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Platte Valley Farm-Her

Adventures with Dorne

Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at

As a grandparent there is nothing more precious than time spent with a grandchild. So, when early this spring our daughter and son-in-law approached us about keeping our only grandchild for a week while they took their first trip without him there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation before we said yes.

We had been prepping him for his longer stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s with some overnight adventures this spring and he had totally made the adjustment to his “Big Bed” in Aunt Cicely’s old room. By the time Mom and Dad dropped him off on their way to Denver to catch their flight to Miami and then a cruise he was already settling in.

I think Mom was a bit non-plussed when he hugged her good-bye and ran to the now familiar toy cupboard and announced, “I’m going to farm!”

For the next seven days he farmed on the upstairs carpet, in the basement play area and outside with Grandpa. He got to go irrigating with Grandpa and for 2 ½-years-old was quite handy at shutting and opening gates with the golf putter provided.

Because of the heat, most of our outdoor time came in the mornings. One morning we went to the garden and while I dug my meager crop of onions, Dorne happily picked them up and put them in a bucket to bring to the house and put on the drying racks in the garage.

We returned to pull the last of the peas and lettuce and he piled all the weeds I pulled onto the wheelbarrow to feed to the chickens. Those little legs and arms saved me a ton of bending.

The second night after we had put Dorne to bed, we got caught in the backwash of a severe thunderstorm passing through Eddyville, 10 miles to the north. While we snagged 0.65 of an inch of rain, we also sustained 60-70 mph winds that ripped several large branches from the cedar trees north of the house. When one crashed onto the front steps, he woke up, “Grandma I’m scared! Those are loud boom-booms!”

Fortunately, he had two special lovies in bed with him and when I appeared all he needed was a hug and solid assurance that the “boom booms” would soon go away. The next morning our exercise was picking up the tons of sticks and branches blown out of the trees.

While certain aspects of dealing with young children had faded from memory, one thing I had not forgotten about toddler’s was the importance of maintaining a routine. Dorne usually wakes up between 7 and 7:30 with breakfast following between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

He is going through a growth spurt and his appetite reflected that. Big breakfasts of at least two eggs, some ham or sausage and toast or bagels, followed by a mid-morning fruit snack helped keep him fueled.

One of his favorite activities that week was picking “chokeberries,” aka chokecherries, from our bushes in the backyard. That jelly is going to taste extra special this winter recalling his enthusiasm for the task.

We did some special visits as well, stopping at the Dawson County Historical Museum to check out the equipment in Ag Hall and all the displays. His favorite was the red Farmall tractor where he perched himself and announced, “I’m planting soybeans.”

He relished his visit to the donut shop and when the kind clerk gave him two donut holes, in addition to his large, glazed donut, he smiled. Needless to say, he polished off all but two bites to fill his hollow leg.

The Dawson County Children’s Museum yielded a full morning of fun on his last day at Grandma and Grandpa’s. He checked out most of the stations and especially enjoyed playing with the wooden train set.

My personal favorite was reading books before nap and bedtime and sharing with him some of his mother and aunt’s favorites from when they were little. While Grandpa and I were tired at the end of each day, it was a joy to see life through a toddler’s eyes.

While we were happy to have his parents back home, it certainly is quiet around here after a full week of activity.

Barb Bierman Batie can be reached at  

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Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at

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