Monday, December 19, 2011

Are YOU ready for Christmas?

We're in the final stretch and Christmas is going to be here very soon.  Are you ready?  I'd love to say that I am, but in all honesty, I'm not.  Probably won't ever get there.  I've reached a point that I'm okay with not giving that extra little gift and I refuse to feel guilty about not sending cards to EVERYONE in my address book.  I've found enjoyment in buying an extra toy and putting it in a barrel or box destined to a child that will truly appreciate it this year (and I didn't have to wrap it).

The Grinch & I have come to an
understanding this year.
Before anyone starts thinking I've gone off the deep end and have no holiday spirit, let me assure you that I've bought presents for my kids and have arranged a surprise for the hubby (not a small job).  I haven't completly turned into the Grinch.  A very wise lady told me today that instead of fretting over not getting all of my holiday baking done, just do it after Christmas and share it when everyone has had a chance to eat all the goodies they've already received.  Good advice.  I'll finish baking after Christmas when I'm not so rushed.

I'll still do all the normal Christmas traditions.  We'll get together with family, visit with friends and there will be chores to do no matter the weather.  I'm just finding a happy-medium this year and trying not to stress about having everything perfect.  Count your blessings, make some memories and enjoy the holidays...Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day "off"?

Over the last year, I've gone from working part-time to full time at a veterinary clinic.  When added to the many jobs I have at home, there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done I'd like to.  For many of you, this is a very familiar story.  Normally I would have our house decorated for Christmas by now, but not this year.  I shudder just thinking about having to drag all of the wonderful decorations out of the basement that I've collected over the years.  There's still laundry to do, the refrigerator needs cleaning out, clothes to iron, my bookwork has been sadly neglected, I'm pretty sure the calf stalls need fresh bedding...yes, decorating for Christmas just isn't on the top of my list right now. 

I had today "off"; well, at least from the clinic.  As I sit here typing (knowing there are more pressing things I should be doing), I keep thinking of all of the chores I had planned to get accomplished today.  Didn't happen.  Nope, not today.  We needed to sort and wean beef calves.  Most farm &/or ranch wives out there will tell you: working cattle with your significant other (and family) can be a really stressful job.  Some will tell you it should be outlawed.  Rarely will you find a couple who can work cattle without at least one nasty remark being said.  Luckily, things went pretty good (all things considered) and nobody has threatened to move out of the house.  Hubby and I will celebrate another anniversary.  All in all, you can't ask for more than that.  Except maybe another day or two to get caught up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Dairy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and my ongoing grocery list is getting a little longer.  Everyone in our house has a favorite dish they want for Thanksgiving dinner including several family recipes that have been passed on from family and friends.  Of course there will be the "staples" and a few other non-traditional things, but everyone is usually happy by the time we get the meal finished.

Of course we won't actually get to sit down to our meal until all the chores have been done and the last animal has been tended.  There won't be any grumbling because that's just the way it is on a dairy farm.  Our animals come first.  As our boys have gotten older, they have learned to appreciate the responsibility of living on a dairy farm and the care that is required for our animals and land.

I don't usually get any complaining about "chores first & eat later", but then again, I tend to spoil my family and prepare plenty of food to ensure that there will be leftovers.  A favorite place to visit for recipes is and for delicious, healthy dishes.  One of my favorite "anytime" recipes is the that reminds me of something grandma used to make.

We'll get to spend time with family and catch up on stories and ongoings.  If you're getting up to shop the early sales, don't look for me because I'll be up...and in the milk barn.  I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Schedules

Summer is definitely in full swing.  The cows have claimed spots under the shade trees, tractors are a common site on the roads going from one hayfield to the next and the sunset from my back door reminds me that it's well past supper time (even if the boys are still outside).  Several of my friends have taken up residency (or so it seems) at the local ball parks and complain that they don't have enough time in the day.  The local fairs & rodeos have started and parents are busy hustling kids from one event to the next. 

June Dairy Month is in full swing.  I normally have events planned out to celebrate everything dairy, but like everyone else, I've been busy as can be.  With so many busy schedules, don't forget to take time to enjoy some nutritious dairy products.  I think I'll try to enjoy a few more sunsets while savoring a smoothie, bowl of ice cream or a glass of milk...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day means different things to many people.  On the farm, we were pretty much business as usual.  There's no going to the lake or going off for the weekend with friends or family.  This year it was a kick-off to hay season and just about every farmer in the area was cutting hay.  I made the trip to the cemetery to decorate the graves of loved ones (between milkings). 

We always take time to recognize the brave soldiers who are serving and have served our country to ensure we enjoy the freedom we have today.  We always have a special "Thanks" for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and their families in our prayers today as well as everyday.

So to everyone who has served, is serving and all of their families...THANK YOU. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Young & Old (?) Agree...Chocolate Milk is Good!

Among the many jobs I have, I work part-time at a veterinary clinic.  Most of my fellow employees are young enough to be my kids.  (sigh)  Just another one of those facts that reminds me that I'm getting older.  It's amazing what I've learned from some of those "kids".  I may not always understand what they're talking about, but I try to keep an open mind. 

We were working right along the other day when one of the girls said "Did you hear THAT?"! Apparently we weren't all paying attention to the radio, then again, I don't always agree on their choice of radio stations. 

She was floored to hear that chocolate milk was being banned from some schools.  Please keep in mind this is a young woman still going to college and has no intentions of having kids any time in the near future.  The general concensus was that chocolate milk should be left in the schools.  Period.  End of discussion.  (There are more articles with more information about the facts on chocolate milk at   

So if the younger generation knows chocolate milk isn't a bad thing, why can't everyone else understand this?  It's not like we're asking everyone to listen to the same radio station all the time.  As a mom, I have to put my vote in favor of lowfat chocolate milk.  I can honestly say it was nice to find something that we could all agree on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animal Care is Priority

Sadly, it's happened yet again.  An animal rights group has posted a horrific video of a calf being abused.  As a farmer in animal agriculture, I'm angered, appalled and downright mad.  Who ARE these people?  It's bad enough that there are disturbed people who will harm animals (and other human beings) for amusement, but I find it equally disturbing that there are people who will film it instead of stepping in to stop the incident and report the abuse...immediately. 

My husband & I were raised on farms and have chosen this as our careers.  We have also chosen to raise our children much like we were raised.  At no point do we find it amusing to see an animal be hurt or suffer.  I can't think of a fellow farmer who finds animal cruelty acceptable.  Our animals are our livelihood, so why would we want any harm to come to them? 

We have spent countless hours over the years with our animals.  When a cow is calving, a calf is sick, a horse is lame or our farm dog isn't feeling well, we make them our priority.  Over the years, we've left family gatherings early (or got there late) to make sure everything is okay with one of our cows.  I left my great-aunt's 100th birthday party early to check on a cow who decided it was a good day to have a baby (everything  turned out just fine).  I can't count the many nights we've gotten up at midnight to check on a sick animal or expecting cow.  We cut our anniversary weekend short one year because there was hay to bale; the cows would need hay in the winter.  These are just a few of the things we do because we take caring for our animal seriously.  This is what responsible farmers do.  We don't abuse animals for the fun of it, nor do we find watching garbage like that entertaining.

Before you pass judgement on all farmers because of a sensationalized video on the Internet, take the time to check out a real farm.  There are numerous farmers on facebook, twitter and other sites that have pictures and stories to share with you.  You might start with and get the facts about dairy farming.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Biscuit!

My little Biscuit is a year old!  I can't believe it!  This time last year, I was making trips to the barn every 2 hours with a bottle of warm milk to feed our tiny preemie calf.  After the third or fourth night in barn boots, pajamas and a coat, I was pretty tempted to get a large pet carrier and keep her in the house at night.  We don't have premature calves very often, in fact the last one we had this small that I can remember was when I was in high school (and no, we're not going to start counting years).  Preemies can be difficult to keep alive, so the fact that she's a year old is a pretty big deal.

Biscuit - already a year old
Raising cattle can bring many different challenges and every day seems to bring new problems &/or accomplishments.  Dairy farming can be even more difficult at times because we commit so much time to our animals.  Taking a time off requires planning; a lot of planning.  Some dairy farmers I know are fortunate enough to have employees they trust their farms and animals with while they get away for a day or two.  We don't have any employees, so our time away from the farm is usually savored.  The milking still has to be done twice a day, every exceptions.

I know my kids take living on a farm for granted at times, but having a preemie to care for definitely gave them a new appreciation for the huge responsibility we have.  It doesn't matter that Biscuit is a beef heifer and not dairy; we take the best possible care of all our animals.  We did give her some extra grain instead of  cake and ice cream (although she may have eaten the ice cream - she's quite spoiled).  I thought about trying to get a picture of her with a party hat but I'm pretty sure she would have tried to eat it.  Oh well, maybe I can get one of her with a Santa hat for Christmas.  Hmmm...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hey, Mom...You're on YouTube!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to hear: "Hey,'re on YouTube!" 

Nope, I can honestly say that I didn't see that one coming.  Apparently my youngest son and some of his friends were on the computer and found a video of our farm on YouTube.  It was the video from the Farmers Feed Us campaign.  You can take a virtual "tour" of our farm at and learn about what goes on at Topwinds Farm.

You just never know where your picture (or video) will show up these days!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

These Yogurt & Banana Spice Muffins can be
 prepared the night before...just grab a glass
of milk & a muffin for a breakfast on the go!
Spring has finally arrived!  New calves, warmer weather, longer days, green grass...yes, Spring is finally here!  The cows aren't as interested in their hay - they'd rather have the new grass that's coming up.  I can't blame them... it's like a choice between something garden fresh or something from a can.

As we spend more time working outside, I find it important that everyone gets a jump start on the day with a good breakfast.  Sometimes we don't have time to sit down and have a full breakfast, so it's important that the we have something that is easy to grab on our way out the door.  This muffin recipe can be found at along with several other dairy good recipes! 

I knew Spring had officially arrived when I got home from work yesterday and our youngest son had already started mowing the yard.  I'll let you know how his enthusiasm holds out on that particular chore...  Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month.  Probably no big deal to most people, but it should be...for a number of reasons.  I had a bit of a wake up call earlier this month when it comes to the school lunch menu.  Growing up, we had basically 3 choices: 1) Eat what the school cafeteria has for that day (only 1 choice); 2) Bring your lunch for home; 3) Don't eat...period.  Starting this month, the school my son attends (the same one I attended) now offers choices at lunch every day.  Honestly, I wasn't sure that was a great idea.  Do kids really need 3 menu choices?  After taking time to look the menu over, I had to agree that this was a good change.  The menu items sounded pretty good and they were healthier options.

So why all the fuss over National Nutrition Month?  Have you ever taken time to check what your kids eat?  Most busy moms on the run serve whatever's quick and/or easy.  There's nothing wrong with that, but  ssometimes a little planning ahead before you head to the grocery store can make meal time less stressful and more nutritious to boot.  There are some great recipes at along with tips and information if you need a little help.  Believe me, I need all the help I can get!  Since the time change, we seem to have pushed dinner time back here on the farm.  It's only been a few days and I've already started the "I need a quick recipe" mode on a daily basis...and I don't even have any kids going to baseball practice after school!

The other wake-up call I had was today.  I spent over an hour shopping with a couple of kids and their FFA advisor buying supplies for a backpack program.  We filled 3 carts with food that will be sent home with children who might not have enough to eat on weekends.  These kids usually get most of their meals at school (breakfast & lunch) but go without (for a variety of reasons) at home.  It's a wonderful program that our county Farm Bureau decided to contribute to in honor of National Food Check-Out Week that was held in February.  Snow and school closings postponed the shopping event and ironically our trip landed during National Ag Week.  We were able to work with an FFA chapter and get the members involved not only in the shopping, but preparing the packs as well.  It seems to be a win-win situation all the way around.

So Happy Ag Week and Nutrition Month from our farm to you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Marching On

March 1st, the first day of a new month, National Nutrition Month, National Pancake Day, the beginning of March Madness...  There are so many things to celebrate &/or recognize this month, where does one start?  As a dairy farmer, I'd like to think March is going to bring me warmer days and the beginning of green pastures, budding trees and spring flowers.  Occasionally March brings snow to the Ozarks, but I'm cautiously optimistic that Mother Nature will be kind this year.  We've had enough snow, thank you very much.

On the farm, we've had a few new babies and the green grass is emerging in the pastures, much to the cows delight.  Robins and toads have been spotted, spring peepers have started to serenade us and the teachers tell me the kids are getting cabin fever at school.  Spring is definitely arriving...thank goodness.

Every month seems to have a celebration theme and this month is nutrition.  As we start to give way to old habits and forget our New Years Resolutions, we can begin eating healthier meals and snacks.  There are wonderful resources at to help you find tips, recipes and information to get you back on track.

I'm thinking my family might enjoy celebrating National Pancake today with pancakes for supper, and an ice cold glass of milk! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trip to the Grocery Store

Lately I've noticed that some of my most interesting conversations happen in the grocery store or feed store.  Everyone is so busy these days that it's not uncommon to run into friends that we haven't seen in ages and catch up...even in the grocery store.  I don't know how many times I've told hubby that I was going to make a quick trip to the store, only to be asked what took so long when I finally make it home. 

I learn all kinds of interesting things at the store; activities going on in the community, an illness of a neighbor, new businesses, upcoming events, etc...  Sometimes the feed store is the place to be.  Farmers solve all kinds of world problems at the feed store.  It's really not much different from a bunch of parents waiting to pick up kids at school or ball practice.  We all know our ideas won't go much further than our conversations, but it's almost like therapy finding out you're not alone in your ideas and opinions.

Inevetitably, the price of fuel, living expenses and groceries comes up.  I'll be the first to admit that going to the store to buy groceries isn't the most favorite chore on my list.  Sometimes I have a hard time getting people to realize that we have the safest, most affordable food supply in the world right here in the United States.  Americans spend less disposable income on their food than any other country.  Still not convinced?  Try taking out the non-essentials and tally up what you consume as food.  It might surprise you. 

Here are a few facts that I received from Missouri Farm Bureau:

Americans spend approximately 10% of their disposable income on food.
58% of food is purchased for consumption at home; 42% away from home.
Amount of income spent on food in other countries: Pakistan 50%, Philippines 38%, China 32%, Japan 14%.

Remember that dairy products give more bang for your buck by providing essential nutrients needed in the daily diet.  You can find more information and recipes at or  Be sure to Thank A Farmer for the safe, affordable we enjoy here in the United States...after you get caught up with all the news while at the grocery store!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookies & Milk

We're finally digging out of some of the ice & snow here on the farm.  The guys were kind enough to let me get caught up on some of the chores here in the house today.  I was almost excited to get the laundry & dishes caught up!  My only problem is that once I get the kitchen clean, I get the urge to cook something.  Kinda defeats the whole purpose of cleaning.

Cookies.  We hadn't had cookies in awhile.  So I made cookies...3 batches.  No-bake, snickerdoodles & something new called soft pudding cookies.  My biggest problem was that I didn't have the right kind of pudding mix, so I improvised.  They turned out okay, not quite what they were supposed to be, but good.  If you're wondering why so many cookies, well, I'm just like that sometimes.  My family is spoiled and I enjoy it (most of the time).  I wonder if they know how lucky they are...

Tomorrow may be one of those hectic days and I may not get to fix them anything special, but at least they'll have plenty of cookies to go with a glass of milk for a few days!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spring Teased & Winter Smacked

We were teased Friday (just 4 days ago) as we enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures.  I'm talking t-shirt weather in the January - almost unheard of in winter around here.  Saturday was almost as nice and we were relieved when the cow we'd been monitoring had her calf on such a beautiful day.  We started the pre-storm preparations by bringing more hay in for easier access, moved cattle around and I made my much needed trip to the grocery store Sunday evening as temperatures started dropping and the winds picked up.

The vet clinic was unusually busy yesterday with appointments and prescription refills.  I was glad I didn't need anything at the store as I made my way home in the evening; the Wal-Mart parking lot resembled the day after Thanksgiving and the grocery store lots were more like the day before.  I saw a picture of the bread shelf and there wasn't a loaf of bread to be found; I just wonder what the milk shelf was like.  I made it home in time to help with the last of the chores and final details of getting ready for nasty weather.  The other cow we were keeping an eye on had her baby and was tucked away in the barn.

New addition from Friday.  She's a cutie!
I just couldn't make myself post a picture of the winter wonderland we're experiencing right now.  Instead, my mind keeps wondering back to our wonderful Spring-like weather just a couple of days ago.  After 6 hours of sleet and a day filled with snow & high winds, I keep hoping Spring will hurry up and get here.  The weatherman said we could expect "blizzard-like" conditions all day.  Personally, I prefer my blizzard with oreos, strawberry cheesecake, or maybe cookie dough...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Magic Mom & Supper

We've all heard the cute stories about the things kids say or do.  I've told my fair share and was beginning to think my cute story days were over.  Then out of the blue, my 13 year old whipped out a remark that has still left me speechless.  I'd had a long day and the evening chores had about drained me of whatever energy was left. 

He was the only one who didn't have plans or wanted leftovers so I asked him the age-old question: What do you want for supper?

Kiddo: I dunno.
Me: I kinda need to know.
Kiddo: Whatever, I don't care.
Me: I can't fix that; there's no recipe for it.
Kiddo: Can't you just, you know, go into the kitchen and do that magic stuff you do and fix something and it's "poof" there and you tell us it's ready?
Me: ...(stunned silence)...Um...I'm out of magic.  What do you want to eat?

I'd love to tell you what he had for supper, but I honestly don't remember!  So to all the cooks in the family out there: If you find the recipe for "Whatever", "I don't care" or "Dunno", please share with the rest of us.  Our magic only lasts for so long.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Growing up on a farm there aren't many phrases that will get everyones attention like "Cows are out!"; and I do mean everyone.  Fortunately it doesn't happen very often, but when it does, there's a scramble to find a pair of shoes (any shoes usually) and we're out the door.  This can happen at the most inconvenient times to say the least.  It's like survival mode kicks in and we head out the door without coats in the winter, sometimes no shoes in the summer and occasionally half-dressed.

I know some might think this would be a fun prank to pull on someone, but it would be like yelling "fire" in  a crowded room of people.  It sends panic through a farmer when the animals get out of their secure environment and honestly, it's just not a joking matter.  We're talking serious stuff. 

One of our former feed representatives who retired from the dairy business loved to tell stories on his visits.  When his son was accepted as a full-time fire fighter for a fairly large city, he couldn't have been a more proud papa.  One thing that I will always remember is that one of the reasons his son got the job was because he grew up on a farm.  Apparently the fire chief (or whoever did the hiring) felt that this "farm boy" would do a good job because of the work ethics he'd learned growing up on a farm.  More often than not, farm kids find themselves in a situation that requires them to think fast, solve whatever problem they're faced with and get the job done...right the first time or your going to do it til you get it done right.  I just wonder if the fire chief knew the farm boy could already get dressed & on the scene in record time without additional training.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wait! I'm not ready for January!

I didn't update my blog in all.  What happened?  It's now January and I had some ideas of what I wanted to write about for December, Christmas and the holidays.  Life happened.  Just like everyone else, I had a full schedule and Christmas blew in and left just as quickly.  Thankfully it was uneventful...just like I wanted.

I worked extra hours at the vet clinic, had Christmas shopping to do, holiday baking, appointments, the cold weather gave us extra chores...well, you get the picture.  To top it off, our son got a puppy on New Year's Eve.  Yep, we've been a little busy.  Blogging just didn't get top priority.  I've talked with other people and they seem to have similar problems.  Maybe not the blogging part, but they've been busy and haven't done one thing or another that they had planned.

I did manage to get the Christmas shopping done on time (I shortened the list).  I found it easier to find gifts at farm & supply stores than fighting the crowds at the mall or even Wal-Mart.  I went through about 5 pounds of butter baking goodies to hand out to our neighbors, sales reps and the milk hauler.  (If you didn't get anything...please don't be mad; I didn't bake near as much as usual).  Cold weather always means longer hours caring for all of the animals because their comfort is a top priority.  There's always chores to do on a dairy farm and they seem to multiply when the temperature drops or the weather gets nasty. 

Then there's the puppy.  She's as cute as they come...and just as stubborn and independent.  It had been a few years since we'd had a puppy, so we're relearning everything that goes along with training.  I'll get a picture up as soon as I can.  If you don't see me on here as regularly as I was, don't worry...we're just busy.