Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Recipe #3: Farmer Grub

It's that time to share another of our favorite recipes. 
 I learned this recipe when i was in elementary school. 
It's a nice quick throw together that sticks to your ribs. 

The Ingredients: potatoes, beans, hamburger, salt, pepper and corn bread.

Brown your hamburger.  And I love to use my Pampered Chef chopper to get the meat good and chopped.

While the hamburger browns I go ahead and peel and dice the potatoes.

When the hamburgers done if there's any grease I drain that off.
I let it set in the strainer while I cook up the potatoes.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the pain and put in the potatoes.
I like to add the salt and pepper at this point.

After the potatoes are cooked through then add the hamburger back into the pan.

Then add the beans and stir.

Let this sit on low heat and heat through.

While the mix is heating through I like to make corn bread to go with it.

The finished product! 


We are more than halfway through our calving.  So I wanted to share an easy labor with you.  Canute is 10 yrs old and she is a great calver.  She gets the job done with no help.  And she's super calm too.

These photos I took from our kitchen window.  That way she wasn't distracted. We try and watch from a distance.  They don't need to be distracted from what they are doing.   Cows will wander away from the herd when they start to calve.  They will sniff the ground, and wander in a spot they think is good to have their baby.  Here she is in active labor, she's pushing working on getting the calf into the birth canal.

The bag is the product of her pushing. The bag is the protection for the baby while the cow is pregnant until it is busted during delivery.  As long as the bag is not busted the calf can still breathe through the umbilical cord.   Those are the tips of feet at the top of the bag.  The cow will push, get up and smell the ground.  They will repeat this process several times during the progress of their labor.  Calves should come out in a diving position.  Front feet pointed, with their head laying on their legs.  You never want to see upside down feet.  That means something is wrong.

She's pushed enough the bag as burst.  Usually you want to see a calf within 30 minutes.  After that the calf could suffocate.  Cows will progress in their labor fast than a heifer.  So we wait and give her a little time.

Then she pushes some more.  The cow gets up immediately to start to talk and clean their calf.  Licking not only cleans the calf, but stimulates it to get up and nurse.  Calves need to nurse to get the colostrum in their mother's milk.  It has vitamins that make for  a healthy baby.  They help to fight tummy issues and infection the calf could get.

Within minutes the calf is up and searching for milk.  It's amazing how quickly they get going. 

Before they nurse there are certain things that we like to give the calves.  They get a pill for their stomach to help fight scours.  Scours is a sickness that calves get that causes diarrhea and can kill a calf.  They get a shot that has medicines in it to help fight illness.  And we soak their umbilical cords to help them dry up to fight any infection that might try and get into that spot.  It is an open area to the insides of their bodies.  Then they are ear tagged.  We usually try and make sure to keep the calf between us and the cow.  That helps keep her  a little calmer.  And sometimes the moms are just too protective to get this close and we have to separate them.  But most of our cows are calm and its a quick process.

 Watching a calf being born amazes us every time.  Cows are much like women.  The when they push out the calf that helps to get all the fluids from their lungs.  And once the calf is expelled they start talking to them.  And then cleaning them.  Once that calf nurses they get the nutrients that they need and it helps the cow.  Nursing causes contractions in the cows uterus that helps to expel the afterbirth.  The cow will eat all of the afterbirth.  The afterbirth has vital nutrients and minerals in it that will be passed from the cow to the calf.   Cows know their calf not by sight but by smell.  Such an exciting experience to watch and be a part of.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 27, 2012


This is what I feel like doing a lot lately!  I feel like we are running in circles sometimes.  Normally, we get a nice snowy, cold winter to  regroup.  Not this year.  So there are lots of things that the weather is allowing to get done early and somethings that have to be put off because the ground is too soft.  It's a catch 22.

Calving has gone very smoothly so far.  The calves are growing by leaps and bounds.  We are still like several people this year and are heavy with bulls.  But I take that as a positive.  That means new replacement heifers or maybe a few new bred cows that could be added to the herd.  Now that we are heading into March we are planning so many things.  We starting to think about what we will be re breeding the cows to.  Ground needs to worked, fence to put up, manure to haul and so many other things.  And with the busy time here, means that Mr. M will start his busy time at work also.  Oh and our Little Man turns 11 and we celebrate 13 yrs of marriage.  Deep breathe, we can do this.

With all that's happening at the farm, the babes are just as busy.  I always thought they would be out of elementary school before they got too busy with extra things.  Not so much.  Little Man is in 5th grade and he has Spell Bowl, Math Bowl, Volleyball, Livestock Judging every Monday/Saturday.  Then Little Miss is doing Livestock Judging too.  So they stay busy and active.  I'm not complaining, I just thought it would be another year or two.  But they love every minute and until they tell us otherwise we are going with it.

I'm so glad that I am able to pick up the slack here.  I am able to take the babes to school everyday, go on field trips and be there for all of their extra activities.  One day maybe I will work off the farm, but for now I am here for them, all 3 of them.  The babes are only little once.  And I enjoy being here doing what I can to  help Mr. M.  I'm okay with not leaving for days or even talking to most people.  So even though we are having early mornings, late nights and little down time.  It's all good.

 It's our crazy life full of kids, cattle and lots of manure....

Saturday, February 25, 2012


This past week has been FFA week.  It's fun seeing what all the kids are doing during this week through the kids at our local high school.  Our babes are both on the judging team with the big kids, so we go to the Ag building at the high school for practice and the Saturday contests.  The kids get to see some of the fun stuff that they will maybe do when they get to the high school level.  I loved FFA when I was in high school, so I cant wait to see if the babes do.  But for now they can stay small and ill enjoy that more for now.

We got our phone fixed and hopefully the Internet will get back to working normally.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


this is the "I swear I didn't do it look"

Hi! Remember me?  I have not been blogging much this past week.  But I have been following along with everyone.  Our Internet/phone have not been working properly.  It's been a nice break.  But I do miss sharing all the things that have been happening.

We only have 6 cows left to calve... Then it will time to start re breeding.  The calves are growing nicely.  The most wonderful thing is watching their humorous play, and how stressed those mommas get.  I know the feeling so well.  The babes had their first all day judging contest last Saturday.  Mr. M dropped them off at 5 am at the Ag building and then we picked them up around 7:30 pm that night.  They had a great time and Little Miss is enjoying it.

The babes just had a 4 day weekend.  They judged, got some sleep, lots of running around outside time and we got some barn chores done.  Then on their last day I took them to the Boat, Sport and Travel Show.  They got to see a 17 yr old bear and 4 1/2 wk old cub.  We watched a DNR demo.  And of course saw lots of other great things.

But the best part of the last couple of days is that Little Mans heifer from last year is now a momma!  She had a heifer calf on Monday.  We are so excited.  So I have lots of photos from our brief break of what we were up too and I also have a few recipes for my monthly recipe blog.  But we also have some more cattle posts to help those understand the way things on a beef cattle farm work sometimes!

Have a Great Day!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calf Ear Rings..

Like many people we tag our calves within a few hours of being born.  This way we can identify them.  After a few they all start looking alike when they are the same color.  Or like this year they are all boys and just one little girl so far.  All of our cows has a number for her place in the herd. So that's how we tag the calves.  And then if we end up keeping a heifer she gets the same number as her mom with the year she was born added. 

this is the tagging gun.  the tag goes into certain parts to clip the tag in the calves ear.

we have a few cows that mark and his brother share.  so those calves get yellow tags.
that way when he's here he knows which calves are which.
the top number is the cows number, the bottom number is the day the calf was were born.

then the other side is the sires (daddy) name.

i wanted to show how big the tags are.  they look huge, but as they grow they fit perfect.

this is how the tags go into the tagging gun.

you have to feel the calves ear and hit a certain spot.
they have cartilage and vessels in their ears, just like us.
so we try to center the tag between all of that and then they are less likely to rip them out also.

when we are out checking the tags make it easier to put calf with cow.
this year all but two of our calves are solid black.  we have this blazed bull and an orange/white bull.
so the tags are a great help when we are checking to make sure everyone is healthy.

When the calves are weaned they will be processed.  Meaning we will take these tags out, give shots, treat for lice and castrate the bulls. The bulls go to sell to buy new bred cows or heifers.  If we decide to keep any of the heifers they get a new tag.  And it's a different kind that is less likely to rip or snag.  We try to put the new tag in the same hole as the original tag, so they only have one hole in their ear.  They then will be given a forever number that matches their moms. 

For instance Buckwheat (Lily's mom) is #22, and Lily is #022 because she was born in 2010 and her moms number is 22.  Lily is due to calve in 2 weeks.  If she has a heifer and we keep it, that calves number will be #222.  And we do have software that helps up keep track of everything with our cattle.  Shots, calving, death, selling, weaning, weights, what pasture they are in.  Even our semen and embryos.  It's very helpful when you want to look back at performance on certain cow families.  Till next time!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No more bottle

Stinker has not had a bottle for a couple of days.  He is doing fine.  But he does come up to me often and hit me  in the leg wanting a bottle.  Instead he gets a scratch on the head.  With many of the cows having calved some of the calves are "robbing".  That means if they don't get what they want from their momma, they go to another momma and nurse.  Sometimes the cows don't mind.  Sometimes they don't realize it's not theirs for a bit.  And then we have a few cows that don't let he calves get near them, knowing it's not their baby.  So everyone is getting what they need.  I'm a little sad, but glad his momma is doing her job.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Mr. & Mrs. D

Little Man

Little Miss

 From all of us have a great Valentines's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Week

We hope everyone has a great week ahead.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two mommies are better than one..

Usually, mommas don't have an issue of having enough milk for their babies.  But sometimes things happen.  A momma doesn't take to her baby.  She just doesn't have enough milk.  Sometimes the cows don't survive a delivery.  There are many things that can alter the natural course of how the babies get fed.

Enter the enormous bottle full of warm milk, and two kids who fight about who gets to feed Stinker!  His momma is a first time momma and she just wasn't getting him what he needed.  We gave her a shot to help stimulate her hormones to make more milk.  Then we started giving him a supplement bottle once a day.  That way  he nurses off his momma the rest of the time.  This way he's getting what he needs. And she is still bonding and raising him.  One bottle is 3 pints of milk re placer.  You can get this from your local feed store.  Last night he didn't drink all of his bottle. So we are going to start weaning him off of it.  We think he is finally getting what he needs from momma.  Yay!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

All the cuteness that comes with calving...

That our red heeler is still with us...

That I have these two babes!
They make me want to be the best I know I can be.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Signs of a birth

We have had several calves hit the ground lately. We are almost halfway done now.   And it's tiring, exciting and so many other emotions wrapped up.  Cows are pregnant for 283 to 286 days, depending on their breed.  So once they are close we get them moved to start keeping and eye on them.  Many of our friends have asked how we know when they are going to calve.  So I took a few photos.  I hope I don't offend anyone.

this cow had her calf 5 days after this photo.
sadly we have a cow twice this size and she's not due till April
she did not like me taking a photo of her from behind, poor thing.

this udder isn't ready yet.  each nipple has a quarter and only her back 2 quarters are full
the day she calved they filled out and "rocketed" out, almost pointing out to the sides.

cows have a discharge when they are preparing to calve.
as they get closer that discharge gets heavier and more frequent.

We only have 3 more cows due this week.  Then we get about a 10 day window.  Which will be a nice break.  And then the most precious of girls will calve, Little Mans Simmy heifer he showed last year.  I may sleep with her!  I don't leave the farm unless Mr. M is home.  And then I'm not gone for more than 2 hours.  It sounds like a lot to some, but you wait months and months.  And you only get one chance to have a live, healthy baby.  I hope everyone has a great week ahead. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Recipe #2: Chicken Vegetable Alfredo Soup

Thanks to Pampered Chef for my sons favorite soup recipe!

All your ingredients you'll need.

I like to cut the broccoli down to put in the chopper.

I like to use the chopper, 1 cup of broccoli.

then i use the chopper for the 1/2 cup of carrots.

then i chop the onion with a knife, 1/2 cup of onion

yummy garlic; 1 garlic clove minced.

toss the broccoli, carrots, onion  and garlic in a stock pot.
dice up the red bell pepper, 1/2 cup.

toss in the red bell pepper and add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Cover; reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

while that's boiling i dice up 3 chicken breasts that i pre-cooked.
snip some basil, set aside. add the chicken and Alfredo sauce to the pot.
simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.  remove from the heat.

and there's the finished yumminess!

ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with fresh buttered bread.
i do double this recipe for our family of 4 because the original recipe only yields 4 servings.