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, October 30, 2009

PA Acting Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding
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Secretaries of Agriculture

It's another rainy morning here on the Knolltop! I'm getting use to it. This has been one wet fall.

Sarah is still sick in bed with a soar throat and sinus stuff. Poor thing. She seemed a bit improved this morning, but I didn't thing there was any reason to go spread germs around school, so I kept her home again.

While in Harrisburg in September, I met the Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding(pictured above). He had recently taken over after the former Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff who had resigned to move onto the lobbying world.

Of course like any normal media type, I grilled him for information, asking him why he is qualified to be the PA Sec of Ag. He gave me his whole pedigree and when I was satisfied with that I began asking him about the issues that the livestock industry is facing. He aptly answered those questions too and by the time I was done, we knew just about everything about each other and we parted on a first name basis.

This week, Russell was a panelist at a Senate Ag Committee dairy crisis hearing in Washington DC. I emailed and asked if he would send me his thoughts on how it went. He promised he would and a couple of days later his Executive Assistant, Jean Lonie, sent me his comments. In her email she referred to Russell as Secretary Redding. When I read that, all of a sudden it dawned on me that this guy had a high position in government and I had been disrespectful calling him by his first name instead of his title.

I thought about the sec of ag in Michigan and how I would never refer to him by his first name. Then I thought about Sec Redding's position in government and then I was afraid I had offended my new found friend and I began to think oh my goodness how was I going to weasil my way out of this offense!

I emailed Secretary Redding right away apologizing for my disrespectful error hoping I hadn't offended him. He emailed back, "Appreciate your note, but keep using Russell, I prefer it!"

By that note it was affirmed why this guy who grew up on a dairy farm and was involved in production agriculture himself, was such a natural pick for his new job! You can take a kid off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the kid.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A break from sport? NOT

Good Morning from a wet knolltop! But it's not too cold!

Bobby and I are now on a hiatus from sports activities. But that doesn't mean my children are. We are inbetween sports and now we can take our time during evening chores and when we come in, Bobby can read and I can write or play cards and eat popcorn. But our children have a burning desire to continue in their sporting activities.

Last evening JW headed out to eat with his buddies before they headed to the girls volleyball game. They are in their last week of regular play and are ranked 3rd in the state! Luke and Jake couldn't be left out so after they got done with their chores, they headed to the gym for "Open Gym" where any of the kids can come in and play basketball. Sarah stayed home, she's not feeling all that well. No, I don't think it's H1N1, but just a sinus least that's what I'm hoping!

Yesterday there was a panel discussion on low dairy prices in the Senate Ag Committee and there were dairy producers included along with Russell Redding, the Acting Secretary of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. He said he would send me some of his reflections of how the hearing went, I can't wait to hear them and see what he thought.

Now, it's time to get to work....somewhere!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Game Time Wrap up

Good Monday Morning from a sunny knolltop!

It's supposed to stay sunny for awhile then get cloudy. But in the 60s!!!!

Okay, so here we go....Luke's team won Thursday night...yes must have been that super supper they enjoyed in the stinky weight room. Yuck, it did stink in there. But they weren't shy when it came time to belly up to the buffet.

They smoked Manchester that night. They put the freshman QB in toward the end of the game and when they needed a tackle, the regular kid who plays that position wasn't ready to take the field, so Luke ran in to play tackle and while running in, he screamed like a little kid "WooHoo!" It was so funny. He said he loved playing a different position, especially tackle where he could just go hit somebody.

While Luke was playing his last game, Sarah's team was working on their undefeated season and accomplished that goal! She said they beat Jackson Christian in 2 games! She was happy to say the least and is looking forward to AAU volleyball in the spring.

Okay, we can talk about MSU's loss to Iowa. A hard fought game and in my opinion, either team deserved that win. So I wasn't as upset as I normally am when they give the game away. Enough said.

Last night the feed cart extraction team played a round or two in the barn. Bobby has his motorized feed cart back from the shop and was using it last night when he crossed over the wooden bridge and it buckled. Crash went the cart and in came the extraction crew. Luke and JW helped him get it back on solid ground and repaired the bridge. Thank heaven's for weight lifting class!!!!!

Now I'm headed back out to the barn to bed and let the cows in while Bobby is gone to his Dr. appointment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Football Catering

Good Morning from a cool and cloudy Knolltop! I thought the sun was going to shine, but it hasn't yet! Yesterday was absolutely beautiful!

Sarah's team remains undefeated beating Camden last night. Tonight they have their last game of the season, I hope they win. Unfortunately I won't be there to watch. Luke has a game at 4:30 in Hillsdale and Sarah's game is in Jackson and oh yes, we still have a herd of cows to milk!

Fortunately for us, JW has been a huge help pitching in where we need him. He will milk tonight while we go to Luke's last game and I think we will be done quick enough to get back home for the end of chores. But not quick enough to make it to any of Sarah's game.

Since I usually feed some of the football boys before their game, today I will run a catering business in the weight room. Bobby suggested we take a meal into them so they have something good to eat before the game. So this afternoon I will be taking enchaladias and a sausage and stuffing casserole with rolls, broccoli and apple crisp to the school weight room and feed the normal crowd. They have weight lifting last hour so they will have some time to eat. Then we will continue the race of getting some of the chores done and going to the game.

But first I have to bed the barn and write a column! So I'd better get moving!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Parent-Teacher Confusion

Good Morning from a warmer Knolltop! I don't have to wear my long underwear to the barn these days and it sure is nice!

Sarah's team won again last night in a close match with Hillsdale Academy. They are still undefeated and I'm so proud of them!

After the game, JW and Luke had some friends over for a bon fire. They hosted it, all I did was eat smores and make sure no one burned themselves! They had a two hour delay this morning so this enabled them to stay up a little later last night.

Yesterday were parent teacher conferences. I'm just not sure who's children they were talking about. One teacher would rave about a kid and the other would say he was disrespectful and not working up to his potential. One teacher told me Jake's strength was comprehension and another told me comprehension was his weakest area. So now I wonder, just what exactly are they doing and are they teaching the same kid?

Let's just say, a little more attention will be paid to school work, it's been automatic up until now, but that is going to change!

Time for dishes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Game Day

Good Morning from a partly cloudy, breezy, cool day here on the Knolltop.

Last night Luke's team beat Mason 22-6! They did a great job the first half, but they didn't play so well the second half. Luke was disgusted with himself....but he didn' t throw any I'd say he had a great game!

For those of you who don't get Dairy Agenda Today, let me copy what I posted there, then you will get the gist of my day yesterday.

Yesterday was game day for my son's football team. Invariably he will bring home extra boys who don't have anywhere to go between school and game time. So they come to our house to eat a good meal before the game.

At 1 pm yesterday I began to cook what I thought was a meal that would take no time at all. But as I finished preparing one dish, I would think of something else I should cook. Two hours later I had a table full of boys chowing down on a hot meal of baked pork chops, homemade stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cheesy potatoes, steamed broccoli, baked apples and homemade rolls with warm cookies for dessert.

After dinner the race to the game was on. I stacked the dishes in the kitchen, sat down at the computer to edit my son's essay. A couple of phone calls later I found I was late to the barn so I changed my clothes while talking on my cell and headed to the barn where I got everything ready to milk. I made a quick phone call to JW to make sure he was taking the boys into the school for the game and picking Sarah up from volleyball practice. Once I started milking I called to remind the calf feeder he had better get his chores done pronto if he wanted to go to the game with Daddy and me. Forty five minutes later I was handing off my dipper to my relief milkers, JW and Sarah, so I could head to the football game with Bobby who was on the chain gang.

Arriving 15 minutes early to the game, which is unheard of for me, I had time to edit more of JW's essay before I had to get bundled up to sit in the bleachers with the other 10 parents who braved the wind and drizzle to watch our boys rack up 22 points to lead a Class A school team at the half.

Hopping back in the truck I ran home to get JW and Sarah so they could come watch the girls volleyball game that was being played in the gym. Back in the bleachers and getting kind of cold, I watched as our boys won the game 22-6. Gathering up all six of us, we headed back home where we analyzed the game and relaxed before bed. I edited the rest of JW's essay and gathered the news for another day and was happy to lay my head on my pillow.

And so goes another game day on a dairy farm where family has to be willing to pull together so everyone can get where they need to be and others can go where they want to go.

As you can see it was a busy day, the morning was filled with errands! Now I've got to polish up a column and be done with the writing for the week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Livin' it up!

Good chilly morning from the Knolltop!

I know, I know, I've been neglecting this blog....again!

Monday night Sarah had a VB game and they remain undefeated! They will play Litchfield tonight and I think they should do well. Tomorrow night Luke plays an non-league game against Mason. He called his uncle Rex last night for some scouting tips since Rex used to be the athletic trainer there....a long time ago. From what I heard they had a great conversation...and Rex offered his scouting tips. Let's see if they work.

We had another bull calf the other morning...boy he is big. It's nice to have another fresh cow. The manure spreader broke Monday, so last night when Luke got home from football practice he had to help his dad get that fixed...they were all glad to be in for the night. Jake and I were snacking on caramel corn when they got in. I made regular popcorn too, so Bobby sat with his bowl of popcorn and I had my caramel corn and we were livin' it up!

I just filled the truck up and I bought a donut while I was in there's time for a fresh cup of coffee before I head back out to bed the barn!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Friday!

Good Morning from a rainy knolltop!

Harvest may never get done a this rate, this rain needs to cease!

Last night we didn't get to go to Luke's game. Things kind of mounted up here and it was just not feasible. The game was 90 minutes away and so even if we had gotten all the chores done, we still would not have gotten there to see any of it, so we had to stay home. Poor Luke, I've been bombarding him with questions since he walked through the door to see what went wrong with this 38-14 loss. (or something like that). It was a tough team and they have a great program, so I really didn't expect them to win anyway...but you never know.

JW painted his face up and went to the varsity girls volleyball game against Camden. We won, we are fourth in the state! Those girls are great! JW looked so funny.

Okay, an update on Heath, the guy who fell off the silo. I didn't hear anything yesterday but since I posted on this blog, the swelling was going down on his brain, which is an answer to prayer and his vitals are stable and he's breathing on his own. The doctor said the first 72 hours were critical and we've passed that now. So keep praying! God is answering prayer!

Time to go bed the barn!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Prayer Please!

The sun is trying to peek through on this windy morning from the Knolltop!

Okay, before we go any further, I need to ask for more prayer. Heath Penick, a dairy farmer from Orland, Indiana, fell off a silo last weekend and is laying in the hospital in a coma. He's got numerous broken bones, facial damage, swelling on the brain, but his vitals are stable and he is breathing on his own. He is a young husband and father and the whole family could use your prayer!

Things are a little more "normal" here. No games last night except for watching the Tigers lose to the Twins....bummer. Jake, Sarah and I played cards and ate popcorn while we watched the tigers. Jake tried to cheat, but I wouldn't let him. He's slick.

I'm supposed to be in the barn bedding the cows but I haven't even had my second cup of coffee yet and I was going to wash my overalls before I went back out and I just remembered they are still laying on the laundry room floor!

Yes,'s time for more coffee!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Catching up!

It's a cool, rainy, breezy day here on the Knolltop. We've had a hard freeze and the crops are turning brown, but the grass doesn't seem to stop growing!

My mower is in the show again and the grass needs attention! So on this cold day, I'm staying inside and not looking out.

Last week we had our county fair and I have to say it was the easiest one ever. Jake and Sarah had their calves, Sarah entered an apple pie, for which she received an A award and a creative writing piece, which I didn't fix....too much.... and she received a B award. Yes, we were both bummed. Guess I need to edit a little more next time.

They had average calves this year and did just that, average! Sarah won showmanship, Jake just had fun. The victory in the medocre week was that I didn't have to harp and hound them to get the job done. They knew what to do and did it. Luke took them out, bedded the pack while they washed the calves and in no time they were finished with chores. I actually didn't get too worn out, kept a handle on the laundry and wasn't irritable.

Older kids are a whole lot easier to take to the fair than younger ones!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Forgot My password

I've been gone from this blog so long I almost forgot my password to post!

I'm sorry for neglecting it, but after I got home from Harrisburg we jumped head first into the county fair and the Agenda was also covering World Dairy Expo, so I was trying to make sure that was going smoothly from 500 miles away.

Anyway, the fair is over WDE is history, everyone is back under one roof and I can hear my family watching the Packers and the Vikings in the background. So instead of posting on this blog, I'm going to go join them!

See you in the Morning!