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First Snow Day of the Year! January 28, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family.

As in every winter since Benjamin was a toddler, he has eagerly (and impatiently) waited for a good snow.  I’m not sure if what we got this morning qualifies as a “good one,” but beggars can’t be choosers.  After ice yesterday morning and rain all last night, it finally changed over to snow this morning.  The kids wasted no time getting bundled up to go outside and play.


Always the good big sister, Rachel helped Lydia adjust her mittens and hood.


But Lydia couldn’t quite get her thumbs in the right places and she was none too happy about it.


The kids set right to work building a snow fort from which they could ambush Daddy when he came home.


Do you have any idea how determined you have to be to scrape up enough snow from a 1/2″  accumulation, pack it into a rectangular cooler, and build a wall this high?  It took HOURS!


It was hard work- just ask Lydia.  Shhhh…  ask her later.


Timothy is 3 months old January 24, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family.

A quarter of a year has sped by and Timothy is changing from constantly sleeping newborn to alert infant.  He gives us lots of smiles and even some chuckles.  He is a happy, easy-going little guy.  He is spoiled by his doting siblings.


He is growing well and has been pretty healthy with just a couple of exceptions.  He has Stridor and Camptodactyly.  The first one means a narrowed airway that produces squeaky sounds when he breathes.  Hopefully he will grow out of that soon.  The second means that he has one short tendon in a finger that prevents him from having full use of it right now.

We saw a hand surgeon on Wednesday and were relieved to hear that he probably won’t need surgery-  a splint should stretch that tendon and give him full mobility in it eventually.  Here he is in his cute little splint.

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This was specially made for him.  He will wear it only at night and then during the day he should play and grasp things as usual to exercise it.

Timothy takes after his older brother Benjamin (and his mother’s side of the family) with his hair-  crazy cowlicks.  Check out this perfect swirl right in the middle of his forehead.  That’s gonna be a doozy to comb down!


Isn’t it CUTE!?  Just a little biased, I guess.

Belts, a muffler, and the Bahamas January 23, 2009

Posted by Joe in Farm.
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Almost a year ago, my mother bought me one of the most practical and needed birthday presents I’ve ever received. She bought me a new muffler and exhaust pipe for our tractor.

It was certainly needed. The exhaust pipe of our 1964 Ford 2000 gasoline tractor runs underneath the main body of the tractor, similar to the exhaust of a car. However since it’s exposed and driven over rough terrain, the pipe had rusted out a couple of years ago. As a result the engine exhaust was being release just in front of the driver’s seat. Not a good thing for the driver!

I’ve been busy and hadn’t gotten around to replacing the muffler and pipe. Actually to be completely candid about it, I was dreading it to some extent, fearing that it may turn in to a long and arduous task.

Finally, however, I was prompted to the repair with something more than just loosing IQ points with every breath I took while bush-hogging or breaking the garden. A couple of days ago, one of the two belts broke on the tractor. At that point it became more than just important, it became urgent as well since I must use the tractor to lift the 700 pound hay rolls to fee to the cows.

So, I went by the tractor dealership yesterday on the way to visit a client. Mike, a very knowledgeable guy in the service department, helped me to identify the various parts I’d need in my repair job. I picked up a couple of belts, another piece for the exhaust pipe, and some securing clamps. I noticed that as other customers came into the store, Mike greeted them by name, asked about their family, and told them about his recent trip to the Bahamas. What great customer service, I thought. Then I realized that all of these people must be repeat customers. Mike had a great repeat business. No wonder he could take a trip to the Bahamas!

This afternoon, Benjamin, Rachel, and I set out to do the necessary maintenance and repair on the old Ford. And I must say it was much more pleasant of an experience that I was expecting. We replaced both belts, installed the muffler, and ran the new exhaust pipes. When I cranked her up, she purred like a new kitten again. Nice!

But as I finished giving the cows their weekly feeding of hay, I noticed the tale-tell signs of a radiator leak – a luminous green fluid steadily dripping from the engine. It didn’t take long to discover what had happened. The power steering fluid pump belt was a bit too loose and rubbed a hole in the radiator hose. So I called Laura (she was running errands this afternoon) and had her swing by the parts place to pick up a new radiator hose for the tractor.

It seems that we’ve become repeat customers. I hope Mike remembers us the next time he’s on the beach in some tropical paradise.


Silly heifer! Hay rings are for hay January 10, 2009

Posted by Joe in Farm.
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One of our two smaller heifers is narrow enough to fit between the slots in the hay ring. Once a roll has been eaten down enough, she slips through and makes the leftovers her bed.


I’ll be glad when she’s large enough not to do this. It wastes the hay – cows don’t like to eat hay that’s been trampled upon. Who can blame them?

Happy Birthday, Lydia! January 9, 2009

Posted by Joe in Family.

Two years ago today, Laura and I were blessed with a little bundle of joy that we named Lydia Grace.


My how time flies! Today, the not-so-little bundle of joy turned two years old.


Despite her excitement, Lydia took her time opening the presents. Perhaps she thought we were going to save the paper? Maybe she wanted to savor the experience? Whatever it was, her painstakingly slow unwrapping of presents almost caused the older two kids to burst with anticipation.


But a Potato Head family and Play-Dough comes to those who persevere. Happy Birthday, Lydia!

Little Boots January 3, 2009

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Farm.
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If I had to pick one thing to be an icon of raising children on a farm, it would be a pair of knee-high rubber boots.  You just need them to walk around in the mud and manure, to do chores, to wade into puddles, and any number of other important kid activities.  And each child gets a pair as soon as he or she can walk.

I came upon these prints yesterday and they just made me smile.


I found these two sets of footprints just a few feet apart, testament to the investment a daddy made in his little daughter by including her in his activities.

This life God has provided us is one we cherish and appreciate.   But in the middle of everyday life it can be so hard to take the time to let the little ones join in when it’s so much faster to do things alone.  We strive to keep the big picture in mind, though.  In the end it will have been more important to spend the time together and suppress our perfectionism than to have square corners and spotless floors.  The bent nails have their own value.