Friday, April 21, 2017

Taking Over!

Sorry Ruth's been away for so long!  It seems she's been pretty busy with life recently.  This is Paul and Ruth has given me the password so that I can help keep you posted as to what is going on at our farm.  Ruth started this post by putting on a few pictures last year but then got busy with taking care of the family and being a farm wife.  Enjoy the pictures!
As an update, we've been thoroughly enjoying our transition to the main farm which has been keeping us very busy! We didn't mean to keep you hanging for the past year about the progress made on the house project.  Below are some picture of the finished product!
The view from the front door.
Barn door made from my grandfather's old barn.
Ruth's canning kitchen with lots of windows to see all that's happening on the farm!  She likes to refer to this space as her Command Center since she can see everything going on and can help the kids with homework on the island at the same time.
Ruth's favorite part of the kitchen is the view and her big sink where she has already done quite a bit of canning this past summer. Based on her garden plans, I think the family will be pretty busy again this summer!
The stove hood made from Grandpa's old shed.
The stair are the only part of the main level that stayed.  Everything else was changed.  This area works well for the kids to be doing craft projects.  My farm office is behind that door where I can still be involved in the activity going on right outside the door!
Below are some random farm shots that are some of our favorites for various reasons.

A cow with hardware provided a unique opportunity for Mary to work with our veterinarian in learning about animals and medical care.  She ended up with a Grand Champion ribbon explaining the cause, symptoms, and treatment of hardware in cows.

Sale day for the fat cattle.  We were fortunate to have four generations together for the day seeing them all get loaded!
Below are a few pictures from our summer vacation that we took to the Black Hills last year.

Below are some random pictures that Ruth had loaded onto this post before she got super busy!

Biggest news recently is the addition of Joy Jean Lanoue to our family on March 31, 2017.  She's been a very good baby so far and likes to be held which is good when you have 5 loving older siblings!  Mom is doing great!

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Most recent family photo!
Like I mentioned earlier, I plan to post occasionally about the happenings on the farm.  Don't be surprised if I get a little deeper into the why's on our farm, just the old Ag teacher in me, I guess!

Friday, February 5, 2016


      I finally found some time to update this little farm blog. We have been up to big things bringing the farm up to date for the next generation. As my husband and I get more involved in the farming business with my parents more talk has been taking place about when it will be the right time for us to move onto the main farm place and take over the everyday responsibilities of running the farm. After lots of "someday" talk it was finally decided that the transition would happen within the 2016 year. The plan is that my parents will move into our house which is on a hobby farm site and 3 miles down the road from the main farm and Paul, I, and the kids will move to the main farm.
      The main farm house is a hard working gal, and she needed a little updating before taking care of another generation of active kids and farm family.  I am very excited at the prospect of raising my children in the house that I have so many wonderful childhood memories in. Also after having spent my years of my life in this house I could see ways that the flow and layout of the house could be improved. Putting all this together leads to a major farm house remodel.
       Let me take you on a journey through our project so far.
     My main goal of the remodel of the farm house was to gain better visibility of the farm yard from the main parts of the house. In the previous floor plan the master bedroom had the best view of the yard. My goal is to make this space my kitchen, the heart of the house.
     As in many 100 year old farm houses there are many small which cut up the house and my goal create as much as an open floor plan as possible. I also am excited to bring back into view some of the original woodwork.
    There are many features that I plan on keeping like this wonderful picture window that faces the road and monitors the coming and goings on the farm. It will now be located in the living room of the house.
      The previous living room was located on the north side of the house (the yard is to the south).This is an addition my parents added to the original farm house in 1987, when I was 7 years old. I remember my mom hanging the wall paper on the new walls and staining the woodwork.  I am moving the living room it to the southeast side of the house so it can view both the farmyard and road. Where the living room was previously will become the master bedroom.
      The kitchen in the farm house was behind the load baring wall cutting off it's view of the yard. When in the kitchen you would have to walk around the wall to the round top window by the entry or into the dinning room to see what was going on in the yard. The farm is becoming busier by the year and I need to be able to get my work done in the house and monitor what is happening on the farm all at the same time. This area is to become the master bath, powder room, and kitchen pantry.
       The first day in 2016 we started the remodel project. After removing my parents belongings from the main floor of the farmhouse and packing them into a spare bedroom at my house we started pulling up caret and taking paneling off walls to reveal the 100 year old plaster walls and wood floors. I enjoy uncovering these forgotten pieces of years gone by.  
       The kids came over for the beginning of demolition and helped remove some plaster, using some unusual tools. The kids are excited at the prospect of living on the farm and making the farmhouse our new home.
       For about a week my dad and I worked had on removing all the lath and plaster and 1950's version of sheet rock from the main floor. With the number of walls that would be removed/relocated and the new electrical updating of the house everything had to go. It was a lot of work.
          Within the first few days of the construction crew starting work and walls being removed to the bathroom and bedroom, the beginning of my dream of having full visibility of the farmyard can start to be seen.  
               As many of you know remodeling is a very messy undertaking. I can not count how many times I have swept the floor or how many trash cans of plaster I have removed from the house. My parents decided to say living in the house utilizing the top and bottom floor. We set up a kitchen in the basement and a living room in one of the bedroom's upstairs. It is important for someone to be on the farm with the animals. My mother did leave go with my sisters who are also setting up new houses in the Kansas/Missouri area. All three of us sister are in the process of setting up new home at this time.
       It was an exciting day to see the large 8 foot patio door being installed in the dinning room. Talk about a wall of windows. My dream is to add a covered porch outside this door so we can continue to enjoy meals outside on beautiful days.

       Putting new windows into my kitchen.

        One difficulty with doing a big remodel project in Minnesota in the middle of winter is the cold. As demolition took place we tried to leave as much insulation in place as long as possible to keep some of the warmth in the house.  The plan is to put polyurethane insulation throughout the main floor to make a nice snug house for years to come.

      Opening up the floor plan to the south, towards the farmyard. 63foot wall of windows making monitoring of the farmyard easy from the main living areas on the house.
        After the construction crew had taken down many walls and put up a few new ones it was time for the pluming and electrical work. This took a little time but it is important to have it done right. A focus was put on  making sure the house was equipped with the technology needed see it years into the future. We currently have a surveillance system we use during calving to monitor the cows that are about to calve. This surveillance is a key aspect to safety of the cows and calves during this busy time on the farm. Wiring was installed to make sure that the system functions to it's best ability and can be viewed throughout the house and remotely. 
          Then it was time for insulation and Sheetrock. Each day I would visit the farmhouse and see more and more of it take shape. With just the stud walls it can still be a little hard to visualize all of it but one the Sheetrock goes on the rooms become clearer. What a change.

     The new master bedroom where the living room use to be.
     The bright sunlight coming in through the windows in my new kitchen/dinning room. As I sit here today the Sheetrock instillation is complete and the tape and texture crew is at work. Plans are that I could be painting the walls next week. It is amazing the transformation a house can go through in a months time. We have one more month until the first calves are expected to be born on the farm so we need to keep working on the house getting her ready for all the business farm life brings. This journey of transition has been stressful at time but oh so exciting and I know that there is a bright future in front of us on VerLan farm.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

FFA members in the making

We have a tradition of taking a picture of the kids in a little FFA jacket we have. One of my husbands first FFA students made for us when our first son was just a newborn. The jacket is so cute and if our kids follow in their fathers footsteps FFA will be a large part of their life.
 Luke turned 2 a few days ago so it was time to get him in the jacket and take a few pictures. He was all smiles and goofy faces. He wanted to have the tractor and baler he just got for his birthday with him. I think they turned out great.

 What a charmer.

 I wanted to find the pictures of all the other kids in their jackets and had luck finding the younger ones. I have my mom working on finding the pictures of the older kids. How did we do it before digital photos? Here are the ones I found for know.
I think this is a little older David
 Here is little David with a big smile.
And finally Rose with her chocolate brown eyes.