Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

It doesn't seem possible it's been 26 years since we brought home this 9 pound baby!
I'm thankful for the joy Cody brings to my life, that he always requests chocolate cake for his birthday,
the fact that we're  celebrating his last 'single' birthday,
                      that birthdays are celebrated  working  together on our family dairy farm.
                                                                 Life is dairy good!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dairy Spring Green

          Spring brings a wide variety of green colors for us to enjoy. On the dairy farm, I would say                            that the color of a field of spring wheat is one of my favorite shades of green.
                                                       I call it Dairy Spring Green!
It's amazing to see a crop grow daily and we are thankful to know that our dairy  cows will have good feed that provides part of their balanced nutritious diet  to produce high-quality milk.
You can tell that harvest of the spring crop is not too far away
 when you see this other shade of green!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Busy Day Dessert

A couple of years ago, one of our  creative church members took the time to collect favorite recipes  frequently shared at our church dinners. This recipe collection is truly a labor of love and a cherished keepsake.

 I've enjoyed Coconut Cream Cake many times but last weekend was my first time to bake this cake. It is quite a delight and perfect for a hectic schedule that doesn't allow much time in the kitchen. My cooking time was limited last weekend, so for Easter dinner it was the perfect dessert recipe   and from the family reviews, it will be on our list of favorites!

Coconut Cream Cake

1 White Cake Mix
1 can (15oz) Cream of Coconut
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1-8oz. Cool Whip
1 cup flaked coconut

Bake cake according to directions on box in 13x9 inch pan. While cake is baking, mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together; set aside. Remove cake from oven when done and poke holes with fork all over; pour liquid mixture over the cake while hot. Place cake in refrigerator to cool; after cake has cooled, top with cool whip and sprinkle flaked coconut on top. It gets better everyday. Store in refrigerator.

                                                                           Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

You never know who may show up for calf feeding chores!
I'm thankful for Angus,(Cody's  puppy)  the newest member of our family farm team!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dairy Farmers Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

Earth Day isn't just a one day celebration on our  dairy farm--it's an everyday experience   as we work to produce  high-quality milk by caring for our animals and conserving natural resources for future generations.

 It's a fact that dairy farms today produce a gallon of milk using 95 percent less land and 65 percent less water while producing 76 percent less manure compared with 1944. It's the modern science and technology that make it possible to produce more milk today with only 9 million cows than with 26 million cows in 1944.

In looking to reduce our carbon footprint and operate as sustainably as possible, we completed an energy audit  in 2012 with the help of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its partners EnSave and USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Services. The audit provided potential areas for saving energy use and improving long-term efficiency and profitability.

Last year after completion of the energy audit,  we  chose to install equipment in the milking parlor that would reduce the amount of electricity used to cool the milk. By installing this equipment we saw immediate results in efficiency and a reduction in the farm's carbon footprint. The change saved more than 26,000 kilowatts in electricity and  reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 6 tons annually.

 In addition to saving electricity, the plate cooler provided additional water that can be recycled for our cows to drink. We installed two rubber tire water tanks  for the cows to enjoy drinking from  year-round.  A win-win for us, the environment   and the cows!

We'll be using our energy audit to provide direction for other changes we can make to operate as sustainably as possible and continue to celebrate Earth Day Everyday down on the dairy farm.

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Earth Day Dairy Spin

Although it's Earth Day Everyday on the dairy farm, I was an invited guest to the  early  Earth Day celebration with Bentonville students at Old High Middle School. Students enjoyed a variety of activities related to protecting and caring for the earth that are important  to   everyday living.

Sharing information about dairy farming is important to me   because caring for the environment is a responsibility dairy farmers share with our local community. Good environmental practices are  essential to a dairy farm's success and for  future generations. You can find more dairy facts and information about sustainability and environmental protection practices   at Midwest Dairy.

                       My display included information about dairy nutrition and dairy farming.

It was my day to be the Vanna of Dairy--passing out string cheese for every spin of the Dairy Wheel of Knowledge!
                                      I had fun  giving my own dairy farmer spin on Earth Day!

Happy Easter!

Even though it's a typical day on the dairy farm with milking the cows and feeding calves and cows, it's also a special day of celebration with family and friends recognizing the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It's no coincidence that we are experiencing the beauty of nature at the same time we celebrate the fact--He's alive!

                                                    When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

                                                       When I survey the wondrous cross,
                                                       On which the Prince of glory died,
                                                        My richest gain I count but loss,
                                                        And pour contempt on all my pride.

                                                        Forbid it,Lord, that I should boast,
                                                         Save in the death of Christ, my God;
                                                        All the vain things that charm me most,
                                                         I sacrifice them to His blood.

                                                         See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
                                                         Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
                                                          Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
                                                         Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

                                                         Were the whole realm of nature mine,
                                                          That were a present far too small;
                                                          Love so amazing, so divine,
                                                          Demands my soul, my life, my all.

                                                                                            ---Issac Watts,1674-1748

                                                                     Happy Easter!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Just a few warm spring days last week encouraged and coaxed the trees to begin unfolding from their long winter rest.   My favorite tree in our front yard is this flowering crabapple which was a gift from Ryan's mother many years ago. It brings great joy with it's beauty and the memory of a very special person in our family who loved trees and spring.
I'm thankful for the blessings of family and
 spring down on the dairy farm! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Melt Down Monday with Dairy

Instant macaroni and cheese has its place in my pantry because my sons love it, but they also enjoy trying new recipes that contain their favorite ingredients. Macaroni-and-Cheese Deluxe, found in my 1979 Southern Living Recipes  book,   has a rich flavor and would  complement any meat dish.  It's a perfect, family pleasing  recipe, and easy to prepare  for melt down Mondays!

Macaroni-and-Cheese Deluxe

1 (8oz.) package elbow macaroni
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
1 (8oz.) carton commercial sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 cups (1/2 pound) shredded process American cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir in shredded cheese.
Add macaroni, stirring well.
Pour into a greased 9-inch baking pan, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Helpful Hint: To make shredding of very soft cheese easier, put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Yield: 6-8 servings


Friday, April 11, 2014

Dairy Farmer's Rain Dance

We've waited all winter for this spring wheat crop to start growing and now with a few warm spring days you can  see it changing almost daily. It's our kind of excitement!
Field crops need nutrients to grow so  Casey spread a measured amount of commercial fertilizer over several fields today. With moisture and more growing days, this wheat will be chopped or baled for our dairy cows to enjoy as part of their balanced diet that provides high-quality milk.
 Just so you know,
the dairy farmer's rain dance is done with a tractor and a fertilizer spreader!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Whether it's being called to assist in rounding up the cows who found the hole in the fence,

picking flowers while the fence is being repaired,
witnessing the birth of a new dairy calf,
                I'm thankful for each experience I have working with  my dairy farm family everyday
               as we work to produce high-quality, nutritious milk by caring for our land and animals.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Fling Down on the Dairy Farm

Even though it's spring, our chilly temperatures haven't enticed the pasture grass to grow very fast. 
 We'll continue  feeding large round hay bales in the manger for these soon to be mama cows until there is an ample supply of grass to satisfy every cow just like we've done all winter. I'm sure the cows are anxious for their spring fling in  lush grass after such a hard winter!
I love spring down on the dairy farm for a lot of reasons but it's always  fun to see how the cows behavior and attitudes seem to change with a few warm days and a little green grass.
I'm not so different from the cows--I think my attitude and behavior is a little bit better with warm sunshine and the beauty of spring!
It's hard to tell who is more anxious for the dairy farm's spring fling--the cows or the farmers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Great American Milk Drive Supports Food Banks

Feeding America is America's leading domestic hunger relief organization with the mission to feed hungry Americans through a network of member food banks and engage our nation in the fight to end hunger.  Hunger is a reality for more than 49 million Americans. Through partnerships with public and private organizations and businesses , millions of meals are secured on behalf of local food banks to provide hunger relief.

Dairy farmers and dairy processors launched The Great American  Milk Drive this week in partnership with Feeding America to bring awareness about the scarcity of milk for food banks and to work for a goal of providing 2 million gallons of milk to food banks.

Hunger is a very real problem in America.  It's a fact that  1 in 6 Americans suffer hunger.
I'm joining in the fight against hunger by participating in the Milk Drive and by other opportunities   provided by partnerships with food companies at Outnumber Hunger. Involvement in these activities will help Feeding America to:
  • ensure no child is at risk of hunger
  • provide well stocked food banks   to help the needy
  • improve families have access to food
  • help people  in hard times

More information about the Great American Milk Drive can also be found at Midwest Dairy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Bridal showers are definitely a fun part of my transition into my soon to be mother-in-law role.
Our hostess had the perfect theme for the shower -- "Udderly in Love"!
I'm thankful to share in all the " Udderly in Love" memory making!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nutritional Milk Deal

Although I haven't seen the price of milk change  at my local store, I know that there is a huge  variance in the retail price of milk from store to store and from city to city. Milk price is determined by the market forces of supply and demand and right now there is a global demand for milk that is putting pressure on local store prices.  We (dairy farmers) don't have anything to do with milk pricing but we are responsible for producing high-quality milk that offers more nutritional value than any other food America's families can buy.

If you're making hard decisions about the best nutrition for your food dollar, consider milk a nutritional deal because:
  • Dairy products are an economical staple with great taste and nutrition.
  • Milk offers more nutrients per penny than almost any other beverage option in the supermarket.
  • Milk is one of the most nutrient -rich foods on your grocery list.
  • At about 25 cents per 8 ounce glass, on a gallon basis, milk is a bargain.
  • Milk supplies nine essential nutrients that you and your family need, including calcium,       vitamin D, protein, vitamin A and potassium.
You can find more information about dairy nutrition or how we work to produce high-quality milk at Dairy Makes Sense.

                                                            Milk is a nutritional deal!

Bessie Fact: Dairy foods provide 70 percent of the calcium in the nation's food supply;
milk is the top source of potassium,phosphorus, and vitamin D in the U.S. diet.

No Foolin'--Dairy Makes Sense!

I would know it was a joke if the farmers came into the kitchen and told me they wouldn't be hungry today!  I'm looking forward to trying Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas With Yogurt. It's no joke--Dairy Makes Sense!

Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas With Yogurt

3 ounces cream cheese
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
12 ounces chunky salsa
1 cup Mexican-blend cheese,shredded
8 (6 inch) whole wheat tortillas
Yogurt Sauce:
2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat cream cheese in large skillet over medium heat until soft. Stir in chicken and 1/2 cup of the salsa; mix well. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese; stir until melted.Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla; roll up. Place seam side down in 12x8 inch baking dish. Top with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve with yogurt sauce.

For the yogurt sauce, combine yogurt, cilantro and cumin. Chill until needed.
No foolin'--you can find a variety of delicious recipes at Dairy Makes Sense.
Happy April Fool's Day!