Wow, just wow.

So, I was WIDE awake last night from approximately midnight until 3 a.m.

I don’t know why.

It could have been Hubby’s snoring or the fact that the dog was being generous and giving me 5-inches of the bed. Every time I moved the dog would grumble.

I mean, really?

I decided to get up and fold laundry, go outside to push up feed and check on the cows.

It was all rather boring. I didn’t match the corners on the towels, it’s really quiet at that time of the morning and none of the cows looked ready to have a baby calf.

I played several games of Solitaire and didn’t win a single one.

I finally fell asleep a few hours before it was time to get my butt out of bed – 6:30 a.m.

Steve was going to a meeting and I wanted to send him off.

Surprisingly, I feel really good today.

I thought my day was moving along just fine – and it’s already 8 a.m.

That was until I decided to get ready to run into town to visit the accountant and banker.

I carefully put a quarter-sized dollop of hair gel into my left hand.

I then proceeded to rub it all over my face.

All the while thinking, “Hmm, that smells different this morning.”

Eee gad!

I may need a nap later, but at least my facial skin will hold it’s shape! (Yes, I did wash it off, but it feel like there may be a residual affect.)

Does my skin looked toned?
It should!

Testing for pathogens

mastitis samplingWe are still working on getting our somatic cell count lower.

Somatic cells are indicators of an infection in the udder.

 Each time a cow contracts mastitis, I take a sample of her milk and put it in the incubator.

If I did it correctly, I will get a result in 12 – 24 hours.

Then I know which medication to use for treatment.

I will post my results later.

Just call me Scientist Kerry!

I need your feedback

So, I recently attended a Champions of Dairy workshop in the Windy City.

It’s good to go gather with industry professionals to talk and learn about all the fun interesting things dairy producers are doing to promote the dairy industry. I mean, who knew I had to go to Chicago to be the registered dietitian from Hy-Vee in Mankato, a town just a few miles down the road from our farm.

During the workshops, I felt a bit…..I’m not sure what i felt. I wasn’t angry, happy, disappointed.

Confused maybe?

If you know me, you know I am very upfront about a lot of ideas and feelings.

If you have a piece of food sitting smack-dab in the middle of your chin, you can bet I will tell you Mr. Pizza Bit is taking all the attention away from your beautiful face.

I mean, really, if you come upon someone that has a Pizza Bit on his or her face, that’s all you can see while holding a conversation. You feel bad because you know he or she has absolutely no clue this horrendous, ugly bit is hanging around and being an attention-getting hog.You realize that if it were you that had that disturbing little bit of food on your chin, you would want to know.

I respect anyone that has the guts to say, “Hey Kerry, you have a huge smudge of ketchup on your left cheek.”

I say huge, because, with me there is no such thing as a small smudge of ketchup on my face. And it’s probably not just on my face, it’s more than likely also going to be on my favorite white shirt.

I trust people who can say it like it is.

So I was a bit confused by what I was learning at this workshop. Seems many of them think there are topics that should be avoided unless someone brings it forward.

We were discussing farm tours. We host so many visitors out here, I may as well purchase a tour bus and deck it out like I’m as famous as Tim McGraw and need a bus to match.

Imagine the bling! It gives me bling-ching…it’s a chill that makes me want to Bedazzle everything!

Anyway, during this workshop several farmers were telling their story of giving tours. They didn’t like to take people into their milking parlor, because cows poop in the parlor.

They don’t talk about treating a sick animal with antibiotics.

They don’t talk about boosting their economic base with the use of rBGH. (Although,we are considering not using this on our cows because it is becoming economically unfeasible. It’s very expensive to use.)

They don’t talk about cows that are lying on the ground and unable to get up.

That is, unless someone on the tour asks about these touchy subjects.

Aren’t all of these topics in the forefront? Don’t you, the consumer want to know exactly this type of information?

If you have ever been on a tour our here on the splendid grounds of SKH, Inc., you know I don’t mince my words.

I tell you we treat cows with antibiotics and I also show you how we segregate milk produced from those treated cows.

I tell you that you shouldn’t work on a dairy farm if you don’t like being crapped on while putting the milking unit on a certain cow. If you don’t like getting splattered with cow pee, don’t take a job harvesting white gold.

I also explain how we keep our parlor clean, even during the milking process with water hoses and pressure washing. We have to our milk inspector that comes unannounced says we have to…it’s the law.

I tell you that I drink milk from my bulk tank because I trust the milk that I am producing and I know I won’t get ill. I also tell you that you shouldn’t drink milk from my bulk tank because you don’t work with my cows. I have immunity from being splattered with aforementioned manure and such.

I am very transparent.

So what I am looking for is guidance from all my readers and from those that have been on tours on our farm.

Do you like that I am very transparent and that you get to see life on the farm as it is, or should I tame it down a bit?

What do, or did, you like about the tours we have given?

Please be gentle on Steve. I know he gives the extended version of tours and I give the quick tours, and that’s OK. Those of you that want details would thoroughly enjoy a “Steve Tour.”

Please give me your feed back. I have another tour coming up and I want to know how I should shape our presentation.

Joey’s Back!

(For those of you that are not subscribers to our local newspaper, here’s today’s column.)

Joey’s back!

No, not the Joey that lives in Brookings, SD, is learning all about being a great dairy-farm manager and drives a grey Pontiac Grand Prix.

I am talking about the Joey that lives out in our heifer barn with all the other pregnant heifers and cows. (Tarah, one of our employees calls our heifers “teenagers,” because they are smaller in size, compared to a cow and haven’t had their first calf.)

I was so excited the other day when Steve and I were walking around the heifers; looking at how they were faring in the blasted cold. (Isn’t this current weather glorious?)

“Joey’s back!” I yelled.

Steve never answered me, but that is not anything unusual around here.

This heifer named Joey was born on the human Joey’s birthday – April 15, 2012.

I know her birthdate because we named her Joey, rather tagging her with an identification like Deduction, Depreciation or We Owe What!

Talk about getting harassed because you have a different kind of name.

Anyway, I also know the year of her birth because for two years she has been living on a farm just northwest of Nicollet.

More than two years ago, the Hulkes came and took Hairy Joey (I’ll call her Hairy Joey because she has hair and it avoids not being politically correct. I don’t think White Joey or Black Joey would be good, although it would be very accurate, because Hairy Joey is a Holstein.)

The Hulkes take our girl calves when they are about one week old.

Steve and I started this several years ago, before we had a full-time herdsman. We were unable to take care of all our heifers the way they should be. A really good dairy farmer will spend the time observing his heifers to see if any of them need to be artificially inseminated that particular day. To have an accurate observation, it is recommended that a dairy farmer observe animals for at least a half hour each day.

We were having a hard time finding that half hour.

The Hulkes only raise heifers for us, and several other dairy farmers. So they have the time to keep an eye on them.

The Hulkes do a much better job than Steve or I ever did.

I am not sure when the Hulkes brought Hairy Joey back, but I couldn’t have been more excited. I took a photo of her with my phone and sent it off to Joey in Brookings.

He never responded.

I guess he isn’t as thrilled as I am.

Also returning to our farm with Hairy Joey was M.

Just from her name I know that her mother was Bond, may she rest in peace.

Bond was named just after she had her first calf. For some reason, and I am grinning now because it was so cute, she would sneak back into the exit area and spy on whomever was in the milking parlor.

A lot of times, all a person would see was the eyes on Bond’s head as she sneakily peered around the corner of the wall – kind of like James Bond when he’s trying to run and tumble through a maze of rooms and hallways to get to some sort of treasure.

On a side note, my favorite Bond is not the cow, it’s Daniel Craig.

I would talk sweet to Bond (We’re back to the cow now, although I would talk sweet to the human Bond too.) to get her to come back in and visit, but she never would.

So naturally, when Bond had her calf, I named her after another of my favorite characters in James Bond movies – M.

On another side not, my favorite M was Judy Dench. She has now been snuffed out of the James Bond movies – may she rest in peace. I mean M here, not Ms. Dench.

It’s always fun to have a group of heifers brought back to the farm by the Hulkes. You never know who is going to turn around and surprise you when you get to see the name printed on her ear tag.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 

 

 

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