Sunday, August 9, 2009

Farmer Goes to the Big City!

What city you ask? Why the State Capitol of Alabama, Montgomery! We were there for the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Conference, which involves banquets, meetings, contests, and tours. If you remember earlier this year, I won our county's Tablescape Contest. That meant I had to compete in the state competition, which is held during the Commodity Conference. We didn't know if we were going to get to go, but we hired our wonderful neighbors to chicken sit for us.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Montgomery.
It had fancy glass elevators, complete with waterfalls!

This is where we ate our free breakfast buffet every morning!

You know you're in a fancy hotel when the bottle of water in your room costs $2.50!

The Alabama River was right behind our hotel.

Anyways, back to the reason we came, my tablescape! In case you can't tell what something is, I'll explain! The point of the tablescape competition was to spotlight one of the commodities grown in Alabama. I chose cotton, obviously! Everything is sitting on a 100% cotton white tablecloth and an old cotton pick sack. I used my John Deere "fine china" as the table setting complete with a 100% cotton napkin. It took me about 3 hours to figure out how to fold that darn napkin. The napkin is also decorated with a cotton boll lapel pin and tie tac. I have a cotton "bouquet" in a John Deere milk can and two cotton pickers sitting on my John Deere lazy susan. Two bales of cotton are on the left side, and a John Deere lunch box full of cotton bolls is on the right. In the back is a Cotton Incorporated car tag, and a picture of a field of our cotton taken in 2006. There you have it, my tablescape!

Here are the overall winners. I don't mean to sound like a sore loser, but my thoughts, along with many of the other contestants, is that if the point of the tablescapes were to spotlight a commodity, then how did these win?? Some of these you can hardly tell what commodity they chose!
Here's 1st place. The commodity is Honey Bees.

Here's 2nd. The commodity is Wildlife. If I hadn't of seen the "Wildlife" sign in the middle, I wouldn't have known what it was. I see more flowers than wildlife.

Here's 3rd place. The commodity is poultry. I see a total of 2 chickens. I probably see more chicken plates and do-dads than anything else in stores, and she could only find 2 chickens to put on her table, and she won??


What Farmers Federation Conference would be complete without visiting a farm or two? Lance visited the E.V. Smith Agricultural Research Center and the Hyundai Plant, which was nearby. There were no pictures allowed in the Hyundai Plant, but here's a couple from the research center.

Lance can't remember the name of this flower, but its from Japan and they are trying to grow it here. It is completely edible. Looks to me like it has a Ritz cracker in the middle of it!

As soon as the contest was over on Saturday, we had to leave and get home to our chickens. On the way out of Montgomery we drove by a few interesting places (Unfortunately, they were closed!).
The Alabama State Capitol Building

The First White House of the Confederacy where Jefferson Davis lived.
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached.

Now its back to the world of chickens, farming, and house building!


  1. I think the contest was totally should have WON! Oh well, nothing that happens in Montgomery isn't without some bribery somewhere, is it? HaHa!

    I'm glad that you and Lance got away from the "kids" for a night! I've stayed in that same hotel before during a nursing convention. Really nice place!


    Robin :o)

  2. You know, I've judged at 4H functions before, and I had to keep going back to the rule sheet to remind myself what this purpose of the project was in order to properly judge each entry correctly. I think the judges here got caught up in the 'bling'. Your entry was chock full of cotton, and was 100% farm. If they had kept their focus, I believe you would have won a place. I don't see the wildlife either.

  3. What a wonderful trip. Thanks for taking us along. I must say that YOU WAS ROBBED!!! Seriously, wildlife is NOT a commodity. I know because I live in the land of commodity's! Wildlife is not traded and sold in the market. And personally, I can't imagine sitting at a table and being served an entire jar of honey! HA.

    Yours was the best. You know it and I know it. By the way, your fine china reminded me that I need to get out to Grand Detour to visit the John Deere sight for a field trip before the summer is over.

  4. Ya'll got ripped off kiddo! Yours was MUCH better! Well I hope you enjoyed your time away from the farm at least. Didya leave Henry at home?

  5. Thanks yall! Yes, we had to leave Henry at home. There was a small animal fee for the motel and we didn't have the extra money, lol.

  6. You wuz robbed!

    Loved the pics, Steph. Sounds like you and Lance had a good time. It's good to get away for a bit.

  7. loved this post! thank you for sharing with your bloggy buddies...sounds like the judges were blind and had no clue. that edible flower is interesting looking. love that pretty house and the brick wall!