24-hour silage, endless dishes and 2 candles

Tonight is a new first for Ocheda Dairy — planning to make corn silage around the clock.    Usually, the crew works (only) 17 hours a day but we have a few more people willing to work this year and need to keep going because of the rain delays we’ve had.  I should have been suspicious when Joe decided to buy some portable light tower things last winter.

What is silage?  It is the main ingredient that we feed to cows year around in our “cow cassserole”.  It is made with the huge machine seen below.  Nearly the entire corn plant and the cob are chopped into small pieces, blown into a semi trailer, unloaded on a concrete pad, pushed onto a pile in thin layers, packed by 3 tractors, covered with a huge piece of plastic and then allowed to ferment. (Dairy farmers were the cool kids fermenting stuff before all the foodies caught onto it and starting making their own sauerkraut and pickles!)

Joe doing some fixing quickly during lunch. He always pulls up his hood and wears a dust mask for a job like this so he can breathe easier at night. Violet thought he was pretending to be a monster.

It usually takes 10 people (1 chopper, 6 semis, 3 tractors).  However, we need a lot more people than that because there is other stuff to do like fix, pick up bales, seed cover crop — not to mention milking and caring for the cows.

And that’s where the endless dishes come in…I help out by making meals.  I love to cook and serve others!  I would take a picture of my kitchen right now but I don’t want to make you cry.  Instead, here’s a picture of us enjoying lunch where we made silage last week.

Lastly, two candles.   Our precious little Violet celebrated her second birthday today.  God knew I was going to need her, as she brings me more joy and laughter than one can imagine.  I am so thankful to be her mom.

We love this time of year.  School has started out really well for the kids and Ava seems to be figuring out a kindergarten routine.  Violet is really loving the time with just me.  We miss Joe a bunch but the work has to be done and he is always ready for a challenge.

I hope these days are bringing you lots of enjoyable work, memorable evenings, and not too many dishes!

Week of his life

Week of his life

When you think of the best possible 6 days ever possible for a 10-year old farm boy, you just need two words — corn silage!!

Due to school starting 2 weeks later than in the past, as well as finding a dairy needing help out in Canistota, South Dakota, Vince logged in a solid week (with just a one day break to hang out with cousins) of harvesting corn silage.  He loves hanging out in the tractor that shapes and packs the pile.  From there, he watches the trucks bring load after load, and listens to the usually joking conversation on the walkie-talkie type radios everybody uses.  (If it is not joking and friendly, it is usually my husband giving firm directions from the forage harvester — “Move in” or “Slide forward” or “Use the north driveway”.)

Vince started school today, and his disappointment at summer ending and school starting was dulled a bit by the rain delay we are experiencing right now.  Semis loaded with corn silage get stuck so easily, so we will have to wait a few days until rolling again.


Liv, 3rd grade.  We bought her outfit on our date!  Beautiful inside and out. 

Vince is in 5th grade at Worthington Christian School, and Liv is in 3rd.  I recently enjoyed a HUGE first with Liv — a date to buy school clothes with just her!  We spent 8 hours together and loved every minute.  She never stopped talking the whole time.  Joe and I feel like she is sometimes our “lost-in-the-shuffle” girl and so it was especially fun to pour into just her.

Here’s the Ava update:  She turned 5 in March, but I hesitated at the thought of sending her to school.  She is small for her age and has so many necessary therapies.  So, we found a “compromise” of sorts by sending her, not to our beloved Christian school, but to the public school for kindergarten.  I’ve spend a HUGE amount of time in prayer about this, am hopeful it is the right decision, and am working to be at peace with this.  She will be able to receive lots of one-on-one time working on school-specific goals, but also have the opportunity to make many new friends and work on doing things for herself.


Ava wanted her picture taken, too, so here she is on her way to therapy.

We are going to try to get our physical therapy and occupational therapies done at 8:00 in the morning twice per week, and I will bring her to school late but hopefully she will only miss breakfast.  The schedule should work out nicely and was another point in favor of sending her to the public school for this year.


Our FIRST find of eggs!  They are so tiny.

It leaves me with Violet at home!  I have done a pre-school drop off for 7 years straight and am looking forward to the break.  She will love helping me cook lots of food for the silage crew, right?

Who wants to eat? This sure helps to slow down traffic on our road!