Sunday, January 20, 2019

Team Chocolate Milk!


Saturday Team Chocolate Milk was at the Portland Winter Run. Matt and I came in second in our age groups, and Kris won first place for the first time! It snowed the whole time - check out our frozen eyelashes.

Wearing my Team Chocolate Milk gear is so fun.  People always yell at me and cheer me on.  I did drink chocolate milk I brought myself afterward - they also had homemade chili, hot chocolate, and cookies.  I love races, and it's even more fun when people go and do them with you!  Go team! 

My plan is to run a race every month this year.  I'm pretty sure this will be the coldest one, but we shall see ... My next one is on Super Bowl Sunday in Okemos if anyone wants to join me in a chocolate milk toast!   




A beautiful sight - with explanation


Our manure lagoon has to be pumped out so we can use it to fertilize our fields. We rent a magical manure boat to churn it up since it's chunky and frozen and has sand in it. The weather behaved perfectly for us to almost empty it.

Isn't it great that cows produce something we need to then GROW their own food?! What a perfect system.

Ah...it may be ugly to you, but it's all part of the process to bring you good-looking food.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Michigan Dairy Cattle News

My Michigan Dairy Cattle News articles - Non-profit Dairy Discovery gets a start in 2019, and butter in your coffee resurges in popularity! 

Read your issue here: Michigan Dairy Cattle News



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A new year!



Happy new year, everyone!  How long can we keep saying that?  At least a month?  I'm rolling with it.

My longtime friend Andrew Jenkins asked me to speak at his St Johns Rotary Club meeting.  I spoke about modern farming practices, and the community members there were great and asked fun questions.  

That morning, I'd asked my kids what I should be sure to share with them.  My youngest told me to tell people the difference between calves, heifers, and cows, because everyone calls them cows - even the boys!  I did mention that, and a woman spoke up and said, "You can tell your son I didn't know the difference," and she pointed to a woman sitting next to her - "And she didn't either!"  

It was fun, and it made me feel very fortunate I live in such a nice community.



Everything here on the farm is in winter mode.  The cows - and calves, and heifers! - get milked and fed every day, but there's not a whole lot of extras going on.  Instead, it's meeting after meeting.  This week we have Michigan Milk Producers Association meetings.

As for new things ... something new happened here that I'd never seen before.  We were outside - the boys were jumping on the trampoline and I was doing yard work because it was about 50 degrees, and it made me feel yard-worky - and Ty pointed out that there was a rainbow in the middle of the sky!  We have never seen this before.  I'll take it as a sign that 2019 is going to be AWESOME!  Of course, I'd have thought that even if I never saw it.


If you're a podcast person, there are lots of new ones up on the Michigan GROWN, Michigan GREAT site.  There's even one where I talk with the program director Elaine Bristol, who is my favorite sheep farmer.  Enjoy listening!

Happy new year ... hope it's all sunshine and rainbows.   




Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wrapping up 2018

End of the year!  Let's reflect on what's happened with a list of firsts ...

1 - We added a new bulk tank.  First time in the history of the farm we've had TWO bulk tanks.  Now we have more milk in more tanks.  This means we're milking more cows, and they're giving more milk, and we have storage if the milk trucks ever aren't able to come. 


2 - First time we've been farming where the milk prices are this low for this long.  We're optimistic for 2019!  Really and truly!

3 - Hosted a podcast interviewing farmers.  Podcasts - remember when you didn't even know this term?  Me neither.

4 - We put in an awesome sprinkler system to keep the cattle cool while they're waiting to get milked.  We were rewarded with a super hot summer, which is usually the opposite of what happens when you do a project like this!



5 - Our boys drove various vehicles around the farm, including the wheel loader, tractor, go-kart, and who knows what else.  They will be so ready for drivers ed in four years. 

That's it for memorable firsts.  We're thankful for another year on the farm with my parents, our fantastic team members, and our wonderful herd. 

Just today I had a text from a friend who lives out of state.  She sent, "I have a milk question and I knew you were the best person to ask."  That warmed my heart, because I'm happy to answer anything, which is part of the reason I started this blog way back in December of 2010.  Thank you for reading, thanks for your questions, and here's to another year of happy firsts!     



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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Modern farming



Well, November really flew by in a hurry.

Not only did Kris and I have a delegate meeting for our milk co-op, but we also had our annual meeting for Farm Bureau.  We had our first snow on November 9, which I thought was really early, but I looked back to last year and it ALSO snowed on November 9th!

I've been hosting a lot of podcasts and been sharing them.  I've learned a lot of interesting information about farms and people in general!  For instance, when I was talking to Christmas tree farmer Tony Stefani, he told me that if you broke the needles of a certain tree, it smells like citrus.  Then when we went to get our tree, our lovely neighbors Scott and Wendy told us the same thing!  (Go ahead.  We have a white pine.  Try yours now!)

On the farm, we're moving into winter mode.  The harvest is done, so it's mainly milking and (still) calving.

Kris says the best news about November was that it was so routine and good ... that nothing really stands out.  Hooray!  Let's hope the winter is just as regular!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Government to Gogurts

Yesterday Graham Filler, a friend who's running for State Rep, brought Congressman John Moolenaar to tour our farm.  He wanted to talk to farmers, see what was going on in our area, get our opinions on different policies, and basically hear what we had to say so he could be a better representative.  It's always nice when you meet one of your elected officials and you like them in real life!  No matter which party you're in, it's always appreciated when people want your view on your industry.  Thank you to John and Graham! 



Today I went to Mrs. Austin's and Mrs. Daman's begindergarten classes at St. Joseph Catholic School! We turned cream into butter, read books about dairy farms, and ate Gogurts and drank chocolate milk. The cutest part is when I asked who lived on a farm and most of them said they did ... even though Mrs. Daman assured me only one of them did. All in all, they were adorable, and it was great being there as usual.  Thanks, teachers!





Meanwhile on the farm ... we had a water leak under the calf barn and had to first cut into and second jackhammer the cement to fix it.  The new bulk tank is in and working, and the first bulk tank must be jealous because it immediately started being finicky.  We've had to have people out to fix things on it twice and it's still acting up.  There's always an adjustment period when the new baby shows up.

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.