Knolltop Farm Wife

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pitch fork entertainment

Yesterday I had a list a mile long of things I was going to accomplish. Mow and trim the yard, get the laundry caught up, go grocery shopping, cook a meal that didn't resemble anything we ate last week and get a nap.

But as time went by, my ambition left me and all I got done was trimming the yard, grocery shopping, cooking a meal and a nap, with a couple loads of laundry added in. Meanwhile, my lovely neighbor up the road who also spent the last week at the fair told me she had all her laundry done by 10:50 am! Yes, she cheated, she went to the laundromat!

I haven't heard from JW directly, but I see from the comment left last evening that the Nunes family is keeping tabs on the boys. The report is that JW and Levi are proficient at pitch fork leaning. You know, pitch fork leaning is a lost art that really takes quite a while to master. I'm glad to see that all the evenings spent in the barn leaning on our fork has finally paid off and he's getting to show off his sweet pitch fork skills. The pitch fork leaning lessons might have helped too....I'm really good a leaning and Bobby is a master at fork twirling....something he claims he mastered while on the road as a fitter. Oh, those family talents passed down from generation to generation are just so precious!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Catching up!

Good Monday Morning from a cloudy Knolltop!

After a day of recooperation, the kids are back in school and we are back to normal after a week of the county fair. It was a good week, the kids took on more responsibility and handled it well. They also did very well with the cows. On Thursday we had the open show and we had Junior Champion Honorable Mention with Pontoon and Sarah had Reserve Grand Champion with Sandy. I even got to lead a heifer in the show. We'll have pictures in a couple of weeks when they come from the photographer.

We brought the cows and all the tack home on Saturday night and then the boys and I went out and got the heifers and their trophies yesterday morning. Because it was too late for church, we went to breakfast and celebrated a good week.

JW is in Madison, Wisconsin this week working the Burton-Fellers Planet Holstein Sale and having a great time. He called last night to give me an update and he said their first night on the job was tough and they were glad for a shower and a bed yesterday morning. They slept all day and then went back out to work. He said Levi was wondering what in heaven's name JW had gotten him into...but JW reassured him it would get easier once all the cattle arrived and were clipped.

Today is catch up day around here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Update

Good Morning from a very tired knolltop!

It's open show day today, so I have no idea why I'm taking time to write this other than the fact that I'm obviously out of my mind with fatigue and I don't know what day it really is.

A brief update: On Tuesday at the 4-H show Jake won his showmanship class and was second with Lexi and Lucy. Sarah didn't win showmanship.... :( but had junior champion with Brandy and Reserve Grand Champion with her two year old, Sandy. Luke didn't win showmanship either but had Grand Champion with the three year old Carolyn. And JW, who wasn't supposed to show at all and spent all morning blowing up tops with Bobby had to don his whites for one class to win it and then went on to win reserve junior champion with Pontoon. (I messed up the paperwork so he had to show one heifer)

That's it. Who knows what today will bring, but if I don't get in the shower and head to the fair I know it won't be a happy day for me!

pictures later!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's started

Good Morning from a cool Knolltop where everyone is busy with the County Fair!

We took the cows in yesterday, 8 head, and when we got them all settled in, Luke sat down and said, "Mom, this is too many cows!" Of course the bulk of the work is on him because he is in charge of the crew. JW is only providing transportation this week because he will be gone next week to Madison working the Agriprize/Planet Holstein/Global Impact sale(s).

Nana and Joann arrived yesterday afternoon just in time to hear JW sing in the talent contest. I guess he did well...but didn't place in the top three. It was a good experience for him.

I'm on my way out to the fair after I shower, make sandwiches and gather up everything everybody forgot.

I'm not sure how faithful I'll be here on the blog....but I'll try to keep you updated. Show day is tomorrow!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friendly crowd

Good Morning from another cool morning on the Knolltop.

Well, thank you for the prayer, yesterday went as well as expected. My schedule was only messed up a few times, but everything got done and I made it to my meeting on time. In fact, I had a few minutes to spare and had time to catch my breath and check my outfit in the mirror. It was a good thing I did too. As soon as I walked into the meeting, I made a beeline for the bathroom...it had been a long drive. Looking in the mirror, I fluffed my hair, check to make sure there was no food or manure on my face and turned around to make sure my outfit was complete all the way around. As soon as I turned I spotted a tag hanging from under my arm! I thanked God for letting me see it and ripped it off! Can you imagine walking out to speak with a tag under my arm? What a hoot!

The best part of the evening was the friendly crowd. The worst part of the evening was that almost everyone in the crowd knew me from my childhood. As the emcee introduced me he had no notes, just my name. I took the mic and said, "You don't know me at all so you have nothing to say, but there are some people in this crowd who know me too well and even have nick names for me....thank heaven's they don't have this mic in their hand!"

I have to say it was probably the most difficult presentation I've made because I was a known quantity. You remember the saying that you have to get at least 50 miles away from home before you know anything? I was a mile an a half away from home last night....needless to say, I still don't feel like I know anything!

Moving on....Luke's team lost their game last night....bummer. But now we have to concentrate on the county fair! Tomorrow we take in our non livestock projects in and Sunday we take the cows in....it's going to be an exhausting week!

A very busy day!

Good Morning from a very sunny Knolltop!

It's going to be a very busy day. I've got to load the truck with our straw and tack for the fair then I have to sound intelligent on Rural Route Radio for an hour. Then I have to head out to the fairgrounds with our tack and on the way drop off a crockpot of cheesy ham and potatoes to the boys at the school for their FFA lunch today.

After making a pack for the cows at the fairgrounds I've got to stop and get a couple of things at the store and head back home to try to write something, get ready for a speaking engagement that I have for tonight, get my clothes around for tonight and make dinner. All the kids will be home today since SArah doesn't have practice because they won last night and Luke has a game tonight. After supper we head to the barn and half way through chores Bobby will head to the football field, JW and I will finish up chores and I will run(literally) into the house get ready to speak and head to Fowlerville, an hour and 15 minutes away for the annual Farm Bureau meeting. They said I won't be on until 8 pm....thank heavens! Other wise they'd have to take me in my barn clothes!

Then I'll come back home....I think I'm too old for this, I'm tired already! So....you know what this means......I'm in desperate need of prayer! Pray that my day is ordered, that I speak what those folks need to hear and that I have enough energy to drive home. And thank you in advance.

By the way, I have this BFF Angie who is a farmers wife, a stay at home mom who also homeschools and she's also an EMT/firefighter. She and her family came down to visit last weekend and brought me some peaches.....she's a wonder woman! Just though I'd mention that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Home with Hardware

JW rolled in last evening with a very heavy bag....full of awards! He was very tired, but had enough energy to spread out all the awards on the table and tell us all about the contest.

He said he had the highest placing score, but his reasons weren't as good....that's why he was third. So, let me list his accomplishments and then I'll get off my "proud mom" kick.

JW was third high individual over all and his team placed first in reasons, first in Holsteins, first in Jerseys, first in Brown Swiss and first in Ayrshires. They only breed they didn't win was Guernseys. He came home with two medals, three ribbons, a plaque for the Jersey win, a plaque for the Brown Swiss win, a milk bottle for the Holstein win and a really pretty plate with an Ayrshire on it for the Ayrshire win.

Both the FFA and the 4-H team won the contest but the collegiate teams didn't fare so well. So as Joe Domecq, the judging coach at MSU, said the future is bright for Michigan Dairy Judging teams!

Renee McCauley took them out to PA and I guess she was as excited as the kids were....which she should be! When they got back to MSU Joe was there to greet them and as only a judging team coach can do he looked at JW and said something like, "I guess you did alright".....JW looked at him and thought he would've gotten a little happier greeting than that for coming home with all this hardware....but Joe said, "Dub, I saw your reasons score, we've got some work to do!" You gotta love judging team coaches!

For those of you who get the Farmshine...JW's team picture should be in there sometime soon, so please look for it and let me know if you see it!

I want to thank everyone who prayed for JW, it paid off for him! By the way, I also received some good news from Sara, who I asked for prayer for over their housing situation. She said it looks like they are making progress with a difficult situation and things are looking up! God is so good!!!!

Today is the rummage sale...I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

JW got third!

Well, I had a post all typed out, but I lost it all!

Although I haven't heard from the horses mouth yet, JW, I did hear from another mom of two kids that are on the same judging trip that the Michigan kids did really well. Ella Mann, mother of Sarah and Matt Mann called and said that Sarah called her all excited because Sarah had won the whole contest! Isn't that amazing?????!!!!! And then she said that JW was third in the overall contest!!!! Now that is awesome! I'm so proud! That is a huge accomplishment and a great payoff for all the hard work they've done this fall.

It seems like this fall they have worked a lot harder on their reasons and have looked at a lot more cattle. I know JW said a couple of times he was tired of looking at cows and giving reasons! I'm just glad they were rewarded for their work.

I just tried to call but all I got was JW's voice mail, so when I hear more specifics, I'll post it here!

In the meantime, I finally got all my peaches put up and I"m going to head down to the garden and pick some tomatoes....ugh!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Prayer request for JW

Good Monday morning from cool and waterlogged Knolltop!

We had rain all weekend. Yesterday it just came down in sheets and I wondered if we were going to have to get the ark out. But I see we are much better off than those in Ike's path.

I have an immediate prayer request just for today. JW is in the middle of his judging contest in Harrisburg, PA. If you would say a prayer for him when you think about it throughout the day, I would be so thankful. Of course, I'm not praying that he do his best, I'm praying that he wins the contest.....remember the free treadmill? He will know how he did tonight so I will give you the results in the morning! Thank you in advance for your prayer!!!!!

Time to take the kids to school!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clip Man to Mom

It's raining on the Knolltop. I think we've got remnants of Ike, but thank heavens we don't have hurricanes in Michigan!!!!!

Yes, the SBH in his comment yesterday was correct, I was a member of the "Chain gang" last night at the football game. And it was so much fun! There were many comments made and strange looks from the officials as they came up and asked where the clip man was and they pointed to me. After they realized it was no joke, they offered me a handshake and asked if I knew what I was doing. Bobby assured them the newest crew member had been trained and knew what to do. Even though I didn't really know exactly....yet.

After the first play of the game, I figured out just exactly what my role was and it was a riot standing there on the front lines watching the game and listening to the opposing team coaches talk to each other, discuss plays and tell their boys what to do.

They were all very courteous to one another and to me. I knew of couple of the boys on the team, so I made small talk with them, but then I had to turn from "Clip Man" to the Official Mom.

For the most part the players were very nice and treated their water "girl" with respect. But there were a couple of boys who were very demanding and forgot their manners. When I witnessed this I totally forgot what I was doing and turned into a mom. Before I could stop myself I said, "Hey, you need to be nice to her, she doesn't have to be out here doing this, she's serving this team and you need to remember your manners with her. Don't you treat her like that!"

After watching their expressions change from big strong football players to scolded puppies, I remembered my job and that I wasn't signed up to be the team mom, so I turned and shut my mouth. But I'm sure if their mothers had seen their behavior, they would thank me for what I did.

The rain held off for the most part and homecoming was a success. Although the Juniors who built their float in our barn, forgot to make arrangements to transport the float from our place to the school. So there were only three floats at halftime. That's okay, their float was down right awful anyway! Oh and we lost 36-0. It wasn't pretty.

Friday, September 12, 2008

BFF defined

It's a foggy wet morning here on the Knolltop. I think the hurricanes are affecting us way up here.

Last night we went to Waldron for Luke's JV football game. They did a great job and beat the Spartans. Luke played quarterback the whole game, when he wasn't on defense. I know I'm his mom...but really, he's a great player!

Jake was the ball boy on the side lines and while he was standing there the boys who were running the chains and the down marker were visiting with him....of course. One of the boys said, "Man, that number 16 is awesome, he should be on varsity!" If that didn't make Jake swell up with pride... all pumped up he said, "Yeah, I know, that's my brother." What a hoot!

Now there is something else I need to get straight. While sitting with my BFF Sue, her mom and my parents at the game we were all discussing the use of "BFF." Sue came up with a different meaning than the original use which is Best Friend Forever. She said she thought I was saying Big Fat Friend instead of the real meaning. Now, I've never called her fat and have no intention of calling her my fat friend. Mostly because she's not and I would never call anyone fat....unless I had some pit bull coming out and I needed to use it for effect.

Nonetheless I had to get that straight just in case anyone of of you who read this thought I meant Big Fat Friend.

The salsa is done but my column is not....so you know what I'm doing this morning. Tonight is homecoming and JW will miss it because he's headed to MSU to give five sets of reasons before they leave for Harrisburg, PA this evening. I get to help Bobby run the chains tonight, which means I get to be on the sidelines of the opposing team listening to all their interactions...I can't wait! Full review over the weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

They lost....but who cares?

It's another cool morning on the Knolltop.

Last evening I travelled with my BFF Sue to Sarah's first volleyball game. They lost. In two games they lost miserably. I think they are too excited about their very first homecoming dance on Friday. As 7th graders they now get to do so much more and dances are just one of the many exciting happenings. What's funny is, that when the boys lose, they are bummed and it takes a while to get over it. When the girls lose, they don't dwell on it, they bounce back to the locker room, change their clothes and are looking forward to what the concession stand has to offer!

I finally got my salsa made and was ready to put it into jars last night after the game. When I went to get the lids....no lids! You know lids are one of those things you buy here and there thinking you might need some this year. And then you realize you have enough lids for a small army so you stop buying. And then all of a sudden... no lids!

Needless to say, I'm off to the store this morning for lids and have a couple of other stops. I might even stop at the bakery...I've had a hankerin' for a big fritter!

Luke has a game tonight so I will start chores with Bobby, JW will take over for me and I"ll go to the game while they finish up and then Bobby will come when he's done with the milking and leave the rest to JW who has been the best help this fall! Now I know why we had children......they are a great workforce!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holstein seen at Montana Dairy

It's a cool, sunny day here on the Knolltop. The winds of Fall are beginning to blow, it was only 44 this morning! I wore shorts under my overalls but I didn't take my sweatshirt off at all, which means it was cool..very cool.

Okay, yesterday Pryorvu told us something that doesn't seem to have the rest of the cow world stirred up as much as our news over the weekend. My sister, the horse breeder, music teacher, homeschool mom, choir director, mother of five.....boys..... wife of a cabinet maker and over all wonder woman is now a milkmaid! Well, that makes her sound like she runs around in a skirt with an apron milking cows, which is highly inaccurate.

I told you about her wonderful little retail business where she milks her cows, puts in in jars and sells it to her food co-op customers for $7.00 a gallon. This business began with her middle son and one 4-H cow, like so many dairies around the country, and has now grown to a small herd of Ayrshires, a real live milk house, two commercial size refrigerators and I don't know something like 200 glass gallon jugs! Not really that many, but there are a lot of jugs!

My parents went out a few weeks ago for a visit and my mother, who loves and appreciates a well designed, clean, efficient milk house, has talked about nothing else since she's been back. (Another slight exaggeration)

But now the real news is....THEY BOUGHT A HOLSTEIN! I'm so glad they've finally seen the light and gotten a real milk cow! (I know, I know, I'm asking for it now!)

The amazing thing is not that they have a Holstein and we have two Jerseys but it's that we both grew up on the same farm where we had Holsteins, Jerseys, Brown Swiss and Ayrshires. My sister, Ginny choose music as her major in college and went off to be a teacher. I went to college to be an animal science and ag com major and was going to be... well, a wife and stay at home mom. And here we are years later both stay at home moms, with husbands that are both self-employed and we are milking cows! Now that's a hoot!

I've got salsa to make...and I'd better get on it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

WOW!

All I can say today is WOW..those little brown cows can stir up more action in one day than Sarah Palin!

Because all they had were numbers for their registered names, they will now be affectionately referred to as Francis and Pat. And they went out for the first time last evening....JW actually had to touch them. They enjoyed their first time outside with the big girls, but kept to themselves. Thinking we would have to chase them around this morning to get them in, we got up early, but after all the Holsteins came into their places, F & P came in together and with less wrangling than the rodeo we had when the arrived on Saturday, we got them in their stalls successfully.

I loved all the comments yesterday, but one of the most profound one was when the confederates of Bobby's family said it was like Colonel Sanders eating pork. That was about as true as it gets. And Jake feels the same way still today. On Sunday evening when Bobby had to run into the gas station he was in a hurry and told Jake he couldn't go with him. When Bobby got out of ear shot, Jake curled his lip, squinted his eyes and said disdainfully, "Jersey lover!"

Okay, I'd love to write even more but it will all have to wait until tomorrow, I have a Holstein Association board meeting to head to and a conference call on the way I have to prepare for and I haven't even showered!

Thanks for all the great comments and isn't that Russell Gammon a total HOOT?! If I ever get my book written, I'm hiring him for my publicist!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Big News

Where do I begin? First of all, let's get this political stuff out of the way. I'm thrilled that all of you who commented would feel the freedom to share your views. Thank you so much for allowing the rest of us a peek into your lives. And just like my BFF Julie (that's best friend forever, Julie) has never let me down, she continues with sharing her strong liberalism. I thought time and children would wear her down and bring her to the right side of things...but I see she is still her Father's daughter...a true Democrat! HA! Like I told her older sisters at Palmerton's sale on Saturday, George Robb would be proud of his youngest daughter!

But what amazes me is for two friends who have grown up together and shared so much of our lives with each other, we are at opposite ends of the spectrum in our political views and we still care so much for each other. Now that's what I call reaching across party lines! HA! I love you Julie!

Now for the fun of the day. On Saturday we did something I never thought I'd ever see my husband the Holstein Junkie do....we bought two Jersey's at the Hapalson dispersal. As we sat there and looked over the cows, it was strange to see Bobby, the pedigree wizard at a loss when it came to knowing any of the pedigrees on these cows. He was so lost he was asking ME what I thought! At the end of the day two fresh cows arrived at the Knolltop and that was the beginning of the end of family harmony. The boys are in an uproar about these brown "goats" in our barn. They can't believe this is happening and refuse to recognize that two of our stalls are now, half filled Jerseys.

But the real fun was Russell Gammon's response to the boys reaction. Remember, Russell is the Executive Secretary of Jersey Canada. He offered some wise advice that I just have to share with all of you! He sent the following email to me:

To completely quell the nausea, despair and hurt threatening to overflow in the lives of your two eldest children let me just say that Jersey calves especially in the first three months of their earthly existence are THE ULTIMATE BABE MAGNETS. We are actually convinced that they can whop a basket full of playful puppies or kittens! The dudes should consider this deep in their hearts!
One peep that there are Jersey calves and any of the young frauliens worth knowing will be swarming all over the Knolltop! If that doesn't do the trick, and it will, tell them these precious words:
A. Suck it up!
B. GET OVER IT!
C. Let it go!
D. Let go and let God!
E. If you can't beat them thar pesky l'I'll brown cows, join em!
F. Just be thankful you got a pair before demand is so extreme there are none left available!
G. Y'all have done arrived!
H. Now, yer joy is complete!
I. The cheering for y'all is deafening!
J. It was only done to honour the Palmertons! Although the same family will likely hold a heifer sale someday!
K. It would warm the heart of an elderly man to have a picture of JW and Luker planting great big kisses on the snouts of the new brown ladies!

This is FAR too much fun! As you can see!
Okay I WILL stop-for now!
As I can now say to you: JERSEY ON!
Big cheers! The Rman!!

Is there no end to this Russell mania?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Big sale day

Good Morning from a foggy Knolltop!

Today is the big sale at Palmertons in Fowlerville. They will disperse a herd of cows they've milked for I don't know how many years and I'm sure they have reservations. But next week when Patty can enjoy sleeping in....I think she'll wonder how she milked cows for so many years!

We're headed to that sale, Sarah has a volleyball scrimmage, JW has a judging work out at Nugentdale Farms and Jake is at a friends house. So just Luke, Bobby and I will head to the little brown cow sale. And who knows....we may come home with one or two! Yikes!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Great Game!

Good Friday Morning!

It's a cool, cloudy Knolltop and boy do I like it.

I spent last evening in Camden, my home away from home....where the Farmers' Advance is based and where I had my first editor's job. Anyway, I was at Luke's game and boy was it a good one. Luke played several positions and did a great job. He played quarterback part of the time and carried the ball...the announcer called it a quarterback keeper....who knows? But anyway, he would keep the ball and run instead of throwing it or giving it to someone else to run it. And then he threw it for a touchdown in the last quarter. I was so proud of him! I know, I know..that's a big newsflash!

He was happy with the way he played and they won...18-0. The announcer for the game also worked at the Farmers' Advance as a salesman. Rick Clark is retired now but really should pick up a new career as a sports commentator...he's so good! Of course he said hi to Bobby and I over the microphone and announced during the game that Luke Hart out there on the field playing so well was Bobby and Melissa Hart's son. That was a bit embarrassing...especially since right after that, Luke got an off side's penalty called him!

Tonight is a home varsity game and JW and Bobby will run the chains and Luke will march in the band...which he is dreading. I've still got to make some salsa today, run some errands, I just wrote my column...yes about the attributes of lipstick and the heifers are waiting for their baths.

I just got my email fixed...it wasn't sending any emails out. So all week I've been sending emails out and no one has gotten them! Technology is so wonderful.....!

And thanks for those who posted comments about Sarah Palin...but there are still some who are holding out on me....let me hear what you think!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Whatcha think?

Okay, it's time to get into politics.....I want your opinion on Sarah Palin and her debut last night. I don't care what side you'll vote for, I want your honest thoughts on Sarah and her speech.

I stayed up last night just to watch it. I know, I'm a bit of a political junkie....I have a few friends who I email back and forth and we discuss politics in one or two sentences....it's fun to speculate and listen to the spin doctors. Today I will pay for staying up past my bedtime, but I really wanted to hear her speech for myself and not just bits and pieces of it. I have to say, the lipstick joke was great. She nailed it right on the head with that one....I don't think there is a mom worth while who couldn't relate to that comment. And I think that's what I like best about her....she relates to me in areas where no man whether black or white, old, young, handsome, ugly, conservative, liberal.....could ever come close to relating.

Today is writing day and I'm formulating a column all about lipstick....we'll see if it sticks or not! HA!

Then Luke has a football game tonight...I"m looking forward to that. But now it's time to head back out and work with the show string!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good reports...so far.

It seemed like a good first day of school as they kids dribbled in from their activities. First JW and Jake came home at the regular time and they had full reports of how their day went. Then Sarah showed up in the barn from volleyball practice and she gave a good report, the only thing she could complain about was her locker is so far away from her classes....keep in mind there are 500 kids in this school......K-12.

When Luke got home from football practice an hour after Sarah I called him on my cell from the barn and he said he wasn't feeling well.....too hot at football was my guess. But he said his day went well too. He's happy because his BFF Brad, (don't tell him I used that term!) is in almost every class.

I had a busy day at home. I ran the hedge trimmers back to the rental shop...I hate bushes that need to be shaped and trimmed! And then back home to wash the show string and back in the house for dishes, laundry and a quick nap. Then it was back to the feed store and Walmart for a couple of school necessities. Then it was pork burgers on the grill for dinner and out for chores. After chores I worked with our summer yearlings then Bobby and I delivered a bull calf to Mr. Kyser's farm. That was a fruitful visit...I brought home one of their muskmelons...boy do they grow good melons!

I popped the popcorn and Bobby and I sat at the table filling out forms, signing papers, visiting with whatever kid came to the kitchen table while munching on popcorn.

Today I've got to get to my garden...the tomatoes are calling...I can here them from here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pulls, parades and crashes

It was a busy weekend here on the Knolltop, mostly because of the tractor show in Waldron yesterday. Luke and I took our tractors down on Saturday night. He pulled me with his tractor for two reasons. One, his tractor is faster than mine and it saves on gas! It took us an hour and 25 minutes to drive down there and what a nice evening it was to travel at 18 miles per hour.

Yesterday we were in the parade and had a great time. There were a boatload of tractors in that parade....and really there was a boatload of everything in that parade! Then we watched the antique tractor pulls all afternoon until it was time for Big Daddy and me to milk. We didn't get to watch Luke pull, but he said he didn't do very well anyway. As competitive as Luke is in every other part of his life when it comes to pulling his tractor, I think he just likes to participate.

Today was the first day of school and typically the only one who was really happy about returning was Sarah. She was ready to get back and see her friends. The boys would be happy to never darken the doors of another school as long as they live. Although I think deep down inside, they wanted to see their buddies too.

Over the weekend, my computer crashed....which means I lost everything.....all my writing....all my emails....all my email addresses......everything! So I want all of you to email me so I can start collecting addresses again. Just send me a quick email, so I can save your info.

Nana, Carole and Joann...this is for you especially, if you have any of my past columns that I've sent you....please send them back to me so at least I have those. Send everyone of them that you've kept, please and thank you bunches!

Now I'm headed out to work with the show string now that the clan is gone!

One more thing... please continue to pray for the lady in Kansas, she's had bad days and good days, but isn't improving like they thought she would. I will update you when I get them...but as of this morning she was a little better, but not as good as they'd hoped. Keep praying please!