Knolltop Farm Wife

Welcome to my blog! I'm a wife, mother of four and a self-employed freelance writer. I live on a dairy farm with my family and I enjoy sharing our life with family, friends and anyone else who wants to visit the farm. There's no telling what the I will write about from day to day, but hopefully you'll be enriched when you stop by! Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sure is quiet

It's kind of quiet this morning. There are no kids around here...just us two big kids. Jake and Luke spent the night with their buddy and Sarah and JW are still at grandmas running around on the golf cart in the hay field that gramps just baled up. The cousins came over too so grandma could enjoy her grandchildren playing together.

When I was a kid going to grandmas house always included a stop at Food Town supermarket to pick up fresh food. She was a horrible housekeeper and a good cook, when she cooked. So we always had to stop and I could get any kind of sugary cereal I wanted. I've mentioned before that Grandma had a terrible sweet tooth! I also used to get pop tarts, juice and chocolate milk. It was all breakfast food because we always seemed to find another place to eat dinner. Either at the diner or at someone's house....or sometimes we didn't eat dinner, we just ate cereal!

Now my children's grandma is different...kind of. She is a wonderful cook and loves to cook and bake for company. At her house, my children will have good meals, but they also get their share of sugar...as it should be! The cookie jar is always full, the freezer has plenty of ice cream and the snack cupboard is stocked.

So, tell me...what was your grandma's house like? What did you eat? What was fun to do at grandma's? I'd love to hear those wonderful memories!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yet another one!

Sonya was born this morning. Her mama is Scoop...yes a strange name, Scoop was born during our Bob the Builder era. Jake loved Bob and so that year all the heifers born were named for the characters on the show. We had a Scoop, Roly, Muck and a Dizzy. Scoop and Muck are still with us.

She was born before Big Daddy had to leave, thank goodness! Now I'm taking Jake and Luke to a friends house and then I'm going to dive into salsa making!

New baby

Good Morning from the cool knolltop!

We had a new arrival this morning...a bull calf was born and it must have been late last night, he was up and had already eaten! I love it when calves start off that way. There's another one in the works as I write...we've got to run errands this morning...if she hasn't calved by the time we leave...it will be difficult to get Big Daddy away from the farm. He's been waiting for her to calve for a week now and he said yesterday at lunch.."I wish she'd hurry up and calve, she's about to drive me crazy!" He is a worrier and expends a lot of energy worrying about his babies....the cows and the kids.

I have one final comment about my adversary Trent. I know the man has never given birth to any children and as far as I know he's never been married to a dairy farmer thus, he's unqualified as an authority on what dairy women think or talk about. But he has many opinions and has a perfect right to a diatribe.

It is also evident that he has never read any of my columns in the Farmers' Advance when I wrote about homosexual cowboy movies, mothers staying at home and the agricultural viability of llama farming. So when he implies I don't have the courage to take on this battle in a ag publication he knows not of where he speaks. You would've thought he had learned his lesson from my introduction of him at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference.

Although he has spoken in 34 states this year and has his finger on the heartbeat of agriculture he still can't speak for us. But with a newsletter called Looslips...what can we expect? (By the way, it's a great newsletter and you can signed up by going to www.facesofag.com)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trent's quick reply

Trent replied to my letter and here it is:

Your poll is widely skewed for a very important reason...the people, AGAIN I did not say WOMEN. The people in agriculture who cause division do not have email let alone use blogs... your results are completely bias...If you are half as gutsy as you think you are, put it in print in ag publication and welcome the hate mail....

Your friend in Agriculture
Trent


Them sound like fightin' words...

Results are in!

First off, thank you for all your input...it's very valuable and interesting to hear all of the opinions. I may have to turn this into a column so those not in the blogsphere can participate too! The following is my letter to Trent. Because he loves a challenge more than life itself, I'm sure he'll respond when he gets done chasing Rick Wheat around the round pen at the Farm Progress Show in DeKalb, Illinois. (He's doing a video series on horse training with Rick Wheat, not really chasing another man around a pen!)


Good Morning Trent:
Below you will find many of the comments that I received as a result of asking for the opinions of farm women across the country. It looks as if my poll results are widely in my favor.
Although it wasn't done scientifically, I still feel the input is relevant. I think you'll find I was correct in my assumption that dairy farm women are much more concerned about each other, the lives they influence and their households than the use of rBST and it's impact on the farm economy.
Does that mean we don't give two hoots about this technology? Of course not, farm women across the nation care very deeply about the economic viability of their farming operations. A great majority of them are the farm bookkeepers and know down to the very penny how much is in the checkbook. At the same time they are concerned with the well being of their teenager, the reading skills of their 7 year old and how many cans of tomatoes, pickles and peaches are in the basement for the winter. They are keenly aware of how each one of their calves are growing, what deacon calves are bringing at the stockyards, what 4-H projects need work and which sick neighbor needs a meal.
I know full well that you are aware of how special farm women are...you, a self-proclaimed rancher's husband, are married to one such great gal. While I disagree with your assumption that farm women have internal conflict over the use of rBST, I agree with what you do for agriculture. You are a one of the best advocates we have and I support your endeavors as you cover the country unearthing the stories that make up your loostales!
Thanks Trent

Your favorite thorn in your side,
Melissa Hart


--Hey Liss--Your adversary would have a lot more credibility if he were a dairy farm wife and was ever able to sit or ,more likely stand and witness a group of dairy women talking!! You are absolutely right--there are alot more interesting and timely topics to talk about than bst and I think you named them all. As far as support of one another--I have never seen or felt a lack of support among these women whether they are still in the business or not. Once a dairyman, always a dairyman. This statement is never clearer than when you sit with your cows at a show and listen to these retired dairymen and women talk about when they were milking--they don,t miss the long hours but they sure miss the cows and the fellowship with other dairymen. Enough said--I vote with you, surprise, surprise!! Mom

-- I must agree with "Mom", since Trent isn't a woman, he can't be on the same playing field as you. I read an interesting article in Reader's Digest about how male and female brains process jokes differently. I am sure there are many other things we process differently as well which all lends itself to varying opinions on different subjects. Beth Seyfert, Marketing Director, Farmer Ag Boy, PA.

--We have never used BST and think it hurt the dairy industry but Monsanto decided we were going to get it weather we wanted it or not, but it is way down on my list of things to talk about. If we talk farm, it is more likely to be about something like herd health, do you have a lot of pneumonia in your calves, with the rain are you getting more mastitis. But the conversation is more likely to be, have you been to the new store yet, how are the kids? Francis and Pat, Jersey breeders, Fowlerville, MI

--I'd like to weigh in on your question about BST being a bone of contention among farm women...I think most of us like to talk / commiserate / seek support about everyday things - meal planning and prep, laundry, motherhood and wifehood. However there are many women that seem to always be seeking a place to set their soapbox. Schooling, birthing, and health treatments seem to be among the most popular topics (or perhaps it is just my stage of life). When people’s careers are centered on a niche market or include a controversial aspect (i.e. organic) I have learned to expect the soapbox to appear at every opportunity. Now I must say that I have learned quite a bit from the soapbox lectures. I tend to be a middle of the road gal. These gals are passionate about their topics and have helped me solidify what and why I do what I do. However I have learned to avoid those hot button topics (or conversation altogether) with many of these women.Women tend to be more passionate about things and less likely to let a difference of opinion go. Men tend to be more businesslike. It makes sense to me that your "adversary" has observed women having heated discussions over BST. I would chalk it up, not to the topic of BST, but to our (women’s) ability to blow things out of proportion and not realize when we need to shut our mouths. (I suspect that if anyone tried to attack the dairy industry, the same women that were at odds regarding BST would join together, and that same passion would be the mortar of an impenetrable fortress.) Now really, is it appropriate to debate BST with your hairdresser? grocer? a remote wheat farmer? The most appropriate person for a dairy gal to wrestle the BST issue with (other than her husband) would be another dairy gal. I pray that maturity and grace cover these (and many other) offensives in my life. I hope that women who openly carry their bones of contention, have friends to kick back, have a cup of coffee or glass of wine with (depending upon the time of day, of course) and laugh about laundry, my 'tween daughters latest hairdo and the chicken poop on the back step (because frankly it's NOT funny when it is on the front step and company has just pulled into the driveway).I look forward to checking your blog again soon - and the compilation of results you send to Trent. Moscow Farm, Idaho.

--Hi, my husband and I are both dairy farmers. Today, another husband and wife who dairy farm stopped by. The only topic--LABOR! Also, the reason for the visit. And there are no easy answers. By the way, I'm not sure if they used bst. We do not, but not all large farms use bst, nor do all small farms abstain. From, I don't know?

--I'M WITH YOU!!! --from I don't know?

--Gosh, in my area there are very few dairy women so we're just so glad to see another associate to talk about EVERYTHING!
The good milk prices are top subject right now along with our trials of the heat & over abundant rains both of which have caused a drop in production & some mastitis and LOTS of soupy mud and ponds in the lots.
Not to say BST has not come up in a few conservations. We don't use it & hope it's unfavorability will continue. With the consumer being more health conscious I think it comes back to "bite you". Organic or pasture raised is more popular now; right or wrong, & let's face it-lower production has helped our prices along with outside influences. --Linda/IL
--When our dairy wives peer group gets together, we are all so happy to be together and talk of calves, hubbys, what works on each others farms, and women's stuff, that we don't want to talk about negative stuff. And eating out is the highlight!
That isn't to say that the large dairy near us that was started by Canadians with sold quota dollars and now employees all but one Mexican, isn't looked on as another nail in the coffin of small dairy producers. We just don't talk about it.
As for BST, if we go on a tour of a farm, we might discuss the issue, as to the merits of using it, but otherwise, we just want to know how each other is doing.
Getting us all together is the hard part as when isn't it busy for one or the other.
I heard that Montana has a quota system for milk. they have had good prices all along. sell most of it to a North Dakota creamery. hmmmm.... cowgirl, MN
--I am not a dairy farm woman, but you might want to ask yourself: Is the adversary one?
If not, how would he know?
This reminds me of the endless debates I used to have with some males from the Midwest via the Internet, over whether or not my farm is a farm, just because the pigs we handle on it are raised on contract, instead of belonging to me. It all seems so "nineties" now.
Not very many of them left anymore, I think. One of them claimed to be a farm speaker, too. Wonder if it's the same one. --Kay/NC
--I say it would depend on the context of the meeting. If business is the subject I would imagine the discussion could get lively. The industry is supposedly quite divided on the subject. If business is over and socializing has started I doubt anything that controversial would ever come up in conversation between women.
Although in our area everyone is very private almost to the point of secretive about their practices on their farms. Years ago the extension office used to put out a monthly report on DHIA test. Included really pretty innocuous information. Rolling herd average, number of cows milking and such. They had to quit putting out the report because at least one if not more farms were complaining that with the information given if someone wanted to waste their time and effort they could figure out what the milk checks might be for any given farm.
It does seem to be changing around here now that there our fewer of us dairy people. People seem to be more willing to say I tried this or that and it worked or didn't work. Or to say I'm having a problem with this or that what would you do? --Dairy Mom, MI
--We see very little bickering if any between farm woman but rather a strong solidarity because they face the same or very similar challenges. Now, across commodity groups there may be differences but I think you are right. They talk about topics that are of direct, day to day importance to them!

Of course, BST is not (legally) used here so it is a small issue. Our farm women would be much more concerned about the environment, staying alive farming, juggling on-farm and off-farm work and family to make a living and dealing with mountains of paperwork and those topics unify rather than separate.
That’s my take! I see very little if any “farm women bickering”! --Russell Gammon, Exec Sec. Jersey Canada
It's a muggy morning here on the Knolltop and promising to be a hot day. But this is the last day for heat and we are cooling off for the rest of the weekend.

Yesterday was a great day of shopping with the kids. We hit sale after sale after sale. In fact, I must brag about Jake's shirt. We found an Ohio State shirt for $1.80...now that's a sale! It's not that OSU is our favorite school or anything, but it's an ag school and we love all ag colleges. And of course we root for every team who plays against U of M....and I mean every team!

Needless to say, Grandma had a great day with her grandkids as she watched those teenagers act like toddlers in the store. I thought I had them trained on how to behave in a store, but no, they pretended to be manikins, clothing models and played hide and seek among the clothes.

You can clearly see these farm kids don't get to the big city too often. After a morning of powershopping, we hit the Old Country Buffet and we watched them eat like there was no tomorrow. Grandma loves to watch her grandsons eat.

Now, I've got to go compile my results and send a letter off to Mr. Loos. I will post it when I get it done...this will be so fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad! and Debbie

Today was my dad's birthday and I neglected to say it this morning....but Happy Birthday Dad! He said he doesn't celebrate birthdays anymore...which makes it really easy on the rest of us...we don't have to go to all that trouble of getting a cake and a card and singing the song. Heck, we don't even have to call if we don't want to....but I've now put his birthday in the blogsphere for everyone to celebrate...except him...of course!

This is also the birthday of a very dear friend, Debbie Lee. She's a city girl and doesn't understand my attraction to the farm life. She says we work too hard, get up too early and don't take enough time to go shopping! And when I make my own bread she is in awe....yes, she is easily impressed! I've actually had her down here on the farm and she has helped me milk cows, so I have to give that city girl credit for trying my lifestyle.

Debbie has been good for me, she keeps me feminine...like she takes out of my chore clothes into my civilian clothes and makes me go shopping. She points out all the new fashions that I should be wearing, all the shoes that I should be buying and of course in her eyes, it's a sin of your underwear doesn't all match. She's a gold card member at Victoria's Secret.

She's also our pastor's wife...and there are days when I feel sorry for him! She is not your typical pastor's wife. She is decadent with everything and isn't afraid to let people see she's a real human being with flaws just like the rest of us. Honestly, Mike and Debbie have been wonderful friends through the years, we are blessed to have known them. I'd better quit, this is sounding like a funeral eulogy!

Back to school...shopping

On this sunny clear, cool morning on the Knolltop, I'm preparing to take my four kids and the neighbor kid school shopping. I will meet my mom, because the kids don't think they've gone school shopping unless she goes along to buy a few extra items that I refuse to buy! Thank God for grandparents!


Yesterday Luke worked with Holly, he's taken to walking her down the road first then working with her...it seems to work better for him. He doesn't get so frustrated. Like he did last week as shown in these pictures.
Luke loves to show cows, but it takes hard work to make them into a parade cow. As a fourteen year old, patience sometimes gets thin.
Of course Sarah and Sandy have no difficulty at all, and are always ready to pose for a picture, while Luke is still fighting in the background with Holly.




Monday, August 27, 2007

Keep them comin'!

Your votes are coming in fast and furious! I've gotten emails and comments here and when I posted this question on another website they put in their two cents worth too.

I will continue to ask for your input until Wednesday morning...then I will compile them and send them off to Trent. Of course, I'm only going to send him the comments that support my argument....HA! Just joking...I'll send them all, but as of right now they are definitely coming in as I called it.

Thanks!

Dairy Farm Women

Okay...I've got a differing opinion with someone about dairy farm women. Now I want to take an informal poll of my own here...so it's time to weigh in on this one.

My adversary says that there is bickering among farm women on whether dairy producers should use BST or not. He says that small producers blame large producers for the lower milk prices, when they are low, because large producers who use BST flood the market with milk. He thinks that when farm women get together this is a bone of contention among them.

I said that when dairy farm women get together they are so happy to be off the farm, they don't want to argue with anyone. Instead they talk about where they got the best deal on rubber boots, what kinds of sickness they've had among their calves, how to get out of doing a particular chore that they hate doing and how much laundry will be waiting for them when they get home. Oh, and don't forget how good the meal is...simply because they did not have to lift a finger to cook it.

He said I'm way off base on this....am I? So...do we bicker or not? That's what I want to hear from you. As an industry is there contention among the ranks of dairy women or not....I want to hear from you!

By the way... my adversary is Trent Loos.

Can you say Cohoctah?

It's another sunny morning here on the Knolltop. At 4 this morning it was 52 out, so a sweatshirt was a must for milking.

Also at 4 in the morning, I watch the national news and my dad's small little town was on the map and they even said it correctly. Cohoctah was in the news because of a tornado that went through there... watching national news and seeing Cohoctah show up on a map was a real eye opener that early. It's a great little town that holds many wonderful memories. That's where my grandparents lived and my grandfather and then uncle owned an implement dealership there. We had great times at the "shop" running around in between torn apart tractors and riding around on those rolling stools that the mechanics used. I can smell it now and I can hear the creaks in the floor as we walked across the salesroom. What a great place!

Better go get breakfast...after that I've got a poll I want you to participate in...more later.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Finally it's clear!

It's a clear morning here on the Knolltop and very chilly...this calls for perked coffee this morning.

We had a calf born yesterday and she was huge...actually she was born in the middle of the night and she must have had a hard time because her face was swollen. Every time I feed her she's always laying down so I also wondered if she could even stand up. So this morning I stood her up and she fell right over. But as I had her standing up, I noticed she is remarkable bigger than the other newborns we've had. So it's no wonder she's having a hard time getting her long legs underneath her big body. If it were only September 1st. Then we'd have a huge fall heifer calf to show next year, but since she was born in August, she will be a summer yearling...oh well.

I'm ahead of the game, so I'd better stay that way and go get ready for church.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Opening night

Last night was the opening night of football for our little town. It had to have been the longest game on record running frm 7 - 11 pm. Four minutes into the second quarter there was lightening and they had to delay the game for 30 minutes. Then more lightening came and a second delay ensued. Finally the second quarter got started about 8:45 or so...and we got in the van to come home at 11pm.

The delay gave me time to come home and make caramel corn so that was just fine with me. I would've come home for the evening, but Bobby is on the chain gang so I waited for him. It turned out to be a nice night....although the fog was rolling in pretty good by the end of the game. What a night. Oh, by the way, we lost.

It's still misty today, but they say it will clear off! When it finally does, I will get the rest of the lawn mowed! I think I'll be canning some salsa soon, the tomatoes are finally coming on. And while I can't do much outside, I think I'll stay in and clean...oh what fun...and then some laundry....this might be more fun than I can handle in one day! Actually, I enjoy a clean house...it's just getting in there that I don't like.

I'm sending the kids out to work with their heifers. Yesterday Luke took Holly for a long walk down the road to see if her attitude would improve. He said it made a difference. But they have to be persistant if they want to do well in showmanship and in their breed classes at the fair. I keep telling them it will pay off in the end! They just don't see it right now.

JW is still on his trip. Yesterday they toured Select Sires in Plain City, and today they will be at Quietcove Holsteins and Topp-View down on the western side of Ohio. He called yesterday, sounds like they were having a good time. I sure do miss him.

Friday, August 24, 2007

New life

Bobby keeps saying every day...it's like the corn has new life. It should with all the rain we've gotten and continue to get! Last evening after chores, Luke and Jake had Brad over and they were playing football in the back yard. All of a sudden a storm blew in and blew out. They were drenched, which made the game even more fun!


JW is gone to Ohio, right now he should be at Triple T Holsteins in North Lewisburg judging a few classes there. I called him this morning but haven't heard anything as of right now...I assume they haven't gotten stuck in the flood down there.


I've still got a story to write this morning...got my column done. Actually, I've got to write my story for the Agriview today too....that will be a little different since it will be more about famous show cattle and not one farm. A real challenge none the less...I've never done anything like this before. It won't be about Holly, especially if she doesn't get her act together...the other day Luke had a terrible time with her...I'll write more about that later....here's a picture of the struggle.


If I don't get to it, I won't get anything done. Coffee is perked and ready to drink!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Clare County Fair

Yes, we did it...we actually drove off and left the farm to two responsible...teenage...boys. A cow had calved and I volunteered to stay home, but Big Daddy told me to go milk the cow, feed the calf and she would be fine. So, I milked the cow, fed the calf and she was fine.

We ventured north for almost three hours and went through the "Gateway to the North" to the Clare County Fair. When we drove up, Jake said, "Is this the fair where.....?" Then Sarah chimmed in and said, "No, this is the county fair where we....." And then I said, "No, we are now entering a county fair that none of us have ever been to....and that's really strange."

Over the years, Bobby has been to 49 states and every county fairgrounds from coast to coast..well, almost...as he travelled as a cattle fitter. That's how we met...at the Michigan State Fair....another story for another day.
Anyway, through my years working for the Farmers' Advance, I've spent a lot of summers going from fair to fair covering events. So it was very strange for us to drive into this fairgrounds and not know where the livestock barns were and the cleanest bathrooms and where our most favorite food stand was located.

After looking around we found the livestock barns and then tried to locate who was in charge. We found her and she turned out to be an old family friend. Actually the niece of my college roommate...she's practically family.


While Big Daddy went to judge the show, the kids and I were admiring the sheep and I kind of got caught up in looking at some Columbia Ewes. Then I began daydreaming about having my own flock of sheep....something I could have on my own and wondered if I could make any kind of a profit with them...and how great it would be to have lambs in the spring....then I spotted the shepherd of this flock I was admiring and I began a conversation with him. Pretty soon the dairy show was half over and I finally pulled myself away to go watch my husband do his thing.


I got there just in time to watch him judge showmanship and of course he loves kids and really enjoys interacting with them in the showring.

Every show he judges he introduces himself and gets to know their names and when he gives his reasons he calls them by their name. Of course you know who loves that??? Mom and grandma!

This was a small show, with a huge crowd and they were really into clapping and cheering. I don't think I've seen such cheering since the last time I was at World Dairy Expo and even there they are a little more sedate.

Meanwhile back at the ranch....the boys had things under control...with a few phone calls to us...they had success.

When we got home the barn and house were still standing...the cows still alive..and a little more confidence in the family unit was palpable.




Good Morning

Good morning to each and every one of you who likes to start your work day surfing the web!

The Hart family made history yesterday in a couple of ways. First off, we actually attended a county fair that none of us had ever been to! The other history making event was that we left all the chores to our two teenage boys. Yep, they did all the chores from start to finish and did a great job! I can see this paving the way to some freedom from the farm!

Right now breakfast is calling me, I wanted to get on before it went into error mode like yesterday! I"ll have a full county fair report later this morning. It's writing day!

Coffee time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ERROR!

Oh my..how frustrating when you can't get on your blog because of server error or someone else is camped on the computer when you want to get on!

I had such a great entry today...but like many of you....when I got on I couldn't because of some error. So now I've got to head into our county FSA office to do a story on a retiring employee and then I'm headed north with Big Daddy to the Clare County Fair so he can judge dairy show.

Although I just got a report from the barn and we have one fresh cow and another one calving so mom might be staying home. We'll see. Right now I have to head to Hillsdale...more..so much more later!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reprieve

Hey Dad...how's the ark coming this morning....make sure it's big enough for all of us too!

It has stopped raining here but it's still foggy and misty on the Knolltop.

I ventured into the garden last night for some peppers for a neighbor who is making salsa. Boy have I got the peppers. I'm headed out this morning to see how many tomatoes I can round up to make my own salsa.

I've got a luncheon at noon to discuss promoting local agriculture in the local paper...we seem to be banging our heads against the wall...personally I think we should venture into radio. I'm going to do a little research this morning with my cohorts from Kansas and Nebraska and see what I come up with. Since I know absolutely nothing about radio except how to tune a station in and listen...this should be a fun adventure.

Tomorrow, Bobby has to judge another show up in Clare County...I think I might even get to go with him...I'll believe it when I see it!

Headed for the coffee pot!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Let's build an ark

I think we might have to build an ark the way it's been raining here! I'm not complaining...having the rain come just keeps me inside doing projects that need attention.

Today is the first day of Junior High Football practice and Luke won't be there. He's decided he doesn't want to play this year. The only problem is...there are others who do want him to play and one stopped by the other night. He told Luke that his son won't play if Luke doesn't play. Wow....it's hard for me to believe Jr. High Football is that important to a man....but it is and we don't even live in Texas. I wonder if Luke will change his mind....I think he's considering it. I love to watch all my kids play any sport so I would love for him to play...but he says he doesn't really enjoy football like he does baseball and basketball. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, this morning JW and Luke will be unloading straw for a neighbor and Sarah and I have to head to town...I'm out of butter and when I'm out of butter, I'm out of groceries!

Yesterday I actually felt like cooking because the weather was so cool. We had baked chicken, new potatoes with brown butter, stir fry veggies and homemade rolls. I just love cooking Sunday dinner. Growing up, mom always made a big Sunday dinner and it was always so good. Right now, I'm thinking we had homemade pie every Sunday, but I'm sure we didn't, it just seemed like it. And no one in the world can make better pie crust than my mom...no one! If I hadn't put all my peaches in the freezer, I would've made a pie yesterday, but I just couldn't bring myself to using any peaches that I had just put in the freezer....seems like I should wait until the snow flies or at least until the first freeze.

Better get the pancakes on the table....without butter....that's practically breaking the law!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Growth spurt

It's a rainy morning here on the Knolltop. It's been raining ever since we got up to milk early this morning. And it's still cool...yes, it feels like fall.

Yesterday I witnessed a growth spurt in Jake. Being the youngest of four you have to wait your turn in lots of ways. The older boys were gone yesterday so if Big Daddy needed any help, he had to rely on Jake. Bobby was out mixing feed yesterday afternoon and I looked out to see a little person in the tractor. Jake had weaseled his way into helping out with the feeding, which Bobby didn't object to at all. Then when it was time to go help with another project that involved using the skidsteer, guess who ended up in the drivers seat? Yes, it was Jake.

While I was milking, I saw Jake driving the skidsteer with Bobby riding in the bucket. It was such a funny picture. A few minutes later, I turned from dipping a cow and there was Jake, I almost had to look up to see him...he felt 10 feet tall and looked it too. With a wide grin on his face and a slightly deeper voice he explained with great detail everything he and Daddy had to do.

I asked him..."Isn't it great not having the older boys here to do all that? Now you get your turn." He walked away saying "Yep, I think I'd better go check on Daddy."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nothin' at the auction

Nothin' but fun at the auction in town. Jake, Big Daddy and I went up to the fairgrounds late this morning after all the sortin' and treatin' chores were done. This auction is called the Hillsdale Auction and anyone and everyone brings their treasures and junk up to sell. They have several rows of junk that the auctioneers go through and sell. They also have piles of hay and straw, chickens, ducks, rabbits, potbellied pigs, turkeys you name it they sell it. Other people bring up produce, flea market stuff...just all kinds of junk. One neighbor calls it poverty exchange.

None the less, it's always an interesting place to go on Saturday mornings and it's been going since the beginning of time....I think. This morning one interesting item was a black Tennessee Walker that a man was riding up and down the hay isle trying to catch an eye. She was a pretty mare...pretty old...but still pretty. I forgot my camera, otherwise I could've shown her to you.

One of our friends hopped on the mare and took her for a spin, but the man told her not to go too fast...her bridle was loose. Hmmmmm......I wanted to say, tighten that baby up and get going, let's see her walk! But I kept my mouth shut...mostly because my mouth was full of ice cream that Jake made me buy!

I'm headed to the garden to see what there is that's ready for dinner.

Call for directions

It's another clear, cool morning on the Knolltop. I've already been to town for supplies and now I'm back and headed out to the barn to help treat a sick cow and sort some heifers.

Luke is with a buddy of his down in Indiana at a bird show...I don't have a clue...don't ask.

JW and his buddy Sarah are off on another judging workout. The only problem is...he won't take a map....testosterone strikes again....and he keeps calling me for directions. He has called four times in a matter of 2 hours because they keep taking wrong turns. I just talked to him again and they are at Taco Bell....getting a snack I guess...getting lost increases your appetite.

Well, I've got to get going to the barn since half the crew is gone. After that we're going to the fairgrounds for the auction...I'll explain later and hopefully with pictures!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Breakfast is over and time to get going!

The dishes are done, the coffee was enjoyed...it's time to get moving.

If I were organized it would be dangerous. I wanted to write a story about the Ohio District 10 Holstein show and when I went to find my show catalog with all my notes in it....I couldn't find it. I found Big Daddy's but not mine. I searched the desk, the magazine basket, the Hoosier cabinet where everything important is deposited and nothing! I then took drastic measures and searched the garbage....still nothing. Knowing I would never be able to remember who was what, I flagged Big Daddy down and asked him if he remembered who won what. He looked at me and said, "Oh, your catalog is in by my chair in the bedroom, I was looking at it last night." Saved! Now I have to write!

When the story is written then I will can peaches. When the peaches are canned the lawn should be dried out enough to mow. The laundry is going....we're up and runnin'!

Waiting....

While I wait for Big Daddy to get off the phone and for the coffee to perk, I thought I'd check in and say a quick good morning. It's sunny and clear here and I had to wear a sweatshirt to milk this morning.

Our bull calf population is growing every day. We've had three since Sunday. I'm looking forward to Monday when they leave...bottle feeding when you have the rest of the calves on buckets can be a pain!


Jake is calling me for breakfast...he's waiting for me to eat...such a gentleman!

I'll be back after breakfast.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Writing Day

Good Morning from the Knolltop! The coffee is perked and really good this morning. I have to say I'm drinking a luxury coffee this morning. The other day when we were in Adrian I stopped at Tim Hortons Donuts. They are a chain and it's the only one around here. I first experienced Tim Hortons when Big Daddy and I were in Canada selecting cows for our first herd. We stopped there and it was the best cup of coffee with wonderful donuts. It's a great memory for me. So everytime we go to Adrian I stop and get donuts and a coffee. Well, the last time I was there they had Tim Horton ground coffee for sale in cans. I bought a small can and I have it once a day...I feel like I'm really livin it up when I drink that coffee!

Yesterday Big Daddy and I traveled to Ohio for the Holstein show and it was so much fun. It was at the Henry County Fair in Napoleon. We got there in plenty of time because he's such a fanatic about being on time...and we had a cup of coffee and ended up visiting with a man who had raised 24 kids! His wife delivered ten of them and they adopted the other 14! Wow! They range in age from 3 on up to 55.

Big Daddy did a great job of evaluating the cattle and it seemed everyone was happy. We left and stopped for dinner on the way home and got here just in time to collect all of our children so they could come home and do chores with us.

I've still got peaches sitting..actually dripping..on my table so really I need to get to them so I can get back to writing. I've got a column and a story to do today!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ohio Show

We're off to the Ohio District 10 Holstein Show this morning. Bobby has to judge so I get to ride along and take pictures and maybe write a story.



Last night we lost all of our kids to friends, except JW. Luke and Jake spent the night at a friends house, while Sarah was invited to another friends house where they have a golf cart they can ride around on! That was her highlight.



When I came in from chores last night I had two bushel of peaches to put up. Needless to say, after dropping off the kids and going to a neighbors house to take pictures of her horse so she can get it registered...I started on peaches and didn't get them all done! I think I have about a half a bushel left to go. They will have to wait until after our Ohio trip. I think peaches are pretty patient.

Sweetcorn days

It's been sweetcorn days here on the Knolltop. On Sunday, Mr. K. called and said he had more sweetcorn than he needed and generously offered some to us. Jake and I were in the patch by 8:15 the next morning picking and picking. We ended up with four feedbags full of corn.

We brought them home and headed to a funeral. Then when we got home, Sarah, Jake and I started shucking and shucking and shucking. Until the last ear was exposed!


Hauling them all in, we started blanching and cutting and bagging and freezing.

While we shucked, the kittys and the chicken enjoyed a little snack...compliments of Jake.

We had to take a break to eat dinner and milk cows, but got back at it after chores. By 9 pm last night I was done with corn for the summer. Sarah recorded our inventory and we ended up with 30 quarts of corn. That's about all I'll get done this summer..unless some else calls and has more than they need! On to peaches...

Tractor Ride

It's another cool morning here on the Knolltop. And it's supposed to be this way all week. It's a good thing since I have two bushel of peaches coming today that I'll have to freeze, can and make jam out of.

Sunday night Big Daddy, Sarah and I went down to Knolltop Morgans to do their chores while they are away on vacation. Luke, JW and Jake were all gone, so we snuck down to the tractor barn and we had our pick of tractors to ride on! We picked Luke's Farmall and swore each other to secrecy because no on is allowed to drive his tractor...no one!

I called driver so I hopped on and Big Daddy and Sarah got on the back. We rode down and fed all their critters and then because someone didn't like the way I drove, they called driver and Sarah and I hopped on the back. As we rode down the road on this beautiful summer evening with the sun dropping over the corn fields I looked over to Sarah and asked, "Is there anything better than riding on a tractor on a warm summer evening in the country?" She nodded her head and said, "Yes....riding a horse!"

Confession: We had to confess to Luke that we rode on his tractor after Sarah slipped up and said something about it yesterday! But I still have all my limbs!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Brrr...

It's cold this morning on the Knolltop! A whole 61 out this morning...compared to the 90 and humid we've been having...I had to wear a sweatshirt to the barn to milk this morning. It's a nice change, especially since I will be freezing sweetcorn today. Yesterday I went to Mr. K.'s for some corn and found a bumper crop that needs to be picked and put into my freezer. So in six minutes...I've put myself on a timer this morning....I'm headed out with Jake to pick some corn.

The only reason I'm on a schedule is because we have to attend a funeral of a neighboring dairy farmer, Carlos Long. He's been very ill for the last 2 years after his wife Norma died. He and his son Doug and grandson Scott own and operate Long-Haven Farms, home of some very notable Holsteins. I got to know Carlos and the family way back in the 80s when my mom and I exhibited cattle at the state fair.

While Big Daddy and I are gone, my daughter and her friend are scheduled to shuck the corn so when I get home we can start freezing it. We'll see how that plan works....yes, me of little faith!

Hey Shady Knoll...how's that perked coffee comin' along?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Horse show fun

Yesterday was a beautiful day and it seemed like I could relax and enjoy what I was doing. I attended a meeting, came home, took a nap, got groceries, cooked dinner, did chores and then we to a horse show at the local fairgrounds.


We have some good friends in our 4-H club who have a couple of kids who show horses. They aren't seriously into the horse showing thing...I mean, they keep their horses at their own farm and ride them without the assistance of a round pen, a personal trainer and all the expensive garb that seems to be required to show a horse. No, these are the type of people who hop on, ride around the farm, run around some barrels and generally enjoy a horse.


Last night at the fairgrounds they had a gymkana horse show where they have barrel racing, pole bending and other fun events. We went to watch our friends and this family had a daughter who Luke has been sweet on for a long time. Actually they are what you call "going out." No, they don't go anywhere or do anything and IF the talk on the phone it's a conversation that involves a hello, goodbye and maybe a couple of "whacha doin'...nothin'....what you doin'...nothin..." and that's about it. Their relationship is a state of mind more than anything else since she lives in the southern part of the county. Really, if junior high kids have to have a relationship, which I don't think is required at all...it's the best kind of relationship.


Well, I'd better get ready for church! Mr. K. called and said he had sweetcorn for me today!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Don't touch the hat!

It's a clear breezy morning here on the Knolltop. The humidty has left us for a couple of days...but I'm sure it will be back before long.

I have to attend a Promotion and Education meeting this morning for our county Farm Bureau. I love to brain storm about this kind of thing...it's the getting right down to doing the stuff isn't always that fun. And I always want to do something about dairy farming...I don't always consider the cash crop and other commodities for promotion...I guess as long as our urban friends learn something about agriculture, we've accomplished our goal.

JW is off to Green Meadow Farms to judge today, he's already gone. He had to go without his hat...Sarah's friend came over last night and took his hat and threw in into the cornfield....they couldn't find it after about an hour of looking. He said he feels naked without his hat. That's one thing these young girls need to learn, you don't touch a man's hat!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Testosterone and the Phonebook

Good Morning from the Knolltop! It rained another 1.5 inches yesterday and I heard on the radio this morning we've had 5 inches so far!

Last night I got such a chuckle out of my two teenage boys. On the back page of the local paper there was a kids section that explained how you can rip a phone book in half. It showed all the mechanics of how to do it explaining that you can do it without using brute strength...just simple physics.

Of course I showed it to my boys who I knew would immediately go for an old phonebook and begin a ripping rampage. And they did. Luke worked and and worked and worked at it...we read the instructions...then tried to rip...I read...he tried to rip....we just couldn't get it done. Then we went out and saw JW trying to rip it too. He had the same luck as Luke and then he came in and flexed his muscles showing us the phonebook ripped to shreds

We were amazed...and then asked how'd you do it...a big grin came across his face and then he began to tell us...he said, "Well, first you bend it like this and then you go out of mom's view and just start ripping the pages one by one...." Laughter erupted as the three of us just bent over and giggled and giggled!

I'm telling you...these teenagers can be scary one minute and absolutely hilarious the next....Praise Jesus for the laughter!

The coffee is done, I've got a story to write and then I'm going to spend the rest of the day getting the yard back in shape!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Three inches since Sunday

And the rain just keeps coming. It was a slow day on the farming scene this morning since the rain has hit and we can't even get to our yards to mow them! So in the front door came Mr. K. the neighboring farmer and employer of the boys when they aren't working here...with two boxes of donuts from the local bakery!

Oh my what a welcome sight. The yogurt and bran flakes went back to the kitchen and I bellied up to the table to consume some powerful fat and sugar...and oh how good it tasted with my hot coffee!

As far as I'm concerned that's how every day should start. You just can't get much better than hot coffee and warm sweetrolls. Yes, I have my grandmother's sweet tooth...she was known to go through a day on coffee with two or three, sometimes four tablespoons of sugar, a few homemade cookies and a stale donut or two. She lived into her mid ninties, so I guess I'm well on my way to a ripe old age myself!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Young farmer wannabes

I was listening to Rural Route Radio this week, yes, I know it's a bad habit that I've picked up...I go to the computer....I think, I'll just see what their topic is for the day...and then I'm caught in the Rural Route Web and I can't escape....my children then start to holler..."Why do you have to have the computer so loud....who's on there.....that Trent Loos guy again?" I reply, "Yes, and I have to have it that loud so I can listen while I clean the house and fold the laundry!" So beware...if you begin to listen it will become a habit and then you'll have Trent and Kyle discussing the pressing ag issues of the day in your house while you clean or fold or dust or vacuum or whatever else you do in the privacy of your own home....:)

Anyway...boy was that a diatribe or what?

On Monday, Trent, Kyle and Hank were again, discussing the difficulties of young people breaking into farming. Of course it stirred up a lot of thoughts on the subject.

While I'd like to think that young men and women who say they want to farm are willing to put in the sweat and debt to get there, I am now wondering if they will do just about anything to farm, like they claim. Or are they donning rose colored glasses thinking of farming as a romantic lifestlyle. This lasts until they see how much debt they have to go into, how much sweat they have to produce for a pittance. AND if they have to relocate, are their spouses willing to follow them?

From inside the factory, farming looks grand as they watch the local crop farmer meet his buddies at the coffee shop every other morning or drive around in brand new pick up trucks, or head to the local tractor show with his newly restored John Deere B. Or when they see how much equipment they own without seeing the payment book. Or when they look at the century old farmhouse all decorated up with a spouse inside cooking a hearty meal with a smile on her face. No, they don't see what's behind the pastoral scene: the sleepless nights, the broken fingers, the dead animals, the broken tractors, the overdue notes and the aged face that is 20 years older than it should be.

As I look at what I just wrote, I wonder to myself why every morning and every night I head out to a hot barn full of hot cows to sweat like construction worker for not enough money to pay my bills at the end of the month. Why do I do it? I think it's simply what's in you...just like Hank Vogler says, that wonderful mutant gene that we have and can't amputate. It's in your blood that no blood transfusion can take care of. Part of it is that you just have it or you don't....the other part is the support you receive from you parents and peers and then consequently from your spouse.

The sky is the limit for a man with a good mom, OR wife behind him...supporting him, respecting him and loving him.

The rain continues

I just got off the phone with a neighbor and he said we had three inches of rain since Sunday. Of course we have no rain gauge. Not because we haven't had one in the past, we have....several. You see my dad used to have an insurance business and he used to have lots of things he gave away as advertising...Pens (that were really fine pointed and I didn't care for), plastic mugs, calendars (those were a big hit, they covered an entire wall and the numbers were huge so you could be at your neighbors and still see what day it was...just a joke dad!), calculators and of course rain gauges for the farmer in all of us. I think he still has 1756 of them left in his machine shed, don't even get me started on his collection of army surplus items...boy dad is gettin' it this morning! He's a good sport....I'm sure he'll leave us a comment or two after this!

Anyway, he has given us several rain gauges and for some reason the kids(boys) find them fascinating and feel the need to look touch and break every one of them. We just can't find a post high enough to put it on and still be able to read it! So we have to rely on the neighborhood farmers for our readings.

Last evening after chores, Jake and his friend Thomas from Knolltop Morgans, up the road, just couldn't resist this big mud puddle. While I tried to get my camera quick enough to shoot some action shots, I wasn't able to do so. Let's just say they were soaked from head to toe and had to strip down before they entered any house!

After the fun was all done and Thomas got in my van to go home, he said in a meek voice, "I hope my mom understands." I assured him I would stand in the gap for him and that she would understand the raising of boys and how that brings so many adventures that us girls really don't understand, but we learn to tolerate.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rural Route Vegan style

I thought I'd better call your attention to the Rural Route radio program that I did last week. There was a vegan named Jeff Popick on last Tuesday and then I was on Wednesday to discuss what they discussed on Tuesday. It was an interesting topic to say the least...all about the belief of vegans...vegetarians that don't eat meat or products from animals...ie eggs and milk...because they don't think animals should suffer.

This misinformed man was passionate about his beliefs and showed me that we can be passionate and wrong all at the same time! After listening to it, I decided to write a column on it and so that will come out in today's Farmers' Advance. I really just wanted people to see that this vegan thing is extreme and they would like to shut down animal agriculture. Those of us in agriculture need to make sure we are good ambassadors for our industry. We need to be positive and excited about agriculture. We also need to be well informed so we can stand up for our industry and not afraid to argue for our livelihood!

If you want to listen to Mr. Popick and his wild ideas you can go to www.facesofag.com and click on the Rural Route Vegan Style to listen. Prepare to be enlightened!

It's perked and hot

I have now burned my tongue on my perked coffee. It's perked this morning because it's a little cooler and raining so I don't mind a little more heat in the kitchen. Otherwise when it's this hot, I try not to turn any heat making devices on!

So who out there has perked coffee? Am I the only one? I love coffee from a Bunn coffee maker, but I have to save up for that right now....not a big priority on the "need" list. So let me know what kind of coffee maker you have!

No coffee yet

I haven't had my second cup of coffee yet this morning...so sorry if this post sounds lathargic.

We are still getting rain this morning. It stopped yesterday but now we are getting more! I ventured into my garden yesterday only to find the coons and lack of rain has kept me from getting much of my sweetcorn. Looks like I'll have to find some to freeze somewhere else. But I have found someone who will butcher my chickens when they are ready. While standing in line at the feed store I approached the Amish lady in front of me, knowing full well they would have someone in their clan who butchered chickens for profit. And sure enough I struck gold...her sister does it! She told me just where she lived so in the end of September, I will be heading south of Hillsdale with my big, fat, chickens!

Maylene is still carrying on out in the barn. Her calf is gone, but like I suspected she has adopted Marnie, the calf next to hers, as her own....Oh, I wished she'd get over it!

Big Daddy needs the computer...better get to my coffee anyway...more later!

Monday, August 6, 2007

The rain has left us humid

We had a great rain yesterday and it was so badly needed that I just can't bring myself to complain outloud about the humidity it has left behind. But I tell you what...when it's this humid, everything in the barn is wet and sticky...including the cows. My overalls seem to collect the moisture and add weight my load. But I'm not complaining.....:)

I will complain about Maylene. She is one of our former 4-H projects who just delivered her second calf yesterday morning. This time she had a bull and she has a very strong affection for her little boy. Her stall is on the end, by where the calves are kept and she can keep an eye on Mitch (Sarah and her girlfriend named him) the whole time she's in the barn. She hasn't stopped bellering yet! We can hardly talk while we milk because of her big mouth! Mitch will be headed to the stock yards today, so hopefully that will put an end to her noise...unless she adopts one of the heifers nearby....:(

We had a fatality last night among our meat chickens. One dollar down the drain! JW decided he needed to take meat chickens to the fair this year...so last week ten little chicks arrived and are in our back room. He only needs 2 for the fair, but I wanted some for my freezer so I told him I would provide the feed, he had to provide all the care. I guess chicken husbandry isn't one of his strong points because under his care, one died. And you know it was one of his!

Well, I'd better get to work while it's semi-cool.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Heritage Day 2007

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a celebration and that's what we did in town was celebrate our heritage with a parade, flea market, tractor pulls, outhouse races, tractor races and Bossie Bingo.

The streets were blocked off in our little town, well, just the main part of one street, and we had a grand time visiting with friends and neighbors. Our 4-H group had a bake sale, but competing with four other bake sales didn't prove profitable. We made a little money...but we had more fun visiting and eating our profits.

After the bake sale, we moved over to Bossie Bingo and waited for the heifer...supplied by us... to make a cow pie on a square. The local FFA chapter sold squares and whatever square she plopped in was the winning square.

While waiting for her, we had a picnic lunch with my parents under some pine trees. It was a wonderful day for a picnic. When Lucy the heifer finally named a winner, we took her home and came back in to watch the antique tractor pulls. I watched atop an Oliver Super 88 Diesel that had just been repainted by our neighbor who is crazy about Olivers and is a craftsman with a sandblaster and tractor paint. He is also our resident mechanic...we just love him. We watched til we had to come home to milk cows.

Unfortunately we all came home in one vehicle because none of our tractors made it up to the tractor show. JW was at a judging workout and couldn't take his up....the chicken chaser was missing a part and couldn't go up....and Luke's, the one that had spent the day working in the hayfield the day before...just quit and refused to go! Needless to say that was a huge disappointment to all of us. But we managed to enjoy the day dispite our tractor grief.

Today it has been raining most of the day! We're so thankful for that! It's been a great day for napping and that's what I just got done doing!

Now I've got to go fry up some Green Fried Tomatoes for Sunday dinner..more later.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Girl Power realized on the farm


As I said in the post below we had a chaotic day baling. But I have to make an announcement....The only granddaughter in the whole family, my side and Big Daddy's side has now mastered driving the tractor and baler! I know my father will be proud to think his only granddaughter has stepped up to the plate and like the farm girl he raised, Sarah has taken on a responsibility and did it with ease.


You see, growing up as the youngest of four with two boys ahead of me, tractor driving for me wasn't realized as quickly as the boys. I had to basically wait my turn and my teacher...my brother...was meticules on how I did it. For instance, I couldn't listen to the radio, it would disturb my concentration. At the time I thought he was a little controlling, but now I realize he was totally right. As I got older and the oldest boy got an off the farm job or the boys had to mow the hay away...most of the tractor driving for hay baling landed on me. Which was fine...you know the tanning potential on a open top tractor is stupendous!


Anyway...anyone who has driven a tractor and baler knows the inner turmoil it induces. Which row should I go down...am I going to fast....am I going to slow....if I stop now, they'll fall off the wagon....I can't do that hill the whole load will fall down....what is he saying.....oh he's really mad now.....oh no, I missed that little bit of hay....which row did he say....this row or that one...I sure wish he wasn't so picky about what row to go down....we'll get them all for heavens sake!....I'm so hot and thirsty!


You can see the pressure is immense! So yesterday while I was driving the baler Luke was loading and Sarah was supposed to be helping but he clearly didn't need it. So she came up on the tractor with me. I looked at her and said, "You want to drive the tractor?" She said an absolute "NO!" We went back and forth, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no...and finally she said, "You're going to make me cry mom!" And that was all it took, I put her on the seat and told her what to do and said I wouldn't leave her, I'd be right here for her.


She let the clutch out slow and easy...first gear, how bad can she pop the clutch? And we were off. She didn't cry, she didn't panic, she didn't swerve, she just took over... looking back and forth from the baler to the front tire and before long she was smiling with confidence.


We loaded up the wagons, and brought them back to unload and while I milked the cows, she continued to drive the baler. I was so impressed! When we sat down to eat dinner last night at 9 pm...which is way late for us....she chirped, "You know, I never thought I say this, but I really like driving that tractor."


Any farmer who has raised a farmgirl knows, there is nothing like a girl's help. They don't but heads with you, they just do as they are told. They don't come up with different ideas, they just do as they are told. They don't quit on you, they just keep going. You gotta admit...farmgirls are special!


Too much testosterone

A family of boys is a great thing...until they let the testosterone take over.

Baling yesterday turned out to be quite a revelation for me. When we start a task..usually Big Daddy lays out a plan, gives everyone a job and then we all march to that drumbeat. But yesterday when the baling began everyone just skattered and started doing what they thought they should do. Let's just say that didn't work.

Two people went to the field...two people hopped on tractors and no one knew what the other one was going to do. It was a communication failure. This all ended up in chaotic yelling. Then I thought I needed to step in and lighten things up a bit. But I got infected with the attitude bug and stomped off.

So when the day ended, the cows were milked, they hay was baled and put away and a couple of things were realized. 1. Boys are great, but when they all think they have a plan and it's the best plan and everybody else better do that plan...it's a bad plan. And number 2. Girls are sometimes the best help on the farm.....explained in the next post.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Baling on the hottest day


Well, I have to say, I'm the lucky one to be the dispatcher today. I get to stay inside and run things while the rest of the crew is baling hay, unloading hay, delivering wagons, delivering water and supporting the crew on this very steamy day.

Luke got to use his tractor today for something other than riding in a parade. He got to rake hay and there is nothing better than watching a young boy on his tractor doing a man's job. Let's just say Luke is all business today. Those of you on farms and ranches across this great nation can relate to the value of a young man contributing to the family business with something of his own. It's a great feeling.

Now that JW can drive all on his own...and let me tell you...it was a little scary watching he and Luke drive out of the yard last night to head to TSC for baling supplies....we now have someone who can run to town for this and that. And he loves it! Today he went to the John Deere dealership for shear pins for the baler. Anything to drive down the road!

Yesterday was also a fun day because I was on Rural Route Radio with Trent and Kyle. It was really great because we discussed the topic from the day before. If you get a chance, listen to Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. You'll be amazed at what crazy ideas are out there from people. One vegan believes that if we all stop eating animal products, meat and dairy, then the world will return to paradise, like before when Adam and Eve had sinned and that crime will go down and that we won't have so many sociopaths because people who eat meat have sociopathic tendencies. Interesting.....

More like Georgia

This weather has got to come to an end! It feels just like Georgia...hot and steamy. Although I don't mind the hot, I really don't like the steamy...but how can I change it? I can't so on to something else...it just made a really good post header!

Yesterday was a great day. The boys left early to go pick rocks for the neighbor...oh how they wished there was something pressing to do here on this farm yesterday...they really hate picking rocks. But who doesn't? That's just one of those things a farm kid has to endure at some point. It's a rite of passage of sorts. You aren't a true farm kid unless you've picked rocks on a hot summer day in a dry field coming home with a dirt covered face looking like you're wearing eye liner.

I had my rock picking days....with my dad and brother. I even have evidence from it. While out in the hot sun with my dad on the loader tractor and my brother and I walking and picking, I picked up two rocks and put them together so I could put them both in the loader at the same time. They were too heavy and too big for me to carry one in each hand so by putting them together I could manage it better. In true Melissa fashion, I accidently smashed my middle finger in between the two rocks. Oh it bled and bled and it hurt and hurt. My Air Force Medic dad decided it just needed a bandaide and it would be fine. Today you can still see a lump on the tip of my middle finger because it healed that way. I don't mind it, it's kind of like a rock picking battle scare. And don't think I didn't show it off and wave it around the other day when I heard all that complaining!

One good thing came from that accident...our rock picking session ended early!

Coffee is perked, gotta go...more later about the rest of the day...so much fun!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Happy Birthday JW!




Yes, today is a big day at the Knolltop. JW our oldest is 16 today. And yes, we will be heading to the Secretary of State's office to get his license today and he will be able to legally leave our farm in a vehicle without any of us....yes...I'm sad!

Although I'm only 28, somehow with this milestone I feel 42. Just 16 short years ago I was in labor with this little one and he took forever to be delivered...might I add I delivered him without any drugs! Silly me...had I known I could've had a pain free labor I would've begged for drugs with the first twinge of pain while I was pulling weeds in my garden in Southwest, Indiana. I kept thinking it had to get really bad to ask for drugs otherwise they would consider me the wimp of the year. So by the time I wimpered for some medication, the nurse looked at me and said..."It's way too late for that, just keep pushing!"

As our oldest child, we have every breath JW ever took photographed and in a scrap book and his first two years of his life are documented...every little detail. And as the familiar story goes, our fourth child was so forsaken he was losing weight before I realized I had another mouth to feed. You see he liked sucking on his fingers and I just never thought about feeding him...I had three other little kids to take care of for heaven's sake! Waking up a sleeping baby to feed him was absolutely against everything I stood for. Of course before you call the authorities on me, take another look at our baby...he's well fed.

So, back to Dub....he was definitely the biggest challenge to raise...he's ADD, although I've never had him officially diagnosed, I know he is...and we live with it! He never wanted to go to bed at night...he was always pushing the envelope and I tell you, he got more spankings than any of the rest of our children. But today, he's a very hard working young man with a big smile and a very generous heart. He can give a pep talk at the drop of a hat and make you feel like a million bucks. He's done that for me more times than I can count and then I turn around and ask "Who's the parent here?"

So before he gets an ego, because he does read this to see what I'm saying about everyone...I will quit and say...I love you Jaybird! Won't he love that!