Saturday, October 22, 2016

Henry Reports on Potential Rain

If you don't know who Henry is, click here.

Henry is the weekend weather monkey for our local news. Here's his latest report.

Henry's Morning Update:
 Good morning viewers! I'm Chief Bananaologist Henry the Sock Monkey out here bright and early, atop the highest point in the Miller's backyard, giving you a first look at today's weather. We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a cold front which could bring us some much needed showers.
 As you can see, we will be monitoring the skies closely to let you know when and if that rain will get here.
 Right now, there are only a few whispy cirrus clouds, but more clouds should build up during the afternoon and evening hours
 We will be bringing you updates throughout the day. Will it ever rain? Will the temperatures cool down? Will I ever wear pants? Stay tuned for "As the Clouds Form." I'm Henry, reporting live from the observation tower at MNKY 1News.

Afternoon Update:
 Sorry to interrupt "General Jungle," but Henry here with a mid afternoon weather update. As you can see, not a drop of rain has fallen yet. Snead is still dry as a bone. I'm waiting on cacti to start popping up. I saw a camel walk by with steam coming out of his radiator. Fish are actually jumping in toilets
 There is hope though. Showers and storms are just to the west of us, moving east. Keep those rain jackets handy folks. This has been Chief Bananaologist, Henry the Sock Monkey MNKY1, reporting.

Early Evening Update:
 Chief Bananaologist Henry the Sock Monkey reporting live from the Snead desert. It's beginning to cloud up as the potential rain approaches. In order to insure that it rains, we have enlisted the help of a local Indian tribe to do a rain dance. Any words before you begin?
 Shouldn't you know how?
 I don't know, but we're live so you better figure out something.
 Ok, there they go, doing their rain dance. Let's hope this works.
 Oh my gosh! It worked! It's pouring! Where's my umbrella and boots?! It's a miracle!
 Oh. Nevermind. Back to you at the MNKY1 studio.

Late Evening Update:
Well folks, we got our hopes up once again in this part of the country, only to have them crushed when the rain dissipated on the radar. The Indians are fired and I'm putting this umbrella on Craigslist. The only moisture we saw around here was from the tears of sad people. This is Chief Bananaologist Henry the Sock Monkey signing off.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Flat Aggie visits Miller Farms!

We hosted a visitor at our farm this past weekend...Flat Aggie! She's on a really long school field trip from the Midwest! I'll hush and let her give her report!

Hi! I'm Flat Aggie! You can call me Flat. Or Aggie. Or Flat Aggie. I'm on vacation in North Central Alabama at Miller Farms! As you can see, I'm standing in a chicken house with a lot of chickens! This farm raises broiler chickens for meat. There are four chicken houses on this farm. Each house is 43 'x 510' and holds around 33,000 chickens a piece. That's a lot of chickens!

I was lucky enough to visit the day they got day old baby chickens! The feed, water, ventilation, and heat in the chicken houses are all automated. These chickens will stay for 35 days and will be 4 lbs. when they leave.

Can you tell what I'm standing on? It's peanuts! The Millers also have 200 acres of peanuts.

Peanuts grow under the ground. They are planted in April/May and are harvested in October. When the peanuts are ready to be picked, a machine called an inverter (in my picture above) plows the peanuts out of the ground and flips them over where the peanuts are now on top and the vines are on the bottom.

On the left, you can see non inverted peanut vines. On the right, they have been  inverted.

After the peanuts dry for a few days, they are ready to combine! A tractor pulls a peanut combine over the inverted peanuts. The peanuts are blown into the basket on top of the combine and the trash and vines are blown out the back.

Look, it snowed! No, I'm just kidding. I'm in a cotton field! Cotton is King on Miller Farms. They have 760 acres of it!

It's also harvest season for cotton! I'm standing on a cotton picker. Can you see me? These things are huge!

I even got to help the farmer drive! I should really keep my eyes on the rows though. The cotton picker grabs the cotton as it runs over the stalks. The cotton is then blown into the basket. From the basket, the cotton goes into the baler where it is rolled into a giant round bale of cotton and wrapped with plastic.

I look teeny tiny compared to these bales of cotton! One of these weigh 5,000 lbs. and has 4 bales of cotton in it. It is loaded onto a truck and taken to a cotton gin, where the seeds and trash are separated from the cotton.
I had a great time here in Alabama, and I learned some awesome facts before I left...
  • The average American eats 85 lbs. of chicken in one year.
  • The United States is the world's largest producer of poultry meat.
  • There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches!
  • It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 oz jar of peanut butter.
  • The average American eats over 6 lbs. of peanuts/peanut butter products in a year.
  • One bale of cotton, which weighs 480 lbs., can produce 215 pairs of jeans, 690 bath towels, 3,085 diapers, or even 313,600  $100 bills.
  • The seeds from the cotton plant can be used as animal feed, and the oil from the seeds can be used for cooking.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Cowboy/Cowgirl Birthday!

My kids turned 5 and 1 at the end of July. Reed's is on July 31st and Jade's is on July 27th. Having birthdays only 4 days apart means one big party! Thankfully they are still young, and I can find a theme to make both of them happy. This year it was cowboys and cowgirls!

I had one table decorated for Reed and one decorated for Jade. This is Jade's. We had 1st Birthday cowgirl plates, pink napkins, and pink silverware standing in a plastic boot.
This was her cake. It's a horse made out of cupcakes. The hair is twizzlers. It was made by my awesome Aunt Candie!
Also on her table was corn on the cob, corn dog muffins, and cowboy beans (baked). I kept them warm in crockpots, which was also handy for keep away flies!

And here's Reed's table. Doesn't show very well in the picture, but he had cowboy plates, red napkins, and red silverware standing in a clear boot.  I found all the plates (and invitations!) on sale on Oriental Trading. It was like 75 cents for a pack of plates and the same for invitations!
Here's Reed's cake. Also made with cupcakes and twizzlers.
Then we had "cow patties" (boiled cookies), "gold nuggets" (puff corn), and watermelon.
We also had "Cactus Juice" (Hawaiian Punch) to drink.
Of course we had to dig into the smash cake (you should've seen the after picture!)
and blow out candles!
Reed requested a piñata, which was a horse filled with toy cowboys, stickers, sheriff badges, etc.
Jade even had her own pink pony piñata.

We opened presents, presents,
and more presents!
We sent guests home with a boot cup filled with a pink or red bandana and a Cow Tale candy and an activity book and pencil. Also had Jade's 1st year scrapbooks out and a scrapbook page to sign! I would say the party was a success!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Summer of Conferences...

I've already written about going to the ALFA President's Conference in Asheville, NC earlier this summer, but that wasn't the only conference we attended! We didn't get a "real" vacation this year, we were too busy conferencing. The last week of July consisted of two conferences, the Southern Peanut Growers Conference and the ALFA Commodity Conference.

The Southern Peanut Growers Conference was at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort near Destin, FL. The "fancy" resort could've definitely been better, along with the 10 minute drive to the crowded beach, but hey, I'll take what I can get. Here's some of my favorite pictures...

And the very next week, we were off to the Alabama Farmer's Federation Commodity Conference! This conference consists of workshops and speakers, tours and banquets. Very educational for farmers! The location of the conference changes every year. This year it was in Mobile.