Back on the farm with Tina

Are you ready to hit the farm for a few more hectic days? If you read the previous post you have already met wife and mother of five – Tina. She balances and juggles the needs of her business life on the farm as well as spending time with each of her kids, her church family and friends. 

If you were to ask Tina why she loves living the farm life, a person can’t help but hear the sincerity in her voice as she explains it.

“Our family works hard together. We work through whatever hurdles pop up – whether it’s weather or broken machinery – so others can have access to the food they need. We want our fellow Oklahomans to have quality, affordable and healthy food at every meal. It’s our passion. Our family is proud to be a part of feeding everyone – from our neighbors to those living half-way across the world.” 

Curious how Tina’s weekend went? Keep reading to see her diary entries for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  

Tina and goat

Tina holds her goat in a kind embrace to show him off to the camera. 

If you were to have been in our house on Saturday morning before 9 a.m. you would not have seen me. It wasn’t until then I was able to get my exhausted self out of bed. I cooked a simple breakfast of bacon and eggs on English muffins before I rallied the kids. We scarfed down food.

After a quick meal EVERYONE managed to get dressed to work outside with the goats. It wasn’t long before our human herd invaded the 200 plus goats in the field.

field of goats

The goats are strolling through the pasture where they will receive care from Tina’s family. Those who are to go to market today will then be loaded onto a trailer after which they will sell at market, helping to feed the world. 

Our family works together in the field all of the morning and part of the afternoon to care for the health of the goats. We vaccinate against diseases, use de-wormer to protect against parasites and we sorted the animals into groups.

The heat truly took a toll while we worked through lunch. However we made sure everyone took lots of water and Gatorade breaks. Even when the weather is extreme we make sure to prepare and take care of one another.

Once we have goats sorted we load 22 of them for auction into a livestock trailer. The goats we take are billy kid goats – which are young male goats that are not castrated. My husband and I then load our twin eight-year-old boys into the truck and head for the auction.

We’re on the road for about an hour before we arrive at the auction. We wait in line to unload for about 30 minutes and at 3:30 p.m. we are able to check in and unload the goats into pens.

Ben with goat

Tina’s husband Ben inspects one of the goats up close. Doesn’t he seem to be pleased with what he sees? 

If you think our Saturday was finished, think again. At 3:45 p.m. the drive to our north farm begins. The plan is to finish raking and baling tonight. When we arrive at 4:15 p.m. one of the twins goes with my husband while the other rides with me and while I rake, my husband bales.

Guess what happens at 6:30 p.m. No, we don’t finish working in the hay field. A chain breaks on the baler my husband is driving. I call John Deere (thank goodness for cell phones, am I right?) and drive into town with the twins to meet the John Deere dealer – after hours I might add – to pick up a new chain.

At 7:45 p.m. I once again grace the farm with my presence and after installing the new chain my husband once again is baling hay. I continue to rake. Once the raking is finished I start removing the bales from the field.

The bales must all be removed in order for us to use the central pivot irrigation system to deliver fertilizer to the hay field. The fertilizer is the manure from the pig farm and helps us to recycle the waste back into a better hay crop to feed other animals.

What happens then? My tire blows and I am no longer able to help my husband. I am now simply waiting for my husband to finish.  By this time it is VERY late and VERY dark, but finally we finish. We start the pivot system and it seems to be in working order. By 1 a.m. we are back home and getting showers done before collapsing into our beds.

The next thing I know, it’s Sunday and I’m up at 8 a.m. I shower and get ready for church, wake up the kids so they can get ready, and make some eggs for a quick breakfast. By 10 a.m. we’re out the door and on our way.

After an uplifting service finishes, we head to my parents house for Sunday lunch. By this point it is past noon. Lunch is served and enjoyed by all – my three youngest kids decide to stay with their grandparents while I take my two teenage daughters shopping for back-to-school clothes. (I know it is early – but I do so hate all the crowds).

While shopping we decide we might as well take out two birds with one stone, so we grocery shop too. I am back to my parents house by 6:30 p.m. to pick up my three youngest children and once we’re home I make dinner. Everyone gets to take leisurely showers since we are home so early.

The kids get in bed and I spend some time checking emails, then I stalk around social media and finally I watch my show on Netflix before I drift off to sleep.

Guess what though – the first cut of the hay season is finished and it’s a good day.

I greet the sun at 7 a.m. I proceed to get ready, eat breakfast and go to my desk to return emails, pay bills, make and return phone calls and sort all of the mail. This is the boring paper work part, but someone has to do it.

By 8 a.m. I get a call that the farm needs more semen to be able to artificially inboy on hay baleseminate the sows. I call the boar stud  and set up time to meet a delivery driver. (Securing the materials to breed the pigs is the job of the company with which my family contracts).

At 8:30 a.m. I am driving to Seminole, Okla. to meet the delivery driver with the semen. Once the delivery is finished I drive straight to the farm and get the semen into a cooler. I check the paperwork to make sure every single detail is in order before I leave.

Lunch is next on my agenda so at 10:30 a.m. I am making lunch and the family eats together around 11:30 a.m. By noon I am back to the desk and working on all of the paperwork. I plan for this to be my job the rest of the afternoon.

However at 3:30 p.m. my husband calls. He has a busted hydraulic hose and needs a new one as soon as I can possibly get one to him. Luckily by 4 p.m. I am at Napa Auto Parts store having a new hose made (and then I stop by the bank while I am in town). By 5 p.m. my husband has the new hose and less than 30 minutes later I am getting to water the flowers on my porch.

From 6-7 p.m. I make dinner. The family gathers to eat together and then everyone gets their showers finished. Once that is done, we sit down together and watch a movie. Want to guess which one? It is then time for bed.

Can you imagine spending a few days in Tina’s shoes? Does it sound fun to you? Would you be scared to have so many irons in the fire? Let me know what you think. Also, what questions do you have for Tina – or any other Oklahoma pig farmer? Let’s get connected! 

 

Archived: Pork’s power to inspire

Lela Davis takes 1st Place at the Pork Recipe Contest

We are all busy these days and cooking a meal for family and friends seems to not be the priority it was a few years ago. I had the opportunity to attend the Tulsa State Fair Pork Recipe contest last week. It was amazing to see the scrumptious creations the entrants had created. The dishes tasted so yummy. It was fun to see the look of anticipation on the ladies faces as the judges tasted each dish and examined the presentation. The winners were so elated when their name was called and I was inspired by their eagerness to share their dishes with everyone there.

I’m sharing the winning recipe below.

First because it was SOOO good.

Second, to inspire you to get in the kitchen. Even if you don’t have lots of time, you can find easy recipes. In fact there’s’ hundreds on porkbeinspired.com.
Third to encourage you to incorporate pork into your meal plans. Not just because I work here at OPC, but from my personal experience of feeding my family. Pork is a versatile, healthy option that fits the needs of this busy working Mom with a husband and two boys. I know it will meet your needs too.
Pork Chop Tomato Pie
Created by Lela Davis of Owasso, Okla
1 c. onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. shortening
4 pork chops, finely chopped2 tbsp. flour
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 cup mozzarella cheese1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ready- made pie crust
Pork Chop Tomato Pie - YUM!

In a large skillet, sauté onions and pork chops in shortening and 2 tbsp. flour. Cook until tender then simmer until thick. Cook pie crust until ½ done. In medium bowl, stir mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper, cheese and cooked bacon. Add onions, pork chops, and tomatoes and mix well. Put mixture in pie crusts. Cook at 325 for 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Makes 2 pies.

Archived: Out of the office

Chandler, Oklahoma :: The midpoint of Route 66 and the birthplace of the Oklahoma Territorial Militia (aka the Oklahoma National Guard). Oh, and the location of the Lion’s Club meeting, where I had the opportunity to speak yesterday.

The part of my job I love the most is interacting with communities and spreading the word about not only the Oklahoma pork industry but also the agricultural community as a whole.

Although agriculture has been an integral piece of my life, until I began working for the Oklahoma Pork Council – my experience with the pork industry was limited.

I see this as an opportunity to use my experiences – new found experiences – to connect to individuals who are asking the questions I asked even a few months ago.

A big Thank you! to the gentlemen & women at the meeting yesterday – I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear about your community and for the lunch!

If you would like someone to be a part of your next program – let us know. We’ll send a producer, an executive director, a communications coordinator – or maybe even me. But one things for sure – we’ll send someone!