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, January 30, 2009

Still no good.

Well, this computer is still not working properly. I just got the thing back and right in the middle of something important, the thing shuts down due to overheating! This thing had never done this before....now I have to take it back to the computer guy. I've had enough!


So, I have no idea how long I will be out this time, but I'll be back...at some point! I hope!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Computer not working

I'm here in the computer store working on their display model...my computer is corrupted! So I won't be posting here for a couple of days....I'm trying to get the guy to get my computer done pronto!

Okay, so see you in a couple of days....

now the guy is asking me about church...gotta go!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Warm Friday

It's another balmy morning here on the Knolltop. I love this warm weather!

Because many of you don't get the Farmshine, the Farmers' Advance or Farmworld, I think I'll put my column in today.

But before I do, I just wanted to mention the games last night. While Sarah was selling baked goods at the FFA bake sale, Luke's team beat Pittsford and JW's team got beaten. Jake will have his first game tomorrow, he's so excited!

Okay, here's my column from this week.

Truth from the Trenches by Melissa Hart

I want to be a farmer.
Waking up to -20 degrees this morning the words coming out of my mouth are not “I want to be a farmer.” Rather, “I don’t want to be a farmer today” is more like it. But after reading an essay written by a six year old little girl in the most recent issue of the Michigan Farm News I can see again why farming is a special way of life.
Addy Battel of Elkton, Michigan wrote about her desire to be a farmer when she grew up. Like many children her love for farming is rooted from watching and helping on her grandparent’s farm. The enjoyment she experiences from helping feed calves and wanting to be outside along with the wonderful smell of maple syrup boiling and the crunch of a fresh sugar beet are all things she mentioned in her essay. But what sealed the deal in her piece was how much she liked the smell of manure in the dairy barn. Now there is a true farm girl!
How many other kids are out there with this kind of desire? How many kids are out there who have been to our farms, helped with our chores and have developed a desire to want to raise livestock or plant crops and watch them grow? How many other kids are out there who have a passion for farming and may never get the chance?
We’ve discussed this before, but the dead of winter may be the best time to ask ourselves, if our kids want to come back to the family farm are we going to stand at the gate and chase them away to look for a more lucrative career or will we open the gate and let them in?
Looking down the road in the dairy industry there seems to be nothing but doom and gloom. Who in their right mind would encourage their children to come home to that? But who in their right mind would discourage a kid from doing what their passionate about? The passion for a career is what will fuel the learning process and will keep the determination on fire to be successful.
While there are millions of people around the world who are suffering from one thing or another, dairy farmers could teach “Suffering 101.” But remember, suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character results in hope and hope never disappoints us.
If there was ever a career that instills perseverance, character and hope into a person, it’s got to be farming. If our children venture down the farming road then these attributes will also be instilled in them, if they haven’t already been developed by simply being raised on a farm.
I’m not saying that if we want hope, character and perseverance then we need to be a farmer, but I am saying that farming is more than high debt loads, broken equipment, rising inputs and volatile income.
It’s a desire that is infused into some people. It’s a way of life that some will never want to leave. It’s passion that will never wither. It’s a responsibility that we have to take seriously. It’s a privilege that we shouldn’t take for granted. And on a day like today, it’s a testing ground that will use up every bit of grit, determination, tenacity and strength in a man. But it’s also a place where we can be renewed, refreshed and recommitted by the smell of boiling sap, the crunch of a fresh sugar beet or the unique smell of manure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wonders never cease

Oh my heaven's it was in the 20s today when we walked across the road to milk this morning!!!!!! A virtual heatwave has hit the Knolltop!

Now I have to brag about my husband a bit...so please indulge me. Because men today get a bad rap about everywhere you turn, I like to make sure we highlight the great things they do to make our lives so much better on a daily basis....but I know I've not always done that.

The other day when I had a meeting in Lansing, I knew I would be sliding in right at dinner time so I made sure I had the main dish in the oven with the timer on it so the oven would turn on automatically when it needed to so we would have a hot meal when I slid in. I just happened to mention to Bobby that we would be having leftovers for dinner and that I would pick up the kids and be home just in time to put supper on the table. (Yes we eat early, before chores so I don't have to cook afterward)

I had the table set before I left but that was it. When I got home with Sarah, the only one who came home with me that day, I walked in and much to my surprise, the whole meal was on the table! The chicken, stuffing, corn and even rolls were hot and steaming, just waiting to be eaten. When I asked if I needed to make the coffee, he said it was already made! WOW!

Now to some of you, this may not be a big deal, but because my love language is acts of service and I practically melt into a puddle of tears when someone does something for me....this is HUGE! And the fact the Bobby hardly takes up space in the kitchen unless it's to have his midnight snack.

So, now....on to Patty Hyde's wonderful brownies....I must clear this up. She was so kind to make brownies for her husband to bring to the MHA meeting the other day and what did she get in return????? Let me straighten this mess out for you Patty. I may not get the words exactly correct, but this is how the conversation went: Dick asked if anyone was going to eat the brownies that HE made for the meeting. Knowing full well that he didn't make them, I thought I would give him a jab...and I said, "They're too dry." Then I laughed and said, no, I was just joking, they were wonderful! Then he admitted he didn't make them and I said, don't tell Patty I said that! But nothing is sacred.....he just had to tell you didn't he????!!!!! BUT Patty, your brownies were wonderful!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

They're ganging up!

It's a clear, sunny morning here on the Knolltop....and not to mention cold.

It seems there is a conspiracy to beef up the Michigan Holstein Board of Directors...or so it seems to me. Between the President and Executive secretary of the association and Mooville Creamery, owned and operated by the wonderful Westendorp Family of Nashville, Michigan the MHA board is sure to gain a few extra pounds by the time their board term is up.

The first line of attack was the seasonal favorite, Eggnog. Yes, at the November meeting, Mr. Doug Westendorp came in carrying a cooler full of not only fresh milk from the creamery but wonderfully thick chocolate milk and yes bottles of fresh, creamy, thick eggnog. I went to the cooler and without a thought I picked up a bottle of eggnog and downed it in no time. After enjoying this dairy treat I decided to see what was in it. After further inspection I noticed the caloric content and was astounded when I read that one bottle has 800 calories in it!

No, that is not a typo...I wish it were, especially after I consumed half a days calories in one gulp! My eyes just about fell out of my head and my mouth sprung open...then I remembered I was at a meeting and promptly gathered myself again and pondered whether to have a second bottle or not.

Yesterday was even worse....because it was going to be an extra long meeting, lunch was served. Our wonderful Exc. Sec. brought BBQ sandwiches, the President brought delicious brownies and yep...there on the table sat not only a gallon of white and chocolate milk...but two containers of Mooville ice cream!

Don't worry, I ate a sandwich first...but then I got up and had a helping of brownies ala mode! Oh my was it good...so absolutely yummy! Then about an hour after lunch....I couldn't help myself....before I could stop and get some sort of self control I found myself bellied up to the buffet table again filling a cup full of ice cream pouring a can of Pepsi over it making myself a coke float! Oh it was sooooooo gooooood!

See, I told you....it is a conspiracy....I must have gained 10 pounds from yesterday's meeting! I wonder what Doug will bring next month????

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Owls up close and personal

It's another clear, cold morning here on the Knolltop.

Has anyone ever had an owl in their stable before? The other morning when I was absolutely freezing to death while milking I saw this bird fly through the stable. We have birds come in during the spring and summer, but not in the dead of winter so it kind of took me by surprise. So much so that I stopped what I was doing to follow the bird. It landed on the waterpipe and I moved in closer for a better look. It was a bigger bird and as I got closer I noticed it was an Owl!

I don't see owls up close and personal so this was really cool. I ran into the milk house to get Bobby and by the time we got back out it was gone. I looked all over the barn but couldn't find it. When I noticed the cows with milkers on had their eyes sucked back into the eye sockets, I thought I'd better get back to the job at hand.

I've got a meeting in Lansing today for Michigan Holstein Association, but no games tonight. Last night Luke's team won and Luke had a great game, but JW's team lost...in overtime. What a heartbreaker!

Time to head back over to the barn to bed the cows.....later!

Oh, by the way....the other day when I said I was going to do a "Mandy Nunes" and go curl up with a cup of cocoa...I didn't mean that's all she does on cold days on her farm in Wisconsin....she took exception to that comment so I thought I'd better clear that up....she said she wanted to do that....not that she actually did it....Sorry Mandy, didn't mean to make you out to be a couch potato!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Clear and cold

It's a clear, cold morning here on the Knolltop and I'm waiting very impatiently for the 50 degree weather that Pryorvu said he was having in Montana! It's got to come here...it's just got to.

I'm done with winter, officially. I've had it with cold weather, wind, frozen water bowls, broken waterlines, hair dryers, endless buckets of hot water, flooded mangers, flooded gutters, wet stalls, paper bags stuck in cracks and crevices, screw drivers, ratchet wrenches and mooing cows. All I'm going to say is that Saturday except for about 3 hours in the middle of the day we were in the barn from 4 am - 10:30 pm thawing and fixing and plumbing and milking and bedding and feeding. That's it...that's all I'm going to say.....I refuse to relive that day.

But I will say this, I've got to have the four most tenacious, determined farm kids in the world. They stuck with us all day long, never wavering, always keeping a good sense of humor and rejoicing in a thawed pipe or water bowl.

Today is a much better day. Even though it's Martin Luther King day, they still had school and will play basketball tonight. But right now, I've got dishes and oh my yes....the laundry. You could hit your head on the ceiling if you were to stand on top of the mountain of laundry! No, my pride won't let me show you any pictures....sorry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Too cold for school

Can you say FREEZING? That's the only word that would describe the barn this morning. Well, actually the milk house. The stable was fine....a warm 35 but every hose and pipe in the milk house was frozen. Even with the frozen pipes I was still only 15 minutes late milking! So with a temp of a -15 and a windchill of -25 we only had three frozen water bowls! Now that's a huge praise!

The kids are home from school because it's too cold to teach and learn I guess. I have one question....what do I have to do to get into a union like that?

Last night Bobby, Luke and Jake went to the Hillsdale College game and Sarah, JW and I went to the home girls game because Sarah washelping with a bake sale to raise money for FFA. I really wanted to stay home and snuggle under a blanket, but I also wanted to support Sarah...after all she baked half the stuff they sold and she supplied the ONLY homemade goodies...all the rest was from the store!

While I want to do a "Mandy Nunes" today and curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, I'm destine for other duties. I've got a column to write, cows to bed and then it's lunch with the local funeral home director and his wife.....NO....I have no plans for my funeral (or Bobby's) in the near future, they are just really good friends of ours. Bobby and Tim have breakfast periodically, but today the wives get to horn in on the fun!

Everyone keep moving...that's the only way to keep warm in this weather!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too cold to milk cows.

It's -5 this morning on the Knolltop...and I hear that's warm compared to our dairy farming comrades in Wisconsin and Minnesota! You guys can keep all that really bitter cold weather, I'll keep my warm -5!

I really think I'm going to quit milking cows until it warms up. They are just gonna have to get along with out me for a couple of months until I can do chores in a sweatshirt. Four layers of clothing is not only cumbersome but it adds to the laundry, takes too much time to put on and take off and my goodness, I think I'm carrying around 30 extra pounds in clothing! Which means I'm using up more calories, which means those half dozen peanut butter cookies that I ate last night while watching "Idol" are free and clear...okay never mind, I'll keep milking cows...for now.

I've got a question, but then again, when don't I have a question? Do any of you belong to social networks like Linkedin, Facebook, Plaxaco or twitter? Those are just a few I can name that I'm a member of, but I wondered how many of you belong. I've found another network called Cattle grower network. It's a network for livestock producers, but I joined because of my writing and I thought it would be fun to see who was on and who I could connect with.

Okay, dishes await. Then back to the barn where the pipes are repaired thanks to "Bobby the Plumber."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bianca's Ark

The blizzard watch and storm warning were cancelled, so last evening Bobby and I ventured out for the boys basketball games leaving Sarah and Cammie with the remaining chores. We figured if the wind wasn't going to blow, the barn would be fine and it was....until.....

Getting to the barn on time was a good thing this morning because when I walked into the stable to hang the milkers on the milker cart I heard commotion down by Bianca's stall and then heard that awful sound that you don't ever want to hear, especially in the middle of the winter unless you're at an indoor water park.....the gushing of water!

I looked down there and one of the water lines had burst! I happened to be standing right at the shut off valve and quickly turned it off. I looked at Bobby and said, "Praise Jesus that happened while we were here! Otherwise Bianca might be wearing a carpenters belt, trying her "hoof" at building an ark!"

So now that the dishes are done and Bobby is gone to town for plumbing supplies, I'm going to lay down...since we didn't get in until 11 last night....I'm tired! By the way...the boys won..JV and Varsity!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Predictions gone bad

Oh, things are late here on the Knolltop!

Going to bed all we could hear about was all the snow we were supposed to receive. But waking up this morning there was little more than a couple of inches on top of the 8 we already had. Needless to say, the kids slept in thinking they were off, I was late getting in from the barn and everyone had to hustle around....but they got to school on time and in pretty good shape, meaning no one was too cranky.

My meeting in Lansing was canceled today, which is fine with me, I don't relish the thought of travelling alone in this weather, under time constraints. So I will get more things done today that I hadn't thought of doing!

I will even get to cook that pork roast for dinner today. The kids have a game tonight so that means extras at the table!

Dishes await me....oh how they love to wait for me!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Normal Monday

Snow, snow and more snow cover the knolltop. We don't need a cable connecting the house to the barn so we can go back and forth....yet....but we've got enough snow for my taste!

Over the weekend, we attended our annual DHIA banquet at Hillsdale College. Honestly if it weren't for the many sponsors who support that, we wouldn't have a chance to dress up and go out to fellowship with other dairy farmers and industry folks.

Bobby and I sat with Mark Adam and his wife Donna. Remember Mark? He's the Packer fairy? And also head of DHIA services here in the Midwest. I'm sure he'd rather be remembered as the Packer Fairy, but really Mark, we need to keep you looking professional....sorry.

We had a great meal, great conversation and I even won a door prize, of which I know the price of because I buy this item regularly and it costs more than the two tickets to the banquet! So, in my way of thinking...I made money by attending the banquet!

Well, I will also get a story out of it for the paper too, so indeed, I really will make a little mad money as my mom calls it!

It's back to the normal schedule today, chores, laundry, cooking, writing, napping. We're in for more snow, so who knows if the kids will have school tomorrow??????

Friday, January 9, 2009

Varsity's first win

It's another cold morning....10 degrees right now, but no wind! I guess we're in for some weather over the next 24 hours, but I've heard that before.

Last evening both JW and Luke's teams won their basketball games. They beat Tekonsha and the varsity game went down to the wire. That was their first win of the season...sad but true. The JV's have a much better record, but I don't remember it.

I didn't get my column written yesterday since I had to run some errands and cook a good dinner because it was game day. And yes, I had an extra at my table and he's becoming a regular on game days, which is just fine with me.

JW and Luke went into pitch early this morning, even though we are in the thick of basketball season.....they're ready for baseball at the drop of a hat!

Today should be calmer, but I've still got to get the column done and then write a story on Bill Broadie and the All-American Beef Battalion.

Have a wonderful Friday...and think good thoughts!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kids and cows

Good Morning from a snowy Knolltop! And the snow is still coming, but we're only supposed to get a couple of inches.
Thank you to all of you who commented about what you'd like to hear at a women in ag event! I have to speak at one in a couple of months in Ohio and I just wanted to know what women wanted to hear. I know what I want, but that doesn't always line up with everyone else! So thank you so much. And Threecollie....I'm right there with you!

Now for the fun....Frank Robinson, that awesome cattle photographer with a beautiful bald head sent me a couple of pictures of some kids in Canada. On the day he took these shots it was -16 without a windchill. Although Frank grew up in Canada he now resides in the land of fruits and nuts....sunny California. Yes, where it's warm! Oh, how I'd love to be there right now.

Aren't they cute with that noble dog who is tolerating them very well.

I have no idea what the cow is...I know that disappoints all the Holstein breeders, but the kids are cute!

The boys have a game tonight and today is filled with lots of stuff to do. But the dishes are done! Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What do you want?

It's an icy morning here on the Knolltop! So icy the kids don't have school!

Okay....I've got a favor to ask the farmwives who read this blog. I don't care what age or stage of life you're in....whether you used to be a farm wife, you are currently a farm wife, you work full time on the farm, work full time off the farm...whatever. I want to know what you want. If you were to attend a one day conference for women in agriculture, what are the top three things you'd like to hear about? I"m not going to lead you in any way, I want all this to originate with YOU!

So, either email me or comment here on the blog, I want to hear from YOU!!!

Better slip back out to the barn. Two more heifer calves born. One more to go and then we're through with calves for a little bit!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Girls Vs Boys

It's another cold one here on the knolltop. The kids were all moving a little slow this morning but I was able to get some hot oatmeal into them before they walked out the door for a day in the trenches.

Went to a girls basketball game last night....vastly different than any boys game, that's for sure. But fun to cheer on the home team!

I'm headed back to the barn before I head to town for Bible study with my good friend Angie.

Have a great one!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Good Monday Morning

It's a sunny morning here on the Knolltop. Cold, but sunny!

We are back to a somewhat normal schedule today. I know, normal is only the setting on a dryer, but we are as close to that as we can get.

So, does anyone have any new year's resolutions? I don't, but thought you might. I was perusing some blogs yesterday and saw that I'm not the only woman purging. This farm wife from Illinois who blogs, "at home with the farmer's wife showed pictures on her blog of stuff that came out of her walk in closet. It was so gratifying to see another woman with overloaded closets! It just made my day! She's got a cool blog anyway, but this was especially nice to see.

Well, it's time for the barn again....gotta go! We're back on the tight schedule, no more just laying around and letting things go, we actually have to work again! Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Clean up!

It's sunny and 25 here on the Knolltop!

I was busy with the post-holiday clean up yesterday so I forgot to post here!

So, yes, we are sad that MSU lost to Georgia, but I can't think of a better team to lose to than my husband's alma mater. So the family is still whole, no divorce lawyers have been contacted and life as we know it will continue here on the Knolltop. I hear a huge sigh of relief from everyone!

The report from the knee patient is good. I talked with him last night and he sounded great. Having been through it already he knew what he had to do and how it was going to feel, so he's getting through this go 'round so much better! Thank you for praying!

Well, my desk is in disaray, so now I'm going to spend the rest of the day cleaning my office so I feel like working on Monday morning!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year and the Packer Fairy

It's cold here on the knolltop this morning.
The Packer Fairy struck again! A package arrived for Jake from Northstar Cooperative. I knew right away what it was, but Jake had no idea. He could hardly get it open and the anticipation was killing me! When he opened it up he could hardly believe it was another Green Bay Packers custom fitted hat from whom I now affectionately refer to as the "Packer Fairy." Although if you saw this man, the word "Fairy" would never enter your mind. Bar Bouncer or WWF would be a more accurate picture.
From one brief conversation over a ball cap between two "men" now Jake has his very own Packer connection. How blessed can an 11 year old Packer fan be?


We spent last evening with some friends, gorging ourselves on good food. She had every kind of dip known to man with all the trimmings of a holiday buffet. It was great! Of course, I ate too much and was miserable the rest of the evening.

Today we will spend the day eating all that kind of stuff again...only we will be getting exercise as we jump up and down at all the touchdowns MSU will make while they skunk Georgia! (I hope)