Blog Statement

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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January 31, 2011

Taking Online Relationships Offline

One of the bonuses of blogging online are the relationships that are created.  When I first began my blog, I came across other blogs that interested me which I then began reading on a regular basis....not realizing at the time that some of these people would become my friends.

Monday I attended a workshop for Know a California Farmer being held in Yuba City.  Katie Pinke, who works for Ad Farm and helps to put on these workshops, is someone I consider a good friend.  She and I have been following each other's blogs for about a year.

It's a funny thing, these online relationships.  Katie knows all about my family and our life.  She knows that Bryce attends a one room school house and that Paige is more of animal person between she and Bryce.

I also know many things about Katie and her family.  I know she lives 100 miles away from a Walmart and 67 miles away from a Starbucks.....can you even imagine living that far away from a Starbucks?!! And I know that she lives in North Dakota on the prairie with her family.  

Katie and I met in person for the first time this past weekend.  What I didn't know about Katie is that she's 6 feet flats.

It was great making this 'in person' connection with Katie and am looking forward to hanging out with Katie at the next event.......which happens to be next week!

Here are a couple of shots of the workshop......

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January 30, 2011

The Innovative Dairyman

We're back to our winter weather; a little rainy and a bit cold but chores must go on here on the farm. 

I wonder if these two electricians knew what was in store for them when they came out to the dairy farm on this rainy day? 

Would they have even shown up if they knew they'd be repairing an electrical wire while being lifted in the bucket of a tractor dangling over the solid waste pond?

 Hmm, not sure.

But they were here, what else could they do when shown the situation?  Turn and run? 

Ranch life.

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January 29, 2011

The Perfect Laptop / Purse Bag

I don't travel all that often, but when I do I want to consolidate as many of my things as I can.  Even for an over night trip I tend to travel with many things.  Dominic would say 'too many things' but a girl's gotta have her stuff, right?! 

For me, my stuff includes my laptop, camera, lenses, cords that go along with all, notepad, wallet, sunglasses, phone, etc.  So I was in the market for a laptop bag that could also function as a purse. 

Target was the ticket.  And for only twenty-something dollars. 

It has a compartment for all my things, plus a padded pull out zip pouch for my laptop....perfect. 

And I'll be using it for the first time this weekend.  We'll see how it holds up.

I'm always looking for great travel trips.  If you have any to share, let me know!

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January 28, 2011

My Home Depot Gardening Loot

With all this spring-like weather we've been having, I've totally gotten the gardening bug and it's only January!  I've been trying to contain myself because I know there's more frost and I know more rain on the way.  But when it's close to 70 degrees, I can't help myself from doing some yard clean up work and planting.

With both kids in school for the day I made my way down to Home Depot for a leisure shopping trip.  My main purpose for the trip was to find a third terra cotta planting pot to replace the one that broke in my yard.

  No luck finding a replacement which means I'll probably have to buy three different pots to replace the two remaining pots and move the two, to the patio area.  

I didn't find three other pots that I liked well enough so it'll just have to wait until the true spring arrives and there's more of a selection.

I did manage to buy some plants though.  Two Phormium plants to go into the two newly moved terra cotta pots.  I loved the dark color and apparently they'll produce a white flower in late spring to summer.  

Paige was a huge helper in the garden and helped me plant every single plant and then watered, just love them.....should have had four of them then maybe I wouldn't have to clean my house!

To fill the two green pots near the front door, I bought some long spindly Horse's Tail, some color and ivy.  Paige especially liked the Horse's Tail.

Oh, and I bought a bird feeder to see if we could attract some birds.  The Hummingbird Feeders are in full use right now and it would be nice to add a different species of bird to our yard.  I'll keep you updated.

I'm looking for some low maintenance, drought tolerant, colorful plants  that will grow to 24 inches or so, that I can add to the future pots that I'm going to buy for our front yard.......any ideas??

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January 27, 2011

Respectful Dairy Cows ~ Chloe's World

Boy, there's been a ton of action at this gate lately.  First it was left open and now Chloe thinks she's in charge of the cows on the other side of it.

There goes the little sneaky stalker.  I believe Chloe was a much larger dog in a past life....because she definitely has that big dog mentality. 

"I'm the boss of these cows.  They don't scare me.  Not one little bit."

At least not until the cow begins running towards her.

"I better get back over to the other side of the gate where I can really dominate this cow." 

"It's yippy bark is drawing a crowd.  They're listening to me."

"I demand respect!"
"No one can touch me!"

"Look Mom, I'm so good at my job.  I just love being a cow dog."

Another day in the life of Chloe.

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January 26, 2011

A Gate Left Open......

Why is it that these situations only seem to happen when:
a) Dominic's not home,
b) I'm in a hurry,
c) I'm late,
d) I was already driving out of the yard,
e) did I mention Dominic wasn't home?

A gate left open leads to a heifer taking advantage of it because we all know that the grass is always greener, lusher and longer on the other side of any fence, right?

I spot her from my car in the driveway....oh dear! I wonder how many others have already taken advantage of this situation.  The very real potential of 45 heifers and cows meandering into my yard and trampling my lawn and plants is a situation that has happened in the past.

Thankfully only one other had made it to the hill directly behind our house.  Okay, I can do this.  I can handle two cows on my own.  I'll just creep around, up the slippery grass hill in my workout tennies putting the cows between me and the open gate and hopefully they'll just turn in the gate's direction and walk back through.

It worked.  I was thankful.  The most difficult part was latching the tight gate.  After 5 minutes, I had it conquered, with a newly tweaked back and

a ripped finger to show for my efforts. 

I was headed to the gym for this great new 'F.I.T.' class but the tweaked back changed my plan to the Stair Master instead.  I got off easy at the gym that day.   

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January 25, 2011

Thing One & Thing Two ~ Bulls

After some halter training with calves, Brittney and Emma I walked over to the bull corral to check on the two 18 month old prospects.  As I walked carefully up to the fence, so as not to startle the two of them who were enjoying a sun bath, 'Thing One' , the ornery one, immediately began to stand.....of course. 

But I didn't let him scare me!  There was a steel pipe fence between he and I, after all! 

' Thing Two', who will most likely remain here on the ranch as one of the resident bulls, didn't bother to get up.

He actually looks rather docile.  And while snapping a photo of him, what comes into my view finder?!........


And then this...............

Thank goodness for steel pipe fences.  Phew!

Related posts:
Big Bad Holstein Bulls
Left Stranded
Bulls Feeling Frisky

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January 24, 2011

Sunny Sandbox Picnic

We are SO lucking out here in northern California with our January weather.  It was in the low 70's here today and that alone motivated me to do some much needed yard work.

Paige wasn't in preschool today, due to a preschool teacher in service day so we got busy in the yard and garden at around 10 a.m.  We began to dig the weeds out of our summer garden barrels and look what we found!  Baby carrots! 

Since my summer garden doesn't do very well, maybe a winter garden is the ticket for me.  I'll have to look into what will work during the winter months.  I did find a package of carrot seeds and planted some more....we'll see how they work out.

We also cleaned the sandbox of dried Curly Willow leaves.  It had been covered up since last summer and Paige had a blast playing in it......she and now Bryce are out in it as I write this {4pm}. 

I love to listen to what kids come up with while playing.  Paige created a "dinner party" and set the table with flowers. 

So we decided to have a picnic lunch outside in the nice, warm sunshine.

Lemonade was very refreshing after all the outdoor work, as were the baby carrots we had picked.

Chloe also enjoyed herself in the sandbox as well.  She dug a hole in the shady spot and plopped herself down.

I'm sure there's more rain to come, but I plan on taking full advantage of our spring like weather while we're getting it.  Very grateful!

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January 23, 2011

Brittney the Rock Star

Brittney is a rock star!  She is doing SO well on the halter training progress.  It really feels like she wants to please.....Emma....not so much.  But at 3 1/2 weeks old, Emma is young, so it's to be expected.

Paige was getting some leading time in too.  I can totally see her leading a calf or heifer at the fair when she's a little older.

The jury is still out on Bryce though.  If there was some sort of computer generated cow competition at the fair.......he'd be ALL over it.

The number one tip for Paige to remember; don't wrap the rope around your hand and if Brittney runs, let go of the rope.

I am becoming SO attached to Brittney.  What a Sweetheart.  I wonder if Dominic will mind if I keep Brittney in the back yard?

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January 22, 2011

What Farm Kids Do For Play

Gosh, we have really lucked out with the weather we've been having here in northern California.  Spending time outside is a definite must.  Today we headed down to the calf barn to see what we could find.

The thing about kids is, they can easily find things to entertain themselves that don't involve toys.  Actually, I think they may prefer it that way.

After checking in on Emma & Brittney, I wanted to sit in the warm sun for a little bit to warm my bones.  So I found the nice stack of alfalfa near the calf barn and planted my behind down while the kids took turns riding the gate.

No toys required. 

They could have easily played this game for an hour, or maybe two.

Later, when I asked both Bryce and Paige what they were thinking about as they were going for a ride on the gate, they answered:

Bryce: "I was thinking about how much fun I was having!"
Paige: "I was thinking, I needed to trim my toenails." 

Well, with this gorgeous, sunny weather, I can't say that a thought similar to Paige's hadn't crossed my mind as well, but mine was in the form of painting toenails.

How was your Saturday?  Did you do anything fun?
Getting ready for the big games tomorrow?!

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January 21, 2011

Scaredy Cow

I learned something new in regards to cows today.  But first let me give you a little background info.  This cow you see in the photos below is pregnant and overweight.  Just like any animal, it's easier to give birth when a body is in shape.  It's better for the animal, it's better for the baby. 

So, this cow is out in Joey's pasture eating green grass, no alfalfa or silage, in an attempt to get her in tip top shape before she delivers.  Don't worry, there's plenty of green grass out there to keep her and Joey happy, she just can't have the alfalfa or sileage for now.

This is what I learned....a  cow who is contact with humans on a daily basis (as all of our cows are); our milkers, Dominic, my father-in-law, is not at all afraid of them, but will do anything to high-tail it as fast as she can to get away from someone she's never met before - me.  Now, I wasn't very close to her but I absolutely terrified the poor bovine.  Maybe she's just shy when she doesn't have 'her girlfriends' around to back her up?

She ran to the opposite end of the pasture at a full trot, making sure to keep her eyes on me at all times.  So to give her back her serene pasture and let her graze in peace, I said my goodbye to Joey and headed out of the pasture to leave the poor terrified creature alone.

Back to the calf barn for me.

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January 20, 2011

Virtual Dairy Farm Tour

Well, I finally got it together enough to put together a slide show for the virtual dairy farm tour I've been meaning  to add to the blog.  It only took me 20 minutes to put the photos and captions together and ALL day to upload music to it!  I am SO not tech savvy.  This is one of the reasons I haven't used my Flip video that I won, but I am planning on tackling that project in the near future as well.

The virtual tour is added to the main page of the blog and will be here on every post and will also have its own tab at the top of each page.  Just scroll down to just below the comment section and you'll see the YouTube viewing box.  I will periodically change and rotate photos to keep things lively.  I hope you enjoy it:)

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January 19, 2011

Halter Progress for Little Emma & Miss Brittney

Some halter training progress is happening for little Emma and Miss Brittney.  Being only two weeks old, Emma is learning to be handled by humans.  All calves are super friendly when they're small and will follow you just about anywhere if they think they may get some milk or food out of you.  When you first put a halter on any of them, all they want to do is pull back.  Just like any animal; horse, puppy, learning what is wanted from them while on a halter or leash takes practice and training. 

Now, it's not necessary for our calves, heifers and cows to be halter trained at all but I wanted to begin this halter training program with the kids so they can feel more a part of the dairy and learn to handle the calves and when they're older, the heifers and cows. 

To show a heifer or large animal at the county fair, a child must be 8 or 9 years old.  Bryce and Paige have a few more years to go before they get to that point and if they choose to go that route,  giving them some experience with the calves they've picked out themselves, will give them a sense of accomplishment and some good hands on experience.....I hope.

Along with practicing to lead on a halter, comes lots of  'hand's on' pet time.  Just today, we found Brittney LOVES to be scratched behind the ears.

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January 18, 2011

Healthy Quinoa & Winter Squash

To get ready for Healthy Cooking Group tonight, I needed to find a healthy recipe to go with the theme of this month's gathering of Soups and Stews.  I didn't come up with a soup or stew recipe to try out but when I received an email newsletter from my past Boot Camp instructor, Carlos, with this winter squash and quinoa recipe, I just had to try it.  I did modify it just a bit from the original recipe.  Here's how it all went.......

Here's what you need, along with parsley and pure maple syrup {not pictured}.

Dice the carrots, onions, celery and squash.  To save time I used pre-cut butternut squash that I bought at the grocery store earlier in the day.  Once everything is diced, mix all together in a bowl along with the olive oil and maple syrup.  Spread in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle lemon zest and salt and cover with foil and bake {recipe below}.

 When it's done, it looks like this and your house smells amazing!

While the squash is baking, boil your quinoa {recipe below}.

Mix all together and add in the lemon juice and parsley.  This can be eaten hot or cold as a salad.  This dish is so tasty, you will not be disappointed if you try it and it's healthy for you too!

Quinoa and Winter Squash Salad

This recipe is another great way to enjoy protein-filled quinoa. Winter squash combined with celery, onion and parsley makes a healthy and comforting side dish. Servings: 10

Here's what you need:

2 yellow onions, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 cups diced squash, butternut or any other fall or winter squash
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon brown rice syrup {I used pure maple syrup}
dash of freshly ground sea salt
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 cups filtered water
1 cup quinoa
4 sprigs of parsley, finely minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the onions, celery, carrots and squash in a large bowl. Mix in the oil and syrup, then sprinkle the salt and lemon zest. Mix until well combined and then place on a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes remove cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are in the oven, put the quinoa and water in a saucepan, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 25 minutes over low heat, until the water is absorbed.

Combine the vegetables and cooked quinoa together with the lemon juice and parsley. Serve warm or chilled.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 95 calories, 1g fat, 19g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, and 4g protein.

Feel free to share this healthy, tasty recipe!

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