Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It’s been a tough season to be a Twins fan. How tough? 56-100 as of Sunday. 

While we had a good stretch in July after the All Star break we just couldn’t hold together anything consistent. It’s looking like we will not only finish last in the league but last among both leagues. 

Now for the bright side. Presumably, it can only go up from here, and at least it’s a good year to teach Speedy about the ups and downs of being a Twins fan.

We made it to Target Field for the last home game of the year on Sunday. Amazing seats with friends helped ease the pain of the 100th loss, and the Speedster looks so amazing in a baseball cap I’m still smiling about it.

   
    
   

It’s important to revisit the World Series Trophies every now and again.

A little sun, a little drizzle and a mellow September day made for a great afternoon for baseball. Now we just keep praying for the weather and the fields to dry out so we can get back to working on fall harvest. October is right around the corner! 

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The babies of 2016

Hello readers. Once again it’s been awhile. I always hope to blog about once a week, and my intentions brew until suddenly I have fourteen things to write about and another month has quickly slipped by. At least I’m not bored! 

We finished chopping our corn silage (part II) yesterday and covered our pile last night. This is a major victory given the rain and muddy ground we’ve navigated the past few weeks. There will still be a few late nights of harvest for  remaining corn, but the silage is thankfully stored for another year.

Right before silage harvest my family welcomed two little additions. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Speedy to have two more cousins so close to his age. 

Born on August 29th at 9:42 a.m., Cousin Caleb was 6 lbs 9 oz and 20 1/2 inches. Congratulations to new parents Laura (my sister) and Kevin! 

   
    
 
Visiting Caleb was fun for us and a vivid reminder for me of just how much Speedy has grown. 

Eight days later another boy cousin arrived. Ryan was born on September 6th at 4:47 p.m. at 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. Congratulations to Julie (my sister) and Dan and big brother Adam! 

  
   
 
  
Somehow I missed getting a picture of Speedy with new cousin Ryan, but he and Adam posed perfectly for me. They are such a wonderful bunch! 

Needless to say, my family has been blessed with a whirlwind of babies in 2016. Three new grandsons mean my parents are now grandparents to one girl and six boys. Rather ironic for the parents of five daughters! 

Now it’s time for a little recoup after the long days of silage harvest. This little man will enjoy seeing his daddy more. :-) 

  

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Our Little Speedster

I have so much to say! How many things can I cram into one post? Before I jump in I am going to acknowledge something. I know my blog is becoming a baby chronology. And I’m mostly ok with that. I apologize to those of you who would rather not hear about cooing noises, stroller runs, and baby firsts. 

If you have any agriculture questions or other post suggestions please share them, and I’ll try to oblige quickly. Otherwise, my life — and hence my blog –is happily full of baby right now. 

I was never that much of a ‘baby person’ before my son was born. I thought some babies were cute while others just looked like small aliens. I mostly felt they were mysterious, wrinkly little creatures who would cry on a moments notice, and I never knew quite how to comfort them. 

I very much wanted a family, but I was worried about taking care of a baby. It sounded intimidating, tiring, and hard to figure out. I am so pleased with how wrong I was. In the interest of not getting too mushy, here’s my truth. In three sentences. 

My greatest joy in life is being a mom. This surprises me, but I feel it to my very core. Nothing else has helped reveal the goodness, power, and awesome depth of God’s love to me like the gift of motherhood and the love I feel for my little boy. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t ever feel tired or stressed or behind, but it does mean I’m intentional about recognizing the joy.

In the last few weeks we’ve added several more activities to our little man’s résumé. We did race number two on August 20th, and he was a good sport and slept as the rain poured down just a few minutes after the start. I felt like a poorly prepared mother, but I pulled the sun shade over his head as far as possible, hoped his blanket wouldn’t get soaked, and tried to run faster! 

Said race was of undetermined length and time. The short story is this was a small 5K, they didn’t have volunteers or signs at the turnaround, and they didn’t announce or post finish times.

My phone died and I didn’t bring my watch, but I’m surprisingly fine with just knowing we did it. It was also fun to get a medal for 3rd in my age group. Part of me thought I might never place at a race again, but I think that was just irrational post-partum logic.

    

I have also finally settled on a nickname for my son on the blog. I love this hand-me-down shirt, and it’s perfect for our little speedster. He was born faster than I expected, and he’s kept me on my toes since. When you hear me refer to the Speedster or Speedy, this is the little guy I’m talking about. 😄

Our other big event was taking the Speedster to the state fair. He took it all in stride on opening day and happily did a lot of sleeping in the stroller. For my part I was thrilled with the areas set aside for nursing, changing, etc. If you are planning on taking a baby to the fair check out this link on breastfeeding facilities at the state fair. We used both the 107.1/WIC tent and the private rooms at Care & Assitance. Both were clean and comfortable and I didn’t have to wait at all. Certainly you can feed or change your baby anywhere throughout the grounds, but I appreciated have a quiet and comfortable place to get away from the crowd.

We toured exhibits, barns, and shops, and of course JR and I had our fill of too much fair food. Speedy will not be partaking until next year, and he was a little disappointed. 

  

I wholeheartedly love the late summer days of state fair, and the best thing ever is getting to share them. The fair continues to be a great place to connect and mingle, and we introduced several friends to Speedy for the first time. It will be scarier next year when I can’t contain him in a carrier or stroller the whole time, but I am still looking forward to seeing his little self running all over the fair.
In case you want to scroll through the obligatory photo log, here you go.

 
    
    
    
     
  

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Henrietta: Almost 5

It’s been a long while since I’ve written an update on our blog cow, Henrietta. She will be five years old next month, and it’s high time for some details. 

Henrietta still lives here on our dairy farm, gets milked three times a day, and enjoys eating, sleeping, and lounging with her pals.  

 
Aren’t they a fun crew?

You may remember her last calf was a bull born in November. She currently lives in pen number four, but she’ll only be staying there until about the first of the year. At that point she will ‘dry up’ or quit giving milk in preparation for giving birth. She is expecting her fourth calf in February. 

Her two daughters are also both milking cows in the herd. 

Sophia, or 4056, had her second bull calf at the end of July. She’s a great milk cow and has never had any health problems or challenges out of the ordinary. She was not, however, terribly cooperative about having her photo taken. She’s eating below on the right. 

  

Lucille, unfortunately, is the opposite. She is two years old and she had her first calf in June. Her calving was truly one of the most difficult births I have ever seen. The baby didn’t survive, and Lucy barely made it herself. She will not have any more calves. 

The bright side for her is she has recovered pretty well over the summer. She’s an average milk cow and has settled into the routine of the barn. She still lives in a smaller pen with a group of other special needs cows, and she is getting less timid and more assertive at the feed bunk.

  
While Etta’s two daughters are a rather extreme example, they show the up and down of dairy farm life. You will have many healthy, happy cows and lots of good days, but you also have sick animals, challenging days, and cows or calves you can’t save. Life and health can so quickly turn to sickness and death, and it’s a hard reality to learn and re-learn on a farm. Still, that reality is true in our human lives too. We fight and grieve our way through loss to hopefully emerge stronger, and with the grace of God we will. 

Let’s end on a more cheerful note, shall we? Nearly five years ago I first picked out our blog calf.

  

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County Fair Time

Our local county fair was going on last week, and we knew the little farmer just had to visit his first fair. He loves to look and watch things in new places, and we also decided it was a necessary prelude before his all-important first trip to the state fair.

Yes, he will definitely be going to the state fair, and no, we don’t have the day or the logistics planned yet.

We really had too many things to do at home to be carting off to the fair, but we went anyway. Do you ever do that — take off for something fun when you have dozens of other things you should be doing? Spoiler: we caught up over the next few days and it was totally worth it. :-) 

My former childless self sometimes used to look with pity at parents toting their babies around the fair, especially in the heat when it looked challenging, hot, and possibly miserable. I now realize how wrong I was. (Not about hot weather being miserable though!)

No, now I understand that with extra stuff to haul and a stroller to push the trade offs of baby smiles and quizzical looks of wonder more than balance things out. Not only can I not imagine leaving my baby behind, but I see how fun it is to experience the movement, the noises, and the joy of the fair by watching his reactions. This kid is pretty cool.

In the barns we think he was most interested in the pigs. And terrified of the chickens! We didn’t take as many pictures in the dairy barn because he gets to see cows at home, but I could not resist a pretty group of Brown Swiss.

   
    
 

  
The prelude was successful, and in less than one month it will be state fair time!  

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