Clear as Mud

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     As a milkmaid, I also get to experience working in all weather conditions….rain or shine. For the last 6 months it’s been more rain than sunshine. I am now an expert at working in MUD! Let me give you a clear definition of what mud is all about…………  066.jpg     This is my life…..on the farm. When the mud gets this deep, a  person needs to be very careful. The mud will act as quick sand and suck you right down into the endless abyss and they’ll never find you again. Amen!  Thank God for muck boots!  065.jpg      Yea, I know. I should’ve known better, than to go through this mud hole. It is possible to get the 4-wheeler stuck. Especially when you get 10 inches of rain within a weeks time. Total madness! The farmer pulled me out with the tractor…..I just got a “look” from him….nothing else was said. Haha 097.jpgThis is what our pasture has looked like for most of the year….and this is the better part. As soon as it starts to dry up…..here comes another rain storm. Our pasture is so rutted up and rough right now. The tractor creates massive ruts and then with 100 plus cows marching through every day….it’s almost impossible to get around.098.jpg       We finally gave the 4-wheeler a rest and started using our trusty little tractor to go feed my calves. It has served us well over the years and has seen its better days, but still keeps on running. Nothing runs like a Deere……John Deere! I like that green! 095.jpg       We’re probably the driest right now than we have been in months. The weatherman says there’s more rain on the way. Help! I’ll take that sunshine any day. So will the “big girls”….they’re getting sassy……and so am I………………….Carol

 

National Dairy Month

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     Hello June. Welcome dairy month. You know what that means? Drink lots of milk! Eat cheese! Eat ice cream! Thank your local dairy farmer…they work hard. I can definitely vouch for that. Amen!      151.jpg       Here are a few random “dairy photos” to let you know what’s happening on the farm. This cute little stinker is only a few days old. We’ve had a handful of babies this last week. As soon as I get a batch weaned…here comes another group of new ones. My work is never done……     156.jpg        The “tween” group. They are very naughty….just like human tweens. There’s a lot of “trash talk” happening at the water hole. I know what they’re saying….and it’s not good. They create drama. They push their boundaries every day.   144.jpg      Big girl wants to give you a gentle reminder to drink milk! She works hard every day to help with supply and demand. She doesn’t care what flavor….white, strawberry, or chocolate. Just drink!   154.jpg     Our little preemie born just 2 days ago. It’s healthy and very aggressive. It sure is weenie, though. I’ll have to keep a close eye on it. Those little ones sometimes have a rough row to hoe. Alright then……here’s to dairy month. Who’s up for some milk and cookies……………………Carol

 

They Call Me Milkmaid

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    Milkmaids….we are a dying breed. Few and far between. The work is hard…the stress is real…just look at me. I am a “milkmaid”.     190.jpg     This is my basic milkmaid attire. Bad hair…don’t care. There is no makeup in the milk barn. I wear the same clothes day after day. They’re faded from being washed in hot water every night….but the smell still remains. I live in muck boots, and have to buy a new pair about every 6 months. Whenever my feet say “Ouch”.   017.jpg          Some of my best friends are in the form of “bovines”. So much of the herd is what I have raised from baby on up. They see me every morning and evening…7 days a week. We have bad days and good days. Sometimes we even fight, but we have to get along.   018.jpgThen there’s Miss Daisy. Very curious. At least her nose is clean. Have you ever watched a cow clean their nose? Wish I could do that! Especially in the winter time when it’s cold and I have to wipe my nose on my coat sleeve and just keep goin’. Yes, a true milkmaid will do that…….   021.jpg      I still have a handful of baby calves to feed, but nothing like last winter. Everything is so much easier when the weather warms up. We found this little tyke right after it was born. Mama was mighty proud! 061.jpg      I clean up once in a great while. At least for special occasions….like Mother’s Day. These are my little “peeps” all grown up now. I am now the smallest person in the family. “Little but mighty” is that what they say? I’m just trying to survive………………Carol

My Latest Crush

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     I hope the cows don’t get wind of this post, because I’m going to talk gardening again. They tend to get pretty sassy if they know I’m not giving them full attention. I’ll take my chances……   001.jpg     If you’re visiting garden centers and taking a look around….I’m sure you’ve noticed that succulents are all the rage. It took me awhile to catch on, but now that it’s planting time I’m joining the craze. I like putting them in any old vintage container I can find. A broken piece of clay pot gives it a little extra punch.    010.jpg      A shiny pot looks just as nice if you aren’t into vintage. I like to add a tall plant, something that trails, and always an uneven number. I can be pretty “OCD”
about some things. Most succulents are green, but different shades. Some look almost blue. Some change colors as they grow. I’m learning all this as I buy and plant.    233       This is another creation we’re trying. An old vintage box. I love these. The great thing about succulents is that they don’t require much watering. Maybe once a week if that. I’m going to try a squirt bottle and just moisten them a bit.  004Here’s another vintage box, but with only four sections. I have this pebble gravel everywhere so I just sprinkled this over the soil. You can buy fancy stuff, but I’m not fancy.   005.jpg      All these wooden boxes are pretty cool. I’d like to collect them all. The “hen and chicks” always make me think of my Grandma. Precious memories…how they linger….remember that old hymn? Carol

 

Farm to Table

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     I always plant my “cold weather” vegetables in my old junk garden. I gathered together a bunch of old rusted out stock tanks and filled them with dirt. They make for great raised beds when my big garden is still too wet to till and plant. So, the first of March I gathered together some seeds and plants and headed out to the garden.      251.jpg        I planted a bunch of green onions….they sure are tasty. It’s so nice to just walk out the back door and pull a handful of fresh greens. Everything has so much flavor. I sure miss that during those cold winter months.  249.jpg     The kale just went crazy. I can’t keep up with it. It is so easy to grow. I like to put it into a stir-fry. Delicious!  250.jpg     The lettuce and spinach is also being very productive…..and it tastes absolutely fantastic. Nothing’s better than a fresh garden salad. I’ll eat them for breakfast, lunch and supper. So much lettuce to eat.   244.jpg             Let’s not forget the radishes. I like to visit my junk garden while I’m working outside and I just use my pocket knife to cut everything and pop it in my mouth. Hmmm……where has my pocket knife been? Don’t panic…I give it a swift wipe on my pants and we are good to go. A quick little snack. So, do you want to join the local food movement and find out how and where your food is grown? I have plenty right now and will share if you are craving a fresh garden salad………………….Carol

Beautiful Berries

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      How about those chocolate covered strawberries?! One of my favorite treats. These are what kept me going the whole month of February. I always dip strawberries for Valentines Day and this year I just kept on dipping and dipping and dipping…….   183.jpg       ……and I ate and ate and ate. It was a bright spot in the midst of the “muck and the mire”. I’ll share with you some of my tips for this special treat. When buying your strawberries you always look carefully through every container slowly turning in all directions. Once you’ve inspected every single one….you go back to the first one you picked up. Happens every time. I always give them a quick rinse and let them air dry while I’m milking.     182.jpg      I have tried many different kinds of chocolate chips and this is by far the best. I’m a big fan of dark chocolate. Not just that, but definitely “Ghirardelli” brand. This melts so nice and smooth and has perfect consistency.  184.jpg     Next find a microwave safe bowl and dump in about half the bag or just take a wild guess what you’ll need. Don’t panic…..I have the perfect solution for any leftover chocolate. I microwave 10 to 15 second intervals….stirring between each one. Once you have a nice smooth consistency it’s time to start the fun.  189.jpg       I grab them by the tops and slowly dip making sure to leave a little red showing. Makes them look pretty. I might give them a little “shake” to let any excess chocolate run off and then lay them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. I have a hard time keeping the “farmers” away to give them drying time.   187.jpg    I don’t always use the white chocolate, but I wanted to make these special. Just use the same brand of chips only white and repeat all the steps. Then use a cake decorating bag and cut a weenie little hole in the bottom to squeeze the white chocolate through. Just swirl back and forth….the messier the better. And here is the secret for all leftover chocolate. Take a bag of marshmallows and some toothpicks and start dipping. Leave a little white showing to make them look fancy. These are absolutely divine! 191      And there you have it….a farm girl’s goodness. These make everything right with the world once again………………..Carol

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside

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      It’s so hard to talk about winter when spring is in full swing around here. It must be done though, so one more story about our wicked winter and I’m moving on to better days. If I hear one person say that our winter wasn’t too bad…….I will totally lose all control. Obviously they don’t work outside!    243.jpg     Just look at all the bitterness. That’s snow and ice on the cows. They tolerate the cold weather much better than I do.    174.jpg     We had a very wet winter and lots of freezing temperatures…mud everywhere and horrible ruts all throughout the pastures. It would rain torrents and then a deep freeze would come. This is only the tip of the iceberg.   122.jpg       This is what we used on the cows all winter long. You need to protect their “tits” ( every dairyman says that and we don’t think nuthin’ of it ) from frostbite. This stuff works like magic. We didn’t have any problems as long as we put this salve on them every time. We pre-dip with iodine and post with this salve. Keeps the cows happy and the humans from getting kicked.  246.jpg      Underneath all the heavy layers are Michael and Marshall. We have become experts at layering and staying warm….except for our fingers. My hands get so cold while feeding calves that I’ll dip them into the warm milk to take away the “sting” and then hurry on down the line. By the time I get back to the barn I can’t decide if I want to scream or cry they’re “burning” so bad. Don’t ever tell a milkmaid that you love wintertime…….    250.jpg     We had just enough snow for one small snowman. They spent all this time building the cute little guy and then after they got done, they took the 4-wheeler….raced straight for him….and squashed him like a bug. Don’t mess with farm kids either.  244.jpg      An early morning sunrise. One of the few beautiful things about winter. I’m so happy that is behind us and we’re enjoying all the beauty of spring. Ahhhhh…..new life everywhere. I plan to go “hog wild” on the gardening this summer……………………..Carol

 

Raising Calves

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        Today I want to share with you what “hibernation” means to a farm girl/milkmaid. I’m in charge of all the baby calves……until weaning age that is. This in itself keeps me fully “grounded” and at home most of the time. I’m sorta like the old timers. I go to town for supplies about once a month. Give or take a few days. Haha  Raising calves is a big job so I recruit lots of help from the kids. We all work together.  136.jpg     Here’s my partial row of calves. As soon as they’re born we put them into their own little hutch. I like to call it their cozy little condo. Every single calf needs to be vaccinated ASAP and then we feed them fresh colostrum to give them a good, healthy start. Without these steps their life can be pretty “dicey”. Calves will pick up bugs very easily and if not caught in time they’ll be dead within 24 hours. Just like human babies……constant care.  239.jpg        Bedding down hutches is not a favorite job. It’s back breaking work and Marshall says it’s the worst job on the farm. Our winter was extremely wet and muddy which calls for lots and lots of bedding. The dogs think it’s great fun!  160.jpg     We only had one set of twins. I kept them together for a couple of days so they could “bond”. That’s the “mother instinct” in me. After a few days they go their separate ways. Baby calves do best when they have their own hutch.  044.jpg     We had all colors this year. Mostly brown, black and red. The red was my favorite. They’re always such cute little stinkers…..and then they grow up.  113.jpg     I always do the “hat thing” at Christmas time. It takes so. much. patience. They hate that silly thing on their head….but I think it looks so cute. Can you see that look? It’s saying……Oh the disgust and shame! Get that stupid thing off of my head!  266.jpg       Speaking of shame……little “Dixie chic” was so mad at us for doing this to her. Just look at her face! She is so ticked! Oh my…..Candace and I just laughed and laughed. Too much fun! Well, that’s all for now. More winter pictures coming up next………………..Carol

 

This is Me

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     Hallelujah! It’s finally spring! With that being said, I decided it’s high time I crawl out of my “hibernation hole” and start communicating with humans again. It has been a long hard winter.     275.jpg      I want to start out with a little introduction of myself and my “farm crew”. I was born and raised in Ohio on a grain farm. I met my “cowboy” and he brought me out here to the wild, wild West. We started our dairy farm in 1993 on his family farm in Northeastern Oklahoma. This is where we’ve been ever since. I milk cows twice a day, seven days a week. I love the cows, but the work is hard and the stress is real…….so I turn to gardening for therapy and self-care. Gardening heals the heart and soul.  271.jpg      We have 3 young farmers. We depend heavily on their help around the farm. We have no employees, so this is 100% family owned and operated. We’re just a small little speck compared to all the gigantic dairy farms all over the country. Candace is the oldest at 22…then we have Michael (on the left ) at 18. A senior this year. And the kid…at 16. All hard workers and keep us alive and kicking.  228.jpg     I try to share on this website a little insight of our life on a dairy farm. We have good days…bad days…and really bad days. The picture is a perfect example of a very bad day. In fact, this has happened to all of us at one time or another. You simply wipe it off and keep on goin’. It happens!   265.jpg       We have one Brown Swiss cow. She’s a bit on the sassy side, but gets away with it because she’s beautiful.  133.jpg     Most of our cows are Holstein and Jersey or Jersey crossbreeds. Holsteins are big and bossy and capable of producing lots of milk. Jersey / crossbreeds are smaller, but give excellent butterfat. That helps with your paycheck. Cows are a lot like humans. Some are super friendly and easy to get along with….then others are sassy and a pain in the neck to have around. You just have to learn to deal with all of them. However maddening it may be. So, that gives you an idea of what we are all about. I hope you come back and check up on us every now and then. I write about anything from cows, calves, dogs and cats….to all my gardening and flowers and even some farm food. It’s nice to be back……………..Carol

Timeout for the Milkmaid

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       Speaking of timeout…..that got me to thinking. Maybe it’s time for the “milkmaid” to take a timeout instead of the “farm boys”. I’m not planning on camping out in a calf hutch or anything crazy….just a simple R&R from writing. I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite farm pictures while I take a rest…….       038.jpg      I love the red calves and the red and white. Brings some extra color into my black and white world. This calf was born with an extra dose of attitude. Cute little stinker.    057.jpg     Oh my….what a sweet little pup. My favorite little Dixie chic. Her bark is definitely worse than her bite. She barks at the big cows and when they turn on her…….she runs for her life. Haha Sissy girl!    067.jpg      This calf was born two days ago. I saw it hiding in the grass on my return trip from feeding calves. Those big furry ears were a dead give away.      003.jpg      Fall sunsets are the best! I was in the barn milking and decided to sneak out for a little break. I’m so glad I did or I would’ve missed this beautiful scene. I was sitting in one of my favorite garden chairs and had a perfect view. I just sat there and enjoyed. I eventually went back to work.     048.jpg           Our farm boys….couldn’t do this without them. Michael is a senior this year. He used to be my big helper……now I’m his little helper. He’s bigger, stronger, and faster than what I am. Time flies when you’re having fun……or something like that. Marshall is still the baby of the family….keeps us entertained with lots of drama.    018.jpg       Our farm girl is finally coming home in December. Praise the Lord! It’s been a long time a comin’. This was on a short visit home and the pup was soakin’ up some sun while listening to some tunes. What a sweet picture.     055.jpg     Last but not least…..my morning sunrise while feeding calves. All was peaceful and quiet. What a lovely start to another day. I’ll miss you and hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Eat plenty of Halloween treats and lots of turkey for Thanksgiving……..not to mention the scrumptious ham for Christmas. I love the holidays. I’ll catch up with you all after the first of the year. See ya soon………………………..Carol