Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Thanks for sharing the road

 


This week we're hauling manure out of the lagoon. As I took this picture as they went by me on the road, I wanted to thank everyone for moving over and going slow for our equipment.

I know it's hard to be patient, so thank you today and every day!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Michigan State University class tour




Today Michigan State University animal science professor Miriam Weber Nielsen brought her class out for a tour! She's brought many classes in the past, but it has been a few years now, and so it was so wonderful having them back.

Kris and I talked about our farm, how we do it, things that might be different than other farms they have been to (like cattle on pasture and natural bull breeding), and the economics of dairy farming. We walked through the calf barn, then went to the dairy barns, manure lagoon, and showed them the expansion on the free stall barn - the stalls and the maternity section.

Points:

- I love giving tours of the farm. Many of these students had been on a dairy farm before, but there are always questions you have never gotten before. 

Today, my favorite question came from Tony, who said, "I've been to farms, and I have to ask - why the Toyota Sienna? Why do you all have one?" 

My answer was immediate. "Farmers usually have a lot of kids, they get great gas mileage, and if things really got bad and we lost everything, we could put down the seats and sleep five in the back of it."

Ha! I didn't even know other farmers had Siennas! 

- The students were talking about how they had a presentation from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan last week, and Ryan said, "I bought a gallon of milk after hearing that presentation. I've been drinking a glass a day." That warmed my dairy-loving heart.

- I encouraged all the students to find a favorite calf and take pictures with it, and they played along. Of course, animal science people are usually animal lovers. No one took me up on my offer to take a kitten or a tire home. (I was kidding about the kittens, but I was not kidding about the tires. Everyone - come and take a tire!)

- The students were talkative and enjoyable, and Miriam was great as always. We have an open door policy - come and visit anytime! I'll even give you a spin in my farm Sienna.

Thank you Miriam, and thank you students!




I post much more frequently at https://www.facebook.com/TruthOrDairy and https://www.instagram.com/truthordairyfarm/ - come and join me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sudax in ten days

We put our cattle out in our sudax field to eat it instead of chopping it - it all ends up in the same place! (Sudax is a sorghum and sudangrass hybrid that looks similar to corn, but without the ears. It grows fast and cattle love it.)

Our neighbors are so great...we had four of them contact us to ask if the cattle were supposed to be in that field. Isn't it nice they're watching out for us?

Kris and I were guessing how long it would take them to eat it, and all the leaves were gone, with most of the stalks chewed, after ten days. Ten days in one field! It was so interesting. First you couldn't see the cattle, then you could see some, and then you could eventually see them all.

Before

 

After

We have new Team Chocolate Milk gear, and I love it! I had a half marathon in Lansing this month, and it went great. I love this picture the race photographer took, because it captures how happy I am when I run.



I spend a lot of time working my full time job, driving the kids around, helping with homework, and hanging out with my friends and family. Kris spends a lot of time working, working with our team, and spending time with our friends and family. I run into strangers from time to time who read the blog, and I appreciate every single one of you. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Harvest



Our friends really came through during the harvest. My friend Andrea was having a party, and a week before she said casually, and then we'll all just come over to Carla's house first to do tires.

I didn't actually know it if would work, because harvest depends on so many factors - weather, timing, equipment, other people - but I said sure. 

And it DID work! The timing was perfect. 

The boys and I were standing on a giant pile of harvested corn. It was as big as our barn. We started putting tires on, and our friends weren't there yet, and I thought ... this is going to take us FOREVER. I put on Facebook, 'Starting to cover the pile!' and lo and behold ... two strong, young, fantastic neighbors showed up and started slinging tires like it was their job! (Thanks Thums!) Their mom, plus wife and kids came, too! 

Then all our friends showed up ... Chip brought a speaker, and since we were then working to music, it was a PARTY! I am so thankful for their help. I couldn't be more grateful.



I've been doing a little 'did you know' series on Facebook. (You can follow me there or on Instagram if you want more frequent posts!) This one is about ear tags. We have new ones now, where the tag with the number and the RFID tag circle were separate, but we bought ones that are two in one. Did you know ... all cattle are tagged with an RFID tag they have for life? This tracks them wherever they go, even to other farms. Each tag and chip have the same unique number—one for visual identification and one to use with an electronic reader.


And, did you know that feed for young calves looks a lot like cat or dog food? Max has tasted it a few times, and he says it's not bad.



We have 80 more acres to go of corn, which means we're covering the pile one more time. Happy first day of fall! I hope all your chores are also being turned into parties!


Friday, August 6, 2021

On the farm

Jon Adamy from Michigan Farm Bureau worked with Samana Sheikh at WLNS to do some 'On the Farm' segments about dairy farming. You can watch the videos here.

It's been a whirlwind of a month! My brother, sister, and their families came, my cousin, his wife, and their three kids visited, we camped and canoed, we had people over for pool parties and wiffle ball, we did our third cutting of alfalfa, and Kris' sister, her husband and kids are coming today! 

(We also had two family reunions. My brother Gage and I won the Anderson cornhole tournament, and Kris and I won the Wardin cornhole tournament! These are my greatest athletic achievements.)

On the farm, it's busy all the time. Calves everywhere, things breaking and getting them fixed, getting bulls from other farms, milking, chopping alfalfa, and making sure everything is getting covered, from machine maintenance to calf care and everything in between.

We were fortunate that our team member Dave and his wife Lisa sold us my grandparents' house back, so now our other team members could move closer. 

I'm also working full time now, from home most days but also going into the office, and it's been going great. I'm a marketing communications specialist (which means writer) at an ag lending co-op. It's wonderful being able to combine my love of writing with my love of agriculture!

I hope your August is going well, too. The cicadas and crickets are loud at night, there's a chill in the night air, and I'll be wearing a winter coat before I know it. But until then ... it's swimming every day until school starts!

And last but not least ... my Uncle Stuart took this video, my cousin Marilyn Cotton had it digitized, and my cousin Pat Fitzpatrick put it on YouTube. It is precious to me. It shows my great-great grandma in my house, my great-grandparents having fun, my grandparents young, my aunts and uncles, and my dad as a baby! 

But...what might be interesting to you is the vintage farming footage! How did they not lose all their limbs and fingers? Go to 8:45 and check out my great-grandpa and grandpa farming. My great-grandpa is the one with the horses and my grandpa is the guy laughing. My Uncle Dave is the little boy on the wagon.  

Watch it here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

What a weekend

On Friday we were supposed to go to our friends' house for fireworks with a bunch of other friends. I was talking to them in the morning and said we were going to go, but I didn't know what time we'd be there because we had to cover the pile of alfalfa we were chopping that day.

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but six families came to help us cover the pile! 

Of course, it's impossible to time when it's going to happen, so we thought it was going to be 5:00 p.m., but then the chopper had some trouble, so then it was 6:00 p.m. ... so my parents went and picked up the pizza and we ate at our house BEFORE covering the pile - and the kids swam - and then finally it was time! 

With all of our wonderful friends helping, it took 27 minutes to cover it, and then we all went for fireworks. What a great night! 

(I think they are still our friends.) 

Also ...

Kris high on the 4th of July!


Also knee high by the 4th of July!

Field one - planted April 28. 

Field two - planted June 4 after we cut alfalfa off of it.   

I hope you're having a great July!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Last day of June

Kris was interviewed by Nicole Heslip about the dairy outlook for the summer.

It's nice owning a business with someone who is so positive! 

Happy last day of dairy month! (July is ice cream month, so we'll keep the celebration going!)

Listen to the interview here.