Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

It's a dreary, chilly last day of 2020. Today we received a load of oat hay from
somewhere in Kansas to add to the dairy cow ration.  We still have plenty of hay that 
we have raised on the farm but with the drought we experienced in the late summer and
early fall, it was decided to purchase hay to stretch our supply.  No matter how
well you plan, the plan seems to always change !
The hay has been sampled and will be sent for a lab analysis
to give us the best information on how much hay to include in the daily diet.
We're hoping the milking cows are going to appreciate this addition by
producing a little more milk!

In the last few weeks, 2020 has brought us some very sad experiences.
We have lost several friends in our community due to complications of CoVid.
I am thankful for each of these special friends that made such an impact on 
my family and our community.

Intertwined in our sadness, I am thankful for those
that we have celebrated in a big way when you turn 2,

family time that we 
enjoyed during the Christmas holiday,

for Mac that was 
added to our family roster!


Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Fifteen degrees was not the temperature I was hoping for
on Christmas morning but with several layers of clothing for 
myself and a new calf coat for the baby, we really had
nothing to complain about.   
Even though our chores of calf feeding, milking and feeding
all of the cows continue as usual, our celebration will take place when
all the work is done. 

I hope that today brings you an abundance of 
love, peace and joy as we
celebrate the birthday of our Savior.

From down on the dairy farm...

                                                     Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

We had a population explosion in one night!
You might even say, Christmas came a little bit early.
Eight new calves greeted us Monday morning.

It's not unusual to find one or two during calving season but
we were a little overwhelmed to have eight new babies 
to bring in from the pasture.  
Before each calf is taken to its own hutch, we record 
information about the calf and its mother, give calf vaccinations.
dip the navel with iodine to prevent infection and provide
a warm bottle of colostrum. 

I'm thankful for our employees that
work hard everyday in helping us
care for each calf,

for our two sons that work with us
everyday down on the dairy farm 
even though the pandemic has caused
a lot of craziness, 
Santa still stops for milk and cookies  on Christmas Eve!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Sunday was truly a snow day--
it snowed all day long. It has been 
 a very long time since we have experienced a snow day
 and like  many of our friends and neighbors,
it seemed a welcome change in our daily lives that 
have been impacted by all the changes brought to us during this pandemic.

 A snow is much more welcome
than freezing rain or inches of ice that can be hazardous
to the cows walking  and  for the farmers  trying to care for them.
It's always our daily job to make sure that the cows and
calves have plenty of feed and water to meet their 
nutritional needs. Colder temperatures with a blanket of
snow made the day's work even more important 
to make sure plenty of calories were provided for 
the stress of increased cold weather conditions.

Most of the calves were eager to drink their warm milk 
                                            but   a few needed a little coaxing to enter out into 
                                              their first   experience  with  six inches of snow.

                                I'm thankful for the refreshed feeling brought with  this first
                                 snow of the season, for the magical landscape created by snow,
                                              and the reminder of how God blesses us
with the beauty provided in nature  down on the dairy farm.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Although the Pandemic has brought many 
changes to our lifestyles and cramped our 
 social gathering plans for routine and holiday events,
it has not stopped the essential work down on the
dairy farm.
We are still milking cows twice daily, seven days a week
and providing the feed and care that the cows and calves
require daily. We are proud to be considered essential
workers to provide food for our fellow Americans.

I'm thankful that  my family and our employees have remained in 
good health and able to continue the daily tasks on the dairy farm.

All across our community, we have essential workers that
are performing jobs that we often take for granted.
With the help of Midwest Dairy, our dairy promotion group,
we are able to thank a few of our essential workers with
a token of our appreciation.
This week I wrapped up an Undeniably Dairy thermos cup and
warm stocking cap  to give to our rural mailman.

                                                 I'm thankful for every essential worker and

                                                    this week I celebrate the rural mailman 

                                                   for a job well done and much appreciated!


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Even though it's been chilly in the mornings, 
the calves always happily greet us to drink their
warm milk  and wait on their grain feeding.
If they don't come out to meet us,
we soon find out if they are not feeling well.

It's  part of our everyday dairy farmer job to monitor the 
health of each calf and to make sure regardless of the 
weather changes that each calf eats and drinks. 
Weather is an environmental stress that can definitely
impact the health of a newborn calf.
These twenty degree temperature changes within
a few hours is rough on all of us!


I'm thankful for the health of our animals,
for the good health of my family and our employees
during this crazy pandemic
for the smiles we have had  watching
our new truck driver haul his load
of toilet paper left under the 
Christmas tree at his house.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

November has become a season of Thanksgiving as we 
pause to think of the many people in our community that
serve us throughout the year and in situations that 
we never expect  such as the pandemic.

This week it was my pleasure to present these 
community helpers with Undeniably Dairy stocking caps
and a Subway gift card provided by Midwest Dairy
 as a way to say "Thank-you" and 
express to them how much we appreciate their service.

I'm also thankful for the celebration of
36 years of marriage to the dairy farmer


                                          who brought me to the farm to build a life together,

                                             raise a family  and live in the   place we call home.

                                          Happy Thanksgiving...

                                from down on the dairy farm!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

If you didn't   have a watch or a cell phone to give you the time, you
could still   estimate  time down on the dairy farm  by
 watching the cows standing in the pasture. It's obvious that like us,
the cows are creatures of habit.  
The feed wagon with silage rolls into the dry cow pasture  every
morning  around 8:30.  Today was no different and you can
see the cows are eagerly watching and  waiting  to get 
their first bite.

Dry cows receive a pellet feed that is formulated for their
metabolic needs during this time of resting and preparing to
give birth. The silage on the wagon is like dessert to the cows.
It's no wonder that there is a lot of mooing if the wagon is late!

                                     I'm thankful for  the simple daily reminders to 
                                   appreciate the predictable  and the unpredictable
                                            like an iris blooming in  November!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Even though our daily routine stays the same,
there is never just a "normal " day.
Today we welcomed a new calf to the herd.
How we care for this new calf  prepares the
way for the production of  high-quality nutritious milk.

                               Later in the afternoon, Ryan participated in a  virtual "Cheese Chat"
                             sponsored by Midwest Dairy. This was a new way to bring a variety of
                            consumers together to talk about the sustainable production of dairy
                            products, learn about cheese from the expert cheese monger
                                 and experience the taste of a  variety of cheeses produced
                                 in the midwestern states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma,
                                               Minnesota and Iowa.   

                                                  I'm thankful for this dairy farmer that was 
                                              willing to participate in a new experience that promotes
                                              dairy products and shares how dairy farms and families 
                                              work everyday to produce nutritious milk sustainably.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Thank-you Veterans

Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day, pays tribute to all American veterans.
Living or dead, we pay tribute to all American Veterans and give thanks
to those who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
President Woodrow Wilson declared "Armistice Day" on the first
anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11,1919.

Ryan's dad, Bill, served during World War II.
Fortunately for our family, he returned to our family farm
 after serving in Japan.

Ryan's Mom and Dad married before he left for his
service in Japan.
It's hard to imagine the sacrifices of the men
and women just like Ryan's parents who
left farm and family to fight for the 
freedoms we enjoy everyday.

During the years when Bill was serving,
Bonnah Lyn continued to farm with
her father while waiting on Bill's return.

Words seem totally inadequate when you think of 
the sacrifices made by families across America
during times of war but these days of
celebration give us the opportunity to
stop and give thanks for every Veteran.

From down on the dairy farm,
Happy Veterans Day!


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Voting is such a privilege.
Standing in line last week during early voting, I 
was inspired by the number of people that 
were standing in line with me to cast their vote.
Regardless of the outcome of any election,
I am thankful to be an American farmer that enjoys 
the freedom to live and work

everyday down on our Arkansas dairy farm
caring  for the land we call home

                                              and for the beautiful cows that provide healthy
                                                  nutritious milk for your family and mine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for the  little bit of rain that allowed
the wheat planting to be completed this  past week.
The  last bit of seed left in the drill was just enough to plant into
the Bermuda and mixed grass  hay field next to the house. 
It will be harvested before the grass begins to grow in the spring.
This is commonly called a cover crop. 

Utilizing the manure from our cows to fertilize both crops is
one of  the ongoing sustainable practices down on the 
dairy farm.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

You can't help but smile when you see such a new sweet
red calf with its mother early in the morning down
on the dairy farm.

As you can tell from the angle of this picture, the mother
wanted nothing to do with posing as I followed along trying 
to get a better shot to share.

                     Our milking herd includes several of these beautiful Ayrshire 

                        cows that belong to son Cody. His Ayrshire herd began

                              during his 4-H dairy project days many years ago.

                     I'm thankful for these happy reminders  of great 4-H dairy project days

                                    and the expansion of the herd that will  continue to

                                                          produce nutritious milk.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


Surprise was our initial reaction when we found 
this cute red and white calf in the 
pasture this morning  while checking for  over 
night deliveries. This is a  a red and white 
Holstein  but when both the mother and father 
are black and white, 
it is a complete surprise to find a different color!


                                                  As you can see from the chart below, 
                                       there are 6 recognized breeds of dairy cattle.

                                    Each one is beautiful and has its own characteristics.
                                    The Holstein, which can be black and white or 
                                      red and white, is the largest of the dairy breeds
                                         and gives   the greatest volume of milk. 

                               During our sons' 4-H dairy project years we enjoyed 
                             raising  Guernseys, Brown Swiss, Ayrshire and Holstein.
                             We loved them all but the Holstein and Ayrshire are
                                        the breeds that are in today's milking herd. 

                                I'm thankful for these surprises that happen on just an 
                                              ordinary day down on the dairy farm.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Just as hay and crop harvesting are winding down,
the fall calving season is beginning to ramp up with a new
calf arriving every day or two.

This experienced Mama that has had at least two calves before 
today's arrival, just couldn't complete the birth without assistance.
She was walked from the pasture to the maternity barn because the 
calf would need to be delivered by  the farmer.
In just minutes after delivery, she was welcoming her new baby
with heavy duty tongue licking to stimulate  and clean him.
Mother and baby are doing well.

There's never just one job happening down on the dairy farm.
While Casey was delivering this calf,
Cody was planting wheat. 
Just a routine day that requires management
and multi-tasking skills.

I'm thankful for these two sons that work so hard
every day to care for our cows and the land we call home
for the fact that I have been  blessed to work with 
them every day down on the dairy farm.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Fall has arrived!
Just in the last few days, we are wearing jackets 
in the morning and sweating in the late afternoon.
That's how it is in Arkansas!
The grass is mostly brown with a twinge
of green but it will still provide a tasty
treat this winter for our cows to enjoy!

    As the hay harvest season is winding down,
    the calving season is speeding up!

    I'm thankful for these  new healthy 

    that are arriving in the perfect 
    days of fall

    for the changes of the season
    that remind us to count our
    many blessings down on the 
    dairy farm.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    In a year of extreme rain during the spring that delayed planting
    and growth that has occurred in a  drought, we are thankful for this corn 
    crop that will be enjoyed by our dairy cows in their daily feed ration.

    A twelve row corn harvester certainly speeds up the job compared 
    to our smaller chopper.

                                    Even though we decided to hire the chopping done,  it was still a 
                                                       family affair to get the crop harvested. 
                                      Ryan and Casey  hauled chopped corn  from  the field to the 
                                      new silage pad while Cody was kept busy packing  each
                                                      delivered load from all the silage trucks.
                                                         The women of the family provided
                                                     love, support and food during the long day.

                                     It was dark when we moved the last truck home, shut gates and
                                     moved cattle back to the pastures but there was a joy and feeling
                                          of  accomplishment that only a farmer understands from 
                                                                     down on the dairy farm.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


                                                 Aren't these the cutest twins!


    On a foggy morning in the pasture, the second calf was hidden  until it stood up next to Mama and appeared to be checking out the neighborhood before moving very far from Mom.  In just a short time, each calf was following their Mother around the pasture as expected.  Even though we will have three or four sets of twins born each year, each set is unique  and totally unexpected.

    I'm thankful for the joy we find in the unexpected surprise gift of twins and the cooler weather for calving season down on the dairy farm.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    For more than 50 years, corn and other types of grain or grasses have been
    harvested and stored in the pit silo.  We have two of these
    pit silos  located on the corner of the dairy farm where trucks can back up and unload.
    Granddad Grover dug out the first silo on the corner and with the addition of 
    more dairy cows, Ryan built the second silo. 
    Everyday of the year, our tractor and feed wagon drive to the silo to load silage
    that is mixed with other ingredients to provide a nutritious diet
    for our dairy herd.

    This past week a new chapter for our farm was begun with the 
    design of a new concrete slab that will take the place of our pit silos.
    Closing of the pit silos is necessary for the proper design of the road  that 
    will accommodate the increased traffic of the development just across from
    the dairy.  

    Even though change is never easy, I am thankful that this change will actually
    provide a safer place for us to load silage into the feed wagon and decrease the
    chance of a traffic fatality as we strive to work on the farm in an urban environment.

    Best of all, our cows will never miss a delicious bite that produces 
    the high-quality milk for you and your family!


    Thursday, August 27, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    No matter the month, all new calves are welcome down on the dairy farm.
    We don't typically try to have too many August calves due to the heat but
    sometimes, it just works out that way. I'm thankful that all the calves and their
    mothers are doing very well and probably adapting better than the farmers!

    This baby bull was born yesterday  and has  been moved to 
    his own individual hutch where he can be fed and monitored closely. The
    baby does receive his mother's milk the first three days to make sure he
    gets all his mother's colostrum.
    Mom has moved to the milking herd where she is being milked twice a day.
    The milk she produces will not be put in the milk tank for at least
     five days or when we receive the results from the test on her milk to
     make sure there is no medication present.  
    It is the absolute truth that there are no antibiotics in milk! 

    We are so thankful for the opportunity to work everyday 
    to produce high-quality,antibiotic free  milk for you and your family!


    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    In our days of nothing seems normal,
    it is comforting to watch the cows relaxing and enjoying
    the end of  a hot summer day in the cool of the evening.

    Rest  is part of the care plan for these soon to be
    mamas. To prepare for the big event of birth, each cow is  removed
    from the milking herd and brought to the pasture to rest for the  60 days prior 
    to calving. This is more maternity leave than most human moms enjoy!

    Our commitment to ensuring high-quality milk begins with 
    taking good care of our cows and treating them with respect.

    I'm thankful for these visual reminders that every job on the farm
    and in nature is important in making a difference to our   life down on the 
    dairy farm.


    Wednesday, August 12, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    Dairy farmers support practices that make economic sense,
     help the environment and are socially responsible to our
     communities and our world. 

     A great example of this farming  practice statement is the hay crop that
     we are cutting this week has been fertilized with the manure produced
     by our cows. Utilization of cow manure increases the water retention of 
    the soil, adds needed nutrients for crop growth and protects
    the water quality of our farm by following our farm plan 
    designed for environmental protection.

    I'm thankful for the hay crop that not only feeds the cows but
    for the dairy farmers that work everyday using best management 
     practices to  insure that our land will be left in better shape for the
    next generation of  family farmers.


    Thursday, August 6, 2020

    Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

    Summertime cattle working is not always so pleasant when the sun is
     beaming down but the job was much easier when we all worked together.
     Lucky for us the clouds gathered up and provided relief for us and the calves. 
    The  job included applying pour on fly deterrent,giving a dose of wormer 
    and checking for pink-eye that is usually caused by those pesky flies.

    As we wrapped up July, August began with a pleasant surprise of 
    record breaking cool weather. Even though we haven't suffered with
    100 degree days this summer,I am thankful for the cool mornings
    and evenings that are bringing refreshment to us as we continue 
    our summertime journey down on the dairy farm.