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!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Break

Well, it's spring break here on the Knolltop and this first morning is very foggy.

Luke is already gone to work for the neighbor today, JW is at Grandmas and I've got so much catching up to do from a busy weekend. I've got a mountain of laundry and lots of house to clean. And when it gets warmer outside...who wants to be inside? Not me! At least I've got lots of help at home this week!

It seems like all the kids friends have gone to Florida for the week and we're left home to feed their dogs and cats. I guess a dairy farming family is the best choice to do your chores while you're on vacation since they never seem to go anywhere! No, don't feel sorry for us...we're doing a pretty good job of that all on our own!

We really can't complain, we just spent the weekend at a cow show, one of our favorite events in the world!

It's time to get back to work.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

FFA updates

Hey from the Knolltop.

I will now try to update you on the last couple of days in our lives...as if any of you care besides my family!

The recent FFA banquet brought some surprises to my boys and to me. After a wonderful potluck, the FFA advisor, Mike Everett began handing out awards. My boys knew of most of the awards they would be getting until it came to the Star Farmer award. When JW's name was called off, he was very surprised and pleased to receive it. They were also handing out the awards for the members with the most points. You earn points by how involved you are in all aspects of FFA. So the more you do, the more points you receive. The winner for Junior High was Luke and the winner for Senior High was JW. Boy was I a proud mom! The awards were very nice, but a gas card would've been a nice bonus!

Then at the end Mr. Everett presented me with a pen and pencil set for going to the State Convention and for writing so many positive articles about FFA. Anyone who knows me knows I love little stuff like that. That was a very nice gesture and I appreciated it very much!

Friday, March 28, 2008

December 1

Good Morning...it's December here on the Knolltop....we woke to 2 inches of fresh snow. I'm convinced it's still December.

Yesterday was busy but good. Everyone got to where they needed to be and the boys ended up with some surprise awards last night. I even brought home an honorary gift last night.

I don't have time for that now, though...I promise pictures later. Now, I've got to head to the barn, finish chores so we can get to the sale today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm going back to bed

It's a cloudy morning on the Knolltop. I think we're supposed to get a mix of weather today...but really, does it matter anymore? I don't think spring or summer will ever come....I've given up.

It's going to be a busy day here on the Knolltop...and I'm just not sure how it's all going to work. I think I'll go back to bed! I've got to write my column, take the neighbor's heifers up to MSU for the show, come back home in time to fix dinner, do chores, fix a dish for the FFA awards dinner tonight after chores and somehow Luke is supposed to do FFA and then have basketball practice. JW also has a game scheduled, but thanks to bad weather we're almost sure that won't happen. Watch...it will go and then we'll have that added into the day!

After the FFA banquet I have to take JW over to Litchfield to pick up Frank Robinson's car...you know Frank...the Bovine Beautician.... JW will drive it to MSU, (because Frank rode to his next farm with someone else thinking he would come back this way and get his car.) JW will stay up there to help the neighbor with her show string and be there tomorrow morning for the Michigan Junior Holstein Association Semen sale.

And at some point, my neighbor and I have to gather everything for this Fiesta basket that we're auctioning off for the Jackpot show. You know, if I had gotten that done a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have to worry about it. If I were organized, I'd be dangerous! So many "If's"!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Birthday fun

Good Morning from the clear, sunny Knolltop.

We had a very busy day yesterday. I spent most of the day editing a story I'm doing for Holstein International. Never in my life have I had to work at editing until yesterday. The story was way too long...that doesn't happen too often. But when you're writing a feature about one of the most historical Holstein dispersal's in the world, the Butlerview Parade of Perfection Sale it's difficult to stop writing. I had to trim the story from 1650 words down to 1300. It was actually fun to be challenged in this area of trying to say the same thing and convey the same feeling with fewer words. But I got it done...it's exactly 1300 words.

Then when the kids got home, I fixed dinner, had coffee and took Sarah, Jake and Sarah's four year old charge, Alice, to get some volleyball shoes. When we got home, I went out and finished up milking for Bobby so he could take Luke to basketball practice. When I got in from the barn, Sarah had Luke's cake in the oven and we were wrapping presents. When they got home we sang, opened and ate birthday cake and ice cream. Boy was it good too!

Today, I've got to get a fiesta basket together for a silent auction at the Michigan Spring Jackpot Holstein Show this weekend. My neighbor and I are in cahoots about it.

Later!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Double Birthdays!

Good morning from the Knolltop. It's cool and windy here and I guess it's not going to be a very nice day.

Today is a special day in our family. Today is Luke's 15th birthday and my nephew's, Adam's birthday too. Come to think of it, it's Ashley Messing's (below)birthday too. So happy birthday to all!


I'm not sure when we will actually light candles and cut birthday cake. As soon as we get done with dinner and chores, Luke has basketball practice and I've got to take Sarah shopping for volleyball shoes. JW has baseball practice after school, so he won't be here to celebrate then, so I guess when we all get back home at 9 pm tonight we will fill up on birthday cake and ice cream and then go to bed with a sugar high! Sugar at any time sounds good to me. I'm afraid I have my grandmother's sweet tooth!


At breakfast I recounted the day Lukie was born. It was so much fun to take that walk down memory lane with the kids. They enjoy it as much as I do...even though they've heard it a million times. Well, I think they enjoy it...maybe they don't...that may be why they all got up from the table and left while I was on the part where it only took 3 pushes...oh well. I went through the labor..that entitles me to talk about it incessantly! In fact, any mother who has gone through that much pain is entitled to talk about her labor anywhere, anytime, any place!


Better get going...lots to do on this big day!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter and Sweet 16

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter yesterday. We sure did. After a great service at church..you know the church is always full on Easter.... we came home and I took a short nap and started on dinner. Of course, the Easter candy was gone by dinner time..around here, candy doesn't last long.

I cooked the traditional Easter ham, cheesy potatoes, corn, homemade rolls and the coconut cake for dessert. Although the cake was supposed to be made four days earlier... Sarah and I made in Saturday night and miraculously...all that sugar, sour cream, whipped cream and coconut tasted just grand! After we all laid around absolutely stuffed to the gills, we watched a little more basketball until the neighbor called with her good news.

It seems the bred heifer at Knolltop Morgans, who is bound for the Michigan Spring Foundation Sale this week, and who wasn't supposed to calve until the end of the month...had an Easter baby! Rodney as they affectionately refer to him, was born yesterday while the neighborhood was all gone to church. So, the new mom, Rhoda, was delivered here just in time for milking and is coming along quite nicely. Whoever ends up with her at the end of the sale on Friday, will have a very nice fresh heifer.

And the other sweet weekend happening was MSU beating Pitt! Although Pitt was favored 3 to 1, we pulled out the win....beating them by 11! Now they will take on Memphis on Friday night...I can't wait!

So much to do this week while we get ready for our Michigan Junior Holstein annual meeting, the Spring Foundation Sale, the Spring Holstein Show on Saturday....it makes my head spin!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Snow at Easter

Okay...this has got to be a first. We have a foot of snow and it's Easter weekend! God has a real sense of humor doesn't He?

I really didn't think we would get as much snow as they had been predicting all week but we did. The wind blew all night and now we have drifts everywhere! The big boys are out playing in the snow right now...they had Brad spend the night last night, after they got home from the movies...much earlier than last week. I guess they had quite a time getting through the snow drifts on our road. They had a good time and were safe under my roof by 9 pm.....that was good.

So today, I've got to run to town...if they ever plow the roads...and get a few things for Easter dinner and then we'll be home for a night of what else? Basketball! MSU takes on Pittsburgh tonight and everyone I talk to says we will lose. But hope springs eternal!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Good Morning from the cloudy cold Knolltop. They are predicting we will have 4-6 inches of snow today...how fun. So, no peas will be planted here.

So, Beth is confused and I think Mel at Pryorvu helped her out quite a bit supplying us with the scientific rendition of why we should plant our peas by Good Friday. Now I'll offer why I say it. When we lived in Goshen, Indiana, we lived among the Amish and Mennonites. They were fantastic gardeners. I learned a lot from those ladies down there on how to garden, how to be more efficient with my time, how to be thrifty and how important it was to cultivate good friendships.

Down there, everyone had their peas and potatoes in by Good Friday, except me. The garden centers where you bought all your seeds and plants...if you didn't start them yourselves...opened up on March 1st and closed down on June 1st. Imagine how surprised I was when I went to get my tomato plants on June 3rd and they were closed! Down there, if you snooze you lose. That is my only reason for planting by Good Friday. I hope that helps you Beth!

For anyone who cares...my Spartans beat Temple yesterday...now they take on Pitt. Don't worry, they'll win! This March madness is great, isn't it?

It looks as if we will have a traditional Easter here since Luke's basketball tournament was cancelled. So now I've got to get my four day coconut cake going..it will only be a three day cake now....but I'm sure it will be just as good.

Tell me what you're having for Easter dinner? I'd love to hear of some of your traditional foods and fun on the wonderful resurrection day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Morning from a finally very clear, very sunny Knolltop.

The moon was full and bright this morning as we went across the road to milk. And now it's given way to a beautiful sunrise! While we're supposed to have our peas in by tomorrow...Good Friday...mine aren't even close to being put in. The ground has not been touched and the first pea hasn't even been purchased. And they are predicting a snowstorm for tomorrow...yippee...how fun.

The All American Beef Battalion is on its way to it's first steak feed! I'm not sure how many of you know about this effort, but I wrote a story on it recently. Bill Broadie, a cattle buyer for Superior Livestock, yes the same one that has the auctions on RFD-TV, is a Vietnam vet and came up with the idea that the U.S. beef producers should feed every member of our troops a steak. He and his board of directors are running a campaign to collect funds to be able to put on a steak feed for troops that are coming home, or being deployed and for all those all over the world fighting for freedom. His desire is to show our troops that we support them and that we are willing to feed them good American beef!

You can read more about this effort at their website, www.steaksfortroops.com.

What's exciting is that they are going to put on their first steak feed in Olathe, Kansas in April and it's going to be quite an event. They are still ironing out all the details, but as they become available, I will provide them here, or you can visit there website. It's an exciting venture!

Better go get breakfast!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A great day!

Good Morning from a gloomy day here on the Knolltop. It's raining today...but that means it's warm...so I'm not complaining!

Yesterday was both busy and rewarding. After morning chores, I had lunch with a civic group in town and spoke about agriculture. I can't think of a better topic to talk about than agriculture..well..yes, I can...God is a pretty good topic too!

What I had to say was very well recieved...except by one gentleman in the group who wanted to spar with me. When I opened the floor for questions...he wanted to discuss farm subsidies and how farmers get rich off the government. I thought I answered his question sufficently, yes, I put a positive spin on my answer simply because he wanted to turn it negative. When the meeting was over, I was overwhelmed by the nice comments and especially by one 92 year old man who wanted to reminisce about his youth on the farm. As it turns out, he grew up on the Knolltop...it was fun to listen to his stories.

But as others kept visiting with me, the fiesty man who wanted to argue with me kept trying to interrupt and get his point across...he wanted facts and figures. He wanted dollar amounts pertaining to the farm bill. He wanted to twist what I said around and make farmers the enemy.

The funny thing was, since I had just written a column on the farm bill, the numbers were kind of fresh in my mind...I said, kind of. I knew if I wanted to get him to leave me alone I was going to have to start grabbing numbers out of the air...and by his arguement, I knew he wouldn't know if I was clutching at fact or fiction. So just when I was about ready to nail him to the wall once and for all, a Knight in shining armor came to my rescue. That dear old 92 year old man walked up and said, "You just leave her alone, she doesn't have time to talk about that foolishness with you." After wiping my brow, I snickered under my breath and then asked him for another childhood story of life on the Knolltop! What a great day!

I don't know if we are just trying to be good parents or gluteons for punishment...but last night I took Sarah to sign up for AAU volleyball. Now she will have practices two nights a week and tournaments on Saturdays from now until June....it makes my head spin...who's got time to milk cows? They need to learn to find their own food and milk themselves....but I just don't think it will be that easy. You just gotta love parenthood!

Time for chores...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rainy Tuesday

It's a cold, raining morning here on the Knolltop.

I just got my story done and sent it off, now I've got to head to the barn and think about what my talk at the luncheon today. I'm looking forward to a quiet evening tonight.

I just want to say thanks to all who have commented, especially the Robb sisters, Susan, Patty and Julie...you guys are great! This blog stuff is so much fun!

Well, better go..chores are waiting. If anyone feels inclined to pray for me today while I'm speaking, that would be great!

More later...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Feels like Thursday

Good Morning from an overwhelmed, too many irons in the fire farmwife on the Knolltop.

It feels like Thursday today. I've got to write a story for the Agriview today and I don't even have one of my interviews done yet. I've got to speak tomorrow at a luncheon and I don't have a clue what I'm going to speak about...well I do...but I haven't gotten it to where it needs to be the day before I speak. And the internet is slow!

Other than that...it's a great day here! The sun is trying to peak through, the kids are all healthy, the cows are healthy and what else could a person want? Time....time...and more time.

Well, I don't have more time...so I'll let you know that Luke's team won the two games they played yesterday...by a lot.

Now, I've got to head out to the barn.....later!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm too old.

It's another kind of clear morning here on the Knolltop, but this farmwife and mother is tired.

I think we've got it all backwards. We should have teenagers when we're younger not older. Last evening the boys and their buddy decided to take in a movie. Again, I said, "That's fine, as long as it honors Jesus."

They took off and I didn't think about them again until after I brought my two youngest home from an event at church. I put them to bed and then my mind started racing. I wonder what movie the boys picked. I wonder when it gets out. I wonder if they're okay. I wonder if they're getting hit by a drunk driver!

Okay...that was it...then I began to worry. How strange it is that my mind when from what movie they saw to them laying in a ditch dying. The mind is a very powerful thing.

So I called JW's cell phone and got his voice mail. I told him, in a very stern voice, "CALL ME!" I didn't tell him who it was....I don't think I sounded like one of his little girlfriends though....so I'm sure he knew who it was.

With no response, I called and left another message and then took the phone and a blanket and camped out on the couch until I was awakened by a ring. It was JW and they had just gotten out of the movie and were on their way home. Whew!

I'm getting too old for this and I'm only on my first two teenagers. In less than 9 months I'll have three teenagers. It would be better if I were 25 and had the stamina to stay up half the night. But then again, I don't think it would be any better chasing after four toddlers at my age either. So, I guess God got this one right. :)

By the way...the movie they say they saw? "Horton Hears a Who." I'm not sure I believe that one...I'll get to the bottom of that today!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Quiet Friday

There is a beautiful sunrise coming up over the silos this morning on the Knolltop. It won't be as warm, but the sun will shine today!

We actually had a quite evening last night here, no practices, no games...just popcorn and a movie. The boys wanted to rent a movie and since JW can drive and they have their own money, I said "Have at it! As long as it honors Jesus."

I was quite proud of them, they came home with a football movie with no swearing or sex...I know, that's a miracle in itself. The movie was called Invincible and it was very good. So all of us, but Jake, had a great time sitting in front of the fire, eating popcorn and caramel corn and watching football. Jake went to a friends house for the evening....he loves hanging with his friends....he's all about the social aspects of life. I can't blame him...I am too!

And it was a great day yesterday because my Spartans beat Ohio State in the Big 10 tournament. Yes, I know, I know, they should've beaten them last week, but they didn't. It's all water under the bridge. When they win the NCAA tournament in a couple of weeks, we won't care who they lost to....just that they are champions!

It will be a busy day here on the Knolltop. Moving hay, cleaning up the yard and who knows what else. No basketball games today for Luke, all of his games this weekend are tomorrow afternoon.

Time for breakfast!

Friday, March 14, 2008

My friend Julie

Good Sunny Morning from the springy Knolltop.

Okay, the heifer naming contest has a winner. But I have no prizes to offer...just a simple story.

Years ago while growing up, I had a great friend, Julie Robb. She and I were in 4-H together and then roomed in college together. I think I've written this all before, but I'm sure you're like me....you've forgotten and so I will give you a refresher!

Julie grew up on a registered Holstein dairy just a few miles from me and she is the youngest of seven children. She and I spent a lot of time together at each other's farm and just had and still do have a great friendship. But Julie's dad, George, was a different story. In my eyes he was very intimidating. He mumbled and I had to really strain to understand him, his mumbling sounded mean and I was always afraid of him. We would sit at their big breakfast table and I would cringe everytime he spoke to me.

But for some reason I loved Julie's life and I wanted it. I wanted to be the one on a Holstein dairy, I wanted to go to the Holstein meetings and be a part of the Michigan Junior Holstein Association. When Julie came back from the National Holstein Convention in Tennessee and told all about the fun they had, I was green with envy and wanted to be a part of it. But I had my own path, I had my own cows and my family had a different kind of dairy farm.

While George was into marketing his Holstein genetics and was deeply embedded in the black and white world, my dad was more worried about getting milk from cows, no matter what the color. Convincing him that we could take a show string to the state fair and not have them come back with mastitis and no milk was like convincing Pharoh to let the Israelites go. But with my mom's help, we persuaded my dad to let us go and from them on, we went to every show we could....showing Ayrshires by the way.

Julie and I went to Michigan State and together we were in the Dairy Club and we did a lot together. But I was an animal science major and she was a food systems management major. When we left college, our lives took very different paths. I took a job as the editor of the Farmers' Advance and she went to Disney World and was part of hotel management. I married a fitter, the kind of guy we both drooled over during our show days and she married an Irishman who is a chef. When I became co-owner of a registered Holstein dairy farm, she moved to Chicago and began working in computer programming. I had four kids and she had two.

Today I am now on the path that I thought she would be on and she is on a different one. I'm now an advisor to the Michigan Junior Holstein Association and my son is on the board. Last month I was elected to the Michigan Holstein Association and next month I will have my first article published in the Holstein International magazine.

What would George think if he were still with us? Would he continue to mumble in my direction making me cringe like a silly little girl? Would he wonder how an Ayrshire girl got so involved in a black and white world? Or would he just smile and give us that silly laugh saying, "See, I told you you'd go further with Holsteins instead of those Ayrshires."

So in honor of my good friend Julie and her cow family of Rena, Rachel and Racquel, the crew at Knolltop Farm have officially named the newest heifer "Rachel."

Thanks Julie!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sticks and heifers

Another spring like day promised here on the Knolltop! I just love this kind of weather...even if there is mud to contend with. It's much different here than where I grew up. Here we're on a hill and everything drains...back home is flat and wet...well it was until my dad got his fields tiled. But the driveway was always muddy. Even the milk truck dreaded our driveway in the spring.

Last night was sticking night. We got all the show heifers out and put a stick to 'em. That is Bobby's coveted cow measuring stick that we gave him on his birthday a few years ago. He loves that stick....almost as much as he loves his cows.

Anyway...all I heard was grumbling from Luke about his heifer not being tall enough and that it's not fair that JW's heifer is taller and the heifer that we sold to the neighbor is the tallest one. Boy did he gripe! It was very funny. I tried to tell him that if someone buys a heifer from us, it's a good thing if they have success. He just doesn't want anyone else having success at his expense. Competitiveness is a good thing.

Time for chores.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More heifers.

Good Morning from the Knolltop. Yes it was warmer yesterday and promises to be warm today. I can't wait until I can peel a layer of barn clothes off for the year!

Here's another photo of the two best FFA members in the world with their proud mama! I'm not biased either! :) The strange this is they actually smiled and it was very early that morning.

We've had another heifer explosion...well, kind of. Last month we had several heifers born, the only problem was they were at the end of the time frame for the Winter Calf class so they would be the youngest in their class and probably the smallest. BUT....on Sunday morning, a week into March...the beginning of the next class of calves, Bobby spotted one of our show cows out in the pasture looking a little strange and asked me to go check on her while he cleaned the gutters.

I walked out and found a cute little white calf laying in the pole barn....and when I checked it was a heifer! So, because the cow was one of Sarah's 4-H projects, she will get the calf as her new project. I called her on my cell phone and told her the good news and that she must come up with a name for her new project. Brandy was the name she settled on.

That evening when we went to the barn another arrival was spotted. Another heifer, Lexi, and she is out of a very deep pedigreed dam who goes back to Solid Gold Mountain LaLa for anyone who really knows anything about Holstein pedigrees and better yet...who cares about them. Of course you know who cares the most around here! Then again, last evening, we had another heifer born...we haven't decided on her name just yet....it has to begin with "R" if anyone would like to suggest a name. Yes, we could be like other bloggers and come up with a contest, name that calf contest. FYI - she has a backwards seven on her forehead.

Last evening we went to JW's winter sports banquet, which really isn't a banquet at all, it's cake and beverages....and that cake was good. Everyone received their certificates and special awards and besides having the most fouls on the season, JW also received the Coaches Award, chosen by the coach, obviously, awarded to the kid who worked hard all season and had a good attitude and just a great individual to have on the team. He was very surprised and of course, pleased and so were his parents.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Horses and Branson

Good Morning from the sunny Knolltop. I'm excited because it's actually going to be springlike the next couple of days. That's something to get happy about!!!!!


I guess spring has sprung around here because every spring "Bud" decides to wander around the neighborhood every morning. While enjoying our blueberry pancakes and sausage this morning, we looked out and our neighbor was walking up the road with Bud in tow. Apparently he went to visit "Patty" the neighbor's horse. I went out and took care of him, but I'm sure this won't be the last time I have to deal with a wandering horse with the personality of a farmer who's been stuck on his farm all winter.


So, I see from the comment section that I am not only self appointed as the official Burton-Fellers blogger...Dallas himself has put their success in my hands. That is very scary.


So here is the sale report of the Branson Sale, in case anyone cares about the minor detail of sale averages, gross sales and stuff like that. This is the sale report that I sent to Dallas...upon his begging of me to write it because he was sick. When I looked this morning on the Holstein World website to see if he used what I wrote, I find that he edited my report.......reminder: that is the last time I write anything for him. Mine was way better. HA!

Bringing elite Holstein genetics to Missouri made the 2008 Branson Limited Edition Sale one of the best sales in the business. Within seven short days, the Holstein industry witnessed two of the biggest sales of the year, if not in history; Butlerview and Branson adding investor spark to the already hot Holstein cattle business.

Last weekend, in the luxury resort location of the Big Cedar Lodge, Dallas Burton and Ed Fellers combined an enthusiastic crowd, a top cattle fitting crew and an unstoppable sales force and the results were the highest averaging Branson Sale ever. On 48 lots, the sale averaged $16,448 with a gross of $789,500.

Holstein investor, Robert Goldmann and long time friend of Dallas Burton took home the two top selling lots in the sale. The top seller at $81,000 was lot 5A, a January Baxter calf out of Ralma Goldwin Carmel consigned by R-Z Holsteins of Wisconsin. Goldmann also picked up lot 2 selling two months fresh, Ralma Shottle Dragonfly-ET for $60,000, consigned by Harvey Schoon of Minnesota.

Other highlights of the sale were lot 1, Regancrest G Beauty-ET, now Iowa bound purchased by Mark Butz for $40,000 and consigned by Debra West of Wisconsin. Mark also bought her first choice Ramos female for $13,000, consigned by David Jons of Kansas. Markwell Holsteins of Washington, spent $49,000 on a first choice MAS female out of Ralma Goldwyn Carmel.

Buyers from fourteen states were represented as the very active sales force of Scott Culbertson, Steve Berland, Ray LaBlonc, Bobby Griggs and Les Terpstra worked the phones before and during the sale. A sale like this doesn't happen without generous consigners offering up the best in the breed for an expert sales staff to present quality cattle to eager buyers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday

Good Monday morning fromt the overcast, 20 degree Knolltop!

It was a busy weekend here. On Friday night we watched Luke's AAU team play basketball, they won one and lost one. Then on Saturday we had a "normal" day on the farm and then that evening Luke had two more games. They won both of those and it was another late night....and then the time change hit us and I'm still recovering.

Yesterday we went to church and then JW and I had a Michigan Junior Holstein Association meeting which was very productive. Those kids are a great group! We're busy planning for our annual meeting on March 28th at our Michigan Spring Show in East Lansing and then we are also planning a trip to the National Holstein Convention at the Wisconsin Dells in June.

Now on to another week of life. JW starts baseball practice today and I think he was a little nervous. I can't believe baseball season is here already...of course it could have something to do with snow on the ground.

Then over the weekend was the Branson Limited Edition sale by Burton and Fellers and since I've appointed myself as the official Burton-Fellers blog....yes, Ed and Dallas are officially worried now...they just don't know how to take me.....I will have their sale results later....because absolutely everyone wants to know what happened at the Branson Limited Edition Sale. For example, everyone is dying to know what the high seller was, the low seller, what cow kicked over the potted flowers around the sale ring, if the auctioneer sounded good or if he had a cold, if the coffee and donuts were fresh that morning or did they go cheap and buy the day old donuts, did the sales force have matching outfits, which hat did Ed wear, you know, all the important stuff!

Better get to the barn.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Home again

Good Morning from a very windy and cold Knolltop. The wind is from the west and my kitchen is on the west side of the house....so you know today is a great day to bake something just to warm up the kitchen.

We arrived home from the great FFA convention and as expected we were extremely tired and faced a full afternoon ahead. Not only did we have our routine of supper and chores, but as JW headed out to work for a while for the neighbor and we headed to the barn to milk, Luke went to his basketball game. He had two games last night and we made it to the second one. We got back home at 11 pm....way too late for this dairy farming family!

Everyone is going full tilt again this morning. JW has already gone to do chores for the neighbor and is back now and he and Luke and Jake are moving some hay while Sarah and I clean up the house. Actually I just want to take a nap...but that won't happen for a while. After chores tonight, we will go watch Luke play two more games of basketball. Although it's late at night when we get home, it sure is fun to watch those boys play!

The FFA convention was great. I had a wonderful three days hanging out with the kids. Like I mentioned before, their enthusiasm is infectious. I just absolutely loved being with them all...every single one of them! The kids won several awards for public speaking, conduct of meetings, outstanding juniors, creed speaking and star chapter awards. They collected a lot of hardware!
As much as these kids were fun to be around, I think the hotel staff was glad to see every blue cordroy jacket leave the building. It's not that they were bad, they were just kids being kids and having fun. But kids being kids having fun can be a little loud and disturbing for hotel guests that want a good night's sleep.
This is Ella, she is one of my BFF's and the mother of some of the most talented kids I know. She and I do 4-H together and our kids are in FFA, but different chapters...we just had the benefit of hanging out at the convention together. This is Sarah, Ella's daughter who competed in the public speaking finals. She's one smart cookie and has a lot on the ball. She does absolutely everything she can and does it well.Luke had the benefit of hanging out with some very pretty girls and took full advantage....well, not really. But he and Sarah (left) have been good friends for a long time and his very special friend is on the right.
The kid playing the fiddle is Matt, Ella's son, Sarah's brother and JW and Luke's buddy. Matt is a boy who I love to pieces. In fact, I told Ella if anything ever happened to her, I wanted Matt! He is an extremely talented young man who plays several stringed instruments proficiently. He's an amazing athlete as well and is very involved in 4-H too. He has a very competive nature which drives him to success in everything he attempts. Matt also has an opinion and isn't afraid to share it and that's another admirable trait. A teenage boy who is convicted is a very persuasive individual. Mark my words, Matt will go far in life...very, very far!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The home stretch

Good Morning from the home of my great Spartans...the place I called home for five years of my life...the place where I learned so much...oh and got a degree too....Michigan State!

We are on our last day here at the convention and it's been a great trip. You just can't beat hanging out with 2000 FFA kids. Their enthusiasm for life is infectious and they are so refreshing. Although I spent a lot of time keeping track of kids and going to bed late, I didn't have to wake up at 3:30 am to milk cows, so really going to bed at midnight and waking up at 5 is not all that different.

Well, I don't feel like I'm making sense and more coffee is calling me....along with several kids.....

Stay tuned for complete convention coverage.... after I recover!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

State FFA Convention

Well, presently I'm greeting you from East Lansing where I'm chaperoning 20 students at the Michigan State FFA Convention.

We left early this morning and when we got here the kids competed and are done with that part of it for the day. Then we went to a general session where our wonderful advisor Mr. Everett was honored with an Honorary FFA Degree. He didn't tell the kids he was getting the award and when his name was announced they all cheered really loud and then chewed him out afterward for not letting any of us in on it. I've got pictures...I'll have those posted when I get home.

Right now I have to go, one of the students wants to use the computer and I need to get back to the other kids....we're just about to leave for another session.

Pray for me! I'll need it!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A little explaining....

Good Morning! It's 25 here this morning...spring came and went all in one day yesterday. Now we're in for storm warnings....again.
I guess I have a little explaining to do about yesterday's post on the Butlerview Sale. First of all, they were Holstein cows that were being sold. Very elite genetics, the kind of genetics that everyone wants a piece of, that's why they sold so well.
Just like I said I would, here are some pictures of the Butlerview sale, sorry, but I can't indentify everyone in the pictures which is a cardinal sin in writing. The top picture is the sale crew and the other two pictures are of some consignments and the buyers....again, I can't identify them unless I do some digging and right now I don't have time for that. But I do want to give Holstein World credit for the pictures...they were very generous in allowing me to post them here on my blog.
Burton-Fellers Sales, Inc., manged the sale and will have another sale this weekend in Branson MO., but it won't be near the average as the Parade of Perfection sale...well I guess I shouldn't say that...it might be...I have no idea! Anyway, the Branson Limited Edition Sale is neat because they set up a tent and have a sales arena at a really nice resort.
Okay, now onto the cow that threecollie mentioned, Brookview Tony Charity. She was a legendary cow winning Supreme champion at World Dairy Expo several times. I've heard people say she was a freak....whatever she was or wasn't, she was one of the great Holstein cows, a queen of the breed.

Now I have to brag just a little. Bobby used to be the herd manager at Brookview, where Charity was bred and born. She was well on her way to the winners circle by the time Bobby arrived in Fremont, Ohio, so he never left his mark on her but he got to see her pictures every morning that grace the walls at Brookview Farms, now managed by Eric Havens, son of the late John Havens and nephew of Carl Havens.

One of my favorite things to do is to get Bobby to start telling stories about his days on the road as a fitter. He traveled the United States, visiting every state except Hawaii as a fitter for shows and sales. He has more stories about more people than you can imagine and he can remember them in great detail. His memory about cows and their pedigrees is amazing, he can rattle off more names and classification scores than almost anyone I know. It's a gift, that's for sure.

Almost everyone I meet in the cattle business is someone I've heard a story about. It would make a great book one day. That can be my second book...."The passion of the purebred business and the men who have it"

Time for the second round of chores!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Big bucks spent at Butlerview Sale

Good morning from the Knolltop. It's balmy here! When we went across the road at 4:30 this morning it was 45 out and the temp is climbing...yes it smells and feels like spring and I love it....but I know it won't last.

Because no one else on the web has decided to report on it, I will give a tidbit of the Butlerview Parade of Perfection Sale that happened last weekend in Elkhorn Wisconsin. The sale averaged $19,845 on 124 lots and the sale gross was....are you ready.....sit down for this one.....$2,460,800.00! Amazing isn't it?

There were buyers from 23 states and Canada and the high seller was Lot 8 at $190,000 purchased by Triple Crown Genetics, Kingsmill Farm & Gene Iager.

The next highest consignment was Lot 1 at $155,000 purchased by David Ludwig of Illinois and the third highest was Lot 46 at $96,000 and Mike Garrow & Gerald Todd went home with that bargain.

Apparently it was a high intensity sale with well over 800 people in attendance. I just wish I had pictures to go along with this...those are to come later this week. My photographer hasn't checked in yet.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

All at once

Good Morning from the Knolltop. It's rather warm here...25 when we went across the road at 4:30 am. I think we're in for some warmer weather but then it's supposed to get cold again. So, can we say March is coming in like a lion or a lamb?

Yesterday was a busy day for all the Harts. As soon as I got in from milking, I put breakfast on the table and Sarah and I dashed to Pittsford for her quiz bowl competition. I watched her team win a round and then I came back to see Jake's game. It was a barn burner...they were ahead the whole game and in the last 8 seconds the other team scored...it ended up a tie because there is no OT in junior pro....yes they might as well go kiss their sister.

After the game, my parents and Jake and I went back to Pittsford to watch Sarah's team lose their final round and then we came back just in time for Sarah's game, which wasn't a barn burner in the least, they lost by 20. Then it was home for the normal dinner and chores and then Luke had practice while JW went cosmic bowling with his friends.

While all this was happening, a few miles to the southwest, friends and family flew in from all over the country to celebrate with Bobby's nephew, Brant and his new wife Jenny as they took their vows. I'm sure it was beautiful and now they are officially married and probably having the time of their life on a great honeymoon.

And at the same time across Lake Michigan in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, history was in the making as the Butlerview Parade of Perfection sale was in full swing with nearly 1000 on hand to watch grown men pay thousands and thousands of dollars for four-legged, black and white animals that provide us with natures most perfect food and provide passionate Holstein breeders with the fix they need to saturate their God-given hunger for a high quality cow.

Isn't it amazing what can happen all in one day?