Faith Fulfilled - This Time


As I drive around some of our property I am amazed at what I see. This corn field is looking great compared to what some of our other fields are.  

Some farmers are looking at an empty field because they just could not get the seed in the ground this spring.

This has been one of the hardest years for farming – This phrase is being said way too much. So much that many don’t hear the truth of the statement.

We were weeks behind in planting due to rain. Then we had even more rain.
Finally, after tirelessly working in between the rains the seed was in the ground.

Once the corn was up and growing we had a stretch of drought to the point that the corn was curling and the thought passed through our mind – would there be rain soon enough to save the corn?

Prayers were being sent heaven ward to extend the growing season so the corn would have a chance to mature.

Throughout the growing period some farms lost growing fields of crops because of hailstorms. Others through flooding of the fields.

In faith, farmers sowed the seeds.

In faith, farmers prayed for dry weather and sunshine.

In faith, farmers prayed for rain.

In faith, farmers prayed for protection over their crops during storms.

In faith, farmers kept moving forward.

It’s harvest time. Will faith be fulfilled?

For us, in this field, we have fulfilled faith. Not all farmers can say that, nor can we for all our fields. Or, can we?

Our human ability to have faith sometimes relies on what we can see. It relies on having the results turn out the way we rehearsed.

Some farmers had faith that their farm would stand for another year, yet they had to close their barn doors. Is that failed faith?

Standing in a hail driven, beaten down corn field doesn’t shout faith fulfilled.

Yet, once we get past our expectations of what faith fulfilled should look like and get over our disappointments and grief, many times faith fulfilled comes through.

I’ve spoken to many, who sent their last cow away, say that in time all is well. God came through. Life continued and for many it was better than before.

There are so many scenarios of faith fulfilled. My picture will be different than yours. We should never hang our pictures side by side and compare.

For us, this field, this time, faith fulfilled in the manor we personally wanted.

Next field, next time, faith will be fulfilled – perhaps not our version and it may take time for us to see it, but our faith stands on this platform – God has NEVER failed us yet.

Please continue to pray for farmers everywhere.



Table Talk = Big Changes Part II

One of our new girls looks like we feel.  A new place to become familiar with and find our way.

One of our new girls looks like we feel. A new place to become familiar with and find our way.

So, if you haven’t read my previous blog, you can here:

It would be helpful to understand this blog.

With our farm expansion I have inner turmoil, false guilt and some apprehension.

Every single day farmers are closing the barn door for the last time. It sickens and saddens me. There are multiple reasons why this is happening. One idea that is popular is “big farms are eating up the small farms”. And, those big farms are always the big, bad corporate farms that are uncaring and cruel to their animals and people. They are only in it for the money.

In the scheme of things, we are definitely not a large farm. For us we have grown larger but definitely not what we would consider a large farm. Having said that we also are not a smaller mom and pops farm either. I guess it’s your perception on size.

Our size does make us a CAFO farm which some have attached to Corporate Farming. I have no idea what corporate farming is. We are still a family farm. We have three generations daily working side by side with our employees. We are the first to arrive and the last to go home.

So, while I grieve with other farmers leaving the business I have some guilt that we are making it thus far.

And, that we have added to our numbers is also considered bad by some. The thing is, while we added to our personal farm we did not add to the market. We basically relocated the dairy cows and now the milk is coming from a different location.

Farming is a business as well as a way of life. If you can’t keep the business going, the life will stop. For us, expanding was a calculated move for our business.

Our main goal is to keep this family farm alive as long as there is family who want to farm. Our son is the fourth generation and while it hasn’t been determined, his son – the fifth generation is leaning towards that.

Within myself I have the excitement for the new experience feeling fighting with the knowledge that some will think our decision is hurting other farmers.

I purpose to be respectful and supportive of all farms. I support organic as an alternative. Not better, just different. I know some farmers grow product that competes with dairy. I support their farming choices but will point out the differences in our products. I am not concerned whether you milk 50 or 5,000. We’re all in this together.

Will there be criticism from others, even farmers? Could be. I’m sure the “all knowing, never farmed” people will have no problem speaking up.

In the spirit of transparency which I tout and believe to be the best tool to communicate I felt I needed to share this.

I hope our intentions of keeping a family way of life alive for those coming after us helps everyone to see our heart and reason for our decision.

A view from the new satelite dairy.

A view from the new satelite dairy.

Which way do I go?

Which way do I go?




Table Talk = Big Changes


This is not just a dining room table.

This is where a lot of decisions are made.

And here is the latest:

At the beginning of the year we sat here with our bankers, nutritionist, herdsman, and dairy consultant. We discussed the farm and how we were doing. It’s been a very rough 5 years. We discussed and put into practice all the cuts and savings we could. We discussed how and if we could downsize. We discussed many scenarios.

Somewhere along the line we started talking about a dairy that was just north of us that was being leased by another farmer who decided to move his herd east. So, we knew the dairy might be available.

This facility is owned by a friend with like values and morals. He keeps his farm pristine, is a good businessman and has a great reputation in the community.

We worked several months putting together all the costs to create a satellite dairy. The dining room table meetings with all the players continued. Farmer and Son met with the owner and meetings with him began.

We decided we would do one thing at this location – milk cows. Any sick cows and dry cows would be brought to our main farm. All calving would be done on the main farm. The satellite dairy would be 100% milking.

After several meetings we and the owner came to an agreement.

Backing up a bit, we prayed right from the start for God to swing wide open the doors or slam them shut so tight we couldn’t get them open if we tried.

When it looked like it might be a possibility I asked in one of my private ag face book pages that we were looking for cows and wondered if anyone would have suggestions. I received a private message from a friend/acquaintance. They were considering leaving the dairy business because their son was not interested in continuing the family farm.

This herd is an award-winning herd, excellent in all ways. Farmer and our herdsman traveled to the east side of the state to take a look. They liked what they saw and after a few meetings a deal was made.

The owners took excellent care of the cattle until we were ready at the new dairy. We knew we were getting quality cows from wonderful people.

We figured out we would need six new employees and thought that would be one of the harder things to acquire since it has been a little tricky the last few years.

Six people came knocking on our door asking for a job – before we ever put the word out. Two couples and two other men. It’s been a learning curve for all of us, the employees and the cows. I have to say that I think our employees are awesome. We’ve had nothing but extra help from those on the home farm and the new dairy.

Somewhere along the line Farmer was connected to another farm up north of us. They had a similar scenario. Their son wouldn’t be able to continue the farm. Their herd was a high producing quality herd. That herd finished our need for cows.

We started loading the herd from east at 4:20ish AM

We started loading the herd from east at 4:20ish AM

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The first of October we loaded 10 semis with cows to head west. Hauling cattle was another new thing for us – at least on this level. We’ve heard horror stories.


I would like to say Long Drive Farm Trucking was excellent in many ways. They were on time, took their time loading the animals and did it in a way that we would if we were doing it ourselves. Coaxing, whistling and a little prodding – never hitting, or abusing the animals in anyway.


One week later we traveled up north to bring home the rest of the cows. We brought five semi loads home.

Son #2 perched up top fixing a pulsator.

Son #2 perched up top fixing a pulsator.

We had a few glitches when we first started milking but we are getting them ironed out. The cows are settling down and getting into their new routine. We are working out a few issues with the facility that comes once you start.

The first new cow coming up to the parlor.

The first new cow coming up to the parlor.

The first set of new cows milked.

The first set of new cows milked.

Now, along with keeping the original farm going, and spending a lot of energy at the satellite facility we started chopping corn.

We will see how this all goes. Stepping out in faith for me is like taking a step into a flowing river, being told there will be a rock a few inches under. I know the Person reassuring me that the rock is there. Even though I can’t see it beneath the white rippling of water, He is speaking truth. I have to fight the idea that if I step and the rock isn’t there I’ll be swept down the river. I have to look at the other side where I want to arrive, purpose to move while reminding myself the trustworthiness, the dependability of the Person and His love for me.

Stay tuned for part two of this and why it took so long to get this blog out.



Harvest Brings New Energy


Harvest is around the corner for us.

We should be in full swing but everything is weeks behind due to the weather.

It feels like we’ve fought against Mother Nature all year long and shortly we will see who won.

Will we have enough feed for our cows? How much will we have to buy to get through to next year where we hope to have a better season?

We always get a little surge of energy at this time. Maybe it’s like a runner rounding the last bend and he can see the finish line. The weird thing is, for farmers there is never a finish line – at least for dairy farmers. It’s ongoing. Never stops. It just changes in the activities and demands.


There is a good feeling that comes with harvest. A satisfaction fills you as you watch the chopper chew up the corn stalks for silage. And watching the corn kernels flow from the combine into the grain truck can be mesmerizing. 


And, the colors – oh the beautiful earthy colors. The amazement of traveling through a corn field when in a flash it comes to life in a form of a big buck that was camouflaged just a second ago.


The fall leaves that decorate the trees that border the fields give a reward every time to get to the end and turn around.

The air just smells different.

The coolness of the mornings calls for sweatshirts or jackets compared to starting the day off sticky and sleeveless.



Along with all this there will be tractors and farm machinery sharing the roads a little more than usual. Please, please be careful and respectful when driving near and behind. You can’t be seen and we can’t stop on a dime. Give us a wide berth and extra time. We all want to go home at the end of the day.


Happy Fall Ya’ll!

I Do and I Always Will

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Forty-eight years ago, I said I do.

I did not marry my best friend.

I have no idea if he is my soul mate. I do know he’s the man I love.

There has not been 48 years of wedded bliss. There have been blissful times.

Has our love changed?

I sure hope so.

Life happens. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. There are dark days and clouds mixed together which changes people and changes the landscape of life.

I was an 18-year-old city slicker marrying a 20-year-old farmer. Life would never be the same for me. I had no idea how hard, sometimes lonely it would be. I also never had a clue how much I would love the land, the critters and the whole experience of becoming a farmer.

If he sees black I generally see white. If he chooses yes, I will lean towards no. We have learned to come together and see gray and say maybe. And sometimes black wins over gray and no wins over yes.

Forty-eight years of trying to blend two different worlds into a new one while adding critters, kids and community is not for the weak.

But, I’m so glad I have stayed the course. That we’ve both chosen “I do” and there was never a possibility for “I don’t”.

While my kids have not seen a picture-perfect marriage and I pray daily that their marriage is better than ours, they have seen commitment at work. And at times, it’s not pretty while other times it’s a work of art.

Forty-eight years begets perseverance, patience, comfortableness, compromise, sacrifice, laying down your wants, trust, confidence and more.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that neither one of us will walk away. That when push comes to shove we will each be the shield or sword for a fight.

I would have missed so much if I had walked away.

I could have missed all the benefits of marrying my Farmer – 4 sons, 3 daughters-in-law, 8 grands, adventures, laughs, thrills, chills and spills. I could have romanticized the last forty-eight years and painted an unattainable picture. I could have worded things in a way that would cause some that read this to think they are failing.

Reality sucks sometimes. Reality causes some to quit on many things. Reality needs to be shown, spoken of and brought into the light.

At the end of the day I can say I married a good man. An honest, God-fearing, family loving, hardworking, steady man that has had to put up with an awful lot being married to me. I’m grateful he chose I do and that he continues to.

If you have that fairy tale, starry eyed, breathless relationship – good for you. If you love the person you are with but at times really, really don’t like them or are glad when you can have a short break – you’re probably closer to normal on the real-life scale of life.

Happy 48 years and counting to my Farmer who I chose and continue to choose and who I love and will always love.






Grateful Heart Moment

I just finished mowing the lawn at the barn.  

The sun was setting and it was around 60°.

Ever notice how the grass changes with seasons. The spring grass is nothing like the summer grass. The summer grass is not like the autumn grass. I love the autumn grass the best.

As I mowed, I listened and contemplated. Sometimes I carry on a conversation with God. Tonight, I was overcome with the goodness of God.

I mowed along the barn that house our milk cows and I marveled at the fact that God has given us the opportunity to care for these gentle creatures. They are so alike yet drastically different.


I could hear the skid steer scraping the alleys. I’m so grateful for the people who help us with our life. Many times, as I walk past barns I can hear someone whistling. We work hard to make our farm a good space to be and these folks who help us create an awesome place.

I finished up down by one of the slurrystores. As I was on the last round I looked over the corn field that grows next to the slurrystore. I was reminded that there was I time I was about in this same position in the yard and wondered if we would ever get the corn in the ground. Week after week we were delayed because of rain.


Even though the corn will probably not mature completely, we will be able to use it for cornlage for feed.

I’ve said it over and over this year (it’s been a tough one) that “all of this belongs to God. And, if he wants to flood the fields then he would also have to help us make it work.”

I would have to say that honestly, I’ve had a few anxious moments. I haven’t lost sleep over it but when your livelihood depends on so many things you have absolutely no control over, it can get a little worrisome at times.


Tonight, in the yard where I finished mowing, I looked up at the barn and could see my BEBs in the light of the barn. There is something so comforting about those critters. And then to turn around and look at the corn field so lush, green and beautiful I was overcome with the goodness of God. Throw in the sunset and the pinks behind the harvestores and you have a grateful heart moment.

What will our harvest look like? Don’t know.

Will we have enough corn for our cows for the next year? I’m pretty sure not.

Am I worried? Not exactly, maybe somewhat concerned but once again, this is God’s stuff and if he wanted to rain all over it then he will have to figure out a way for us to deal with it.

Sunday Walk About

My daughter-in-law does an excellent job with flowers all around the farm.

My daughter-in-law does an excellent job with flowers all around the farm.

These are on their way out for the season but I just love the two colors together.

These are on their way out for the season but I just love the two colors together.

We color coordinate our cats with our calves.

We color coordinate our cats with our calves.

A few of the new ones. I think there were 4 others on the other side of the pen.

A few of the new ones. I think there were 4 others on the other side of the pen.

This has been growing by our parlor many, many years.

This has been growing by our parlor many, many years.

Even the parlor windowsills display the awesomeness of flowers.

Even the parlor windowsills display the awesomeness of flowers.

We’ll call her “One-Horn”.

We’ll call her “One-Horn”.

I really like the marking on her face. About a month ago I climbed into the close-up pen (the pen where the cows are kept that are close to calving) to get a picture and could never get one head on.

I really like the marking on her face. About a month ago I climbed into the close-up pen (the pen where the cows are kept that are close to calving) to get a picture and could never get one head on.

Getting some smooches from my moochas.

Getting some smooches from my moochas.

Sometimes they look like “You again, go ahead, take the picture.”

Sometimes they look like “You again, go ahead, take the picture.”

Enjoying the sunshine whilst lounging in their freestalls.

Enjoying the sunshine whilst lounging in their freestalls.



I remember when we got this truck. Maybe 10 years ago or so. Oh, if we could list everything ever hauled in here.

I remember when we got this truck. Maybe 10 years ago or so. Oh, if we could list everything ever hauled in here.

The sunset was pinking the eastern/southern sky.

The sunset was pinking the eastern/southern sky.

There are days that feel hard. Too hard. And then there are days that feel like a treasure given. For whatever reason God choose me for here and I’m thankful, blessed, and grateful.

The By-Products of Farming


We own and operate a dairy farm. Our one and only product that we produce for income is milk. Milk alone. Yet, there are many by-products that most wouldn’t even know about.

Let me inform you -


We have the pleasure of seeing a lot of God’s critters that are usually hidden in his creation.


We’ve also have coyotes, snow owls, hawks, coons and more.

Another by-product is working together as a family. We frequently have 3 generations in the field.

Son #2 Chopping, Grandson #2 hauling wagons and I am merging. 3 Generations.

Son #2 Chopping, Grandson #2 hauling wagons and I am merging. 3 Generations.

This is something Son#2 made up when I was merging with Grandson #2.

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I have the privilege of watching my Son teach his son.

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We experience miracles daily.

Watching a seed that was buried come to life.

Watching a seed that was buried come to life.

Watching our employees enjoy God’s creation.


Having wide open spaces for our personal critters to roam - even tho it can be messy at times.

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The sweet smells. I wish there was a way to share the delish aromas. The scent of fresh cut alfalfa, the sweet smell of milk and the distinguished fragrance of feed.

Having God paint the skies for us morning and night.

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Then there is the quiet place in the barns when no one is around where you can let the weight of the world fall off your shoulders and be filled with the holiness of God.

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There you have just a few of the by-products of farming. I could continue on for pages.

If you’re confused by the word by-product, just insert the word blessing.

I’m ever so grateful God plopped me here. Taking care of his critters and creation is an enjoyable honor.

You're Not Better, Just Different. Now, Please Get Off my Back



Milk alternatives are better than dairy = a big fat lie, unless they are. 

How’s that for a confusing first sentence?

Nut juices and plant-based drinks that vie for your dairy needs have done a great job of “convincing” you that their product is better for you. Well, that depends.

If you are lactose intolerant (there is a dairy alternative), allergic to milk, or just plain don’t care for the taste of milk, then drinking the alternative is better for you. It fills your personal need.

But, if you are across the board telling us that the plant-based drinks are better as in healthier than you’ve just spoken a total lie.

Now, before you start assuming I’m going to slam the dairy alternative products, think again. I will not speak against a fellow farmer. You see, there is a farmer behind those almonds, soy and whatever else they are using to create that drink. As a fellow farmer I intend to speak the truth while supporting all other farmers. Farming is way too hard to pit farmer against farmer.

I will say though I am not happy how the marketing for the alternative drinks are. The marketing firms have done a terrific job piggybacking dairy. They package like dairy; they even steal the term milk and some of these products sit in the dairy case right beside the real deal. That is confusing for shoppers. Hopefully there are things in process that will bring that false advertising to an end.

I would like to tell you a few things about the value of real dairy.

Milk is always 100% antibiotic free. 
Milk is a food item that is never touched by human hands.
There are 9 essential nutrients in milk - calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12,
riboflavin and niacin.
Milk is a great recovery drink for athletes.
Milk does the body good.
Milk is not full of added ingredients. Other than Vitamin D, milk is all milk.

Don’t be confused in the grocery store by labels and advertising. Milk comes from a mammal. I’ve never seen a mammary gland on almonds or other plants.

If you want info about the other drinks, then help yourself.

Whether you choose a plant beverage or the real deal – dairy, please recognize a living breathing farmer worked hard to provide that beverage for you.


Opps We HAD to do it Again!


Oyyyy. Challenges, challenges. 

We use ag bags (basically long white plastic tubes – Farmer will cringe at this simplistic definition) to store haylage and corn silage.

We’ve been very fortunate to finally be out in the fields making hay.

Yesterday we were filling one of these bags – 12’ X 300’. You can link here for another blog I did when we were filling the ag bags with corn silage – that will show you how this works.

A good portion of the day was used filling this bag.

On one trip back to the bag someone noticed a small hole – about the size of the bottom of a Gatorade bottle – so says Son# 2. He and one of the guys went to the shop to get special tape to take care of the hole.

When they were walking back towards the bag they could see the hole had grown about 2 feet. They then turned around and went in search for a piece of ag bag to patch it.


On their return the bag had started to split. Then it went like a zip line. Split all the way to where we were loading it – about 120 feet. The torn section flipped all the way over to the opposite side leaving nothing but a mountain of haylage in all its glory.

Son #2 and Grandson #2 made a clean cut where the tear started so the bag wouldn’t split the opposite way.

Well, that worked great – for a minute. Then the bag started to split on top going the opposite way starting at the point of the initial split. They became Ninja warriors and jumped on top of the bag and ran back a few feet to cut it again. You know jump off the top holding a knife in one hand slicing the side of the ag bag.


Now, what do you do with all that naked haylage?

You have to figure out how to store it.


We called the great people we get our bags from and they brought over a different kind of bagger than what we own. With this one you can dump a whole load right into the hopper or feeder – whatever you want to call it. (I need to take a moment to ask for forgiveness for all the wrong wordage I am using. Farmer is probably shuddering right about now if he even takes the time to read this.)


With the JCB and a loader the feed was scooped back up, fed into the bagger and taken care of. It took several hours to finish.

We can look at this in a couple of different ways.

1.     Several hours were wasted having to do the same job twice. And, we are so far behind. Just one more set back.
2.     Well, wasn’t that fun. Something new and different!

We are choosing #2. It’s kind of funny how it all happened. And, “crap” happens.  

We’re grateful we had the nice day to make hay and the ability to fix the problem.

And, Son #2 and Grandson #2 got to get their “Ninja” on.

The naked haylage after the bag ripped.

The naked haylage after the bag ripped.


The new bag.

The new bag.






We're All in This Together

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I can become easily annoyed at something, especially if I don’t understand the reason behind the something. Add to that having a bad day or being tired or whatever and it just makes it worse. 

We received a phone call from a Right to Farm person requesting some information due to a complaint. I choose to believe this person was just like me. They didn’t like the situation and just wanted it fixed and fixed now.

The complaint was that we spread manure too thick and it smelled too bad in a field behind their home. I agree manure stinks and I’m not too happy when it’s in the fields surrounding my house either.

Spreading manure – natural fertilizer is a necessary good thing. Cows poop and we have to take care of it. Manure is an excellent natural fertilizer for our fields.

The Right to Farm guy came out and went over the records that we keep and went to the field with Son#2 and found no problem. We are following the rules and have done things correctly.

We follow the National Dairy F. A. R. M. rules. (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) and we have been MAEAP verified - The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program which is voluntary.

We feel strongly that we must be good stewards of this land and care givers to God’s critters.

This year has been a stellar year for setbacks and challenges. Having to take the time to put together the records, meet with the FARM person, travel to the field was all time that could/should have been used planting corn. And, it would have been nice to connect with someone lives near one of our fields.

Having said all of that, I would like to make a suggestion to anyone who has an issue with anything farm, please contact the farmer. We are more than happy to help clarify, or even correct a situation if it is within our power to do so.

For example, a few years back a small amount of manure splashed out of the manure spreader at a stop sign on an uphill corner. The person living there found our number and called us and left a message. Meanwhile, when the tractor driver made his trip back to the barn he saw the spill – until then he didn’t know about it. He called Son #2 and he and others went to the place with shavings and cleaned up the minor spill.

The neighbor called back and said they were amazed at how quickly and efficiently we took care of the problem. We told them we appreciated their communication.

We aren’t able to go door to door to all houses within smelling range of our fields but if we could, (and we’ve had this conversation with many) we would tell them we are willing to work with them and special occasions. If you are having a party or get-together, let us know and if at all possible we will avoid your area – whether it be hauling manure or working up the field. Our goal is to farm as efficiently as we can while having great relationships with our community.

While I’m at it and trying to explain a few things, here are a couple other complaints we’ve heard and other farmers have heard. Maybe I could clarify it here.

“Why do you have to wait until the evening to work in the fields? The tractor is too noisy.”

The answer: We don’t wait. Sometimes we have been busy all day long doing other things that had to be done. There are never enough hours in the day for farmers. If we have a time deadline or trying to beat the weather we will keep going even if it is late at night.

“Why do you have to be on the main roads, can’t you travel the back roads?”

Answer – we do as much as possible. Not all farmers have their fields connected in one area. When we have to travel to another field off the main farm we take the back roads when we can. Unfortunately, there are a few fields that are either on a main road or you can only get to them from a main road.

Those are just a couple.

We wished we had the opportunity to address each and every person and question when it comes to why, what, when and where with our farm. That is one reason we do farm tours.

I’m pretty sure most farmers are trying to do the best they can with their farming operations. And we all want to be a community that can live together in harmony.

We can’t fix what we don’t know – so let us know and we will do our very best to fix it.

Somethings just can’t be fixed – we will do our best to explain and try to find a solution.

We’re all in this together.



When Things Get Too Hard


I finally got out of my “bubble”.

We had to travel to Ohio to pick up some seed. It was raining yet again. We had to have the seed so it was a “good” day to go.

“Good” day? Hard to use that word “good”.

It was a cloudy dreary day. The farther south we got the drearier and more depressing it became.

As we headed south we scanned the fields trying to see if the field we were driving by had been planted yet. Many had not. And, those that had been planted were hardly up and growing.

Then the standing water – worse than we have in our immediate area began.

Yesterday when I was merging hay there was a spot that I drove through a mud puddle. Our ground is wet but what we saw were bodies of water instead of puddles.

Mile after mile the land is under water. The corn that was planted is now drowning. The land that is untouched will stay that way much longer. It makes me wonder if it will be worked up at all this year.

As I watched farm after farm and saw farm houses and barns connected to the land I could imagine a farmer standing in the kitchen looking out the window or walking to the barn looking at the field behind the building with a sick feeling in their stomachs. Mentally calculating how many days there would be left to plant in order to get any kind of harvest. And, will it get done?

Some are tallying up their losses wishing they would have had insurance – one of the things they cut this spring because they were bleeding and needed that Band-Aid of one less payment.

The possibility of failing wraps it’s arms around the chest and makes it hard to breathe for some. The fear of “what will happen” robs sleep, sickens bodies, ravages emotions and wreaks havoc on marriages and families.

There are some farmers that are so worn out they just can’t function properly. Their mind is compromised and beaten down by trying to figure out a way to get seed in the ground that is too wet to walk on let alone a  10,000+ lb. piece of equipment necessary to do the job.

In that quiet desperation the anguish becomes too heavy to bear. The thought of being “done” with everything becomes inviting. The fight to continue has been fought and the only thing left is despair and hopelessness. The heaviness prevents rational thinking and that’s when the evil of suicide becomes a horrific action that can’t be reversed.

Please, please pray for farmers and ranchers.

Please go to their farm pages and personal pages and leave encouraging messages.

Please call them and tell them you are praying for them.

Please drop in and ask, “How are you doing?”

Please, please pay attention to them. Notice if they are becoming quiet or withdrawn. Ask them if you can help. Ask them if they need help. Offer to go for counseling with them. Call The Farmer’s Suicide number for help. Or go to this site for help

Please if you are having hopeless feelings, call a friend and tell them.

We need you. This country needs you. You are part of a special tribe that can’t afford another loss. You are valuable. You cannot be replaced. Your family will not function without you. There is another way.

Following is information to call to get some help. Please, please make the effort to try one more thing – call:

800-FARM-AID – 800-327-6243 or National Suicide 800-273-TALK – 800 327-6243







Walk Around the Farm


I thought I would take a stroll around the farm tonight and decided to bring you along.

These wagons are just itching to go - if only the weather would cooperate.


Supper time - which is most of the time.


A couple of newbies.


I saw her when I was mowing lawn a week ago and wanted to get up close for a picture. She was in the close up pen and I climbed down from the feed bunk and ticked off a bunch of others to get to her. I really like her markings.


These gals are just coming back from milking. The alleys are scraped and feed is on their table.


My daughter-in-law does a great job with the flowers.


While I was there tonight I snuck up on one of our awesome employees. He never saw me but I watched him. He was moving the cattle around and was walking calmly behind them - no yelling, no drama - just quietly moving them from behind.


One of my famous selfies - a kiss from one of my girls.

The Watchers


In the last few days I’ve spoken with three different women from three different states and the stress level is high. 

We normally hear about the stress farmers are under and those farmers are female too, but I’m referring to the female farmer that is also the mother or wife.

As a woman I think we are naturally nurturers (not saying guys aren’t) and in that role we seem to feel like we need to be the one who holds everyone together.

We watch our husbands worry over not getting the crops in. Or when the machinery breaks down and tensions are rising we women have an overwhelming desire to fix things or to at least help our guys feel better.

“Fixing things” is not attainable yet we strive to the point of dismay.

We see relationships between husband and son, husband and wife, sons and sons  . . . the list could go on – deteriorate with each passing day that field work is stalled.

We watch as tensions rise and words are quick and sharp when normally they aren’t present.

We see the body language change. The hand running through the hair, the rubbing of the back of the neck, the tiredness in their eyes.

We try unsuccessfully to be the buffer between our farmer and bad news.

This year with so much going against us it seems worse. We should be finishing corn planting yet we have not a single kernel in the ground. Too wet. Then yesterday we had a few hours where we could have started before the rain came again but the corn planter was down. It was a holiday and with all the high tech going on farmers are at the mercy of their dealers. So, today the planter will be fixed while the rain comes back.

Simple questions about a field between father and son, mother and son etc. becomes accusatory without effort.

Conversations begin and end with negativity.

Sleep comes but rest doesn’t always accompany it.

Whether we women are side by side working, in a supporting role such as bookwork, runner, cooking for the guys or whatever, we watch.

We watch and then we try to fix.

When we come to one and try to get them to see the other person’s perspective we usually get caught in the cross fire.

Sometimes we watchers just listen. A husband or son will slip in the sit at the table and let their frustrations with others go. It’s a good dumping place. A place where the tension can spill out and give them some room to breathe for a while. But, the spill is usually soaked up by the watcher/listener. You can’t let the spill sit on the floor.

There’s a lot of attention on farmers and their emotional stability as there should be. This is a tough time.

I just want to turn the attention to the watchers.

For you farmers, sons, husbands please consider the watchers in your life. Be careful not to dump too much. Take some time to be the listener. Ask her how she’s doing. Find something positive to say. Even if you have to state the obvious – “Well, another rainy day. We’ll just have to figure it out.” Instead of “I can’t believe it. Another rainy day. When will it ever stop? How in the world will get out crops in and with milk prices so low how will. . . . ”

Watchers are strong and sturdy. Yet even the strongest trees will fall when the winds of adversity last too long.

To all the watchers out there – you are seen and cared for by the greatest Watcher of all. God stands beside you as you try to make peace and find an answer. He hears your frustration and sees your tears. He knows your heart and how divided it can be with the relationships you have. He watches as your mind spins and spins for answers. He knows. He sees. And he has one thing for you to know. You are not God. You are not responsible for everyone and everything. He watches and waits for us to take all our troubles and lay them down. He works better when we aren’t trying to “help’.

As a watcher, it’s a daily task for me to “lay it down”. We want fast, quick fixes but it doesn’t work that way.

As we daily practice to “lay it down” it does become easier at times.

Bottom line – watchers can’t fix. Give it all to the Head Watcher.














Farming for Flowers. It's a Beautiful Thing


When you think of farming, do you think flowers?

Here in West MI we have all variants of farming. We are fortunate to have a gem within our boundaries.

Veldheer Tulip Gardens
12755 Quincy St
Holland, Michigan 49424

Farmer and I have the blessing of being able to call the Veldheers friends. They are some of the nicest, most “down to earth” folks you will meet.

We had a cookout there the other night after hours and we got the scoop! Jodi took us on a tour and I blasted her with question after question. And, I just got to the surface. The more I asked, the more I didn’t know.

I’m going to give you a quick tour with a few facts in order to convince you to make the trip. Especially in the spring when it’s in its full regal.

They are over 6 million now.

They are over 6 million now.

I could have you scroll for hours looking at the tulips but I’ll resist. There are more than tulips here at the garden that I want to show you too.

Here are some you can see - hopefully this will whet your appetite and visit yourself.

You know how they say pictures don’t do justice. I agree.

This is a peony tulip. Full and fluffy - looks like the peony flower.

This is a peony tulip. Full and fluffy - looks like the peony flower.

Notice the speckling on the leaves?

Notice the speckling on the leaves?

I will post more pictures of tulips at the bottom of this blog. For now, you need to see what else is at the farm.

They have a gift shop where you can purchase any and all bulbs. Some of these tulip bulbs can be obtained from Veldheers or you have to travel to Holland - the country to get them. Yes, they have exclusive tulips. Any ya’ll know you don’t want a tulip like your neighbors - come here and get the elite ones!

One of the artists that were choosen in the past for Tulip Time has her art work on display. Also, she bringing artists into the fields to paint.

One of the artists that were choosen in the past for Tulip Time has her art work on display. Also, she bringing artists into the fields to paint.


If you need to cleanse your sight pallete, you can check out the buffalo on the farm.


There is also a gift shop with traditional Holland gifts. Some are imported but many are hand made and hand painted. You can watch and visit with the painters as they work.

You can be fitted and purchase wooden shoes from Holland.

You can be fitted and purchase wooden shoes from Holland.


Or you can purchase hand made shoes from Veldheer’s. You can watch as the shoe is formed from a chunk of poplar wood.

You can have them customed painted.

You can have them customed painted.


Now, back to the tulips.


See that spec on the thumbnail? That is a tulip SEED. Yes, a seed. That little seed will grow into a bulb. That’s how we aquire tulips - as a bulb. And, we should be grateful. Why? Because the only way that little seed will become a bulb is with total perfect conditions and it will take a few years - 21. Yes! It takes 21 years for a seed to form into the bulb that we purchase.

There is so much more to learn. And, I’m going to go back and camp at Veldheer Tulip Farm and bug Jim and Jodi to find out more information - at least until they kick me out.

You can follow them on face book - or on-line -

I will leave you with more of the gorgeous tulips.