Friday, February 25, 2011


A few years back, I remember coming home from wherever I had been that day and my dad telling me that we had lost a newborn calf.  This saddened me, we didn't often lose calves, but it was something that did happen and you have to accept it.  It's a part of farming, not a fun part, but a part none the less.  He proceeded to tell me about how the momma cow was having a hard time delivering and he had to pull the calf.  He knew instantly that something was wrong.  The calf was deformed in a way that he had never seen before in his many years of farming.  Upon delivery, you could see the extent of the deformity.  The calf was literally inside out.

I went up to the shed to see what dad was talking about.  I just couldn't picture it in my head.  It was dark and we didn't get any good pictures, but the image has stuck with me.  I described it to many farming friends and even a college professor, but none of them had ever seen anything like it.  Our vet said it was a very rare deformity called schistosomas reflexus, and he in fact had only seen one case before in his 40+ years of vet medicine. 

I haven't heard of anyone I know having a calf born with this condition since, but yesterday, I ran across a blog post by Holly Spangler and she too described a calf that was born this way.  She was able to get some pictures so I thought I'd share her blog post below.     

Note: This blog includes photos images that may be graphic in nature.

Well, We've Never Seen That Before

I mentioned earlier this week that we had a deformed calf born on our farm over the weekend. The first word came as the kids, our babysitter niece and I were waiting to hear what was up with the calving situation. I called my mother-in-law, who reported that my father-in-law said they were doing a C-section because the calf was “inside out.”

That really didn’t make any sense to me, at least until I saw it. Then, it struck me as the perfect description.

Also, apologies for the poor photographs. It was dark, it was cold, I was shooting in the light of the tractor headlights and I had three small children waiting and asking 4.6 million questions. And, my husband kept telling me to move because I was blocking the light. Oops – sorry, Dr. Barkley!

The official term is schistosomas reflexus. Essentially, the body cavity fails to form around the calf’s organs. The calf sort of folds back on itself, kind of like a bat, and the legs and head all point in the same direction. The leg joints are fused. For his part, John knew he had a problem when he reached in to pull the calf and felt its spine. Time to call the professionals.

I can say, in 34 years in the cattle business, I’ve not seen a deformed calf like this. The veterinarian who came out to the farm confirms it’s a rarity, noting he’s only seen two or three in his career. Another vet in his office adds that it’s more typically found in Holsteins, and fairly rare in beef cattle. I did a Google search last night and sure enough, most photos were of Holstein calves.

Schistosomas reflexus is considered a congenital defect, rather than a hereditary one, which is to say some fluke occurred in the gestational building process. Hereditary defects are genetic and are passed down through the genetic pool. So that’s a relief. It also means it’s not TH or PHA.

Here’s hoping this is the most “exciting” point of the 2011 calving season. It can only get better from here, right?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gun Range Plans New Indoor Training Facility

Remember that potential new range that I mentioned here? I'm so happy to see that it's getting some local publicity. This will be a wonderful asset to the youth in our area!

From The Pantagraph: Gun Range Plans New Indoor Training Facility

Joe Miller & Dad - Showing off his win from a raffle supporting this new facility

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Architect

Monkey has a new obsession. 

She's been enthralled with building towers out of legos.  Just look at the concentration on her face! 

I'm hoping this means a career as an architect... don't they make a lot of money?

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Weekend Update

Well, it's cold again.  There are even flurries floating around outside.  That nice spring-like weather sure didn't last long.  However, we were able to enjoy it while it lasted and definately look forward to it making another, longer-lasting appearance. 

Monkey took advantage of the warmer temps by getting out her fourwheeler and going for a little spin around the driveway.

She then decided she wanted something with a little more horsepower and cruised around in her jeep. 

Monkey turns two in April and this was supposed to be her birthday present. Someone decided to give it to her early. That someone wasn't me.  You can take a stab in the dark at at who it was. It starts with "D" and ends in "addy" and is very well acquainted with Monkey's little finger.

As for the adults in the house, we had our own new toys to play with.  We were finally able to pick up our winnings from the other night

Funny side note: Before this most recent NRA dinner, the only thing I had ever won at one of those was the camo case in the above picture.  I was pretty happy to even win that, so imagine my excitement when we won not one, but TWO guns!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Animal

I made a purchase recently.  One that I would not normally be excited about.  However, after using said purchase the first time, I became more than just excited, I was ecstatic! 

I can't believe my life has come to this, but yes, I AM talking about a vacuum.  A Dyson DC28 Animal to be exact. 

This puppy picked up more dirt, grime and hair out of our carpets than I even thought possible.  It was actually kind of disturbing, yet awe-inspring... never thought I'd be having such emotions about a vacuum.  How things change!
For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toon Tuesday: Romance Fail?

This was sent to me in an email today....

I don't know about you, but the only "FAIL" I see about it is that's it's Bud and not Coor's Light!  Of course, Coor's doesn't really go with the whole flower theme.  Clever thinking on someone's part.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Thing

Last week a friend's grandparent's house burnt to the ground.  Fortunately, everyone made it out alive, but her grandpa suffered some burns and has a long road of recovery ahead of him. 

Yesterday, there was a house fire down the road from us.  It got me thinking, if I could only save one thing from our house (THING, not person) then what would it be?  I posed this question to my Twitter followers and here are a few of the answers:

@PNWranchercell phone to call friends for place to stay or computer w/ all my docs on it maybe.

@kernelle - scrapbooks, hands down

@McGuireJJ - An old worn, scratched, tootsie roll Remington 870.

@AndyFFSI - Great-grandmas silverware. When she bought it in the 1920s, it was the ultimate decadence for a poor farmwife.

It's really hard for me to pick the ONE thing I would save. Most things are just that, things.  Material objects that can be replaced.  A few items hold a pretty special place in my heart though: 

Pictures of course.  A lot of them we have backed up, but not all.  And I know in years to come I would miss having those pictures to conjur up memories.

An emerald ring my great-grandmother gave to me (I was born on Mother's Day, which also happened to fall on her birthday that year; this is who we named Monkey after).

My wedding ring.  Yes, we could replace it, but it would never be THE ring that JC put on my finger the day we wed.

A Curious George stuffed animal.  It was one of the first gifts given to me as a baby and I've held on to it for over 30 years.  I want to give it to Monkey when she's a little older and able to take care of it.    

I'm sure there are other things that I would be devastated to lose, but these really stick out to me.  It's amazing how the things that hold the most value to one person, have little to no value to another. 

What about you? What is the one thing that you would want to save if your house was on fire today? 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Bundled Up

It is down-right frigid here!  But we were lucky enough to have a warmer weekend and were able to go outside and play for a while.  It was a nice break from being cooped up inside the house! 

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Right to Carry in Illinois Looks More Promising Than Ever!

This week members of the brand new 97th General Assembly will convene in the State Capitol in Springfield. New legislators will be bringing with them added support for a Right to Carry law and plan to join the ranks of veteran legislators who have long supported Illinois joining the rest of the nation in becoming a "Carry State".

Also in our favor - the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Heller vs DC and McDonald vs Chicago, support from the Illinois Sheriff's Association, 48 states which have Right to Carry concealed laws, Wisconsin which has the Right to Carry openly and soon to have a concealed carry law - leaving Illinois as the last and only state to completely deny the right to carry. All these factors added to the increase in support by new legislators is very encouraging. IllinoisCarry expects to see major movement in a Right to Carry law this session.

It is our time!!!!!

Right to Carry bills HB148 and SB82 have already been introduced!

Now more than ever we need Illinois gun owners and Second Amendment supporters to get involved in the legislative process.
  • Watch every move the bills make at 
  • Monitor the hearings and debates live as they happen
  • Know exactly when your support is needed to: 
                     1. Call/email/visit your legislators
                     2. Make phone calls to committee members
                     3. Attend committee hearings
                     4. Recruit the help and support of all your friends.

Get Ready to Make Your Voice Heard!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happier Than a Cheesehead in Green Bay

What a fun weekend we had!  The temperature was a little higher so we were able to spend some time outside playing in the snow without freezing our rear-ends off, it was the Super Bowl, AND Saturday night we went to a Friends of NRA Dinner.  We enjoyed a nice meal and had some great conversations.  The best part of the evening though was our table cleaning up at the raffles!

My dad won a Sentry Safe and my older sister, Brandy, won a Para-Ordnance 1911 .45 ACP.  JC and I then won an H&R .223 Handi Rifle! 

If that wasn't enough, the very next drawing we won as well!  A Kahr 9mm! 

This joins the Kahr that JC got me last year for my birthday.  I can't wait to get out and do a little target practice!

If you'd like to try out your luck at a Friends of NRA dinner, you can click here to find one near you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to The Gipper!

February is National History Month and this Sunday, February 6th, marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, our 40th President, and a towering, visionary figure in the history of the Republican Party, the United States and the free world.

The Republican National Committee is celebrating this milestone with a special website devoted to President Reagan. The website will feature video tributes to The Gipper throughout the week from Republicans leading up to his birthday. You can join in the Centennial Celebration by signing a birthday card to President Reagan and joining the conversation about keeping his legacy alive using the Twitter hashtag #Reagan100 (you can find me on twitter @armsnfarms).

Today's video is featured here: