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A farm visit and smells of coffee and cattle

By Grace Klaassen, as published in Harvey County Now

Vernon Klaassen is pictured with Tye Engle, feedlot manager for the Klaassen farm.

Newton Presbyterian Manor is a retirement community with heart. Residents’ needs and happiness come first, even in times as hard as we’ve had this past year or so.

Recently, Tina and Sarah, who plan interesting activities for the residents, decided it was time to get my farmer husband, Vernon, back out to our farm to see and smell the cattle and everything farm. They’re trying to get the visits done before the snow flies.

This would be a rare opportunity for me to show hospitality! I was excited to serve snacks to the four residents and two helpers. I decided to pick up some of the delicious cinnamon rolls the Meridian Market makes, but since it was late the day before, I prayed that the Lord of the Universe would be willing to help me. I found the last two packages, raspberry and caramel nut rolls. Just as I got the rolls in sandwich bags, ready to put into fun cartoon bags, and took the carafe full of coffee to the dining table, the van arrived. Tina and Sarah knew just how to handle the treats.

Our feedlot manager, Tye Engle, keeps the animals well and the alleys through the pens nice and passable with gravel. He said he could drive alongside the feed bunks and see the cattle close-up. Sarah was a farm girl growing up and undaunted by the challenge of backing up a vehicle. And who doesn’t love the big, brown eyes of cattle and the five breeds, including Black Angus and reddish Hereford?

This NPM is a place that understands the needs of residents. Starting with Marc Kessinger, who retires this year as Executive Director, ten years after he left the banking business to help the elderly or others with care needs find a place to retire or rehab. He will be missed. The Manor is a place where kindness and activities make a difference, and where chapel and singing have had an important place in my husband’s life.

As we’ve made the circuit of pens, we pull up to the shed, and Tye comes aboard to greet us and visit my husband. As feedlot manager, he gets to make sure that 1,000 cattle are fed 60,000 pounds of feed a day and are kept well. He runs an efficient operation. He keeps the cattle in the pens and makes sure a thousand babies are tucked in at night will full bellies and water to drink. He tells us to drive by and see the huge piles of silage made of chopped forage sorghum. I sack up some to show our guests and let them smell the aroma. We see piles of chopped hay and supplement that the feed truck mixes in.

We’d taken many pictures and even videos. Those cattle haven’t got so much attention before, but it all passes them by without too much thought, I’m sure.

Not so for us. It’s going to be a great memory, I hope, for all.

It sure blessed me.

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