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Day #2 – The elf was found on the pasteu

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Day #2 – The elf was found on the pasteurizer. We pasteurize the milk fed to the baby calves. All calves are happy and healthy!! http://ow.ly/i/7LlGj

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Day #1 – Elf on the Shelf Nemo found him

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Day #1 – Elf on the Shelf
Nemo found him while she was getting fed this morning. Always the curious jersey. http://ow.ly/i/7KUG1

“Let it Go” and enjoy the Turkey and Dairy!!

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I heard on the radio that the average calorie consumption for Thanksgiving is something like 4000 calories!!!  Holy Cow!!  That is a ton of calories, thank goodness Thanksgiving only happens once a year.  With that said, 2 of my priorities are eating right and working out every day.  Growing up in California, I believe this becomes a focus for quite a few people.  Even though I am 45, happily married with 3 amazing children, and lead a fairly healthy lifestyle it is difficult for me to “Let it Go” and eat whatever I want , one day a year.

I guess I need to lighten up, “Let it Go”,  and enjoy the turkey and the fixins’.  After all, I host Thanksgiving at our house so I should be able to eat whatever I want.  If I am going to let it go I believe I should at least consume as many calories from dairy as possible.  Just think of all the options – mashed potatoes with butter (I add heavy whipping cream when mashing), rolls with butter, turkey basted with butter, cornbread stuffing with butter, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, pecan pie with whipped cream, cheese plate appetizers, fruit salad with whipped cream, my options are unlimited!!  Don’t forget the Egg Nog!!  I guess I need to enjoy the day and be thankful for all my blessings and all the amazing dairy products that make the Thanksgiving dinner so yummy!!  FYI – I am doing a 5K turkey trot in the morning……. I am sure this will make me feel a little less guilty when I grab a second piece of pie.

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A sample Thanksgiving Menu. Look at all the Dairy possibilities!!

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Tours – I love showing off our farm!!

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I love when people come to visit our farm!!  It is so easy to get focused on all the day to day things it takes to run a successful organic dairy.  Healthy calves, clean barns, accurate and up to date paperwork, and on……  It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that so many people are 2-3 generations removed from agriculture.  Many people have never seen a “live” cow.  For me, I can not imagine that.  But I must remember that it is not necessary to be acquainted with your local farmer in order to eat.  Everything you need to provide good nutritious food for your family is in the grocery store, farmer’s market, or big box store.

I love to show people what we do everyday.  If they get a 1st hand experience of where their organic milk comes from, chances are they will make the decision to buy milk, cheese, or butter on their next trip to the grocery store.  As the dairy industry struggles to find ways to increase dairy consumption, I believe opening our farms to the public can be part of the solution.  It is scary because you always worry you may end up on YouTube or whatever website is featuring the negative aspects of dairy farming.  We have a great story to tell!!  Do not be afraid!!  Open your farm to the public and help get people connected to agriculture again.  Let me know if you ever are interested in a tour!!

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Talking about the Flood of 2007 in our parlor.

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My son with his show cow.

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YoYo the Jersey.

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Calves are always the cutest part of the tour!!

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Explaining commodities.

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Looking at our 300 cow Free Stall Barn.

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Preemie “Chocolate” Update

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A few weeks ago I addressed the issue that dairy farms occasionally have premature calves.  We were lucky enough to have the cutest premature calf who had a will to live.  My kids named this adorable little guy “Chocolate”.  Since that post, I have had questions about him and his status.  It was a tough day when I realized Chocolate was starting to have problems.  Premature dairy calves face many of the same problems human babies do – Pneumonia.  Their lungs are not fully developed and this presents a huge challenge.  It was hard to watch him struggle and eventually  succumb to the effects of Pneumonia.  He was such an adorable little calf and it is always tough to lose an animal I have spent so much time caring for.

"Chocolate"

“Chocolate”

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I am sooooooo adorable!!

 

Bucket List Item #1 “Fertilizer Buggy Driver”

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As a dairy farmer, we tend to have bucket list items that include amazing vacations to amazing destinations, meeting important people in our industry, or achieving an important recognition from our peers.  I have a “Bucket List Item” I added a few years ago.

Fertilizer Applicator Buggy Driver

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Wilco Fertilizer Applicator

Look at this awesome thing!!  Who wouldn’t want to drive this cool piece of equipment for a few days.  It doesn’t get stuck, it is HUGE, and no one would mess with the woman driving it!!

So why is this amazing piece of equipment parked at the farm.  In the fall, we apply hydrated lime to our fields.  When we transitioned to organic dairy farming, it became crucial to manage our pastures as best as we could.  The traditional practice of manure application did not supply enough nutrients to encourage good grass growth.  We tried fish manure – so smelly and disgusting that I made my husband strip in the garage, wash his own clothes, and then maybe I would cook him dinner.  The spreader was lame and IT SMELLED AWFUL TOO!!!  By far the hydrated lime has work quite nicely on all of our fields.  So one day I hope to convince one of the nice Wilco guys to give me a crash driving course.  This is one bucket list item that shouldn’t cost me much and will keep me close to home!!

Calf Care – Why it is my passion

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Raising calves on an organic dairy farm in Western Washington is challenging.  We have been certified organic since 2006.  It has been a total reeducation raising calves.  We did a great job raising calves when we were conventional, but we had so many tools at our fingertips to help us care for calves who became sick.  When we transitioned to organic, we quickly realized things were different. We quickly learned that prevention is the “Key”!!  You know that product “Airborne”??  The commercials recommend taking it before a trip on a plane because it will help you to prevent getting sick.  Well, we needed to adopt that similar philosophy but on a daily basis.  The keys to raising healthy organic dairy calves are simple.

1.  Environment – clean and dry bedding and good ventilation

2.  Vaccinations – Vaccinations help to prevent disease so get a good schedule and stick to it!!

3.  Colostrum – The first 2 feedings should be 2 bottles of good quality Colostrum.  No questions, no excuses.

It is pretty simple but like everyone, I get busy and short cut steps.  When this does happen, I quickly begin to experience problems.  But if I get back to these simple steps, I get quickly back on track.  I am so excited to raise my calves in my new calf barn we have been busy building of the last year.  Check out the amazing pictures.  The amazing Calf Tel pens, group pens, flush system, and curtains.  It is going to be a great place to raise organic dairy calves in the future.

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Group Pens – Each pen has 5-6 calves

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20 Calf Tel Pens

The doors we uses to move in and out with tractors.

The curtains move up and down. It allows control of the air flow through the barn.

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The doors roll up and allow our large loader tractors in and out easily.

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