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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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April 30, 2010

What is it about The Derby?

Tomorrow will mark the 136th year of the Kentucky Derby.....yep, that's right, it's been around since 1875!  But what makes the Kentucky Derby one of the most media covered, top sporting events right up there with the Superbowl?

I hope to one day find out.

I have always wanted to attend the Kentucky Derby.  I love horses and the races are exciting but I think the main draw for me might be the attire, more specifically, those fancy hats.
 Photo by Churchill Downs

Photo by Rich Schmitt

Photo by Churchill Downs

Photo by Churchill Downs

Photo by Churchill Downs

Then, of course there's the ~
Early Times Mint Julep

Here's the recipe:

•2 cups sugar

•2 cups water

•Sprigs of fresh mint

•Crushed ice

•Early Times Kentucky Whisky

•Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

One of the contenders in this year's derby is  Pady O'Prado........I like him. He's pretty.  And I think he may be irish.  We'll have to see how he does :)
Photo by Reed Palmer

Some Derby Trivia

1. Which of these famous horses didn't win the Derby?

a) Seattle Slew

b) Whirlaway

c) Gallant Fox

d) Seabiscuit

2. Who is the only foreign-based horse to win the Derby?

a) Canonero II

b) Kauai King

c) Venetian Way

d) Gallahadion

3. In what year were the Derby and Preakness staged on the same day?

a) 1898

b) 1906

c) 1922

d) 1943

4. Who was the oldest jockey at age 54 to win the Derby?

a) Eddie Arcaro

b) Bill Shoemaker

c) Earl Sande

d) Charles Kurtzinger

5. Who was the first woman to ride in the Derby?

a) Patricia Cooksey

b) Julie Krone

c) Diane Crump

d) Rosemary Homeister Jr.

6. Who is the only roan to visit the winner's circle?

a) Winning Colors

b) Decidedly

c) Twenty Grand

d) Real Quiet

7. How many winners went wire-to-wire?

a) 20

b) 22

c) 30

d) 37

8. Who was the only president to attend the Derby while in office?

a) John F. Kennedy

b) Lyndon B. Johnson

c) Richard M. Nixon

d) Franklin D. Roosevelt

9. How many fillies have captured America's Race?

a) 2

b) 3

c) 4

d) 5

10. How many horses finished the 1 ¼ miles under two minutes?

a) 1

b) 2

c) 3

d) 4

11. How many red roses comprise the lush blanket of flowers that have been draped around the winner for more than a century?

a) 456

b) 500

c) 554

d) 575

12. In what year did the largest win payoff of $184.90 occur?

a) 1913

b) 1918

c) 1923

d) 2005

13. How many of the first 28 derbies were captured by African-American jockeys?

a) 10

b) 13

c) 15

d) 16

14. In what year was the Derby first televised?

a) 1948

b) 1950

c) 1951

d) 1952

15. In what year did the largest on-track crowd of 163,628 show up?

a) 1973

b) 1974

c) 1978

d) 1939

Answers to Kentucky Derby trivia questions: 1. d 2. a 3. c 4. b 5. c 6. a 7. b 8. c 9. b 10. c 11. c 12. a 13. c 14. d 15. b

Happy Friday!  Cheers! Pin It

April 29, 2010

Where the Green Grass Grows

Where the green grass grows. I don't know if Tim McGraw had this in mind when he came up with his lyrics......but I think it's fitting :)

"Mommy, why does grass grow in the back of the ranch truck?" 

Life is all about family,
doing the very best you can,
to Live Honestly,
and to Love Deeply.......

Happy Thursday!

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April 28, 2010

How a Magnet Can Save a Cow's Life

Cow magnets.  Not only are they used in a cow's stomach, I also find them scattered throughout my entire house because the Rugrats love playing with these magnets.

All of our dairy cows have a magnet in one of their four stomachs.  Cows are ruminants.  Most ruminants have four-chambered stomachs for digestion.  When a cow eats her food and swallows, the food first goes into the large rumen where the food is softened.  The rumen can hold up to 25-75 gallons.

Dominic places a magnet down the cow's throat with a bolus gun (used for pills) and the magnet eventually ends up in the stomach called the reticulum (the hardware stomach).  If a cow happens to swallow a piece of metal such as a nail, a small piece of wire, a staple, etc. while eating, it ends up in the reticulum stomach.  Over time the piece of metal can lodge into the honeycombed lining of the reticulum and will threaten the surrounding vital organs causing irritation and inflammation, known as Hardware Disease. It can also work it's way to the heart, killing the cow.  By having a magnet in place in the reticulum, any metal the cow happens to swallow stays in the reticulum attracted to the magnet.

Magnets await insertion........

Dominic inserting a magnet into a heifer using a bolus gun.......

If you would like to WIN a set (2) of the magnets (kids LOVE them!), you must:
  1. Become a Follower of this blog (if you haven't already) - on the column on the right, sign up under 'followers'
  2. Leave a comment under this post telling me how you like to experiment with magnets.
I will randomly select a winner using on Monday morning.  I will post the results on Monday as well!

Happy Wednesday! Pin It

April 27, 2010

Leisure Time for the Dairy Cows

On sunny days, our dairy cows enjoy grazing and lounging out in the pasture in between milking times. Here are a few photos I took yesterday of some of our dairy cows relaxing in one of the pastures.

These photos are taken from the pasture on the hill behind the birthing/calf barn.

We have 200 milking cows at this time and this is just a portion of one 'string' (there are three strings total.)

The cows are SO curious.  At one point, I had 30 of them running towards me to check me out.  Okay, I admit it.... it kind of freaked me out!  What a big chicken I am!  But there was just something about 30, 2000 pound animals running towards me that just didn't feel quite right.  I asked Dominic about it and he told me if I would have let them come all the way up to me, they probably would have just licked me, but I didn't give them the chance.......maybe next time.

Dairy is one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture. As part of the regulation process, dairy farms are regularly inspected by county health inspectors to ensure clean water and to minimize environmental impacts in years to come.  These inspections can be unannounced, so farmers must always be ready to show an inspector around their farm and be willing to make the environmental improvements suggested by the inspector. State and Federal inspections also occur annually.

Farmers are excellent Stewards of the land.  We know that protecting the land we farm on, not only preserves it for future generations, it also maintains a healthy lifestyle for our families, communities and animals.

Environmental practices on all dairy farms are tightly regulated by both federal and state agencies. While requirements vary from state to state, we, as dairy farmers and all dairy farmers I know strive to consistently meet these standards. In fact, we go above and beyond what is asked of us. We see the benefits every day when we step into their barnyards and reflect on the legacy we'll leave to our children. 
Dominic is a 4th generation Dairyman, and as many Dairymen or women,  feels a strong sense of responsibility to preserve our farm and community for future generations.
Happy Tuesday! Pin It

April 26, 2010

Beer in the Butt Chicken ~ So Juicy!

When I used to work full time in a salon before having kids, I had a co-worker, Cary (originally from Texas) that used to RAVE about Beer in the Butt Chicken and how tasty and juicy it was.  I don't know if this recipe originated in the South and maybe that's why I had never heard of such a thing, but of course I had to try it.  Once you try barbecuing chicken this way, you'll never go back.  It comes out SO juicy!

Why use beer?  First of all, you are adding a source of moisture to the chicken with the beer that keeps it from drying out. Second, you are adding beer. Now, more than the fact that beer is good, the yeast and malt found in beer reacts with the chicken, particularly the skin, making it thin and crispy while the meat remains juicy.

Beer in the Butt Chicken

•1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
•1 12 ounce can beer (room temperature)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 sprigs fresh rosemary
•2 teaspoons olive oil
•1 teaspoon dried thyme
•1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
•Juice of 1 lemon

For Rub:

•1 teaspoon paprika
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
•1 teaspoon dried thyme
•1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
•1/2 teaspoon lemon zest


Combine all rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Remove giblets and the neck from chicken. Sprinkle all over with rub, including cavity. Open can of beer and discard half of it. Place, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, lemon juice, and pepper flakes in it. Make sure to pierce two more holes on the top of beer can. Place chicken on top of can.

Preheat grill. Place birds grill balanced by the beer cans. Grill over indirect medium heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until internal temperature of thigh is 180 degrees. Remove chicken when finished cooking and let sit (with beer can still intact), for 10 minutes before carving.

Happy Eat Meat Monday! Pin It

April 25, 2010

Fun at the Butter and Eggs Day Festival

Yesterday we attended Petaluma's annual Butter and Eggs Day Festival. This annual event draws over 30,000 attendees.  As a portion of Petaluma's agriculture history, the city is known as the birthplace of the incubator which then began it's title as The Egg Basket of the World and it was also known as one of the premier dairy regions in the country.    At one time up to 600 million eggs were shipped out of Petaluma to San Francisco and around the world on an annual basis. Poultry farming offered a cost effective business that could operate year round being conducive to Petaluma's climate where temperatures rarely dip below freezing.

Every year the city pays homage to this part of it's agriculture history by celebrating with Butter and Eggs Day.

The day kicks off at noon with a parade that lasts approximately two hours or so. The theme, of course is centered around chickens and dairy.  After the parade concludes, you can amuse yourself with the block long food court offering festival foods and beverages, arts and crafts exhibitors and activities to entertain kids with inflatable bounce houses, rides, and hands-on activities. This is one of the North Bay’s largest events.

Here are some photos of the parade~

Remember the Dairy Princess Ball we attended a few weeks ago?  Here they are in the parade; Dairy Princess Emilie Strand, 1st Alternate Regina Camozzi (left), and 2nd Alternate Stephanie Rowely (right)....

Antique dairy truck.........

Petaluma Riding and Driving Club Color Guard.  I can't take enough horse photos, as you can probably tell.  It always amazes me how horses in parades rarely 'spook' even in the midst of thousands of people, sirens blaring at different intervals, bands playing, kids running everywhere and just odd looking things everywhere you look.  SO well trained!

Beautiful Paint!

Local farmer........

Ride the bull.......

Clo the Cow on the Clover Stornetta float..............

Love that John Deere....

Everyone stood as the Marine Corps walked by..............

One of the high school bands.....(there were five total between high schools and junior high schools)...

So impressive..........

Smokey the Bear made an appearance on his fire truck..........

Antique fire truck from Penngrove with Big 'D' at the wheel.........

The Wells Fargo Stage Coach.......

Love the horses, there were four total......

A local gymnastics group showing their stuff............

And you can't have a parade without the Big Cheese................

After the parade, we headed over to the food court to sample some vanilla ice cream.......

Bryce and Paige with 'Auntie' Devi..........

Devi's daughter, Keianna with Paige and Bryce enjoying some kettle corn..............
Always a fun day!

Happy Sunday!
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April 24, 2010

Bug Soup

I love these warm spring days we have been having.  Everyone wants to get outside to enjoy the, me, Chloe.  Warm days always inspire me to begin preparing our vegetable garden, even though we won't plant until June.

I asked my two 'Rugrats' if they wanted to help me weed the garden area.  They were all for it.  They found their shovels and began digging away.  We didn't finish, but got a good start.

While the Rugrats were occupied outside, I decided to go back inside to vacuum and straighten up a bit.  After about 45 minutes I walked back outside to check on them to see what they were up to, and this is what I found.........

What are you guys doing!?

"We're making Bug Soup!" says Paige.

"Just add sand to the dirt and water, then Bryce mixes it up.".......with his body.

Uhhhgg....okay, when you want to come in, call for me and I'll come out and hose you off.  And Paige, try not to get dirty, okay?

Sooooo, 20 minutes later..................

Maybe I should have said, "Paige, jump in the mud bath and get all dirty"  I really should know better by now.

At least Chloe didn't join them.....this time.

Happy Saturday! Pin It