Friday, June 29, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

A Young Lady

Ryan recently asked me when Mary-Kate had become such a young lady. That particular question set me to thinking and to observing. We all tend to take things for granted and not really pay attention to what was right under our noses. I think this is true of just about everyone, even the most observant of us.
Truly my daughter is a young lady, both in looks and in attitude. After thinking this over for a few days I have come to the conclusion that it is both environment, teaching, and circumstances that make us mature. Mary-Kate has made big strides both from what she has been taught in her life and by what she has experienced.

Truly she is beautiful of face and of form but a little while in her company and one can quickly see that she is also beautiful inside. She is sweet and solicitious to those around her. She is thoughtful of those she meets and is caring.

I think that it goes without saying that her father and I are proud of her and the progress that she makes in her maturing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Elk Farm in New York

What an incredible sight that we came across on a drive one evening. So tonight we decided to take the kids back and show the elk to them.
Such beautiful and majestic creatures. They pranced and paraded for us and played. In the wild we would only have gotten a glimpse, maybe. But here we could feast our eyes on them to our hearts delight.
What a treat that we found on a drive. Many times we have found this kind of surprise when out driving.

How to Spend a Hot Day

Take one very warm day, add a little girl and her best buddy and one swimming pool and you have a great summer-time combination. You don't have to be blood relatives to have a great "big" brother.

Elizabeth begged her buddy "Mattfew" to take her swimming. It didn't take much persuasion. They quickly put on their suits and headed for the pool. She sat patiently on the side while Matthew jumped into the pool first.

Then round and round they went. She got dunked a few times and then she got to play boat on Matthew's back. That was great fun.
What more can a gril want than to have a "big brother" whether real or just adopted for awhile to play with in the pool on a warm summer day.
Thanks to Matthew we have a very happy and tired little girl. She took a great nap that day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Circle of Life

The frogs that we found earlier this spring that Lupus likes to play with have reproduced!!!!!!!!!!!!!While taking a walk with her I shot this picture of the tadpoles in the puddle. I need to look up how long before they become froglets. Then I will take pictures of them. What a neat thing. Of all the new life that I have witnessed in my life this is one example that I have only seen in books.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Good Buddies

Today Matthew had his friend Brett come over for the afternoon. Unfortunately, on a farm, the work still has to get done. Fortunately, Brett is the kind of guy who doesn't mind helping, I think he actually likes it.

So here they are together helping move machinery away from the site where the new barn is going to be built. The site has to be cleared so the bulldozer can come in and start clearing the land.
They are both working on building big muscles. They really don't know it yet but they are, and I am helping them. They don't know how lucky they are to have me.
Matthew can work hard and talk at the same time. A hidden talent.
Then they take some time off to cool down in the pool and work on some more muscles and what Doug calls necessary male bonding. They are just burning up some energy.
Then it's back to work to help load the last of the round bales for the evening before we take Brett home. That's the farmer way to get some visiting in during the work week.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

He's Back and Mightier Than Ever

Well, we know that summer has officially begun. Phoenix is back. His mom is working at the golf course and Phoenix is back in our lives. Here he is playing basketball with Mary-Kate.

Last night he and Jason climbed up in the Kubota and loaded round bales into the bale wrapper.
He really takes this farming thing seriously. Last summer the 966 was his favorite tractor but now that we have the Kubota it is his favorite. He even drew a picture of it for Matthew.
Nothing makes him happier than to "help" one of the guys with some aspect of farm work. He helps feed the pigs and shovel manure. But the best thing to him is driving a tractor. These farmers are his heroes.
You can see the happiness on the face of this satisfied little boy.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Watchng the Storm Move In

Matthew took these pictures yesterday as the storm moved through. Fortunately we didn't get any rain from it. But it was sure beautiful to watch as it moved by.
You can see the rain falling behind our farm on the farm behind us. It just goes to show you how close things can be.
Of course today the rain did fall on us and didn't pass us by. That's the way things go also. What a beautiful sight.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lovely Night for a Bonfire

It was a lovely night for a bonfire tonight. So we went to the neighbors house and burned their brush pile. Then we brought out the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate and made s'mores.
Ian is a little impatient about cooking his marshmallows and he started before the fire was sufficiently burned down.

He's very serious about getting it cooked just right. The other kids followed suit and got down to business. A good time was had by all.

The grown-ups just enjoyed the nice cool evening visiting around the fire. It was nice to get done early for a change and have some time to visit and wind down before going to bed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

She's Back

After being away for six weeks while Mary-Kate had her surgery and recovery, Elizabeth is back. Yesterday she came back to us to be babysat.
As you can see she is dressed to help Matthew with his chores and to feed the "piggets". She has on her boots and her "glubs". She borrowed a hat from Doug to keep the sun off her head and she has her faithful dog "oopus". (she isn't good with the L sound at the beginning of a word).
Let's hope her presence doesn't tire Mary-Cake out too much.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's day to my father. When I was growing up I thought that I was the princess and he was the king. My dad was the center of my whole life. When I was very little and for the longest time I thought that his whole world revolved around me because he was so good to me and never seemed to be mean to me or spank me or punish me like the other kids. Every girl should have a dad like mine when they are growing up.

I also want to pray especially for the soul of my father-in-law on this father's day. He taught me that I am a lot tougher than I thought I was. He showed me that being a wife and the wife of a farmer is a full time job and you can't let your guard down for a second.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.

An especial happy and Holy Father's day to my beloved husband. Who is teaching our six children lifes most important lessons. He is an example of devotion to God and His blessed Mother, hard work and sacrifice. Everyday of his life is devoted to service to his family and his God through fulfilling his duty to his vocation and his state in life.
Thank you Douglas for being the man that you are and for trying daily to be a better man.
I love you.

Counting My Blessings

During the middle of haying season on a farm the last thing a farmers wife expects to hear is "honey what do you want me to do for you today?" But that is exactly what I heard from my wonderful husband yesterday. (and it wasn't even my birthday, our anniversary, mother's day or any other day like that). So I did what any red-blooded American wife would do, I made a list.
After breakfast we got to work. He is the most wonderful man on earth, and not because we got all that done but because he noticed that it needed doing and was willing to take the time during haying, the busiest time of the year, to do it.

So, the pigs all have clean pens and the barn has hay stacked in it for a good long time and I don't have to haul it for awhile. Matthew took down the canvas in the back and it is much cooler in their.

The deck got cleaned up and the umbrellas got fixed and the flags got hung up and now it looks like we can use it for summer instead of looking like we still need to move in.

Most of the garden got mulched and he says we will finish it this week. (I plan to have lettuce sandwiches soon!!!!!!!!!!!!yum) The blades got sharpened on the lawn mower so I don't have to go over the same places twice to get the lawn done. The scrap iron container got tipped up again so Mary-Kate and I can fill it again. (It's too heavy for us to tip up)

My pool water went from this green (above) to almost clear (below). We should be using it by Tuesday.
We also managed to get 15 bales of hay made (round bales) and 5 loads of laundry done. What ever did I do to deserve a man like that?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Woes of Being the Youngest

Matthew has always held that it is tough being the youngest child. Especially when you have several large older brothers.
On a recent trip to Virginia to visit his, older, brother who is in the Navy here he is being man handled by his brothers.
They just can't seem to ignore their obvious physical superiority over him. So at every opportunity they seem inclined to grab a hold of his body and grapple with him. He always seems to be the loser in these contests too.
Now you would think that these struggles would make him resentful of his brothers and their handling of him and maybe even apprehensive of being in their company.
But as you can see by the smile on his face he seems to enjoy these encounters for some perverse reason. I think it is called male bonding or something like that. But anyway they all seem to thrive on these little scuffles.
A great deal of male satisfaction is derived from it and then some calm does prevail for awhile so I guess it does serve its purpose.
The best part is they seem to deplete some of Matthews seemingly boundless energy.

Wrapping Round Bales

Our new neighbor is new to farming, having lived in the city all her life. She bought two acres from my father-in-law two years ago and built a house across the road from us. Now she is fascinated with everything farming.
Yesterday we were wrapping round bales and she came over to watch and see what it was all about. It is a pretty interesting process. We are new to it since we only started doing this last fall. As you can see above, Jason loads the round bale into the wrapper with the tractor. (affectionately known as the Kubota) You can't see it on the front but there is a spike on the front of the tractor that is used to spear the bale and lift it up. Wet bales can weigh from 1500-2000 pounds.
When the bale gets against the big plate at the back of the wrapper it starts it up and it is pushed against all the other bales. The big round wheel spins around and that wraps the film around the bales at the same time the whole machine moves backward away from the tube of bales and lets them gently slide off onto the ground.

This whole process is supposed to duplicate a silo. The film seals out oxygen and the hay ferments making baleage. At the end of a tube we ductape the film over the end of the last bale then seal it closed. Of course we are very careful not to back into the tube so it doesn't get nicked or torn. We ductape any tears so that it stays sealed. It works pretty well if you get the hay in at the right moisture level.

Then you end up with long white snakes in your field. Or if you buy the other kind of wrapper you get little marshmallows. We didn't buy an individual wrapper. They are slower.

Next time she is going to watch us round bale. Now that's exciting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Taking a Drive

Why do the geese cross the road? To get the Durango to stop and take their picture. Tuesday evening we went for a drive. We ended up in Deansboro where Jason used to work. On the way there we encountered some interesting sights.
Doug wondered why we were taking such a round about route to get there. As you can see we wouldn't have seen such sights as these if we had gone directly there.As you can see from these pictures everyone enjoyed the ride too. What a good time to take a drive with the family and laugh and joke and enjoy the scenery while you are getting there.Of course Matthew has to be his usuall silly self while he is getting his picture taken, but that is all part of the fun.

Doug was even alert enough to drive the Durango.
While on the way we saw this dragon in the clouds. It is fun to be able to spot things in the clouds. Sometimes it requires more imagination than at other times. But everyone agreed that this cloud did indeed look like a dragon.
We thought this last goose picture was interesting because the light looks like a halo around the goose. Oh well, so much for fanciful thinking.