply.  The cows have been eatting up our hay like candy.

The farmer who owns all the ground around my parent's small homestead has been cutting down his seed corn.  The lack of rain and 100 degree tempertures smothered any chance of pollination.  It's a total loss, and thus the complete waste of hundreds of acres of planted corn.

But wait... not a complete waste.

We are hard up for hay.  And we are only going to get harder up.  If that's even a phrase.

So we are doing something we have never had to do before.  We are bailing corn.

I was very sceptical before this whole process began.  Corn stalks are so different than hay.  I didn't think our conditioner or bailer would make the bales.  It was too easy.  Something had to go wrong.

But my dad had faith in the corn and we now are 12 corn bales richer.

The major problem really occurs after bailing.  Corn needs nitrogen to grow and stores it in it's stalks.  If cows injest too much nitrogen they... well they die.  And this is something we obviously want to avoid at all costs.

So the bales will need to be tested for their nitrogen content before being fed to any of our cows.  We are hoping the tests come back fine.

If so we are going to have this...

times 80!

Yes, we are going to try to get 80 more round bales of corn.

The bales will have very little nutritional value, but they will be a filler.  Something we can feed now before it gets too cold.  And save our good supply of hay for the bitter cold months when the nutrition will matter.  Full cows are happy cows and we want our cows to be the happiest.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Here is another post from the "Show Calves That Nat Loved" series!

We bought Suzie and two other heifers (Molly and Annie) from a sale about 13 years ago.  Little did we know this little red and white calf would grow to be the biggest pain the butt Nacke Farms has ever seen.

Suzie was tame as tame could be.  She wouldn't move no matter how much you pulled, pushed, and cussed at her.  But most dangerously of all, she was very smart.

There wasn't a gate that could keep Suzie pinned in or out.  She would use her nose to move lock bars and her tongue to undo latches.  Once she found out where the grain was we had to wire every gate leading into that area.  The second you turned your back to an unwired gate, was the second she was through it.

Another clever trick she employed at our huge concrete water tank with a hydrant.  Whenever the water was running and she and another calf were standing by it, she would put her nose up to the faucet so that the water would shoot off and squirt the other calf right in the face...  I couldn't make this stuff up!  I suppose she thought it was amusing or maybe she just didn't like company when she drank, but it was quite a site.

We sold Suzie a few years back.  She was getting to be an older cow and we had new replacement heifers to join the herd.  Even though she's gone, you can bet I'll always remember Suzie and her tricks!