In the recent weeks our brother Mike and his wife Mary secured Hidden Lodge not far from Jamestown, ND for an extended period of time. They arrived from Wisconsin.Their friends Bob and Marie Prager eventually joined them. Before the rest of us appeared Mike and Mary had several get togethers with people from Mikes past, various groups of people with something in common. Then it was time for family get togethers. Judy Baenen came up from the Black Hills, She has lots of family living near Jamestown so one afternoon there was a Wanzek event. I knew some of them and it was fun meeting those I didn’t previously know.

Mary and Mike

Two of the Baenen siblings married two of the Wanzek cousins so it makes for fun family gatherings.

Bob & Marie

The Pragers have been neighbors of Mike for years. Mike has moved but they can still be considered neighbors

The Wanzeks are fun, down to earth people and I enjoyed our time with them. A couple days later we had a Baenen get together. Donna’s kids, grandkids, and great grand kids came. Judy’s son Aaron, his wife Chancie, and their two children came for the party and then went their merry way. They also live in the Black Hills. Not everyone could make it of course but there were plenty of people and I, for one, had a great time.

Third and fourth generations starting from my generation.

People were in a visiting mood and all too soon it was time for people to head home. A number of storms came through while I was in Dakota. Judy and I went for a walk one day and got home just in time before a storm smacked into the Lodge. Winds were above 60mph. Trees were uprooted. I find storms very exciting. Also, Mike had cut down a tree that had to be removed.

After one of the storms Mike and I went for a buggy ride. We ended up driving through TMT Farms to see the new machines. We also met one of the farm workers who had just returned from taking a beating at a Demolition Derby in Denver, I believe he said. He brought his buggy to the farm to hopefully be fixed up again.

One day we drove down the road to Dwayne Wanzek’s Dairy where the cows milk themselves. When they want to be milked they just walk into the milking machine and get milked.

Medium sized calves
New born calves
There was a steady stream of cows in line to be milked and there are five milking machines available.

This trip we not only saw the milking process but we saw the larger picture of keeping the herd going, how they are fed, cared for, and new calves born. It was very interesting and then before I knew it, the time had come for me to get back on the train and head home. Sam and I had a plane to catch to Las Vegas three days after I arrived home. Thank you Mike and Mary for making our family reunions happen and for including me in the mix. I had a great week.