Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Thanks Progressive Dairy Magazine

 I'm at it again! 

Progressive Dairy Magazine has again asked me to be a guest writer for their website and their national magazine. I gladly accepted the invitation to write for the June issue for National Dairy Month. It's a letter to my fellow dairy farmers, but even if you are not a farmer, I think you will enjoy it.

We Are Not Just Farmers

When I was a child, other kids would ask, “What does your dad do?” I would rather humbly reply: “He’s just a farmer.” I don’t know why I added the “just” in that reply. Actually, yes I do.

I was just being a silly kid with silly kid thoughts. He was just a farmer because he didn’t wear a suit and tie to work. He was just a farmer because I didn’t think he had an important job like the other kids’ dads. As a kid, I didn’t get it.

That was a long time ago, and my thoughts on the importance of being a farmer have changed dramatically. My dad got to just do the job he loved, every day. My dad got to just help feed people. My dad got to just be a great example of what a proud, hardworking, caring farmer looks like, and I have the honor of calling myself a farmer too.

Fortunately, that opinion of farmers is changing with the non-farming community too. My dad, my family and farmers like us are never just farmers.

I was recently asked to speak at a Science Museum Gala. When I began by saying my family and I are dairy farmers, the audience cheered and applauded. Why is this perception of farming changing? There are many reasons, but you and I can take much of the credit. I know you have heard this many times, “People want to know where their food comes from.” We are being transparent. We are telling our stories.

So how are you celebrating June Dairy Month? How are you opening that window to begin conversations? Here’s a few things my family does to share our story.

What could be a more perfect pairing than cookies and milk? In honor of June Dairy Month, Bremer Farms serves homemade cookies with milk to our church friends after the Sunday services on the first Sunday of June. This has become an annual tradition and a fun way to start conversations about dairy.

It’s the last day of school, and we show our appreciation to our teachers and staff by treating them to an ice cream treat on that final day of the school year. I contact the school principal to arrange a convenient time, and we roll in with coolers full of ice cream. Each June, my family chooses a different school within our hometown.

Soccer, anyone? Our church organizes a youth soccer camp each June, and what better way to quench the thirst of the athletes than providing chocolate milk and yogurt, too.

But sharing our dairy story doesn’t have to cost us any money either.

I love to read, and my family has spent hours and hours at our local library. After contacting our children’s librarian at our public library, I am now an annual guest at Storytime With a Farmer. I bring my bag of farm props along with a few of my favorite cow books – and as I read, I pause frequently to pull another “prop” from my bag to share about our farm. Thanks to our checkoff, everyone goes home with a cow hat and a coloring book, too.

Are you on social media? Me too! My family and I are always posting pictures of the day-to-day goings-on from our farm. Our YouTube channel has over a hundred farm-related children’s storytimes to watch, and many include photos and videos from around our farm too.

I sound like I’m bragging about what we do, and that is definitely not my intention. I hope you can see that it’s easy to open the window to share our dairy story because we love what we do, and there are so many opportunities to do so. After all, we are not just farmers. We are proud, hardworking, caring farmers who still have a few people to remind of that.  end mark

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Our Annual Date Day

 It's that time again. Time to prepare for planting, getting the equipement checked over, and our annual date... to pick up the seed!

Yes, John and I have been laughingly calling this our "date day" for years. It typically begins with a trip to our seed dealer to pick up the oats and barley seed.

On busy days like today, you pay, and then wait your turn.

Before we know it, the seed bags are piled in our truck. After a bit of conversation, of course.

The next stop is almost always Dairy Queen. A hot dog and malt never tasted so good! I didn't have to cook, and you can never go wrong with ice cream!

Next stop- our John Deere dealer to pick up a few filters for the tractors. We always keep a few on hand. I, of course peruse the toys. Did you know they make Lego sets so you can build a John Deere tractor? I begged, but didn't get one. :(

Our last stop is our local grain elevator to buy calf feed. With all the calves born lately, we are really going to go through it in a hurry. 

So there you have it, a typical, annual, farmer-style date, with my favorite farmer by my side!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Vet Tech Students Try Something New

and that's just what the Veterinary Technician program students from Dakota County Technical College did at Bremer Farms last week!

This is our fifth year of partnering with DCTC and their Vet Tech practical experience. Their goal is to practice some basic procedures on our calves.

We begin each visit with a tour of our milking barn. Some of the students have little or no experience with dairy animals.

After the instructors give directions, it's time to begin. The students practiced restraining the calf. (If you don't try, you will never suceed. ;) As well as physical exams, and heart and lung listening with a stethoscope.

The students then practiced blood draws in the jugular vein, under the skin- subcutaneous injections,

oral dosing using water as pretend medicine, 

and lastly radiograph x-rays.

We are happy to be a part of such important training for the Vet Tech students. Veterinarians and Vet Tech's are all part of the team that keep our animals healthy so that Bremer Farms can continue to produce healthy dairy foods for your family and mine. 

Here's one of the two classes that visited us last week. Shout out to the instructors too! They do a wonderful job of overseeing their students as well as the care and concern for the safety and comfort of our calves.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

It's Almost Valentine's Day!

 Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Are you excited? If you are like me, you are probably not as excited as when you were a child. Don't get me wrong. I still feel loved every Valentine's Day (and every day for that matter) by Farmer John, but there was just something unexplainably exciting about school valentines parties.

Perhaps it was making the valentines "mailbox" to collect my classmates valentines. Mom would save an empty cereal box, or if I was lucky and recently got new shoes, I saved the shoebox for that special mailbox. It was covered with red paper (my favorite color) and sometimes mom would splurge and buy those paper doiles to adorn the box. 

Or perhaps the excitement came from writing out the valentines. Typically I cut out red or pink hearts and signed them with a message. Nothing too mushy, of course. As I grew older, we bought valentines! Wow, the decision was difficult for which fun design to choose.

Or did the excitement grow when the class was told by the teacher that the afternoon would be spent celebrating with treats, games, and opening those special valentine mailboxes to see what was inside?

How about you? Maybe the excitement came from seeing who you received valentines from. Did you get one from each person in the class? Even the cute boy or girl that everyone had a crush on? Did your valentine come with a box of those chalky conversation hearts that we didn't really like, but they were so fun to receive.

Regardless of how you celebrate this Valentine's Day, whether it be a special day with those you love, or reminiscing about Valentine's Days gone by, I wish you much happiness and love.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Another Group Of Future Vet Techs

 Dairy farming takes teamwork. It also takes a team. Veterinarians are a part of every successful dairy farm team, and that means vet tech's too.

This class of vet tech students from Dakota County Technical College came to visit Bremer Farms last week. But they didn't just come to visit, they came to learn, and practice too.

While under the watchful eyes of their instructors, the students did blood draws, haltered a calf, checked temperatures, and did subcutaneous injections (an injection in which the needle is inserted just under the skin) of saline solution.

We were happy to be a part of these future Veterinary Technicians practical experience. Veterinarians and Vet Tech's all play an important role on a dairy farm. They are part of the team that helps to keep our animals healthy.

Thanks to the DCTC instuctors Nicole and Hope for including Bremer Farms in this important practical experience for their students!

Friday, October 22, 2021

My LOVE-HATE Relationship With Trees

I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with trees. Not all trees, just the two black walnut trees in our front yard. 

 I LOVE the trees, but here's the little buggers that make me HATE the trees!

Each early Fall I find myself picking up dozens, hundreds, no, pails full of these darn black walnuts that plunk to the ground. Just when I have a batch retrieved, plink, another one falls. Then his friends follow. Plink, plink, plink!

"Why don't you buy a nut gatherer?" said my college friends that were visiting recently. After a few snickers, and some dirty jokes running through my head, I thought, what have I got to lose?

Here it is, but as you can see by my face, I'm a bit skeptical.

But this nut gatherer quickly became my new best friend. It took me about 15 minutes to fill these pails, and NO bending over! Of course, I have filled these pails again, and again, and again, and again. Five days, before the walnuts stopped dropping, but NO bending over! 

So a huge shout-out to Jim and Mary for the recommendation to buy the Garden Weasel Large Nut Gatherer. No, I am not getting paid to endorse this product, I just know there is someone else out there having a LOVE-HATE relationship with black walnut trees.

Plink, plink, plink. Dang, there's more!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Freezer Cabbage Slaw

 No, it's not a typo. Cole slaw can be frozen. At least this recipe can!

Even with dry conditions, daughter Sara and Grandma Karen are excellent gardeners! We have an abundance of cabbage, and purple cabbage. We also have lots of carrots and colorful peppers. I guess next year they will have to add celery to the garden plot, because that is the only vegetable we had to pick up at the grocery store!

Freezer Cabbage Slaw

1 Medium cabbage, shredded

1 tsp. salt

        Sprinkle salt over shredded cabbage and let stand 1 hour. Squeeze out moisture.

3 stalks celery, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

shredded carrot (optional)

        Mix together with cabbage.

Syrup recipe-

1 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 cups sugar (can use less)

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. mustard seed

        Pour syrup over cabbage mixture. Freeze in desired amounts. Will keep in freezer for several  months. It is fresh and crisp when defrosted!

We now have nine quarts of crispy Cabbage Slaw in our freezer.

Thanks for the recipe, Gary!