Long Days and Late Nights

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     I have done a pathetic job of keeping you informed of all the dairy farm activities. I have a good excuse though, and I’ll let you decide if it’s lame or worthy of your time. Here’s my story………..036.jpg      Our middle child (Michael) left for college. This is move-in day. He is the work horse behind our operation. So now, we have to step up our game. ….and I thought I was already high-steppin’. Luckily, he comes home on weekends and he helps us get caught up. 003.jpg      We’ve also been doing a lot of “cattle work”. We had quite a few cows that were missing ear tags, and so we spent one day putting in brand new earrings…..as I like to call them. Fancy cows! We also did a preg-check. That’s when the vet comes out and we check all the cows to see who’s pregnant or open. That was a long day. Help me!070.jpg      Hay…..so much hay. We finally conquered the beast….but not without long days and late nights. Here we are just finishing up on the biggest field. Woo-hoo! Oh wait….we still need to haul it all home. Ugh!046.jpg       This was my view for days. Mowing hay….round and round. I sat in the tractor with my ear buds in and my big water jug. I shift into survival mode on days like this. 058.jpg      Very poor quality picture….but another view from another day. I can mow hay…rake hay…bale hay…haul hay! I admit that I suck at baling. The monitor is always screaming at me and telling me things I don’t understand. So, the big boys usually do that and I’ll stick with what I’m good at.074.jpg      Late night hauling. We had over 300 bales to haul in. The farm girls did the driving back and forth while Earl loaded the wagons for us. It was 1:30 before we wrapped up that project. Needless to say….I was pooped! 071.jpg      We’ve also been bombarded with kittens. Two litters have showed up at the barn. Look at those cat eyes. They’re saying….just shoot me now! haha We help her out and feed them warm cows milk.

023.jpg         And there you have it. When I’m not doing the dirty work I’m busy in the yard and flower gardens. I’ve got some monster pumpkins growing out there. Can’t wait to show you………………………….Carol

Stay Cool

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     We are officially in the “dog days” of summer. It’s August and the days are sultry and hot with the heat index well into the triple digits. That means the cows are very hot and they need a little more TLC. Here’s what we do for them………………..085.jpg     We have misters running throughout the lot area where the cows are waiting to be milked. They run off of well water and it is nice and cold. They love it!084.jpg             Doesn’t that look cool?! When the cows first come up to the barn in the afternoon, they are very hot. Cows don’t sweat….they pant! So, within 10 minutes of standing underneath the water, they’ll be chewing their cud. That means they’re feeling comfortable and content. 083.jpg      They hang out with their friends and do a little herd gossip while they cool off. Sometimes they talk trash about the “milkmaid”….other times they’re mad at Bubba (the bull)….then other times they have a battle between breeds. Jersey versus Holstein! Seriously, they are so much like humans. I can read them like a book………082.jpg     If you look closely the misters are connected to the PVC pipe above. I am the master of replacing misters. I go through packages of these little dudes every summer. The well water has sediment and they need to be replaced periodically. I stand on my tall step ladder and hope I don’t lose my balance. It is totally safe…..I know what I’m doing. I think?! 080.jpg        And then we have ice cream. Real ice cream. Made with cows milk. Do I need to say anything else? I believe this particular flavor was “coffee, almond and fudge. Now, go buy a gallon and chill out…..it’s hot! Your favorite Milkmaid………………Carol

 

Sunflowers and Sunshine

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       Every year I plant sunflowers in my garden. I ordered my seeds in the early spring and I was so excited…..all the cool colors. I could see it already. My garden was going to be the coolest ever! Only one problem……lots. of. rain.     012.jpg             I had just planted all my “cool” sunflowers when a few days later we get a 3 inch rain. I was beside myself. I just knew that they had all drowned and it was going to be a total loss. Lo and behold……some of them survived. I’ve been harvesting sunflowers and putting together bouquets for my kitchen.   028.jpg      This seems to be everyone’s favorite color so far…….the original. Michael wanted to know why I even bother with anything else. 030.jpg      I love this one. Most of these survived the rain, because I have the most of this color. I think I’ll order these again. 040.jpg      These little yellow ones are pretty tough too. They’re smaller, but have a ton of blooms. They make a bright and cheery bouquet. 043.jpg      This is what my garden looks like this year. It was basically under water the first part of the summer. I put the sunflowers on the east side in “high” ground. When it did finally dry off it was too late for the normal garden stuff, so I went with pumpkins. I had a ton of random seeds. All shapes, colors, and sizes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping I’ll have a massive pumpkin crop. This picture is a few weeks old and the plants have now almost totally covered the whole garden.035.jpg       So, which color is your favorite? Do you need a sunflower bouquet to brighten your day? I’m dreaming of a field full of sunflowers…….with all the cows in the background. Beautiful! Your favorite Milkmaid………………Carol

Sit for a Spell

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       I love summertime! Time to sit in the shade and sip a cold drink. Time to stop and smell the flowers. I’m going to show you a few of my outside “sit and sip” areas that I have created. 023.jpg     This spot is quiet and peaceful. All the action is on the other side of the house. This is the perfect place for me to hide when I’ve just about had it. If they ask me one more time “what’s for supper”….I’m going to explode! Anyway…..check out that bicycle. It was a $10.00 find at a garage sale. But those chairs are my pride and joy. Antique store treasures! 027.jpg       I mostly arrange with 2 or more chairs, but we never sit and have a lovely conversation. We work together 24/7…..we all need our space. Haha These chairs were actually given to me for free. Can’t beat a deal like that! 026.jpg        My “ring of fire” that Candace and I built. A chair for each member of the family. Now in the fall when it cools down….we do spend time together around the fire. Earl might spend a whole 5 minutes and then he’s off to the house…..party pooper! 005.jpg       I love my red checked tablecloth. I realize now that I don’t take enough time to sit and enjoy all my hard work. So, tomorrow I think I’ll drink my iced coffee on the patio. After I finish mowing the yard…and milking the cows. Your favorite Milkmaid………………Carol

Homemade Applesauce

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      Does anyone else still make applesauce or am I the Lone Ranger? Growing up we always made homemade applesauce. I didn’t even know bought applesauce existed……… 028.jpg       I haven’t done this in several years. My freezer was empty and I was buying applesauce. Oh, the shame of it! So, when I got word that there were apples on the tree……I recruited some help and went a pickin’. They were beautiful! Here is the first step….washing and cutting. 027.jpg       I started this process after my morning chores. You cut them in half and snip out the stem and bottom bits. Then quarter them and you’re ready to start the cooking process. 029     I had two kettles going and I was rushing around to keep up with them. You put a little bit of water in the pot so as not to scorch the apples…..(who wants burned applesauce) and let them cook until soft and mushy. If you add too much water the applesauce will be watery and runny. I learned that the hard way…..back when I was young and inexperienced. Now I’m old and I still don’t know anything…….031.jpg       Now for the fun part. Pour the hot apples into the top of the “strainer” and start cranking. The seeds and peeling of the apples goes out the end and the sauce runs down the “chute” into the pan. Mmmmmm…..warm applesauce is delicious! 035.jpg      The kids have always loved to make applesauce. Everyone was busy that day, but I did get the “youngest farmer” to do some cranking for me. 037       I came to the point where I was seriously dragging and I decided…..screw it…..I’m fixing myself a big ‘ole iced coffee. I figured I deserved it………it was fabulous. 039.jpg     I persevered and this is what I had at the end of the assembly line. Does that not look fabulous?! It was some of the best applesauce I’ve ever made! Add just a little sugar because the apples are tart. 041.jpg       Wow! What an awesome feeling. All that hard work and the end result is a freezer full of delicious applesauce. Goodness! I think I went a little crazy! Never underestimate the power of a farm girl. Your favorite Milkmaid………………….Carol

 

 

 

 

 

All American Dairy Farm

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     It’s summertime. Time to fly the “American flag” and celebrate. What better time than the 4th of July. So, I’ll show you what I like to do out here on the farm……041.jpg       Red is bright and eye-catching. It goes well with the farm….and my flag themed décor. Of course, a cow skull is a must. Cows are my life, you know! 026.jpg    We are in the middle of “haying season” and so the bales were a nice backdrop for the roadside flag. Those will be hauled in to the hay barn today. Before or after evening milking? Time will tell. 037.jpg     I found these patriotic pillows early summer and just had to grab a few. How perfect for my patio! The old door is part of my vintage garden every year. The flag is beginning to look a bit faded. Maybe I’ll replace it this year…… To do lists are my thing. 008.jpg     I would love to have an American flag on top of the silo. How in the world will I ever get that accomplished?! That thing is 70 feet tall and I’m scared of heights. If you look closely…..Candace is at the top with raised hands. She has totally lost all her marbles! She climbed to the top to get storm cloud pictures. Desperation has set in is all I can say. It’s actually very cool up there….if you have the nerve to climb that high. 053.jpg       Big girl likes the flag too. I stuck it there just for the holiday…..and they all had to sniff and play with it. Jersey girls are the cutest….051.jpg      Holsteins still rule. The mud holes are almost completely dried up and the heat is intense. Therefore, I’ve got the misters going every day. Ahhhh……they love that cool water spraying on their backs. That half mile walk home every afternoon is hot and tiring. It doesn’t take long and they’re chewing their cud….totally relaxed. I’m thinkin’ maybe I’ll stand underneath those misters and see what effect they have on humans. Haha So long….your favorite milkmaid…………………..Carol

 

 

Peony Power

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     May is the month for Peonies. Hands down my favorite flower ever. I remember as a young girl having them in our garden. Only problem….I didn’t appreciate them back then the way I do now. Funny how that works. Adulting changes everything.  012.jpg     Why would you not love these beauties?! I have 3 different kinds and I’m fairly certain that I’m going to invest in many more. Lots more. I may even have to sell a cow to help pay for them. The one that tries to kill me every time I milk her. She’s hateful! Just like some humans……….. 013.jpg     In full bloom….fabulous! I have this color out by the barn and it brightens up the whole day. Too bad they only bloom once a year. I made sure I enjoyed them while they lasted. 105.jpg      These pictures are different sizes because my phone did an update and changed everything. Anyway, in my research I discovered that when picking blooms you’re supposed to cut them when they feel like a puffy marshmallow. I think this one is ready to harvest. 101.jpg      Oh my….just look how beautiful! The flecks of pink are awesome. I was dense and didn’t write down the name and date when I bought these, so I’m not sure what I have. You’re supposed to plant in the fall and let them grow for 3 years before harvesting any blooms. After that they’ll outlive you. I had better get busy…. 114.jpg     Here again, I’m not sure what kind this is. I have a catalog that I’ve been “shopping” in. I flip through it and circle the ones I want. Then I realize I circled way too many. Decisions, decisions. And where am I going to put them? Trust me….I will find a special place. 123.jpg             The white ones were right in my path walking to and from the barn. So, I would stop and get on my knees and sniff and admire……. I tried to get the rest of my crew to appreciate the beauty. I pointed out “Hey, look, aren’t these amazing?!” They just gave me this blank look like “Mother”…..calm down. I took tons of pictures. I’ll swoon over them this winter when the North wind is howling and I’m teetering on the edge of sanity………………………Carol

 

 

 

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