It happens to be one of my son's favorite shows, and one we enjoy watching as well.
We had our own version of it here this weekend. Just a warning...there is a bunch of pictures to share here, so hope you enjoy them and don't get bored too quickly! But if you make it all the way down, you have a chance to comment and win some Blog Candy!
First, my mom's cousins live just outside of Council Bluffs IA, and just 40 minutes away from us! How wonderful it is to have family near us here!
They live on a farmstead, originally owned by my Great Grandmother's sister and her husband. Paul is a man of many talents and hobbies and when we met up with them over Labor Day weekend, he mentioned he made popping corn! Well, let me tell you, since moving to Nebraska, we have seen all the hundreds of fields of Corn, and we had just talked about what corn was used for popping. Turns out, it's a special kind of corn. I asked Paul what it would be like if I picked that corn and tried to eat it off the cob....he told me I wouldn't get sick or anything, but probably wouldn't enjoy it all that much! :)
This first picture is of the sign out on the highway, pointing to their farm, and Paul's Perfect Hardwoods, which he also does and we will cover later this post! (REMEMBER, YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY OF THESE PICTURES TO VIEW THEM LARGER!!)
We went out to the corn fields, where he showed us the special corn he grew to make popcorn, as well as the corn they grow all around us, which is feeder corn, for the cows. Here is my son, holding up the two varieties of corn, on the left is the feeder corn(his right hand), the right is the popping corn(his left hand).
Paul grew about 7 small rows of corn, and picked a portion of one of the rows a week prior, so the ears could dry out some, and we could come over and see it being turned to popping corn! After it's picked, it's dried another week or so, then run through the machine that separates the corn kernels from the cob! BTW, the little barn kitties were so anxious to see the popping corn, they kept popping their heads in to investigate!
It goes into this old machine, which then twists and grinds on the cob of corn, and the corn falls right out, into the bowl at the bottom! These ears weren't "quite" dry yet, so while we got a bowl full of popcorn to take home, I have to let it stay out on the counter and stir it around every once in a while. Paul told us it will be good to pop in about another week...and that whatever we don't use right away, we can freeze for up to a year! Here is a slideshow of the rest of the popping corn pictures!
Along with the Popping Corn, we also got to check out Paul's saw mill, which he has been running for over 50 years! Now, that was pretty cool, and I have to admit, I never thought much about the wood we use, so it was neat seeing it cut from a log, and we went through some of his old logs that he cut before, where he showed us how a tree is affected by staples and nails, and bullets from hunters!
Here is the first picture of Cameron, plugging his ears, because the saw mill is rather loud!
Then, here is a slide show of the saw mill being run by Paul, as he cut up a big log for us!
After he cuts it, he runs the cut pieces through again, to trim off the edging, and he knows just what to keep and not to keep. He then stacks them all with spacers and puts them in this big Quonset to dry. He will then put it in this huge kiln for final drying then run it through a planer, where it gets smoothed out and ready for someone to use!
Inside his "board room" (he has a sign up from an office board room, but literally, it's a board room!) he showed us many samples of cut and prepped wood, ready for those looking for good quality wood to build with. Inside here, we also saw this branch that he kept, they believe it had a vine wrapped around it through it's growing years, and turned into this really neat knotty branch, which you can see here with my son holding it.
________________________________________________________________We then walked through the farm some more, and took a look at all his varieties of nut trees. (He is part of the nut growers council, and travels through the U.S. meeting with them, and sharing his ideas on growing and grafting trees) Paul took us to his small grove of trees which he grafted with other trees to make a new tree. If it was a good fruit bearer, then it got grafted to a non producer, and when it grows, it should then be a good fruit bearer like it's predecessor.
The one tree that really fascinated me was the Chestnut tree! I never knew they grew inside this prickly pod, it was the coolest looking thing! Check out the slide show, it is of the green pods holding the chestnuts, covered in pricklies, to protect itself from squirrels and birds....and then some open pods where the chestnuts are peeking through, and us picking a couple! What a neat slide show this one made!
Alright, and if you haven't fallen asleep yet....here are some other great photos I took on Sunday, during out day of learning!
Here is a really pretty flower, don't know what it's called, but it was neat! (Leann told me what it was, but I soon forgot with all the other information floating in my head from the day!)
Here is a shot of the dog, Homer, who decided he was tired of fetching the "little" sticks, when we were walking, he discovered the log pile, and went and grabbed one to play fetch with...we tried telling him it was to heavy to throw, but he didn't care!
And, this final picture is of my son and daughter, and behind them is a pine tree, taken as a sapling from the old pine trees in front of my Great-Great Aunt Marie's farm in North Dakota. When we moved from California to North Dakota as teenagers, we moved onto Aunt Marie's farm, and lived there until I graduated High School. So this tree is from that farm, and I thought it was a neat privilege to get a pic of the kids in front of it!
All in all we had a great educational day with family, and we hope to see Paul and Leann again soon! Next time, I'll take pictures of her huge collection of snow globes, as she has over 100 of them!!
Make sure you come back later this week for the big anniversary and birthday celebration!
FINALLY...if you made it through this far...here is some BLOG CANDY for you!!
Post and tell me what you think of any of these topics we learned about this weekend, or post some interesting tidbit you learned this fall!! Then, this weekend, I will draw a name from anyone that commented on here, and send them a small bag of our very own popping corn that we got to keep!! You have until FRIDAY 11:59 pm EST to leave a comment on this posting......Hope we get to learn a lot from you guys too!!
Have a happy cutting day! (I'm anxiously waiting for my new camera to get here....I kept imagining all day Sunday on how much better my pictures would have been if I had it!)