Friday, November 26, 2010

A Dairy Thanksgiving

It's the day after Thanksgiving and people flocked to the sales early this morning.  Well, not everyone got excited about Black Friday.  As a dairy farmer, I was up early enough to hit the sales, but cows took priority and their comfort came before crowded malls with "fantastic" sales.  I have several friends and family who make the annual trek to the big sales that start at midnight and go on until late afternoon.  Black Friday started with several black & white cows and calves that required tending, so the sales went on without me (not that I was missed). 

Here in the Ozarks, we awoke to a mixture of cold rain, sleet and snow Thanksgiving morning.  Needles to say, we didn't have ideal conditions for a family get-together.  We did manage to get chores done without too many problems and I was able to get everything cooked for our big meal.  Our milk hauler even timed his arrival for a hot-out-of-the-oven cinnamon roll that morning.  Sure we didn't get around as fast as we normally do, but we did get chores taken care of.  

Despite all of the challenges, we made it to my in-laws a little early and had a wonderful meal with our family.  Even after all of the grumbling about the nasty weather, we had an amazing sunset.  It just goes to prove that no matter how bad we think things seem at the time, there is something good that comes from it.  As we admired the beauty of the end of the day, I started thinking of all of my blessings and reasons I had to be family, friends, freedom and not having to fight the crowds at the mall.          

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Never say Never...

Going to the grocery store can sometimes be an adventure.  I'd put off my trip as long as I could and found it necessary to go; no more putting it off...the list was getting pretty long.  More often than not when I'm at the store, I run into someone I know and we catch up on what's been going on in our lives.  As fate would have it, I ran into my high school Ag instructor and his wife.  They are probably two of the nicest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting; I can say this without someone accusing me of sucking up for a good grade - I've been out of high school a long time.  Some of my favorite high school memories include them.

On about isle 6 or 7, Mr. H stopped me and asked, "I was just wondering, was it you or your sister that didn't want anything to do with the computer when you were in high school?  You remember when we got that brand new one in the Ag room?  Didn't one of you say "I don't want anything to do with that thing?"'.  (This might be a good time to mention that we keep up with each other on Facebook)


Yep, that was me.  I even dropped typing in high school because I didn't think I'd ever need it - plus the fact that the typing teacher took points away from me for crossing my feet under my chair.  I didn't take computer class because I was sure I'd never need that either.  Did I say never?  What was I thinking?  Times have changed so much that both of my boys have had computer literacy & it's required. 

Never in a million years would you have convinced me 20+ years ago that I'd own a computer and need to know how to type.  If you would have said I'd be logging onto the Internet on a regular basis, have a phone that would let me check email and send information, well I'm sure I would have thought you'd lost your mind.   Computers were just catching on when I was in high school and now almost everyone owns one.  When we bought our first computer, I had to ask my then-4th grader to help me get some of it set up.  I didn't even bother to try to set up the gadgets to the last television, I just handed everything over to the boys; same thing when I wanted a ring tone on my last cell phone (a task I've now overcome).  It's not new news in our house that mom is technologically challenged...but I'm getting better.

The computer is an important tool for me these days.  I use it for so many different things on the farm,  promoting dairy, correspondence for our county Farm Bureau, keeping up with friends, tweeting, facebooking, and of course, blogging.  Some days are more of a challenge than others with the computer...especially when I'm having problems with the phone line (yes, we're still on dial-up).

My best advice to you:  Be very careful when you tell someone you're never going to do/use something.  It'll come back to bite you!  I once told my dad (after I graduated high school) that I never wanted to milk cows again...and now I milk cows for a living.  Never say never.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dairy Moms Blogging in Iowa

It doesn't seem like a week and a half has already gone by, but it has.  That's how long it's been since I went to the I_Blog Conference in Perry, Iowa.  Most of my friends and family smiled politely or asked what I was talking about when I told them I was going.  Truth be told, most of them aren't quite sure what a blog is.  I did try to explain, but I'm not sure all of them understood.

I made some new friends and got to see some old ones.  I came home with some refreshing ideas and was ready to start blogging.  Everything was going great; I even sat down and blogged about what went on here at home while I was gone..and then my computer refused to sign on to the internet...for a week.  There aren't that many things that frustrate me to the point of complete anger, but this little problem pushed a few buttons that I wasn't aware I had.  At one point, I was even thinking of running over the computer in the driveway with a tractor and field roller; thankfully it didn't come to that. 

Another thought that crossed my mind (several times), was just getting in the truck and driving back to Perry, Iowa.  Staying in the Hotel Pattee was one of the most relaxing, enjoyable stays that I've had in a very long time.  I really can't say enough nice things about the place!  I rarely travel that direction, but if I'm ever near there again, you can bet that's where I'll stay.  The hotel has 40 unique rooms, with each decorated differently in honor of someone or something that relates to the history of the town.  You can see what a neat place it is at .  I will say that the pictures don't capture the true beauty of each room.

Karen Bohnert, Susan Anglin & Shannon Squibb 
Dairymom's serving up smoothies!
 I had such a nice stay that I almost forgot that I was there on business!  There were two other dairymoms (and some of the wonderful staff from Midwest Dairy) in attendance.  We made smoothies for everyone during the afternoon break on Saturday.  You can find several great recipes at along with the Blues Buster Smoothie we made.

If you feel the need to treat yourself, have a smoothie or get away for a few days in Iowa.  I'll be at the Hotel Pattee if I can ever manage to get away...but I'll probably just have a smoothie and call it a day for now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

While Mom was out of town...

I was lucky enough to be able to go out of town for the I_Blog Conference this past weekend.  I had a great time, learned some new things, spent time with old friends, met new friends and stayed at the most amazing hotel (which I'll write about another time).  As a dairy farmer and mom, it was wonderful to get away for a few days and not have to get up to milk.  

Another dairy mom and I managed to get to our destination without any glitches.  Maybe the two GPS systems and the map quest directions helped a little.  The conference sessions were very informative and I was absorbing new information the best I could.  Saturday morning came and I got my regular time that I would at home; in time to milk.  I tried not to think much about it and decided I'd get to bed early that night.  Then I noticed I had a call from home around noon - usually not a good sign.

To save everyone from reading a long, drawn-out post, allow me to summarize what happened while I was out of town...for less than 24 hours:

One our cows calved; one of the automatic waterers was acting up; the heater in the milk barn wasn't working; all of which would have been fine, if all else had gone according to planned.  While getting parts, hubby took the boys with him and he went into the hardware store alone.  When he came out of the hardware, the boys were gone.  (Please keep in mind they are 19 & 13 years old)  They'd wandered over to the pawn shop where our oldest decided he really should get his own rifle.  It's okay, we live in the country, hunting is a normal thing where we live and he's old enough to decide how to spend his own money.  (After I tell myself this over & over, I may accept it)  But we aren't to the fun part yet.

While hubby was working on the heater in the barn, one of the boys came in to inform him that the dogs had found something under the compressor unit outside.  He told them to leave it alone and for pity's sake, be sure to put Mom's dog back in the house - remember that part.

Interesting fact you may not know:  If you toss a lit smoke bomb in an enclosed area, you might just flush out a very angry skunk.  Angry skunks usually come out spraying and dogs that are barking at them are usually the first target, who will in turn run to the nearest person for help to get the smell off.  Even if that person is in a closed barn working on a heater.  Oh, and skunks don't care if it's the outside or Mom's inside dog.

Yep, it happened.  I had to tell hubby over the phone where to find the skunk "recipe".  I've included it just in case you might need it someday.  For your sake, I hope you don't.  By the time the boys "flushed" the skunk out for the second time, he was multi-colored from the smoke bombs and I don't think he's coming back.

I finished the conference, made it back home with only one missed flight (due to mechanical problems) and even with my luggage after a change of flights.  (I'm really sorry about scaring that lady at the airport baggage claim when I shouted with happiness when my bag actually showed up)

The only down side is that I need to bathe the dog again.  Soak, that's the one thing they didn't quite get right, you gotta let it soak.  Of course hubby says I'm not leaving him home with the kids ever again.