Tuesday, June 25, 2019

P is for Princess Kay of the Milky Way

This year the Princess Kay of the Milky Way title marks its 66th anniversary. Dozens of dairy princesses from across Minnesota all gather in May to participate in workshops and judging. Dairy princesses are young women who are from dairy farm families or are involved in the dairy industry through their employment or that of their parents. At the weekend’s conclusion, the 10 Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists are announced. 

65th Princess Kay Rebekka Paskewitz
Princess Kay finalists are then judged again in August. Judging involves a written application, a short speech, a professional interview and a simulated media interview. Princess Kay is then crowned the night before the Minnesota State Fair opens and serves as the dairy industry’s goodwill ambassador for a year, helping people understand the dedication of dairy farmers to wholesome and nutritious food, and the way milk is produced. Dairy farmers sponsor the dairy princess program through Midwest Dairy.

Princess Kay of the Milky Way makes appearances in classrooms, at parades and community events, Breakfast on the Farm events, and county fairs.

 I am contracted by Midwest Dairy as the Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator. So what does this mean? I organize the May leadership and judging event, and plan an orientation in July for the finalists.  Starting bright and early the morning after coronation, Princess Kay and her court of nine princesses begin their appearances at the state fair. It is my responsibility to schedule, chaperone and keep everyone smiling for the 12 days of the fair. Following the fair, I work with Princess Kay on her appearances, speeches and media presentations for the remainder of her year.

I am beyond thrilled to be associated with the Minnesota princess program. I am a past County Dairy Princess, and a proud mom of a past Princess Kay state finalist. I have seen this program build confidence and poise in hundreds of young ladies in the dairy community, and I am so proud to be a part of it in this capacity!

August 21, 2019 we will crown the 66th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. This years finalists are:

  • Kayla Biel, Harmony, daughter of Kevin and Kelly Biel, and representing Fillmore County; 
  • Elizabeth Golombiecki, Morris, daughter of Julie Golombiecki and the late Ron Golombiecki, and representing Stevens County; 
  • Donna Honer, St. Cloud, daughter of Scott and Toni Honer, and representing Stearns County; 
  • Grace Jeurissen, Lester Prairie, daughter of Rick and Mindy Jeurissen, and representing McLeod County; 
  • Elizabeth Krienke, Lester Prairie, daughter of Kraig and Rachelle Krienke, and representing McLeod County; 
  • Amy Kyllo, Byron, daughter of Paul and Susan Kyllo, and representing Olmsted County; 
  • Lexie Lange, Sherburn, daughter of Mark and Joanna Lange, and representing Martin County; 
  • Rachel Paskewitz, Browerville, daughter of Alan and Vicki Paskewitz, and representing Todd County; 
  • AnnaMarie Sachs, Eyota, daughter of Charlie and Carrie Sachs, and representing Olmsted County; and 
  • Brittney Tiede, Le Center, daughter of Lloyd and Diane Tiede, and representing Le Sueur County. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

O is for Optional

Once a month our kitchen becomes a TV studio as Daughter Sara films the next installment of her cooking show Aprons Optional for our local television station. Each episode features three recipes, most of which have dairy ingredients. Way to go farmer's daughter! Sara concludes each episode with these words- "The apron is optional, but the flavor isn't." So true Sara, so true! 

Each June, for National Dairy Month, Sara invites Princess Kay of the Milky Way,  goodwill ambassador representing Minnesota's dairy farmers, to our kitchen. Let's see what Princess Kay Rebekka Paskewitz is cooking up.

You can find more dairy delicious recipes on Sara's Apron's Optional Facebook page and also at Midwest Dairy.

Learn more about Princess Kay of the Milky Way on her Facebook page too!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

N is for Nothing

Hi. Today I am sharing a post that I first wrote in 2015. I'm re-posting for two reasons. 
1. I'm feeling a bit under the weather, and I am having a hard time collecting my thoughts into intelligent sentences, and
2. This topic is still relevant and very true here on Bremer Farms. 

Some days nothing goes as planned. Do you ever have those days? Be honest! Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea. Days like this are not all bad. They are just not always the way we had them planned out in our heads when we crawl out of bed in the morning. For instance...
We take the health of our animals very seriously so when our cow Weezy wasn't doing well, Farmer John called our veterinarian. He discovered that she had an obstruction, similar to when people have a bowel obstruction. Sadly Weezy passed away. Cows, like people have a personality. Some you like, others, not as much. Weezy was one of the good ones... always had to hog the cool air from the barn fans and needed her ears scratched at the end of each milking. We'll miss her.

Fieldwork took a lot longer than planned today. Farmer John and Grandpa Roy were chopping hay with hopes of finishing the field before the forecast rain begins to fall. After two trips to the implement dealer for needed parts, and some down time for repairs, the majority of the cut hay was chopped and safely tucked in the bunker. 

I'm writing this post at 9:00 PM, and Farmer John is still outside finishing the chores that are normally done before evening milking. His noon lunch, left uneaten, is still waiting for him, even though it is well past dinner time.

In farming, as in nearly all professions, not everyday is perfect, but we face these roadblocks head on. Some days nothing goes as planned, while other days everything falls into place. But don't we need these "nothing goes as planned" days to identify and appreciate the good days?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

M is for Misconceptions

5 Misconceptions about Dairy Farming

  • Dairy Farmers are their own boss so they set their own schedule. Not true. Yes, we are our own boss, but we don’t have total control of our schedule. Cows are creatures of habit and for their health and comfort, the ladies need to be milked at regular intervals.
  • Farmers are uneducated. Definitely not true. Many farmers are college educated and all are also required to take classes to renew permits and licenses. Farmers need to be nutritionists, veterinarians, accountants, mechanics, meteorologists, agronomists, etc. etc. etc.
  • Big farms are owned by big companies. Not true. 97% of all United States farms are family owned. Bigger farms may be owned by two or three generations, but they are still family owned. No matter the size, all farms have the same commitment to taking great care of their land and animals.
  • Dairy Farmers never get a day off. Our cows do need to be cared for every day, that’s true, but we do take time off. It may be just an afternoon excursion on a rainy day, or a family outing before spring planting begins or after fall harvest is complete, but we do leave the farm.
  • Farmers are rich. Ha! Not usually! Farmers have a huge financial investment in their land, machinery, and animals, that’s true, but I don’t know any farmer with a Scrooge McDuck money vault.
Scrooge McDuck was NOT a framer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

L is for Love

Here's my love story...

I grew up on a chicken and dairy farm with my parents and brother and sister. As a teen I remember saying, “I’ll never marry a farmer. Farmers work long hours, and rarely get a day off.” Well, as the saying goes, “never say never.” Farmer John and I were married 35 years ago. Soon after, John and I were blessed with Sara and Michael, undoubtedly the best kids ever.

I think it was John’s dedication and commitment to farming that brought us together. Yes, we do work long hours and rarely get a day off, but that’s o.k. with us. We love the life we have chosen.  I love that we spend much of our day together, as a family, caring for our cows and growing their food. I love watching John’s excitement grow as we near spring planting season, and I love seeing the satisfaction that harvest brings. I love that we frequently get to experience the miraculous birth of a calf.

Like every career choice, farming also has it’s hard times too. We have gone through many summer months when we wonder if the weather will cooperate so we can grow enough crops to feed our livestock. We get concerned when more and more of the land we rent cannot be farmed because it is sold to a housing developer. We shed tears when the cow we just helped through birthing a calf passes away. That’s when we have family to lean on- to pray with, talk with, and plan our next step with. 

There is another familiar saying, “If you love your job, you will never work a day of your life.” I believe this is Farmer John’s motto. He loves what he does each day, and although he is one of the hardest working men I know, I can bet he will never call his job work. It’s this attitude and optimism that makes Farmer John and our family so content to do what we do, each and every day.

I’m so thankful my foolish teenage thought of never marrying a farmer was just that…a foolish thought.

Monday, June 17, 2019

K is for Kisses

There is no sweeter sign of affection than a kiss. 

We get lots and lots of kisses on our farm.

We get cute kisses,

sloppy kisses,

hello kisses,

welcome back kisses,

cold kisses,

surprise kisses,

and even tickled-by-whiskers kisses.

But we give kisses too!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

J is for Just for Fun

Not every day is a great day.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.

Laughter makes the world go 'round!
Make it a great day.