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!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hard loss

It's a calm morning here on the Knolltop. The weather is normal, not too hot, not too cold...just right.

We had basketball games last night. While Sarah and I stayed home and milked, Bobby went to Luke's game and they lost in double overtime....what a bummer. Luke was so disgusted, but soon got over it. JW's team lost big to Hillsdale, a much bigger school than North Adams. JW played a good game though. Three fouls.....that's par for him.

My brother, sister in law and two nephews make the trip down for both games, that was so nice for them to come. I told my brother it was a real sacrifice for an athletic director to spend his vacation time sitting in bleachers watching basketball! He replied that it was very different because he was watching his nephews and he didn't have to deal with any problems...he could just watch the game. It was fun to sit and visit with them and to listen to my nephews jabber about stuff.

Today they both have games and I think I'll be able to watch both of them today!

Prayer request: My dad has his other knee replaced today, if you could pray for him...I sure would appreciate it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas again.

It's a beautiful sunny morning here on the Knolltop. Cold, but sunny!

After we had ice on Friday, it warmed up into the 50s on Saturday and all the snow and ice melted! Now we're back to bare ground and that's just fine with me.

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas with my family at my brother's home. My sister-in-law is the hostesses of all hostesses. Yes her house is decorated so beautifully, she is clever with everything she does and the food on the buffet was not only delicious it was presented beautifully as well. But the thing that makes here the best hostess??? We started with snacks and dessert first and then she brought out the stuff that was slightly good for us! I loved it! So we loaded up on cheesecake, pumpkin pie and sweetrolls and then ate the ham and shrimp....oh it was good!

Basketball tournaments for the next two days...better get busy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ice and more ice

Here's what built up on our van since 6:30 am this morning.
After morning chores, Luke decided to put on his hockey skates and play hockey on the road.
JW has no skates, so he just slides around trying to trip Luke up.
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Christmas on the Knolltop.

There is ice on the window here in my office. It's an ice storm at the moment...but we will soon have rain and I'm hearing it will be in the sixties tomorrow! This is very strange weather we're having on the Knolltop.
Yesterday was a very unusual Christmas for the Knolltop. Usually we get our chores done in a hurry so we can celebrate the day. Not yesterday. The main pipe from the well pit to the barn sprung a leak late Christmas Eve. They let it leak in the barn so the cows could have a drink and then shut the water off while they made preparations to fix it Christmas morning. One call to our farm savior, the neighbor Mr. Mike from Knolltop Morgans, also the resident electrician and Jack of all Trades, had just the part we needed to make another part for the pipe. Interrupting his Christmas morning wasn't in either of our plans but with the cows without water Christmas had to wait on the Knolltop. Late morning Mr. Mike, Bobby, JW and Luke finally got the pipe fixed and the cows had water....Christmas could begin!
We were opening presents at noon and all of us commented on how strange that was. But I'm sure we weren't the only farm family across the nation who had troubles on Christmas Day. With the weather acting so strange there were bound to be other malfunctions that didn't look at the calendar before they malfunctioned.

So now I'll share a few pictures of the day before Christmas when I had everyone in the act of baking and then Christmas Day.
I had JW and Luke slaving away on Christmas Eve, baking and baking and baking. They tried to sneak away, after they ate their fill of peanut butter balls and were too full to roll anymore. But I got the whip out and gave them 50 lashes and they stayed until the bitter end!
The pecan turtles were done and ready for chocolate...but I ran out, so we had naked turtles.
The pies were baked and the sweetrolls with the burned side down. Yes, I burned the sweetrolls...time got away from me! But we had yummy punch, in the popcorn bowl, Sarah broke my punch bowl last, she didn't throw it at Jake in a rage of anger....just an accident.

The table was all set for Christmas dinner, don't mind the wrinkled mother is cringing right now at a wrinkled tablecloth, but the day was getting away from me, plus I was out of starch!

After all the opening of gifts the living room pretty much stayed like this until I put the hammer down and the elves started cleaning up.

And that was our Christmas day! Now it's time to have Christmas with the rest of the family up north!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

Picture of the day: Here is our Christmas "Bush" that JW dropped out of the truck twice while bringing it home. Like all Christmas trees, once it's decorated and lit's just as nice as any other tree. The weather was nasty the day they brought it in for me.

The weather is vastly different on the Knolltop this Christmas Eve. It's now raining and the road is a sheet of wet ice.

Yesterday was a marathon shopping day for me. After getting in from morning chores I cleaned up and the kids and I headed to the mall for a 90 minutes of power shopping. The traffic was thick but we got home in time to dash back out to the barn and milk. While we milked a first calf heifer gave us another bull. After chores we headed back into town for one last round of shopping and when I got home I could finally say I was done Christmas shopping.

Today is filled with baking and wrapping....after choring!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blessed Christmas

Same weather...different day....again.

But there is something exciting and different about today! This morning we went out to do chores and while I was going behind the cows pulling down the manure on the platform I caught Bobby coming in the barn with the wheelbarrow. This was out of the ordinary for his morning routine, but I continued to work. A few minutes later he walked back to the springer pen with a rope halter. At that moment, I knew a cow was either calving or had already delivered. I continued with my routine until I came to an empty stall and there I saw a newborn calf.

Of course, I immediately checked to see if it was a bull or a heifer and to my surprise it was a heifer! My mind started racing about who it was. Was it Blanche's Goldwyn calf? No, I looked at her yesterday, she didn't look that close to having a calf, it must have been one of the first calf heifers. Quickening my pace caused by my excitment of curiosity, I walked back to the springer pen. Where was he? I couldn't see him or hear him, I figured the cow must have been out in the steer barn...but he took a halter, so whoever had the calf had to be halter broke and the heifers that were close were definitely not halter broke!

I continued to look out in the darkness of the pasture but couldn't see a thing with the snow blowing....just then the big sliding door opened, I knew it was Bobby bringing in the new mom. But who was it? It was like slow motion, Bobby walked through the door with the lead rope in his hand and right behind him was her! It was Blanche! I screamed with excitment!

I couldn't believe it! God had given us a Goldwyn daughter out of Blanche! To say the least Bobby has been on cloud nine ever since. The wind can keep blowing, the water bowls can freeze, the gutter cleaner can it just doesn't matter, Bobby received the best Christmas present he could ever get.....Knolltop Goldwyn Blessed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another day of cold!

Same weather just a different day here on the Knolltop.

The wind is from the west so now the west side of the barn is frozen....well it was last night when we went to milk. Jake was a trooper with helping thaw water bowls. He stayed out there the whole milking working on them with Bobby while I milked. The other three kids had a Christmas party with the church youth group down the road. They came out and helped for a while, then went to the party. By the time we left the barn, everyone was fed, watered, bedded and chewing their cud....except the cats weren't chewing their cud, they were purring.

This morning it's more of the same, I milked while Bobby thawed water bowls. This wind is supposed to stop tomorrow....yippee! We can stand the cold, and we can stand the wind...but we can't stand a cold below zero wind! This too shall pass.

Yesterday morning after chores the boys brought in the Christmas bush. JW finally told me what happened with the tree falling out of the back of his truck. He said he had to open the back glass and put the trunk through the window and hold on to it so it would flip out of the truck. By this time I was able to laugh uncontrollably at this whole situation.

We let the branches warm and relax and then last night after the kids' party and chores we all met in the livingroom to relive every Christmas tree ornament. It's always fun to talk about each one and when we got it and what it means and the silly things the kids have done in the past. I love that. I made some eggnog and popcorn and we enjoyed the evening. But I was so glad to get in my warm bed!

Now Luke and Jake are gone to basketball practice and we just got done with breakfast and will put on our tundra togs that are warming in the dryer and head back out to the barn for more frozen fun!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who needs a Christmas tree?

It is so snowy and windy on the Knolltop I can only see my neighbor's house from my window and nothing beyond it! The wind is howling and the snow is coming down and we're in for a great storm. Bobby is headed out right now to go plow out the neighbor lady, she's the pianist for the local church and the children's program will be performed this morning...nothing will stop Miss Stanna from getting to the church on time!

Sarah's birthday was wonderful. She had the night off from chores and when we got in from the barn we celebrated with cake, ice cream and presents. Bobby and I got her most of her gifts, except for Jake, he bought her a statue of a ballerina. He is so sensitive and thoughtful of his sister. After we gorged on sugar the boys went over to Brads and spent the night.

As far as Christmas is concerned, it will be a miracle if we get the tree up this year. I know, I know.....we are really late, but I joked with the kids about going to the Christmas tree recycling place to get a free tree that someone else already took down because they were going on vacation. We all laughed at the thought of rummaging through used Christmas trees but I'm not so sure that isn't the answer.

Yesterday Sarah and I went to Walmart and picked up a few things. Then we went to a tree farm where we could cut our own...all for one low price. We selected the tree, the farmer cut it for us and I told him my son would be by to pick it up later when he got done with baseball camp.

While I was doing chores, I called JW to tell him to get the tree with his pick-up on the way home. Luke came out a little later and informed me that JW got the tree home....but it fell out of his truck twice and the top was broken off and now my perfect blue spruce tree looked like a bush! I told Luke to put the tree stand on it and bring it in....and I told Sarah to get one of the table cloths we use for the picnic table, put it on the floor in the corner and be ready for Luke to bring in the tree.

When I got in from chores, the tree was still outside due to a broken tree stand and Sarah had one of my good linen tableclothes on the floor, because she said "It was prettier than the oilcloth." AAAHHHHH! Can you say frustration? I walked into the bedroom, changed my clothes, popped some popcorn and drowned my Christmas tree woes in carmel corn!

Today the tree goes up....come you know what or high water!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Picture of the day: This was taken at our county fair. It's kind of dark but you can see our line of heifers, well the back end of the heifers....

We're in the middle of a snowstorm right now. Snow, sleet,'s a mess. The kids are off of school, it's bad out.

But it's Sarah's 13th Birthday so that makes it a great day!!!!! What a wonderful day it was when my daughter arrived into the world. It was so exciting to put pink clothes on a newborn! I loved it. But I can't reminisce too's time for more chores!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's up for the day?

Picture of the day: This is the world renown Palmerton family. L to R: Francis and Patty and Francis brother, Claude. Remember, these are the people who dispersed the famed Hapalson Jersey herd in September and as a result caused havoc in my household by making me buy two brown cows?????? But seriously, they used to be good friends of mine, (just joking) but they've been long time friends of my family and ever since they sold their workload rumor has it they are now out and about RVing around the country bathing in the hot springs in Montana, sipping champagne in the ski lodges in Vale and otherwise enjoying the good life at the end of a long road of dairying. (None of this may be true, that's just what I imagine and it was fun to write.)

Good Morning from a calm before the storm Knolltop. We're supposed to get some bad weather tonight and tomorrow, so today is the running around day to get all the things I should've gotten last week if I were a good mother of the only granddaughter on both sides of the family who's 13th birthday is tomorrow!

Christmas tree, Christmas presents, birthday presents, cards, money, groceries, cow feed and pizza are all on the must get list for today. Then the boys have a game tonight in Hillsdale and who knows how many kids will show up at the dinner table????
Now it's time to head back out to the barn for more chores!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rural Route Wednesday

This is the photo of the day. In the winter, my livingroom is transforms into a basketball court. It was a wild game the other day with the extra boys from school. They have a great time, I'm not sure how well this old farmhouse will hold up though.

Trent Loos called and needed a standby for Rural Route today, so of course I said yes because he's always so complementary when he's begging me to be on his show. I'm a push over and I know it and so does he!

The only interruption I had was when the school called 10 minutes before the show and said Jake was sick and needed to come home. I had no vehicle so I had to call the neighbor to rescue Jake. So while I was discussing global warming and trying to understand why I care about 650 researchers who don't believe in its effects, I had to get Jake settled in for a day on the couch and then head to the barn to finish up chores. If you listen you'll hear all the sounds of the barn, including the scraping of the floor and the heifer in heat. Yes, it was truly a place where Rural and Urban met today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving south

It's gotten drastically colder here! JW and I are seriously contemplating moving south.

Last night we traveled to Battle Creek where the boys played the Battle Creek St. Philip Tigers. They must have been all prayed up, because we didn't have a prayer of winning. The JV lost by 25 and the Varsity lost by 40. Those Tigers were really good and we just couldn't keep up. But, JW had a good game and so did Luke, even though he tripped a kid, I say he did it on purpose, everyone else, including Luke, said it was an accident. But a mom knows the look in her kid's eye when he is being naughty.....Luke had that look. I'm just sayin'....

Is anyone still working on their Christmas shopping? I am. Sarah's birthday is Friday and she keeps reminding me.....I need to get to a mall!

Okay, here's the photo of the day: This is Sarah and I leaving the showring with our heifers at the county fair in September. I love showing cows!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's the weather?

Here's a football picture of Luke last fall. I just got a disc with all of them on it, so I think I'll share some of them here and there. I love this one, he looks like a pro!

It's a very strange weather day on the Knolltop today! When we walked across the road this morning it was 48, now it's 32 and getting colder by the minute. We are expected to have ice, snow and wind today. I highly the doubt the boys basketball game will happen today....but we'll see.

Friday night we traveled to Litchfield to watch the boys play, Luke's team killed the Terriers(what an awful name for a mascot) and JW's team lost. I'll refrain from any commentary on either game to keep peace in the house.

Yesterday morning we were blessed with a Christmas Cantata at church. It was so nice just to hear the choir sing, no acting, no bumbled lines, nothing but beautiful singing by both the adult and children's choir. The only regret is that I wasn't in it. But I'm sure there will be time for that later in life when the kids are grown!

No Christmas tree yet, I think I might get that this morning, especially if we are going to be weathered in, like they are forecasting. Then we'll have all the kids home to decorate!

Friday, December 12, 2008

This is one of our favorite cows, Blanche. She's an 89 point Outside due at Christmas time to Goldwyn. Bobby said if she has a heifer her name will be Blessing. And he might even bring her in and put her under the tree! For those of you who aren't familiar with Bulls, Goldwyn is a really good sire who just died recently.
This is "Bud" our 19 year old cutting horse. He spends most of his time with the dry cows and heifers. He loves to chase them around, but doesn't do much of that in his old age. He's a great horse that we bought when he was just 2 years old and JW was 2 months.
Okay, so I'm not a photographer, but I try!
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Days late

I've had days when I've gotten behind, but I don't remember getting behind for a week!

It seems I've been behind everyday this week and now it's snowballed into a huge backlog today! Sifting through the shoes in the closet with my daughter to find her the right shoes for her band concert last night, my mom came in and chuckled at my ever growing mountain of laundry. And it seems that at the bottom of the mountain was a pair of dress pants that JW needed to wear today because it was a game day.

I was ironing Luke's dress shirt, JW was trying to find something decent to wear while Luke was sifting through the dirty laundry in search of his lucky socks for me to wash for his game tonight. Thank God Jake wasn't having one of his daily wardrobe crises! That would've put me over the edge...I already feel like a mothering failure!

Then I was late with chores, late with my column and late with this blog post! But I do have some pictures I'll share that I took the time to take this morning while Bobby was working and I was goofing off!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alarm clock woes

Good Morning from a chilly, clear Knolltop! The moon is full and was so bright this morning when we walked across the road to milk. In fact it was bright when we got done with milking last night too. It's so nice to have that bright light even at night.

Yesterday was a busy day that started out just a tad behind. Our alarm clock decided to quit working and of course we didn't find out until I woke up at 4:30 am....a time when we are normally a third done with milking! Jolting out of bed and dashing to the barn, it was a welcome relief when we turned the radio up and heard the kids didn't have school because of the icy roads!

For the rest of the day, we were behind. Every time I thought about posting on this blog, I realized I had something else to do. So I just never got to it causing alarm in the South. Getting a call from my favorite mother -in-law at 9 pm last night was a little disconcerting, I automatically thought something was wrong when I looked at the caller ID. She was just calling to check on us because I hadn't posted! It's nice to know we're being looked out for....actually, I was surprised my mom didn't call, she always calls when I don't post. Maybe I'd better call her to make sure everything is okay!

From the comment left yesterday, I see old Pryorvu is getting things ready for Christmas....glad to hear he's not slacking off out there in the foothills of the Rockies!

Today is the Michigan Holstein Association Holiday sale. JW and I have to sell concessions at it since the Juniors are using that as a fundraiser. This evening the kids have their Christmas concert. So it's never a dull moment on the Knolltop.

By the way, at the game on Tuesday night, the JV's beat Climax-Scotts but the varsity lost.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fudge or envelopes?

It's an icy morning here on the Knolltop. We're getting rain right now and the road is a sheet of ice, I'm assuming the paved roads are fine since the kids had school, but I"m glad I don't have to leave the comforts of this little farmstead.

Last night we slipped our way to Jonesville to watch the boys basketball game. The JV team won and the varsity lost, but it was close. They were both really good games and it was fun to watch the first game of the season.

This evening Bobby will ride the bus with the boys to Climax. It's over an hour away so Sarah and I will stay home and milk the cows. I'm good with that, it will be nice to spend the evening with just Sarah.

I think I might try to get some Christmas cards sent today...maybe...who knows. I've only had one year when I was on time, I was organized and sent them out the day after Thanksgiving. I haven't been that organized since. But since I love to get them, I need to send them!

Or maybe I"ll just bake Christmas goodies today. That sounds way better than writing out cards. The taste of an envelope doesn't even compare to chocolate peanut butter fudge!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sparties Vs the Dawgs

Good Monday Morning from the Knolltop!

I don't have much time this morning, I'm late for coffee and Bible Study with Angie!

It was a fun weekend, Sarah and I decorated the house for Christmas, I made yummy Christmas cookies last night with's all gone. The boys had an FFA lock-in Saturday night while Jake, Sarah, Bobby and I had a great game of charades.

Tonight is the season opener for the boys at Jonesville. And I might find myself in divorce court over the Capitol One Bowl where Michigan State will take on Georgia. Yes, that is making a major division in our house! The Spartans will take on the Bow Wow Brigade of U of G on New Years Day. It will be one fierce day here on the Knolltop!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Three Amigos

Good Friday morning from a cloudy, cold Knolltop. It was 18 when we crossed the road to milk the cows...and boy it felt like it!

Last evening Bobby, Luke and Jake wanted to go to the Hillsdale College mens basketball game. They were playing the Lake Superior State Lakers and Micah Hudson who plays on that team is a boy from our church, so naturally I wanted to go see Micah play. So I told them I was going too. Jake was seriously disappointed that I would even think of horning in on the "Three Amigos" fun time at Jesse Phillips Arena. But I went anyway.

I asked who was going to get the popcorn and I was told that doesn't happen until half time. When they finally visited the concession stand, I was really looking forward to some good popcorn. They came back with three bags of popcorn and three drinks and I got the message. They were generous enough to share their popcorn, but I still knew I wasn't a part of the clan.

Sitting on the end, Jake took pity on me and came over to sit down by me. As he was sitting down he said, "Since I know you don't know diddly about Chargers Basketball, I'll sit down here and clue you in on what's going on and who's who on the team." Acceptance was all but had at this point. So I proceeded to act like the dumb mom and by the end of the game we were sharing snickers and M&Ms. But I'll never go again.

I was going to talk about the photo shoot, but now I've got to get to the barn and help get the cows in before the water bowls freeze!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Heifer crisis

I got a little later start here on the Knolltop and it's starting to snowball into my day!

Getting to the barn on time this morning for milking I was doing my heifer chores like I always do before we actually start to milk the cows. I slid open the door to connect the hose to the hydrant to water the calves. As I was hooking up the hose I heard a cow with a not normal breathing pattern. Stopping to listen I determined it wasn't the kind of breathing that went with a cow calving that sounded like she really didn't know how she got pregnant and really didn't like what was happening during the painful delivery and could you please get this thing out of me RIGHT NOW!

No, this was a cow in distress, but I just didn't know what kind of distress. So like any good farmwife....I went and told Bobby he needed to get his flashlight and see what was wrong. I know, you thought this tough farm woman would've investigated the problem and handled it with confidence, right? NO WAY! I don't like investigating wierd sounding cows in the the cold dark!

He came running back into the barn calling for my help, well, actually yelling for my help. I quickly made my way to the horse pasture and opened the gate so he could bring the skidsteer into the horse barn, where the distressed heifer was laying on her side, half bloated and not able to get up. I know, horse barn, dairy heifer....they just don't go, but that's a story for another day.

We put a rope halter on her, tied it to the skidsteer and slowly pulled her so she could get her legs under her body and get up. I had little faith in this operation. All I could see was me running to the house for a sharp kitchen knife and both of us standing over her wondering where to make the cut to relieve the pressure. But, as God would have it....she popped up, stood there for a minute to catch her breath and now she is standing at the bunk eating with all the other heifers. Wow....such drama at such an early hour!

And that is why I'm so late! Now tomorrow I hope to share a few photos with you. Yesterday I received an urgent email from Holstein International wanting a picture of me for my new column that will debut in January. This was due a couple of weeks ago, but I actually forgot, well, no, really I just never had a good enough hair day to make a good picture.

So yesterday I threw the camera at Sarah and said, come've got to take some pictures.

Here's a sneak preview!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cold outside, warm inside

Well, after a great day off, the kids are back to school, but it's still snowy and windy here on the Knolltop. The older boys went in early to pitch...they've got to love baseball to get up early on a cold morning just to practice! I hope it pays off.

Last evening while Bobby, Sarah and I were munching on popcorn enjoying the warm house, the boys invited a couple of friends over and were playing airsoft out in the barn. Why would anyone want to be outside in the cold winter when they could be inside eating popcorn?

Jake came in asking for some hot chocolate. I handed him a milk jug and sent him to the milkhouse. When he came back he was so happy to be inside. He said he was glad the older boys had asked him to go get the hot chocolate started. I asked why and he replied that he was cold and wanted to come in. Then I asked him why he didn't just come in, he replied, "The boys would've called me a baby." Oh, what these youngest boys have to endure!

Off to the barn to check on a cow that may be calving and do the rest of chores.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snow day

Good Morning from an icy, snowing, no school today Knolltop!

The kids are elated to think they don't have school. I am too.

The scrimmage went well last night, we had to divide our attention between the JV and Varsity. Luke was in one gym and JW was in we kept walking back and forth. It was fun.

The ride home was slow, the roads were awful. I don't know if they were really that bad or we are getting acclamaited to the snow again.

This morning Jake and I cleaned out a spot for the calves, they had to move to make room for other cows. Don't even ask where those good for nothin' teenagers were...don't get me started...just don't get me started!

Sarah and Jake are out sledding right now, what a great time for pictures but since I just got out of a nice warm shower after being out in the cold, I'm NOT going back out in the cold to snap pictures...sorry, I'm just not that dedicated!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Watch the steakfeed!

Good Monday morning from the Knolltop! It looks like Christmas at my house! The ground is covered in the white stuff and it's still coming down. The kids were hoping for a snow day, but as JW and Luke headed in early to pitch, I assured them there was school today.

Tonight the boys have their first basketball scrimmage, so you know what that means. We will be running through chores to get to it. It's a half hour north of here, so we will have to really speed the milking along.

Over the past few months I've written a little bit here and there about the All-American Beef Battalion with commander in chief, Bill Broadie of Ashland, Kansas. If you've ever really wondered about what it's all about you now have a chance to watch it in action. Cowboy Church, a program on RFD-TV, filmed one of their services at a steakfeed in Manhattan, Kansas. They had their normal singing and preaching, but they did it while a bunch of Iraq war troops were eating big, juicy steaks. It is the goal of the AABB to feed every man and woman serving in the United States military a beef steak. So far, they've had several steakfeeds with troops either leavning to go to Iraq or coming home. As told from the volunteers who feed the men and women and their families, it's an amazing event that has made a huge impression, one they'll remember for a long time.

So, if you want to watch, you can catch it tonight on RFD-TV at 9:30 pm EST. Or tomorrow at 11:30 am EST. And if you feel compelled to donate money for the cause, you can visit It's a great effort put on by a great group of people and is the creation of one very special, Vietnam War Vet, Bill Broadie.

Gotta go!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Traditional Thankgiving

Good Friday after Thanksgiving from the Knolltop!

It was a great thanksgiving for my family. We all gathered at my parents farm and had a wonderful meal prepared mostly by my mom. This picture is at the table, usually I make everyone look and smile, but I decided to let them eat instead.
My sister in law added some yummy rolls and a fruit platter, complete with papaya that tasted really awful, (or so they say, they threw it out before I got there.) I brought a pie and sweet potatoes.

It was the traditional family Thanksgiving with the ladies in the kitchen preparing the meal, the men in the family room watching football and the kids running around the house. The only difference is the kids have gotten bigger and they make more commotion when they run through the kitchen!
I caught my brother and sister in law off guard with this shot...she said she wasn't ready, but I took the picture anyway, we were into natural posing yesterday. I think she's about to give her son a directive...that's what her face says anyway!

We even had one kid climbing the walls. My nephew Adam has learned his daddy's trick from long ago!
Sarah and I posed for the camera, we were supposed to be showing of four tractor earrings...but you really can't see them, can you?
We all ate well and we came home with leftovers.
Today I've got the cleaning I think the kids and I will be working in the house some. Christmas decorations are a must over the weekend, but I feel like I need to clean the house before I decorate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are you ready yet?

Good Wednesday morning from the Knolltop!

We've still got snow this morning, but it's warming up a little, I had to take my sweatshirt off during I know there is either no wind or it's warm.

It's time to get ready for Thanksgiving. Yes, I may sound a little late, but I'm not cooking it this year, we are traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house! Which means I haven't even thought about cooking or cleaning or even shopping yet! I've got to get two things at the store today and then I'll be good to go....this is a nice reprieve. My mom loves to cook and really enjoys hosting Thanksgiving dinner. The other day she was absolutely giddy about the linen table cloth and matching napkins for 12 she found in her linen closet! She commented on how much she enjoyed starching the napkins and I had to agree with her, ironing and starching napkins is a very satisfying job. When you end up with sharp, crisp edges and creases it's very gratifying to put them on your table. Are we weird? Does anyone else enjoy this?

I'll be on Rural Route today with Trent Loos and my favorite host, Kyle Bauer. Trent is traveling to Chicago to be in the Thanksgiving Day parade with his chuck wagon...check out his website for more info...after the event. I'm sure he won't have time to post on the site before the event...Trent is just not a planner.

Better get!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The new B.J.

It's a very snowy morning here on the Knolltop. It's started yesterday morning and made drivers start creeping down the road and now we've got a couple schools closed this morning. Much to my children's dismay, our school is in session today.

I have a new milking partner. She wears a pink Michigan State hat and a pink sweatshirt and I call her B.J. She's probably... no she IS the best milking partner I've had. She's easy to get along with, she keeps up with the milkers and is not easily distracted. She takes direction with respect and keeps her mind on her job. She even keeps me on my toes.

Last evening while we were milking I changed a milker and stepped back into the center isle. She looked at the cow that was just milked and then looked at me and asked, "Did you dip her?" Indignant, I replied, "Of course." She said, "Oh, well it just didn't look like it." I turned and looked and was confident that I had dipped her even though she didn't look like she had a drop of dip on any of her four teats. I slid a little closer and then bent over to inspect my dipping job and discovered she was a clean as a dip at all.

I looked at B.J. and said, "You were right, I hadn't dipped her, thanks." She just smiled.

Then I gave her a new name. That beautiful daughter that was born almost 13 years ago that delighted my life and has made my world a better place and consistently keeps me on schedule, on task and on time was now going to be known as B.J.....Bobby Junior.

Monday, November 24, 2008

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Everything is green!

Good Monday Morning! It's breezy this morning, but not as cold!

Everywhere we go it's John Deere!

Over the weekend, Sarah and I went to a craft show and we found the cutest earrings. We found a pair of John Deere earrings and a pair of Oliver earrings. We were so excited we just had to get them. We're going to wear them to Thanksgiving on Thursday, my dad will love Sarah's Olivers!

Then yesterday we had to stop at TSC on the way home from church and I saw a John Deere t-shirt that said, "My tractor can beat your tractor." I held it up for Luke and told him he needed to buy that for me for Christmas. He refused! He knows his tractor can beat mine, but I like to talk trash.

Then while I was checking out another blog last night, I noticed her template was really cool, so I found a place where you can change the "wallpaper" on your blog, so I browsed through the choices and found this John Deere wallpaper! How fun!

If your a Case fan...please don't run off! I'm not against Case, but I love my old John Deere A and the great sound it makes! Just thinking about it makes me want to run down to the tractor barn and start it up.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Uncle Ricco!

Good Morning from a very cold and sunny Knolltop. It was 18 degrees out this morning and I heard from a neighboring dairy farmer it was 16 at her place! That's just down right cold!

Frank Robinson is so kind to send me pictures of different things upon request. And the last time I asked him, he sent me the best shot of a van behind a cow. Now this van isn't just any van, it's Uncle Ricco's van!

If you're a Napoleon Dynamite fan then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when you see this picture. My boys absolutely love that movie and although I think it's kind of dumb and really pointless, it's fun to watch them watch it. So I put up with watching it over and over and over. I think I even know half the lines in it! So here's the famous did Frank do that?

I know that's not Tina the fat lard, because Tina is a llama...but I think we could call this cow Tony the fat lard...what do you think?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day of rest

It's a breezy Knolltop this morning, but not nearly as cold as it was in the deep south yesterday morning according to my sources....and in laws! Boy, temps in the 20s in the south is reason to get riled up and throw a sure 'nuff fit!

First off, thanks Marsha for the nice comment about the meeting that I spoke at. Wish you could've been there too! We had a great time...except for the lady that was carried out on a chair! I'm glad you heard good things about it.

Secondly, I don't know what they fed me, but I was sick all day long yesterday. After I blogged and got the dishes done, I laid down until my phone was Bobby asking if I had a pulse. I said, "No, I don't think I do," and went back to sleep.

I managed to dragged myself out of bed long enough to do some laundry and get a shower and then plopped back down for my afternoon nap. I'm beginning to sound like my grandmother now. And then after chores I came in and yes, flopped on the bed and snoozed for another hour...then got up, tried to talk with my children, said goodbye to Bobby and the boys who were headed to a Hillsdale College basketball game and as soon as they was the bed again!

I feel 300% better today.....sometimes we just need to know when we need to rest!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two firsts!

Good Morning from another cold knolltop. We have a little dusting of snow which fell between 3:30 am and 5 case you wanted to know that.

Last night we had another first in the family. I had to speak at an annual meeting in Ohio and of course I had to leave during chores. I got started milking the cows and about 10 cows into it, Bobby said, "I think I can probably go with you tonight if you still want me to."

I jumped at the chance for him to go and we started facilitating our departure right in the middle of chores. Of course this meant the kids were going to have to take over and with one getting home from basketball practice and another heading into practice it was tricky. But they got it done.

Bobby and I had a very nice time at the dinner and all the cows were milked. I almost felt like normal people who actually get to go together to events even during chore time.

The emcee for the evening was a man who had been in broadcasting for 30 some years and he was a hoot. He spent his time insulting almost everyone in the room, including me and I was a complete stranger to him. But when I finally got a hold of the mic, I made him pay....and boy did I have fun.

Another first for me was having an ambulance arrive during my speech. I was going along, telling a story about Rural Route when all of a sudden several men who happened to be volunteer fire fighters, started to crowd around this elderly lady. Because every eye in the room was on the commotion of the "rescue squad" I finally stopped in the middle of my story and watched too. All eyes were on them and we were waiting to see what happened. The emcee, who happened to be the county dispatcher called 911 and suddenly they carried this little lady out on her chair to the back of the room with her elderly husband following behind. Compelled by a immediate urge to pray and not giving any thought if I would offend anyone, I just asked the crowd to pray with me for this lady.

Trying to recover after that was a trick, but I carried on and got it done. At the end of the night, the news was that they lady just got low on oxygen. She was refusing to go to the hospital, but they took her anyway...kicking and screaming! No, not really.

All in all, it was a fun night...but now I'm paying for staying out past 10 and I don't feel tip top. I think I'll go lay down! Carry on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What you don't know.....

It is way cold now! A chilly 24 degrees this morning when we walked across the road!

Yesterday on my way home from town I noticed some tracks on the road....lots and lots of tracks. They seemed too big to be deer tracks and they were all over the road, not like deer who are just crossing from one field to another. So I slowed down, opened my door and looked at the tracks and just as I suspected they were cow tracks!

Those heifers that were out yesterday morning when we went to the barn had been out all night long, or at least long enough to run up and down the road and tromp through the wheat fields. It looked like they had a grand old time! There must have been no traffic because I didn't hear any banging on the door or anyone yelling, "Your cows are out!"

Actually, this is a case of "What you don't know won't hurt you." I'm glad I didn't know, if I had known, I would've been out there chasing them around instead of slumbering in my nice warm bed!

We had a birthday celebration last night for Mr. Kyser. I made a German chocolate cake and bought some ice cream. It was fun to pig out on all that sugar, but I of course I ate too much and felt like a fat pig!

Today is a monumental day, we'll have another legal driver on the farm. Luke is getting his permit! I can't believe I'm old enough to have two drivers! They were just little tikes not too long ago!

Breakfast is waiting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's getting colder

Good Morning from a partly cloudy knolltop. It's getting colder and we had our first snow shower yesterday morning on the way to church.

Over the last couple of weeks we've had a couple of heifers calve and they were heifers we didn't raise ourselves but purchased in a sale. They both had heifer calves and they are so little. But size means nothing with Susie and Sizzle, they are big eaters. Sizzle(Sarah named her) was coming to the gate to eat the second time I fed her. And now every time I go back to HeiferWorld (the place where all the heifers are kept in pens by age) she gets up and runs to greet me! Then if I don't feed her she just paces in the pen mooing at me trying to convince me that she's famished and needs nourishment! Those are the kind of calves that are easy to grow!

The weekend was busy, but the workforce was weak. The two older boys left the knolltop and went to my parents farm to clean out their chicken pen. Grandma called and was very pleased with their work. Her words were, "I could just eat those two boys up with a spoon! They are so special!" What do you expect a grandma to say?

I've got errands to run....gotta go!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baseball season

Good Morning from a warmer Knolltop on the day before opening day of deer season. Yes, that is a big deal here in Michigan, practically a holiday! Celebrate away, just thin out this deer herd so I don't have to be so paranoid when I drive after dark!

This morning when I came in after milking Luke was sitting in the kitchen on the stool waiting. What was he waiting for? His brother, JW. You see these two boys love baseball. They love it so much they are willing to get up early three days a week and go into school to practice. Basketball season hasn't even started yet, but JW is single minded when it comes to baseball. He's a pitcher and Luke is a catcher. This year they will be on the same team again and for this mom, there is nothing more fun than watching these two boys play together.

But what gets me is, on their way to bed I can hear them making plans to get up the next morning and go pitch. They'll be walking up the stairs and JW will say to Luke, set your alarm, we're going in to pitch in the morning, Luke replies with an obedient, OK. When dawn arrives here's Luke waiting for JW to get up. JW finally gets up, goes through his routine of gathering his clothes, drinking two glasses of milk and putting his shoes on all while Luke sits on his bench and waits. This will happen all winter long until baseball season finally arrives. I know they would never admit is out aloud, but those boys have a great relationship that is centered around a brotherly love for each other. And my heart melts every time I witness it.

Okay, enough gushing, time to finish my column!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


No, I didn't get killed in a plane crash. No, I didn't get mugged on my way out of Detroit Metro Airport and no, I do not have jet lag! But yesterday I did.

To those of you who have inquired about my whereabouts, thank you! I didn't know you cared so much. Well, I knew you cared mom, but the others.....thanks!

I had a great trip to Kansas City. On Tuesday morning I woke up....late at 3 am, slugged down my cup of coffee that I usually sip in bed while watching the early morning news and rushed out to the barn to do my heifer chores before I left.

Kissing the boys and Bobby goodbye at 4:30 I rushed out the door worrying about the traffic I'll face. Worrying was a waste of time, my one hour and fifteen minute trip took 1 hour and 15 minutes. Arriving at the airport on time, I was puzzled by the automatic ticket counters. I had no idea what to do, where to touch the screen or what my confirmation number was! While all the other savvy business passengers with their sleek wardrobe touched and took their tickets in three seconds, I just looked at the man behind the counter and said, "I don't have a clue!"

He took pity on me and helped me out. Security was a breeze, especially since I had matching socks on without holes! That's why your mother always says be sure to wear clean underwear....or matching hole less socks! For those of you who are like me and are lucky to get outside the county once a when you fly you have to take your shoes off to walk through security. Thanks to the shoe bomber!

Arriving at the meeting I was impressed with the results of what was happening...and you'll find out soon enough about this new venture! I'm very excited to see it launched. Oh, don't worry, I'll still be here to stop in so I can bore you about the mundaneness of life on this little knolltop....I'm not going anywhere! I mean where else are you going to hear about the silliness of four kids you have no knowledge of and read about stuff that really only matters to me. Aren't blogs great?!

Oh, did I mention my meeting was with Dallas Burton and his clan? YEs, the highlight of the meeting was at lunch when we were finished and we were waiting for Dallas to read through his emails on his phone while he laughed at the silly jokes, but didn't bother to share any of them with us. Sometimes he thinks the world revolves around him.....boy when that bubble's going to be a big blow to his ego. Come to think of it...he should have a blog!

On the way home I had a much easier time with the boarding passes and automatic check in screens. In fact, I think I heard someone behind me whispering, "Look at her, she's one of those really savvy business travelers." NOT!

I walked in the door at 9 pm in one piece and they hardly knew I was gone. It was like I had just walked in from getting the mail. Hardly a glance!

Okay, enough about my's writing day....this would make a great column....hmmmm. We'll see!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Monday!

Good Monday morning from the Knolltop! It's cloudy and cold here in southern Michigan. The leaves on the bush right outside my window to the world are still clinging to the branches. I like that. Although the bush should've been trimmed this summer, for whatever reason, this year it didn't get done.

I had a very calm weekend. Friday evening the three older kids went to an all night party with Word of Life. They went to a hockey game and then to Western Michigan University for all kinds of activities like basketball, volleyball, bowling, etc. With tired eyes they tromped in the front door at 7 am Saturday morning, ate breakfast and crashed for the day.

Michigan State won on Saturday, Penn State lost and now we are number one in the Big Ten! I'm still holding my breath....that's what MSU fans do, we just hold our breath until we win again. For a day or so we can enjoy the win until another Saturday rolls around and then we take in a deep breath and watch and wait.

Tomorrow morning I'll be flying to Kansas City for a business meeting. I'll only be gone for the day, then back tomorrow night in time to kiss my kids goodnight. But I sure could use your prayer!

Threecollie and Lovette, thanks for the comments on the're very generous!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Friday!

Good Morning from a cloudy, drizzly knolltop!

Thank you for your prayers, my dad came through his knee surgery with flying colors. But I think that was the easy the work of recovery and therapy begins! So please continue to pray for him...and thank you so much!

If you get a chance to look at another blog today, go to and see what she has to say about the election. Lori has put into words her passion for her convictions and I was very impressed. She took the words right out of my heart. Thanks Lori!

So for those of you who don't get my column, I think today would be a great day to include it.

Truth from the Trenches

By Melissa Hart

While sitting in a combine or driving a grain cart or hauling corn to the elevator there can be a lot of down time. Maybe you spend those countless hours of mundane activity thinking about how good the yields are. Maybe you’re thinking about what next year will bring. Maybe you’re thinking back to the argument you had with your son, or maybe you’re wondering how you’re going to get through another dry year with declining commodity prices.
Whatever is riding the waves of your thoughts, keep one thing in the forefront of your mind’s daily agenda. You have a purpose. Yep, that’s right, you, whoever you are, you have a grand purpose in the world.
You were created with a purpose in mind and a plan to accomplish that purpose. There was nothing random about your creation and there is not one single thing that is random about your life’s purpose. Every minute of your life counts and as you live day by day you need to be reminded of your purpose here on this earth.
Is there anyone like you? Is there another person in this world who has your exact DNA? No. You are unique and very special.
Now that you know you have a purpose, let me tell you there is also a plan for your life. A plan that includes mountain top experiences and days in the desert. A plan that will make you wonder about who and what you are and a plan that will satisfy your appetite of curiosity and strengthen every fiber of your being. You have a calendar filled with treasures and blessings just waiting for you to open them. A calendar created by your Creator, God. When you get to the end of your days and God gives you a glance at your calendar, do you want to see open treasure chests where you enjoyed blessings in your life? Or will you see many, many closed, unused treasurers? You might live an “okay” life with a few blessings here and there, but “just okay” was never what God had planned for you.
With your purpose and plan, God has given you a passion to live out your wonderful life. You have a passion for things that no one else has. I have no idea what your passions are, but you can recognize them. Your passion makes you tick. It’s what creates strong emotion in you. It’s what makes you get on your soapbox. It’s what makes you rise so early in the morning. It’s what keeps you going when life seems to stop. Passion is your lifeblood to keeping on your plan, accomplishing your purpose. Passion is what drives the use of your unique giftedness. It unearths your talents so you can use them for your purpose.
And along the way of working your plan, you’ll run into your pessimist. This may be a person, a memory or a voice you hear whispering in your ear. That whisper doesn’t need to be very loud because it’s very distinct. You can hear it over everything else and it convinces you that you can’t do it. It convinces you that you are silly, useless, selfish and unsuccessful. It reminds you of past failures, hurts and nurtures unforgiveness for others and especially for yourself. It will tell you you’re no good, your plan will never work, you have no purpose and your passion is just uncontrolled emotion.
The funny thing about the pessimist is that he is only describing himself. This pessimist is weak and can be shut down with one good word.
So if you’re on the mountain top, in the desert or somewhere in between I want you to know you are loved, you are special and everything you are matters. And one more thing: You don’t have to believe any of this for it to be true…’s true no matter what!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pity Party Crasher!

Good Morning from a very sunny knolltop! I watched the sun come up while walking on the treadmill this morning and it is so fun to see light come across the countryside.

Okay, leave it to Pryorvu to crash my pity party! The wise old sage had to come in, speak the truth and put an end to my self indulgent, loser attitude! He's absolutely right that we need to keep our president in our prayers. So it is my goal to pray for President Elect Obama every day! How about you?

Speaking of prayer, I'm on my way north to be with my mom as my dad gets one of his knees replaced today. He's needed it done since he quit jumping out of airplanes to save people in the Korean war. Those landings were a little hard on the old guy and now he's paying for it. Why is it soldiers have to pay twice for us? They pay a price while their in the service fighting for our freedoms and for those freedoms around the world and then as they get older they pay for it again with their bodies. Veterans are true heroes!

After Christmas dad gets the other knee from this day until I'd say need to pray for him and for my mom!

I'll let you know how it all turns out....that is unless he doesn't want me to write about it here on the blog....if that's the case then I'm in a whole lot of trouble...guess I just won't mention it. Let's just keep it our little secret...kind of like Bobby's surprise birthday party last April.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can't mourning

Well, all my liberal friends, family and colleagues are jumping up and down today from yesterday's victorious election. Now the whole world is at the mercy of a bunch of liberals! God help us!

Oh go ahead and send your condescending comments....I really don't care. I'm a republican and I'm not going to cower in the corner defending my beliefs that morals belong in government. Yesterday I found myself timidly explaining why I'm a conservative to a Swede....timid no more! Now I can stand back and criticize every little thing our government does...because in 2009 it will be all the democrats fault! Well, at least we're off the hook now.

That's all I'm going to say...yes, I'm bitter and not getting any better writing this blog. Now that's all I'm going to say.....that's it. No more from me. I'm done.

On the positive side, it is nice to see our country has progressed to electing our first black president. I'm very proud of our people....but it would've been better had he been a republican! Okay, now I'll stop!

I'm going to be on Rural Route today, no doubt talking about this election with my conservative cronies, Kyle Bauer and Trent Loos. I love talking politics with Kyle....he agrees with me.

This morning during milking I had to chase a heifer around the pasture to get her back in her pen. She ran every direction I didn't want her to run. It was obvious she isn't a show heifer by her absolute defiant behavior. But I got her back and fixed the fence....for now.

Better get back to mourning....I've got a lot of it to do!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

It's a partly cloudy day here on the Knolltop and it's going to be warm again! Last night Bobby sprayed for flies in the barn and remarked, this is the first time he'd ever had to spray for flies in November! I love it!

We had a visitor last night while we milked. Remember the gentleman I asked everyone to pray for? He now has a job, thank you God, and was in the area so he stopped by to meet me. He's a long time reader of my column, he even read it way back before I was married with you know that was a long time ago! It was nice to have him visit, although the kids couldn't understand why anyone would go out of their way to meet their mom.....boy they can keep you humble, can't they?

I've had some interesting conversations this morning, one with a Dutchman who actually lives in Sweden, Jan Bierma, the editor of Holstein International. He called to confirm a new writing opportunity with me. I will be writing a monthly column in their magazine and I'm so excited!

Anyway, he brought up the fact of the importance of this day in the US. Frankly, I was amazed that he even knew it was election day and was even more surprised that he had an opinion on each presidential candidate. He shared with me the ins and outs of his political views and explained why the rest of the world is watching our election today. I was baffled, I never realized the importance of our country's influence on the rest of the world.

In my little corner of the world, here on my hill with my farm and family I will go in and vote only once. My little vote will be among millions across the country that is counted. It seems so insignificant inside the big picture, but collectively we will make a choice today on a global stage while the rest of the world sits in the audience and watches the play unfold. Amazing....just amazing!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coffee Time!

It's a breezy, kind of sunny, kind of cloudy morning here on the Knolltop!

I'm so thankful for the nice, dry weather. This means the cows are back out on pasture and I don't have to go back out to the barn in the mornings! I love that. So what am I doing today? Having coffee with my BFF Angie of course! After dishes, laundry, vacuuming and working in my office.

Saturday night all the kids were gone in separate directions. JW headed west and went bowling with some friends, Luke went east to an airsoft war, Sarah went north for a party with the church youth group and Jake headed south for a bonfire and hayride.

Later that night they were all back home each telling about their fun night. It was a good thing we had an extra hour!

Better get my coffee, so I can get my work done before I go for more coffee!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Prayer request

It's a beautiful morning here on the Knolltop.

I have an urgent prayer request for Sara of Missouri. She and her family are having a difficult time on the farm and they are need of a miracle. If you would just lift them up in prayer...that would be great! I'll let you know how God answers!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A new baby

It's sunny, breezy and quite warm out, now that it's nearly noon here on the Knolltop.

I'm getting used to my new winter schedule. Now that the cows are staying in at night, my morning routine has changed and I have to go back out and help do some morning chores. I really don't mind, that just means I do more work and I can eat more. I like that. Especially that Halloween candy that I bought to give out tonight in hopes that no one will show up on my porch! Yes, I plan on turning the light on....for a few minutes anyway! Then it's an evening of pigging out on chocolate and popcorn!

We had a new calf born last evening during chores and it was a hoot watching the kids trying to bring the new mom and her baby in from the pasture. Jake had a rope halter, I guess in hopes of putting it on the heifer and leading her into the barn. Never mind that she's not a show heifer and acts like she hasn't seen white man since she was born! While he chased her around the older boys watched and Sarah gave directions.

The frustration ended with Bobby headed out to help. I continued to milk and pretty soon JW walked into the barn carrying a black heifer calf and then the rest of the crew brought in the new mom. She seemed quiet when we milked her last night and this morning. We'll see if that continues!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The rest of the day

Yep, it's official, the flowers in the planters by the entrance to the barn are dead. I pulled them out and threw them into the field. Now I've got to think about what to put in there for Christmas......but I have time for that later!

The gutter cleaner worked so beautifully this morning, so now I've got time to watch the Autumn Opportunity Sale online where Tom Barrends is dispersing his herd in Fremont, Michigan. It's fun to just listen to the sale while I work around the house. Actually I should be cleaning off my's a mess!

I think I'd rather be out cleaning out my flower beds and riding my lawn mower, but then there's that blasted laundress. She hasn't shown up in weeks! I pay her good money and she's still a no I have to do all the laundry myself.

By the way, in regards to the comments:

Tom- You do not weigh 250! I don't think you could ever weigh that much, so you're not getting my treadmill! Not everyday is like yesterday, thank heavens!

SBH - You needed a nap and so did I, but as I was just drifting off to sleep for a quick slumber the neighbor hauling corn out of the field with his semi came by blowing his horn! Nap time was over.

Threecollie-You're right...only farm wives could understand that, we are a unique group!

Sara - How is it that moms get so much done in a day? I think it's because we just have to so we just do it! I think Nike stole our motto!

Frozen flowers

It's a beautiful sunny morning here on the Knolltop. A cool 27 out this morning, I think all my flowers will finally be dead. I tried to keep the ones by the barn under protection, but I don't think they made it. I'll check on my way out to the barn...which is right now.

More later!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who needs a treadmill!

Finally, I'm on this computer. What a morning! It's cool today with sun and clouds. This morning I remembered that the boys asked me last night to make something for their FFA lunch. Why not?

So I started some sweetrolls as soon as I got in from milking. Then we went through our normal breakfast but I had to take the two younger kids in to school because JW and Luke went in early to pitch. Actually, JW was pitching and Luke was catching. It's basketball season you it's time to wake up early and practice pitching????? It makes sense to I guess it's all good.

After breakfast clean up we headed back out to the barn to let the cows out, bed, clean the mangers, put more feed out and let them back in. While I was sweeping I remembered I needed to roll out the dough and make it into sweetrolls so they could have time to rise. I ran in, made up the sweetrolls, put them in a pan and covered them with a damp towel.

Back out at the barn, the gutter cleaner decided to act up. This thing hasn't given us a bit of trouble for months....this morning, when I have sweetrolls to make by 11:15, it decides to tangle up.

While elbow deep in fresh cow manure my memory sparked and I said, "I have to run in and put the sweetrolls in the oven, I'll be right back." Leaving Bobby holding the links, I made a mad dash to the house, slipped the beautifully risen rolls in the oven, set the timer and ran back out. We finally got the gutters cleaned and when I made the last stroke with the broom, I yelled across the barn to Bobby, "I've gotta go take the rolls out or they'll burn and my kids will never forgive me!" Not waiting for a reply, I ran back into the house and the rolls needed a few more minutes, thank heavens. That gave me time to, change clothes, head to the bathroom, run the hair dryer through my hair to take some of the sawdust out, spray on some perfume and even slap on a little Marykay.

I delivered hot and I mean HOT sweetrolls to waiting FFA members and came home to start more laundry, clean up more of the house and finally get this blog post on! Now I've got to figure out what to have for dinner and clean up the rest of the house....but not before I catch a cat nap!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A cool start to the day

It's a very cool 30 out this morning! Even the coons stayed in their warm nests this morning during chores. Usually they are bold enough to come right out and practically say good morning and put in their order for breakfast.

Yesterday the rain came and went. It stayed long enough for harvest to shut down. So the fields will be quiet today and the dealerships and cafes will be filled with farmers.

That rain was just in time, I have a Michigan Holstein meeting today and the odds are, most of the board will show up since they can't get in the fields.

Better get to sipping my coffee before I head back out to the barn and then to the meeting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Ginny!

It's cloudy and dare I say...we had snow falling this morning during chores! I'm not that excited about snow yet. I've still got to mow the yard one last time and really, I don't want snow yet.

This is a very special day at Four Dot Dairy in Joliet, Montana. The matriarch of that ranch is turning the big 50 today! Yes, my wonderful sister, Virginia Stene is now a half century old! She won't mind me telling her fact, she should be proud of it. She is a beautiful woman who is so accomplished. She has done more in 50 years than most do in a life time. She not only is a stay at home mom of five boys but she has homeschooled her boys and three of them have graduated. She is also a horse breeder and breaks and trains her own horses, she now has a dairy where she retails their milk and besides that she has a homeschool choir, plays the piano at church and does a whole host of other things. I should do a story on her, I could sell that story to any farm publication, the homeschooling pubs, a few horse magazines and any Christian outlet could use it as well. Just think how much money I could make off my sister!!!!!! :)

Honestly, she is an amazing person and I'm so lucky to have her as my sister!

And I almost forgot! MSU Beat U of M! That's the best birthday present she could ever want!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Legends of the Fall a success!

The annual Legends of the Fall Sale, managed by the one and only (thank heavens) Burton-Fellers Used Cattle Sales team garnered another great sale at Gloryland Holsteins in Grottoes, Virginia.

When the last cow was struck off the sale averaged $14,964 on 68 lots. The high selling consignment was lot 1 sold to David Tait and Lawson Bennett for $150,000. Those are the sketchy details as of right now. Maybe I'll have more later!

Friday, October 24, 2008

From writing to baking

It's a cool, cloudy morning here on the Knolltop. We might get some rain...we might not.

Yesterday afternoon we had three of the four kids at the supper table which is a rare occurrence these days. As we sat and enjoyed BBQ meatballs, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables and bread, the boys talked about the Haunted Barn that the FFA is putting together for the elementary kids to walk through this evening prior to the last football game of the year. Then they asked, "What are you making for the bake sale mom?" SURPRISE!

I quickly replied while searching the empty corridors of my memory of this bake sale, "What bake sale? You didn't tell me about any bake sale...did you? Please tell me you didn't tell me so I can console myself that I'm not really losing my mind yet!"

JW and Luke looked at each other and kind of grinned and then flashed their sweet smiles at me and said, "Well, maybe we forgot to tell you that the FFA is going to have a bake sale during the football game....but you will bake some stuff...right?" And then one of them said, "I don't care what you make, just as long as you out do Mrs. _____"

So, now you know what I'm doing soon as I get my column written that should've been done yesterday!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Treadmill leads to van prayer

Good Morning from the Knolltop. It's clear, cool with a little breeze blowing in. It's going to be another pretty fall day here in southern Michigan.

I went to SArah's game last night with my BFF Sue and they won! Both the 7th and the 8th grade teams beat Camden and they were pretty close games. They seem to be really improving, I'm anxious for AAU Volleyball to start again next spring so Sarah can improve even more and play more games. But until then we have one more football game, for the varsity and then we have a couple of weeks off until basketball practice begins and Sarah will be the only one coming home after school. Luke will have practice, Jake will be the manager for Luke's team, so he will stay also and then JW will have practice after Luke's team gets done. I never thought I'd have to go back to cooking for small groups even though I have a house full!

As Sue and I were visiting last night I told her I was praying that God would lead us to another van after the deer herd of Southern Michigan attacked my best mode of transportation. She suggested I start praying for the van like I did the treadmill. I said, "Duh!" That's exactly how I should be praying, for a free van! Only I need it sooner than a year and a least I think I need it sooner than that. Maybe I don't.

At any rate, I'm going to start praying for a free van and see how God answers. Feel free to pray along with me....when you stop laughing at my silly request. But when God out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good Morning from a cool Knolltop! I thought I would share some more pictures, now that I'm getting into this new picture program.
Last week when Sarah and I ventured north to the Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show, plowing was the first thing we saw, and right before this farmer started plowing he was on his cell phone. I tried to capture it, but was too late.
As we walked through the barns we were most impressed with the displays, I mean the horses were nice too, but the displays were so great. We both think we need those curtain things that go around a stall at our cow shows so we could put all of our junk in there and no one would see our mess! They are becoming more and more popular at the dairy shows, but we don't have one.....YET! This exhibitor was all the way from Texas and they had a great display.

Then we came along these two wall hangings. Oh my goodness! I was so excited to see what someone had done with all of their ribbons! I've seen it done before and I've always thought it would be a great idea. In fact, if someone who enjoyed quilting ever wanted to go into a business....they could so this kind of custom quilting with a farm's show ribbons!

I'm on my way to run some errands and then back home for laundry, dinner and Sarah has a volleyball game!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What so many have been waiting of the Jerseys....there you go. Well, actually it's only one Jersey, right there in the center....can you see her?Posted by Picasa

Married with children

It's another cool, clear morning here on the Knolltop. The kids have a two hour delay, so it's pretty calm around here right now.

Yesterday we had parent-teacher conferences and while I won't tell you all the stuff the teachers said about my kids I will tell you how times have changed.

This year we've hired several new teachers and I think my kids have every one of them. So we got to meet all the new educators and see what they were like. Of course, they didn't know us, so when we walked in I would hold out my hand and say, "I'm Melissa Hart, JW's mom" and then Bobby would say, "I'm Bobby Hart, JW's dad" and then one of us would say, "And yes, we're married to each other.....and we're also the parents of Luke, Sarah and Jake."

I never thought I would have to say that, but in this day and age, I feel compelled to explain that I'm married to one man and we have four children....together! How strange is that?

Last night Sarah's volleyball team beat Hillsdale Academy in a thriller. It was a great great as 7th grade volleyball can get.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Good cool morning from the Knolltop. It's clear and cool here in Southern Michigan.

It was a busy weekend on the farm. I had three of the kids with me in the pasture picking up old boards from broken fences that had been repaired. We had a great fire and of course we roasted marshmallows. Can you have a fire without marshmallows? I didn't think so.

Then we watched a little bit of the MSU-OSU game but had no problem tearing ourselves away from the TV to go to the barn when OSU was up 21-0 in the first quarter. I didn't even want to listen on the radio in the barn. But at least we lost to a good team....not like Michigan losing to Toledo last the big house! I loved it.

Today is parent-teacher conferences so we'll so see what our kids have really been up to in school. And I think we'll sort through some clothes to give away to the Goodwill. I can hear the sounds of overjoyed children in the background over the thought of cleaning and sorting! YIPPEE!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Big show

Good Morning from a cool, cloudy and still dark Knolltop!

It's been confirmed, JW did hit another deer and now my van has a bigger dent in it. You know, most people would be embarrassed to drive that van around the way it is...but not me. Today, Sarah and I will head north to the MSU Pavilion for the Great Lakes International Draft Horse show in that van. I've never been one who was impressed with cars. Tractors? Yes. Cars? No. So I'll probably be the only one driving it until we get it fixed.

Okay, now for the update about the Jerseys that Threecollie, from Northview Diary in New York asked for yesterday. They are getting along just fine, although they like to play around when going to their stalls. The Holsteins head straight for their spot...they know a manger full of food awaits them...the Jerseys like to wander by their stalls, maybe peek in, take a step in the right direction and then duck back out to see what everyone else is doing. Most mornings, I can find humor in this game but on the mornings when I'm tired, I'm not interested in playing.

They are testing pretty well, but we've got some Holsteins that have a higher test...Holly being one of them! So, as it goes, they are now well adjusted and cooperative.

Since I was on a dead run all day yesterday and I didn't get my column written, that task awaits me! And then we're off to the big show!

By the way, Luke's team beat Sand Creek last a very good game and Luke scored a touch down and then turned around and made the extra points!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Strike Two!

It was a busy day for sure yesterday and promises to be more of the same today here on the Knolltop. It's kind of overcast, still and cool, like 48 out this morning. But from Pyrovu's post it sounds like I'm living in the promised land!

Honestly, I don't think I would be too happy waking up to all that snow in October! We don't have the storm windows up (yes, this old house still has storm windows) and the barn is far from winterized! You guys in Montana can keep your snow! I'll keep looking over the pretty leaves turning here in southern Michigan.

Yesterday I traveled up to my parents house to pick up some hay and the time I was dreading of having to drive an hour and a half was actually so nice because I had time to think while I enjoyed the beautiful fall was like my very own color tour!

I just got off the phone and it seems my van is a deer magnet! JW just called to tell me they hit another deer on the way to school.....EVERYONE IS OKAY! It's just another dent in the side of the van. This has never happened to me before! So, unless he's pulling my leg.......I don't know....we'll see. I have to go pick it up to take it to the body shop this morning, so I'll know more then.

I'd better go, this day is not starting well. Actually it sounds like I need more prayer time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Good Morning from a cool, clear and sun not peeking through Knolltop!

It promises to be a busy day here, I've got to get an estimate on my van, then head north again to get the hay and hope the truck doesn't give me anymore problems. I guess I should look at those problems as learning experiences....I actually feel more confident now knowing what to do if it over heats!

Then back home to cook dinner, chores and Sarah has a volleyball game tonight.

Okay, now we have a new feature on this blog....I just realized it's's my follower option. I'm not sure how it works, but I can list people who follow this blog on the left hand side. I only found it because Erin, a fellow blogger and mom in Montana registered as a follower. So I added that option to the blog. I think if you click on "follow" you can register as a follower and put your picture in. I still haven't figured out how to get Erin's picture there....but I'm working on it. So if you want other people to see you're smiling face on my blog...then register!

Okay, it's time for breakfast and then I'll start my sprint through the day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I got sidetracked!

It's a beautiful, sunny afternoon here on the Knolltop!

I got slightly side tracked this morning on my way to blogsville. First I got a call from Trent to be on Rural Route and of course I said yes, who wouldn't?

Then I got a call from my dad saying he had baled some fourth cutting that was a little wet and needed to be fed up....of course I said, Yes, I'll be there this morning to get it!

Then on my way to my parents, the truck overheated and I had to play mechanic and of course I said, Yes, I'll open the radiator and pour in some anti-freeze all the while getting step by step instructions from my husband.

The real victory is, I got the hood open on the truck, found the radiator cap, opened it up, didn't get burned, poured in the antifreeze, closed the hood and went back home to safety! I hate being alone when my vehicle breaks down. Now there's a story I'll have to share sometime....broken down on I-96 at midnight....alone!

Oh, yes and I forgot to share the news that my husband has shared with everyone he talked to today....I hit a deer last night with my van. Killed the six point buck sent Jake into hysterics and once I got him settled down for the night Bobby got him all riled up again while praying for "Maw, the deer killer and that poor little dead buck out there." The wailing and moaning cranked up again and it took a good 5 minutes to settle the little animal activist back down! My new name is now "deer slayer."

By the way, the van is a little crunched, but still running and will be in the repair shop before long.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rural Route Review

Since I had a vote to start my blog off with what's happening out my window, I will refrain from dragging my poor sorting and organizing skills into this blog and only report on the cool clear morning here on the Knolltop without saying a word about the walls that need to be repainted and the pile of stuff still sitting behind me.

Before I say another word, I have to say Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends....especially to Rustico, the Jersey fanatic! (Russell Gammon, Exec Sec of Jersey Canada, aka the consummate promoter of the Jersey breed and someone I'm glad I met over two years ago when I happened to pick his table to dine at when I sat down for the banquet at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Frankenmuth, MI. Sitting between Russell and Trent Loos that evening made it one of the most memorable banquets I've attended to say the least!)

So glad Trent was brought up today, he apparently thinks my views are not normal. Duh? You finally just figured that out Trent? Last Friday on Rural Route, the three amigos, Trent, Kyle and Duane, were discussing fashion. Yes, that's right, three men who make their home on the Great Plains who's wardrobe consists of cowboy shirts and Wrangler jeans were acting as if they knew something about dressing their daughters. They were actually only giving their strategies on how they've kept their daughters modest in their clothing choices. All three are doing a great job as dads, from the sounds of I have to give them that credit.

Well the conversation turned to women in t-shirts with sayings on them. They were wondering if a woman wore a t-shirt with a long saying on it, what did she really want? Was she trying to convey the message? Or was she trying to get men's eyes focused on her chest? While they were mulling it over they thought they should have a woman's point of view, since none of them are of the female persuasion. Their discussion then turned to what would Melissa think? Trent said my views would not be the same as the normal woman...Duane commented that Trent must be saying I wasn't normal and Kyle warned them both, saying that I listen to the show everyday and that they would be hearing from me! Then Trent predicted that I would blog about it...and here we are....blogging!

So, what are my views according to the three Amigos? Kyle hit the nail on the head....he said that I would say that women who wear t-shirts with some message on them know exactly what they are doing and enjoy doing it. All I have to say is that all this time when I was on Rural Route, I thought Kyle never paid any attention to anything I said and I've been proven wrong! He was listening after all....thanks Kyle.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Here's that winning Michigan FFA Team after garnering their hardware at the All American Dairy Show in Harrisburg. From left, Sarah Mann, KT Arndt, JW and Brittany Westendorp. I'm so glad to finally have a picture of these great kids!
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