Saving Daylight


Daylight Savings Day…?

I just happened to look at the calendar and noticed for the umpteenth time that Sunday will bring in the dairy farmer dreaded ‘Daylight Savings’. Whoever came up with this advancement of the hour by one obviously did not think about the havoc this causes on cows.

When we milk cows, we milk twice a day. Once at 2am in the morning and then again at 2pm in the evening. The cows do not need to tell time. Their bodies are acclimated to a schedule. When the gates open at 2, whether morning or evening the cows are waiting nearby ready to race up the holding pen and into the parlor to be milked.

When you spring ahead an hour you can’t just milk the cows at 3am and 3pm and be good. Businesses acclimate for the time change and still open their stores at 9am, not 10am…and it’s not easy for us as humans to acclimate to the change any more than it is for cows. So on our dairy we too acclimate to the change…but it isn’t easy.

Even though the dairy farmer lost an hour of sleep somewhere on the clock he still has to go, now sleep deprived, and move cows, who aren’t ready to be milked an hour early, and train them to a new schedule….Then in the fall when Daylight Savings ends…they have to do it all over again…only then the cows have to wait longer to be milked. When a cow has a full udder of milk she needs to be relieved of that pressure. If a cow is not milked on schedule she could end up dealing with Mastitis: a clogging of the milk ducts, which can lead to fevers, infections, and sometimes when not caught soon enough and treated can lead to death.

On our farm to compensate for Daylight’s Savings we milk the first day a half hour later and when Daylight’s Savings ends we milk a half hour earlier. This gives the cows the ability to ease into a new schedule rather than hit them with a full hour change all at once.

So when you’re mumbling about losing an hour of sleep. Think about the dairy farmer who loses an hour of sleep, the cow who needs to be retrained, and the extra work that has to be done on a farm where every hour has its own list of chores to be done.


Farm Wanderer



My Favorite Steer 4-28

Today held the promise of Spring, and the return of farm photography. I once again strapped the trusty backpack on and headed for soppy fields of melting snow, and barns full of eager cattle. You may be asking what I find so captivating about cattle, and truth is that they are unique. They all have their own markings, their own personalities (trust me, when you’ve been around cattle for a long time you learn what quirks, likes, and dislikes they have).

You may notice that my photos tend to be more warm tonally. When you’ve been out every day in every kinds of weather and just coming out of winter’s icy grasp you go for the look of warmth. Ahh, just looking at this picture makes me feel rejuvenated and in love with one of my favorite subjects. (Steers)

I have been reading and practicing photography this winter and hope many of you will note improvements to composition, white balance, and exposure. If you aren’t sure what those are and still like the photographs I’m happy. Feel free to critique as well. Critiques help improve and build upon what one already knows.

So come along as once again we roam the farm and enjoy dairy life on shutter speed.

The Farmer’s Wife


A ‘Moo’ving Valentine



Do You See the Heart?

I wasn’t going to go all crazy for Valentine’s Day. Until I stepped into the barn and saw this fella. I reached for my cell phone to snap a picture…and realized I’d left it inside. So I did what most farm wives with photographic tendencies do…I finished chores first. Then  I ran helter-skelter back to the house and grabbed the 5D Mark II rather than the Samsung Smartphone sitting on the counter covered in sawdust…because I wanted full control over this ‘love’ inspired photo session. It took several retakes, but I got one out a dozen…and that’s what counts. So look around you. You never know when love is going to hit. For me, it was while wearing a Carhart jacket covered in corn dust, sawdust, calf slobber, and specks of manure during the daily ritual of feeding calves. (That’s also how  I met My Farmer) So I didn’t get a dozen roses, but I got one bull with a lot of heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Dairy Farmers are Consumer Too! # 8



Buttermilk Powder & Bath Bombs

I decided for this posting to delve into something most women love to spend money on. Body products. You may be wondering where this is going and how could dairy possibly be involved in something like body care products. Well, I am here to tell you that dairy can play an amazing role in caring for your skin. (The largest organ of your body!) Many of you may have bought a bar of goat’s milk soap over the years, never realizing that goat’s milk is a dairy product. It is! Milk creates silky skin when added to your daily body care regime.

Today I will be telling you about buttermilk powder and its use in Bath Bombs, those wonderful balls of fizz that bubble and release wonderful aromas, that relax, rejuvenate, or pump you for a full day of busyness.

This year a friend of mine introduced me to a holistic approach to health and wellness through the use of essential oils. Through this introduction I delved face first into the many uses for these wonderful, yet powerful bottles of goodness. My first quest was to read everything I could on essential oils and how they could be used safely for a host of things; especially in relation to promoting the dairy industry. Enter the bath bomb! I read every recipe I could find online, tried several, bombed a few, and finally found one that I loved. I tweaked it a bit, tried some different ratios, and now have a wonderful product I can use at home, share with others, and is good for you.

So without further ado: Enjoy this wonderful Buttermilk Powder Bath Bomb Recipe!

You will need:

A bowl

Bath Bomb Mold or small silicone muffin pan

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid

3 TBSP Epsom Salts

2 Tsp. Buttermilk Powder

8-10 drops Essential oils ( I used for this specific recipe, 5 Orange, and 5 Ylang- Ylang.)

food coloring (optional)

1 tsp. coconut oil

2 tsp. olive oil

Witch hazel in a spray bottle

Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl; using your fingers to remove any clumps. When clump free add your coconut and olive oil, essential oils and food coloring. Mix until everything is well blended. Press a small amount in your hand. You want the consistency to be that of good packing snow. If you press the amount in your hand and toss it back and forth and it holds its shape you are ready to press in molds. If not, add a spritz of witch hazel and mix until it holds shape.

When you are ready press the mixture between two bath molds or into a muffin tin. Pack firmly, remove one side and allow the bath bomb to dry for an hour before removing the other side and drying for a final hour. Allow the balls to dry overnight and then wrap in cling wrap to preserve freshness and shape.

Makes: 2 large, 4 medium, or 6 small bath bombs.







Dairy Farmers Are Consumer Too!…#7



Homemade Pizza!? Does it get any better than this? Nope!

I love pizza. I love the never-ending combinations as you skim the menu at any number of pizza stops along life’s path. I especially love cheese. Yes, I am a dairy farmer. Yes, cheese is an end result of milk becoming curds, and curds becoming cheese. Seriously, what would a pizza be without the cheese? Definitely not a pizza anymore.

However with all the combinations out there for pizza, one thing seems to remain standard on the list of toppings: Cheese! Yes, I brought it up again. Mozzarella Cheese. Pizza after pizza oozes with this white stringy cheese. It seldom changes flavors or colors. It’s just Mozzarella. Well move over, Mozzarella, there is a new cheese in town. Actually, it’s an old cheese with new pizza topping possibilities. It’s already a staple on our homemade pizza. What is this new ‘old’ cheese? Why, it’s Muenster, of course!

With its beautiful orange exterior, white interior, and mildly sweet flavor, Muenster cheese is the perfect topping for any pizza looking for a change. It also rivals Mozzarella with its amazing melt-ability and stringy goodness. Price wise it is a bit more expensive than Mozzarella, and it also doesn’t come already shredded, but for those D.I.Y’ers, this won’t be a problem. Just buy a chunk from the dairy aisle or at your local bakery/meat counter and enjoy the possibilities this Muenster will bring to your homemade pizza. Or if you aren’t a big fan of cooking. Ask Pizza Hut to add this wonderful cheese to their menu.


Dairy Farmers are Consumers Too! #6



Dairy + Jell-o = Delicious!

So this blog is all about fancy looking desserts in half the time and yes, there is a dairy product in this slice of ‘pie’, and no, it is not Cool Whip. (Not that I believe Cool Whip actually counts for a dairy product with all that sugar and syrup, and …skim milk?)

This Jell-O Pie only has three layers. The appearance of six layers is all in the dairy addition. Can you believe it only took 6 hours to achieve!? That in itself should make this a staple recipe in any harried farmwife’s…or mom’s cookbook.  Walmart would be the best place to get a fantastic selection of flavors and colors of Jell-O without breaking the bank, and you don’t need name brand gelatin to achieve this layered look. (Our fav’s include Grape, Raspberry, and Lime.)

  Layered Jell-O Pie

1 box (3oz.) Lime Gelatin        1 box (3oz.) Raspberry Gelatin       1 box (3oz.) Grape Gelatin

1 1/2 c. cream, divided.          3 cups boiling water, divided.           9in. Pie Pan

Starting with your lightest color first. Mix one box of gelatin with 1 cup boiling water until gelatin is dissolved. Add 1/2 c. cream mix and then pour into pie pan. Chill for 2 hours in fridge. Repeat with second and third layers. Cut into slices and enjoy!

As the gelatin solidifies the cream rises to the top and creates a duo layer, thus your six layered gelatin in half the time. It also tastes amazing. We did a side by side comparison of plain Jell-O vs. cream Jell-O and well, there is no comparison, the cream version won hands down, and not just because we’re dairy farmers. It minimized the overall sweetness of Jell-O, added a creamy texture to each bite, and made the colors bolder and brighter, aiding in the overall happiness of all on a cold, dark, snowy winter’s night.


Farmer Boy



Making sure Mommy fills the buckets properly

“Father, how was it axes and plows that made this country? Didn’t we fight England for it?”

“We fought for Independence, son” Father said, “But all the land our forefathers had was a little strip of country, here between the mountains and the ocean. All the way from here west was Indian country, and Spanish and French and English country. It was farmers that took all that country and made it America.”

“How?” Almanzo asked.

“Well, son, the Spaniards were soldiers, and high-and-mighty gentlemen that only wanted gold. And the French were fur-traders, wanting to make quick money. And England was busy fighting wars. But we were farmers, son; we wanted the land. It was farmers that went over the mountains, and cleared the land, and settled it, and farmed it, and hung onto their farms. This country goes three thousand miles west now. It goes ‘way out beyond Kansas, and beyond the Great American Desert, over mountains bigger than theses mountains, and down to the Pacific Ocean. It’s the biggest country in the world, and it was farmers who took all that country and made it America, son. Don’t you ever forget that.”

   Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder pg. 188-89

I couldn’t resist sharing these few paragraphs from a timeless classic. In the evenings when chores are done, supper is done, teeth are brushed and pajamas on. Our three little girls and son climb up on the couch and listen as Daddy takes time from his busy day farming to read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. We are currently finishing up Farmer Boy and enjoying hearing about one little boy’s life on a farm in New York a long time ago.

No matter how busy your day is, make time to read to your children. There is a wealth of learning that no classroom can create in the time spent making memories reading as a family. (And farming as a family… but then I am partial.) 🙂


Baby, It’s Cold Outside


Enjoying the Snowfall

I’d rather curl up with a good book and a cup of tea than trudge outside when the temperatures are chilly, the wind is blowing, and the snow is falling. The constant piling on of layers of socks, shirts, pants, and hats every day become sheer drudgery, but if I didn’t brave the elements every day the calves that live in the  barn just outside my back door would be ready to fire me for lack of attention to their daily need for food, warmth, and shelter. So I pile on the hats, gloves, coveralls, coat, and boots, open the door, and race for the barn where for at least a half hour I’ll be sheltered from the blowing wind and snow. The cold? Not so much.

No matter the weather the animals under our care need to be taken care of on a daily basis. Last week the temperatures were hovering between -15 and -21, For me that meant extra time out in the cold breaking ice on water fountains so that all the animals could have water to drink, extra time was spent spreading sawdust and straw so that the animals all had warm little beds to cuddle into when the chilly breeze slipped under the barn curtains and swirled by their pens, and it meant extra time feeding; ensuring that every animal got up to the manger and ate, because if one doesn’t eat and change that food into energy, they aren’t going to survive the night. And it means extra time bringing cows up to be milked because in temperatures that cold, technology, like crowd gates refuse to budge and you warm up quickly chasing cows up and down holding pens in an attempt to do what the crowd gate, on any other day, is supposed to do.

Yes, I would rather be inside, and I bet you would too, but I have a job to do and even though it is freezing outside, there are a lot warm memories made outside on cold days.

New Year and New Beginnings



Here’s to a New Year…What plans and goals do you have? 

Happy New Year. (I know. I am five days too late.) So what New Year’s Resolution did you write up and already fail at? Goals? Plans? I haven’t even written mine yet. (The silo keeps breaking down and by the time my husband and I have a few moments together to even consider the idea of writing down our yearly goals; well it’s bedtime). I will eventually get them written as the girls have already informed me that their goals include visiting great-grandparents, riding horses, and short-term; sledding.

So how did you celebrate the turning of the calendar, and the first day of a New Year? I spent it photographing my sister and her fiancé’s engagement session. Capturing forever those hopes and plans they have for a future together and celebrating that the Lord has brought them together.

It was a cold 10 degrees, with at least two feet of snow to traverse in order to capture the perfect shot. Yes, I even laid down in the snow to get the ‘perfect’ pose. Yes, once in a while even dairy farmers get off the farm now and then to celebrate a holiday, visit with family, and pursue their hobbies uninterrupted by the milking schedule, the feeding schedule, the calf care schedule, the maintenance sched…..well you get the picture.

Now that the New Year is officially under way, I look forward to continuing my correspondence with you, and sharing with you a ‘REAL’ look at dairy farming and how our family farm is nothing like you were taught, and nothing like you expected.




It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas…In the Barn?!



“Dear Santa, I did my chores all year…”

Christmas is just a few days away and the hustle and bustle is seen in every store I enter as people hurry to buy those last minute presents and groceries needed to make those seasonal treats so soon to be imbibed.

I hope, however, that everyone remembers the reason for the season was the birth of a tiny babe who would be the Savior of the World. He was born in a barn, laid in a manger, and the cattle lowed.

I love that verse in the hymn “Away in a Manger”, ‘the cattle are lowing, the baby awakes.’ As a dairy farmer I love that Christmas and our Hope of salvation began in a barn. So from our barn to  yours. We wish you a Merry Christmas.