Today I felt like I was being stalked and look what I found.
The brown one is Amberbosa. (Yes, Amberbosa) I don’t know who the other one is, but I know she’s going to have TWINS! That’s why she has a red ear tag.
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!
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.
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.
If you recall, last week (Well, I think it was last week.) Steve and I had placed a bet in the milking parlor regarding the quality of our milk.
He switched the teat dip we use on the cow before and after they are milked. Remember, the post dip smells like a Dreamsicle.
It still does and that color of orange that it is, well that’s enough to make a person smile every morning.
Well, it appears to me that I am winning the bet. I haven’t started counting my money jars and loose change at the bottom of my purse.
Even though I am ahead in the contest, I couldn’t be more frustrated.
I am the kind of girl that says, “Well, that’s not working. Let’s move on. Can we switch back to the iodine dips now?”
“No. I want information. We are waiting until the milk tester comes in 10 days to see what is going on,” Steve said. “If there are a bunch of new infections in cows, we will switch.”
That’s what I find so frustrating.
We’ve been through teat-dip experiments before and they all end up the same way.
To me, it’s blatantly obvious the foaming pre-dip and popsicle-like post dip are not working. The filter that keeps all the gobledy-gook out of the bulk tank was full of infection indicators. Those little indicators look like curdled milk.
Through a piece of paper in front of me that contains a bunch of numbers and other information and it’s like my mind freezes up.
I don’t have time to analyze all that info.
We have tested the milking equipment and that has been adjusted accordingly. Apparently, the vacuum, which is needed to collect the milk from the cow and send it through the pipeline, was set a bit low for the speed at which our cows were letting their milk down.
Oh, they have little computers they can hook up to individual units that measure all the intricacies of a milking unit.
If you thought milking was just about putting a unit on the cow and chatting or discussing the low down on politicians, children and supper, think again.
That was the old days; back when Steve and I were young. Now we are old and there is no time for standing around in the milking parlor.
So, here it is mid-experiment, I have to deal with 10 more days of cows getting mastitis.
And that directly affects my personal goal of keeping the quality of our milk well ahead of where it is right now.
You see, it’s not all fun and laughter out here on the farm.
It’s hard working with your spouse, especially when two people have such different personalities.
Every day I find myself trying my hardest not to get into a full-blown “discussion” with my favorite man in the whole wide world.
So this morning, he went his way.
And I am going mine.
Steve, Russell, our herdsman Zachery, my father and several others are working on cleaning out the compost barn. This involves two full days of moving compost out of the barn and spreading it on the field.
Our compost is amazing. Not only does it have a ton of food for this next year’s crops, it doesn’t smell all that much either.
Oh, living on the farm place allows one to totally appreciate the smell of organic fertilizer.
Those that live around the field where that fertilizer is spread can hardly smell anything.
Believe me, that is a relief to Steve and I. We don’t need to upset our neighbors.
We do our best to keep them all happy.
(I know I promised a story on my construction project here at home – still working on it. Will share soon. Patience is a virtue and is one that i don’t possess!)
Well, I thought I lived on the safe side of the Minnesota River.
I mean, I know that the area of St. George is considered “God’s Country,” but I didn’t think the area around Searles was too far behind the land of amazing corn and soybean harvests.
We have pretty good harvests in our neighborhood too. By the way, a neighborhood in rural terms encompasses everything within a 10-mile radius of a farmer’s homestead.
It’s true, I have friends that live near Sigel ballpark that I consider neighbors. I would like to think Sigel residents feel the same way.
But I digress, which happens a lot to me when I sit down at my computer. Back to the matter at hand.
I feel like I live in a rather unassuming area. There is very little riff-raff that enters my expansive circle. If there were, I would have to create Steven Spielberg’s story “Under the Dome.”
Sure, we have the occasional wayward soul that seems to think it’s OK to dump garbage, animal carcasses and appliances in the neighborhood, but even that ugly activity has decreased as time moves forward.
My two theories concerning the decrease in riff-raff activity is this: 1. They are too old to lift the appliances out of the pickup bed; 2. We have actually caught one of these souls dumping garbage and he ended up getting ticketed for something way worse that littering. I bet word spreads fast in their “neighborhoods” on safe dumping grounds.
So, the other day, when I decided to take my two capable dogs for a run, using my bike, I was a bit dismayed at what happened to me.
I have one rather large Great Dane, who needs to diet and exercise. According to the latest dog medical magazine, Lilly is 20 percent overweight and obese. She passed that milestone over the winter. I tried to hide the story from her, but she is too tall and she managed to see all those pictures of overweight dogs.
All she could do was look at me with those sad-dog eyes.
On the other hand, I just adopted a pitbull-lab cross, and he has problems with too much energy. He subscribes to Dog Fit magazine. Ole needs to always have somewhere expansive to run and play. Usually he chooses to visit the Schlumpberger residence, which is only one mile away from the home fort in my 10-mile circle, to play with their rat terrier.
In an effort to appease both dogs, I hopped on my bike and took off down the road. Not soon enough. Steve came driving up behind me in his pickup and told me I had a flat tire.
No wonder it was taking all my energy to pedal my bike.
I was sweating like a dog! You do know dogs sweat by panting, right?
I hopped off my bike, laid it in the ditch for later retrieval and kept walking with my dogs.
Soon enough, Russell came by in his Jeep. He had our chocolate lab Bob in the backseat. He said, “Bob wanted to go for a walk too.” (She’s old and very slow.)
“Just wait,” I said, “I’m riding with you and running the dogs like city-folk do.”
I stuck my head out the window and offered cheers of support for both Lilly and Ole, while the wind blew through my summer-blonde hair.
Bob sat in the back seat happily panting as the breeze blew through her Hershey-colored dog hair. She was in heaven. This appeared to be her favorite walk EVER!
We ventured to Grandma Tadpole’s house and visited with Steve, Grandma, Russell, myself and three tired dogs.
One the way back home, I hopped into Steve’s pickup, because I wanted to pick up my bike on the drive home.
I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t find my bike. Within that hour, someone had lifted my bike!
I’m OK with that. I figure once the person uses it, they will put it back in the ditch.
If said riff-raff wants to return my bike, believe me, the only question I will ask, is this, “Why did you have to bring it back?”