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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

New pictures!

Good Morning from a cloudy Knolltop and they're calling for scattered rain showers!

Okay, the big deal of the day is baseball pictures. JW and Luke brought home their pictures last night and I've already scanned them and will show you now.

Luke is on the left and JW on the right. I asked them to get a buddy picture since both of them play and one's a catcher and the other a pitcher....they were so cooperative, they didn't argue about not having their own picture or anything. This is so incredibly special to me....can you tell? I just wish there wasn't a law against smiling! Jake is the manager of the team and is in the team picture, but the big boys put a halt on having all three in the picture...darn.
JW is going to the Williamston Prom this weekend with a girl from there. She's a great gal, hard working, plays AAU volleyball but that's all I will report to keep my promise to JW. I told him I wouldn't tell everyone about email me if you want to know more, I can give you all the details there!
And yes mom, you need to go to Hillary's house and take pictures Saturday night since I won't be able to drive up and do that! (Mom lives just a few miles from there)
Okay, time to go eat breakfast and get on with the day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weather fans and Warranties

Good Morning from a cool but kind of sunny Knolltop!

Well, I know now that one person enjoys my weather report in the opening sentence. A long time friend of my family back in Fowlerville, Don Hibbard appreciates my weather opening. His wife Lou sent along a nice email letting me know they read the blogs and that Don especially likes the weather report. I emailed the Hibbards back and said I just can't seem to start writing without giving a weather report. Actually, I think that's why I have a hard time getting my other blog started, I don't mention the weather.

Anyway, last evening we headed to Adrian for the boys baseball game and they won! Luke went three for three in hitting and JW had a couple of good was right on the line! They were on fire. It was a great game. And yes, we passed the bus on our way home and Luke was picking the rocks out of his hair!

Sunday morning the skidsteer blew up. And I have to say at 4:30 am, Bobby called Matt Blonde, the sales person we do business with at Wells Equipment and within five minutes he called back and within an hour and a half we had a new(different) skidsteer to use. Now that is service! They called yesterday to tell us what the problem was with our skidsteer and the good news's under warranty!!!!! There is nothing better for a dairy farmer right now than hearing those words, "It's covered under the warranty."

Time to head back out to the barn for more chores and I think I'll do some raking today...the yard is in a shambles!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rocks in his hair

Good Tuesday Morning from the rainy Knolltop! It's supposed to clear off today so that we can have a baseball game!

Speaking of baseball, I wrote a silly post on my Dairy Agenda Today blog, but I've got to share it here just in case there are those of you who refuse to head to that site or you don't have time for one more click! I understand fully and completely!

Anyway, Luke was out in the barn with me as I was milking. He was sitting on a bucket of dirty towels talking about his day when I noticed him picking at his scalp. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was picking the rocks out of his hair! Of course I ran over to see what in heaven's name he was talking about and I saw there was grit and gravel in his hair, along with shavings and a little straw chaff, (he had been playing basketball in the haymow).

He said on the bus ride home from baseball games he spends his time picking the rocks out of his hair. Apparently when he flips his mask off it falls into the dirt at home plate and gets grit and gravel in it. Then he picks it up, shakes it out and puts it back on his head. If you think about how many bad pitches get by him or how many plays at home plate there are, that's a lot of flips into the dirt, shake-outs and put-back-ons!

I guess I need to search for some industrial strength shampoo....maybe Orvus would be a good idea!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Warm weekend!

Good Morning from a sunny, warm, breezy Knolltop! The weekend was beautiful and I've got the dirty hands to prove it!
Every gardener in the country was out pulling weeds and working their flowerbeds this past weekend and I was no different. While Jake played with his tractors in the dirt that I just worked up for him, I pulled and worked in my flower beds. There just isn't anything better than a freshly weeded flowerbed....unless it's a freshly mowed lawn!

JW spent the day yesterday conducting FFA regional officer interviews. He said it was a long day and it reminded him of dairy judging. He had to take notes in order to remember the people from the beginning of the day. I thought that was a funny correlation.

I thought I should share a picture that's been waiting to be shared.

Two weeks ago Bobby celebrated his 51st birthday. He even had a very special cake that was made by JW's friend Hillary. Not only did she do a great job decorating the cake, it was absolutely scrumptious!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beautiful Day!

Good Morning from a very warm, sunny Knolltop!

I just got back in from doing chores and now I'll run some errands before the afternoon of working outside. The boys have an away game today and since the gal that comes and milks for us is hurt, Sarah and I will stay home while Bobby heads to the game.

I heard from my parents last night and they were in the U.P. They had found another van in the paper and the guy took their van in on trade! So now they're in a navy blue Venture and they discovered it has a DVD player in it! The grand kids will love that.

Better get going!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

High heels and farm life

Good Morning from a sunny going to be warm today Knolltop!

The bush outside my office window is budding and it's so nice to see green!

Okay, I've pulled out a picture from the past. My mom sent this picture to me. It's probably one of my most favorite pictures of me as a kid.

Yes, that's me mixing up calf milk....some things just never change. Although I don't mix it donning striped shorts and spike high heels with an old man's hat, I do mix it up every morning and night.

I loved those high heels. They were my absolute favorite thing to buy at the dime store in town. They were plastic with elastic straps. They never lasted too long because I liked to wear them all over the farm, but I still loved them!

Now I'm off to the barn to bed the cows and feed the heifers....without the heels!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's a very small world!

It's a sunny, windy day here on the Knolltop. I'll take it!

Did I happen to mention earlier that my parents were driving to Alberta, Canada to watch my nephew John Stene graduate? I think I did. Anyway, they drove, they watched, they enjoyed and now they called me this morning, stranded in Northern Minnesota!

Their van quit and they are making a decision on what they want to do. But that's not the half of it!

While they were driving along US 2, talking to my brother on the phone he mentioned that one our old neighbors that lived down and around the corner had moved to Minnesota and he thought my parents were near to him.

Now, these neighbors were actually a family of six. Mom and Dad and four boys. Four big, big boys. The Grill family. The third son, Tommy, was my late brother Tim's, good friend. They did a lot together growing up and had a great friendship. In fact so good it lasted through a gunshot wound to the arm. Tommy and Tim were out rabbit hunting and Tim's gun accidently went off and shot Tom clean through the arm. Even after that they were good buddies.

Anyway, my other brother Rex got on the internet and looked up Tommy Grill's address and low and behold mom and dad were practically in his backyard. So they stopped in for a visit and ended up getting a motel room across from where Tommy works as a truck mechanic.(He always was a grease monkey) After spending the evening with the Grills they were on their way back to town for the night and their van quit. Thank God it was just a few miles from Tommy's house!

As of right now, they are trying to decide if they will have someone go get them, buy a new vehicle or wait for a new engine. Yes, you know the drill....please pray for them!

You might be wondering how Rex knew Tommy was in northern Minnesota? When Tommy sees a car drive in the motel across from his garage with Michigan plates, if he has a minute he goes over and asks where they are from. One person was from Ovid, where my brother lives now, and somehow they made the connection and that's how Rex new where Tommy lived.

Isn't it amazing how God can work this all out? What are the chances of my parents breaking down in a town of an old family friend? Yes, if you haven't figured it out by now, God is in control.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wrenching late night

The weather hasn't made up it's mind today. One moment it's windy and cold, the next it's still and sunny, we've had rain and yes even a few white flakes. And the baseball game is still on for this afternoon....can you say burr?

Last evening chores were finished and we sprung a leak! After wrenching and wrenching and wrenching, a trip to TSC for parts, more wrenching and lots of prayer, the cows had water and my job was the barn.

Coming in at 9:40 pm I sat down at the computer to finish up my other job on Dairy Agenda Today. Getting to bed an hour later doesn't fly when you get up four hours later! Yes, I got a nap today!

It's raining again, I just don't think this ball game is going to go. But I have a crock pot of sloppy joes ready to go to feed the team when they get done, just in case.

Now, more writing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Volleyball girls learn about farm life

Sitting at a volleyball tournament for a whole day can get just a little boring unless you bring some reading material for the down time.

Nearly every dad who walked into that gym had a magazine or newspaper in their hand and when their daughter wasn't playing they were caught leaning back in the bleachers with their paper in front of their faces catching up on the news of the day. My husband was no different. He wasn't reading USA Today, but the local farm newspaper.

While watching one of the nine games, I heard a group of girls behind me (pictured above)talking about the "farm newspaper" sitting on the bleachers in front of them. Not knowing I was eavesdropping on their conversation they talked freely about how funny this farm paper was. One of them said, "Look, there's a farm paper, oh my gosh, can you believe it? What? Is it delivered every morning to like five people? That is so funny!" Giggle, giggle, giggle.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to turn around and let this little gal straight. I jokingly said, "There are more than five people who work everyday to feed you! We are dairy farmers and we get up everyday to milk the cows so you can have milk for your cereal in the morning." She was instantly embarrassed and all her teammates started laughing. She started to apologize and I told her not to be sorry, but that I wanted her to know there is a whole industry full of people who read farm newspapers and they work very hard to provide food for the nation.

Then the whole team got in on the conversation telling me where they were from and that they had never been on a farm and didn't know anything about it. Of course I had my camera in hand and snapped a shot of them reading a the Michigan Farm Bureau Newspaper.
We had a great conversation and I spent the rest of the day cheering for my new little team. They were such sweet girls!
Enlightening ten 14 year old girls about where their food comes from took all of about 10 minutes and I gained a team full of friends from the suburbs of Detroit. Hopefully they will think of me when they pour their next glass of chocolate milk or dive into a bowl of ice cream. Telling our story is what it's all about!
As a side note, I was asking these girls if they had ever been on a farm, they said no, but their coach was married to a man who grew up on a dairy farm. As it turns out, their coach is Allie (Hoard) Ferry, the wife of Scott Ferry who grew up in Hillsdale County and is in the process of taking the farm over from his mom and late father, Harold Ferry who suddenly passed away last fall from a heart attack. Allie's mom is Cindy Hoard who I worked with at the Farmers' Advance back in the late 80s! What a small world!

Stay tuned for Volleyball girls!

Good Monday Morning from a soggy Knolltop

It was a busy weekend and I have lots to write, but at the moment I have to head back out to the barn, when I get back in, I'll post more news...including some a team of girls from the city who learned more about agriculture at a volleyball tournament! I have pictures an everything!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Showing improvement!

Good Morning from a sunny and warm Knolltop!

Thank you for your prayer, the last I heard Aaron is doing much better and continues to show improvement. But continue to pray for them as they figure out how to get home once he is released, how they will get to John's graduation and keep the cows milked!

As I think about this whole situation, I could've been out there in the mix of these events. My sister, Ginny asked if I would come speak at a womens event out there. I would've been scheduled to speak last night. Can you imagine having your son being flown to Denver with a head injury, your other son preparing to graduate in Alberta, Canada, your parents driving half way across the country to watch the graduation, your sister due to arrive in Billings and a herd of cows to milk and 70 gallons of milk to deliver to waiting customers in town and not being able to see anyone!? What a mess! But, I guess that's why it's a good thing God is in control!

Just keep praying!

Farm news: I had the chance to use my tractor this morning and boy was it fun! I love driving that thing for more than parades!

The boys lost their game last night...boohoo.

That's it for now!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Plenty of prayer needed

Good Morning from another rainy Knolltop. It's supposed to clear off so the boys can play baseball today, but I'm not counting on it.

I have an urgent prayer request. My nephew in Montana, Aaron, hit his head and after an evaluation at the local hospital they flew him to Denver for more evaluating. That's all I know right now and I will keep you posted. Of course you know the timing couldn't be worse. My other nephew is graduating from college in Canada on Sunday, my sister has to be in Denver with Aaron and my brother-in-law has to be home to milk the cows! What a mess! Hopefully Pryorvu will keep us posted as to the goings on...he will have to take up some slack at the ranch as well, I'm sure. But what is family for?

I forgot to mention, last Saturday, Sarah and I left the farm for the day and went to see the Lion King on stage at Michigan State with my mom and sister-in-law. We had a wonderful time together not only seeing the musical but then at dinner afterward. We don't do nearly enough of this girl thing! I think an all day shopping extravaganza needs to be on the schedule!

Please pray for my parents safety too. They are headed west to watch my nephew graduate! They will be on the road for 4 days!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chocolate Appreciation 101

Good Morning from a rainy knolltop where there probably won't be a baseball game today. But they are promising Spring weather for tomorrow!

How could I complain with the beautiful Easter weather we had on Sunday. It was sunny and in the 50s! I loved it. It was like the Easter Sundays I remember as a kid. Of course I put one big basket of candy out on the breakfast table on Sunday and by the time we headed to church, I heard complaints that the chocolate stuff was all gone. Oh, but no worries here, I hid my own stash of Cadbury chocolate so Bobby and I are still enjoying the smooth creamy premium stuff that my children haven't learned to appreciate yet.

Not that I haven't tried to teach them to appreciate the good stuff. On the way home from church one Sunday, I attempted to instruct them in Chocolate Appreciation 101. I had purchased a Cadbury candy bar and they wanted some. I told them I would give them a piece but they had to keep it in their mouths for 2 minutes, without biting it. If they did that then I would give them another piece. Everyone but Jake complied, no surprises there!

You just can't take good chocolate for granted. That's one of life's most valuable lessons!

How did we get on this subject anyway?

Let's cover the barn news: We had another heifer calf the other day, JW's friend named her Jasmine. She is a cute little thing with lots of vim and vigor! She's been out exploring the barn every morning. She greeted me this morning in the cow stable, laying with the big cows. She's such a hoot!

Well, it's time to head back out...later!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday!

Good Good Friday from the Knolltop.

The kids have the day off, yes, more work for them!

The boys had their baseball game last night and they lost both of them to Camden. The first game wasn't pretty, but the second game was a bit better. JW had like four hits! He was a hitting maniac...Luke...not so much. I guess he had an off night with the bat.

Today is more writing, the boys will work for Mr. Kyser, Jake and Sarah will work for me and I've got to prepare for Easter. One thing I love to do is bake the admonition cake that I make every year. It's sooooooo good. And of course I have to get some Easter candy too...I love that part. Tomorrow Sarah and I get to see the Lion King with Grandma and Aunt Amy....just a girl thing! We are looking forward to that!

Make sure you check out my blog on Dairy Agenda Today. It has the PETA report from the forum at MSU last evening. It was a great turn out!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm back

Good Morning from a very sunny Knolltop.
I'm not sick again, I'm not in mourning from the big loss on Monday night and a tornado hasn't taken the farm. I just haven't made this blog the priority it needs to be!

The kids are back in school now, but I got some good work out of them on Monday when they were off. And then Monday night as we were sitting down to our smorgasbord of high fat and sugar content of food Jake brought out this sign for the game. He had made a sign like they do at the games with an acrostic on it for CBS. It said "Cant Beet State," yes that's right he spelled the word beat incorrectly! That is what made it so hilarious! He was running around the livingroom like he was at the game. He was proud of his sign until after the first five minutes of the game when he decided that the sign was incorrect and UNC was, in fact, going to BEET State!

Well, a couple of bowls of chips and dip and a root beer float later....I really didn't care who won, I was in misery because I ate too much!

Today is writing day, three columns to get done and then a baseball game....maybe...if the snow is all melted by 4 pm. Yes, we are dedicated baseball fanatics here in North Adams!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Snow in April is totally normal

Snow? What snow? Snow in April? It's totally normal nowadays. It's been the norm for the past few years. The daffodils begin to bloom and boom, we get a blizzard that keeps the kids out of school and then I sit down and cry. Yes, the kids have an extra day off today because we got at least 6 inches of wet, heavy snow. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked out!
But really who cares? With MSU in the finals tonight, what else matters? Well, if the electricity goes out, then we've got a huge problem....but only until the generator is hooked up.

Now with the kids home I will get a little work out of them. They can't do much outside, so they are my captives today.....oh, where will I make the little slaves work first.

Time to go crack the whip!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thank You Prayer Warriors!

We are finally in recovery mode and the kids are glad of it. They all got to sleep in this morning!

First of all, I must say a big thank you to all who prayed for me. After I posted on the blog I went back to bed only to lay there and worry about not getting my column done. So after about an hour I decided to drag myself to the computer only to be greeted by two editors wondering if I was going to have a column, asking that it be sent before the end of the day.

I began to write and as I wrote I began to feel better and better. When I got done, I began to do some more work for Dairy Agenda Today and then I even felt like driving my daughter to town for practice and this is the topper, I actually got the dishes done! I started to wonder why I felt so good and so strong all of a sudden. Then I realized, it was answered prayer by those wonderful prayer warriors who read this blog! THANK YOU!

Breakfast is done, coffee cake is out of the oven and will taste really good with a cup of coffee when I come back in from the barn and start on my other job!

Thanks again....gotta head to the barn!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

still sick

Good Morning from a still sick Knolltop.

I've had the flu for a couple of days and am still in bed...but I've been able to get to the computer to at least let my family know where I am...and to please PRAY!

I'm getting dizzy now...gotta go