Last evening after work was done, showers done, and the 4 of us sat down to watch a movie together, the call comes: Gluey had her calf.😂 Figures, right?🙄 This is always the hard part – had the girls’ been up in Grey Heaven, we would not have known she’d had her calf, so we would have found out in the morning. BUT, once we KNOW a calf’s been born, we just can’t NOT go and check on the situation…especially with a snowstorm on its way annnd Gluey’s past fiascos…😬
So Mike & I got bundled up and headed next door.
Could tell from a distance that the calf was a boy, and that he had just been born. He was still wet, and hadn’t eaten yet. Gluey has had 8 calves for us. This boy makes her count 4 girls and 4 boys.👍🏼
The snow was just starting to stick, and we had about an hour of daylight left, so we told Gluey she had one hour to prove she knew what to do… If he wasn’t cleaned up when we came back out, we’d bring him inside and milk Gluey so we could feed him ourselves.
Michael randomly chose the name “Phillip” for him when we came back inside to catch some more of the movie. I thought it was kinda weird as I had no idea where that name came from, but it ended up being the perfect name…😉 (This will make more sense in a bit, I promise.😂)
So now it’s an hour later. Yes, Gluey had done relatively well at cleaning him up, they were still alone together, and he was walking around looking like eating was on the agenda. The snow was coming down a little heavier, so it was a really hard decision to let them stay together. But after much consideration and prayer, that’s what we decided to do.🙏🏼
Came out extra early this morning to see how things were going. Found “Phillip” up by the round bale feeder with the rest of the mamas.❄️
Mike got a halter on him, but then he decided he didn’t want to walk…🙄
So Mike carried him and led the way into the barn.💪🏼
He’s MUCH bigger than Patty, so it was a challenge for Mike to carry him as far as he did. These bodies lack the oomph they used to have…😬🙏🏼
Next Mike carried “Phillip” upstairs. He was pretty wet from the snow, so I grabbed a towel and dried him off a bit. Began to wonder at this point if he actually HAD eaten…😟
Gluey milked well, and we got plenty for “Phillip’s” morning and afternoon feeding. Got his bottle ready and headed up. NORMALLY, a calf that has been with its mama overnight is not interested in a bottle the first day with us – especially bull calves – they just lay around and pout for a day, but by the next morning they are ready to eat and do fine after that. BUT THIS GUY SUCKED DOWN ONE WHOLE BOTTLE AND A BIT OF ANOTHER. We hardly had to cooerce him at all to take the bottle. All signs to us that perhaps he really had NOT eaten with Gluey.😠
We are VERY encouraged he is doing well now and we rejoice in the resiliency of these animals.❤️ He is not out-of-the-woods yet. We’ll be watching him closely, especially over the next 24 hours. And “Phillip” is now being changed to “FillUp” in my records. Because that’s just the kind of weird-word-girl I am.🙃
Patty continues to flaunt her cuteness to us, visitors, and the cats – especially Junior.😻
Lord, we thank you for the gift of life. For the patience You have with us as we stumble through difficult circumstances. For allowing us to feel Your mercy and grace as we go. Continue to grant us the sustaining strength and divine wisdom we need to navigate through this farming adventure. In Your name, we pray. AMEN
Our count is now 1 boy+1 girl. Lord willing, 5 more to go…👍🏼
Well, when the forecast for Carroll County says this:
…you sometimes you need to change plans. Ugh.🙄
Made the executive decision to move the dairy girls from Grey Heaven down to Isengard. Since we have several cows looking “ready” to calve, and with (supposed) accumulating snow on the way, the trek could be yucky with the slope we have from Grey Heaven to the milking barn. We really don’t like having the girls in Isengard because it’s right next to the road. If there are calving issues or weird things happen, it’s just not fun dealing with it with a bunch of cars driving by. BUT we don’t always get what we want, lol.❄️😬
Here are the girls leaving Grey Heaven and heading down toward the crossroads…
They were pretty excited to move…
Now they are in Isengard, and Mike will bring down their round bale feeder and a new bale.
Not exactly how we wanted to start SPRING, lol. Oh well – that’s just how it is in Ohio. I laughed at the irony as I walked back home after morning chores were done. Sometimes we just have to bring Spring INSIDE and admire it from the kitchen window…😂
I’ve never uploaded a video to the blog before. Thought I’d try with a small clip. Here is Patty drinking the next morning after she was born. She is a a cutie!🍀🐮
It’s that time of year again! Our first calf arrived this morning. Fiskars (a.k.a. Bubby) had her first GIRL! Welcome: Patty.🍀 <Click here to read about her calf last year.> This is her 4th calf for us. <Click here to read about when Fiskars was born.>
This year all the mamas are in the field: Grey Heaven, rather than Mordor as they have been the last 10 years. We weren’t sure how the new route would go, but these two had no problems with it.👏🏼
Here are some pics as we walked them out of Grey Heaven and down toward the milking barn.
Here they are approaching the crossroads. They used to come from the right and then walk down the hill to the barn. This year, they’ll all turn left to get to the barn.👍🏼
And here we are on our way down the hill.
Finally got a good shot of Patty from the front. She’s a cutie!😍
We are expecting a total of 7 calves this season. Sure feels good to have the first one here, and all is well!👍🏼
[Of course, today is the day my phone decides to die and we spend several hours at the Verizon store upgrading to a new phone. And then the new phone won’t accept our iTunes backup because it’s too old, lol. (All consequences to waiting too long to keep up with current technology…🙄😬) So grateful we have techie friends who can walk us through these changes!😇] So assuming I can figure out this new phone quickly and we can eventually get all our records back on it, calving posts should still get up relatively quickly. Not exactly how I wanted to start this season out, lol, but I have no doubt the Lord is already using this experience to grow me in MANY ways…especially patience!🙏🏼❤️
Our friends grew some purple sweet potatoes this year, and we were blessed to receive some of their harvest.☺️ [click here to read more about Ipomoea batatas]
After we brainstormed a bit for possible choices, Mike’s mom chose a “purple* sweet potato pie for her birthday “cake!”🎂
*Some funny behind-the-scenes-trivia: we actually thought these were called “BLUE sweet potatoes,” so the whole time we were working with them, we kept remarking about how PURPLE they looked!😂 Glad to learn they are, in-fact, PURPLE!😏*
I have two sweet potato pie recipes in my collection. Decided to do the simpler one here, so we could get a better appreciation of the purple color. First I washed, and then boiled 1.2# pounds of taters for about 40 minutes.
After that, I ran cold water over them and started by peeling skin off with a knife but ended with just using my hands and rubbing the skin off. Came off SO easy!👍🏼
Had about 50 grams more than the one pound of sweet potatoes the recipe called for, but decided to just use it all.
Added 4 oz. of our butter and was struck by the color contrast of deep yellow & vibrant purple!😍
Mixed above well, and then added the rest of the ingredients:
1c (145g) sucanat, 1/2c (4 oz.) milk, 2 eggs, 1/2t ground nutmeg, 1/2t ground cinnamon, & 1t vanilla extract. Mixed on medium speed until mixture was smooth, and poured it into the single pie crust I made before I started.
For it, I added 140g of unbleached flour to 4g of sea salt + 78g of butter and used my pastry blender to pulse it up. Added 2.5T cold water and blended it a bit more until it formed a ball. Rolled it out and formed my crust.
Baked it for about 1 hour and 5 minutes at 350°.
And here you can really see the purple vs. blue color next to this blue lid…😉
Tasted great and was fun to celebrate Mom’s birthday with this pie!❤️
Thank You, Lord, for the gifts of family, friends, harvests, sharing, and celebrations. You weave everything together in amazing ways…Amen❤️
Mike’s parents invited Mike & I to go with them to Nebraska after we finished milking for this season. Mike’s brother and his family live out there, and the twins would be turning ONE!! So grateful that we could go on this journey…☺️
This post will be my “scrapbook” of the memories.👍🏼
We decided to travel a southern route west instead of driving the turnpike. Thought it would be fun to surprise Mike’s dad with a stop at the town(s) he grew up in: Piqua & Covington, OH. Thanks to the help of Andy’s older brother, we were supplied with detailed maps and descriptions on how to navigate around the area. He also shared family history with us that we enjoyed talking about with Dad. We drove by his childhood homes and stopped at the baseball field he used to play on in high school. Found out the field has been named after his old coach!❤️⚾️
This cute kittie just showed up and wanted some attention. Made Andy smile as it reminded him of one of the cats he had growing up…😻
This outdoor orchestra shell holds many memories… Andy’s dad was a conductor/teacher and very passionate about music. It is in really good condition, and looks like it is still used today.🎶
Next stop was to Bear’s Mill. Found it when searching for places to visit on our route, and knew it would be a great stop for us. [Click here to see our posts about the steam powered Algonquin Mill that is near and dear to our hearts in Carroll County, OH.] Bear’s Mill is not powered by steam, however – it’s water powered, by a turbine. We enjoyed the self-guided tour. Here are some pics:
Of course you take a picture of random ducks swimming under the mill, lol…🦆
I was trying to take a picture of the water below, but the sun/shadows were making it a challenge. Then I realized how cool the shadow was of Mike & I. So we just had fun with shadow pictures, lol! Love this man!😍
Pictures like this are necessary when you are terrified of mice (all rodents😬🙄), so that your sons can make fun of you upon return…😏
No idea why there’s a covered wagon inside the mill, lol. Appeased Mike by climbing up for a pic!😂
Next stop was at the KitchenAid outlet store in Greenville. My family has used these mixers and many of their attachments over several generations. We LOVE our KitchenAid mixer and have been through several over the years, so it was fun to browse through their little museum and showroom.
Here’s a cute, hand-painted mixer they had on display for the holidays.🎄
A fun mixer we knew our patriotic son would love… 🇺🇸❤️
And our last stop of that area was for lunch at Maid-Rite. The boys had seen it featured on a tv program several years ago, and the last time they traveled to NE with Grandma and Grandpa, they stopped and ate at one. They serve a steamed, loose-meat burger. Ever since then, they have wanted Mike & I to try one. We had our opportunity, and it was a nice lunch.😋
The outside of the building was a bit unique.😮
Wondering what all the speckles are???? CHEWED UP PIECES OF GUM!!!😷🤢
The scenery for most of the drive was pretty repetitive: lots of flat land, grain farms, and windmill farms….
Spent the night in Hannibal, MO. Plan for the next morning was to visit the Lock and Dam No. 22 (on the Mississippi River) in Saverton a few miles south of our hotel. Read there was an observation area to see bald eagles, so we brought our binoculars to check things out. WELL, we found the area, but not any public viewing area. (And we didn’t want to spend any more time searching.) There was restricted/gated area for employees, and this funny sign. Took that as our “sign” we would just move on!😂
Stopped at an antique mall in St. Joseph, MO to stretch our legs and grab lunch. Mike found some treasures from his favorite actor that were a bit out of our price range, lol, so we took pics instead, lol…😎
And finally – we made it to Lincoln, NE! What a joy to see our family and capture some moments on “film”. ❤️
Had fun showing them some of our pics from home…📷
With the twins having such light hair, they match well with Mike & Ben, lol!❤️❤️❤️❤️
Sawyer especially loved looking at Uncle Mike’s pics from the farm and of his cousins back in Ohio.☺️
Mike’s sister flew in from Mississippi to join in on the fun, too…❤️
Feeding moving targets is quite the challenge, but Grandma was up for it!👏🏼 (Probably didn’t help that Aunt Dawn was distracting with picture taking, lol…😉)
Stayed in a 3 bedroom basement of an airb&b home while we were in Lincoln. Overall, a good experience (and definitely cost effective), but not without some drama/laughs. Had to get aggressive with an unwanted-banana-eating kitchen “visitor”…🙄🐭💣
And learned our bed was held up by a lone stilt…😴😯🤣
But it did get upgraded to 4 stilts the next day.😏👍🏼
Did some shopping and ate lunch at Noodles with my sisters…😍
Ben took Mike, Dad, & Sawyer for a drive in the country. They stopped at the Haymaker District so Sawyer could show Uncle Mike a BIG train…🚂
Celebrated Christmas on Saturday, so lots of laughs, games, eating, and snuggles!🎄🎁❤️
And ended the day with celebrating the twins’ first birthday. First was a big family meal at Lazlos…🍽😋 The Grandmas: The Grandpas: Ended the day with presents, cake, and BATHS…🎁🎂🛁
The trip back home…🚙 We were on the road early since Aunt Jenny had to leave before 5 to get to the airport. Always love catching the sunrise!🌅
Got to cross the Mississippi River in daylight this time…👍🏼
Stopped for lunch in Springfield, IL. Looked for something non-mainstream-chain and found Dew Chilli Parlor No. 2. (This place didn’t have old chewing gum around the outside, but it did have a neat, penny floor!)🙂
Passed by a Nestle plant, and snapped a pic…because it’s not everyday you see a giant Bugs Bunny on the side of the highway, lol…😂
Spent the night in Decatur, IN. That left us with just a 4 hour drive to get home on Tuesday. Thought about driving straight through, but decided we’d rather not arrive home completely exhausted. These bodies enjoyed the break, and felt refreshed for the final leg…💪🏼
Caught this fun city-sunrise pic after we left the hotel…
Mike and I LOVE finding small-town coffee shops. Both to support local small businesses and because we love coffee…☕️❤️
Found this gem in Downtown Decatur…
My favorite part were the loyalty mugs! My mug would be here if this was in my neighborhood – just sayin’…😉
Kinda fun to see the line of lake effect snow ahead of you while you watch the radar on your phone…❄️
And our final stop before home was at Bob Evans outside of Mansfield.🍳🥓
Thank You, Lord, for giving us this opportunity to travel with Mom & Dad to see our family in Nebraska. We are grateful for the clear path You set out before us, and for how You equipped our sons to take care of the farm around their work schedules at home. Though our family members are spread all around the country, You unite us through modern technology; but boy is it a blessing when face-to-face moments arise! Continue to grow each one of us closer to You with every step we take. In Your Name, I pray. Amen🙏🏼