Second Annual Griner Tractor Ride

The Griner Family Tractor Ride was so much fun last year – we just had to do it again!

This year’s ride was in Grandpa’s honor – and he would have loved it.

He’d be grinning from ear to ear just seeing all his great-grand kids sitting behind the wheel of these vintage tractors .

Scuba and the Farmall

The kids were grinning, too.

And yes – so was I! There’s just something exciting about the sound of an old tractor.  Especially when your surrounded by family and memories.

Sweet memories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the very cool concept of our family tractor ride, let me enlighten you.

First, everyone claims one of my Uncle Delbert’s vintage tractors. This can be very interesting since each tractor has a unique personality and temperament.

And each driver has a different set of driving skills.

Pedro on red

Some more experienced drivers just jumped on a tractor and took off.  They looked and felt right at home behind the wheel.

Others needed a lesson or two before we started.

And some took Dad along – just in case.

Angel Girl driving tractor

This was Angel Girl’s first time on a tractor – and she wasn’t the only one.

Buddy even got to drive for a little while – with Dad of course.

My Uncle Delbert was everywhere at the same time.

Vance on the DeereStarting tractors, giving lessons, answering questions.

He is a brave man to share his toys with us!

tractor line up

Once the drivers were ready, they lined up at the edge of the farm yard ready to hit the road.

They didn’t stay lined up though. They’d sit there for a few minutes, then somebody would grin and pull out of line and make another pass around the machine shed.

Or two or three.

Soon the whole line up was circling the buildings.

It was like herding cats. 🙂

hitting the roadWhen everybody was ready – and the hay rack was loaded with of those of us “non-drivers” – we started down the blacktop.

It was our very own family parade driving by all the familiar places of my childhood.

Uncle Delbert’s farm. The river. Uncle Dale’s farm. The Anderson place where we lived until I was eight. The Morgan’s.

And then past the cemetery where Grandpa and Grandma are buried,  into town and to the park.

backroadsWe took the back roads home, right to Grandpa’s farm.

It was a little bittersweet to drive in the yard, see those tractors circle the barn and come to rest in front of the house.

It seemed like Grandpa should be there, opening the door with a grin and offering us a dish of ice cream and piece of Grandma’s chocolate cake.

They would have loved this.

We all loved it.

Thank you Uncle Delbert.

Photo credits: Wiggy Photography, Inc. Thanks guys!

The Annual “Christmas at Labor Day” Celebration

It’s very hard to explain to people just what our annual family Labor Day celebration looks  like.

But then every year it’s a little different.

giant jenga
This year we had a giant Jenga game on the porch. Trust me – you didn’t want to be on the wrong side of this guy when it finally fell!

painting playhouseAnd the cousins (with the help of Uncle Rod)  painted the prairie playhouse – and each other.

We even had a Redneck Shower this year.

redneck showerSolar powered and designed by my brother Tim – this was the perfect way to clean up after playing in the Redneck swimming pool…

redneck swimming pool…the river. Which was pretty low this year. The kids didn’t mind though. It was a great place to cool off!

gocart ridesEspecially after a very dusty go-cart ride down the gravel road!

We had our second annual Family Tractor Ride (more on that later – it needs it’s own post!)

tractor ride

And our very special family worship service on the prairie.

prairie worshipFollowed by a very special Christmas celebration, in lawn chairs, outside.

And of course – the traditional walk to see the elk and take the crazy cousin picture on Fort Sumter rock.

Fort Sumter rockWhich isn’t anywhere near the real Fort Sumter.

But then September isn’t anywhere near Christmas.

So I guess it fits just right with my slightly crazy but super fun family who likes to take “making memories” to a whole new level!

Photo credits: Wiggy Photography Inc. Thanks guys!

A Labor Day Tribute

a labor day tributeWe said good-bye to a friend and neighbor this weekend.

As I sat in her memorial service and watched slide after slide of her life flash by on the screen and listened to friends and family share stories – I remembered again why I respected Kathy so much.

She did the right thing – even when it was hard.

Years ago she saw that her only granddaughter was in an abusive situation and she stepped in.

She voluntarily took on a very needy 3 year old and loved her.

While other ladies her age were taking trips – she was potty training.

While others had extra spending money – Kathy was paying for new shoes, new glasses and new clothes.

While others enjoyed Bingo and club meetings – she was helping with 4H projects and figuring out how to home school.

She took that little girl from a neglected toddler, through childhood, adolescence and the teen years.

She invested her time, her resources, her life into that young child.

I saw that little girl at the service. Becky is now in her twenties and finishing up college – a poised, mature and beautiful young lady with a strong faith,  her grandma’s big smile, her love of life and that same mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Kathy invested her life in what was most important and the dividends are eternal.

It makes me wonder if I’m that willing to do the hard thing?  I want to labor for the Lord – but am I willing to get my hands dirty? Am I willing to give up my time? My home? My money? My plans?

I’d like to honor Kathy’s memory this Labor Day.

Her task was not easy, but she was faithful and her work was not in vain.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58