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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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July 1, 2010

Freestalls & Taco Thursday

What are freestall barns you ask? They're our dairy cow's own, personal sand beds.  Just as we I like to lay on a sandy beach, cows like to lay in the sand, under shade, in the comfort of their barn. Our freestall barns have a roof overhead and are open all around for great ventilation and fresh air.    Our cows are able to walk around and choose their own bed at their own free will (hence the name 'freestall').  During the day, the 'girls' are outside where they are fed throughout the the outdoor manger. 

The barns are cleaned daily and more sand is brought in every 4 weeks or so.  The girls poop in the isle of the barn (usually not the sand) and the barn is scraped out with a tractor.  Cows are very leisure animals.  They like to rest up to 14 hours a day with up to 3-8 of those hours sleeping.

I wanted to snap a photo of our freestall barn while the cows were outside, to show you all.

But I turn around and what did I find?  Most of them wanted back into the barn....they LOVE their barn!  So I opened the gates and they all came walking in.

If it's hot outside, we leave the barn gates open all day long and the cows can come and go as they please.

This is where one of their outdoor feeding mangers is.  There were still a few stragglers that preferred to be outside.  This is the area that the dry cows (cows that are not milking) hang out as well. 
I'm not sure why most of them wanted in today, it certainly wasn't hot out, only 73 degrees and pretty breezy- as it always is.

We wear ponytails or hats quite often to keep hair from flying about, but not today..

 It's TACO Thursday!

I found this Taco Salad recipe on Eating Well and it looked SO good, I wanted to share with you.

                      photo by Eating Well


1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
1 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


1.Combine salsa and sour cream in a large bowl.

2.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add turkey and cook, stirring often and crumbling with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in cilantro and 1/4 cup of the salsa mixture.

3.Add lettuce to the remaining salsa mixture in the bowl; toss to coat. To serve, divide the lettuce among 4 plates, top with the turkey mixture and sprinkle with cheese.


Per serving: 361 calories; 16 g fat (6 g sat, 1 g mono); 86 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 10 g fiber; 583 mg sodium; 718 mg potassium.

Happy Thursday! Pin It


Jennifer said...

I am a resting creature too... my family just doesn't realize it yet! :) 14 hours a day would work for me.

Oh, and I came over from MBC to follow you.

Pat Tillett said...

I think I'd like to live the life of cow! without the milking that is...
Throw in the occasional taco and I'm just fine!

John said...

Nancy, nice job on explaining the Freestalls. There is nothing better than seeing 50 cows lying down in a line chewing their cuds either in the shade of the barn in the summer or out of the wind and rain in the winter.

Simply Life said...

Great photos! This makes me happy I'm eating tacos tonight! :)

Nicole Feliciano said...

Amazing photos!

Sofia's Ideas said...

This is what I love about your blog!!! I read your conventional vs. organic post and certainly, I think that we have drawn different conclusions based on both education and experience. However, I will say that THIS post certainly opened my mind and made me realize that not everything is what the documentaries will have you believe. That image I held in my mind about dairy farms has now been replaced by this one. So thank you so much for that. I respect and appreciate what you are doing, Nancy. Truly, I do.