Monday, July 30, 2012

Dairymom's Beat the Heat Strategy

Perfect for any hot day in July or
August, especially these 106 degree ones,frozen dairy treats continue to be  a summer tradition  in our family. My childhood  favorites were  fudgesicles,vanilla ice cream and  sherbet.  Last week when grocery shopping, I couldn't resist buying a tub of Hiland's Rainbow Sherbet as part of my beat the heat strategy.

Whether you say 'Sherbert' or 'Sherbet',  you are eating the same delightful frozen dairy product. Sherbet is a fruity flavored frozen dairy product. Butterfat is the distinguishing difference between ice cream,sherbet and frozen dairy desserts. When comparing the amount of butter fat, you will find:
  • Ice cream contains 10% butterfat.
  • Frozen dairy desserts contain between 2 to 10% butterfat.
  • Sherbet contains between 1 to 2% butterfat.
While browsing through a Southern Living cookbook, I found the perfect recipe to try for our beat the heat strategy  in August !

Creamy Pineapple Sherbet
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream,whipped

Combine sugar and boiling water,stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon  juice,pineapple,and milk.Freeze until slushy; remove from freezer, and fold in whipped cream. Return to freezer, and freeze until firm.
Yield: about 6 servings

I'm planning to beat the heat with dairy delights. How about you?
Happy August!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Farmer's Favorite Game

Just a few days ago, it rained! Even though it rained only a quarter of an inch on our farm, it was a needed positive reminder that --It Can Rain!  As you can tell, it doesn't take a lot to get us excited when we're in the middle of a severe drought. Although that little bit of rain was just enough to settle the dust, it did give us the courage to play in the dirt and replant a field of sorghum that hopefully will receive another bit of rain to grow feed for our dairy cows.

Drought hasn't changed my role as the bring-it-to-me assistant when planting or other field work is happening on the farm. As I approached the field this afternoon with an extra bag of seed and the air pump for the planter's low tire, all I could see was a cloud of dust. It was the farmer playing in the dirt!

Just as the seed was poured into the planter and the tire aired up, we looked up to see a cloud of dust and the beef cattle jogging across the field. Someone forgot to close the gate  (and it wasn't me)!

 Luckily for us, they were going for the grain that had just been put in the feed bunks and  on to the pond for a cool drink. It made my assistant job much easier to just shut the gate!

Then it was back to the farmer's favorite game---
playing in the dirt and planting a crop!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Drought, no doubt, is bringing new challenges to us every day on our  fourth generation family  dairy farm.   I'm thankful for all the lessons learned and taught  by previous generations of family farmers, technology, and science based best management practices that will enable us to restore what drought has destroyed. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Taste Arkansas!

If you haven't checked out Arkansas Farm Bureau's food blog (, you're missing a lot of good recipes and interesting information about Arkansas food! 

 Last week one of the featured recipes was Twice-Baked Potato Casserole. In between calf feeding and getting dressed for church on Sunday, I assembled the casserole and baked it when I returned home from church. It was delicious and I am adding it to my list of family favorites. Multi-tasking moms  can't go wrong with a recipe full of dairy products and potatoes!

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

3 pounds russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
3 pieces cooked bacon,crumbled

Peel potatoes,cut into large chunks;place in large pan,cover with water and boil gently until soft (approximately 10-15 minutes).
Drain potatoes and place back into pot. Add butter,sour cream,heavy cream,salt and cream cheese into pot and mix with a mixer until smooth and creamy.
Place potatoes in an 8x8 pan, top with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon; bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until the cheese melts.

                                    Have a Dairy Good Day!  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dairy Style Vacation

At the end of these hot,dry days on the dairy farm, I love to see the cows gathered in the shade of the trees by our front yard fence. For me, it's a vacation-like moment to watch the cows resting in the shade and shadows created by the sun going down, cooling the air and bringing relief from the heat and stress of the day. These pregnant  Holstein dairy cows by the house have been on vacation for almost two months. Birth of a calf  will end their  two month resting-in-the-pasture vacation that has been preparing them for delivery of a healthy calf and the production of high-quality milk.

Although dairy style cow vacations happen all through the year on our farm, summer is a good time for a dairy cow to be on a resting vacation from milking due to the stress of Arkansas summer heat and humidity. After pregnancy is confirmed by our veterinarian, the cow will be turned dry for this resting vacation two months before the expected due date. On the turn dry day, the cow is milked and her  four quarters (teats)  are treated with preventive medication to protect from bacterial environmental infection. The cow is then removed from the milking herd, fed a special balanced and nutritious diet during the dry cow period, and allowed to rest in the pasture with other expectant cows.

After the cow has her calf, her resting vacation is over and she will return to the milking herd rested and  ready to provide high-quality milk. Due to being treated with medication at turn-dry time, her milk is discarded until the milk is tested negative for medication. It's a fact that milk and dairy products are among the most highly regulated foods available.

Dairy style vacation is part of our ongoing commitment to providing high-quality milk by taking good care of our cows.

                      Hope you're having a dairy good vacation!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

                  During stressful times, it's important to focus on the
                      blessings that are often taken for granted.
   I'm thankful for my faith in God,my family and our dairy farm.

Drought Shopping Tips

In the next few weeks, drought will become a reality when doing the weekly grocery shopping to feed our families. When making decisions to get more bang for your buck, it's important to choose nutrient dense foods like dairy. Dairy foods are an economical choice and play a critical role in the diets of adults and children by providing nine essential nutrients,including calcium,magnesium,
potassium and phosphorus, in addition to 48 percent daily value of protein.

The ultimate goal of all dairy farmers is to provide safe,nutritious milk regardless if it is produced by conventional or organic production methods. It's a common misperception that some milk contains antibiotic. An important fact to know when purchasing milk is that there are NO ANTIBIOTICS in  MILK.It is illegal for any milk to be sold that has any antibiotic or medication. Milk is the safest food that you can buy because of the strict quality controls to ensure freshness,purity, and great taste. Information about milk production and comparison of organic and conventional production methods can be found at

When stretching your food dollar, make a plan that includes these tips from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension (

  • Set a spending limit
  • Plan menus and use them to make your grocery list
  • Read sale advertisement and use them to plan menus and grocery list
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it
  • Eat before shopping
  • Clip coupons for items you know you'll use
  • Try store brands
  • Compare stores
  • Take advantage of special discounts like senior discounts or double coupon days
  • Choose your best day to shop-some stores have sales on specificd days
  • Compare forms and buy the form of food that costs less for each serving
  • Compare sizes and buy the size that costs less for each serving


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Drought's Oasis

Even though our vegetable garden is weedy,has been attacked by Japanese beetles and grasshoppers and far from perfect, it has been our oasis in the desert of drought.   Being  able to provide the water and watch the garden  grow has truly been a blessing while we   have been experiencing extreme and devastating drought on our dairy farm crops and pastures.

 So far we've enjoyed a few ears of corn, a small mess of green beans,tasty tomatoes, a skillet full of okra and plenty of yellow crookneck squash. Since I didn't raise any zucchini squash but have plenty of yellow squash, I decided to modify the tasty Zucchini Parmesan Rounds recipe (

Crookneck Italian Rounds

2 medium yellow crookneck squash
1/3 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Slice squash into 1/4-inch thick rounds,leaving skin on. Place rounds in a resealable plastic bag with olive oil; shake to coat all sides. Combine parmesan cheese, bread crumbs,salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Press each squash round into the Parmesan mixture,coating on both sides. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve warm. Serves: 4.

                                          This one goes into the recipe file with a thumbs up!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Although I enjoy seeing beautiful places and experiencing life in a big city like Chicago, my favorite part of any trip is returning home to my family and the dairy farm.


      I'm thankful for a safe trip home and for  these two sons who
                       managed the farm  while we were away.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dairymom's Meltdown Recipe

Late Saturday evening, I had a meltdown when I found the deep freeze had decided to have its own meltdown. Fortunately, we didn't lose very much food and did have another freezer to transfer food into. 

Part of my meltdown remedy was spent  in the kitchen this afternoon  cooking an assortment of meat that had thawed but was still safe to cook.    Since it's going to be a busy week, I decided to try a  ground beef recipe   that could be prepared ahead  and frozen.

Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole

Non-stick cooking spray
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup whole-wheat elbow macaroni (or penne or rotini pasta)
1 medium tomato,chopped
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt,optional
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef and onion until beef is brown and onion is soft; drain. Cook macaroni according to package directions;drain. Spoon macaroni into prepared pan. Spread beef mixture and chopped tomato over macaroni. Pour tomato sauce over beef. Sprinkle with seasoned salt,pepper and shredded cheese. Cover loosley with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of casserole are bubbling.

               You can find a variety of nutritious recipes at or

                           Hope you have a dairy good week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Drought Coping Skills

Just hearing thunder, seeing a flash of lightning and then watching the rain fall was a great stress reliever. Although any rain is a welcome site and considered a blessing, dealing with the stress and damage of this drought on our crops and pastures will continue for the rest of this year as we adapt and make necessary changes for our farm's survivability. Undetected stress can create a drought in personal well being and I will confess, I have felt pretty discouraged and distressed in this dry,hot spell.

During stressful times when it feels like we might be "going crazy", it's important to recognize these common signs of distress as normal responses to unusual situations:
  • irritability and anger
  • feelings of anxiety and worry
  • headaches or gastrointestinal complaints
  • increasing risk-taking behavior
  • changes in eating and sleep habits
  • increased alcohol or drug use
  • forgetfulness
  • fatigue
  • sense of helplessness
  • lack of concentration
  • avoidance or denial
  • sadness
For mental and physical health, it's important to recognize stress and take steps to cope with the challenge we face by focusing on our own strengths and our community of support. According to information from the University of Missouri Cooperative Extension  and Missouri Department of Health, we can take these steps to help ourselves and our families by:
  • Acknowledging feelings and talking them out.
  • Paying attention to health, nutritious diet and adequate sleep is important.
  • Nurturing personal relationships should be a priority.

As my family and I worked together this week to help our neighbors who are also struggling , it was definitely a stress relief for personal drought!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

We monitor our pregnant cows closely during the birth of a calf to ensure the health of both animals.  I'm thankful for  the fact that this mama delivered her calf with no problems during this week's triple digit temperatures. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dairy Farmers Committed to Community

Our neighbor's corn didn't check the calendar for the July 4th holiday schedule so Ryan and the boys spent most of the day chopping the corn and hauling it to our neighbor's farm. It's definitely not a good corn crop but any crop is better than none when you are experiencing a season of drought.

It was a typical hot,dusty July 4th!

 The drought we're experiencing in Northwest Arkansas makes harvesting any crop crucial and it's definitely the time for farmers to work together  to harvest available feed for our animals.

 Working with our neighbor to provide feed for his cattle is a great example of how our contributions to the local economy are measured not only in dollars and cents, but also in the well-being of the community where we live and work. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Country,'Tis of Thee

I've been humming or singing My Country 'Tis of Thee since we sang it in church last  Sunday.   Written in 1831 by Samuel F. Smith, My Country 'Tis of Thee, was unofficially used as our national anthem before the Star Spangled Banner became the offical national anthem. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, it seems fitting to reflect on the words of this precious hymn and give thanks for the men and women that have served our country both past and present to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today.

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

My country, 'tis of thee,                       
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing:
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride.
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring.

My native country,thee,
Land of the noble,free,
Thy name I love.
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees.
Sweet freedom's song.
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King!

                                        God Bless America!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dairy Farmers Challenge Drought

Life,no matter where you live or what you do, has its challenges. For Northwest Arkansas dairy farmers,drought is our current challenge. With lack of the normal amount of spring rains and the late spring and early summer heat wave with no rain, our crops that we rely on to feed our cows through the year are extremely stressed. Although irrigating crops is not a common practice in our area, it can be done if you have the equipment and access to enough water. For the last two days, Ryan and our nearest dairy farmer neighbor,Don, have been working to set up the irrigation equipment to water a field of Sudan grass that will become feed for Don's dairy cows.

Getting the equipment set up is a hot,sweaty job in 100 degree weather. Irrigation pipe was hauled by trailer and connected from the lagoon water source to the field. Since the equipment had not been used in several years, it has taken time and effort to basically blow the cobwebs out of the pump system. Late this afternoon as we watched the water pump into the irrigation pipe, we were feeling a great sense of accomplishment when all of a sudden, a clamp broke, the hose blew off and provided a bath for Don and alot of laughter for all of us!  It was the perfect time to end the day's work!

Tomorrow the plan is to add more gaskets and clamps and get the water pumping on the field without any extra baths for the farmer. Drought can challenge our crops and the financial sustainability of our farms but it will never beat the friendship of farmers or the spirit of farmers who love their animals, care for the land and will do everything in their power to save the family farm.