Monday, March 30, 2015

Farmer John Plays Weather Man

Farmers have an weather forecasts.

Farmer John listens to the weather forecast as he gets dressed in the morning, and then again three hours later when he eats breakfast. He tunes in while eating lunch, and then there's the television for the 10 PM news/weather report. And don't forget the weather radio that is perched in our laundry room and another in our milking barn. Did I mention the weather calendar that hangs on the wall?

I'm not complaining however, and no, I'm not ready to start an intervention. I realize how much the weather influences most of the chores Farmer John performs each day. So knowing about John's love for all things weather, imagine his excitement when he found this...

So what is it? Maybe this will help...

Curiosity is supposed to have killed the cat, but as far as I know curiosity never hurt a farmer (John) or his wife (me) so we contacted Anna, one of my faithful blog followers whose husband, Jason happens to be a meteorologist for the National  Weather Service.

Jason told us the white thingy hanging from the string is/was a balloon. When it reaches about 100,000 feet it bursts and the orange parachute takes over and the weather instrument floats down, safely resting in our corn field until John rescued it.

So we filled out the requested information, even though the weather service didn't fill out there's. I sure wonder where it was sent from. Oh man, there's that curiosity thing again. We popped it into the mailbox to be delivered to Kansas City. Is that where it came from? Oops, curiosity...again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It's National Agriculture Day

Where does your food come from?
If you're like many Americans, the answer is the grocery store. The grocery store isn't where food comes from - it's just from where it's distributed. In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives . . . and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table. 

Just a few generations ago, most people were a part of, and had friends or relatives involved with, agriculture. Today, that's no longer the case. Agriculture is responsible for providing the necessities of life . . . food, fiber, clothing, and shelter.

American farmers are working harder than ever, and it shows. Today, each American farmer feeds more than 144 people. And the need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is this nation's #1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy. 

And it's not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry, all the way to the grocery store, are vital links in a chain that brings food to every citizen - and millions of people abroad. 

Frankly, it's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we're unbelievably fortunate . . . but that doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to recognize how it's made possible. 

Today, March 18, 2015, is National Ag Day, hosted by the Agriculture Council of America. Ag Day is a good time to reflect - and be grateful for - American agriculture! 

 Thanks to the Agriculture Council of America for the above information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Bit Irish

Isn't everyone a bit Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

Celebrate with this corned beef and cabbage soup from The Cooking Mom. It's filled with lots of dairy too!

Reuben Soup

1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, fined diced
5 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups finely chopped corned beef
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained
3 cups half and half
3 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
Chopped Italian parsley
Rye bread or rye croutons

In a large soup pan, cook onions and celery in butter until tender. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add flour and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly. Add stock and bring to a boil, whisking often until it starts to thicken. Turn down heat a bit and stir in half and half, sauerkraut and corned beef. Add Swiss cheese a handful at a time. Whisk until cheese is melted. Add ketchup and relish. Taste to see if a little more salt and pepper is needed. If soup gets too thick, add a little more stock, half and half, or milk. Serve with parsley on top.
Notes: Great with rye bread for dipping or with rye croutons on top!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mud, A Sure Sign Of Spring

Mud, mud, I love mud!
   I'm absolutely, positively wild about mud.
   I can't go around it. I've got to go through it.
   Beautiful, fabulous, super duper mud.
Have you heard this song before? Sara and Michael fell in love with this little ditty 25 years ago when we made our weekly visits to the public library. Yep, back when we used to borrow cassette tapes to listen to at home; this one almost always found its way into our book bag.

Now fast-forward 25 years. Sara and Michael are no longer borrowing this cassette from the library, but I could have sworn Farmer John was humming a few "muddy" choruses the other day. No, we are not excited about the muddy yard, the mud tracked into the house on our shoes, or the mud surrounding the bottom of our pant legs, but mud does make a farmer a bit giddy.

You see, mud is a sure sign of Spring. Mud means the soil is warming up. Mud means the frost is coming out of the ground. Mud means Spring planting is fast approaching. 

Farmer John has begun "dusting off" the planting equipment. The seeds have been ordered. A little more sunshine and some warmer weather and Farmer John will be ready to roll.

Until then we will have to settle for another chorus or two of the mud song and the occasional sploosh-sploosh sound of walking through the puddles. After all, it's no fun going around them. You just have to go through them.

Curious about the Mud Song? Take a listen here.


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?