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!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baseball stars

It's a very sunny morning here, but looks are deceiving...it's 29 degrees out this morning! I had to dig out my union suit to milk cows! It's almost May for heaven's sake! Al, this global warming is killing me!

It was a pretty typical day yesterday of trying to get things done, being interrupted and then not accomplishing what I had planned. After running errands, I was back home and gaining when I heard the front door open, that's always a bad sign when the front door opens. That means whatever it is that I'm working on will be put on hold in order to solve a problem. Yesterday one of those problems was the need for a special socket that I guess he thought was in my tool box. Now tell me, how often do I use sockets in cooking or baking? I don't remember the last time I even used a socket. But those tools have been known to grow legs and walk across the road and into my house. Nope...I had no socket. Sorry

As I got back into my work....a call on the cell phone. I hate cell phones! "Can you come help me a minute?" Of course, I can! I walked across the road, hopped in the skidsteer and began raising and lowering it at command. Up, just a little.....no....too much...what? What did you say? I can't hear you...I said DOWN! GO DOWN JUST A LITTLE! Oh, okay....that's good....that's good....HEY! THAT'S GOOD! STOP! You know the routine.

By the time I got back in, it was time to hit the nonstop treadmill of making dinner, picking up kids, feeding kids, changing clothes, milking cows, changing clothes and finally getting to the baseball game in the 4th inning. It was worth it though, JW pitched well and they won.

Jake had baseball practice after the game...although I didn't go, from what I heard from Luke and Bobby, it was an hour of comic relief. I guess you can attribute that to lots of little kids without a clue and a bunch of dads who think they are raising the next Derek Jeter.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A photo shoot

Good Morning from the sunny Knolltop that was forecast to be rainy. I'm glad for the sun, even though it's cool...I'll be able to mow the rest of the lawn today, it's lookin' pretty shaggy. Especially compared to Miss Stanna's well manicured lawn. Oh that Miss Stanna....how does she do it?

Yesterday my tractor appeared in it's first ever photo shoot. The kids FFA chapter officers wanted to take pictures in front of an antique tractor and then in a modern tractor for a project they are working on for their officer camp this weekend. They have to make a table display for a contest.

Because my tractor hadn't been run since Christmas day, it wasn't feeling up to being started. So, Bobby pulled it out of the barn for me so they could stand around it for the pictures.

I had them all stand backwards so we could see the school name on their jackets. But now that I look at the picture...my tractor got lost in all the bodies!

Then we went down the Mr. Darvan's house and took pictures in front of one of his big tractors. Now you can see why Jake loves to ride with Rodney and Mr. Darvan...who wouldn't love to ride in that monster all day long?They are a cute bunch of officers are they? I love those kids!

Well, JW has a game today at home and Jake will start his baseball practice....he's so excited.

Better get to work!

Monday, April 28, 2008

She's huge!

Good Morning from a cool and sunny knolltop.

Okay..now is the time for the contest results. It's time to see who wins the 17 pairs of white pants, 23 pairs of mittens and 19 pair of pilot's overalls! Are you ready?

Let me say first I had to laugh at the fact that the people who should've known this, those who are steeped in the dairy industry were the furthest away with their guesses. And for Matt Nunes who thought she was a steer....steers haven't been that tall since the mid 80s Matt! In the beef industry today we are back to the belt buckle cattle of the 50s and 60s. Although dairy steers are pretty big these days. And Dallas Burton said the picture was doctored...well....I have no idea if it was or not so we'll have to take Frank as his word since he's never lied before.

According to Frank, Jo Dee Jetway Klondike is a little over 71 inches tall at the shoulder. She is owned by the Copini family who had champion Brown Swiss cow at World Dairy Expo in 2007. She is a four year old who resides in Tillamook, Oregon and has a sister who was named reserve All American two year old this year.

So I'm sorry to say...no one guessed it correctly! But my mom was an inch under and Lori from Knolltop Morgans was an inch over....they were close! But since close only counts in hand grenades, horse shoes and slow dancing.....there were no winners!

So...the white pants will have to wait for another contest! Thanks to all of you who participated, this was so much fun! Maybe Frank will send us another fun picture for a contest.

Now it's Monday and it's time to get to work!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How tall is she?

Good Morning from a breezy, cloudy kind of sunny Knolltop.

It's amazing what 24 hours in bed can do for a person. After I got done blogging yesterday morning, whatever Bobby had, hit me like a ton of bricks and laid me flat out in bed! I didn't cook, milk, feed calves, do laundry, nothing. I didn't even answer the phone! All I did was lay in misery in my bed and wait for whatever the bug I had to run it's course.

When I got out of bed this morning at 6:30 it was amazing how much better I felt! So I'm back among the living and I know my children are glad to have two functioning parents again. Jake got up to feed the calves for me this morning so I haven't even been outside yet. Those farm kids are great! I can't say enough good about how they just step up to the plate and start swinging!

Okay, now I've got a contest for us. Frank Robinson sent me this picture.

And now we all have to guess how tall this Brown Swiss heifer is. So, get your guessers tuned up and wager a guess at how tall you think she is at the shoulders, in inches, and post a comment to me or email me, whatever you think. I'll let you know Monday how tall she is. I really don't have any prizes to hand out for the winner....well unless you want a pair of white dress pants or pilot's coveralls.

That's a joke that I'll have to explain. My dad loves to buy stuff over the Internet from the government. His latest purchase was a "random box of crap" from the Navy. There was one or two things he wanted in this box but he ended up with 400 pairs of mittens, 75 pairs of white dress pants, in all sizes, and I don't know how many pairs of overalls in drab green that pilots wear. Needless to say, my kids will have show pants for the rest of their cattle showing days!

Now, I'm really behind, I've got to get my column written that was due yesterday!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The grass is getting longer

Another beautiful day here on the Knolltop!

From yesterday's post from Julie, my Chicago suburbanite girlfriend, I can see that you can take a girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl! I thought I was the only girl who loved the smell of diesel smoke, fresh turned dirt and grease! It's wonderful to know that I'm not alone!

I was working outside yesterday, burning some brush and the wind was blowing slightly...no, my fire didn't get out of control...I leave that to the neighbors! But the wind was carrying the scent of the fully bloomed Magnolia tree and boy did it smell lovely. I don't think there are any better smells than those flowers and trees that bloom in the springtime. Lilacs, apple blossoms, magnolias, lily of the valley...does it get any better than that?

I've got to get a new battery for my mower this morning and try to get a column written before I head outside and mow. I can sense that Miss Stanna is getting ready to hop on her mower, I can't let her beat me to it! She already rolled the lawn on Tuesday, so she's ready to go. Actually, it's not that bad, but since both homes are on the farmstead, we try to keep our lawns even throughout the summer, so we kind of consult each other about mowing so we look good for weekend traffic. Such silliness!

Better get going....so much to do!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No fly zones

Good Morning! It's cloudy here on the Knolltop and we got a slight shower, but it's going to be a very beautiful day!

Okay, let me address the comments from yesterday's blog. First of all, thank you, threecollie for your kind words. Tim was very special to all of us, as you would expect, I'm just glad we're past the really raw, difficult stage of grief. Secondly, Pat and Francis....you asked when Tim got his pilot's licence....anyone who knew Tim at all would cringe at the thought of him as a pilot! Can you just see him being arrested by the government for flying his airplane over the White House or in a no fly zone saying, "Since when was this a no fly zone?"

He was constantly getting into fender benders with his trucks. He was an accident waiting to happen. The great thing about Tim was he wasn't intimidated by much and was willing to try anything. Taking his courage in hand, he would jump in with both feet and then ask questions later.

So to answer your question... I don't remember when he got his pilot's licence! But I'm sure someone reading this blog does....mom?

JW's team beat Jackson Christian last night. They took both games and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. Bobby didn't make it to the game...now you know how sick he was. But this morning he's on the mend. He's taking on food and water! He's just really tired.

So...I've got to head to the barn.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Too much excitment!

It's a warm, sunny day today here on the Knolltop.

It's been a rough twenty four hours for the birthday boy. Too much cake? Too much excitment? He's getting old? Whatever the reason, Bobby has been flat on his back since yesterday morning, sicker than a dog. Poor guy! I think it's a stomach bug that has just wreaked havac on his whole body. He is now taking on liquids and keeping them down, so that's a good thing.

So with the boss down and out, the kids had to step it up....and they did. Working in the barn until 8:30 last night, the boys got in and I told them I didn't know what I'd do without them! And I really don't!

Twenty eight years ago today my family buried my brother Tim. He was killed in a car accident at the young age of 19. It was a very difficult time for the whole family, but I write about this not because I want to lament over it...but because I have now learned that time heals all wounds.

At that point in our lives, you could've told us that, but we wouldn't have believed you. Today talking about Tim and remembering all the silly, stupid, risky things he did that made him who he was, is a joy. I really try to talk about him to my kids so they have some idea who he was. And now as I speak of him, it's not with a lump in my throat or tears about to well up in my eyes, I can talk about him with a smile on my face on the edge of laughter.

So to those of you who have lost a loved one lately, be encouraged. Your sorrow really will turn into joy....in time. God says in His word that he will turn our mourning into dancing! That is a promise you can count on.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Back to normal

Things can now get back to normal here on this Monday morning on the Knolltop. It's sunny, a little foggy and promises to be a warm spring day.

Yesterday we headed to Toledo only to find out that there was a miscommunication and Luke's team was not playing in the tournament. We were only halfway there, so we turned around and came back. It was too late to attend church so we went to TSC to pick up a couple of things. I saw a shirt there that I've requested from my children as a Mother's Day gift...although I'm not holding my breath! It was a John Deere shirt that said, "Tractor Queen" on the front. Luke was not in favor of spending any money on anything that said John Deere. He's so hard nosed about his tractor colors! I told him that if Farmalls were so great then why don't they have a line of clothing in TSC? He had no reasonable reply...just trash talk!

It's a sure sign of baseball season around here when everyone hustles out of the barn to load up the truck with baseball equipment and heads to the ballpark. That's what happened last evening as Bobby and the boys hopped in the pickup and took off for the field. They love to get a gang of kids up there and play ball.

Luke came home with a big smile on his face, he loves baseball and hasn't had the chance to even play catch. And Jake was covered in dirt from head to toe from sliding into home plate.

On Saturday while we were waiting in between Sarah's games, Luke and I played catch outside. It was such a nice day and so fun to play with him. Sarah's team had to move from one school to the other to play more games and on our way over we spotted one of those radar things that sits on the street and clocks your speed. You know..those machines that make you feel guilty because you thought you were going 25 mph down a residential street when actually you were really going 54! Anyway, Luke got the bright idea of throwing the baseball in front of this radar to see how fast he could pitch. Like the irresponsible mom that I am...I agreed. I"I am the baby of the family afterall...I find this kind of stuff really fun.

So I stood behind the radar...way behind...and Luke stood about 60 feet in front of it and proceeded to throw the ball to me. The first pitch was a strike....he hit the radar machine! He said he just wanted to show it who was boss. A good mother would've told him to pack it up, we're going to watch Sarah play ball. But, I've never claimed to be a good mother, so I told him to try it again. He pitched it again and the radar said 52 mph. Disgusted with the reading he claimed it was all messed up and he tried it again and again....but it didn't even register his speed. All the way back to the gym he muttered to himself...."52? I was throwing 52 mph in peewee! What is up with that thing? I must have been too close or too far away...it just can't be right...that's like JW's speed, I've got to be faster than him! That just can't be right! We need a radar gun, mom!"

I encouraged him by telling him he's all washed up and his best days as a baseball player are behind him. We had a good laugh and then pinky promised not to tell Daddy. Afterall, he's the responsible parent and would not appreciate my irresponsible behavior! It's a good thing one of us is a grown up!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The big Surprise!

Good Sunday morning from the Knolltop! It's kind of sunny and kind of hazy today.



Where do I start? The last couple of days getting ready for Bobby's surprise visit from his mom and sister were extremely busy. On Friday I was able to get the house mostly clean and the laundry done....you could even see the laundry room floor! As I hustled around I made the kids do some odd jobs that they don't normally do, I thought for sure Bobby would become suspicious...but he didn't.



After JW's game Friday night, they split the double header and he got to pitch and did a great job...we came home and I continued to do laundry and to make sure they took care of their things before they went to bed.



On Saturday morning as we rushed out the door to Sarah's volleyball tournament, Bobby's birthday breakfast was uneventful with the kids barely saying happy birthday, no cards were given and I was all about having the kids do their dishes so the kitchen was clean and telling Luke to finish putting out the mulch before we left. Honestly, Luke putting out mulch at 7:30 in the morning? Surely I thought Bobby would think that was odd and start to question the clean house, the fresh mulch and the absence of the Christmas tree on the front porch....but he didn't.



While at the tournament, he called me to see when I might be coming home. I just told him I didn't know when I'd be home and that Sarah's team kept winning so they would be playing longer. In the meantime, I had fielded several calls from Nana telling me where she was and when they got closer "Operation Surprise" went into action.



Sarah had to ride home with someone else while Luke, Jake and I started home. We made a quick stop for a card and some goodies and then arrived home to find Bobby and JW sitting in the livingroom reading. It was all quite calm here. The house was clean and we were ready for the big moment. I didn't want to fix dinner because we were going out later, so I had to come up with something to eat if they didn't get here quick. Not seeing any sign of them, I began to slowly get dinner on the table. JW took Bobby out and lured him into playing catch while I stalled in the kitchen.



Carole was supposed to call when they got close and she was going to talk to Bobby while they drove in the driveway. No call. A few minutes later and still no call. I had to put dinner on the table soon because the cows needed to be milked. So I just put out stuff for sandwiches and called them into eat.



Bobby sarcastically said, "Boy, you went all out today!" I replied, "Well, it is your birthday, I wanted to do something special for you!" We sat and ate and still no call. Several cars came down the road and still no call. With every cloud of dust, I looked down the road, but still nothing.



Finally the phone rang and it was Carole. They visited while JW and I kept looking down the road. It seemed like an eternity before they finally came driving up the road and into the driveway. Still talking on the phone Bobby looked at me and mouthed, "Who is that?" I shrugged my shoulders and waited.....when they got out of the car he started laughing and everyone started hugging and laughing. It was great!



The kids and I did chores while they went to town to get cake and ice cream. Then we went to dinner and back home for cake. It was a great surprise and Bobby woke up this morning saying, I still can't believe you kept that a secret! He keeps asking who knew about it and I said, everyone knew about it but you! (I told you he didn't read my blog)



Aunt Carole, the mother of two great grown boys and now the mother in law of a beautiful daughter in law, was a big hit! After dinner the boys and I were walking out and they commented, "Aunt Carole reminds me a lot of you mom, but she's a way cooler mom than you!" Although it was backwards, I'll take that as a compliment.



As of this morning, Aunt Carole and the big boys are planning a trip to Dallas where she will spoil them rotton. She has planned a fishing trip, a Ranger's game, sleeping in and swimming all day in her pool. I want to go too!

It was a great time....and Bobby said one of his best birthdays ever!


Jake had gotten into a squabble with Luke, so he wasn't in the picture taking mood.

Now we are off to Toledo for Luke's basketball tournament....life never stops.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Can it get any busier?

Good Morning from the Knolltop. Another beautiful morning and hopefully a beautiful day!

The boys are up and gone this morning for their FFA Spring Skills contest. JW is doing environmental skills, whatever that is, and Luke is going to be soil judging, playing in the dirt. I don't even know how to judge soil! Isn't it great that they are learning all this stuff? I just love FFA.

JW has a double header tonight, it should be a real test since all the seniors are gone. Sarah has VB practice today and her first tournament is tomorrow! Oops...I just remembered, I forgot to tell Grandma. Sorry about that mom!

I have to run to town today to get food for the VB tournament and material for Sarah to make a blanket. I guess the norm is to bring a blanket and everyone sits on their blanket while they wait to play their next game. Sarah's more concerned with getting a tie blanket made than playing the game...typical for a 12 year old girl.

I just got word of a new National Dairy Animal Welfare Initiative that is being discussed. A third party coming in to audit dairy farms to make sure we are doing things right. This sounds dangerous to me....when I get more info, I'll pass it along. Or if anyone else has any information, please share!

Gotta get breakfast!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A clean phone

It's another nice morning here on the Knolltop. Spring has sprung around here, with the flowers budding and the birds singing...I think spring is really here!

I was able to get lots done outside yesterday. My neighbor has an immaculate yard so I have a very high standard to live up to. I very rarely make it, but I know she continues to hold out hope that I will make my yard look as nice as hers so the farmsteads match. You see, this is a two home farm and uniformity would be a great thing, if I could only keep up.

The last two evenings there has been a neighbor raking leaves out of Miss Stanna's flower beds. So yesterday I decided I needed to rake and put mulch down to get ready for our company. I picked the windiest day of the year to rake, so I opted not to start a fire. I didn't think the local fire department would appreciate it. Instead I loaded all the leaves in the back of the pickup and dumped them in the field. The only bad part was that most of my leaves were blowing into Miss Stanna's yard. As I tried to hurry and get the leaves loaded up, I was hoping she wasn't standing in her kitchen looking out at the mess I was creating in her clean yard!

But the wind saved me, the leaves just kept on blowing across her yard and into the field!

When I came in to put in another load of laundry I pulled out the wet clothes and a nice clean cell phone! Yes, I washed my cell phone and they really don't work well after that. So last night I had to run into town and get a new one. I know...I'm a mess. And did I mention my dryer quit? Yes, all of you who said my dryer would break down as soon as I gave my spare dryer away...you were correct! So I spent last weekend drying everything the Amish way, on a drying rack in front of the fire. Monday the repair man came and fixed it....I've been a washing maniac ever since!

Better get breakfast!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christmas in April

Another sunny morning here on the Knolltop! Boy that moon was bright this morning too!

JW's team notched up another mark in the W column last night. They beat Pittsford in a very boring game. It was a shut out, no actually they mercied (sp?) them. It was a nice night for a ballgame, but still cold enough to wrap up in a blanket. JW didn't pitch, he'll get plenty of pitching in on Friday when they have a double header and the seniors will be gone on their senior trip. That ought to pose quite a challenge to the underclassmen.

I'm headed out to do yard work today. Those southerners are coming and I don't want my farmhouse to look like Christmas. So I guess that means I've got to remove the Christmas tree from the front porch, along with all the other "used to be" greenery. Hey, don't laugh, we just got done with snow last Saturday and I'm still not convinced we're out of the woods yet!

I think Bobby is planning on hauling manure today...oh that ought to make the neighborhood smell pretty!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Another win

Good Morning from the clear, springlike Knolltop! It's been a busy morning here on the Knolltop and it's not even 10 am yet. When I got up to make the coffee at 3:30 am, a truck and trailer drove in the drive over at the barn. Gene VanRhee was coming by to pick up a couple of heifers on his way home from the New York Spring Show. I decided he must be tired so I let him sleep. We got done milking and while I was making breakfast he finally got up and came in to nourish himself with blueberry pancakes, sausage and some strong coffee.

We got the heifers loaded and when we got all the socializing done he went on his way. While we were visiting the cows decided to make a spring jaunt..no, not up to Knolltop Morgans, they just busted into the pasture and were having a great time on the pretty green grass. After rounding them up, I finally got back in and still have dishes to do, a shower to take and a run to the store.

JW's game went well last night. He looked like a superstar when he came in to relieve the pitcher after five innings. He warmed up and then struck his first batter out in three pitches to get them out of a very long inning. Then he proceeded to strike out three more guys in the next inning and they won the game.

It's fun to have moments like that when you look like you saved the game. When in all actuality, he didn't save the game, they were up on Adrian-Madison by 6, so it wasn't as if the game was close, it was just that the other pitcher had thrown for three innings and was getting tired and started walking batters. He had done a great job...just got tired. Tonight they play Pittsford and it will probably be a very close game.

And finally, I will tell you this secret, but you have to promise not to tell BOBBY! He never reads my blog, so I don't have to worry about him seeing this, but I want all of you to be in on this surprise so when I write about in next week you'll have been in on the game.....so to speak.

This Saturday is Bobby's 50th birthday and his mom and sister are flying up to surprise him. They are supposed to get here on Saturday afternoon. I can't wait! And I can't keep a secret either! I'll let you know how it goes. Because Bobby's dad is retired from Delta Airlines, the family all fly on passes, so they are flying standby. So we all need to pray that they get on the flight, if they don't then they won't be able to come. So...pray!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oooooo what a busy weekend!

It's a clear morning here on the Knolltop...much better than yesterday when we woke up to snow flurries!

We had a very busy weekend and I'm glad it's Monday! Saturday morning we took all of our warm blankets and a picnic lunch and headed to a baseball tournament in Grass Lake. It was raining one minute, blowing the next but wrapped under tons of blankets with our winter togs on, we were warm as toast.....when our blankets would stay in place.

JW pitched a couple of innings the first game, but they lost. Then JW had the winning RBI so they won the second game. He was pretty happy when he got home. We were happy to be home too....where it was warm! In between games we had a picnic lunch in the van. Gramps and Grandma came down and while Gramps hung out in the van and watched from the parking lot, Grandma braved the weather for her grandson and sat with me the whole time in the bleachers. I don't mean to make Gramps sound like a wimp...in fact....I think he might have been the smartest one of all!

While we were freezing, Luke was sweating at a basketball tournament in Toledo. They won a game and lost a game and then on Sunday we all trekked down there to watch them smoke the Toledo Gators. Afterward we stopped for lunch and got home just in time for a Sunday afternoon nap!

After chores we went to the Udder Side for ice cream compliments of Miss Stanna our next store neighbor who kindly gave us a gift card to the Udder Side. She does that a couple of times a year because Bobby makes sure her driveway is plowed and Jake shovels her sidewalk. We love those kinds of gifts!

Today I'm off to get a birth certificate for Sarah so she can play volleyball on Saturday. Yes, her tournaments are starting up so I will be spending each and every Saturday watching screaming girls play volleyball! At least I won't freeze to death!

And isn't it strange that I've had a social security card for her since she was a month old, but they didn't automatically issue us a birth certificate? I guess they wanted to make sure if she had any income as a newborn, it was reported!

JW has a game today at home, it will be sunny, but not too warm. Another ballgame wrapped up in a sleeping bag!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Solid Ice

It's cool and rainy here on the Knolltop...but I'm much better here in my warm house than I was yesterday sitting at the Midwest Spring Classic freezing my tail off!

When we left, we had just got done doing chores so we were warm and so we didn't take any heavy clothing. Boy were we sorry. It rained and the wind blew and it was down right cold! Lori and I stayed in the barn where the cattle were tied up as long as we could, they were the only heaters around. But then we had to go sit in the tent where the sale was and even the auctioneer, Merv Leffler had to put his dirty overalls on halfway through the sale because he was so cold.

I finally sat in front of the corn stove last night til I warmed up and when I thawed out I was able to be productive.

The cattle looked good and the sale went well, although I have no idea what the average was...I could barely write down the prices with my frozen fingers. Lori ended up selling a fresh cow and then bought a March calf. She can't seem to sell an animal and just leave the sale, she seems to have a hang up where if she gets rid of one she has to replace it. I guess she's every sale managers dream!

JW has a game this afternoon and Luke will travel to Toledo for basketball tonight and then over the weekend. It promises to be a busy few days!

Pancakes and sausage are waiting!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A day excursion

Another pretty morning here on the Knolltop as the sun comes up on a partly cloudy sky.

We are headed to a sale today in Fremont Indiana. The Mid-West Spring Classic to be exact. It's being hosted by Mark Sellers, the president of the Indiana Holstein Association. Lori at Knolltop Morgans has a heifer in the sale well, actually it's her daughter's heifer. We will go and see how well she sells and Lori might even come home with something for her daughter.

Jake has been on the couch all week with an ear infection and today he finally went to school. He actually wanted to go. Last Saturday night he came to me complaining of an ear ache and said there was all this water coming out! So we went to Urgent Care and got him all fixed up. I haven't had a sick kid....sick enough for a doctor's visit in a couple of years. I will count my blessings! And we can chalk it up to living in a drafty old farmhouse...a runny nose is the sign of good health...at least that's what my dad always said. Who knows!

And judging from the comments left from yesterday, I'm not the only one with faulty equipment on my truck and a bunch of bored cops in the neighborhood! I'm glad I'm not alone!

Better go get the chores finished up so we can head south.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bored Cops

It's a windy, warm morning here on the Knolltop. I couldn't believe it when I got up to make the coffee and it was 60 out! I love not having to wear all those clothes out to milk!

Last night JW's team won again. This time they knocked off Waldron 6-4. We got the cows milked and got there during the third inning. Yes, it was a slow game. I had forgotten how cool you can get on these spring evenings at the ball park. By the time I got home I was just freezing! JW played a little outfield and then played third base for a while. I can't tell you how he did batting...I know, I know, what kind of mother am I?

Since when is it illegal to have a truck without a tailgate? The other night while I was driving home from Ohio a police car came up behind me and I figured since I wasn't speeding he was after someone else. So I kept on chatting on my cell phone with Frank Robinson, who I called on mistake by pushing the wrong name in my phonebook....and I just ignored the flashing lights. After a mile or two I decided to stop. I told Frank what was happening and hung up. I was baffled at why they would stop me....I knew I couldn't have been speeding in this old farm truck.

The officer came up to me and I immediately asked, "Was I speeding?" And he replied, "No ma'am, you weren't speeding but you do have some equipment violations." My thoughts started flowing and I began to wonder why at 10 pm on a Saturday night they could find time to stop a woman in a farm truck for equipment violations! Do they not have anything else to do?

He told me that I had one light out on my licence plate and that I had no tailgate. Oh my...arrest me! One little light and an AWOL tailgate? Honestly! Then he finally fessed up, and said they wanted to make sure I sober. I replied, "Sober? Oh yes sir, I'm sober alright! I just got done speaking at an FFA banquet in Ohio, I think I'm sober!" And as I went on and on and on I then thought, I'm making my case worse and I said, "The way I'm running my mouth I'm starting to sound like I'm drunk, aren't I?"

The officer said, "Oh no ma'am, I know you're not drunk." Then he took my liscence and came back with a warning. He asked me again where I had been and I told him and then explained to him that my husband had our van and was visiting friends in Wisconsin and that I had the farm truck, thus...no tailgate. He looked at the truck and said, "Oh, that explains a lot." And then he let me go.

I called Frank back and told him I was in jail...he didn't buy it.

Better go get breakfast!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Oh those Kansas Jayhawks!

Go Kansas!

No, here on the Knolltop, we were not cheering for Kansas, we wanted Memphis simply because they beat MSU. But I guess since the newly crowned NCAA men's basketball champions Kansas Jayhawks are from a farming state, we'll celebrate with them....just a little. Plus I have a couple of commrades from Kansas who I'm sure are whooping it up this morning and we'll just let them have their moment.


But my biggest question is what in heaven's name is a Jayhawk? Must be one of those native Kansas birds that no one else has.


We are celebrating another victory, JW's team beat Camden last night 11-0. JW had a couple of hits but one bummer was his buddy, Matt Mann, the guy who plays the violin, remember him? He struck JW out... twice. JW wasn't too happy about that.


Tonight JW plays at home against Waldron and I will get to go to that. Then Luke has practice. The weather has finally decided to straighten up and be springlike here on the Knolltop.
Yesterday I had a treat. My neighbor and I, Lori from Knolltop Morgans, took her fresh heifer to Indiana to be sold in the Midwest Holstein Sale at Mark Sellers Farm this Thursday. And of course I had to take my camera along and I snapped a shot of a couple of the hard working fitters at the sale site.


One fitter, and I use that term loosely with this guy, was David Bennett from the thumb area. He the one holding the shovel...actually leaning on it. He is on the Holstein board with me and he does his best work while talking.....and nothing else.....just talking. The other guy actually working is Brandon from Kentucky. I told him he looked like the lead singer for Rascal Flatts. He commented that he hears that a lot.

The Jersey heifer they were clipping at the time needed a lot of evaluating....they do that a lot too.

Better go evaluate how breakfast is coming!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Opening Day!

It's a sunny morning here on the Knolltop and just the right kind of day for the opening day of JW's baseball season. This afternoon they have their first game in Camden. I'm so excited for JW. I told Bobby I would stay home and milk and he could go to the game....he loves baseball!

Well, the cows came home and just in time I might add. They strolled in from their neighborhood jaunt just in time to be fed and milked and then the boss walked in the barn just as we hooked up the last cow. Other than fresh sod between their toes from hanging out over the fence where the grass is always greener....there were no other signs of their escape. Those naughty cows. :)

I have to tell you, I had a great time in Stryker, Ohio speaking at their annual FFA awards banquet over the weekend. (Although the ride home was an adventure...which I'll share later)

Their FFA advisor, Duane Knisely invited me down for their celebration and boy was it fun. Duane has a great group of kids there to work with and they rolled out the red carpet not only for me but for all their guests. The gym was beautifully decorated, the banquet table was filled with wonderful food and watching these kids host this event was exiting and motivating.

I was asked to give a motivational talk and after watching this group in action and the passion they have for FFA, agriculture and for each other, I was the one motivated! One of the highlights of the evening was receiving an Honorary FFA Chapter Degree. They gave me a degree! Can you believe that? The one who was never a part of this wonderful organization now get's one of their highest honors! WOW! I was more than excited about that. And then they gave me a pen set with a clock and my name on it...plus..my own monogram ed shirt with their new slogan on it..."FFA taking you from practice to reality"

But...the biggest highlight for me was watching the 2007-2008 officer team say goodbye to Mr. Knisely as he retired this year. Each one gave Mr. Knisely a rose and said their goodbyes to him. One gal stood there and said, "Mr. Knisely, you are every reason why I want to be an ag teacher and I cannot wait!"

Another gal said, "Because of you, I'm not that shy little girl I used to be." And one of the most poignant moments was when officer stood at the podium trying to collect herself. Wiping the tears from her eyes she stood there and stood there, trying to say something and then finally in a totally silent room waiting for her words of goodbye she just walked over and gave him a big hug. Her actions said it all.

I fell in love with FFA all over again that night. Thank you Stryker FFA and Mr. Knisely for allowing me to be a part of your evening. The pleasure was surely all mine!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cows gone wild

Good Morning from a very sunny day here at the Knolltop.

Before anyone asks...no, I didn't have donuts for breakfast...although I would like one right now with my coffee. I actually had something good for my body, yogurt and raisin bran!

Things are going well this morning on the Knolltop without the head honcho. No broken water bowls, the gutter cleaner continues to run trouble free, the tractor starts, the cows are still milking...well, except for those ones I just didn't get to ...I was tired of milking so I just hung up the milkers and turned them out. Sometimes you just have to take a break. I mean, really, work...work...work....it's just never ending.

And yesterday I got so tired of fixing fence and I was really hungry...so I just dropped the wire and came in for a snack. I hope the heifers aren't tempted by the opening. They have plenty of feed so it's not like they need to get out to eat. I say, if they get out then it's all their fault! Why do I have to be responsible for their choices anyway?

Well...as I sit here...I can look out my window and half the milk cows are headed to Knolltop Morgans. I hope Lori has enough hay to feed them for a couple of days....if they think I'm gonna run down there and bring them back they'd better think again. If they think the grass is greener up the road...then they can just stay there and see how good the grass tastes.

That's just fine with me....now I won't have so many to milk. I'm getting tired of milking anyway. This twice a day stuff has got to go...once every couple of days would be ideal.

Oh...Lori's calling.....okay...I'm back. I told her to keep the cows up there for a few days, I needed a vacation. I told her where she could find the portable milk pump and milker. Hope it still works.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On Vacation...more donuts!

Well, it's a cloudy afternoon here on the Knolltop and I've got a really good reason for not posting this morning. Our fearless leader went on a vacation. He's out visiting some friends of ours and so now I've got his responsiblities too. But let me say this: I could not take care of this farm without the help of my four wonderful children!

I've said it before and I'll say it again....farm kids are special. While they are not perfect in the least and I have complained about them slacking off in the past, I have to say when they are needed to step up to the plate and make a hit, they usually hit a homerun!

They have been great at pitching in and helping out to take up the slack and now I'm realizing they are capable of much more than I've given them credit. Tomorrow night will be a test. I will be speaking in Ohio at an FFA event and JW will be in charge. He can do it...as long as he keeps his mind in check. It's when he starts to daydream and then forgets which cow he's already milked, that's when I have to worry. But I'm sure he will do fine...especially if he has some PRAYER support! (That's where you come in)

This morning I made an emergency phone call to the neighbor....who just so happens to be an electrician....lucky me! I turned on the auger to fill the grain cart and nothing happened. Because I'm a gracious neighbor and I didn't want to wake him up at 4:30 am....I waited until 6:45 to call. He walked in, looking and sounding a bit under the weather and came to my rescue. I'm not sure if I should tell you how simple it was....but I will. It was a tripped breaker. But for heaven's sake, how was I supposed to know? I'm not an electrician! :)

I thanked him for saving the farm and we were both glad it was simple. Then on the way in for breakfast we had a herd of heifers who decided to take a walk. The boys and I got them back in and I decided we needed donuts. Since Mr. Kaiser bought yesterday, I sent the boys into Jonesville Bakery for a dozen sugar bombs.

Mr. Kaiser came, we ate donuts and they went on their way to work and I went on mine.

Now it's nearly time for lunch and then back to the barn. If you're inclined...pray for us!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April Fools


I forgot to put this picture that I received yesterday from Frank Robinson..the Bovine Beautician. He's been up in Canadian country the last week and from the looks of it..they still have piles and piles of snow! Snow in April is a really, really, really bad joke!

Another spring day!

It's another sunny morning here on the Knolltop.

When we were finishing up chores this morning I said, "Boy, I sure could use a donut from Mr. Kaiser this morning." And when I walked across the road to fix breakfast...guess who I spotted walking into my house with a big white box? Yes, it was the donut man....Mr. Kaiser! So I made some coffee and I bellied up to the donuts and had my fill of sugar! I love donuts and coffee. I should've been a cop!

I've got plenty to do today. It's a nice day out and I've got to write today and do an interview that I didn't get to yesterday. Grandma is going to bring Jake home today and we will do lunch while she's here.

I'd better get to the barn!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You know the code....

It's a beautiful morning here on the Knolltop. The sun is coming up over the horizon and there is nothing but blue sky here. It's a crisp morning, but it will warm up today and be a nice spring day.

Yesterday I traded one kid for another. I gave Jake to Grandma and got JW back. So now I still only have three kids and no matter which one you take out of the mix, it's always quieter and somehow it's just not right.

I also had a meeting yesterday. It was my first meeting as a board member of the Michigan Holstein Association. And I'm sure after yesterday's meeting, they are wondering why they ever asked me to run for this position! I talked way too much and even got into an argument. But I promised the board I wouldn't tell anyone what happened in that conference room. You know, it's the "Vegas Promise." Don't worry, when we left we were all friends.

I've got some writing that needs to get done today. And I've got to interview a retiring equipment dealer Dave Bergland from Dave's Farm Equipment. We bought our first tractor from him.....well, our first tractor that wasn't an Oliver. But let's not go down that road.

Better get breakfast on the table!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Catching up!

Spring has finally sprung here on the Knolltop! It was a balmy 55 this morning when we went across the road to milk. It felt like spring and it even smelled like spring! I love it....even though it's going to get colder today..I'll take it! The grass is even beginning to get green and my daffodils and crocus are coming up! And I can't forget those wonderful birds that tell us that Spring is finally here!

This June some of my children and I are headed to the National Holstein Convention at the Wisconsin Dells. I was looking forward to it before, but now I'm really looking forward to it because one of my bestest friends in the cow world is going to be there!
Mandy Nunes(left with her family) emailed me yesterday and told me she and the girls were going to be at the convention and were wondering if we were coming. Well, imagine the excitment as both of us realized we were going to be in the same city for a few days and the catching up we were going to be able to do!
Mandy and I got acquainted through our husbands when they lived here in Michigan and Matt was the herdsman for the Apple Farm. Mandy and I would meet during spring break and we would take our kids to a museum to further their education....when really it was a great excuse for us to get together, eat pizza and blab! Her girls have grown a lot since then. Geneva, the youngest was just a baby when we first met. And those older girls have grown in to beautiful young ladies. And Matt and Mandy haven't aged at all! (I know, I know, but even Matt deserves some encouragement too sometimes.)
Now the Nunes live in Wisconsin, have developed a world reknown herd known as Scientific Holsteins and one of Matt's biggest claims to fame, besides his beautiful wife with a queen-like smile, is his cow, the late Debutante, who was named reserve grand champion at World Dairy Expo in 2005 and the countless offspring of his famous cow family that goes back to the "Roxy's."
Matt's story is a good one...one that I'm going to have to write!
For now, I've got to get ready to head to East Lansing for a Holstein Board meeting.