Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fridays on the Farm--My Farm Girl's Birthday

Today I'm combining two posts into one:
Fridays on the Farm and Happy 12th Birthday, Linnea!

One of the activities that our family especially enjoys is 4-H.
We've been participating since Nathaniel was in Kindergarten--well, even waaaaaay before that :) ----
Dennis and I were each in 4-H as kids ourselves.
(That's even where we met!)

As I've said before, our kids' favorite things to show at the County Fair are their cattle.
Linnea has always done well in the ring--it helps to have a big smile and a happy heart when showing and Linnea possesses both.

The picture I'll share here is the Jersey heifer she showed this year.
We don't have any Jerseys here on our farm; she belongs to our friends.
Interestingly, this heifer is from a set of triplets.  A rarity, indeed!
 Even though I need her help mostly in the house, Linnea is very helpful in the barn, too, and jumps at any chance to be out with the guys whether that be in the field, throwing bales, or milking cows.
This summer she discovered she can do the milking by herself!
She is game to tackle just about any job outside,
being more of a tomboy and definitely NOT a girly-girl.

Dennis and I want all the kids to be familiar with each others' jobs so that one can fill in for another's absence.  Linnea is quite versatile, being very capable with both inside work and outside work.

I've been thinking about how I just need a few more years on Ruby--
she's already amazingly helpful at 4 years old, but a few more years of size and strength would really benefit me :-)
Then I can "release" Linnea to the outside work which she so enjoys.

She got to have a very fun Daddy date yesterday in honor of her birthday--
Dennis took her golfing and then they ate supper together at the clubhouse.

Today, she and I are headed to town for a little date of our own (with Elizabeth, too).
If it rains, Dennis might be able to get away and come with us, as well.

She has plans to ride horses at Grandpa's on Saturday with two friends.
This girl could really just live on the back of a horse.
She's much more confident a rider than I ever was or will be.

Happy Birthday, Linnea!
I appreciate your help here more than I show.
I am proud of you.
I am so blessed by your fearless witness to others.
We are excited to see what life has in store for you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Head to Head

If you know Ivy in real life,
you know she isn't afraid to go head to head with anyone in her way.

Maybe Linnea has finally met her match...

Good thing they were just fakin' it for the camera.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cheaper By the Dozen

We are happy to announce that our family is expecting a new baby in the spring,
bringing our number of family members to 12.

I guess we'll see if things really are cheaper by the dozen!
(My guess is they're not--but that doesn't lessen our excitement!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wide Open Spaces

I live in the country and that's all I've ever known.
I can only imagine living in town
and I hope that's all I ever have to do--imagine it!

I need our wide open spaces...
whenever I've gone to any large city
I can't help but think, "how do people live in places like this?"
Houses so close to one another, cars everywhere, crowds, traffic--
no thanks, not for me!

While on my walk one day this week, I brought my camera along to take some pictures.

 from the bean field, looking across the road I walk on to the corn field opposite.

 just a bit further down the road, the slough where my boys hunt geese and ducks.

 further yet on my route, a close-up of more corn as the sun was peeking up on the horizon.

 This isn't ours;
I walk a mile away so that I get two miles of distance.
Nearly ever day as I approach this slough, a pair of deer bound away from the water's edge
and several ducks fly up and away.

 Opposite the slough I just mentioned,
the one on this side of the road is usually rather still.
I almost always hear splashes as I walk by but I can never see what it is that's making the splash.
I suppose some beaver or muskrat?

 This is the highway we live on.
I took this picture on my return route.
Every day I'm thankful for these wide open spaces!
I pretty much have the road to myself in the mornings;
I usually meet a school bus (and thank God my kids aren't on it)
and maybe a car or two.
A busy day might bring 10 cars past me, many days it's completely quiet.

I love the colors of every season.
When I walk by in the spring, the black earth is a stark contrast to budding trees.
As summer passes, everything is green and lush--the trees, the grasses, the crops.
In this season of early fall, the trees are still green but the corn and beans are a golden yellow.
The sumac's red and orange stand out brightly.
Soon enough, the trees will be changing and Dennis will plow the fields, returning them to black as they were in early spring.

I'm glad my kids get to grow up rurally,
with room to run, ride bike, or tromp in the woods--
and I'm glad I've got that room, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The First Night of AWANA

Andrew, Christopher, Elijah and Ruby have been waiting for AWANA to start again!
(For those who may not know, AWANA is a Scripture memory program for kids.)

 Christopher is in his 2nd year of Sparks and this is Elijah's first year of Sparks, so he didn't have his vest the first night.

I forgot to flip up the flash, but I still like this picture of Ruby--
she has been waiting forEVER to be a Cubbie!
She jumped right in to the group and participated so well!

 Again forgetting the flash, but I still think this one is cool!
Christopher likes it because he thinks it makes him look like Dash from The Incredibles.

 Such FORM!  Elijah and Christopher both really love Game Time!

Ruby was proud as could be to have made her craft and learned her verse.
We worked on it all week and her brothers and sisters helped her, too.

"Mommy, take a picture of my craft with my verse on it."

Here she was saying her verse to the listener who then signs saying it was memorized successfully.

The picture I took of Andrew didn't turn out well, so I didn't include it. 
He's in T & T this year and is happy to be with his good buddy, Anthony.

Linnea is too old for AWANA this year.
Some churches do have a group for her age level, but not the church where we go to AWANA.

AWANA stands for Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed, based on 2 Timothy 2:15.
It is a wonderful program!  I have been amazed at the number of verses my children have committed to memory now.  What a great way to hide God's word in our hearts as we work together on the verses.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bipper's Birthday

 Christopher turned seven this week.
He has a 9/11 birthday.

 Cheeks puffed out, blowin' out those candles!

 The big boys helped me pick out his gifts:
a beef stick was one of them, 

 an activity pad was another,

and Vikings pajama pants were another.
He LOVES the Vikings!!

He also got a George Strait cd but I didn't take a picture of that.

His birthday was on Tuesday, but last night (Thursday) was the night
that Daddy and I (and Elizabeth, of course) took him out for supper.
He chose Perkins.
We all enjoyed being "a party of four" for just awhile--
then when we got home, Christopher shared the contents of his take-home box with
his eager siblings.

We are so glad to be your family, Bipper-Man--
We thank God for you and for all He teaches us through you!

Fridays on the Farm--Silage Artist

Wow--how did all those days pass so quickly?
The last time I posted was Monday--here it is Friday already & time to do another 
Fridays on the Farm post!

(We celebrated Christopher's birthday on Tuesday
and the first night of AWANA on Wednesday;
I have some pictures to share about those and I will--soon!)

We all have those scents that we love about Fall, right?
Apples baking, cider, pumpkin, burning leaves, etc....
For me, add to that list:  corn silage.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved that smell!

They've now been turned into silage.

Some of you might have no idea what I'm even talking about.
Corn silage is chopped corn--the stalk and cob all together.
It's stored in a silo, bunker, covered pile or giant bag
where it will ferment, which increases it's digestibility for the cows.

It looks like this:

Dennis and my father-in-law have been busy chopping the corn
with this--the implement behind the tractor is the chopper;
it cuts the stalk right near the ground and chops the whole thing up and shoots it out that spout
and into a big wagon.

Then he unloads onto a big pile that looks like this:
He drives back and forth on top with another tractor to pack it down well.
It will be about 10 feet high by the time he's done and then he'll cover it with plastic sheeting so it can ferment.
This is just one of several piles he's made this fall.

You know that feeling when you know you're preparing a good meal for your family?
That time you take in making it just right,
the excitement of knowing they are just going to love it?

Putting up silage is like that for Dennis--
this is what the cows will eat all winter and they love it.
If he worked at Subway, he'd be a sandwich artist.
Here, he's our silage artist.

He still has corn to combine for a cash crop;
this year he planned so that about half of his corn acres would be for silage
and half to combine.
In the foreground the corn was chopped, in the back is corn waiting until maturity to combine.

We are happy the beans came off with no major setbacks this week.
empty bean field

I did point out to him on facebook today, though, that he missed one stalk while chopping all that corn.
It's been driving me crazy every time I drive or walk by this field!
My brother suggested we were trying to build a corn maze for blondes.
Dennis said he left it so they'd have some cover for goose hunting.
Funny guys.

What fall memories do you have from farm experiences you've had?
Leave a comment and tell me!
If you'd like to link up with a Fridays on the Farm post of your own,
feel free to grab that top picture (still haven't figured out that button!)
and let me know in the comments so I can hop over and read about YOUR farm!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Other Side of the Bed

Ivy is one of those kids where, upon waking up, she's either delightedly happy to see us or we're all wishing that she had woken up on the other side of the bed.
(But since the bed she sleeps in is pushed up flat against the wall, that's just me speaking figuratively.)

This morning, she apparently had a little toot that escaped.  I didn't hear it, I just heard of it.
When Ivy tooted, Ruby giggled.

From the living room, I heard Ruby giggle and then I heard Ivy:

"Don't.....laugh....AT MY BUTT!!!!!!"

This may be one of those other-side-of-the-bed mornings.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fridays on the Farm

The title of my blog reveals that I am a farmer's wife.
I haven't blogged over-much regarding our farm life,
but it is a very important part of who I am individually and who we are as a family!

I grew up on a dairy farm, too.
My dad sold his cows in February 1995 and I married Dennis in September of 1996.
Aside from those intervening 19 months, I've spent my whole life on a farm!
Dennis has lived here his whole life--he's never even had a different phone number.
He's been a farmer since the day he was born. :)

In an effort to honor our heritage and our way of life, I wanted to start a new little something here on my blog.
I wish I was a little more tech-savvy so I could create a button
(Believe me, I tried!!  I'll keep trying, but if someone wants to help me I'd be ever so grateful!)
but for now we'll have to settle for this fun picture I created using a photo I took of my brother's barn.

The "new little something" I want to start will be called 
Fridays on the Farm.
I want to use it as a time to purposefully share a bit about our farm,
to show you what one small, family owned and operated, independent, dairy farm looks like.

There are very few such farms left.
Our is one of them.

So, without further ado, I'll begin!

The crops have been growing so well here in our area of MN this year.
We have been relatively unscathed by the drought that has swept it's way through the mid-west.

The boys had been in the field with Dennis this week and upon their return, they called me to the door to come look at this:
12 foot corn!
That is seriously tall corn, just so y'know.

Then, because boys will be boys, they began jousting with the stalks!
It was rather difficult to make any real impact on each other
but it was great fun nonetheless.

Christopher about busted a gut laughing at those brothers!!!

We are anxiously awaiting harvest,
when the corn can come off the field and go in to town.

If you'd like to share something about your farm
or a memory that this post triggered about an experience you had on a farm
I'd love for you to leave a comment!
If you have a blog, I'd love if you linked up to me
(feel free to grab the top picture until I get that little ol' button figured out)
with a Fridays on the Farm post of your own!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ruby's Birthday

 Ruby was delighted with her ballet slippers,

 her BIG princess balloon,

and her Rice Krispie bar "cake"

 Ivy tried so hard to hold herself back from helping to blow
out those four candles...
 and then "helped" anyway.

 I love how Ivy is looking at Ruby in this picture--
she loves her so much.

a hug for the birthday girl

I attempted to create a flower using M&M's and frosting
as the "glue" that would hold them on the 'cake'.
Adults might not be so impressed (ok--at all impressed)
but Ruby was delighted!
I thought the 4 turned out well, however.

After our treats, I took Ruby to town to pick out a birthday dress.
It was fun to watch her shop, because we rarely, if ever, shop for fun.
I let her look to her heart's content,
responded to each exclamation of "Oh, MOMMY, look!!!"
and just took our time.
She was so cute with her opinions,
saying "this doesn't look like a birthday dress"
or "this really does look like a birthday dress".

We went to a mall and looked in two stores but everything was just so expensive
so we went to Target where she picked out a pretty one.
Surprise!  It's pink.
I just love her...
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