Knolltop Farm Wife

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pinehurst update

I now have the official Pinehurst Dispersal Sale Average! Dallas Burton just called and quoted on 57 lots the average was $7281.34. I'd say that was another successful sale for Burton-Fellers Sales, Inc.

By the way, this picture is at the Bull at Pinehurst Farms Golf Course, the site of the sale. I can't wait to hear all about how the cows were presented and the really fun and important stuff, like who was there, what the sale staff wore and how the ring was decorated! You know, the stuff that makes a successful sale and sets it apart from all the other run of the mill auctions!

More details as they come!

Citizenship times two

Imagine my surprise when begrudgingly I went into the Senior High awards ceremony yesterday and JW received the Citizenship award just like his brother Luke! Wow....I've got to citizens in my household! I was so very proud of both of them. JW also won a Spanish award and the top grade in History!

We had a busy night last night with JW in the play again, Luke and Sarah had practices and Jake had a game. I tell you what, I don't know what we'd do if it weren't for great parents who are more than willing to give our kids rides here and there! Jake rode with a team mate to the game while Bobby and I finished up chores. Then we headed to Jake's game where they tied (don't ask)and then got back to the school just in time to see JW sing his song one more time. Then we made our exit and came home to stuff bags with got milk? erasers, pencils, magnets and other fun stuff to give away to the kids at school today.

Yes, today there is a field day at school and it is a country theme....so guess who is supplying the animals, tractors and straw? Yep...us. JW and Luke took our tractors to the school early and then they loaded up some straw for a straw maze for the kids. We are giving away goodie bags and ice cream to the elementary kids. It should be a fun day! Yes, I will take pictures....I hope.

Now on to some other news, the Pinehurst and Fieldstone dispersal in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin was held last night as David Bachmann dispersed his historic herd of Holsteins and a boat load of memorabilia. It was held a The Bull at Pinehurst Farms Golf Course, so you know it was a fun event! My source, Dallas Burton of Burton-Fellers, Sales, Inc., called and gave me an unofficial sale average, so I will wait until I hear the "official" average, but I hear it was a great sale!

On a very sad note, Holly, you know, the cow that Bobby loves more than me, aborted last night. She was five months along with a Dundee calf and was due in September. We were so excited about this calf. But last night as we milked she looked unsettled and was jumpy. She just wasn't herself. As I stood there and looked at her I thought to myself, 'I wonder if she's trying to abort that calf?' Then I convinced myself that wasn't the case. But this morning when she walked in the barn she had afterbirth hanging from her. The bright side is, we will try to flush her, which is what I wanted to do before she got pregnant.

Calling all prayer warriors!
And, one more note...please pray for my dad. He's indisposed right now with a back injury. He was working on his equipment last week and whatever he was prying gave way and he fell right on his behind. After a trip to the ER he is now on pain medication and can't do anything. So, please pray for him if you would. Thank you! And I'll keep you posted! Oh, yes, and pray for my mom as well....you know what it's like to take care of a man....who isn't the best patient in the world....who is also a farmer.....who has hay that needs to be bailed.....this prayer request is getting more serious by the minute! Thanks again!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Play? What play?

It's one more beauty of a day here on the Knolltop. This morning has been too busy already!

After I came in from chores, we had to get cleaned up for Jake's student of the month assembly. Then after we heard about what a great kid he was, we went down to the other gym and watched the Jr. High achievement awards. As the awards progressed I was surprised at how many Luke received. When he handed me the bundle of certificates and pins I looked them over and saw that he got an award in every subject! But the one that means the most to me was the citizenship award. One boy and one girl from each grade is picked and voted on by the teaching staff based on the kids attitude, their success as a student and going above and beyond in the school whether it be helping with something or just being cooperative. Luke received that award last year too. This is the award that makes me the proudest. It's so important for our young people to be responsible citizens in their community, regardless of their grades and athleticism.

JW will have an awards assembly this afternoon...so I've got to get my column written before then!

Speaking of the 'Dub', last evening we went to see the high school drama club present "Grease." Acting as Vince Fontaine, JW got to sing Hand Jive. He grabbed that mic stand and went to town singing. Okay, so I'm bragging here....but he didn't miss a note and acted the part perfectly! He wasn't afraid to just lay it all out there and have a good time. I was very proud of him!

He will perform it tonight if he remembers....last evening after baseball practice he got home at about 6 pm. The play was at 7 pm, but I figured he came home to get something or to eat. He and I were visiting about practice and he was so excited because there was an ex-baseball player there who was giving him advice on his pitching. So all he was thinking about was baseball. At 6:25 I asked him if he should be at the school. His eyes got really big and he turned into the Tasmanian devil in a whirl of motion all the while saying, "I forgot about the play! I was too busy thinking about my pitching...Oh crap! I gotta get over there!" And he was out the door in a flash!

How do you forget about something you've been rehearsing for weeks? I just stood there and doubled over with laughter. That is quintessential "JW!"

Better get to my writing!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who's the advance writer?

Good Morning from the sunny, 40 degree Knolltop!

Let me address the skidsteer comments from yesterday and then we'll get into today's ranting and raving by the redhead! First, P and F.....what are you going to do with two skidsteers when all the cows leave the farm this fall? Open your own landscaping business? Give free rides to the neighborhood kids? Use them as gardening tools?

And threecollie...you said you're too chicken to learn to run the skidsteer...this is good, very, very good. NEVER learn to run that piece of machinery and you'll save yourself from taking on another workload! Besides, what did we have kids for if it weren't for working on the farm? (JOKE!)

Now, on to my latest venture. A couple of weeks ago, I was told of a Christian writers group where they discuss how to get published, how to write books, where to search for publishers, grammar, style, everything a writer loves to learn about. There were two groups, a beginners group and an advanced group. Well....of course, because I was a 10 year veteran of the writing world I naturally thought I would join the advanced group. So, I filled out the application and then waited to be invited. NOT!

When I received a rejection notice in my email I about died! WHAT? They won't let me in the advanced group? Who do they think they are? They had invited me to join the beginners group. After taking total offense to the notion that I wasn't good enough to be a part of the advance writing group, I decided to join the beginners group convincing myself I would be such a great encouragement to these fledgling writers.

I joined and was accepted and began to receive daily emails about a daily topic. The moderator would post a question and everyone was expected to answer. When I began scanning through the postings I soon figured out why I wasn't accepted in the advance group. I didn't even know as much as the beginners group! They discussed passive voice, argued the definition of literary fiction and offered tips on how to get rid of unnecessary words.

Oh my, since joining this group I've not only learned a ton, I've also learned how much I didn't know! Some of these writers in this group have published books or are working on a book. They've been to writing conferences, are searching for publishers, asking how to find the right editor and all of them have a blog!

I'm glad I'm a part of this group, they are teaching me a lot. About the only thing I have to offer them is the knowledge of where milk comes from!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Skidsteers and Season openers

Is there anything better on the farm that a skidsteer?

It's a cloudy morning here on the Knolltop and getting cooler by the hour.

I just came in from witnessing one of the best inventions ever created for the farm: the skidsteer!

Cleaning a calf pen was an essential task this morning so we could take back control of pen maintenance! Bobby runs the skidsteer and I stand by and move gates, clean out the corners and help put the calves back where they belong. I'm really just the support crew. It was sheer delight as I watched him come in to the pen and leave with a big scoop of manure! And the best part was, I just stood there. I didn't have the back breaking task of pitching the whole thing out by hand like we used to do when we first moved on the farm!

And in a matter of minutes I had a clean pen with calves bouncing around on clean shavings! It is a glorious sight and a very good feeling knowing your livestock have a clean, dry place to live! And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about be glad, that means you have no calf pens to clean!

Over the weekend, Luke played in two 3 on 3 tournaments. An eighth grade tournament on Saturday and because they were feeling especially strong and competitive, they went back on Monday and played in the high school tournament. They got banged around a lot with those big boys, but loved every minute of it! They lost all but one game and had a great time doing it!

Tonight JW plays at home against Camden and Jake will have his season opener against Pittsford tonight. He is so excited!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sunny and cool!

Another beautiful, yet cool here on the Knolltop.

It's been a busy day today, I'm working on a story for Holstein International and I've run up against some roadblocks, but they are slowly getting ironed out! I usually don't have trouble like this, but I guess I needed the challenge. NOT!

Last night JW's team traveled to Burr Oak and they mercied them! It was great! Bobby and one other set of parents were the only two there for our team. I guess the gas prices are starting to keep people home. I was glad Bobby went, but the interest rate on the second mortgage to pay for the tank of gas is a little high.

Jake had a scrimmage last night too and he did really well. He got picked to be on an all-star team tournament for next weekend. So next Saturday, Sarah will be playing volleyball in Detroit, JW will be playing baseball in Tekonsha and Jake will be playing baseball in Hudson. Hmmmm....with only two parents I think we'd better rent another mom or dad!

Better get back to work!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Upset in neighborhood: Bobby mowing

It's a cool morning here on the Knolltop where we are stirring up the neighborhood with unauthorized personnel on the lawnmower.

Our lawnmower has been giving us trouble this spring. Usually I bug and bug and bug til it gets fixed. But this year I decided on the "hands-off" approach. Plus, I've got so much writing to do, I hardly have time to mow.

So, two weeks have gone by and the yard is beginning to look like.....well....a jungle. Getting lost on the way to the barn is a regular occurance...at least that's what I say when Bobby asks why I'm late.

Apparently, the long, upkept look was getting to Bobby too and he started to look at the mower. Three "mechanics" later, the mower was fixed and Bobby had taken over as the greenskeeper. This was all too strange to the rest of the neighborhood and the phone lines started heating up.

I received a call from a neighbor who was inquiring about the new lawnboy I had hired. She said another neighbor had called her inquiring about him too. The first neighbor said, "Is there something wrong with Melissa? She always mows the lawn and now I see Bobby out there mowing, he never mows. I just wondered if she was alright." To which the second neighbor replied, "No, I don't think so, but I'll call to make sure." She called and we had a great laugh over the fact that Bobby being on the lawnmower was cause for worry!

In 17 years of marriage, Bobby has mowed the lawn three times. And after looking at the strips of grass left here and there I say to myself...he will never mow the lawn again as long as I live!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blessed

It is a sunny but cool morning here on the Knolltop. It was 40 when we crossed the road to milk.

Yesterday I interviewed a dairy farmer from Indiana for a story I'm writing for the Michigan-Indiana Holstein News. Marion Hooley, the Indiana Master Breeder award winner, lives in Goshen and is a very chipper gentleman in his 70s. As we visited about his life as a Holstein breeder he told me he is legally blind now. He can't drive anymore and it's very difficult for him to see, but he still does relief milking for his son who now runs the dairy. He told me he drove his Gator through the cow pastures from his house to the farm every day.

He told me he had this thing called a Merlin that magnified small print so he could still read his Holstein magazines. As I listened to him talk about how thankful he was for his Merlin and how wonderful and supportive his wife had been through the years and how much he loved breeding Holstein cattle, I thought about how blessed I was. Not because I have my youth, my eyesight and my health, but because I got to listen to a man who didn't have any of those things and I heard his positive attitude loud and clear. His gratefulness and humility was a great dose of medicine for me.

Okay....off to write another story, this time about Newell Rawlings from Rawlingdale Farms in Armada. He was the Michigan Master Breeder award winner.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Hoof trimmer

It's a cloudy morning here on the Knolltop, but I think, no, I know it's going to be a great day, no matter what the weather or circumstances!

JW's team won both games of their double header last night. JW pitched the second game and did really well. He was hitting well too...but don't ask me any specific stats, cause I just don't know!

Right now the vet is out doing surgery on a D.A. Carolyn...one of my favorite show cows is under the knife! JW and I think she's got A.D.D. She acts so goofy all the time. Every day when I go in to prep her or prep the next cow she turns around and tries to lick my hair. I back up, then she stops. I inch forward trying to stay just out of reach of her long tongue and she reaches around again and no matter how many times I think I'm safe from the reaches of her lick, she gets me....somehow she gets me. In the morning I don't care because I still have to take a shower, but in the afternoon when I know I have somewhere else to go after chores, I really don't like sticky hair!

Bobby has gone back to his old business as a hoof trimmer. But these days he only gets two done in a day and the people are really slow in paying! But the good thing is, he never has to leave the farm. He's been busy trimming his own cows, which he detests. He'd rather have another hoof trimmer in to do it, but he knows how silly that would be, so he's been doing a couple each day. He's so good at it too.

When he stopped doing it full time he still had guys with show steers calling him to come trim. He told them he wasn't doing it anymore, but they wouldn't stop calling so he told them if they brought the steers to the farm he would do it. AND he charged them a lot more too. Do you know those steer jocks would haul two or three steers here to the farm every 4-6 weeks during the show season to have those steers done? Because they had it done so often, Bobby didn't have to do much, just trim a little here and there and they were done. But when those guys would take the steer out of the chute, they were sure that steer walked and looked 300% better than when the walked in the chute. They really believed their steer would have the edge in the show ring because of a good hoof trimming job. It was so funny!

Better get to breakfast!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Busy Weekend, glad it's Monday

It was a very busy weekend here on the sunny Knolltop. On Saturday Bobby, Jake and I went to Sarah's volleyball tournament while JW went to motorcycle school and Luke played in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Sarah's team fared well, they placed fourth in the gold division. No, I don't know anything about the divisions.....scoring.....placing....nothin'...not a thing....zippo. The only thing I can gather is that "gold" must be good. All I care about is watching her and seeing her team improve over time.

It was Bobby's first tournament....and he compared it to watching paint dry. But like any good dad, he cheered the team on and paid close attention to Sarah...and then had to analyze the whole thing.

Luke's team placed 2nd in their tournament. When he came to the barn that night, I said, "Hey there's Mr. Second place." He absolutely hates losing and really hates it when I rib him about it. But since it was just a 3 on 3 tournament and not the State Championship...I had to trash talk a little. He grabbed me by the arms like he would take me down but I got lose. Then, a safe distance away and standing between cows I said, "That's okay Lukie....everyone's a winner!" Oh how he hates that statement! He just gave me a big grin and then started in with the blow by blow commentary of each game. He and Jake are famous for their sports commentaries...you really don't even have to go to a game to know what happened, they are excellent with all the details. Luke has been that way since he was five.

Then on Sunday, Luke was asked to play on a high school 3 on 3 team. Some kids from Jonesville asked if he would play, boy he loves playing with the older boys. So Bobby, Jake and Luke headed for Jonesville, JW went to take his motorcycle test and Sarah and I went to church....where we all should've been!

Today, JW has a double header and yes...I remember...thanks to my neighbor Lori from Knolltop Morgans, that I have to provide the food!

Better get on it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Schedules: Who needs them?

Wow...I can't believe it! I forgot to post anything on my blog this morning! My mother called and reminded me and until then I was totally out of sync.

That's what happens when you change your routine. This morning when I got in from the barn, I had to take Sarah to the school for a field trip. When I got home it was time to fix breakfast. I had a headache so I relaxed for a bit after breakfast and then realized I needed to get my column written. As soon as I started my column, the phone began ringing and my list of things to get done grew by leaps and bounds. Pretty soon I was begging for more time for my column and was out the door to run some errands. Forgetting all about my blog!

So...here we are....it's a beautiful morning, or what's left of it, on the Knolltop. JW's team lost both games last night. But that has been overshadowed by JW's excitement about motorcycle school. I'm not even going there!

Schedules are a good thing if you actually read them. Yesterday I said in my post that I had to provide food for the baseball team last night. Well, yesterday I ran to the store to pick up a few things then I donned my apron and baked sweetrolls, chocolate cake and rice crispy treats for the kids. After chores I loaded up the van with all the food and headed to the game only to find out that my day to provide the meal is Monday not yesterday! The lady that so carefully planned and typed out the schedule looked at me in disbelief. I apologized to her for not paying attention. I felt bad because when she made out the schedule, I'm sure she was counting on competent adults to actually read and follow the directions. But then there's me. The one who thinks she knows what she's doing and most of the time doesn't!

Oh well, I told her it was better to have too much food than to not have enough.

And finally, Beth saw JW's picture on the front of the Farmers' Advance. Yes, I wrote that article, and whenever I write a story where any of my family is involved, I always ask Erin not to put my by-line on it. I forgot to ask and my by-line was on it...and I'm sure there are lots of parents out there who are chatting about Melissa Hart promoting her own son! Oh well. Life goes on!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beautiful Sunrise

It has to be the most beautiful sunrise here on the Knolltop I've seen in a long time!

Although we had a stay at home night last evening with no games or practices....today will make up for it! JW has a double header with Climax, one of the toughest teams in the league. I have to provide the meal for both teams after the game. We all share in the meal, one mom does drinks, one does snacks and a couple of others do the main meal. I can't decide what kind of dessert I should make.

Sarah has volleyball practice and Jake has baseball practice. So it will be a busy night to preceed a very busy, tournament filled weekend. On Saturday, Luke is in a three on three basketball tournament and Sarah has her volleyball extravaganza! JW is taking motocycle classes so he can learn to drive a motorcycle. Yes....pray for this very nervous mom who doesn't want anything to do with her son driving a motorcycle! He says he's doing it so he can save on gas this summer....great reasoning...I'll give him that!

Daylight's burnin'! Better get going!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Procrastination junkie

The Knolltop is rainy!

JW had a game last night and they lost. It was a bummer. They battled back and then lost it due to poor defense. After we said our goodbyes to the grandparents, we rushed Jake to practice and then I came home and flaked out. Well, I did a couple of loads of laundry and then made some caramel corn and some regular popcorn and then sat down to watch American Idol.

It was so nice just to sit for an entire hour. I mean, I didn't move! With the remote in my left hand, the caramel corn in my lap, feeding myself with my right hand, I was in heaven. There were a million things I should've been doing, like preparing for the interview I have to do this morning and setting up a couple of other interviews for the rest of the week, I didn't, I just sat down and enjoyed the company of my kids...whoever floated in and out.

I will pay for that. I have four stories plus two columns due by next Tuesday. But procrastination feels soooooo good!

So...I'd better get off my procrastination groove and get going!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is your sweetcorn planted?


It's foggy here on the Knolltop.....and cool.

My sweetcorn is planted and I now have authorization to plant the rest of my garden! Yes, the farming gods came down and planted eight rows of corn leaving me enough space for the rest of my garden. Now, I've got to find the time to go get the seeds and actually plant them!

I made Mr. Darvan stop and pose for the picture, he even smiled! He has no idea how world famous he is now. As you might of guessed, this crop farmer isn't into blogs, in fact he had no idea what a blog was. Nor was he interested in finding out! He just loves planting his crops and watching them grow. At last count, Jake said he farms around 2700 acres. Oh, that's right, you're not supposed to tell how many acres you farm....oops!

JW had a game last evening, they got beat by last year's State Baseball Champions, the Reading Rangers. The score was 6-1, so I guess that wasn't a bad outing considering who they were playing. Tonight he has a home game against Pittsford and Jake has practice.

Better get breakfast!

Monday, May 12, 2008

My children are the BEST!

Who had the best Mothers Day? ME!

Good morning from an overcast, 40 degree Knolltop! Yesterday was another great day for this mom. It started with my most favorite morning greeting in the world...."You stay in bed honey, the kids and I are going to do the chores!" YES! So, I dropped back into bed and obeyed!

I slept until 6:30 and then finally got up and made breakfast for everyone....since we were out of cereal and I didn't want my kids to have to come in from the barn and then scrounge around the kitchen trying to make anything from scratch. Although, I don't think they were planning making breakfast....but....you never know so I saved them the trouble.

When we got home from church, I changed clothes and settled in for a rainy day Sunday afternoon nap. When I woke up, I heard whispering...something was up....but what? I went to the kitchen and started making cookies and took some ground beef out for hamburgers on the grill. The older boys were getting ready to walk out the door when I asked them where they were going, they said they had to run to Buddies to get something for Daddy. By the smirk on their faces I could tell that's not exactly where they were headed. So...trying to make them squirm just a bit more, I asked them to pick up some hamburger buns and some chips for me....they quickly said yes and were almost out the door, but then JW walked over to Sarah and whispered some instructions. I acted like I had no idea what was going on and continued to work in the kitchen.

As I worked in the kitchen preparing for the meal, Jake finally said, "Mom, why don't you just go lay down!" Sarah sneered at him and said, "Jake, you're going to give it away!" I agreed I should just lay down and that's what I did until the boys arrived back home 30 minutes later.

They walked in with pizza and said, "Wow, mom, did you know that they sold pizza at Buddies? It's a new thing they're doing now!" They were so proud of themselves I couldn't let on that I knew anything....so I just acted surprised!

It was a real treat to have my kids do that for me. I also received a bouquet of hand picked flowers and a card from Sarah and Jake made a couple of special projects in school for me. What a great day!

And what did I do for my mom? Well, she got to spend a day watching game after game after game after game after game of volleyball at Sarah's tournament on Saturday. She and my dad came down and after watching a couple hours of volleyball, dad took us to lunch at this really great cafe...which when he picked it out, I was very leery of eating there, but it turned out to be a great lunch......I really should learn to trust my dad and his eating establishment choices. Then we went back and watched more volleyball until the last ball was bumped!

So...moms...time to report in...what did you do for your special day?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Working.....where?

It's another sunny morning here on the Knolltop, but not warm enough to wear shorts....yet.

Yesterday there were some comments on whether I was a working mom or not. It's funny, if you count up the hours I spend in the barn doing chores....it does add up and could be considered a job. But since I don't have to shower, put on make up and dress in business attire, I don't consider it a job. Especially since I just walk across the road to work. Actually, it's become more of a physical work out and if I don't do it, then I can't eat like a horse! Not only can I wear garage sale clothing, I get to spend quality time arguing with my husband while we make a living together. Plus, my children get to work along side of us...they love that! NOT!

So, all in all, I still consider myself a stay at home mom. I really have the best of both worlds.....am I spoiled or what?!

And these FFA ties...an instructional page on how to tie a tie in the FFA handbook! That's priceless! But needed for a bunch of farm boys who never had to wear a tie except on Easter and Christmas!

In JW's defense...he knows how to tie a tie.....he just doesn't like to! His father taught both of the boys how to properly make a knot!

Better get going....more writing to do!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Too much work and clip on ties

It is a cool, kind of cloudy, kind of sunny day here on the Knolltop.

I'm finally going to be home all day today. I really don't know how all of you working women do it! I was away from the farm for three hours on Tuesday and Wednesday and I feel so behind the eight ball! I've got a full slate today of things to get done and because I was gone, it seems very overwhelming. How do women who leave at 7 am and get home at 4 pm keep their households running? All I can think of is the laundry they must have to do each night....and the meals they have to cook without the benefit of being home all day long to procrastinate the preparation! I guess they are really good at delegating their duties to the rest of the family and they have to be great time managers.

Tonight is the Spring concert at the school. Luke and Sarah will be performing. You know what that means? I have to make sure their black pants and white shirts are neatly starched and pressed. And that I find the black socks. I think Luke is required to wear a tie also.

Speaking of ties....this morning at breakfast we were looking at the picture of the new Region 2 officer team. JW looked it over and said, "My tie looks the best." To which I replied, "It better, you had the only clip on FFA tie there!" He smiled his big smile at me and I just shook my head. I can't believe they make clip on FFA ties! And furthermore that JW traded his regular FFA tie in for a clip on. In fact, as I remember he didn't trade it in...I think he stole it from a Junior High FFA member after the State Convention... claiming he had seniority!

Better keep going!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More conservation

Good Morning from a windy, cool Knolltop.

It was a busy day yesterday as I left to teach 5th and 6th grade students about Conservation. First, I was late...why? Because I'm terrible at managing my time! Then I had to extend my lesson because one of the schools didn't sign up. So I had the kids longer than I had expected...so what did I do? Dairy promotion of course! I talked about the benefits of dairy products. And those kids are so great....they love dairy products! So it was very easy to promote to a group who loves what you produce.

When I got home, I warmed up leftovers for dinner and Bobby headed for the game while Luke and I headed to the barn and Sarah headed for volleyball practice. After chores, I picked Sarah up and dropped Jake off for baseball practice. Because it had been a day of running....I treated myself to some ice cream while I watched Jake's practice. Ice cream always makes things better.

JW's game was delayed by lightening for a while, but they ended up winning. After JW's game, Bobby came to Jake's practice...you see..he loves baseball and is willing to watch any kind of baseball....practice....a game in town...a game on the TV....whatever. As soon as he got home and everyone got into bed what were we watching on TV? Baseball, of course!

Since I have to go teach about conservation again today during my nap time....I took a nap this morning...boy did that feel good! Now, I'll hop on the treadmill for a little bit then head back into town to teach kids how pizza is made from dirt!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

1500 Holcomb Avenue

Good Morning from the residence of the newly elected President of the Michigan FFA Region 2!

Yes, JW was elected President yesterday and was quite excited about it. He called me on his way home from camp to tell me..that was how excited he was. When they got home, he told me all about the speeches and even recited his....of course he hadn't written it down or anything it was all impromptu...but what I heard was very good. I'm so proud of him!

Luke gave me the run down of who won what...and most importantly, who he has recruited for his 3 on 3 basketball team for next years camp! Of course, that means that all those boys have to be elected as officers in their own FFA chapter in order to be there. I don't think he cares about those details, he just will not lose to a team of girls again!

Jake and I got the lawn mowed and trimmed yesterday. He mowed when he was not riding with Mr. Darvan on the planter. They planted beans yesterday and yes, my garden is all tilled up and ready to plant.

Today I will go to the fairgrounds and teach a bunch of elementary students how pizza comes from dirt. The local NRCS hosts this day and I've been recruited to teach. It will be fun.

Then JW has a game, Sarah and Jake have practice, so Luke and I will hold down the fort and ....oh yeah...milk the cows!

Monday, May 5, 2008

More degrees!

Good Morning from the sunny Knolltop.



The house feels empty without the two older boys here. But I do have to say, it's peaceful.



Yesterday at FFA officer training camp, the boys were in the 3 on 3 basketball tournament and from what I hear, it wasn't pretty. They lost to a team of freshman girls. Luke fouled out....but of course, according to him, the girls got all the calls! I guess this girls team took out a few teams of boys and were going to be in the finals last night. It's good to be humbled every once in a while.



They had invited me to the banquet for an award. When I got there, I sat with the North Adams group and we had a very nice dinner. After dinner they gave out Honorary degrees and guess who earned herself another one! Yes, the girl who was never in FFA in school now has a Honorary Degree from Michigan Region 2 and from Stryker, Ohio! And I didn't have to give a speech, memorize a creed, learn parlimentary procedure or study about global trade!



When I left the camp they were getting ready for a rousing game of Capture the Flag and then a hotdog roast. Today they will elect officers, JW has to give a speech...I guess a campaign speech for running for President. I'd love to be there to hear it. He didn't know he had to give one until last night. He's better on a deadline anyway.



Better get breakfast for Sarah and Jake!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Beautiful Sunday Morning!

Good Sunday Morning! It's clear and cool here on the Knolltop and the big boys are getting ready to head to FFA Regional Officer camp. All the officers from each FFA chapter in our region gather at a campgrounds and do training stuff for two days. Now, I'm not sure what 3 on 3 basketball tournaments have to do with officer training, but that's all I've heard about for a week.

Luke is worried because the boys on their officer team aren't the star basketball players and of course, Luke wants to win the tournament. It doesn't matter if it's the NCAA championship game or go fish...Luke wants to win! As I sit here listening to them talk about the camp in the other room, they are strategizing their game.

From what I've read, they will be electing their Region 2 officers at this camp. JW is slated for President, if he doesn't get it then he will be Vice President. He doesn't know that yet....it's a secret...but like Bobby, JW doesn't read this blog either! He went through the interview process last weekend to be an officer. I'm excited for him.

Yesterday was another busy day. After chores, Luke, Sarah and I left for her volleyball tournament, JW went to work for the neighbor, Jake stayed home so he could go to baseball practice while Bobby stayed home to go to the hay sale.

We watched Sarah play a few games and then headed back home so I could get ready to go to a Ladies Tea. I was the featured speaker. My good friend Sue and I, donning our bestest tea outfits headed for the event. It was a great time visiting with other women and enjoying their fellowship, not to mention the wonderful goodies. A table filled with pies, cookies, bars, fruit and chocolate was heavenly!

After the tea, we came back home, I headed for the barn and after chores, Sarah and I sat and watched "Sarah Plain and Tall."

Today we have no basketball games, no volleyball games....we actually get to go to church and then home for a Sunday afternoon nap! But, right now, I'm headed to the treadmill....too many treats yesterday!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Farming gods


It's another warm day here on the Knolltop! I'm still waiting for my garden to be turned over one more time. You see, I have no control over when I plant my garden, that's up to the farming gods. This is a picture of the farming gods in my neighborhood.

There are a few farming gods around here and they determine my planting time every year. They go over the garden plot with their four wheel drive tractors, 100 foot disks and cultivators and then I think it's ready to plant. Just about the time I get done planting seven rows of peas and I run into the house to get the knife to cut the seed potatoes, I hear the roar of another farming god. They run through my garden again....scattering the seeds I just planted. So then I play the waiting game. Will they go over it again? Or not? Are they done doing the headlands? Are they going to spray it with something? Just how many times will they groom my garden plot? They are the farming gods...of course they make it so it's the best groomed garden plot in the neighborhood! So that means at least two or three more times.


Then when the garden is groomed and I feel no more fear of the farming gods....I begin to plant...again. I get the peas in and the potato holes dug and feel like I've really accomplished something. Then I hear it coming again.....the farming gods....they arrive on a four wheeler with a two row corn planter behind. This small god plants eight rows of sweetcorn, right next to the peas...almost on top of my potato holes. When the sweet corn is planted, then I know I've got another year before they show up again. The farming gods go back to their farming heaven filled with big green equipment that never breaks down, that runs on ethanol where they grow $15 beans and $6 corn!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day!

The first day of May and it's gonna be a good one here on the Knolltop. It's forecasted to be sunny and 70. I still have to get a new belt for the mower. I made the trip to TSC last night with my three boys...yes...all three of them were with me, no practice, no games, no parties, no nothing...they were all with me! And boy have I learned to appreciate the time spent with them. They are so much fun to have around!

After looking through 677 belts I came to the conclusion they didn't have my size. So I have to go to a dealer today and get one which means it will be more expensive...of course. After TSC we headed to the grocery store and then we just had to get ice cream at the Udder Side. Life is good when you're licking a scoop of Moose Tracks while driving down the road laughing at the antics of three boys that you absolutely love so much you would lay down your life for!

Where was Sarah you ask? She didn't want to come...she didn't have any money and really didn't have anything she needed to get. Plus an hour without her brothers is an hour of total serenity!

Today is column writing day...and boy have I got some good news! I called Jim Massey, the editor at The Country Today, a farm weekly in Wisconsin and asked if he would like to buy my column. After much thought...and listening to all my best sales pitches....he finally relented to give me a try! He said he would try me for a few weeks and see if anyone liked it. So I'm hoping someone up in Wisconsin will read it, like it and contact him!