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, February 27, 2009

Waking up in a different state

It's a dreary day here on the Knolltop! The temp is dropping..when I arose this morning it was 47, now it's down to 35.

Bobby finally made it to Montana after spending a little time in Cincinnati, no, he wasn't a happy camper when he called. I'm sure I've mentioned before that he flies stand by..well that's great if you're me, a youngest and you don't have a care in the world about where you're going or what time you'll get there and you're more interested to see how many people you can meet and get to know. But when you're an oldest and you like to be in control of your's not so good.

He called this morning while standing in my sister's barn watching my brother-in-law milk his cows. I'm sure that was a trip, watching the man who crafts the most beautiful handmade cabinets, milking cows. I never would've imagined!

Meanwhile back at the ranch....or farmstead....the power went off in the middle of the night and I didn't get up until 5:20 am! I kept waking up during the night wondering why I was awake, worrying about why I, the one who sleeps through anything, was so stressed that I kept waking up. It turns out my body knew it was time to get up, but my clock said sleep!

At this point, the cows are milked, fed, bedded and I'm working, no slaving away in my office, existing on coffee and cigarettes, working on Dairy Agenda Today....oh I'm so excited about this launch on Monday! No, I don't smoke that was a joke!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Flying High!

Life is flying by here on the Knolltop. Speaking of flying, Bobby is flying out to Montana this morning to put on a fitting and showing presentation to a group of 4-Her's in Montana and Alberta, Canada. He will stay with my sister and get to see her dairy set up...boy am I jealous! Please pray for his safety.

In the meantime, we have to keep the farm going here....and with the crew I have, we should have no problems! They are great! (Prayer needed!)

Yesterday we went to Indiana to look at a heifer for friend and then we ate at the Shipshewana Livestock auction restaurant. That was a fun road trip, but boy were we tired when we got home!

So, now I'm off to Detroit to deliver the boss and then back to run errands and get some groceries...the kids had a short pick of cereal this morning and they let me know too!

Just a few short days until the launch of Dairy Agenda Today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Couldn't resist!

Okay, if there are any of you out there who've got to go to the Pioneer Woman and see her homeschooling section. It is an absolute RIOT! I just got done laughing my head off at a funeral for a some kind of hawk. The pictures are her writing are so funny!

As a former homeschooler I can so appreciate what she has to say.

And if you're absolutely against homeschooling....get a life!

Double Blogging

Good sunny morning from the Knolltop!

It's a beautiful but cold, like 13 degrees cold, here in Southern Michigan.

Okay, I've started double blogging now. As you know the launch of Dairy Agenda Today will be on Monday the 2nd....and I've got a ladies blog on that website. So to have an archive of things on there, I've started blogging there too. It's very strange to blog in two places.

On this blog I feel like we're all family and I can just lay it all out there for you, but on that blog it's just not the same. I actually have to think about what I'm going to write! It's a great challenge for me, but so much fun as I get to write about women in dairying.

So, if any of you women or men have anything you think I should write about on that blog.....please let the flood gates open!

And you probably missed it but Amanda Nolz blogs for several things, one of which is World Dairy Diary...boy those two words are not easy to spell together....anyway, she wrote about this blog...she is such a sweet girl! I wish she lived closer so I could rub up against so much inspiration!

Well, better get over to the barn...I have to get chores done early so I can be on Rural Route Radio this morning...I wonder what Trent has on the agenda today?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hoop Savvy and Jersey Milk

Wow, what a beautiful sunrise this morning! It's cold, but sunny.

The weekend was great! What was so great about it? Glad you asked.....Jake had a buzzer beater in his basketball game on Saturday! He said it was the end of the game, he looked at the clock and from outside the three point line he threw it up and swish! It went in just as the buzzer went off. They were ahead by something like 20 points, so it wasn't a true "clutch" shot, but it was just as good to Jake. If I saw him reenact that shot once I watched him 27 times over and over and over again in our living room, or should I say our basketball court aka living room.

And while Jake was showing his hoop savvy I was speaking at a ladies day out at the Solid Rock Community Church in West Unity, Ohio. They were the best group of women from so many different backgrounds. After a morning full of fun we had lunch, made by the men, one very special man, Duane Knisely, a good friend of ours. You'll remember Duane as the retired FFA teacher and beef producer. He and his wife have a farm with beef cattle and they used to milk cows. So when lunch time rolled around his son-in-law walked up and set down a tall glass of milk just for me and said Mr. Knisely told me to tell you this was special milk from a Jersey cow! That Duane!

Well, I'd love to expound more about it, but I just heard the tractor go down to the barn and that's my cue to head back out to bed the cows.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Busy Saturday

Good Morning from a busy Knolltop.

I had to come in early from the barn this morning and passed four sleepy kids on my way across the road. They are taking my place while I head to Ohio to speak at a Ladies retreat.

I sure could use your prayer if you would be so kind. Thank you!
Gotta go, don't want to be late!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Singing in the silo

It's a cold, blustery, sunny day here on the Knolltop. The wind is from the west which means the kitchen is cold and you know what that means????? It's a great day to bake!

One of the comments from a couple of days ago mentioned singing in the silo. I have an idea who that person was who left that comment since there is only one person in this whole world who has ever sung in the silo with me....and that would be my good friend from my childhood, Nancy. She is a special friend in my life, always will be. She and I shared many, many things and one of the best was singing together. It seemed no matter what, the world was our stage. We would sing all the time, but our favorite place was in the silo.

One of us would break out in a Captain and Tennial song (showing our age)I don't know how to spell it! Invariably it was this one, "Lonely nights, I cry myself to sleep....tell me what am I gonna do....." I can hear us now, it was so much fun!

So, now I have to ask, are there any other farm girls out there who did that? Who stood in the silo and sang their heart out? Hearing their voice echo? Enjoying the time all by yourself with no one around to hear you? Come on...fess up!

Yesterday with all the busyness I was still able to get two columns written, now this morning I've got another one to write and off to the grocery store, after chores of course!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is crazy

It's been a busy day here on the Knolltop. My schedule was interrupted when I was asked to go get hay. When I got back I helped finish up chores all while knowing I had to do my Holstein International Column. They have to get it to the interpreters before Friday and of course in Holland they are 7 hours ahead of me. So...deadlines are a little crazy when you write for an international magazine.

And of course I don't have microsoft Word on my computer because of...well those computer issues a couple of weeks I begged Russell Gammon to paste my column into a Word document so he could spell check it and count the words. I can't be over 350 words with this we are in the middle of emailing back and forth the column for me to this is crazy!

And of course he only agreed to do it so he could read the column first and because Russell is Russell, he had to send commentary along with the spell checked column. He's a mess!

So, as I write, I'm waiting for the great Rustico to send it back to me so I can pare it down if I need to and I have to be in the barn in four minutes....all these deadlines.....they govern my world! I need a place without deadlines!

No problems

All is well on the Knolltop....just busy running errands and helping the boss.

Just haven't gotten to the computer yet....but I will....some time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Don't sue!

Another lazy, sunny day here on the Knolltop.

Okay, okay, so now I must confess before Joe Schmoe gets the wrong idea that dairy farming is a breeze and then goes out and buys a farm and a bunch of cows, floods the milk market worse that it already is and discovers I mislead him and then takes me to court for giving false testimony on a blog!

For the record we milk our cows twice a day, I've never gotten a professional massage, pedicure, manicure or mud pack. My boys were livid when they discovered I wrote about them getting a mud pack and massage and couldn't believe I would write something like that. (Obviously they never read this blog!)

I don't have any hired help when the boss goes away, that's why we had children. (JOKE)

The kids have been getting up early on their days off and this morning they were dragging. I'd have to say that Sarah is the most punctual, she has been out there at 6 am every morning. And I'll also add that she doesn't wait to be asked to do something, she sees what needs to be done and just does it. I love that in a kid! Well, the boys are good about that too, but it took them a lot longer to learn it.

Furthermore, after we got all done with chores, which included a fresh cow and a new bull, I came in from the barn and Sarah was making french toast for breakfast! All I can say is Wow!

Dairy prices may be down and things are going to get tougher but when your kids pitch in and take over without complaint to keep the farm running smoothly.....that is worth more than all the money in the world! I'll go ahead and say it.....I'm blessed!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dairy Farming is the life

The sun rose again this morning on the Knolltop, even though the boss is no where to be found. Yep, Bobby's gone, I practically had to shove him out the door, but he left at 4:30 am yesterday morning and headed to meet his best friend, Bobby Binger, for breakfast. He called mid morning to check on us...he must have been having a good time, otherwise he would've called much earlier to make sure we were getting along without him.

After breakfast and visiting some farms near Clyde, Ohio, he went to Brookview to visit with Eric Havens and ended up spending the rest of the day with the Havens family. They had lunch and then just sat around and visited about old times.

This morning the report was that he was headed south to Delbert Yoder's farm. I know he'll have a good time rumbling around in Wayne County.

Meanwhile, back at the Knolltop, we're surviving without him. I've got the cows down to milking once a day so we don't have to do so many chores. It's a great program, it leaves so much more time for shopping, eating out, playing games and just laying around. I don't know why more dairy farmers don't do it this way!

Better go, we're headed to the spa where we are getting family massages, Sarah and I will get facials, pedicures and manicures while the boys get their hair cut and faces packed in mud. After that we will head for lunch out and then to an MSU men's basketball game where we get to sit in VIP seating, right behind the bench so I'm available to Tom for coaching tips. This dairy farming is the life!

14 more days until the launch....of Dairy Agenda Today!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Interruptions galore!

It's a very sunny morning here on the Knolltop! And I"m loving every minute of it.

Do you ever have those days when your phone doesn't ring once and it's quiet all day long? And then the other days when you get interrupted all day and you can't seem to get anything done? That was my day yesterday. Interruption after interruption. Phone calls, field men, Schwanns man, more phone calls, emails asking for press releases, columns to write, email that won't go through because it thinks your spam....but through it all, I persevered! I got the column written, the press release done and I did all the maid's work besides! (She's really getting on my nerves with this not showing up business.)

So, today I will press on with more writing to finish and phone calls to make and a basketball game tonight. And now it's time to head back out to the barn and do more chores!

17 more days until the big day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heifer parties

Through the faint showers of light streaming from the yard light I could see hoof prints tracking through the front yard as I made my way across to the barn this windy, cloudy morning on the Knolltop.

Since the tracks were small, I knew it was the heifers that had been partying all night long. And sure enough when I walked into the barn, Bobby met me with a flashlight and said, we've got heifers out somewhere. He hopped in the van and I went on foot, looking for the elusive bovines. There at the bottom of Horse Hill was one springing heifer and lucky for me, the gate was open behind her so I just chased her through the gate and closed it behind her.

We had four younger heifers to put back into their pen and with that, we were done chasing. Apparently they had run around all night long and were happy to be back home by the time we got out there to milk. At that point, I was happy we had an aged dog that didn't hear a thing all night. Otherwise she would've woken us up and we would've been out chasing cattle by moonlight. Thank God for old dogs!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Warm but Rainy

Good Morning from a rainy but warm knolltop.

The kids had a two hour delay this morning because of fog, so I'm just now getting to the dishes and other routine matters of my wonderfully, exciting day. Which reminds me, it's way too quiet in here. Yep, the washing machine isn't going, I forgot to start the laundry.

Last night we traveled to Tekonsha and Luke's team won , while JW's team lost. Luke was tackled a couple of times in the process, it was a very rough game. In fact at one point he was slammed against the wall, they actually called a foul that time.

I finally saw my column and how it looks in Holstein International. We received our February issue yesterday. Now I'm formulating what to write about for March and I have an idea, which is strange for me to have an idea ahead of time.

Well, since the kitchen is full of dishes and I have to actually wash them myself because the maid called in sick...I'd better go!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ambassadors and first ladies

These were my surrogate children at the dairy conference, Matt and Sarah Mann. They are wonderful kids and I told everyone at the conference they belonged to me.

Jake is in shorts and we're headed to the 60s today! It's going to be a great day on the Knolltop!!!!

The snow is almost all gone and I have to say I'm enjoying the brown mud and slightly green grass. I didn't even wear my long underwear to the barn this morning, now that's warm!

Let me share a few more photos with you from the Great Lakes Dairy conference.

We were serenaded by Junior Michigan Dairy Ambassador, Matt Mann during the social hour on Friday evening. I bet they didn't know they were getting such a multifaceted package when they picked Matt for an ambassador!

And here are two of my favorite people, Richard and Patty Hyde. Of course everyone knows Richard as the MHA President....such a great leader he is! And of course his wonderful, talented and always happy, giggling wife Patty (Robb). She is the older sister of my college roommate, Julie and she may even kill me for putting her picture here on the blog...but I'll take my chances that she'll take it all in stride. Hey Patty, that's the price you pay when you're the First Lady of the Michigan Holstein Association!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Amanda Nolz and me

Good Morning from a sunny, soon to be warm Knolltop!

It's been like spring here and I love it. The snow is melting and it smells, looks, feels like April. I know we're in for more winter, but this is a great reprieve!

The Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference was wonderful as always. I was able to visit with so many and meet so many new friends. One of the friends I was so excited about meeting was Amanda Nolz. Let me tell you, she's as awesome as you think....she does not disappoint!

And one of the other great aspects of the conference was that Matt Mann from Camden was chosen as the Junior Michigan Dairy Ambassador! I was so proud of him! Now he gets to promote dairy across the state for the next year.

Okay, I"m late for the barn, so I'd better get going...more later with pictures of Amanda, Matt, Bob Miller, Loralee Schultz and so much more!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Good Morning young dairy enthusiasts!

Good Morning Gang!

I'm making this post for the youth that are going to be listening to Amanda Nolz at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference. Amanda will be teaching the kids how to create a blog this morning and I highly recommend it. The more positive stories we tell about animal agriculture the better and how much more fun would it be to see youth on the farm posting about their lives and what they do!

If you're a young person reading this....I've got three words for you....NEVER GIVE UP!

And one more shout out to Hayleigh Geurink! You're an awesome board member of the Michigan Junior Holstein Association!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Good Morning!

Good Morning from Grand Rapids!

I'm at the Great Lakes REgional Dairy Conference and it's going well. I'm heading out for breakfast with Matt Mann....he's in the ambassador contest and no doubt will win because he is the greatest kid....besides my kids...that is~!

Cows are calving at home, but I guess they will be okay.....keep praying for them.

It's time to go....more later, I hope!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Family matters

It's a very cold morning here on the Knolltop.

I'm holding out for the warm weather and yes, rain is predicted! I can't wait!

JW had to leave early this morning to go on an FFA chapter visit in Springport. As he was backing out of the drive, his truck got stuck in the snow. Luke and I went out and pushed him to freedom and chuckled all the way back to the house. When I walked in I said, "Thank God for family!"

Chores are waiting, it's cold and the sooner I can get them done, the sooner I can come back in!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Calves and famous names

It was cold this morning, much colder than it's been and I guess we're in for another bout of wind. But then we will get our January February. I really don't care what month it long as it doesn't wait until June!

Does anyone feel like praying? I have a couple of requests if you're in the mood. If not, then skip to the next paragraph. I'll be leaving for the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference on Thursday morning and will be gone until Lori from Knolltop Morgans brings me home on Saturday. This will be a nice break for me, but the rest of the family will be I don't have to tell you how to pray for them. AND, I don't have the foggiest idea how I'm going to get to Grand Rapids on Thursday morning. I need a ride, but haven't found one yet. Please pray for that!

We had another heifer calf born yesterday. Her name is Kooper. I know, that's wierd, but it had to start with a K and that just popped into my head. So her registered name will be Knolltop Roy Kooper.....wasn't there someone famous with the name Roy Cooper?

Time for chores!

Monday, February 2, 2009

A little better

It's kind of a foggy morning here on the Knolltop. The weather has decided to straighten up and give us some warmer temps. I can actually see dirt on the dirt road!

Well, the computer has been acting much better in the past couple of days, we may be on the road to recovery here. Although it was nice to have a week off from being on the computer, I have to say, I've missed all of you!

Who was rooting for the Steelers? I wasn't. I like Kurt Warner so I wanted the Cardinals to win and so did everyone else in our house except Jake. He made himself a megaphone out of paper yesterday afternoon and used it through the whole game.

Sarah put out a spread on the table for us so when we got in from chores we were treated to a superbowl feast! I ate my way across the buffet until I was miserable. And this morning before chores I downed a couple more brownies and some chex mix. I know, I know, I need to get on the treadmill.

I hear the back door opening, time for more chores! Later!