Category Archives: Prayers

A trip to NE 2017

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…โ˜บ๏ธ

This post will be my “scrapbook” of the memories.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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!โค๏ธโšพ๏ธ

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…๐Ÿ˜ป

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.๐ŸŽถ

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…๐Ÿฆ†

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!๐Ÿ˜

Pictures like this are necessary when you are terrified of mice (all rodents๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™„), so that your sons can make fun of you upon return…๐Ÿ˜

No idea why there’s a covered wagon inside the mill, lol. Appeased Mike by climbing up for a pic!๐Ÿ˜‚

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.๐ŸŽ„

A fun mixer we knew our patriotic son would love… ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโค๏ธ

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.๐Ÿ˜‹

The outside of the building was a bit unique.๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Wondering what all the speckles are???? CHEWED UP PIECES OF GUM!!!๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿคข

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!๐Ÿ˜‚

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…๐Ÿ˜Ž

And finally – we made it to Lincoln, NE! What a joy to see our family and capture some moments on “film”. โค๏ธ

Had fun showing them some of our pics from home…๐Ÿ“ท

With the twins having such light hair, they match well with Mike & Ben, lol!โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Sawyer especially loved looking at Uncle Mike’s pics from the farm and of his cousins back in Ohio.โ˜บ๏ธ

Mike’s sister flew in from Mississippi to join in on the fun, too…โค๏ธ

Feeding moving targets is quite the challenge, but Grandma was up for it!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ (Probably didn’t help that Aunt Dawn was distracting with picture taking, lol…๐Ÿ˜‰)

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”…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿญ๐Ÿ’ฃ

And learned our bed was held up by a lone stilt…๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿคฃ

But it did get upgraded to 4 stilts the next day.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Did some shopping and ate lunch at Noodles with my sisters…๐Ÿ˜

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…๐Ÿš‚

Celebrated Christmas on Saturday, so lots of laughs, games, eating, and snuggles!๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽโค๏ธ

After worship and a great message at Lincoln Berean, we took advantage of the 55ยฐ day with a walk to the park.โ›…๏ธ

And ended the day with celebrating the twins’ first birthday. First was a big family meal at Lazlos…๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ˜‹ The Grandmas: The Grandpas: Ended the day with presents, cake, and BATHS…๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿ›

The trip back home…๐Ÿš™ We were on the road early since Aunt Jenny had to leave before 5 to get to the airport. Always love catching the sunrise!๐ŸŒ…

Got to cross the Mississippi River in daylight this time…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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!)๐Ÿ™‚

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…๐Ÿ˜‚

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…๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

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…โ˜•๏ธโค๏ธ

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’…๐Ÿ˜‰

Kinda fun to see the line of lake effect snow ahead of you while you watch the radar on your phone…โ„๏ธ

And our final stop before home was at Bob Evans outside of Mansfield.๐Ÿณ๐Ÿฅ“

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. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Storms…

So many storms going on right now. Details might be different, but the needs are the same. I was led to Isaiah 40:11 this morning while I was praying for a friend and it struck me how the answer is always the same: JESUS! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd, the Comforter, PEACE.โœ๏ธ

Father, draw more to Yourself through these storms in our lives. As we submit to You, help us to recognize You are THE SUSTAINER: carrying and gently leading us. You will never leave us nor forsake us. PRAISE GOD!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผโค๏ธ


[pondering Isaiah 40:11, Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:6, John 10:11, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 14:27, Deuteronomy 31:6]

Resting in green pastures


Getting the girls this morning for milking…this scene made me think of Psalm 23, especially verses 2-3.  He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.

Lord, our girls are so good at resting in green pastures. Show me how to feel rested like that. Restore my soul in the midst of Today. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Pondering Scripture

Nothing more beautiful than pondering a line of Scripture and more Truths are brought to your mind…โค๏ธ

I read Proverbs 12 this morning and verse 14 really spoke to me: From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him. 

My chain of thoughts:

Luke 6:45 & Romans 15:13 (GOOD FRUIT – what I speak when I’m overflowing with Hope; the fruit of my lips)

Psalm 90:17 & Colossians 3:17+23-24 (It’s the Lord Who establishes the work of our hands, and when I remember that and walk in thanksgiving to the Lord Christ Whom I am serving, I am rewarded…BEAUTIFUL!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Just sayin…

Clinging to what is GOOD (Romans 12:9) is a whole lot easier if you FOCUS on what is TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY (Philippians 4:8)…

….instead of whatever the perceived offense is I am choosing to dwell on.

DUH.๐Ÿ™„

What an amazingly patient Father You are, Lord! Sink these Truths deep into my heart. Lord, have mercy. AMEN๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผโค๏ธ

2nd & 3rd calves 2017

TWIN GIRLS!!๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Meet Maple and Syrup. Mike was delighted to see that one of our two bred heifers (Pinetar) not only had one cleaned-up, full-tummied calf this morning, but TWO!๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Pinetar took really good care of her new babies…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ



[click here to read about when Pinetar was born]

This is our first set of successful twins here, so we are pretty excited!๐Ÿค—

Back in 2010 we had a cow named Amy who had one live calf and one deceased calf. (It was before blogging days, so I don’t have a link to share.) But click here to read about Peekaboo – half of another set of twins we had back in 2012.

Mike and Paul were able to get halters on Maple and Syrup pretty easily.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ




Here is Maple:


And here is Syrup:




Maple was not as cooperative with walking as Syrup was… The boys took turns carrying her all around Mordor. (At least these girls were smaller than Rose was yesterday, lol!๐Ÿ˜‚)

Paul carried her first…




Then Pinetar led us through downed trees/scratching posts…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฌ


Next it was Michael’s turn to carry Maple…


And finally, we all made it through the gate and into the runway to the barn.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ


Syrup walked the whole way down with her mama, and I drove Michael and Maple down in the chariot…๐Ÿ˜‰








Whew. What a morning! Thank You, Lord!โค

Tally now 3 girls, 0 boys, and 8 more to go…WE THINK!๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ 

1st calf 2017

Such a great way to celebrate the first day of spring – with new life! Welcome first calf of 2017!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ Can’t believe this is our 10th season of calving!๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Mike found Tangerine with her daughter when we went up to do a calf-check this morning. [click here to read about her calf last year]


She is Tangerine’s 6th calf, and we decided to name her Rose. (Think: spring, flowers, roses…๐Ÿ’)

The 4 of us waited to go up so Tangerine could clean her up a bit and get her fed. Apparently she did that and then walked Rose over to the unrolled round bale so SHE could eat…



(This pic cracks me up… Guess she was hungry!๐Ÿ˜‹)




It would have been nice if the duo would have walked down to the barn together, but that was not the case. Rose was tired. And Tangerine just wanted to eat, lol.๐Ÿ˜‚





Mike was relieved Michael volunteered to carry Rose to the baby buggy.๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ



Michael drove them down to the barn while Paul & I waited by Tangerine. We were thinking that maybe the two of us could convince Tangerine to follow the 4wheeler, but that wasn’t the case.๐Ÿ™„


Once Mike & Michael joined us back up in Mordor, we worked together to bring Tangerine down. She was incredibly stubborn and frustrating… Had us running in mud and out of breath (at least Mike & I were, lol.)๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Here she is taking a water break.


Thankfully, she chilled out after this and walked cooperatively down the rest of the way.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ




Here is Rose all nestled in… She is a sweet calf!โค Lord willing, we are expecting 9 more…๐Ÿฎ


Thank You, Lord, for holding off our first calf until a little warmer weather arrived. Prepare our bodies and our equipment to handle navigating through this slippery mud as we move from winter to spring. Teach us what You want us to learn from this year’s calving season. May we honor You with each step we take. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

10th and final calf 2016

We knew it yesterday, as we heard the forecast for the next morning: SNOW+WIND…โ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ WE JUST KNEW IT. Final calf would be born in a blizzard.๐Ÿ˜

We. Were. Right.๐Ÿ˜ Fiskars is Paul’s cow. {Click here to read about her calf from last year.} Last year she had the first calf of the season, and this year she closes out our season! Even though it was a blustery, yucky morning, we are all extremely thankful it all went smoothly.

Click here to read about when she was born, and here to go to a past post that contains links of Paul with Fiskars over the years.  

Paul named her calf: Flapjack (think ridiculous cartoon: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack๐Ÿ™„) He joins Clark as the only other bull this season. Final tally: 2 boys and 8 girls.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

I walked up to Mordor solo since we had an extra helper this morning. The boys’ friend, Blake, got to join us for this adventure.๐Ÿ˜Š

 
If you “super zoom”, you can almost see the clump of cows all the way back in the farthest corner of Mordor…๐Ÿ”  

 
 
   

Flapjack didn’t quite make it out the gate on his own, but we think he did pretty good given the circumstances!๐Ÿฎ  

3 Amigos!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

   

 
 
Horizontal snow!!๐Ÿ˜ณ    

 
Flapjack got a nice rub-down…โค๏ธ      

 
โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ 
Blake and his namesake…๐Ÿ˜    

Even though his mama had fed him some, Flapjack finished off a bottle, too. Can’t blame him. All that chaos makes for hungry tummies – calves AND humans…๐Ÿค—  

Well, Lord, what a whirlwind of a calving season this has been! Thank You for sustaining us through it, and for using it to build up our endurance for the next chapter here. We look forward to seeing more of Your plan unfold, one step at a time. May we stay focused on You. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

Thought I’d end this post with some fun stats from our first 10 years of calving. Kinda neat to see how our calving window has shortened up over the years! Perfect for our small, seasonal dairy.๐Ÿฎ

2007: 13 calves over 25 weeks

2008: 6 calves over 22 weeks

2009: 23 calves over 22 weeks

2010: 14 calves over 14 weeks

2011: 16 calves over 12 weeks

2012: 11 calves over 9 weeks (with a late one 4 weeks later)

2013: 13 calves over 8 weeks

2014: 8 calves over 8 weeks

2015: 9 calves over 5 weeks

2016: 10 calves over 3 weeks (Wow!!! No wonder my body feels so tired, lol!๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜‰)

6th calf 2016

Banana had her second calf for us this morning. It’s a girl!!! {Click here to read about her calf last year.} Michael named her Harriet.โค๏ธ (Her dad’s name is Harry, lol…) 

  
  
Michael got a halter on Banana, too, so he was able to lead her out of Mordor a little easier than it would have been otherwise. (She’s kinda stubborn, but she cooperates pretty well for Michael.๐Ÿ˜‰) Harriet followed well and made it the whole way down.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ  

  
  
  
  
  
  
To see some old posts featuring Banana over the years, click here and here and here.

The other nosey mamas waiting to see who is joining their group, lol…๐Ÿฎ 

  
Natasha welcoming Harriet…๐Ÿค—  

Today is a little bittersweet. Banana has been special to Michael, and he’s spent a lot of time showering her with extra attention over the past 4 years. He really wanted her to make the cut and remain one of our dairy girls, but that’s just not gonna happen. Last year, her rumen stopped working and we needed the emergency vet out to help her. Her appetite recovered, but we couldn’t use her milk for our dairy, and we actually dried her up in July. We decided to give her another chance for 2016, but it appears she is the same… Rats.๐Ÿ˜• Culling a cow from your herd that you are emotionally attached to can be hard, and I’m grateful for the time we’ve all had to prepare for this possibility. It’s just how farming goes sometimes. We are thankful for everything she has taught us, the wonderful memories of watching Michael take care of her, and for the two calves she’s had for us.โค๏ธ

Lord, use this experience to grow each one of us closer to You… Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ