Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sharin' The McLove

I just returned from a social media workshop in Chicago, hosted by  Midwest Dairy Association. This is the fourth year I have been invited and each year I come away with new ideas, new insights, and new friends which all help to invigorate me to continue to share my story as a dairy farmer.

One of our speakers was from McDonald's. (Yep, the golden arches people). McDonald's restaurants have a partnership with the National Dairy Council to develop dairy offerings on their menu. You probably already know about many of the dairy choices-  the fruit 'n yogurt parfaits, the low fat white milk, the fat-free chocolate milk, and my favorite the Shamrock shake! 

Did you know McDonald's now offers Go-Gurt (yogurt) with its Happy Meals? McDonald's worked with General Mills Corporation to make Go-Gurt with 25% less sugar than the Go-Gurt you find in your grocery store. And I was excited to hear that of the side items kiddos could choose from to complete their Happy Meals, Go-Gurt was chosen more than 50% of the time. Go dairy!

I am proud of the partnership McDonald's has with dairy farmers, and happy to see that they acknowledge the importance of dairy foods, even when dining out. I'm also thrilled to see that they understand our passion and commitment we have each day to provide milk for those healthy dairy offerings.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On The Air

There are some things in life that you can assume and you will never be disappointed. For example, Christmas will always fall on December 25th, Minnesota winters will always be cold and snowy, and when my family finishes dinner, the dirty dishes will always go in the dishwasher. Well, maybe I can't assume the last one. This week I again learned that as a farmer I cannot assume everyone understands what we do on our farm.

 This week I was invited to do an interview on our local radio station. Although my hometown is surrounded by farms, it soon became obvious I had a little explaining to do about what really happens down on the farm. Please enjoy this amusing and informative discussion with Mo Sieben, DJ at KDWA.

To learn more about dairy farming visit Dairy Makes Sense.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Two Straws, One Glass

Do you remember, as a child, how exciting Valentine's Day was? It was one of my favorite school days. It was so fun to make our Valentine's box at home to bring to school so our classmates could stuff it full of Valentine's. Most of my Valentine mailboxes were made from shoe boxes or tissue boxes covered with paper, and if I was really lucky my mom would let me use wrapping paper as the covering! Most classmates made red or pink construction paper hearts and our "best" friends got the special hearts with the lacey paper doily attached. Of course as I got a bit older it was the "secret crush" that got that special decorated heart!

Working as an Elementary School educator, I still get to experience Valentine's Day from a child's perspective. The mailboxes may not be shoe boxes or tissue boxes and the Valentine's are probably bought and not home-made, but one thing stayed the same...the excitement! It's nice to know some things don't change.

Wishing you and your sweetheart a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Enjoy this smoothie recipe with someone you love.
Add some romance...two straws, one glass? 

Monday, February 9, 2015

You Can't Keep A Good Man Down

Dairy farms are all about routine. Each day we follow a strict schedule for feeding, milking and caring for our cows. Keeping our girls on schedule helps to insure that we are keeping them healthy and content to provide quality milk.

Everyone in our family has specific chores that we do each day. That way we know everything is getting done and we can stay on that important schedule. So what happens when someone in the family isn't able to do their chores? Like Farmer John, for instance. Last time I shared with you that John was having a hospital staycation, you know, a vacation where they make you stay. 

Fortunately Sara, Michael, and I have supportive and understanding bosses at our jobs off the farm. They understand that even with our "head farmer" laid up, the farm work still needs to get done, so each of us took a few days off work to complete the farm duties. Farmer John and I are so blessed to have kids that always step up when needed. Thanks Sara and Michael!

John is home from his five day hospital stay, feeling great and happy to be back to what he loves doing. Routine may be boring to some folks, but to us it's assurance that we are getting the job done, and doing it well.

Farmer John heads off to start the daily routine.
According to Sara, there is only one downside to having John back home...the first night back to milking John had to personally greet each cow, "How you doing Penny? Hey Weezy. How's it going?" Another one hundred twenty-eight cows later... those greetings tend to slow down milking a bit. But that's o.k. It's a small price to pay for having John back home.

"Welcome back, John!"

Visit Dairy Makes Sense for recipes and more about dairy farming.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Have you seen the #LikeAGirl commercial that was shown during the Super Bowl? If you haven't, take a look...

I like the "girls can do anything" feel of this commercial, and that is certainly true on Bremer Farms every day, and especially today.

Farmer John and son Michael came down with a nasty case of the flu bug last night. Of course when you are farmers it is impossible to call your boss and declare a sick day, and you certainly can't just roll over and  pull the blankets over your head pretending this day is not happening. 

Daughter Sara led the charge, and off to the barn she went. Typically Sara is our evening milker, but today she stayed home from her teaching job, to come to our rescue for morning chores. She and our employee Reba milked while Grandma Karen fed the calves. After a quick breakfast, Sara and I did the feeding. We repeated the process again in the afternoon.

 Did you notice everyone involved in today's chores was a female? Yes, #LikeAGirl is on the farm too. And we are proud of it. Guy or girl, you can bet our animals get the best care possible, even on "sick" days!

By the way...
Farmer John has more than the flu bug. He will be spending a few days in the hospital recuperating from a painful bowel obstruction. Not exactly the vacation he was hoping for.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Our Herd Increases

There is a baby boom at Bremer Farms!
We have had 28 calves born in 26 days.

 Each calf weighs about 90 pounds and can stand and walk, all within minutes of being born. Our newborn calves are fed colostrum, which is the first milk from the mama cow. Calves receive colostrum within hours of birth to receive antibodies from their mom, which protect them against disease in their early life. During the cold winter months each calf is outfitted with a coat to help them stay warm and comfortable.

 Like snowflakes, no two calves have exactly the same pattern of spots. This little cutie, although red and white is still a Holstein. Typically Holstein cows and calves are black and white, however the red and white Holsteins are a product of recessive genes. Do you see the black spot to the right of this calf? That's her calf coat...the coat that is supposed to keep her warm. Yep, this little stinker shimmied out of it, but not for long. After this picture was taken, she was bundled up again. We want our babies to be comfy!

Speaking of increasing the herd-

Here is the newest additions to my "indoor" herd. Since we live on a dairy farm, cows just keep appearing! Family and friends see them, and before you can say "Moo" they are in my hands. You see, if you know me, you know I love cows, and sometimes it's nice to enjoy the kind you don't have to feed or clean-up after! Thanks to church friends Turney and Ruth, co-worker Barb, and cousin Alex for the new bovines!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The BIG Reveal

Today's the day I share with you about my Christmas In The Country Secret Santa gift exchange. Remember? I wrote about Christmas In The Country, explaining that I would be matched with another blogger from across the country who I would send a gift to. My mission was to explore her blog to learn about her interests and likes, and then mail her a surprise Christmas gift that not only "fit" her, but shared a bit about me.

I sent my gift to Kay Schrock from A Ranch Mom. Kay lives on a ranch in Wyoming with her real life cowboy husband and 4 adorable children. This is what I sent to Kay and her family.

And here is the note I included to Ranch Mom Kay. 
It explains why I chose this gift for her.

After sending the gift off to Kay in Wyoming, it was my turn to wait to see where and who my gift was from. 
Drum roll gift was from Kay in Wyoming!
Yep, we had each others names in the gift exchange.
This is the gift I received from Kay, the Ranch Mom.

And here's my note from Kay...

My gift was great!  I mean who doesn't like cute notepaper, chocolate (!!) and new socks with no holes, but my favorite part of the gift was the note cards Kay had made from a photo she took on the ranch. When you see her blog, A Ranch Mom you will discover her love of photography, and these cards are a beautiful way to share a peek at the ranch. Thanks, Kay!

Thanks also to the organizers of Christmas in the Country 2014
Sign me up for 2015, please!