Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Open House at the Winter Farmers' Market

For those of you who are not on Facebook and are Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market goers, I wanted you to know about the special farmers' market coming up on December 23rd from 4-7 pm at Aulick's TLC in Scottsbluff.

You should be able to click on the link below and go to the event page on Facebook that gives you the details.

If you hit the link, it'll take you there.  To get back to the blog, hit your browser's back button.

Holiday Open House at the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market

But in case that is not working and you just don't want to go to Facebook, here is the 4-1-1 (information) on the shindig.

Who:  Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market

What:  Holiday Open House

When:  December 23, 4-7 pm

Where:  Aulick's TLC, 3109 Avenue B, Scottsbluff, NE

Why:  Why not? or because I said so!  hee, hee!

The Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market will be hosting a special holiday open house at the market on December 23 from 4-7pm. There will be live music provided by the Green Valley Homesteaders along with refreshments!

This week's non-profit will be the Lakota Lutheran Center. We are asking that market goers bring mittens, hats, gloves and scarves to donate to the Center. The Center will distribute all donations to children in the community who are in need. A special "mitten tree" will be set-up at the market and we will decorate the tree with the donations.

At 5:00 pm Mrs. Santa Claus will be reading the book "The Mitten Tree" by Candace Christiansen to all children who come to the market. The book tells the story of an elderly lady who notices a young boy at the bus stop without mittens, so she knits him a pair and leaves them on a tree where he'll find them. She continues to knit (anonymously) and leaves mittens for the children who need them. One day, a large basket of yarn is left on her doorstep, enabling her to continue her work.

All children present for the reading will get their name entered into a drawing for the book after Mrs. Santa is done reading it!

 We are hoping to start the tradition of our own community "mitten tree."


If Santa Claus can fit it into his schedule, he will also be in attendance.
So mark your calendars and bring the kids (and a donation to the mitten tree) to the market.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5...

Back to my little project of "Operation Napping Picture of the Day." Don't know what I am talking about? Go back a couple of post and you'll catch on.

So, as you can see by the below pictures...

This is indeed what a Farmer/Rancher Does in the Winter.

But since this project is starting to get extremely boring, I will be discontinuing it effective immediately.

I do want you to take note of Dan the Man's fashion sense... This is all he wears in the winter, except on church day or if we have a meeting to go to. Turtleneck (dark colored), Carhartt outer shirt (dark color) and blue jeans. Every day... I didn't want you to think he was wearing the same dirty clothes for three days straight. It's just that all of his clothes are the same.

Oh and an update on the last Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market. I am so excited to let you know that we collected $439.66 and numerous donations of pet food, toys, cleaning supplies, etc. for the Panhandle Humane Society! Thank you to every one who donated!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 2:45 pm


Wednesday, December 7, 2011 3:39 pm

Thursday, December 8, 2011 12:27 pm

I will try to get back into some interesting posts.  Thank you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scottsbluff Winter Farmer' Market to Collect Donations for Humane Society

Some of you know that I organize and manage the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market.  And some of you know that we feature a non-profit organization at each one of our markets.  We collect donations for these worthy organizations at each market and those who donate get their names entered into a drawing for a gift basket full of goodies from all the vendors.  The gift baskets usually contain anywhere from $100-$200 worth of goods!!

I wanted to bring extra attention to this week's non-profit, the Panhandle Humane Society of Scottsbluff.

Last week the Star-Herald published this story concerning the Humane Society.

The article said:
The Panhandle Humane Society in Scottsbluff has 12 more mouths to feed and is hoping the community will lend a hand.
Earlier this week the society accepted 12 border collie dogs, including seven puppies, said Assistant Director Heidi Anderson. She said the dogs came to the shelter as part of an animal-hoarding investigation in the northern Panhandle by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Officials with the ag department contacted the shelter and asked if it could take some of the dogs.
Anderson said 50 to 60 dogs were found on the property and that the other dogs are still with the owner. The dogs brought to Scottsbluff are under quarantine right now, but Anderson said they all appear to be healthy and are available for adoption.
However, with adding 12 more mouths to feed when the shelter is at capacity, it has caused a financial strain.
“We are asking for help from the community to donate dog food and cleaning supplies. Cash donations are always appreciated as well,” she said.
People interested in helping can drop off donations at the shelter. For more information, contact the shelter at 308-635-0922.

Since I hadn't confirmed a non-profit for the December 10th market, I thought what a perfect opportunity for the Humane Society to be our non-profit, especially when they just took on these 12 dogs.

On Monday, Dan the Man and I went to the Humane Society to drop off some donations and to see the dogs. While we were there I took some pictures of a few of the Border Collies that are available for adoption.

 Josh with Diane.
Diane is 3-5 months old and very sweet.

 Darla, also 3-5 months old.
Darla was a little shy and very quite.
I think she'll need a very loving  and patient family
to shower her with lots of hugs and kisses!

And here is Drake!
2-3 months old and with a belly as soft and round as Santa's!
Drake would make a great Christmas Puppy
for a forever home!

I urge you to come to the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers' Market on Saturday, December 10th from 1-4pm at Aulick's TLC (3109 Avenue B) and make a donation to this worthy organization.

For donation ideas, the Panhandle Humane Society has a "wish list" which includes:

Shelter Items
  • Laundry Soap
  • Dish Soap
  • Paper Towels
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Lint Rollers
  • Duck Tape
  • 6 X 9 Envelopes
Animal Items
  • Puppy Food
  • Kitten Food
  • Large Knotted Rawhides
  • Kongs (Toys)
  • Cat Toys
  • Kitten & Puppy Milk Replacer

If you have more questions about these dogs, call the Panhandle Humane Society at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day Two... What a Farmer/Rancher Does...

I am so totally bummed out that my little escapade concerning the "Dan the Man and Squeakers daily napping episode" has already come to a screeching halt.

Due to our work schedule yesterday, the second day into the "napping project," I did not catch Dan the Man and his beloved Squeakers napping together. Dagnabbit!! I was most certain that I would get a daily picture for several days in a row... not just one.

Oh well... I have not given up though. This is just a freakish interruption, I am sure.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to back-track and read my previous post.

Well, since there is no picture from yesterday... I can at least tell you how we acquired Squeakers and her three other sisters, Bridgette, Camille and Sammi.

Some of you already know this story, I know. But many of you don't so here you go.

In 2006 we had a massive hail storm that lasted for close to an hour. (That ain't normal folks! Hail storms normally don't last that long.) Anyway, after the hail storm, Dan the Man found a stray cat dead in one of the alfalfa fields, presumably she met her demise in the hail storm. Poor kitty, I know.

A couple of days later, the boys then discovered a batch of kittens in one of the haystacks. You guessed it, the dead stray was the kittens' mother.

When the boys told me about the kittens, I just had to go have a look see for myself. Sure enough, 5 cute, cuddly, abandoned kittens. What ever were we going to do? We couldn't let them fend for themselves... they were much too young to survive on their own.

So I took food out to them, thinking that they probably weren't old enough for solid food, but I thought I would try anyway. It took a while to coax them to all come out of the haystack, but eventually, day by day, they came to trust me and more importantly, wanted what I had to offer. I mixed a little milk with the dry food and they all were able to eat it without any problems.

This became a daily activity that I looked forward to. I eventually moved a couple of lawn chairs out to the haystack so I could enjoy the kittens in my free time. Dan the Man would even join us on occasion. I was getting extremely attached to the little bundles of joy and I believe they were starting to enjoy my company as well. Soon they all had names, all five of them, and all girls: Bridgette, Leona, Camille, Chloe and Sammi. I use to joke that these were the daughters that we never had. (For those of you who don't know... we have four boys!)

As the weeks went on, our bond grew stronger.  Soon the kittens were not content to spend all their time at the haystack. When it was time for me to go back to the house, Bridgette was the first one to follow me home and soon the other four were trailing behind. We already had two "house" cats at the time and really did not intend to add more. But our house has a "dog door" which allows the two house cats to come and go as they please.

Bridgette was also the first kitten to learn how to use the dog door and before I knew it, the others soon followed suit. Dan the Man would yell at them when he would catch them in the house and they would scurry as fast as their little feet would take them and run back outside through the dog door.  It was a fantastically fun game for the kittens.  All the while Dan the Man would grumble about not needing any more cats in the house!

As the months went on, it became apparent that we now had 5 more cats in the family.  And as our affections grew stronger for these five little girls, it also became apparent that they would be allowed into the house, besides winter was fast approaching and where were they going to stay outside and remain warm?

One stipulation that we had, if we were going to keep all five was that we would have to spay all five of them.  Thankfully my vet gave me a "volume discount!"  There is nothing more that we despise than cats who are allowed to have kittens batch after batch after batch.  The world has enough feral cats and we didn't intend to add more.  I'd better not get started on this topic...

Anyway, so that is how we came upon the girls.  Unfortunately we did lose one about 6 months later.  Dan the Man found his favorite (at the time) Leona dead one morning by the drive.  It appeared as if a predator had gotten her in the night.  We were all very sad about losing Leona and I often think about her, wondering what she would be like as a full grown cat, now 5 years later.

Here's a couple of pictures of them when they were still kittens.  I have this first one framed and hanging in our living room.

Starting on the left side is Bridgette, Squeakers (aka Chloe), Sammi with the white on her face,
Leona with her head down and Camille (aka Millie) in the middle.

Sammi and Bridgette are both short-haired while the other three are long-haired.

Can you see the "M's" that are on their foreheads?
"M" for Manville!  LOL!

Sammi and Squeakers lounging on the bed a few months later.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a Farmer/Rancher Does in the Winter

Yesterday, Sunday, we were enjoying a lazy afternoon, relaxing and napping on the couch.  I woke from my nap and looked over at the other end of the couch to see if Dan the Man was still there.  He was there when I fell asleep and I was wondering if he too decided to take an afternoon siesta and yes, he had.

He was in his usual napping position with his faithful napping partner, Chloe, more lovingly known as Squeakers.

I thought to my self, so this is why we farm/ranch.  So in the winter time, we can work only 30-40 hours a week, instead of 70-80 hours a week like we do during the spring, summer and fall months.

Then I thought...  Squeakers sure loves her man Dan.  I bet they nap like this everyday.

Actually, I bet you I could get a picture of them napping in this exact position every day.

ACTUALLY...  I wonder how many days straight I can get a picture of these two in this exact position without Dan the Man knowing...  hee, hee.

And so the "Operation Napping Picture of the Day" begins.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Moon Boots, Tree Limbs, Little Boys and Memories

The other day when I was looking through some old photos I ran across these pictures of Nick and Chris.  These are some of my all time favorite photos.  I still laugh out loud when I see them.

The pictures were taken in 1996 up at the cabin.  Nick was 8 years old and Chris had just turned 6.

The boys were playing around outside and I just happened to have my camera.  I think we had just finished taking the pictures of the boys in the previous post.  Nick wanted me to get a picture of him hanging from the tree branch.

Chris thought that seemed like a pretty cool idea and wanted his picture taken as well.

Okay, who remembers moon boots?  Well, Chris was donning a pair of vintage 1980's moon boots when all of the sudden he ran into some trouble.

(Let me tell you, the cabin is a kid's paradise for weird and funky clothing from days gone by.  Nothing ever gets thrown away at the cabin, therefore there is a plethora of various articles of clothing from several different time periods.  Chris, never wanting to be slowed down by having to tie his shoes, often chose to wear the beloved moon boots.  Perhaps, not a wise choice for hanging from tree limbs.)



One boot off in the grass... 

One boot securely snagged on the tree limb...

One older brother laughing hysterically ...

while all the blood rushes to the younger brother's head.

Meanwhile... mother is also laughing hysterically
while taking pictures.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Has It Really Been Two Years?

Can you believe it has been two years since I started this blog?I really hadn't given it much thought until one of my readers sent me an email and asked for an update on our four boys. I realized the information I had on them under the little "about me" paragraph on the blog was entirely out of date.

So, let's start with the oldest, Nick. Nick ended his tour of duty in Japan last year. Is that the right wording, "tour of duty" or does that only refer to times at war? Well, in any case, he was stationed in Japan at Yakota Air Force Base for two years and we were lucky enough to be able to go to Japan over Christmas in 2009. I wrote several posts while we were in Japan and if you wnat to read them, just go to the "Blog Archive" on the left hand side of the blog and click on "2010" and then "December."

In July of 2010 Nick was then stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico and remains there today. Nick was also deployed to Germany for 6 weeks in the beginning of the year. We praise God for keeping him safe.AND... Nick has recently married!! How exciting for me to have a girl in the family!! We love Sarah! Sarah "passed the test" when they came for a visit in June and she volunteered to help process chickens! LOL! Who can't help but love their daughter-in-law when she volunteers to help with the worst job in the world?

Nick & Sarah
Photo taken by Sarahs' mom, Rita.

We also had another test for Sarah that she passed with flying colors. That test is known as the "Can You Handle A Manville Holiday Test?" I went through the same test when Danny and I were engaged. The test involves spending a holiday with Dan the Man's family at his parents cabin in the middle of nowhere in the Colorado mountains.Here is a recount of one of those holidays. Manville Family Christmas, Part One. Sarah fit in perfectly with this fun loving, crazy, loud and lovable family. I think Sarah's mom, Rita, will also fit in just fine! I hope to get her to the cabin for one of our holidays!

(Side note: Nick just wrote on my Facebook wall and said "You need to update your blog, I'm no longer in Japan...." How funny is that?

Nick & Sarah's wedding was in Clovis on October 15th. We all went down for it and it was so special having all the boys together. I am sure I will blog about it, but I must share this picture from the wedding in this post. All our boys, so grown up... now I'll have to find a picture of when they were little to post at the end.

Handsome group of men, if I do say so myself!
(Left to Right: Skyler, Nick, Chris and Colton)

Here we are at our wedding in July of 1996!
(Left to Right: Nick, me, Chris, Colton, Danny and pouty Skyler!)

So keeping in chronological order, that would bring us to Colton. Colton is in his senior year at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. He will graduate this coming spring with a degree in uh... ummm... something that has to do with computers! I don't know exactly what his degree is in, but I DO know it is some technical thingy concerning computers. Geez... you'd think I'd know, but what Colton does is completely over my head. He is very intelligent and his understanding of how things work is amazing. I can't even begin to imagine what the little hamsters in his brain look like when they are busy processing data.

Colton has held internships with Microsoft in Washington State for the last two summers and more than likely will do another this coming summer. He just got back from flying to Seattle for his interview. He will continue his schooling at SDSM&T and work towards his masters.

Colton is also very active with SDSM&T InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a student-led Christian organization on campus. He is one of the small group leaders.

Colton is going to India 2nd semester. His senior design team is working with a company in India and they are going to go visit the company. Wow! Colton as been very fortunate in visiting many places because of his chosen field. I know at Microsoft, they plan GREAT trips for their interns and give them lots of FREE stuff. A computer geeks paradise!

I stole this picture of Colton off his Facebook page!

Let's see, that brings us to Chris. Chris has since graduated from Western Nebraska Community College in Alliance with a degree in Powerline Maintenance & Construction. He is currently living in Kearney, NE where his girlfriend, Katy is attending nursing school at UNK (University of Nebraska - Kearney).

Chris & Katy at a hockey game in Kearney.
(Also stolen from Facebook.)

Chris works for Charter Communications as a locator. He is patiently waiting for a job opening as a lineman. Remember this old song by Glen Campbell? I think of it every time I talk about Chris being a lineman! LOL

Chris is enjoying his life and keeps busy with softball, working out, fishing, garage sale shopping and spending time with Katy. Chris also gets brownie points for being the child who calls his mother the most often.

Last, but not least, Skyler... Skyler is a senior this year at Morrill High School. The last one to fly the coop. He plans on going to college but is undecided as to where. He would like to get a degree in business and has been looking at the Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming and the University of Nebraska (both the Lincoln and Kearney campuses.) Dan the Man and Skyler are going to Lincoln this weekend to tour UNL. That's kind of a scarey thought... Dan the Man in Lincoln without me there to navigate... I will stay home and tend to the livestock.

Skyler did not go out for football this year so this marks the first year in the past 8 years that we did not attend a football game. That was weird. I actually missed the Friday night games, but I think I really missed the grilled hamburgers at the Morrill home games the most! Skyler is the student council president this year and is also a member of the National Honor Society. He is definitely ready to be done with high school and move on to college.

Skyler also has a girlfriend, Sara. I noticed on Facebook this morning that it's "official", Skyler changed his status from "single" to "in a relationship." Before, they were just "talking." I guess that's what they say now-a-days. I guess you are friends, then you start "talking" which includes dating and then you advance to "in a relationship" on Facebook. LOL My how times have changed.

Skyler and Sara
(once again, picture stolen from Facebook!)

 Dug these pictures out of an old photo album.
I taken up at Dan the Man's mom and dad's place,
more loving known as "the cabin."
This is also where we got married.
Beautiful Autumn colors in the aspen trees.

 Skyler 1996

Chris 1996

 Colton 1996

 Nick 1996

So, there you have it.  The kids are growing up and becoming adults.  We are so proud of each one of them.  Dan the Man and this Country Chicken Girl have been truly blessed in the department of children.  So glad God has a plan for each and everyone of us and I am so grateful that His plan for me was to married my man, Dan, and join us all together as a family in Christ.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Update on Victory Hill Farm

Congratulations are in order today for Sarah and Lee Pinet over at the Victory Hill Farm!

One of Sarah's pigs had 4 little piglets yesterday!

Awww, piglets are so stinkin' cute.  I will HAVE to get over there and get some pictures.

Here are the pigs laying around without a single worry in the world during the "VICTOBERFEST" on Sunday.

They were all suppose to go to market, but Sarah discovered that one was pregnant!  Lucky pig!

...and this little piggy along with her four cute, cuddly, adorable, "oh I want one so bad" babies got to stay home!

PS, Sarah, Hope you don't mind that I snagged your picture off Facebook!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Victoberfest" - Don't Miss It Next Year!

On October 23rd my friends, Lee & Sarah Pinet, hosted their first annual "Victoberfest" at their goat dairy, Victory Hill Farm.  WOW, WOW, WOW, was it ever a success!  I am extremely sad for you if you did not make it to the festival.  You really did miss out on a FUN event.  Victory Hill Farm is the only dairy goat dairy located in Western Nebraska.

The fall weather was absolutely perfect with temperatures in the mid 70's and just a slight breeze and a few small gusts of wind at times.  We were so blessed with the weather, especially since Fall in Western Nebraska can often mean snow and huge amounts of wind!

The festivities started at 11am and continued until 4pm.  In essence, it was an open house plus more!  There were "penny carnival" (farm style) activities for children to do, lunch was offered, live music and a farmers' market.  We, the Open A Bar 2 Ranch, participated in the farmers' market.

Allow me to tell you more about the festival through my pictures.  (Remember you can click on a picture to see a full-screen view of it and then just hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.)

First I'll start the vendors of the farmers' market.  I am missing one picture of one of the vendors who was there.  He left a little early and I neglected to snap his picture.  So sorry.  I am not even sure what his name is, but he was selling some gourds and zucchini.

Dan the Man with Open A Bar 2 Ranch

Ernie Griffith with Ebee Honey

Nancy Butcher with Jam & Jellies Just For You

Farmer Dan Weitzel with Mitchell Valley Farm

Jane Sedman with Mama Jane's Artisan Breads

Kethera Moran with My Friend Kethera  

Nick Gompert with Spotted Tail Farm

 Laura Whelchel with Double L Country Store
Laura was also manning the Victory Hill Farm store and 
selling tickets for the activities.
She was busy, Busy, BUSY!

And now for some of the kids, animals and activities.

Group of kids having a great time.
Check out those smiles!

People enjoying lunch.

A young man enjoying the company of this bunny!

Face painting!

Bill Snocker providing some live music
on his guitar and harmonica! 


Bales of hay to climb on!

A big black horse, of course!

A goat resting amongst all the commotion!

Love this kid's hair!!

More goats!
What personalities they have.
That's what makes goats so fun, they are so animated and entertaining.

Lazy pigs!

This piggy wanted to know what I was doing.


A little hesitant!

Milk A Goat!

Can't tell who is having more fun, Sarah or the girl milking!

The "Corn Dig".  Candy surprises were buried in the corn!

Free picture taking station complete with wagon and pumpkins!

Gramps "hanging out" with his little man!

There was even a LIVE TURKEY Raffle!!
I wonder how many children were "allowed" to enter that one?
AND... who is going to butcher that turkey?

Check out this little girl's face...
right after the turkey did a very impressive...
gobble, gobble, gobble!

The "tomato toss".
The child with the highest score receive two ticket
to the "Spooktacular"!

Such concentration!

Ahhh... the pony rides!

the pony ride clean-up crew!

So, if you missed it this year,
I hope that you will make a point of
attending next year!