Knolltop Farm Wife
Sunday, September 30, 2007
We brought the cows home last evening and then went out and got all the tack this morning. We didn't get there in time for the boys to pick up their trophies from the trophy case. I'll have to go get those in the morning.
Yesterday was the large animal livestock sale, dairy judging and the super showmanship contest. JW and Sarah did dairy judging and JW was determined to win. And he did. I was glad because I knew he would be very disappointed if he didn't win at his county fair after spending half the summer and part of the fall traveling the midwest with the state judging team. Sarah was 6th, which is very good for her...she is absolutely clueless on how to judge a cow or give reasons. I need to give her a little lesson on this I guess.
One of my favorite 4-H members, Matt Mann won the super showmanship contest. I was so glad, although the kid had won four out of the eight species during the week, he had to pick one specie to represent. As far as I'm concerned, they didn't even have to hold the contest, he won it already. He is an intense showman and a real standout.
It was a great week for all of us. We weren't involved in any controversy or drama...that I know about. And we are all glad to be home. Today has been filled with kids doing homework, napping and watching football.
Better get to the barn!
Friday, September 28, 2007
It will be a quiet day there, no shows, no kids, nothing but sitting and visiting with all my girlfriends about the controversies, events and fun we've had all week.
Thanks to all of you who've made comments and sent emails about our fun yesterday. And Julie, I sure wish your dad was her to see our supreme champion. Never in a million years would George Robb ever expect that Melissa Peckens would ever had a supreme champion Holstein!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Then it was time for Holly to come into the ring. She came in, collected her Grand Champion ribbons, Sarah was reserve grand champion and everyone was all smiles as they headed back to the barn.
It was a great day but not because the kids won championships and not because everyone was happy a the end of the day, but because my kids were probably the only ones their with both sets of grandparents at the show to take pictures, pat them on the back and tell them how wonderful they were. Now that is something special. Thanks Gramps, Grandma, Nana and Joann! You too Grandaddy, for retiring from Delta and earning cheap air fair for Nana and Joann!
P.S. I will try to have better pics after the week is out..there was a professional there, I've just got to buy his pics.
Better get back to the fair....the kids are waiting!
Monday, September 24, 2007
They all got up this morning and were headed to the fair at 4:45 am. Remember...this is the first day....they all popped right up without any difficulty. They called at 7 and said all the chores were done and they were eating breakfast. This is the life!
Another surprise was the arrival of the Southern Belles from Georgia! They said they were going to try to come, but I just figured they wouldn't be able to get on the plane so I didn't think about it again until we came home yesterday afternoon and Bobby said, my mother and Joann are going to be here any minute!
You know what that meant....I stood in the middle of the house and called the troops to attention. I gave everyone their marching orders and by the time they arrived, the house was clean and smelling great...candles are a great help in covering up barn smells.
We are off to the fair this morning. We have to work the 4-H kitchen and finish clipping everything. I have lots of pictures from yesterday, just not enough time to put them in...I'll be home later and hopefully get them loaded in today.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
At present...Sarah's brownies are baking, the last batch of salsa is processing, Luke is clipping and Jake is laying flat out on the living room floor because the neighbor's combine just went by and he can't go!
Last night the kids got all the cows washed and this morning after they clip them, we will head to the fair with a load of tack and make a last minute stop at the store for fairweek snacks.
The laundry is done, but the whites aren't found. All my stories have been written except one that I have to finish up by Monday....just waiting on some information.
At the moment, I'm feeling pretty sane, but I know this is just the calm before the storm...so from this point on...if you don't see any new posts...pray for me! No, really, I'll try to post to keep fair progress updated.
And for Pat who wanted to know about school and a county fair at this time of year....all the schools in the county have Monday off and then whatever kids want to take off the rest of the week they are excused. Most kids take at least two or three, some only take off their show day. All of the small animals and the horses will show this weekend, sheep are Monday, dairy and beef are Tuesday, pigs are Wednesday and dogs are Thursday....that's just 4-H. There are open livestock shows all week too.
It is strange in that most every morning you see a lot more parents doing chores in their work clothes, then they go off to work while the kids go to school. This is not your status quo fair where you see sleepy eyed kid doing their chores early in the morning.
The other neat dynamic is that during the day, the fair isn't crowded with lots and lots of people....mostly older adults and preschoolers. AND one more bonus is the weather...it is usually pleasantly cool, sweatshirt weather which makes it nice for the animals.
Friday, September 21, 2007
It's another day of getting ready for the fair. I've gotten myself into a painting job simply because I want to have a nice display for our kids at the fair. I was going to go the easy route, but as I thought about it, I figured the our cattle deserve a nice display around them. There's nothing better than seeing nice cows and a clean sharp display. So....after I write two more stories...I'm off to find some old brushes and I will be covered in red paint by the time I get done.
I wrote my column on the meeting that I went to on rBST. Since those of you in far away lands don't get the Farmers' Advance, I will put my column here.
Well, breakfast awaits! And so does the laundry :(
So what’s next?
Last week, I attended an interesting meeting about the use of rBST in dairy cattle. It seems the increase in consumer demand for milk from cows not injected with rBST is on the rise.
I feel the need to get some things straight so we are all on the same page. It’s mind boggling how much misinformation is out there.
First of all, the label that we hear so much of: “hormone free milk” is not accurate. All milk whether it’s organic, non organic, hormone free, all of it contains naturally occurring hormones so it is impossible to have “hormone free milk.”
Secondly, there is no difference between milk from cows that have been injected with rBST and milk from cows that haven’t. Milk is milk…end of story. Milk is milk.
The third misconception I’m finding is this increased consumer demand for rBST free milk. I have no scientific data, no studies, no research. The only information is what I’ve gathered on my own. That information indicates that people don’t care about rBST free milk.
For example, here is a conversation that happened just last week. There was a mother of three boys in my barn watching us milk our cows while our children were out playing.
Me: “Hey are you concerned about having bst in your milk?” A curious look comes over her face.
Me: “You know…the milk you can buy in the store that everyone calls hormone free?” Same curious look.
Me: “Do you even know what I’m talking about?”
Her: “No, I have no idea what you are talking about and so I guess it would be a mute issue…in other words, no, I don’t care…I go in, I grab the milk and go home…milk is milk to us…except when the boys come over here and drink your milk and then I have to hear about that for days afterward about how much better it is.”
With all that said, I have to wonder why the push to have rBST free milk?
At the meeting I attended, that was one of the questions asked. Monsanto hosted a meeting for dairy producers, industry people and milk cooperative representatives to come and discuss the recent push by milk cooperatives who are only going to market rBST free milk. Across the country dairymen are being ask to sign an affidavit saying they will not use rBST.
Now, I’m not going to argue whether dairymen should use rBST or not use rBST. What I don’t like is that there are grocery store chains saying their customers want rBST free milk. Because they maintain there is consumer demand, milk cooperatives are wanting to meet that demand. And dairymen are now supposed to follow merrily along.
My question is then, what will be next? What will the consumer be lead into believing next? Or, do consumers really believe this and if they don’t then who is misleading us?
These are questions dairy producers need to be asking. They need to ask their local grocery stores, their neighbors and their milk cooperatives just who is demanding the change in management practices.
In addition, dairy producers need to speak up and be heard. Whether you think we should be able to use rBST, change to all rBST free milk or start producing purple milk….no matter what, if you don’t use your God given voice you will be left on the side of the road wondering how you got there.
There are many unanswered questions with this issue and that disturbs me. When we aren’t in the drivers seat navigating our journey…just who is? If someone else is driving then we’d better know them well enough to place our confidence in them. Otherwise we will be taken for a ride that may lead us to destruction.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Remember a couple of days ago when I posted about the Daily Herald Opinion Page editor Dave Beery, whom I visited with on the phone? After visiting with each other we realized my brother, Rex, taught in the same town that he grew up in?
Well, my brother read that here and called me to tell me that he used to work on the weekends for a crop farmer named Leland Beery. Leland also was on staff at Manchester College...this is exactly what Dave Beery had shared with me. Oh my, could these two be brothers?
I immediately emailed Dave and asked if by chance his brothers' name was Leland. He answered back and.....IT WAS! Isn't that amazing? Here we are, two strangers, miles apart, get acquainted because of a simple letter to the editor and find out our brothers worked with each other in a small town in Indiana! Yes, the world is a very small place.
Okay, yes after writing all that now I'm an anxious mess! No, not really, this is the mode I work best in...down to the wire with a deadline lurking around the corner.
I had an interesting time yesterday at a meeting hosted by Monsanto with dairy producers and industry people discussing the push to stop using rBST. What made it a little more interesting was the fact that on my way up to the meeting in Lansing, I was on Rural Route with Trent Loos and Kyle Bauer and our topic was...you guessed it....the use of rBST in the dairy industry.
I did my best to come up with any silly arguement to disagree with everything they said, but they still accused me of having no convictions. I do..I really do. I have strong convictions like...you should never wear white before Memorial Day and after Labor Day! And when setting the table, the blade of the knife should always be towards the plate! And...umm....there are no calories in a nibble of cheese cake...only when you sit and eat the whole piece at one time.! See...I do have convictions!
I'll probably end up writing my column this week about the meeting. So you'll have to read about it in the Farmers' Advance.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Well, JW got home last night and boy were we glad to see him. All the time he was gone his grandma had tried to call him, I tried to call him and his daddy tried at least twice a day each day to reach him but we had no luck! There was a reason he wasn't answering his phone...he left it in the truck! And when he got back to MSU, he had to get a jump because he had left the lights on in the truck....oh that's my Dub. I wouldn't expect anything else.
Today is busy, I'm off to the rBST meeting in Lansing with Dr. Terry Etherton, tonight Bobby has to run the chains at the Jr. High football game while the kids and I milk and then I have to do an interview for a story with Jerry Jorgenson about the Holstein Top Ten Sale Ri-Val-Re Farms are hosting in December.
I'm off and running...Orion comes tomorrow...I promise!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I said it was a small world yesterday...that's because the other day I was prompted to write a letter to the editor to a Chicago Suburb Newspaper called the Daily Herald. Trent Loos sent out an alert for ag producers about a situation with a teacher in a school district there. I decided I would write a short letter and put my 2 cents worth in.
The next day I got an email from the opinion page editor of the Daily Herald wanting my phone number so he could verify my letter. So I gave it to him and he called a couple of days later. Mr. Beery was a very nice man and we visited for quite a while. I figured as long as I had a journalist from a big city on the phone it was as good a time as any to pick his brain and find out about life at a busy daily newspaper.
In my picking..I found out Mr. Beery grew up on a grain farm in North Manchester, Indiana and his brother taught at Manchester College. My connection with North Manchester is that my brother Rex happened to teach at North Manchester schools and was on the football coaching staff at Manchester College!
So after we talked about his family farm, the price of corn, what took him to Chicago, his family, I can now say I have another friend in Chicago! Like I said, the world gets smaller every day.
More about my Orion encounter later...right now I've got to get on my day...grocery shopping awaits!
Monday, September 17, 2007
The milk tester was here this morning, so chores were a little longer than usual...but we got all the scoop on the rest of the neighborhood farms...that's always a bonus....no we don't gossip...just "sharing the news!"
JW is still in PA, today is his contest...anyone who wants to... feel free to pray for him..that he sees the classes the same as the judges and gives great reasons. Also pray that he not be nervous.
The kids are off to school and I'm on my way to Indiana to cover that luncheon with Orion Samuelson...I'll try to get someone to take a picture of us so I can post it here for you all. I've met him once and I'll see him again in February when he comes to our Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference, so by then he and I ought to be "tight!"
It's a small world and it's getting smaller by the phone call I had the other day...I'll explain later.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Yesterday I bought one of those apple peeler, corer gadgets and Sarah is busy peeling and coring apples for apple crisp. She really enjoys that...I wonder what she'll say when I tell her she's got two bushel to peel and core for applesauce.
Applesauce used to be a cinch when I had my strainer gadget that I bought when I used to live in Indiana with the Amish and Mennonite women....but that had so many little parts, that I'm afraid little fingers helped them disappear, so now I have to peel, core, cook and mash for my applesauce.
Before chores yesterday our mechanic stopped by and gave me a little toy tractor model of my John Deere A. This man can be a little intimidating with his beard, mustache and ponytail. He always has a straight face and looks like he's upset. But he really is a softy. He handed me the tractor in a wooden case and said, "There, don't say I never gave you nothin'" What a guy!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
You can see Luke driving and JW riding on the tractor with a few girls on the float. I'm not sure what they were actually doing....but whatever.
Today it's a cool sunny morning on the Knolltop. I even wore a turtleneck under my sweatshirt this morning to milk. In the middle of eating our pancakes and bacon a call came in from a friend and they invited Bobby and Luke to the Michigan State game today. So Luke and I scurried back out to the barn to finish up chores while Bobby mixed a load of feed. Then they got ready and left. While the cat's away..the mice will play. JW is gone on his judging trip, Sarah has to babysit and Jake and I will do something fun...like go to town and maybe out for lunch.
Monday I get to cover something interesting in Indiana. Orion Samuelson is coming to speak at an Ag Industry Day in Angola. The coordinators wanted me to come to lunch and cover it for the Farmers' Advance. I'm all for the free lunch and visiting with Orion!
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The field house at Hillsdale College is transformed into a huge rummage sale where all kinds of stuff from ice skates to printers, to coffee mugs to treadmills to bed frames to Christmas decorations are put out for people to rummage through and unearth their treasures.
This is an event I look forward to each year. I can get more good stuff, especially barn clothes, at this sale plus other things like an extra coffee pot, white clothes for the kids to show in at the fair and oh so many wonderful finds.
Yesterday I went with Lori from Knolltop Morgans. We arrived 15 minutes after it opened and avoided the opening rush. We went through rummaging around and I found more stuff than I could carry including a brand new pair of white pants for Sarah to show in...tags and all. Anyone who has ever tried to find white pants in the fall can appreciate this find.
Anyway, while in the t-shirt department, Lori and I were looking and laughing but the laughing stopped when we looked across the table and we saw a t-shirt with an old familiar saying...."Milk drinkers are better lovers" We both spotted it at the same time and gasped. Not having seen that saying for nearly 25 years, we wanted that shirt. The college girls who were eyeing it up were laughing at the saying and thought it was the cat's meow.
In an instant we started plotting how we were going to get this coveted shirt. As we whispered behind raised up shirts, we talked about just taking them out...they were skinny young things, certainly no match for us tough farm moms. Then we thought that might cause a scene...so we thought of just following them around to see if they might drop it while treasure hunting....but we really weren't comfortable with standing in a jail cell, charged with stalking...so we just kept an eye on them to see if they were really going to keep the shirt. As we sorted through the pile of shirts, we kept one eye on the girls as they meandered away. Our hearts sank as we watched them walk off with a t-shirt that certainly they would never appreciate as much as we would! Then the thought occurred to us that there might be two of their shirts in the pile so we dove into the pile to start our search but came up empty handed.
Leaving with more stuff than two normal people could carry, we slumped out with our rummage sale finds disappointed we didn't get the one t-shirt that was meant for us. We soon found ourselves drowning our sorrows at the local coffee house Lori with her froo-froo coffee and me with my regular with one cream.
What a great day!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Back to rBST....I know of one cooperative here in Michigan that is going to go rBST free in their milk and is currently asking it's members to stop using it by January 1, 2008. The producers have to sign an affidavit saying they won't use it.
Now all of a sudden Monsanto has hit the radio waves with commercials against this, with testimonials from dairy farmers saying they don't like being told they can't use the available technology for dairy producers. One farmer is from Missouri and another from Pennsylvania. These commercials just started yesterday.
Also yesterday I got an email notice that Penn State professor Terry Etherton will be in Michigan next week to hold meetings about the use of rBST....sponsored by...guess who? Yes, Monsanto. It's getting interesting around here...I plan on attending the meeting next week.
And yes, my cooperative is at least one who is going rBST free....Michigan Milk Producers Association.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
So now he kids are off to school, the house is quiet and I've got laundry, writing, errands to run and salsa to make. My tomatoes just won't quit...which is fine with me. I'd like to make more salsa...you can never have too much!
Did anyone see that Michigan State won on Saturday while U of M lost....AGAIN! Just thought I'd let you know...in case you hadn't seen the news...no thanks needed....just something I like to do for the good of the world. :)
The farrier came by last evening to trim Bud's feet. He has three of us on this road and he just comes and does all of us whether we call or not. I found out he was coming so I had the horse out standing by the silo so he could see him. He usually stops here then goes to Knolltop Morgans and does whatever Lori has and then stops at Steve's and does his horse. He likes to make Steve his last stop because after he's done they sit around and have a cold one. They are a couple of divorced bachelors, so they have lots in common.
Well, I'd better get on my horse! Haven't even made the second pot of coffee yet!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Yesterday Big Daddy came in and said something was wrong with the hydraulics on the skidsteer. Not being a mechanic, he gets a little fretful about these kinds of things. So after dinner, he was headed out to see if he could fix it and JW and I were going to milk. When I began milking I looked out at the skidsteer and there he was...our wonderful mechanic!
Immediately I stopped worrying...with Glen around there is no fear...he can fix anything and does so with a smile. He's just one great guy. Before long, Big Daddy was on his way to the store for parts and he would have it fixed in no time. The bad news is, at this time at night, the right store wasn't open, so he has to get the part today. So that meant all the feed was shoveled to the cows. Bobby and his crew, JW, Luke and Jake shoveled and wheelbarrowed and shoveled and wheelbarrowed until all the feed was fed. They had a great system going and it was done in no time.
You know that old saying, "You know the wealth of the water when the well goes dry?"Now we know the valued of the skidsteer when the hydraulics go dry!
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Big Daddy and JW just went out to treat a cow. She freshened last night and had no trouble, til this morning when she wouldn't get up. Bobby will give her calcium and see how she does. Luke is out fixing the gate on Hollywood's boxstall, she knocked it off and was wandering around all night.
Sarah and I are headed to a presentation for Bob Shinaberry over in Osseo. The Waldron Tractor Club is driving to his equipment dealership where they will present an award of service (he's retiring) and I have to take pictures and write something about it since he's been a long time advertiser in the Farmers Advance. Better get going!
Friday, September 7, 2007
Since I didn't get my Farmers' Advance column done yesterday that's first on the agenda...I did do the column for the local paper though...so I did get something accomplished.
AND, there seems to be a cow color feud brewing here on the blog. I mentioned it to my neighbor last night on the phone...she is a Jersey breeder as well and basically takes care of the whole herd... her husband has a job in town. She told me that she's had to pull some of her Jersey calves... so they aren't all that easy to deliver! And to add credibility to her and give her family some kudos...just last week at the State Fair, her family had the futurity winner and Junior Champion and missed Premier Exhibitor and Breeder by 6 points! Jim VanBuskirk won breeder and exhibitor by the way.
Okay, off to write!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Jake's heifer is in a pen too, she's easy to deal with, everytime you open the gate, she's in your hip pocket, nudging you for some attention. She is spoiled rotten and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Today is writing day and I haven't had a thought on what to write! So, I just keep thinking until one comes to me, oh yes, one just came to me!
And to all you Jersey enthusiasts out there...yes, that heifer would've calved much easier had it been brown instead of black and white. But around here if you haven't figured it out by now, cows are not like TVs, they come in black and white, not color. Besides, I'm lobbying for sheep, not colorbreeds.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
It's quite simple, last year when we took it to the first tractor show, the boys laughed and teeheed about how small it was and then all of a sudden they all gathered around and said to Jake and me, "That tractor ain't good for nothin' but chasing chickens around the yard...that's what we'll call it, the chicken chaser!" And then more laughter busted out! Jake and I had the last laugh, as the chicken chaser was the only tractor trusty enough to go to a show this summer! What about the chicken chaser now boys????
We had another delivery the other night. One of our first calf heifers was calving and during chores she had two feet out. We got chores all done, went in the house, popped the popcorn and were relaxing when all of a sudden Big Daddy jumped up and said, "I forgot about Pinky!" So he got his boots on and ran out to the barn...well who followed him but Sarah, the midwife.
I said, I'd be over in it a bit, she hightailed it over and came running back and yelled for help. By this time, I put some hustle in my step and headed over. When I got there, Sarah was preparing the boxstall for the cow and when we got Pinky in the pen, Sarah gathered up all the tools we would need if we had a rough delivery. And sure enough, we needed all those tools and all the help we could find. Sarah and Big Daddy started pulling and I went after reinforcements. Everyone showed up and the boys with the "big guns" got the job done.(That's what they call them anyway!) Pinky had her first calf, a bull, and immediately went to town taking care of her new arrival.
We cleaned up and came back in, sat down and resumed our popcorn eating frenzy.
Today is mowing day...I can't believe how often I'm having to mow!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
JW will take them...this is the first time they've ever driven off to school without me..I've always taken them. I don't think I like this growing up stuff.
The tractor pull was fun yesterday...more about that later! Now it's time to pray and kiss and wave goodbye...oh for heaven's sake, the school is two miles away and they'll be back in a matter of hours....I know, I know.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Pretty soon, my house will smell just like fall on a Sunday afternoon!
By the way, did anyone notice yesterday that Michigan got beat by some small college in North Carolina that no one had ever heard of before and now they are fodder for every sports caster in the nation? I love it. And what I love even more is that Michigan State won!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Thanks guys! By the way...are you Jersey breeders getting $30 yet?
It's opening day of goose season here. We can tell by the trucks parked down at the south barn and the shots that rang out at daybreak. Lots of shots, but the geese just kept flying by! I wonder if those hunters realize, we can see that they missed.
JW and Sarah are on their way home and the good news of the day is that JW made the dairy judging team! He will be going to Harrisburg, PA, to judge that contest. I'm so excited. Now I just have to hope and pray they need a chaperon!
This weekend is the tractor show in Waldron. As of this minute, Luke's tractor isn't running but mine and JW's are so I guess we will take two tractors. The pull is on Monday and I look forward to watching the antique tractors pull and a picnic lunch.
Better get on with my day...I've got errands to run today!
Oh, and Shady Knoll...you have a great way describing things, the memories of your grandma's house made me want to go for a visit. How's that perked coffee!
Moscow farm...what's the weather in Idaho today?