Friday, May 28, 2010

Freedom to Farm

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer as we move to many fun outdoor activities and sharing special times with our friends and family. Yesterday I made a visit to a small community cemetery to place flowers on the graves of several family members. Memorial Day also known in the beginning as Decoration Day began in 1868 to honor the memory of those who paid the ultimate price for our country after the Civil War. Visiting the cemetery brings a special time of reflection for me. Looking across the cemetery I noticed that small flags had been placed on each grave of men and women who have served in our military. Because of the courage,devotion and committment of those who have gone before us, we have the freedom to farm.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dino Dash Dairy Promotion

Dairy moms love to promote dairy products to consumers of all ages. Yesterday dairy mom Shannon from Missouri and I met in Little Rock to participate in a dairy promotion at the Dino Dash. Dino Dash is a fundraiser for the Museum of Discovery which strives to ignite a passion for science,math, and learning among children. As a sponsor for the Dino Dash 1K and 5K run,Midwest Dairy Council was a perfect fit for promoting physical activity, good nutrition and our Fuel Up to Play 60 program. We provided chocolate milk for refueling the runners, offered information about dairy nutrition and presented awards on behalf of dairy farmers to the largest 1K and 5K school team that paticipated in both Fuel Up to Play 60 and Dino Dash. Our most fun activity was watching the kids and a few adults milk Sophia the simulated cow. Sophia is a life size replica of a black and white Holstein cow designed to hold colored water that looks like milk complete with four milking quarters. She also has a terrific happy smile! Kids are amazing to watch in their approach to Sophia. Many milked her like professionals and those that were timid in the beginning quickly became experts. Sophia presents a great opportunity for us to talk to consumers about where their milk comes from and what we do on the farm to provide this great product. As we were packing up our booth and pushing and pulling Sophia into the truck to head for home, I couldn't help but chuckle and think about what Sophia might tell us if she could talk!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pie and Ice Cream

As I have been working in the kitchen this morning preparing food for our Vaughn Community Bean Supper and Pie Auction, I have been thinking about the history of our community and what an impact community makes on our lives. If you are traveling to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport or commuting to a job in town, you will pass two historical structures that have made a tremendous impact in our community's past and present. Nestled in a sweeping curve is the Vaughn Presbyterian Church with the old Vaughn School building located next door. With the consolidation of the school into the Bentonville district many years ago, the Vaughn School building was sold to a private individual. The building has deteriorated past repair or remodeling. In days past the church and the school have been the lifeblood of this community. In its heyday,Vaughn had two grocery stores,two gas stations,a canning factory, and a machine shop. With the loss of the school, the community changed to just a passing through place. Many of the past students and graduates of Vaughn still come together the first Saturday in August each year for a school reunion. Members of the church are hosting the bean supper and pie auction tonight to bring together the remnants of our community to raise money for a historical marker for the school and the church that will be placed on the church property. It is our desire to preserve history for future generations. Our lives are made rich by our community history and as a multi generation dairy farm family, we must strive to not only preserve history but build our community for the future generations. We will also hopefully get to enjoy a lot of good pie and ice cream!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dairy Mom's Crop

Everyday on our dairy farm we milk the dairy cows twice, feed all of our dairy cows,heifers and calves and manage any unexpected challenges. This past week we have also added the task of crop planting. Every year we plant 100 acres of corn to make silage for our cows to eat. Corn silage is added to our cows feed ration that is specially formulated by our dairy nutritionist. Preparation to plant a crop takes a lot of management and planning. It actually begins when you finish harvesting in the fall because the equipment must be maintained,parts ordered for repairs and repairs made before the actual planting begins. The corn seed and fertilizer were ordered in the winter to make sure everything we needed is available at planting time. We will be celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow and I couldn't help but think about my own crop. I did not really know what to expect or how to prepare for motherhood but just as we have faith that our corn crop will produce, motherhood is faith in action. I am very blessed by the experience of being a mother. My family is the most improtant crop I will ever raise. Happy Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Taste of Dairy

As a member of the Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee one of the activities I enjoy is our annual Dairy Recipe Contest for 4-H members. Contest participants can choose to enter in the category of Main Dish, Party Idea or both. One of the qualities each recipe is judged on is the enhancement of the recipe by the use of dairy products. After the judges have tasted each dish and are deliberating on which recipes will win, everyone else gets to sample the food. This year we had a total of 22 recipes. What a feast! When my boys were in 4-H they participated in this contest many times and we had some great learning experiences. I would like to share a recipe that my sons submitted at different times for this contest--it is simple but enjoyed by our family and of course uses dairy products. Enjoy!

Enchilada Casserole
11/2 lb. ground beef
1 onion,diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 can enchilada soup
1(7oz)pkg Fritos or tortilla chips,crushed
1 lb Velveeta cheese
Cook meat and onion until done.In saucepan,mix soups,milk, and enchilada sauce. Drain meat and add other ingredients. Place chips in greased casserole dish. Cover with meat mixture and Velveeta cheese. Alternate layers and bake 30 minutes @325 degrees F.