"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

July 27, 2011

Sweet, juicy, and red

We picked our first watermelon yesterday and a second one today!  We ate half of the first one for lunch today, it was delicious!!  So juicy and sweet, I don't think I've ever grown anything that good before!

Juice was running down my chin and hands, it was delicious!

And someone else got to enjoy the scraps, for a short time at least.

I just thought I should add this picture.  My puppy is getting so big!  Don't worry she didn't really kiss me, that would have been gross!

July 26, 2011

First corn picking

First of all, we are all very thankful for the rain that we got last night, as small of an amount as it was.  It was much needed and much appreciated!

Today we picked and froze the first of our sweet corn.

First we cut off a small portion of the top and bottom and took most of the outer layers of husk off.

Then, we cook the corn.

We take the corn out after a certain amount of time and cool it down in cold water.

Then we husk it the rest of the way.  We found that if you do it this way, the silk is easier to get off.

Cooling it more.

Lastly, we use a grater-tool to get the kernels off, and then we put it into boxes or bags and froze it.  It is all ready for some delicious baked corn.

July 12, 2011


When working with cows, it is all about consistency!

Cows are a lot like people, they get into routines and don't like to change up their habits when something new comes along.

That is one of the reasons that we got the robots to milk the cows.  It milks them in the same way, has the same movements every time they come into the milking station.

The cows also need a consistent diet.  If the ration at the bunk changes, their stomachs can get upset and they don't feel like moving very well.  It is a challenge to get the same quality ingredients in their feed on a daily basis.  Each spring we are harvesting rye and each fall we are harvesting corn.  Each year the crop can be different, each season has its challenges.

Weather is another thing that affects the cows' "mood."  When the weather is hot and they are not in an environment that can be controlled, they become "lazy" and don't feel like moving, I feel that way when it is hot also.  When the weather is cloudy, sticky, and "close" (the pressure in the atmosphere is higher), the cows can also feel that change and be more jumpy.  This is very difficult to keep consistent because we don't control the weather, but we try to keep the barn as comfortable as possible in all seasons of the year.

Cows are very social creatures, they like to interact with each other.  But when they interact with humans, we need to be predictable with our actions and voice. 

They get accustomed to the people that take care of them because they are consistently around.  For example, we have someone living with us for 3 weeks and helping on the farm.  The first day I took her out to the barn, the cows were all really curious and all tried to sniff and lick her.  I send her to go get a cow for me who needs to go into the robot, and the cow will not get up for her.  And I come along, and the cow pops right up and backs out of her stall with just a voice command.  The cows know and respect me because I have been caring for them for over a year now.

When everything is consistent, the cows are calmer, know what to expect, and happier.  Change causes stress, and stress in cows can cause problems, like sickness or injury.

We can be like cows sometimes.  We get comfortable in our routines and forget to step out of our comfort zone to pursue meaningful conversations and relationships with others.  I am guilty of this a lot.  When I feel tired, I would rather stay at home and work on a crossword puzzle with my feet propped up than go to a friend's house to talk and hang out.  But I have to conciously make that decision to make other people more important than my own desires.  You never know when something that you do could have a big impact on someone's day or even their life.

At the same time, our lives are not very consistent.  Circumstances change all the time.  One minute our mood can be really great and we're being positive and nice to the people around us, and the next something happens that just makes us turn around and snap at someone.  Humans are not very consistent.  We let our feelings and emotions control how we live.  We let other people down, intentionally and unintentionally, and we disappoint ourselves and others. 

But God is consistent.  He does not change and never has.  And that is a good thing.  No matter what we do, or say he still loves us.  No matter how much we change he still loves us, he will never stop loving us, no matter how far we run.

"God is not human, that he should lie,
   not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
   Does he promise and not fulfill?"

       ~Numbers 23:19
"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
     coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
 who does not change like shifting shadows."
        ~James 1:17

July 11, 2011

When I grow up...

Never in my wildest dreams growing up, did I aspire to marry a farmer and actually work on a farm.  Farmers were the guys who walked around in jeans and plaid shirts and got awful tan lines.  And they work crazy hours, I do not like getting up early in the morning.

I always thought cows were big, smelly, and scary.  Every time we would go down to our pond, the neighbor's cows/heifers would come stand along the fence and stare at us.  One time they got loose and the whole herd of them came in our driveway and were running around the yard and my mom's garden like crazy!  The yard was all torn up and they destroyed some things in the garden too.

And farming was so uncool.  It was okay that other people did it, but that isn't what I wanted to do, that couldn't be what God had planned for me.  I don't even know what I wanted to do.  Maybe I wanted to be a kid all my life, play, have no responsibilities.  I liked to be outside and didn't mind getting dirty, I just didn't really like to shower.  But farming never even made my list of possible careers.

Now I walk around most of the day in boots, jeans and t-shirts (with the sleeves cut off so I don't get that farmer tan, of course), getting dirty, probably smelly, and spending most of my time among the cows.  I didn't see this coming, it just sort of grew on me.

So now, I guess I'm a farmer.  I feel weird calling myself that because I'm in charge of nothing, I just help get the work done.  And I like the work, most of the time.  I don't have to get up too crazy early, just on weekends that we work, but other than that my morning hours are pretty limited.  I still don't mind getting dirty, it is a different kind of dirt, manure rather than soil and grass, but I don't mind the smell so much anymore.  And I get to spend as much time outside as I want.

So maybe, just maybe, God was preparing me for this the whole time, I just didn't realize it until now.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14

July 8, 2011

Puppies do the cutest things

I write about Duchess a lot, but she is just so cute, most of the time.  And she is a wonderful addition to the farm.

She sits on this bench and can just peak her head above the windowsill to see inside.  So cute!

July 7, 2011

VMSPro- Midwest

Today, Josiah is speaking about our DeLaval VMS robots to farmers in the Midwest.  It's a very whirlwind trip, he will be out there for less than 24 hours.

I hope everyone there enjoys what he has to share and learns something useful to implement on their own farm.

July 5, 2011

Another garden update

I haven't written about the garden in a while.  Since the last time that I wrote, the weeds grew up and I was not able to stay ahead of them.  But thanks to a few very kind volunteers, my garden is fairly weed-free and flourishing.  I have picked 7 zucchinis, 2 cucumbers, 1 pepper, and I should go out and pick some yellow beans and sugar snap peas today. 

I have a lot of tomatoes growing on the stalks and I think I will be overwhelmed with them after a few days!  There are a few watermelons and cantaloupes growing, they are so cute and small right now! 

The zucchini will continue to provide in abundance, I'm sure.  No matter what condition my garden is in, I can always grow zucchini.  Josiah said that zucchini is a self-esteem builder, because it grows so easily.

"You take care of the earth and water it,
making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
for you have ordered it so.
You drench the plowed ground with rain,
melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
and bless its abundant crops.
You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
and the hillsides blossom with joy.
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
They all shout and sing for joy!"
~Psalm 65:9-13

July 3, 2011

Creation Fest

We spent the day at Creation Festival- Northeast yesterday.  It was a very hot day!  We tried to stay in the shade and drink plenty of fluids, unfortunately we didn't bring an abundance of water.  But we did survive.  Most of our morning and midday was spent sitting on a bench in the woods.

It was also very dry and dusty.

Honestly, this year's festival wasn't all that great.  I didn't recognize many of the artists who were there on Saturday.

There were a few highlights:

An upcoming, young artist, Jamie Grace.

Sorry, not a good photo of her on the big screen.

Shonloc and his band.

A talk-back session with TobyMac, joined by Jamie Grace and Shonloc.

Philadelphia Eagles' kicker, David Akers, was in attendance.  I didn't get a picture of him, but I thought that was really cool.  He said that even though he doesn't have a job right now because of the lockout, he was happy to be at Creation, worshipping God with so many other people.

The evening speaker had a good message about our worth being in Christ.  He spoke about all the hopelessness that a lot of people around the world feel and that even when they feel unloved by every one around them they can still know and experience the love that God has to offer them because they are his child.  After his message a lot of young people came forward for prayer.  There is so much hopelessness in the world and I really pray that all the young people who came forward won't be ashamed to go after God and share his love with their friends.

Then the closing act for the festival was TobyMac.  He is always entertaining to watch and he surrounds himself with other talented artists, like Shonloc.  His show was very similar to the one that we saw in March 2010, which was disappointing.  He did have a few new songs and it still was entertaining, but it would have been great to see something new.

Big screen shot again
Overall, it was an okay day.  I think the idea of the Creation Festival is great and I hope that it can continue to be a big witness and encouragement to people, especially for youth.