farm

My grand niece, Reagan Parmely almost shared her mom’s birthday, but she stalled just long enough to have her birthday the next day. I know how that is. I was supposed to be born on my dad’s birthday, but I stalled two days. It wasn’t our fault. After all, we didn’t know, we were just being born when we were supposed to. Well, all kidding aside, the day Reagan was born changed the lives of her parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely, forever. That was the day they became parents. They were no longer parents-to-be or a couple. They were parents and they had a family. It is the most amazing day in a person’s life. That was 8 years ago, and now Reagan is big sister to three siblings…Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. Life is good!!

Reagan has grown up around farm animals, and for most of her life, that was all about the cuddling and chasing of the animals and their babies, but as she grew, she began to understand that sometimes, you are raising your family’s food, and that as such, the food must be killed so it can be eaten. I don’t think that is an easy lesson for anyone, adult or child. I have raised cows too, and I didn’t want to watch on butchering day, but you have to help, and there it is. Reagan understands this, and while she may not like that part, she knows that it puts food of the family table. I am very proud of Reagan’s maturity in these things.

Reagan and especially her sister, Hattie, has become excellent horsewomen. Their brother, Bowen is coming along too. When these kids were little, I found myself feeling amazed at these little kids standing on the ground beside these great horses, and they weren’t afraid at all. Now, these little kids can ride horses like the wind, and they are only getting better and better. When I first saw them on those horses, they looked so…little, and since I have not grown up around horses, I thought that it looked so dangerous, but these kids, and Reagan first felt right at home. Of course, they have been on these horses since they were just babies riding with their mom, who has also been riding since she was little. These day, with Reagan leading the next generation, the Parmely kids are spending lots of time riding their horses, and really enjoying the outdoors. Today is Reagan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Maeve Parmely is the youngest of the 4 children of my nephew, Eric Parmely and His wife, Ashley. She has two older sisters, Reagan and Hattie, and an older brother, Bowen. These kids are being raised on a farm, with lots of animals to take care of and play with. In fact, Maeve was hanging around all those farm animals the day before she was born. Maeve isn’t even the youngest of those who live on the farm, because it seems like new babies come around all the time. Like her siblings, I assume she has seen new life come into the world, and if she hasn’t yet, it won’t be long before she does. Before long too, she will be riding a bicycle around the property with her siblings, but I guess that one year old is still a little bit young for that…for now.

One thing Maeve isn’t to young (or too old) for is cuteness. This little girl is cuteness overload. She knows just what to do to make everyone around her smile. Maeve loves hugs and seeing her family smile. I have no doubt that she will be involved in all the antics of her older siblings in no time. The youngest usually gets involved in the best stuff, because her older siblings already know the ropes. These kids have great imaginations, and you just never know what they might come up with. Still, Maeve’s sweet little face will most likely keep her out of a great deal of trouble with her mom and dad. Seriously, who could resist that cute little face.

Maeve is to be the last of Eric and Ashley’s kids, although I think Ashley would willingly have an even dozen. She loves her babies, and now will have to settle for fur babies, I guess. Maeve has had a lot of life experiences in this first year of her life. She’s helped with the animals, of course, ridden on her mommy’s back while her mom stacked hay. She’s been skiing on the mountain. hiking on the trails, and helping her mom around the house. She’s her daddy’s little girl, and she keeps him wrapped around her finger, and she keeps her siblings busy getting her whatever she wants. How could life possibly get any better. Today is Maeve’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Maeve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Reagan Parmely is the eldest child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. She is a sweet little mommy’s helper, who loves being the big sister to her siblings, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. Reagan is very much her momma’s girl. She loves horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats. And every other animal you might think of. She even likes snakes…which is where I have to draw the line. Of course, Reagan is smart about snakes. She makes sure they are ok to pick up, before she touches them.

A great big 1st grader this year, I find myself thinking that Reagan is growing up way too fast. She is starting to get her own sense of style. This year, she decided that she wanted a shorter hair style, and the resulting pixie cut is darling. Reagan wanted an easy going, out of the way style and she is very happy with the result. Of course, her mom wanted to cry a bit, but it will grow back…if Reagan ever wants it long again. Either way, she is a cutie and that’s all that matters.

Reagan, Hattie, and their mom love to go riding together, and I guess their daddy must be the babysitter for the younger kids, or maybe Grandma and Grandpa. Those rides on the horses give the three of them a little girl-time. That’s always nice for the older children to have some time with their parents, one-on-one so to speak. Reagan is growing into such a great girl. She is smart and helpful. She love to teach her younger siblings things and in general hang out with her best little friends. That learn about the farm animals, and about bringing baby animals into the world. And then how to care for them when they are hear. And all that is when she is not is school, which she loves too. I think Reagan is going to go far in her life. She has so much potential. Today is Reagan’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the second child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. They live on a farm outside of Casper, where Hattie and her siblings Reagan, Bowen, and Maeve are learning the ropes of taking care of farm animals. They have chickens, goats, cows, dogs, cats, and horses. Hattie and her siblings have no qualms about helping out. They get right in there and help clean out stalls, feed the animals, and of course, love on the new babies as they come along. They totally love their fur babies.

Hattie has mastered her bicycle now, and is becoming quite the equestrian. She looks so cute riding her little pony. She can’t get up by herself yet, but that will come as she gets taller. Hattie has grown up around these horses, so she has learned to make them comfortable with her. It’s strange to see this little girl standing in the midst of great big horses. Yet she is not afraid, and they aren’t either.

Hattie, along with big sister Reagan, are their parents big helpers. With a little brother and a new little sister, there is lots to do. Hattie is learning all the things that she can do to help her parents around the house, and she stubbornly sticks to things until she has mastered them. Hattie is in the unique position of the two girls, because she has a big sister to show her the ropes. Reagan loves her little sister. The two girls are very close, and very good friends. I find that siblings who live in the country tend to be good friends. Maybe it is the distance from other playmates, or maybe it is a mutual love that comes from learning to cooperate to get anything done. Whatever the case may be, these two girls are the best of friends. Of course, they both love their younger siblings too. Hattie is a very caring girl who often puts the needs of others ahead of herself. Kindness and compassion are traits that will carry her all her life. Today is Hattie’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I recently read a book about the orphan trains, which ran between 1854 and 1929. During that time, approximately 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children ride the train throughout the United States and Canada, to be placed with families who were looking for a child, or just as often, a worker for their farm. The orphan train movement was necessary, because at the time, it was estimated that 30,000 abandoned children were living in the streets in New York City. I had heard of the orphan trains, mostly from the movie called “Orphan Train,” but much of what really happened with those children was very new to me, and quite shocking.

Today, while my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I were in the Black Hills, we rode the 1880 Train, as we almost always do when we are here. When they mentioned that the train had been used in the movie “Orphan Train,” a fact that I had heard many times before, the stories from the book I had read came back to mind. My mind instantly meshed to train, the book, and the movie into one event.

The children who traveled on the orphan trains were victims of circumstance, and they had no control over their lives at all. Each one hoped that their new family would be nice. The older ones didn’t have high hopes. The older boys pretty much knew that they would be farm hands. And most of them were right many were made to sleep in the barn, because they were thought to be thieves. If they were thieves, it was because they had to steal to survive. They did whatever it took to survive.

As Bob and I rode the train today, in the eye of my imagination, I could picture what it must have been like to be one of those orphans. The were sitting there watching that big steam engine take them to someplace they didn’t know, and probably didn’t want to go. They didn’t have high hopes for a great future, but then again, the past wasn’t that great either. They were forced to make the best of a bad situation, and the people who were in charge didn’t really care what happened to them. They were just doing their jobs. I have ridden the 1880 Train many times before, but today, it felt a little bit different, somehow. I knew that I wasn’t an orphan riding that train, but I certainly felt empathy for the children who were.

This past summer, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; my cousin, Pam Wendling; and I went to visit Pam’s dad, our Uncle Bill Spencer at the nursing home where he lives. Uncle Bill has dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease, and so how the visits go, depends on the kind of day he is having. The day of our visit was a really good day. Uncle Bill may not have known who we all were, and even some details about our lives, but he had some funny stories to tell us…one of which was how his brother, our dad, Allen Spencer had never gotten married!! That one was new to my sister and me, who are the eldest of Dad’s five daughters with his wife, our mom, Collene Byer Spencer. I guess Uncle Bill’s mind went back to the pre-Collene era of Dad’s life.

Uncle Bill also told us about the days on the family farm. I think my sister and I always thought of it as a small little patch of land…maybe 5 acres or so, but Uncle Bill told us that the farm was actually 80 acres. The farm was big enough to grow enough vegetables to sell them exclusively to Stokely Foods Inc. Stokely foods is a large company and it was founded on August 18, 1943, later merged with Van Camp’s, and then sold the Stokely brand to Seneca Foods in 1985, and the Van Camp’s brand to ConAgra in 1995. I guess you could say that the Spencer farm got in on the ground floor of Stokely Foods, Inc. This was really interesting to us, because it was confirmed by Uncle Bill’s cousin, Les Schumacher. I suppose Cheryl and I should have assumed that the farm was bigger than we thought, because they grew hay, and it took days to get it all stacked, but when you didn’t grow up on a farm, I guess you don’t really have a good way to gauge such things. I think we should have had some inkling, however, because the pictures we have seen should have told the tale…to some degree at least.

As our visit with Uncle Bill came to a close, we found ourselves very sad about the speed with which the time had passed. We don’t get to see him very much, and he is such a precious person in our lives. He was really in rare form, laughing and smiling a lot. There were no awkward moments when no one knew what to say, and Uncle Bill carried much of the conversation, which was absolutely wonderful. Our only regret is that we can’t get up there to see him more often. Today is Uncle Bill’s 97th birthday. That’s amazing…97 and going strong. Happy 97th birthday Uncle Bill!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Reagan Parmely is the oldest of the three children of her parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely. Being the oldest, Reagan feels the need to be the mother’s helper, and so she is very motherly to her siblings. That’s not to say that the children never fight, although Bowen is to little to fight much. Nevertheless, Reagan and Hattie ire very good friends too. Reagan has a wonderful imagination, and she is able to figure out ways to entertain her little sister. Of course, on a farm, there are lots of games kids can play. Kids usually mimic the activities of their parents, and Reagan is no different. She and Hattie pretended to be milking the goats one day, using Hattie as the goat. Of course, I’m sure Hattie got her turn to be the milking maid too, because Reagan is pretty fair about things. Reagan loves to take her little sister for rides in her car too…yes, I said car. Reagan and Hattie have an electric car and they drive it around the property often. They are pretty careful, but they are always under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Reagan loves helping out on the farm too. Recently when her parents were moving the hay they bought into stacks, Reagan was right there, helping as much as she could, and hoping it was helpful even if she couldn’t do much. Reagan has been such a blessing to her parents, and her siblings too. Whenever I see her, I just love to hear her tell about hat is going on in her life. She tells stories about her day at school, and all that she is learning there. She is a smart little girl, and learns very quickly, but I think the thing I like the most is her wide eyed wonder about the world around her and her joy of learning. Reagan recently got a horse of her own, and she is proving just how much she is her mother’s daughter. She absolutely loves her horse. She rides as often as she can. She is getting quite good at it, and of course, her horse loves her too, so they make a good team.

Every birthday Reagan’s Oma, Jennifer Parmely bakes the family a cake with anything they wanton it. Reagan has decided to have dinosaurs on her cake, so it will have Dino sprinkles on it. I think it’s going to be a wonderful birthday. Today is Reagan’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece Ashley Parmely is such a busy person and mom. She takes care of the farm and the animals that she and my nephew, Eric Parmely have, as well as being a great mom to their three children, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen…not to mention teaching them how to be little farmers too. They all love the outdoors, horses, cows, goats, chickens, and every other animal known to farming. I would say that they love every animal known to man, and they might, but some are simply not the kind of animal you would take care of, unless you are specially trained for jungle animals or something. Eric and Ashley plan to their own grow hay, but for now, they buy it and they stacked 8+ tons of it, resulting in two very tired people, who needed a serious nap. I must say that these two wear me out, and I didn’t move any hay or take care of any animals. They are amazing.

Ashley is a hard working woman. She could outwork many men, and she really just never quits. Even having babies didn’t slow her down. She just loaded up the babies and worked on. Every time I saw those pictures, I found myself thinking, “No way!! How does she do that??” Ashley is a farm mom I guess, but I sure don’t think I could hook a baby to me and keep right on working, but Ashley did and she never skipped a beat. From mucking out stalls to feeding the animals. She just keeps right on going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny!! Ashley has always loved animals, especially horses, so it’s not surprising that she would love to be around horses. She loves riding, caring for, and owning horses. In fact they just got a new horse recently, and that makes her very happy. Ashley has always been a country girl, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ashley has such a great sense of humor. She is always saying or doing something very funny. The looks she gets on her face are just classic funny. Ashley likes making faces, and doing just about anything that will make people smile. Ashley is just such a happy person, that she brings joy to all who know her. We are blessed that she became a part of our family, and continues to be a very special part of it. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the middle child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. Hattie and her siblings are being raised on a little farm outside of Casper, Wyoming. I am amazed at how well Hattie and her siblings get along with the animals in their care. Children are not always careful with animals, but those who are raised around them, have a heart for their animals. Hattie is a soft-hearted girl anyway, and I think her animals know that about her.

Hattie and her siblings have a trampoline, and they love spending time on it. Most of us would just love to have the energy to jump on a trampoline for hours at a time, but lets face it, most of us would get tired after 5 minutes. It is the common problem that adults have when it comes to kids, and their endless energy. Of course, kids get lots of sleep with naps and all, and I don’t know how well Hattie naps, or anything, but if sleep has anything to do with her energy level, I would say she naps or sleeps pretty well.

Having a big sister, Hattie had a helping hand in learning all the cool things to do around their place. Reagan, Hattie’s sister, has taught Hattie and their little brother, Bowen many things about life on the farm. Things like milking the goats, or just playing with the goats, in general. The girls totally love the goats…especially when they are babies, and Bowen is quickly becoming a big help with the animals too.

Life on the farm is not only active, but is usually spent mostly outdoors. We hear about kids today being couch potatoes, but Hattie and her siblings don’t have time for that much. They are always busy doing things out in the yard or with the animals. Cleaning out the pens and feeding the animals are high on the priority list, and they like that very much. Animals depend on their owners to take care of them, and the Parmely kids are great animal owners. Their parents are proud of all the help their kids give them in running the little farm. Hattie is a big part of that, and will be an even bigger part of it as she grows. Today is Hattie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

So much has happened this past year for my grandniece, Hattie Parmely. For one thing, she is no longer the baby of the family…now she is a big sister to her little brother, Bowen Parmely. Hattie has really enjoyed her little brother, because he is the baby, and Hattie loves babies…all kinds of babies. I think her love of babies has come from the fact that her family lives on a farm, and they raise chickens, cows, goats, and horses. There are always babies in that mix.

Of course, Hattie loves being the little sister too, because she has learned so many things from her big sister, Reagan. You see, Reagan has a car…it’s a toy of course, but it goes on it’s own power. In reality, I think the car belongs to both girls, but Reagan drives it the most. Reagan takes Hattie for rides around the farm, and helps her get up in the haystacks, shows her how to do the farm work, and how to be careful with the babies. Hattie knows that Reagan has had soooo much more experience with these things, since she is almost five. and Hattie is just turning three today. Soon, it will be both Reagan and Hattie that will be teaching Bowen all of the things he needs to know…whether he wants them to teach him or not, because he is the little brother, and that’s what big sisters do.

Hattie and Reagan are big helpers around the farm, and at their grandparents houses. One set of grandparents lives next door, and owns part of the animals that the girls take care of, and the other set has a cabin on the mountain, and they often need help cutting wood for the fire. These big strong girls get right out there and help get the job done. Hattie and Reagan have great imaginations, and they are always up to something. They might play house in the hay, or practice their milking skills…on each other, pretend, of course. They love life on the farm, and they are tough enough to clean up after the animals, collect eggs, feed the animals, and whatever else their parents might need them to do. It’s all part of farming, and they are really into it. They are always busy doing something, in fact, I’m told that the only time Hattie will sit still is if you put a baby in her arms. I can’t say that I think that is a bad thing. Being active is good and holding babies is great, so…you go Hattie!! Today is Hattie’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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