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It’s not often that Dale is away from the farm and the boys and I have to do chores. But when it does happen there always seems to be some type of adventure involved. This past week Dale had the opportunity to attend a marketing seminar and tour the Board of Trade in Chicago. No problem, the boys could do chores while he was gone. Did I mention that the sows always seem to farrow when he’s gone?

Sure enough Wednesday night a sow that had taken almost all day to have 4 pigs needed some help. There was still one inside her that was having trouble getting out. Brett and I prepped ourselves for assistance. He gave his best effort with no luck. I gave it a try. Newborn pigs are slippery no matter where they are at. Getting ahold of them and keeping your grip while helping the sow is tough. Did I mention that about this time we called Dale on his cell phone for tips? Yes, we’re in the barn and he’s in the restaurant in Chicago. I love technology.

Determined to help that pig be born, the sow and I combined our efforts. We were successful. Fearing the worst, Brett and I both yelled “it’s alive” as the pig opened its eyes and started to move around. Instinct took over as the pig gained strength and went to look for Mom and a meal.

Brett and I both felt good about our efforts and results. During this time another sow in the barn had started to farrow and there were new pigs on the ground. We’re hoping these will be our State Fair pigs.

When’s the next time Dale will be gone and we’ll have to do chores? I don’t know. But I’m willing to bet the kids and I will be involved in another adventure.

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My trail shoes have replaced my snowshoes on the rug inside our front door.  I always have a pair of running something or other sitting inside our front door.  I haven’t officially retired my snowshoes for the season yet.  I do realize it is only February.  But I am hopeful that my road running is making a strong comeback.

I moved back to running on the road last week.  Oh, it was an amazing feeling!  I felt so light, even though my weight is always at its highest in the winter.  It just felt good to have my shoes meet the gravel without a snowshoe attached.  Switching things up always feels good, whether it is a different route, outfit, or running partner.

I’m still contemplating which race to run in Duluth as part of the Pork Power team.  Full marathon or half-marathon?  I need to decide soon, as I get on with the training.  I’m not sure why this has become such a difficult decision for me.  I’m sure something will spark an answer for me soon.

This week Brett & Adam registered to run the Gary Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon as part of the Pork Power team during Grandma’s Marathon weekend. I am excited for them, but also a bit nervous. This distance is considerably more than what they have done before. While they will be doing it as part of their Cross Country training, I hope they don’t hurt something that would affect their season. (Boy, doesn’t that sound like something a Mom would say?) 

Really though, I am proud of them for making the commitment. It’s something they have been talking about ever since they found out the MN Pork Board would be a sponsor and the Pork Power team would return to Duluth. They still talk about what a great time they had last year and although their race will be different, I hope they have just as much fun.

Perhaps I’ll even get them to share a few of their training experiences through this blog. Stay tuned.

The women in my mom’s family have gotten together for a weekend in February for almost 20 years now.  Aunts, cousins, sisters, and grandmothers converge on a predetermined host’s house.  Women’s Weekend 2011 was held at my mother’s house this past weekend.  I couldn’t help coming away with a joyful heart and a greater appreciation for all of these positive women.

Some of the weekend activities included sharing five things from your bucket list, an auction of gently used items, shopping for the best deal of the day, laughing, visiting, eating and eating.  I realize I mentioned eating twice.  Breaking bread together is a really important part of the weekend and eating is where the pork connection comes in.  Whether it is pork roast with sauerkraut or pork sausage and eggs or ground pork in spaghetti sauce, pork definitely is a delicious food to share among families.

Mealtime is about way more than satisfying our appetites.  It’s sharing time and laughing time and bonding time.  As we joined hands before our last meal at Women’s Weekend we took a moment to give thanks for all of the women who have shaped who we have become.  Pass the pork.

The other day Dale and I went for an easy 2 mile run. Well, it was an easy run for him and a little more work for me. “Oh, it’s a little windier than I thought”, Dale exclaimed as we headed down the driveway and on to the road. Great, not exactly what I wanted to hear. This was really my first winter run in quite a long time. I had the right running gear to stay warm and protect against the wind and oh yes, I had Dale’s Yak Trax on my shoes to help me keep from slipping.

It was a great run. Dale commented that my stride was shorter, which is a good thing and that I was stronger going up the hill. Yes, my winter workout routine must be paying off. When we got back home I felt like I should have run further. So that will be my goal for next time…run farther and perhaps stronger and faster

May I whine?  If you don’t like complaining, you might want to tune out before you read any further…

Don’t get me wrong.  I love to run, but today’s run was tough.  My run started out like most other days.  I have been running in snowshoes this winter in our pasture to avoid our icy country roads and the dangers that come with it.  I pulled on my snowpants, hat, and gloves; secured the velcro on my facemask; and snapped on my snowshoes.  Out the door I went, over the electric fence and into the pasture covered by a fresh blanket of snow.

Every time we get a fresh snow I need to establish a new path.  Running in 6 inches of snow is more difficult than it may sound.  If you’ve ever run with weights on your ankles, it’s kind of like that, except 10 times harder!  Today I just didn’t feel like blazing a new trail, but had no choice.  As I ran I tried to fill my mind with positive thoughts, but the whining kept creeping in.

Here’s kind of how my inner dialogue sounded:

This fresh air feels good… The wind is freezing my face   My legs are getting stronger… These hills are way too steep  The snow is sparkling like diamonds… This snow is way too deep

As I ran, my snowshoes started to feel really heavy.  I looked back to find my running partner, Hal, running on the backs of my snowshoes.  “Hal, use your own four feet”, I hollered.  Hal, of course, is our 8-month-old border collie.  He loves to run and doesn’t need any help from my snowshoes.

Finally, I found myself climbing the last hill to our backyard.  I made it!  Not every workout is fun.  I find myself breaking my workouts into percentages of pleasure and pain.  Today was definitely heavy on the pain and light on the pleasure, but I know I will be back at it tomorrow.