Friday, September 17, 2021

School to Farm

We were honored to share our dairy story with University of Arkansas
students a few days ago. In past years, I have done farm tours for a variety of
groups but this was my first tour since  the CoVid pandemic  began in early 2020.
I'll admit, although I certainly was out of  touring practice, I enjoyed
every minute sharing what we do every day to bring a healthy product
to consumers by caring for our animals and the land we call home.

It was just this week that I read on social media a question that
asked what could you talk about for 10 minutes without any preparation.
I decided that the answer was easy if you have a passion for the 
subject  and having the desire to share makes it even easier.
Dairy farming would obviously be my topic!

After all, who doesn't love the story of  a third generation
Arkansas family farm that raises beautiful cows,
produces a nutritious product for families in our community,
and cares for the land !


We talk about farm to table  in the story of where our food comes from
 but this really is  the School to Farm version.
From our conversations during the tour, I hope it gave each
student a new perspective to share about where food 
production really begins.


Sharing our dairy farm is really a delight for me
and I will wear my new hat (and maybe share it with Ryan)
and
                                      
                             appreciate the opportunity to provide a School to Farm experience!
                                                     
 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Labors of Love

Labor Day down on the dairy farm, like everyday,
will be full of the daily chores that include
milking the cows,


mixing and preparing feed to provide the
daily nutrition for the milking cows,


feeding the calves,


driving  tractors to complete a  a variety of  daily chores,


welcoming new members to the herd,


checking crops,


and enjoying time together as a family.


                                            Every activity down on the family dairy farm is a

                                      labor of love as we work together to care for our animals,

                                      produce nutritious milk and make Labor Day memories

                                                              for our  next generation.

                                                               Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

If you would like a job filled with variety,
dairy farming would be your perfect choice.

We have the jobs that happen everyday of the year 
like mixing the balanced feed ration for the dairy
cows and making sure the cows are fed and milked twice a day.


Then we have the jobs that are unexpected but 
necessary like spraying a field for the
disgusting armyworms that will devour a crop
in just a few days.


                                   One of our sweetest jobs is to welcome  new life to the farm.

                                                        Finding two at a time is always fun!


I'm thankful for the blessings we find in both the 
ordinary and the challenging days down on the dairy farm.

                                     

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

One of my morning dairy farm  jobs is serving as the taxi driver 
to deliver the newborn calves to their private hutch in the 
calf raising area.  The calf's mother is walked to the
milk barn to join the milking herd and
I become the substitute mother making sure that 
each calf is monitored closely and fed milk and grain
twice daily. 
One of the best parts of my day is sharing this 
job with my sons. 


It's been a busy week with  one or two calves delivered 
every day and baling hay like crazy. 

I'm thankful that even in the busyness of farm life,
we always have time for celebration with our family.



We managed to celebrate a special "Going to Kindergarten"
lunch and shopping day with Hattie Claire 




and
 shared a picnic supper in the hay field  that 
ended with watching the  Decatur Barbecue fireworks show 
from the top of a hay bale.
We couldn't have asked for a better August picnic!


 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Who would ever think   August 
temperatures  in Arkansas would be less than 90 degrees
 with little humidity! Cooler summer temperatures make 
every job on the farm a little easier.

It was perfect weather for bringing this group of
 dairy cows to the  pasture by the house so we can 
observe them closely and assist with delivery if needed.


I love to watch them graze in the late afternoon.

I'm thankful for these first days of August that 
have increased the comfort of our cows, 
                    
 

calves,


and farmers.

Happy August!










Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

 

Who would of thought we would still be working
on this wheat crop!  The boys are wrapping it up this week 
with hauling and storing  straw bales in the barn.
Making room for the straw in the barn was a great 
incentive to clean out old hay and make it handy when  
straw is needed for use on the farm or to sell.


We  also have welcomed a few new calves
in the last couple of weeks.  It's always a treat
to find a red one! 
The Ayrshire cattle in the herd belong to Cody.
His first one was purchased for his 4-H dairy project.
I love it when Hattie and Breck spot these red cows and
calves because they instantly know they belong to them!
I'm not sure their daddy has given up ownership!





                                              I'm thankful that July is winding up and

                                      we are looking to what August has in store 

                                                 for us down on the dairy farm.

                 




Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Teamwork is part of life down on the family  dairy farm.
While Ryan and Casey moved straw bales off the fields,
Cody was preparing to spray the fields before planting 
hay grazer and millet seed.  

Once the fields were sprayed, it was another  picture of teamwork
as Cody and Ryan added seed to the planter.



With the spring rains delaying our wheat harvest  and crop planting,
the race is on to get the crops planted while we can still
hope for a few rain showers and moderate growing temperatures.


The donkeys even seemed to be working as 
a team as they strategically moved 
close enough  to make sure we didn't have 
any feed with us!


I'm thankful for the teamwork we  experience
down on the dairy farm and for the cutest surprises  
when we least expect them!
 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

                         Although we are happy to report that the last semi- truck load

                                     of wheat left the field to find its way to market, 


                                        the wheat harvest continues with the baling

                                                of the wheat straw left in the fields.

                                     

                               Baling the straw is much like baling hay except for the need  

                              to dry the straw.  It was raked into windrows and  baled

                              into large  round bales.  Straw is great to use as bedding in

                               the calf   hutches  or to roll out for cows to lay on when 

                                                        winter conditions occur.

                                      

Even though the early spring rains changed our plans for 
this year's wheat crop , I am thankful that we did have
a crop that can be used to care for our  dairy cows in ways that 
we hadn't planned and for the family and friends that 
have made harvesting the wheat a possibility.

                               

                                   

Friday, June 25, 2021

Wheat Harvest Saga

Our wheat harvest this year has become a saga--
a long, involved story of the wheat crop that 
was intended for spring harvest. 

Our plan was to chop the wheat when it was green and make
 silage for the dairy cows to enjoy eating. 
   Mother Nature provided a change in our plans when we
 experienced rain and cooler temperatures during the
 time we should have been in the fields harvesting the crop.

As the green wheat matured, it was decided that a new plan would
be necessary due to the decreased quality for silage making.

Spring harvest turned into summer harvest of a grain crop.


A trip to the field  verified the grain was ready for the combine
to begin harvesting the wheat.


Harvesting a grain crop requires planning, organization, and
determination to get the job done. 
Once the combine begins the job of cutting the grain,
a cart must be ready to receive the grain when the combine is full.

It was a little like a Chinese fire drill with carts of grain
moving back and forth to the farm to be unloaded.


The final step in our harvest is to load the wheat onto the truck 
for  hauling. This truck load will be sold on the grain market.

                               
                              Our wheat harvest  saga  will continue for several more days
                   as we move from field to field harvesting that beautiful golden  grain.  
                           If you get behind a slow moving grain cart or you meet one
                          on the road, give them a friendly wave and be a positive part
                                   of the hard working farmer's wheat harvest saga!
                                      

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


Since 1939, June Dairy Month has been celebrated to promote 
and highlight the important health benefits that milk, yogurt
 and cheese provide and honor the farmers for their daily work that 
provides a steady supply of dairy products.


You would be surprised how many different jobs we may perform 
in one day down on the dairy farm  to make sure we are producing
the highest quality milk .

On this June day,
I was the gate woman as we sorted cattle in preparation for 
turning the next group of pregnant cows  from the 
milking herd to the dry pasture to rest for 60 days before calving.



With sunshine and dry conditions, 
we've celebrated many hours in the hay field
producing quality hay that is used to feed our dairy
and beef cows.



As we continue celebrating the goodness of dairy ,
I'm thankful for my dairy farm family that works  together 
everyday to feed and care for our dairy animals


and
for the dairy cows that produce high quality milk
for your family and mine.


Happy June Dairy Month!


 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


Our "rain, rain go away" chant  just didn't work!
For at least three weeks we have been hoping to see the
custom chopper pull into the fields for the spring harvest 
of our wheat crop but when the fields were too water logged
 for chopping it was decided that we would be cutting,
 baling and wrapping this wheat crop.

Harvest began today with the cutting of the first wheat field.
Hattie and Breck became part of the harvest crew. 


Their smiles during the tractor ride definitely provided the sunshine today!


I'm thankful for the wheat crop that is still able to be harvested
and used  to feed our cows and calves
and


                                       for the forever flexible farmers that never give up!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


Our spring wheat harvest has been delayed due to rainy weather.
It has been our plan to have the wheat chopped for silage but
with the rainy weather, that has not been possible.
We did have a couple of days that allowed us the opportunity
to cut, bale and wrap  a few acres of wheat before more rain 
made it impossible to drive on these fields.

It's a Wrap!


                                        I'm thankful for the wrapping process that allows
                             us to harvest our crop when  weather conditions interfere
                                                              in our best plans
                                                                        and


for these May babies that stand out in a field
of Buttercup blooms

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

Today was what we call "Preg Check Day".
Knowing if a cow is pregnant is a big deal on a dairy farm.

Thanks to science and technology, we have a 
variety of ways to confirm if a cow is pregnant.
Pregnancy checks can be done by  manual palpation , 
 milk test or blood test.   Our chosen method for 
the last few years has been blood test. Blood tests
can detect pregnancy in a cow as early as 30 days bred.

I had the easy job of making the list from our computer 
records that give us breeding dates.
Cody, Casey and Ryan had the job of collecting
the blood specimens that will be
submitted to our dairy cooperative's lab.
In just a few days we hope to be celebrating
the news of many pregnant cows!

I'm thankful for my family of farmers that  
work everyday to care for our cows 


so that we can have healthy calves
that will eventually grow up to be the
cows that give high-quality milk.


There's beauty in every season and
cycle of life.


 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day



Mother's Day is a day of celebration and making memories with
those we love most.  My earliest recollection of today's celebration 
would be the cards we often made in Sunday School accompanied by
the flower in a paper cup to be given to Mother.


My heart is full of gratefulness for the love that has
been showered on me by my Mother and the women in my family.
It seems fitting to share the poem from a  Mother's Day
 ribbon I received at 
church when my boys were little. 

Two Temples
A Builder buildeth a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill;
Pillars and groins and arches
All fashioned to work his will.
Men said as they saw its beauty
"It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O Builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye."

A MOTHER  builded a temple
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.
None praised her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan,
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder's temple
Crumbled into the dust;
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.
But the temple the Mother builded
 Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple 
Was a child's immortal soul.
 ---Hattie Vose Hall


  Happy Mother's Day!
 

                                             
                                     

                                                
                                       

                                                             

                                       

                                           

                                            

                                 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday


When my cell phone rings early in the morning before
I leave the house, it probably isn't good news.
Monday morning started with not so good news from
a neighbor on his way to work.
It seems that a car had run into the fence that surrounds the
pasture where several of our herd bulls reside.

I am thankful that even though the car was still lodged 
in the  fence row, it was keeping the bulls in place.
As the story unfolded, this wreck had occurred in the middle
of the night but we had not been contacted.
Thankfully no one was hurt from the accident and
the bulls did not get out or try to kick up their heels
and chase anyone!


                                            If you find yourself in a situation like this , I hope

                                you will find the farmer that owns the fence or at least

                                        report it to someone for  everyone's safety.




Our week was also filled with the love and laughter
of our family as we celebrated  Cody's birthday




and were blessed with smiles
of how a real cowboy  steps up to the job
down on the dairy farm. 







Friday, April 30, 2021

Dairy Farmer's Thankful Thursday

If you are old enough, you know that old saying "April showers 
bring May flowers."


Down on the dairy farm, two
new calves appeared
after receiving more than eight inches of rain in less
than twenty four hours.
Those calves were a welcome bouquet!


That much rain all at once creates flooding issues 
on and off the farm. I am thankful that  we were
able to repair the driveways and fence rows and
that no people or cattle had any injuries during or
after the rain event.


                                                  As I look back on the days of April 2021,
                                  we were also showered with a lot of happy smiles
                                     and days of creating   memories with our family
                                                      down on the dairy farm.