Back when cars were simple
Back when cars were simple

The Easter egg hunt is over. It was fun, for me anyway. This year I missed out on my April fool's day trick so I made the annual Easter egg hunt my day.

Inside a few eggs I put some surprises that were duds. I knew they were duds, they were designed to make the boys believe that one particular surprise was real, especially after so many were filled with dumb stuff. Inside one egg was a single gumdrop. In another was a 'Jesus Loves Me' sticker. . But there was one large egg that had a car key inside. Cookie's car has transmission problems. His birthday is coming up, he'll be 21, he's been dropping hints. When he opened this egg his mouth fell open. “Is this a real key?” he looked stunned.

“Yep. It's a real key.” The kid's quick.

“Are you serious? This is a real key?” He held up the key. A look of thrilling disbelief crossed his face.

Smiling, I gave him a hug. “That key belongs to a car in the driveway. Take a look.”

 He looked out the window. He looked puzzled and asked, “What car is this the key for?”

 “That's the key for your Toyota.”

 He started laughing, “I knew you wouldn't get me a car. It was pretty exciting for the minute it lasted, though.”

 “I'm sure it was. You should probably have that transmission looked at.”

 “Will do.” He smiled, not as broadly, but it was still a smile. His brother, on the other hand, thought this was hysterical because it didn't happen to him. It was the Easter key to happiness.

Today’s post is written by Garrett. Garrett loves winter and always has fun.  Enjoy.

Garrett (2)
 Garrett's always ready for fun

I love this season. When I was younger my brother, Cookie and I would spend winter days making snowmen. We usually built them just to knock them down again. However, on one occasion we got very creative. Our dad's architecture office was in town but he'd come home for lunch to see us. Cookie and I loved to ambush him. In the summer we'd hide in the hayloft and blast him with our Super Soaker's. In the fall we'd hide in leaf piles and jump out to scare him.

"If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm." -Bruce Barton

 During the winter we had great fun building rows of snow people across the driveway just to see them run over by our dad's truck. One day we had an even better idea. Not only would we build snowmen across the driveway, but we'd  put bags of red food coloring inside them. This way we were sure to scare our dad into thinking that he'd run something over! The morning was spent building whole families of snow people filled with food coloring. By the time our dad got home it was impossible to avoid hitting them. As good humored as he is, he willingly obliged us by driving over them again, and again. Much to his dismay though, my brother and I started yelling instead of laughing when he hit the snowmen. He stopped to see what was going on. He was thoroughly confused by the red snow all over the driveway where the snowmen had been. Only then did Cookie and I burst into laughter, which was short lived. We were then given the task of cleaning up our mess before someone thought there had been some kind of tragic accident. My dad was worried that we would scare our older neighbor, Corky. On a fairly regular basis she would watch what Cookie and I were doing through the lens of her binoculars. She would report our activities to our mom who, in turn, would ask us to move to the other side of the yard out of Corky's view. My dad didn't want to upset her so we started shoveling clean snow over the gruesome scene. We kept a few snowmen in the yard with the carnage still visable as a reminder of the fun we'd had.

Farm Boys



Today's post is written by Cookie. We were going through old pictures and I asked him to write about growing up on a farm. Here's what he came up with, enjoy.

Cookie, the prankster at 8
Cookie, the prankster at 8


I was eight years old when I first did it. I unplugged the electric fence and waited for something to try and crawl under it. Then I jammed the plug back into the socket. Off yelped a dog, blasted by a pulse of electricity. I was a deranged eight year old, mad with power, using an electric fence to terrify whoever was unfortunate enough to cross his path. My friend David got zapped several times, he always forgave me.

 The fence was four rails made of wood with three strands of electric wire; one at the bottom, second rail, and one strand along the top. My shocking spree lasted several weeks. It was sporadic and unpredictable. At random I’d strike. Dogs, pigs, goats, horses, brothers, or friends were all fair game.

 Then I saw it. The big score. The one to go out with.

It was a frosty morning and the fence needed to be fixed. My dad was on one side, leaning over to reach something across from him. At this point both my parents were blissfully unaware of my newfound hobby, or so I thought. As such, they charged me with unplugging the fence and making sure that it stayed off until my dad was done.

Old habits die hard. In went the plug. Profanity ensued from my father. The deed was done.

Days passed and nothing happened. I was a free man. My alibi of “the wind must have plugged it back in” had seemed to hold up. No one was the wiser. While I hadn’t struck since, I was planning to. In fact, I had unplugged the fence and was sitting on top of it, contemplating when and where to strike next. Shocking people was fun, and I doubted it even hurt that much. Personally I’d never been zapped, but it couldn’t be that bad. Atop the fence I sat, blissfully unaware that I made a perfect target for anyone out for revenge. My mom, intent on teaching me a lesson about mischievous boys, entered the barn behind me.

I was wrong about how bad getting shocked was. When it happened I was taken by complete surprise. If there’s anything worse than sitting on an electrified wire, I’ve never experienced it. Immediately I regretted all my past electrocutions.

From that day forth I've never played with the fencer. Everyone on the farm has been safe from getting an electrical shock from me.

"Good Judgement comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgement". -Unknown





Sunday, February 3, 2013 is Souper Bowl Sunday.  Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday is more than the day of the big game; it’s a game changer in your community. Local churches across the country ask you to remember the hungry with a $1.00 donation.  Soup kettles will be placed at participating church entrances. All the money collected goes to your local food bank. If your church would like to participate or if you are hosting a football party please feel free to register and ask guests to donate.    Click the logo to register


Football Humor

Politically Correct NFL

The National Football League recently announced a new era. From now on, no offensive team names will be permitted. While the owners of the teams rush to change uniforms and such, the National Football League announced, yesterday, its name changes and schedules for next season:

  • The Washington Native Americans will host the New York Very Tall People on opening day.
  • Other key games include the Dallas Western-style Laborers hosting the St Louis Wild Endangered Species, the Minnesota Plundering Norsemen taking on the Green Bay Meat Industry Workers.
  • In week 2, there are several key matchups, highlighted by the showdown between the San Francisco Precious Metal Enthusiasts and the New Orleans Very Godly People.
  • The Atlanta Birds of Prey will host the Philadelphia Birds of Prey, while the Seattle Birds of Oceanic Prey will host the Phoenix Male Finches.
  • The Monday night game will pit the Miami Delphinus Food Fishes against the Denver Untamed Beasts of Burden.
  • The Cincinnati Large Bangladeshi Carnivorous Mammals will travel to Tampa Bay for a clash with the West Indies Free Looters in week 9.
  • Week 9 also features the Indianapolis Young Male Horses at the New England Zealous Lovers of Country.


Jimmy decided to sit down and write a letter to Santa Clause. He started writing...

Dear Santa,
I have been very good this year.

After thinking about it, Jimmy thought; Santa knows whether I've been good. He'll know if I am not telling the truth. He crumpled up the letter and started over.


           Dear Santa,
           I tried really hard to be good this year. I didn't fight
           with my brother...

Again, he knew Santa would know better so he crumpled up this letter and started another.

          Dear Santa,
          This year I was pretty good, I improved over last year. 
          I didn't fight too much with my brother. I kept my
          room clean...

He crumpled up this letter, too. A pile of crumpled letters were scattered across the floor. Glancing over at the nativity scene on the mantle, Jimmy had an idea. He grabbed the figurine of Mary and wrapped her in tissue. He placed her in a box, taped it shut, and hid it under his bed. He started writing a new letter.
This time he decided to write to a higher authority.  He wrote...

             Dear God,
             If you ever want to see your mother again...

(Thank you to Pastor Hahn of the Norway Lutheran Church, St Olaf, IA for sharing this with our congregation)

Last week's storm had me breathing a sigh of relief. I'm hopeful that the summer drought pattern is being replaced with soaking fall rains. The few summer storms we've had haven't brought significant accumulation. Unfortunately though, along with the rain came hail. I couldn't sleep because I was waiting for the skylights to shatter. They didn't. I was also unnecessarily concerned for our calves. They can fend for themselves but I still think about them. The pigs are always fine. They go into their pasture huts or hoop building as do the sheep. The shed provides plenty of protection for them.

The cool crisp nights are a certain sign that fall's on its way.  Another sign that fall is coming is the incessant sound of crickets. During last week's storm when the hail stopped, the cricket, whose been hiding in our room all week, started chirping. Apparently he was listening to the storm too. After searching for him unsuccessfully I've determined that crickets can throw their voices across the room. Certain that I'd located him, he began singing from somewhere far off. Counting their chirps gives an accurate reading of the temperature, but I was less interested in counting cricket chirps and more interested in counting sheep. The cricket wanted to be heard. This went on throughout the night but this morning our goofy kitten came bounding out of the closet batting at a cricket. It looks like tonight will be peaceful again.

Last week the pasture was full of wild geese.  This year they've started traveling earlier than I ever remember. Their flyovers have been steadily increasing with the shortening days. Our dogs know better than to bother the wild geese. Instead they watch them from the safety of the hilltop where a wire fence clearly divides the boundary. The corn harvest is also underway starting earlier as well. The Asian Beetles (I refuse to call them ladybugs) are clustered into every corner, covering each window pane.  Vacuuming them up seems to make even more of them magically appear. They're sneaky, smelly little bugs and even the chickens avoid them. There aren't too many insects that the chickens avoid.

Racing against the weather to get our hay put up wasn't an issue this year. Instead, finding hay at a reasonable price was. Our neighbor with CRP grass saved us again. He's been wonderful to us since we moved to this farm. With permission from Farm Service Agency we were able to rent a portion of his field. It's been mowed, baled, and it's ready for winter feeding. We won't be culling cows. Our herd is safe thanks to the help of our family and our friend. The cattle coats are thickening, the horses also have a light layer of winter growth, and the starlings have gathered earlier and are swarming in the treetops. Great masses of them fly in group formation and throw acorns out of the trees. The pigs are quite happy with this arrangement. Several trees have shed their leaves already, not because of fall, but because of the drought.
Lastly, the farmers market comes to a close this Saturday. It's a bitter sweet ending to another season. We love the markets, the crowds, and our customers. Saturday mornings are never quite the same. They feel empty. When spring returns we are eager to get back to the business of the summer.  As this market season ends we humbly thank you for your patronage and wish you all the best.

Warmest wishes,
Glenda and Keith

Food For Thought:
Only a few will learn from other people's mistakes; most of us have to be the other people.

Back To School Humor

Rick, having served his time with the Marine Corps, took a new job as a high school teacher, but just before the school year started, he injured his back.

He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable. On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest kids in the school.

The punks, having heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him and decided to see how tough he really was. They started acting rowdy and opened all the windows so their new teacher's papers blew off his desk.

The strong breeze also made his tie flap so he picked up a stapler and promptly stapled his tie to his chest.

There was dead silence in his classroom and absolutely no trouble from his students for the rest of the year.

     Seize the Bees!

The Illinois Department of Agriculture
seized privately owned bees from naturalist Terrence Ingram who has been raising them for  58 years. Ingram was actively researching   Roundup's effects on bees. Prairie Advocate News reports that before a court hearing on the matter or issuance of a search warrant the bees were seized. Read the story here


A couple of years ago, when I was writing a weekly column for the local paper, I was given an old calendar. Each month featured a quotation or concept. This is the page from July 1958. It's from the KVP company in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Dwight D.Eisenhower was the president. The KVP company manufactured food protection paper and food wrapping papers.



Capitalize on your assets

Toby Grimes* was legendary as the dumbest kid to ever walk the halls of Ogden Avenue Elementary School. Older students would bait him into situations highlighting his lack of common sense. Toby was the older students' favorite muse. He never seemed to mind being pointed out as an idiot. He would smile and nod as the older boys would offer him a choice of either fifty cents in coins or a dollar bill. Toby appeared to weigh his options carefully, but in the end, he always chose the coins. “Two coins is better than one bill, I’ll take the coins!” He’d announce. The older boys would always roar with laughter and point out Toby’s mental short-comings. Laughing they'd handed him the change.
When we, Toby’s classmates, pointed out that he was becoming a laughingstock, he’d just smile. “I may be a laughingstock, but the day I take the dollar over the coins, the game will be over. If those boys want to offer me money to prove that I am more idiotic then they are, so be it. My dad says if I keep this up, by the time I reach eighth grade I’ll have enough money saved to pay for college.”

The easiest way to live within your income is to have a big one. -unknown

The other boy who stands out in my memory, Harold Tinkler* was the most enterprising boy in our junior and senior high school, although I didn’t realize it at the time. He had nerdiness down pat. Pocket protector, slide rule, thick glasses; he was the epitome of a nerd. He worked hard in school, always earned top honors, and was born to succeed. He lacked social graces; most of the girls thought he was creepy. Despite his social failings he was an entrepreneurial success.
Harold is a real estate investor and owns a few very lucrative properties. I hand’t seen, or heard from Harold in years. At our last High school reunion he shared the secrets to his success. His financial acuity started when he was young, Harold explained, “When we were in junior high and high school everyone played Spin the Bottle at parties.” He continued, “I showed up at all the parties, ready to play. The girls would cringe when I’d walk in, but they never refused to let me play. If a girl’s spin would point to me, I’d offer her the choice of either kissing me, or paying me a dollar. They always chose to pay the dollar.    By the time I was sixteen I bought my first rental property. My portfolio grew from there.”

Misers aren’t fun to live with, but they make wonderful ancestors. –David Brenner

This year our greatest asset is grass, lots and lots of grass. We’re thankful for a plentiful hay crop, we’ll continuing to dodge the rain and make hay when we can. We’ll capitalize on the benefits of a successful growing season and store extra hay for dryer days ahead.
Enjoy the sunshine and the rain!

*These characters are fictitious*

Making Hay


©Glenda Plozay, Forest Hill Farm Products,LLC

Summer flower Garden

It's April First, Again. A few years ago we had experienced a very mild winter and exceptionally early spring.  Around St. Patrick’s Day we tilled and planted our garden with cool season seeds. I should probably qualify this story and explain that Keith had never been involved in the early stages of garden preparation and planting but embraced the task with enthusiasm.  The variety of peas we selected boasted claims of, “fast germination, earliest to produce, and large yield”.

Every afternoon, when he would get home from work, Keith would run down to the garden to look for new growth and see if any seedlings had sprouted. Watching his exuberance inspired an idea for an April Fools trick.

My dad loves Keith and loves playing tricks on him. He helped me paint bunches of plastic plants in bright green; we had a variety of leaves and plastic stems of all shapes and sizes.  We planted our painted beauties in the same rows as our seedlings and laughed all the while thinking of Keith’s reaction.

As usual, Keith visited the garden when he got home. Watching him from the window we saw him turn toward the house. Keith was clapping his hands and running.  Flinging open the door, he cried, “Holy Cow (or something to that effect)! You won’t believe how much everything has grown.”  We followed him back outside, pinching ourselves to keep from laughing, We were grinning from ear to ear as we watched his reaction.  Bending forward  Keith rubbed a leaf, shook his head and began to laugh.  There’s great joy in a good natured joke that plays out well.  Over the past twenty-one plus years I’ve played several April Fools jokes on Keith, he’s always a good sport.

This weekend as I plant the garden I’ll be snickering to myself as I recall that April Fools prank.  My parents will be home from Florida within the next few days and when they come to visit I’ll show them this year’s garden and we’ll all laugh as we remember our painted garden.