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, November 28, 2008

Traditional Thankgiving

Good Friday after Thanksgiving from the Knolltop!



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

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

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are you ready yet?

Good Wednesday morning from the Knolltop!

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

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

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

Better get!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The new B.J.

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

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

Last evening while we were milking I changed a milker and stepped back into the center isle. She looked at the cow that was just milked and then looked at me and asked, "Did you dip her?" Indignant, I replied, "Of course." She said, "Oh, well it just didn't look like it." I turned and looked and was confident that I had dipped her even though she didn't look like she had a drop of dip on any of her four teats. I slid a little closer and then bent over to inspect my dipping job and discovered she was a clean as a whistle...no dip at all.

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

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Posted by Picasa

Everything is green!

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

Everywhere we go it's John Deere!

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Uncle Ricco!

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

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

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



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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day of rest

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two firsts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What you don't know.....

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfast is waiting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's getting colder

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baseball season

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

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

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

Okay, enough gushing, time to finish my column!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nope

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Monday!

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Friday!

Good Morning from a cloudy, drizzly knolltop!

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

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

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

Truth from the Trenches

By Melissa Hart

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pity Party Crasher!

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can't write....in mourning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

Coffee Time!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Prayer request

It's a beautiful morning here on the Knolltop.

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