Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrate Eat Better,Eat Together Month

October is designated as Eat Better,Eat Together Month. Family meals are great opportunities to eat nutritious food,enjoy each other's company,share conversation and laugh together. Even when schedules are busy and we struggle to sit down together, I try to keep ingredients on hand that can easily be fixed for a  quick,nutitious family meal. Chili or soup is a favorite fall or winter family meal for us.

 Pepper-Jack Cornbread Muffins make a great addition to any quick and easy meal. I found this recipe in the October 2012 Country Living magazine but made muffins rather than cornbread sticks. It was an instant family favorite and goes perfectly with a big glass of milk!

Pepper-Jack Cornbread Muffins

1 (8.5oz) box Jiffy corn muffin mix
3/4 cup creamed corn
2 large eggs
3 ounces pepper-Jack cheese,grated (about 3/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir until batter just comes together; do not overmix.

Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups with about 2 tablespoons batter. Bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean,about 12-15 minutes. Serve with butter.

Option: May use cast-iron cornbread stick pans--Set 2 cast-iron pans in the top third of oven until hot, about 15 minutes. Mix batter; carefully remove heated pans and brush each stick mold with butter.
Fill each mold with about 2 tablespoons batter. Bake as above. Remove pans from oven and using a sharp knife, release sticks. Serve warm with butter.

                                                  Happy Eat Better,Eat Together Month!

Sunday Specials

Fall has arrived!  The flowers in my yard (what have survived the drought) are taking on a brighter look as the days are cooler and shorter. I love to watch this season of transition and appreciate the reminders of how blessed we are on the dairy farm even in the midst of extreme drought challenges.

                                                Sunday Blessings to you and your family!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

We've  been baling and wrapping hay this week that will be used to feed our dairy cows. Even though drought has severly affected the amount of hay for harvest, I'm thankful  for every bale that is harvested and for these two sons that work diligently every day on our family farm.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Celebrate World Milk Day

Routine is part of our every day life on the dairy  farm--feeding our cows,milking the cows, feeding baby calves and all the other chores that happen in a day to take care of the land and our animals.One of my favorite dairy farm  routines is   having a new calf born on our farm.  This mama gave birth just a few hours ago and I wanted to share this 'first kiss' picture in celebration of World Milk Day!
Routine for this baby today includes resting in the field with her mama, a bottle of colostrum to provide antibodies to protect from disease, and a name tag placed on her ear. Tomorrow she will be taxied to the calf raising area and become part of my daily routine! You can find more information about dairy routine and what's so good about dairy at Dairy Makes Sense.  
Hope you're having a dairy good  Wednesday! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Scouting Naughty Armyworms

Just before we received our first inch of rain in the midst of our exceptional drought, our tractors and seed planting equipment were kicking up the dust planting haygrazer and millet seed in hope of growing a desperately needed fall forage crop. Thankfully, we have received enough rain to green up the pastures and the newly planted crops are growing. Now we are facing another challenge--those naughty fall armyworms! With a little moisture,warm temperatures and humidity, fall armyworms  have been reported in Northwest Arkansas. Besides being extremely naughty in devastating a crop or pasture, they are also ugly to look at!

According to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension, fall armyworms are one of the most devastating pests of pastures,hayfields and crops with damage appearing almost overnight. Here are a few armyworm scouting tips:
  • Diligently scout pastures,hayfields and cropland by examining at least 10 one square foot samples at random across the field.
  • Include a few samples in areas of abundant growth because this is where female armyworm moths prefer to lay eggs.
  • Chemical control is needed when 3 or more worms per square foot are found. If chemical control is necessary, there are a number of insecticides available for control. It's important to read label instructions before purchasing and follow harvesting and grazing restrictions.
As we drove from pasture to crop fields Friday night scouting for those naughty armyworms, I couldn't help but feel like I was on the look-out for a desperate criminal that's out to steal our crop. Exceptional drought continues to provide plenty of challenge as we're scouting for those naughty armyworms!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday


             I'm thankful for the rain we received in the last week that watered our millet crop, 
        brought cooler weather for our cows to enjoy and encouraged our drought weary souls!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Nutrition+Physical Learning Connection Summit

Ten years ago the 16th Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, released the report about the need to prevent and decrease America's obesity epidemic. Food insecurity, poor dietary choices and lack of physical activity are still contributing factors that are being addressed by a variety of concerned groups and organizations. It's been stated that there is a growing amount of research that shows a link between proper nutrition,physical activity, and academic achievement. Now we need a plan to take our knowledge and research to  work through the barriers that keep preventing us from conquering childhood obesity.

For the next couple of days, the 2012 Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit will be taking place in Arlington,Virginia. The goal of the meeting is to identify knowledge gaps, draw meaningful conclusions, highlight practical approaches to leverage the current science and move the agenda forward on working with and through schools to enhance children's health and readiness to learn. This summit is presented by the GENYouth Foundation, in partnership with the National Dairy Council, National Football League, American College of Sports Medicine, and American School Health Association.

As a dairy farmer, I'm very proud to produce a nutritious product and support programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 that are striving to educate children to make healthy food choices and increase physical activity daily to ensure lifelong good health habits.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holstein Yard Ornament

I was so excited to see the rain Saturday morning that I nearly missed the new black and white yard ornament in the iris bed just outside the patio door. When this ornament moved, it was a sure sign that it was not a concrete yard ornament!  The new baby Holstein heifer that was born late Friday afternoon had managed to get under the bottom wire of the yard fence and cuddle up in the flower bed.

Soon after being discovered, she was taxied to the calf raising  area and placed inside her own individual hutch. Before escaping to the yard,she had already received her first bottle of colostrum and will receive her mother's colostrum milk in a bottle for the next couple of days. Colostrum is needed for every calf because it contains the protective antibodies to fight disease. We monitor the quality of the colostrum with a colostrometer to make sure we are providing the best for each calf.
Freezing extra colostrum provides a supply of quality colostrum when needed for other newborn calves.

No longer a Holstein yard ornament, she is now enjoying being fed milk twice a day,individual care and   monitored for any problems. High quality milk is produced by a healthy cow and that begins with the quality colostrum and care each calf receives from the start!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Friday Night Fiesta

Even though we work on the dairy farm seven days a week, I  always look forward to Friday night. I'm all about celebrating Friday nights with an easy to prepare meal that doesn't require a lot of cooking time or dishpan hands!  Fiesta  Rice Skillet Dinner fits this criteria perfectly!

Fiesta Rice Skillet Dinner originated from Miss Arkansas Rice-Jillian Harper in 2005. Jillian promoted rice in a variety of ways at many activities and functions in Benton County  to inform consumers that Arkansas is number one in rice production and to educate others about rice production and the nutritional value of rice. Fiesta Rice Skillet Dinner is featured as a Dairymom approved recipe along with other tasty nutritious recipes at

Fiesta Rice Skillet Dinner

3 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
1 lb ground beef**
1 cup onion,diced
1 can black beans,drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers,drained
1 cup mild picante sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup shredded  Monterey Jack Cheese
1 can Rotel

Brown onion and ground beef together. Drain any excess fat. Add rice,beans,Rotel,corn,picante sauce,and chili powder. Stir to mix well. Heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve hot as entre,a chili with Fritos or a wrap.

** Options: Substitute 1 lb ground turkey or 1 lb boneless,skinless diced chicken with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in skillet to brown meat.

                              I can't think of a better way to celebrate Rice Month and Friday night!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

                        It was a beautiful day on the dairy farm  in Northwest Arkansas--perfect for baling and wrapping hay.   I'm thankful for the rain and sunshine that made today possible!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Drought Damage Control

In a normal year (whatever that is) , we would be chopping corn for silage and baling hay like crazy,but drought, exceptional drought in our case, is demanding change and flexibility in all of our farming decisions for this time of the year. Even though we have received a little bit of rain that has greened up the pastures, at least one third of the grass in our pastures is dead. In times like these we are relying heavily on the information and advice from our Cooperative Extension Agent and the Natural Resource and Conservation Service technicians to help us make the best decisions for farming practices under these drought  conditions.

Maintainence of grazing pastures is important to the nutrition of our dairy cows and calves and the sustainability of our farm. For fall and winter pasture grass, several pastures have been reseeded with rye grass by using a no-till drill. With diesel fuel edging closer to five dollars a gallon, it is very sustainable and cost effective to no-till plant because it reduces soil erosion,retains soil moisture and conserves fuel needed to cultivate.

Drought is challenging every aspect of our farming operation but in looking for the silver lining to the drought cloud, I would say that for me it has grown my faith and given me an even deeper appreciation of the science and technology that we rely on every day to care for our animals and land and to produce high-quality milk for your family and mine!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lightning Safety Tips

Late Friday afternoon a severe thunderstorm moved through our area bringing cooler temperatures and a half inch of much needed rain. I was shocked and saddened to learn later that six of our Holstein dairy cows that were eating at a feed wagon in the pasture had been struck and killed instantly by lightning. Although there was nothing we could have done to prevent this for our cattle, it is a reminder of unexpected danger and injuries that can occur from Mother Nature's power.

After two major lightning strikes on our farm within the last two weeks,I am reminding myself and sharing these lightning safety measures found at

For outdoor safety:
  • If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Look for shelter inside a building or a hard-topped vehicle.
  • Do not go under tall trees for shelter.
  • If caught outside away from a building or car, stay clear of water bodies or tall objects. Find a low spot or depression and crouch down as low as possible, but don't lie on the ground.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before leaving your shelter.
  • If you are in or on open water, go to land and seek shelter immediately.
For indoor safety:
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items.
  • Stay away from windows and door.
  • Stay off corded phones,computers and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing.
  • Avoid washing your hands,bathing,doing laundry or washing dishes.

                                      It's a fact that we can't stop Mother Nature but we can    
                                      follow safety tips to protect ourselves and our families!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dairymom's Duck Tape Tool

How many ways can you use Duck Tape? I'm pretty sure the number is limitless if you have any imagination! Sponsors of the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference gave us a treasure bag full of useful and fun products. I was so excited to see that one of those treasures was a new roll of black and white zebra stripe Duck Tape. A farmer can never have too  much Duck Tape and baling wire for those unexpected emergencies!

Actually, Duck Tape is a tool I use every day raising baby calves. As soon as we bring a new calf to the calf raising area, we place it in an individual hutch. Each hutch is marked with a number as part of my record keeping system. After years of trying to keep wooden boards painted and updates with numbers, I decided to try using Duck Tape and a permanent marker for writing numbers. It works perfectly!

 With so many colors of Duck Tape to choose from, it was a hard decision but it seemed obvious that the girls (heifers) should have Funky Flamingo pink and the boys(bulls) would have Island Lime  green.Girls are always pretty in pink--and these calves are no exception!

I haven't decided how I will use my zebra stripe Duck Tape, but I'm sure it will be something useful and fun and it will stay in my dairymom tool box!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

               Hurricane Issac  blessed us with three inches of much needed rain last week    that added water to our  ponds and provided relief to our drought stressed land. I'm thankful to see these green sprouts of newly planted milo that will become a feed source for our dairy cattle.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tale of an Arkansas Woman Blogger

Just a little more than a week ago, I traveled to Mountain View to attend my first Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference. From the Foodie Friday afternoon session, where I was given my very own Spotted Cow Review apron, till we departed for home on Sunday morning, it was jam-packed with useful information about sharing our passion through blogging and providing tools to improve that sharing ability--whatever the subject.  Nestled in north central Arkansas into the hills and around the curves, the Ozark Folk Center gives you a view of life about the heart of Arkansas--it's people. It was the perfect setting for the gathering of women from across our state and beyond  the state borders.

One of my favorite sessions on the Friday afternoon schedule was the tour of the herbal garden located in front of the Center. Herbalist Tina Marie Wilcox gave us a quick overview of the herbs growing in the garden and descriptions of how each can be used and grown for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes (

 Even though it was a steamy afternoon, Tina moved through the garden with the speed of a jack rabbit  sharing her enthusiasm and passion for herbs. Her knowledge about herbs was amazing but what really caught my attention was her ability and desire to share her passion and knowledge with others.

Now that I'm back on the dairy  farm with my apron hanging  proudly in the kitchen, my mind  is full of lessons learned and I've been   inspired by these  Arkansas women I met that are  sharing their passion with others.
 Most of all, I'm thankful for the fact that you stop by Spotted Cow Review to let me share my passion about life on and off the farm!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sweet September!

Just when my frustration reached the "I'm leaving home and not coming back" level this week after lightning burned the telephone lines and killed the electronics, I took a deep breath and gave thanks for the rain that did follow that lightning!

To celebrate the rain, the first day of September,the first Razorback football game of the season, and the fact that I now am back to full plugged in status with telephones,computer,fax and printer back in working order,I baked a new cake recipe found in my Jim Graham's Family Cookbook for City Folks!

Honey Bun Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix cake mix,oil,eggs, and milk until well blended. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan or dish. Mix together the nuts,brown sugar, and cinnamon. sprinkle over batter, and swirl into batter with a spoon. bake for 50 minutes.
Prepare topping: Blend ingredients well, and spread on cake as soon as it is removed from oven. Delicious served warm. Serves 12 or 15.

Happy September!!