June 4 2020 09:15 AM

In a blink of an eye, our youngest farm kid turns 10!

Jacob was determined to ride a sheep at our county fair. His will to stay on for 9 seconds reminds us all to "Give it all you have, baby!"

Dear Jacob,

A decade ago I introduced you to the world with my first "Around the Kitchen Table" column. Your debut was grand; little did we know that your large birth weight, at nearly 12 pounds, would match your wildly large personality.

Spotting some chickens, a 1-year-old Jacob took off walking and has not stopped moving since.

Being the youngest, you always were raring to go and always ready to prove you could do anything the "big kids" could do. Just like driving our John Deere Gator at barely 3 years of age at full speed, in reverse because you weren't able to put it into drive, and we really thank our lucky stars you couldn't because Lord knows where you would be today.

It really is hard to think of life without you in it. Jacob, you have always been in high gear, rising with the sun and waking with purpose. I watched in awe as, at 5 years of age, you called next at a local basketball court and talked smack that "Curry is way better than LeBron" to guys who were nearly double your height.

Ahead of the curve from birth on, Jake, you are our mental math champion, music singing superstar, animal lover, sports statistician, and Lucky Charm cereal lover.

Jacob is smiling wide 99% of the time, giving others reasons to smile as well.

You have thrived under the quarantine of COVID-19. Steadfast by your father's side, you have become a master of driving a skid loader, raking stalls, vaccinating heifers, and walking your show calves, despite not having a current show to go to. In fact, you single-handedly picked out your show string and have a strong set of reasons to support your line-up.

Jacob, you lead with your heart. Your best trait will always be being able to know the exact moment your mama can use a hug. You're hilarious, always singing to whatever tune is on the radio and love watching YouTube. You're convinced you'll easily balance playing in the NBA, having your own YouTube channel, while also being a farmer.

At age 6, Jacob was determined to help show cows at the Illinois State Fair. He took his showmanship skill seriously, keeping the cow’s head up!

While you dream big, your wants in life are very simple. Shooting BBs, slipping and sliding on an old piece of silage bag plastic with a garden hose, entering calvings into PCDart every morning, walking your show calves, playing a game of pick up in our driveway, and hauling feed for your dad.

I look at you and your simple desires and realize that you have given me the best gift in the last decade, by joining our family and reminding me daily to, "Give it all you have, baby!"

I must have blinked, Jacob, because it certainly seems like yesterday that you made your grand entrance into the world. I'm trying to keep my eyes open and cherish each moment because the growth you have made in the last few months is nothing short of remarkable.

Happy birthday, Skippy-John-Jones. We love you with every ounce in us.


Karen Bohnert

Karen Bohnert is a second-generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.