york swirls

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Leah - The Graduate

Leah's kindergarten graduation party got pushed aside this spring with all we went through with Lainey. We decided to try and squeeze it in this weekend because Uncle Bill & Aunt Debbie and their kids were going to be up from Lexington for the weekend. We had the grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and cousins over for a little party this afternoon. Leah had a great time opening her gifts and playing with her cousins.

A Visit from our Friends, The Whisnants

Gary let Austin Whisnant move the combine and put the auger out.
Ethan Whisnant enjoyed driving the Ranger.
The Whisnants, a Southern Gospel singing group, spent Thursday afternoon and evening with us. They parked their bus in the driveway for the night. On Friday morning, Gary & the girls showed them the cows and tried to explain how harvest works. Since it rained so much this week, Gary wasn't able to give them a ride in the combine. Then we all loaded up and went to Wheatland, Indiana, for their concert Friday night. We enjoyed supper afterwards at Denny's before heading our separate ways. We didn't get any pictures of the whole group of us because we were too busy, but "a good time was had by all."
It was the Whisnant's song, Even in the Valley, that meant so much to me during my pregnancy and the loss of Lainey. I will post a Youtube link to the song below.

The Whisnants - Even in the Valley

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Picnic Anyone?

Next time you're invited to our house for a meal, it just might be under our new shelter house. My mom & dad thought this might be a nice addition to our cooking/eating area outside, and I'm sure it will be. They had the contractor that put the roof on their house come over and put this up for us. Isn't it great? Of course, we got it finished just in time for the cold and wind and rain this week! We're checking into our options and cost for enclosing the sides. Then we would put a wood-burning stove inside to cook on and to provide heat during the colder months. Wouldn't that make a great place to go inside to warm up and have a cup of hot chocolate while you're out sledding and playing in the snow? And, of course, we already know it will make a great place to sit in the shade and picnic during the warmer months.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lainey Grace

Lainey has been on my mind a lot this week. The girls and I put fall flowers on her grave this week. I thought I'd take a picture of the stone that is there now for those of you that haven't seen it. We haven't ordered a permanent one yet. I have been selling baked goods at the elevator where Autumn works. I made another deposit in Lainey's fund today. So far we've deposited $136 from our baked goods sales....slowly working our way towards that baby grand piano for the church in Lainey's memory.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our Family Farm Operation

Do you think we should wash it today? This is after following a tractor and wagons from one farm to the other last night after dark with my flashers going. I lost track, but I think I made the round-trip about 10 times. One mile each way was gravel. The dust was billowing so bad behind the wagons that at times I couldn't see them just 15 feet in front of me.

The girls all played in the back of the van with Kara's new birthday toys until about 10:00. Krissy came & picked them up and put them to bed for me. Autumn doesn't know it, but she was in charge last night while she was upstairs asleep and the girls were all sleeping...but they knew if they needed anything that Autumn was there. When I got home about 1:20 a.m., everyone was sleeping peacefully.
Meagan is unloading the grain cart into the wagons for Nathan & Autumn to take them to the bin and unload them. Autumn & Nathan "pooped out" at 8:00, so Bruce, Heather & I took over. I guess we'll forgive them since it was 9:00 Nathan's time, he had an hour's drive home, and he'd been up since 3:30 a.m. We sure appreciated his and everyone's help last night. Autumn wasn't feeling well and had worked from 7-4. Krissy worked from 7-7 and came home to a cold supper. Then she did the dishes & laundry and put the girls to bed for me while I was driving around in circles in a dust storm. Farm life is a family affair...team work.

The pictures directly above and below are from last Friday when we were cutting beans. (Last night we were picking corn.) The picture above shows how we put the grain in the bins. I've helped with that more this year than I have for a long time. Once we get Grandpa up on that tractor, he usually stays there since he's 81 years old. (Last night, he pooped out at 9 p.m.) Thus they need extra help (me) to swing that hopper around after someone (Meagan) pulls the tractor and wagon(s) up there.

This is what we were doing last night until 1 a.m. Bruce drove the tractor pulling the wagons. Heather rode with him to be "the hooker." She would pull the hitch pin on the empty wagons to drop them in the field for Gary & Meagan to fill. Then she would hold the wagon tongue and put the pin in on the full set of wagons. Then we would drive 2 1/2 miles to the other farm where the bin was. Heather & I would push the hopper under the wagon once Bruce got close enough. Then he would get up on the John Deere tractor you see in the picture and start it & turn on the PTO that runs the auger while Heather & I opened the doors to let the grain flow out of the wagon and into the hopper.

Happy Birthday, Kara!!!!

Birthday Meals-on-Wheels

Kara turns 8 today-Columbus Day. We had her birthday party last night IN THE FIELD! This is the first time in those 8 years we've actually had her birthday party in the field, but it just worked out that we needed to this year. She loved it because the girls love to eat in the field.

Heather & Erin made Kara a General Lee birthday cake. (It's chocolate underneath that orange icing.)

A very happy birthday girl! When Kara was born 8 years ago, she was very cooperative and was born on a Sunday so her daddy didn't have to miss any work because he always takes Sundays off. We all got dressed and ready to go back to the evening church service when I decided it was time for Kara to come. The girls all put their play clothes back on and went to Grandma's house. By the end of the church service, Kara was born so we could call the church to let everybody know why we weren't there. She was our biggest baby, weighing 11 lbs. 1 oz.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Karen's Kitchen

Twice baked potatoes


Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Gluten-free apple crisp (round) & Regular apple crisp (oblong)

I thought maybe some of you would like to see what a day in my kitchen brings forth. I have people ask me all the time about how I feed all of us. This is what came out of my kitchen yesterday afternoon.

I sent the 2 apple crisps to work with Autumn today. Her boss mentioned that they'd been in harvest two weeks already, and Autumn's mom hadn't sent any treats for them yet. I beat her to the punch because I already had these in the oven when I heard that.

The cookies are chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips in them. I only made a single batch because these dry out pretty fast. I usually don't bother making the mess unless I make a double batch of cookies. I kept some of these for snacks and packaged some in bags of 5 cookies each to send with Autumn (except she forgot them and Krissy had to take them for me). I have a little basket at the elevator where Autumn works that I sell baked goods from for $1. I've been adding that money to Lainey's piano fund.

The strombolis were our supper last night....easy to transport to various places since I didn't know where everyone would be at supper time last night. I made the potatoes for a dinner at church tonight.

It takes a lot to feed this crowd. I never start with anything less than 4 pounds of ground beef....whether it's sloppy joes, strombolis, or whatever. For most potato dishes, I start with 12-14 potatoes. It's normal to make a double batch (12 dozen) cookies every 2 or 3 days.

Last weekend, we had the drivers and their families over for a farewell party on Saturday and a carry-in dinner at church on Sunday. I made 2-8 lb. hams, a double batch of twice baked potatoes, a double batch of green bean casserole, a large bar pan (Pampered Chef) of pumpkin bars, a half sheet pan of brownies, 2-9x13 pans of apple pie bars, 6 eggs worth of homemade noodles with 3 lbs. of chicken......for starters. My friend told me I should open a restaurant. I told her I DO run a restaurant!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beginning Harvest on the Cooper Farm

They're putting the grain platform on the combine to start combining soybeans. Meagan is in the combine with Gary on one side of the head and Nathan on the other giving her directions. They opened up the field across the road late this afternoon. The girls are looking forward to a long day of riding in the combine tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Harvest--Our Favorite Season

Excitement is running high around here!! Gary's going to start combining beans tomorrow. This is everyone's favorite time of the year at our house.....riding with Dad in the combine....riding with Meagan in the tractor.....riding with Bruce in the semi.....packing the picnic basket and cooler to eat meals in the field.....going to the elevator to get peanuts.....following a tractor after dark with our flashers going.....banging on the side of the wagon to get the last of the beans or corn to run out....the smell of freshly turned dirt. Farmers are just a breed of their own and farm kids are just different from other kids. We LOVE being a farm family. (The picture above was taken exactly a year ago, 10/6/2010. Meagan is running the grain cart while Gary dumps on-the-go. I'll post current pictures later....when I have some!)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Posting Comments

Meagan did "something" this evening. I don't know what it was, but she said I should post that you can leave comments now without any "complications." I've had a few people tell me they would leave a comment, but they weren't sure how to do it. Try leaving one! I'd love to hear from some of you. I miss the Guestbook on the Caring Bridge site. It's been all one-sided on the blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The End of an Era

After a decade in the trucking business, we are coming off the road. We are having a "going-out-of-business" sale...Anybody need a semi? As you can see, we have a whole barnlot full of them.

This decision has been a long time coming, but there were many factors that were indicators that this was God's timing. September 30th was our last day. Cooper Trucking began April 1, 2001, with a $5 investment to open a checking account. The guy we were working for carried the loan on our first truck. Scott Floyd was our first driver.

Over the past 10 1/2 years, we've seen 30 drivers come through here. God has given us the opportunity to minister to many of them in different ways. We've presented the Gospel to them every year at our annual Christmas party. We even were blessed to see one driver that we had to let go accept Christ as his Savior when he met Gary to turn in his truck and phone. It has been a decade of growth as our faith has been increased. There have been good times and bad, happy times and sad, mountain peaks and valleys.

It's been a bit scary to take this step, but exciting at the same time. The business has become very stressful. Gary is really looking forward to harvest without having to spend his day trying to orchestrate truck repairs over the phone while sitting at the end of the field with everyone waiting on him to get off the phone.

People have asked, "What are you going to do with all your spare time?" or "What are you going to do now?" The answers to those questions would be that we plan to be able to spend more time together as a family, to be more involved in our church, to actually be able to talk to Gary, to be able to go places when we want to & not have to stay close to home in case there's a service call. Nineteen years ago, we told Gary's dad that we didn't want to take over the dairy operation when he retired because we didn't want to be tied down and never able to leave home. The trucks have become those dairy cows to us. Somebody we'd never met before asked Gary today if he was retired. I snickered and said, "He's not old enough to retire even though he looks like it." Gary said he hoped it would feel like he was retired in the near future without all the trucks and drivers to babysit.

This has been quite a year with Lainey, Krissy, and now this...so many life-changing events. As you all know, music is a big part of our life and I'm always quoting a favorite song. What comes to mind now is .......Here on the potter's wheel, I find myself once more...I'll trust the potter's hand. He knows what's best for me. He has a perfect plan these human eyes can't see. He's the potter. I'm the clay. He knows just how much I can take. When I face the fire again, I'll trust the potter's hand.