"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

April 29, 2011

Sun and shield

So yesterday there were some pretty fierce storms around the country.  We were under a tornado warning maybe 2 times in the morning.  We didn't have any tornadoes thankfully, but we did get some pretty heavy rain.  In about a 2 hour span we got about 0.9 in. of rain.  And we were really hoping to avoid a lot of rain since it is time to harvest the rye.

And Wednesday and Thursday everyone was busy cutting and spreading out the rye, but yesterday all that work came to a stand-still because of this:

Then more rain came.

And it made me realize just how much the future of this farm, of our lives depends on God.  We can plan things out for how we want them to go and plan for success, but there are a lot of things that are completely out of our control, like the weather.  The rye was all cut and ready to be chopped, but now we have to wait a little longer because it got wet.

I was reading from Psalm 84 this morning and thought verse 11 was especially appropriate for this situation:
"For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.  He gives us grace and glory.  The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right."
So we do need the Lord to be our sun to dry out the fields and the rye, and we need him to be our shield, to guard against break-downs of equipment or more damage to the rye.  It is God who is in control, and he has the power to dry out our fields so that we can have another year of bountiful harvest.  He will provide and we hope that he will withhold no good thing from this farm.

April 26, 2011

Europe: Day 4 & 5

Back to our trip.  The fourth and fifth days we spent touring farms in The Netherlands.  We visited 4 farms on each day.  I'll just give a few highlights.

The first farm: 2 VMS system, I think this was a renovation because the building looked fairly well used.

After the tour the farmer invited us into his home to talk over tea and coffee.

This was also one of our tour guides, and he liked to lay all stretched out on his back. 

Farm number two:  we were kind of right on the edge of a village, this one was expanding, another renovation with 2 VMS and automatic feeding.

The feed wagon

The feed mixer, the whole system is called Opti-feeding.
After this we stopped for lunch at the "White House."

The third farm: had some horses out in front of the barn, a new 2 VMS installation.

Then these two cuties showed up and wanted their pictures taken, they also wanted to lick me, but I wouldn't allow that.

The final farm on the 4th day: the farmer and his mother(?) were both wearing wooden shoes, this barn was another renovation of 2 VMS, he had a unique feeding system.

They put the feed in the alley and then as the cows eat it, they knock pieces off the block, so they always have food close enough to eat.

Then as the feed runs lower, they pull the headlocks closer with a chain.  Very interesting concept.

Then we went to our hotel in Zwolle.

The next day, day 5, we also visited 4 farms.  This day was a little more interesting than the previous because a lot of the farms had dogs, and it was nice to see a different animal other than cows.

But before we left from our hotel in the morning, we noticed that the front tire on our car was running low on air again, so we decided to take it off and put the spare on until we could get someone to blow up the tire again.

And we were only supposed to go 80 kph.

Farm 1: 1 VMS, has been milking with robotic milkers for like 9 years, had a different kind for a few years and then switched to the Delaval VMS, had a gorgeous dog, and a potatoe gun/canon.

And they blew up and changed our tire for us, they were so nice.

And the dog smiled the whole time!

Second farm: 1 VMS in a new barn.

Third farm: new building, 4 VMS installed with 2 more on the way, barn only has a roof no walls.

Final farm:  2 VMS and Herd Navigator.  I really don't know all that much about what the Herd Navigator does, for that information you would need to ask Josiah.  He was the most excited to see this and learn more about this valuable management tool.  And while Josiah and the others looked around this farm, I played soccer with this adorable dog and talked to one of the farmer's daughters.

She would not go away, every time I kicked the ball she would run after in and tackle it, then run back to try to find me.  Believe me, I tried to hide, but she found me.
And that was the final farm, and I am so glad that our farm visits are over.  They were interesting, but a whole lot more interesting to Josiah than to me.  And after these visits, the group from Canada took us to the train station and dropped us off.  And then we rode the train for about 2 hours back to Groningen to meet up with Peter.  Once we found him at the train station, he took us to his home where we stayed for the next 3 and a half days.

April 25, 2011

It has begun

The rye harvest has officially begun for us.  Grandpa just started cutting it this evening, and it will, hopefully, continue throughout this whole week.  Praying that it will not rain too much!

The rye is almost up to the top of this calf's back, and in some places it is almost as tall as my waist.

And he has all of this to do plus a bunch more.