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!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Taking the Baby out of the Boy

The baby of the family has a lot of advantages but on the farm, if the baby is a boy this can work to his disadvantage, especially if he likes to run equipment but has older brothers who never vacate the tractor seat long enough for the youngest to get a chance to do anything.

Luke and JW have their strengths when it comes to the farm scene.  JW is good with the cows and seems to enjoy working with them while Luke is the tractor man. He would rather load, unload, drive or wrench on anything that moves on wheels.

Jake on the other hand would love to drive stuff, but gets the leftovers of the farm.  He does everything from mowing the lawn to folding the laundry.  His duties range from feeding calves and helping mix feed to making hot chocolate and keeping us from ever hearing silence. But yesterday he got a chance to be pure farmboy.

While normally on a Sunday everyone does what they want....anything but work, the neighbor had a different plan in mind which included hauling manure.  He needed some help and the only two boys available were Luke and Jake.  (Sarah hates things that move on wheels)

While Bobby and I were taking our Sunday afternoon nap, little did we know the baby would be out hauling manure. In his glory, he got to drive up and down the road and through the fields, just like the big boys. Seriously, it was high time this kid got to haul manure. He's 14 for heaven's sake! It was way passed time. When he came in for Sunday dinner he was dirty, stinky and had a smile a mile wide and he looked about 10 feet tall. His confidence was stronger and he even sounded grown up.

It's amazing a little responsibility can take the baby right out of the boy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Volleyball Still Remains

While I reminisced about football yesterday, the North Adams JV volleyball team was on the brink of an undefeated season and when the left Hillsdale Academy they left undefeated!  This is a great accomplishment but unfortunately because they are "Just JV" they will stand in the shadows of a really great varsity team--which also left the floor last evening as league champions.

This awesome JV team also worked hard and came home tournament champions two weeks in a row. Beating some great teams, these girls pushed through and played like winners.

This varsity team, much like their male counterparts are used to winning and have proven that this season. Next week they will begin district play and should go deep into the play-offs!  I look forward to watching this team of girls play with heart and come out on top!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

North Adams Ended Unstoppable

If was finished last Friday night. They didn't want it to be done, in fact, they thought there may have been a chance they could keep going but mistakes, overconfidence, anger and apathy were the leading cast of characters that determined their destiny that ended their hopes of ever going any futher.  Instead they will turn their uniforms in today for the last time.

It was parent's night last week at North Adams-Jerome on the gridiron. The boys lined up in numerical order and waited as their parents were introduced taking their place in a line across the field.

With roses in hand, some mothers were crying while proud fathers held in their emotion as the senior boys walked up the 50 yard line flanked by the two people who supported them, loved them and watched them succeed and fail over the years.

I took my pink rose, hugged Lukie and we held hands as we stood and cheered for the other boys.

While I wasn't nearly as emotional about this evening as other parents, there were a myriad of emotions flooding that field.  Some parents just plain got caught up in the fact that it was the last time they would watch their boy play football. But the boys were emotional for a different reason. 

You see, it had been a season of highs and lows.  This was the team that didn't lose. Since junior high, this group of boys had won nearly every single football game and had dominated the league. They were strong, powerful, smart and played well together. And the beginning of this season was no different.  They came out shouldered with expectations of Ford Field on their backs and right out of the blocks they were full steam ahead and couldn't be stopped....until they played division 7 super power, Detroit Loyola. A team full of underpriviledge African American boys with more power and athleticism than this little farming community team could handle. They got smoked on 7 mile that Friday night and walked away with deer in the headlight looks on their faces.

The next week they would play a good team, but certainly a beatable team. After the spanking in Detroit they set out to be on the other end of the lashing and again, got smoked on the opposite side of the state and instead of being stunned, they walked away mad, frustrated and with the consequences of a lack of self control.

Climax-Scotts handed them their next loss but it wasn't until the following game that they realized they were finished for the season. It was homecoming and they were playing their rival, Pittsford, a team that was ready for the battle. They came storming into North Adams with a single goal of knocking the rams out of the playoffs... and they succeeded.

Low-headed, this team quietly sang the fight song at the end of their defeat and wallowing in self-pity they slowly, painfully left the field.

With a week off to regain a little composure and be ready for their final game, they took advantage and worked hard. It didn't matter who their opponent was this night, they were ready to get back to their winning ways and the team that showed up that night was the team all of us remembered. They were confident. They were smart. They were tough. They were unstoppable. And they won.

The fight song that night was a louder and stronger. This was the team we knew. This was the winning team. And as they left the field the air was bittersweet. A team that should have been getting ready for the playoffs ended their season on a high note.

As these same boys turn in their football uniforms they will head into the gym to get ready for basketball....another sport where they have been successful over the years.  And hopefully they will be confident and smart and tough and hopefully they will be unstoppable.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reconnection Time

It's a cool, blustery, kind of rainy day on the Knolltop.  The chores are done for the morning and now Bobby is hauling endless job it seems.

It's a strange Friday, we have no games tonight which is kind of nice. After chores we can just come in and relax instead of changing quick and heading to a school like we've done for the last three nights. 

While Bobby was at Sarah's game and Jake was working the chain gang and JW was at class, Luke and I milked the cows and reconnected. Although I don't always enjoy getting up early every morning or stopping everything I'm doing at 4:30 in the afternoon to go milk cows, when I get to spend an hour with one of my kids and we can carry on an unterrupted conversation about the Tigers, college plans, the ACT, the football season or whether Walmart spagettios are as good as Franco-American, then it makes it all worth it.

Many life decisions are made inbetween dipping, wiping and milking.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It Happens at Night

It happens every night they are home together. The quiet conversation between two brothers as they meet in the kitchen to catch up on each other's lives.  They are as opposite as day and night. One is focused, the other is not. One is quiet, the other is not. One is endearing, the other is direct. But over the years they have followed each other around through good and bad and have cultivated a unbreakable bond.
Last night as I lay in bed I could hear them. One was doing dishes and the other eating spagettios out of a pan. Snickering and laughing their conversation could not be detected. It's too hushed, too quiet, too private.
On one hand I would love to hear what they talk about, but on the other I realize it's just meant for brothers to hear, not for moms. So I will continue to lay in my bed and listen to the brothers giggle and laugh knowing that as they share each other's lives they continue to add a layer of strength onto their already solid friendship and thank God for siblings who love one another enough to share their lives with each other when they gather in the kitchen at night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Gets Too Busy

Needless to say it's a busy place around the Knolltop with beautiful weather now hanging on for about three weeks.  I've gotten zilch done because this is the first week I've been home or without some major event happening in three weeks.

First I went to Harrisburg, PA for the All American Dairy Show with Danielle Nauman and had a great, but quick time.  We drove all night, not recommended for two middle aged women, got to the show and began our show coverage which didn't quit until we left after the show. 

Then we had two days to get ready for the county fair. This wasn't too bad since the kids are older and I've limited how many projects they take.  Plus the kids can take care of the cattle without me, which is sooooo nice. 

Then I left the next week for World Dairy Expo.  I had a great time there too, but I think I'm too old for this kind of schedule.  I feel like I'm still recovering.

I drove all night from Madison to get home at 5 am Friday morning.  I had a two hour nap and then had to get on with the preparation for Homecoming!  Luke and Jesse were on the court and it was a great evening...well except the loss to Pittsford...that really stunk. 

Now I'm playing catch up with the laundry and the house.  This morning I came in from the barn and Luke had something in the dryer.  I asked him what he was washing, he said underwear.  Uh oh, it was time for me to get on the laundry. Not that the kids doing their laundry is a bad thing, it's very good, but I like to do it myself so they don't have to fret about if they have clean underwear.  It just me, I guess.
Since blogger isn't all that user friendly with pictures, I will post all the pictures here now. Ever since I started working for Dairy Agenda Today I've discovered the good and bad about blogger. And the picture posting isn't so good.

Luke helped Jesse out of the car but very carefully.  Jesse hit a deer that morning on her way to school and her wrist was swollen and sore.  She's okay, no broken bones, just very sore..thank God!

Kaitlyn Smith and Brad VanCamp walked together with their parents and our dear friends Gary and Sue VanCamp(on the right)

We walked across the field.  When I was in high school we didn't have our parents with us. This was cool! From the left: Bion and Shelly Lynch with Jesse and then Luke and me and Bobby(just a little ID for those who don't know.)

Brad and Kaitlyn won.  They are Luke and Jesse's best friends so all of us were happy for them!
But you know me, these are the two this mom would have voted for!
The had a great time at the dance, but I swear, by the way he was sweating, Luke looked like he took his football uniform off and slapped on his dress clothes.  He assured me he took a shower.
Lukie loves dancing, he's such a nut!

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Time!

This is ridicules that I haven't posted a blog since April! Ahhhh!

I guess that Dairy Agenda Today blog gets all the attention. Not that I haven't been compelled to post something here, almost every day there is something that occurs to me to post, but I just keep running out of time.  And of course I have a gillion pictures that I want to post but it seems whenever I post pictures here, they take forever to upload and I get frustrated! Boy does it feel good to get that off my chest!

Now, onto the matter at hand, why I'm blogging today. First off I need to get my jump start, it's a sunny morning on the Knolltop! It's going to be a beautiful day, just the kind of day I needed to get the mowing done since my grounds crew has gone back to school.

My fantasy football team, The Hart-Throbs is off and running and is the cause of upheaval in the family. I'm not sure it's worth it.

I must have the dream team and don't even know it.  Luke wants two of my players and the other night when I told him "NO, I'm not giving you Greg Jennings," he sat on the couch and pouted. An 18 year old pouting is not a pretty site. All the while I'm receiving texts from my nephew who wants Larry Fitzgerald. He thought I was going to be a pushover for his sweet messages, "I love you Aunt Lissa" and "I love your red hair Aunt Lissa." He soon discovered I'm not quite the soft touch he wanted me to be, but I will admit, he's getting to me.

If that's not enough, Jake is standing around coaching me on who to trade and who to keep. I trusted him until last night when he said, "Don't give Larry to Adam, trade him to Luke so then Luke will give me Michael Vick."

I would ask my football fanatic brother but he's got a team in the league too, so there is no way I'm asking him for advice. I feel like I'm inside the beltway where every deal comes with strings attached!

Consequently it's a delicate balance between keeping peace in the family and winning fantasy football. Now for the rest of the week I have to mull over keeping Larry or trading him and how will I get Michael Vick from Luke, although I have to admit, Peter Rivers is doing quite well for me.....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

2011 Prom Night!

It's prom night for Luke and his date, Jessie.  I took several pictures but when I uploaded them, they went I'm just going to post this one for now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lukie's First Home Run!

The rain held off and the temps stayed warm as we enjoyed a double header against Battle Creek St. Philip last evening. Although the weather was looking 'ify' all day long, it turned out to be a lovely evening for a game. 

One of the highlights was Luke's two run home in the bottom of the 6th inning (last inning of the game) to tie the game! Then they got another run in and they won 12-11!

Luke was mobbed by the team as he jogged into home plate. It was a great scene but I'm afraid I didn't get very good pictures as I was just too excited!  What made it better was Gramps and Grandma were there for the whole thing!

They ended up winning the second game 12-1. It was a great night for the home team!

This is a rarity, Jessie wearing a Michigan State sweatshirt.  She's a U of M fan from the inside out, but she got a little chilly and had to use Luke's I had to get a picture of this, it may never happen again!

Then Luke had to walk his girl to her truck...too cute.

And for the rest of the night, Luke was all smiles.  There was no coaxing him to give me a grin for this shot, he couldn't stop smiling after he went 5 for 6 on the night!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some days your patience is truly tested

It seems like it's been a long winter here on the Knolltop.  With the snow earlier and last week the tremendous ice storm, the folks in this neck of the woods have had enough winter.  The kids were off the entire week last week because of ice! Thankfully we didn't lose power at all, oh my such a blessing from God!

Having a farm is truly a test of patience on a regular basis.  With so much equipment to keep running and livestock to keep healthy, some days you just think what else can go wrong?

A couple of Sunday's ago, we were finishing up chores and like he's been doing since he was in fifth grade, Luke backed the tractor and manure spreader under the gutter cleaner....well, almost.

I was milking at the time when I heard the tractor making noises that weren't normal to just backing it down the hill.  No, I heard it making sounds like it was trying to get out of a bad situation.  And when a disgusted Luke walked into the barn (I could tell by his walk) I knew he got the tractor stuck.

My curiosity got the best of me and I had to go look to see just how bad it was.  And because of my handy camera on my phone, I was able to snap this picture while they weren't looking.  I don't think they appreciate my picture taking of all of their mishaps!

The tractor spent the night there, in it's little hole until the neighbor came down the next morning with his heroic John Deere and saved the day.

Some days your patience is truly tested.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Young Lady in Agriculture

It's been a very icy week here on the Knolltop!  The kids had the week off from school simply because a bunch of frozen water...who would've thought?

I had the privilege of speaking last week at the Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmers group in a session called, Roles of Women in Agriculture.  Needless to say, I had a ball sharing with these ladies and getting to know a few more women in agriculture. 

While I was away from the farm, I had my own young lady in agriculture filling my shoes at home.  My daughter Sarah took over my role to make sure everyone had something to eat and then headed to the barn to milk the cows.  When I pulled in the driveway, I hurried out to the barn to help Sarah finish the chores.  While milking, she asked how my day went and then began asking what I shared with women.  I told her that women in agriculture are a very unique group.  They are determined, hard working and tenacious.  Then she asked what tenacious meant.  I told her it was someone who doesn't give up, who works hard at getting something accomplished and won't stop until it's done. 

Then, like a light bulb turning on in my head I realized Sarah was a part of this unique group.  So I shared that with her and began telling her how impressive she is and how she displays all the wonderful qualities of this group of women. 

Then she said something that epitomized exactly what I had been saying, exactly what Women in Agriculture are all about; she said, "Whatever it takes to get the job done."

I looked at her and said, "Wow, Sarah, do you realize that not every 15 year old girl has that kind of an attitude? You are one of a kind and I'm so glad that God gave you to me!"

Sarah continues to amaze me with her initiative to get things done and to work up to the level that is expected.  Not hearing any complaints when I ask her to do one more thing before she leaves the barn is so very satisfying for this mom. She is like a cool drink of water on a hot desert like day.  She is awesome!