Thursday, December 26, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

It was special in every way down on the dairy farm.
Although we worked our usual schedule of milking the cows
and feeding and caring for cows and calves on Christmas Day,
at the end of the day, we gathered as a family for a 
meal and exchange of gifts. That may seem like a 
very ordinary event, but to me, 
the gathering of those I love is a precious gift.

I'm thankful for the new dairy heifer that we welcomed 
on Christmas Day,

 for all the gathering of family during this Christmas 
season, loving memories of past  family Christmas times

 the opportunity to make memories for the next generation.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

"It takes a village" was the phrase that came to mind as I observed
this mama-to-be assisting with welcoming the new calf. It's not unusual
to see this behavior  in a pasture full of expectant mothers and although it
appears to be helpful, it can be a distraction to the new mother causing her
not to do her job of cleaning off the calf.  

We don't always separate these cows but today due to the frigid,damp weather, we
moved the new baby and mama to the maternity barn for protection and to assure
that the mama could do her important job.

Observing the behavior of animals is always interesting and part of the 
dairy farmer's job in providing good care of their cows and calves.

I'm thankful for all the birthdays down on the dairy farm
and in our family!

Happy 1st birthday,Breck!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

I've had a lot of thinking time this week while sitting in the
 hospital  with my Mother who is battling pneumonia. 
It's moments or events like these when  you realize what is important
 may be different than what was on the daily schedule.

I'm thankful that I live in a community with state of the art medical
facilities, dedicated nurses and skilled doctors ,

for the beauty of the Christmas season,

                                         for my family that have taken over my farm duties
                                                while I have been taking care of Mother,

                                                    for the extended family and sweet friends
                                              that have lifted us up in prayers and offers of help.

                                              Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything
                                           give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                               I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Members of Arkansas Farm Bureau are in Little Rock this week for 
the annual convention which includes the policy development process of
the organization. One of the issues of discussion this year is in regard
to reforming Federal Milk Marketing Orders.  It's a complicated 
subject and definitely not for light dinner conversation! 

I do appreciate the importance of the Federal Orders in  providing 
 stability in the milk marketing process and ensuring that milk
 is available to consumers across the country. 

As I have been learning more about the Federal Milk Marketing 
system,my appreciation has grown for how hard our
 dairy cooperative works to market  milk for all of its members.

It's a great honor to be a dairy farmer working everyday
to produce high-quality milk for your family and mine

I'm thankful to 
be a member of  a cooperative that I trust to
do the very best job in marketing the milk we produce.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Thanksgiving is a holiday of  giving thanks for our bounty of blessings and
gathering around the table with family and friends. Like most families,
we will take the opportunity to tell family stories and reminisce about
those who we are missing around the table.

The woman in this picture is my Great Grandmother Harral holding my 
grandmother. Their farm was just a little over a mile from where I live 
today. I would imagine that they enjoyed a home raised turkey for
their Thanksgiving dinner in the early 1900's.

By the time I met my Great Grandmother, the turkeys and apple
orchard were gone but she always had marshmallows in the 
cookie jar waiting for little hands to pick for a sweet snack!

I'm thankful for the memories we have to share with others
and the opportunity to make new memories for the next generation.

Happy Thanksgiving 
from down on the dairy farm!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Farm Story Anniversary

My Undeniably Dairy  Farm Story began when
I said "I do" on 
November 24,1984.

It's been thirty-five years of  loving a dairy farmer,

making a home and raising a family

 working everyday with my family to produce nutritious 
milk for your family and mine.

                                                     You can't make up stories like ours!

                                               Just as my sweet anniversary card said,
                                         "love takes work, and time, a Lifetime, to be exact."

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Our three farm dogs are usually the first to greet any visitors with
a chorus of barking that unnerves most UPS and FedEx drivers.
It's not a bit surprising that many of the delivery drivers carry
a lot of dog treats  and are now considered on the OK list by 
our farm trio.

No matter what I am doing on the dairy farm, the dogs 
wait patiently outside the back door so that they may follow me. 

They are not trained to do anything helpful but it's 
obvious that each one of them loves me unconditionally
 and are happy to contribute  a tail wag or a hand lick
 to improve my day.

Even though the dogs don't understand that it's okay for the 
cows to stand close to the fence or gather around the hay manger,

I'm thankful for the devotion of our farm dogs
that provide their own kind of  daily love and encouragement 
 for dairy farmers down on the dairy farm.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Arkansas is known for unpredictable weather changes but 
this week has been ridiculous!
Our cows and calves had less than 24 hours to adapt from a 
beautiful 70 degree fall day to what felt like January bone-chilling
twenty degrees with a little sleet and snow. 

We prepared as best we could by unrolling hay
for the cows to rest on and bedding calf hutches  
with extra hay or shavings for warmth. 

I'm thankful that this baby was born on the 70 degree day
before the chilly weather

and all the calves survived with no symptoms of  illness
or hypothermia.

                                                  I'm also very appreciative of  and thankful for
                                              the warm insulated coveralls that  kept me warm
                                                                  and a little less cranky!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thank a Veteran

Bill Anglin, my father-in-law, served in the Army during
World War II.  Part of his service time was spent in Japan
as a medic.  Bill never talked about his war experience but
we know that he witnessed much pain and suffering during his
time of service.  He was like many others that returned to their homes
and communities and went about living life to the fullest with
their families. Although  returning home was a victory ,  there was
a great awareness of and appreciation for those that gave all for 
the protection of freedom.

We continue to enjoy the freedom to farm and
live as we choose because of the brave men and women
who have served and are serving to protect our freedoms.

                                                           Many thanks to every Veteran!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

I returned from a trip to Little Rock just in time
to check on the calves during their afternoon feeding.
It was a dreary,rain threatening afternoon and already getting
dark when I made my way to the hutches.

The calves were already finished with their afternoon milk
and were enjoying the grain that had been added to their feed
bucket.  With the threat of rain, I was glad to see that 
each calf  had their head down in the feed bucket.

I'm not quite adjusted to the  Daylight Savings time change that 
occurred this past Sunday but 
I'm thankful that our calves don't seem to be bothered at all.

Their  growth and development goes right on
as long as we provide milk and grain twice daily and monitor 
closely for any illness.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Happy Halloween!

I hope your day was filled with more treats than tricks.
Other than our crazy cold last day of October weather,
the treats down on the dairy farm far outweighed the tricks.

I'm thankful for the healthy new calf that was born this morning
for the smiles brought to us by 
 the cutest Goldilocks and little Baby Bear. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

School nutrition is serious business.
I saw it first hand   last weekend when I was invited to 
attend the Missouri School Nutrition Conference  as part of a
presentation with Midwest Dairy and Domino Pizza.

Before our "My Plate,My Pizza,My Farmer"  presentation, I was awed by the food 
trade show that included a wide variety of available 
foods that schools can choose to serve.
The trick is to choose foods that fit the requirements for dietary 
guidelines, stay within the school budget and most importantly, that  the 
students will eat.

As a dairy farmer, I'm proud of the nutritious milk 
and dairy foods that we produce and for the support of
 companies like Domino's that not only love our product
 but have developed a food that meets dietary guidelines
 and tastes good. Domino's Smart Slice Pizza  is made 
fresh where local franchise stores participate in
 providing it for schools.

I had my own slice of Smart Slice and it was delicious!

I'm thankful for the support Domino's has shown to dairy farmers,
for the opportunity to share how we work on the dairy to produce 
high-quality milk, and 

for the convenience of foods that make life a little easier
when the dairy farmer takes a day off from the farm 
and a day out of  the kitchen!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

                                        What's prettier than a new Holstein mother and baby ?
                            The answer is a beautiful red Ayrshire with a black and white calf.

                             This was an expected outcome when you use a Holstein bull for
                                    breeding the herd of cows but it's always exciting to find
                                                              a "new " look in the field!
                            The Ayrshire cattle in our milking herd  were added by our son Cody
                                                during his 4-H dairy project years and continue
                                                                to add beauty to the herd.
                              Ayrshire cattle originated from Scotland and are known for low
                            somatic cell counts, ability to convert grass into milk efficiently,
                             and hardiness. The breed is known for easy calving and longevity.

This new baby was born the week of our two terrific lightening and storm 
events that brought a lot of rain and destruction.
I'm thankful that we had no loss of life, human or animal, during these
storm events and for the life lesson to put no faith in surge protectors!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

 Saturday afternoon was the perfect example of farmer flexibility.
You can have all kinds of plans but when the neighbor calls
to report a wandering heifer  running down the road, all plans change.

We jumped in the truck and drove up and down the road looking
for the same heifer that has been out of the pasture more than once.
After she was located in the neighbor's yard, Cody arrived with the
4-wheeler and we drove her back to the pasture. 

Of course,the heifer had no thought of going through 
the gate we had opened.She ran back to the spot where the fence
 was down and jumped over it with the grace of a deer. 
It certainly made it easy to find where the tree had
 fallen on the fence that   needed repair!

While Cody and Ryan fixed fence, all of the curious 
heifers moved in to check things out.

I loved seeing this group of bred heifers gather around 
through the timber. Each of these beauties have been raised by us
 and will give birth to their first calf in a few months.

I'm thankful that there was only one heifer that found the
way out, for our neighbors that  care enough to call
when a cow or heifer may be found wandering in the neighborhood
and for the dedicated dairy farmers committed to taking good care 
of their cows and heifers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

It's corn  chopping time!
You may not get all excited when you see this picture but
to the family farmers and our dairy cows, harvest of this 
corn crop is  a real celebration.
  Raising a crop that  both  utilizes manure produced by the cows and 
  feeds our cows is part of the sustainability of our farming operation. 

The chopped corn is being trucked to the pit silo where it will 
ferment  for a few weeks and change into corn silage.
 Corn silage is a welcome addition to the cows' diet plan.

                                      I'm thankful for the cooperation of the weather this week,
                             for no major mechanical problems, and the safety of the trucks and
                                                           drivers on the trips to the silo.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Treat

Even though we can buy apples year round, there's just something special when given apples from a friend's own tree.  We don't know the name of the apple but I would describe them as a mild Granny Smith--slightly tart but perfect for baking in cake or pie.  Kicking off October with a new cake recipe that filled the kitchen with smells of cinnamon and apples seemed the perfect way to celebrate the gift of fall apples. I read through a lot of recipes posted on line and even though many were very similar to the one I chose, I trusted my old cookbook,Sassafras!

The recipe was easy to make and the brown sugar icing was finger lickin' good!
I'm pretty sure this cake will be a family favorite especially when you add a dip or two
of vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

Alley Spring Apple Cake

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4  teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled, chopped apples
1 cup chopped pecans

Brown Sugar Icing:
 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
 1/2 cup butter
 1/4 cup evaporated milk
 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a bundt pan. In a large bowl, mix oil, sugar and eggs.
Add vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and salt.
Blend into oil mixture. Fold in apples and pecans. Pour into prepared pan and bake 55 to 60 minutes.
Remove cake from pan and cool. To prepare icing, bring brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Beat with a spoon until icing is cool. Drizzle over cake. Serves 12 to 15.

                                                        Happy October!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Last week when we ran out of room in the calf nursery area,
the new babies were brought to temporary pens in the 
feed barn.  It wasn't ideal but it provided a protected, 
individualized space for each calf. 

                                  I'm thankful that we were able to wean older calves to pasture
this week and for the hard work of all the family and employees
that moved all the calves to their individual hutches in the nursery.
My world is back to normal with all the babies
in one place!

On the flip side, I enjoyed being in the feed barn when the cows 
were  eating and enjoying their feed.  

Wouldn't you love to have someone plan and prepare every meal for you?


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

We've had new babies in the pasture every day this week, in fact,
some days it has been 3 or 4.  Calving heifers, those first time mamas,
are often a little more challenging but I'm happy to report all have 
calved without any problems that required  assistance.

This heifer calved yesterday. She happens to be one of the "horned heifers"
in the group that are calving this month.  Somehow these heifers did not
get dehorned  when they were small calves. 

 Dehorning is done to decrease the risk of injury to other cows, 
 farmers or other humans. "Disbudding " of non-developed horn 
buds is a fairly simpleprocedure that is typically conducted
 the first few weeks after a calf is born.

Any dehorning at this point will be done by the veterinarian using
best industry practices to ensure the comfort and safety
 of the animal through sedation or anesthesia.

                                 I'm thankful that we have had no injuries to calves or farmers
                                  and for  the interesting conversations about horned heifers!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Early this summer we had a little extra help from
our cousin Ethan.  Ethan is the great grandson of our Uncle Deric who
 worked on our farm after his retirement from the Bentonville 
Casting Company and had taught Cody and Casey
 a lot of useful mechanical skills as they grew up. 

Ethan had a lot of  new experiences 
down on the dairy farm including feeding a new calf.

Unfortunately for us, school started just about the time
we began having new calves every day!

I'm thankful for the fact that Ethan wanted to come to 
the farm and experience the day to day life  down on 
the dairy farm and for the kindness and patience of my son,Cody,
who mentored Ethan and provided a great summer experience. 

I'm pretty sure Uncle Deric and Aunt Fritz would be
extremely proud of Ethan and Cody!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

You know the farmers of the family are desperate for help
when the oldest son asks me to come to the field to drive
the truck and trailer while  haygrazer bales are loaded.

It's not that I can't drive, it's my following directions that
can create problems.I knew it would be interesting
 when my instruction  from oldest son Cody was
"Stop when I honk".

The honking stopped after a few stops and I figured 
that I was doing my job so well, that honking
was no longer needed.

When we arrived at the bale wrapper with our load of bales,
my next job was to watch the wrapper and push the button
to stop the machine if I had the hand signal from Cody.
Wow, hand signals and no honking!
I was feeling so proud that I was performing my jobs so well.

When all the bales were wrapped, this was how it
looked as I looked behind me.

                                                      I'm thankful for each bale that will be
                                              enjoyed by our dairy and beef cows this winter
                                                 and for the opportunity to work beside my family.

                                             Unfortunately I did find out that my job performance
                                              may not have been as good as I thought because
                                         every time Cody honked, the red wasp would come out
                                                         of the horn in the old loader tractor.
                                                  That's how it goes down on the dairy farm!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Contest Keepsake

Just a few weeks ago I became aware of a photography contest
 advertised on the website nwaMotherlode  sponsored 
by The Smile Shoppe, a pediatric dental practice in Northwest Arkansas.
The subject was kids enjoying summer in Northwest Arkansas.

What I liked about this contest was  that  it didn't want professional pictures or 
recommend any certain kind of  photographic ability, just cute pictures of kids.
That's all it took for me to enter the picture I call, "First Kiss".

Today I picked up the prize for the winning picture!

Scott Frame and Art  presented me with a gallery wrapped
canvas of the photo I submitted.
It is so sweet to look at those puckered up lips!
I so appreciate this keepsake of granddaughter Hattie's
experience on our family dairy farm.

                                        Thank-you to nwaMotherlode for loving all the
                                                      mamas in Northwest Arkansas and
                                                  to the community support shown by
                                              the Smile Shoppe and Scott Frame and Art.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

                                                   Not all birthdays are celebrated with cake,

August is a celebration of  life down on the dairy farm.

This new baby was born after midnight and was taken to 
its own clean hutch, fed colostrum from its mother
and monitored   for  any health issues. Calves grow up to 
become the cows that produce milk, so we are committed 
to getting them off to a healthy start.

I'm thankful for the healthy calves born this month, 
the unexpected help bottle feeding the new August calves

                                      for the opportunity to celebrate  life down on the dairy
                                                        farm with the next generation.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

"Foodie Friday"  was a fun food experience provided
during the Megaphone 19 Influencer conference.
We started the event by tasting our way through local food businesses at 
8th Street Market  and ending with cheese and wine pairing.

My favorite experience was the demonstration of Brightwater 
culinary chef Aria Kagan making Fresh Mozzarella.

Chef Kagan gave us the step by step directions.
Although she made it look easy, I think I would want to practice a few times before
the party!

Fresh Mozzarella requires the use of  a water bath made of 4 cups warm 
water plus 2 Tablespoons salt and 2 pounds of fresh Mozzarella curd.

My friend Kerri captured the fun part of this recipe perfectly as Chef Kagan 
was working with the cheese.

I may never attempt making fresh mozzarella but 
I am thankful to be a producer of the milk that brings great joy 
And provides many delicious and nutritious dairy foods.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

When I spotted this new calf lying next to the fence in the 
 early evening,she was all alone. It was only a few seconds
 before Mama joined us to make sure I was not a threat.

  I thought it was a perfect example of how the mothering instinct
 kicks in to protect her baby.The sun filtering through the trees
 seemed to put her in the spotlight!

I'm thankful for a healthy new calf  born on one of the 
hottest August days without any complication to the mother's health!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Storytelling Celebration

A little more than nine years ago  with the urging of
 Midwest Dairy, I stepped out of my comfort
zone into the world of blogging and social media 
 to tell our dairy story.  Spotted Cow Review 
has been my dairy storytelling place ever since. 

I celebrated my  storytelling adventure this past weekend
by attending the Megaphone Summit 2019 that was held in
my hometown of Bentonville.

Sponsors of the conference made it possible for a wide variety 
of speakers that presented  on all things blogging and social media
 and what I would call "self improvement".
A very big Thank-You to each sponsor and the host 
of the conference Soapbox Influence!

Over the last nine years, I have attended several blogging 
conferences hosted in Arkansas. For me, the very best part of each
conference is the people I have met and the inspiration
I feel by listening to others' stories.

                                                        Cheers to Storytelling!