No Drip Popsicles

My kids, like any other kids, LOVE Popsicles! Most days they can manage to eat them like civil little people. Other days not so much. And let’s face it, that little one although cute, is a walking mess. The tribe has also been politely reminding me that they want to make homemade Popsicles.

I walked in to WalMart the other day and lo and behold, Popsicle molds were on sale for 88 cents. So I grabbed a few. Then a quick search yielded this quick, simple and fairly mess free recipe.

  
Drip Free Popsicles 

  1. 1 3 ounce package of jello
  2. 1/3 cup of sugar
  3. 2 cups boiling water 
  4. 2 cups cold water

In a large bowl whisk together jello powder, sugar and boiling water. Stir until well combined. This may take several minutes. Add cold water. Pour in to molds and place in freezer. Let freeze 6 hours or overnight. When ready to eat run warm water over the molds to loosen. 

As the Popsicles get warmer they become more of the consistency of warm jello. Not leaving little drips all over. 

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A Day in the Life of a Cow

What does a dairy cow do every day? Lots! They’re busy ladies. A day in the life of a dairy cow, as told by the cow.

5 am- “Time to rise, shine and start the day! The farmer came to get my herd mates and I up to head to the holding pen. Once I stretch and hop out of my stall it’s cleaned so I have a nice place to sleep when I come back. I love naps!”

“While I’m in the holding pen waiting to be milked the barn is scraped free of manure. My gal pals and I like to be clean and pretty, but we can sure make a mess!”

Isn't my barn so clean and shiny thanks to my farmer!

Isn’t my barn so clean and shiny thanks to my farmer.

6am- “It feels so much better to have my udder empty! It fills up in no time with all this food, water and rest. Us ladies get milked 3 times a day to keep us comfortable.”

6:30am- “Shhh… I hear it. When you hear the tractor start it means FOOD is coming. I love food. I could eat all day. We get fed twice a day when our feed comes out of the tractor and mix wagon. Did you know I eat 100 pounds of feed a day? It takes a lot to keep this milk machine running!”

Here comes my farmer with the chow wagon!

Here comes my farmer with the chow wagon!

7am- “Well my tummy is full, my udder is empty and my stall is clean. This means only one thing, nap time! I like to relax and sleep almost as much as I like to eat.”

12:45pm- “Time to get moving again. I’ve chilled most of the morning but now it’s time to get milked again. Off to the holding pen I go!”

“I think when I walk past these tubs I need to stop and get a sip. My farmer has seen all these silly pictures of gallon jugs wrote on lately with people trying to get in a gallon of water a day. They got nothing on me. I drink a bath tub full every day. Sip, sip away!”

On top of the automatic water troughs in the barn, we can drink from these tubs when we head to the holding pen and after we're milked.

On top of the automatic water troughs in the barn, we can drink from these tubs when we head to the holding pen and after we’re milked.

1:30pm- “My milker is on and I’m chugging away! After a short wait in the holding pen I’m getting some udder relief. It takes a little over 5 minutes for me to get milked.”

Milking away!

Milking away!

3pm- “I hear that noise again, the one that I love, food wagon!!! We have a nutritionist who makes a rations just for us, it meets all the needs we have to produce quality milk for you to enjoy. My favorite part of the mix is the corn silage, but we also have hay and grain mixed in too.”

Eating with my gal pals. This TMR (total mixed ration) is delicious!

Eating with my gal pals. This TMR (total mixed ration) is delicious!

5pm- “Sometimes these mini farmers, as we call them, come play in our sand. They’re loud but we see them everyday. It’s to the point we barely notice them unless we want some scratches. They’re always playing in our beds!”

Mini farmers making sand castles, silly kids!

Mini farmers making sand castles, silly kids!

7pm- “It’s a nice evening so all of us girls headed outside to soak up some evening sun and take in the breeze. Socializing when it’s cooler is such a nice break.”

8:50pm- “It’s that time again. Off to get milked I go! While I wait to get milked I enjoy standing in the door way. My farmer does a good job, but I like to supervise.”

Milking is done best under my careful supervision.

Milking is done best under my careful supervision.

10pm- “I made sure to belly up to the water tub before heading back to the barn. I’m going to grab a quick bite to eat then hit the stall. I’ll be back up and at it again in a few hours!”

Nighty, night!

Nighty, night!

“Thanks for spending the day with us. Remember to drink your milk 😉 “

Seperate Is Not Always Bad

It has recently been brought to my attention some people have negative opinions of how we take care of our youngest herd members. That it’s mean they don’t live side by side with their mothers their entire lives and how our care cannot possibly match up to that of a concerned momma cow.

Why do our calves not stay with their mom? One common misconception I have heard is that we steal the calves from their mothers in order to “harvest” their milk for human consumption. The average cow on our farm gives almost 11 gallons of milk a day. I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of milk for one calf. With our current calf care program the calves drink a little less than 2 gallons of milk. They could nurse off of Mom and there would still be plenty to go around.

Baby Dorothy looking for her breakfast.

Baby Dorothy looking for her breakfast.

Maybe we just like to be big bullies? Far from the truth. Cows can hurt calves. We like to envision rolling green fields filled with pairs of cows and calves. Today most dairy cows live in free stall barns or on bedding packs. This is quite comfortable in a cows eyes. Lots of space, clean dry bedding, no flys and not being out in the weather. I, personally, don’t want the sun beating down on my back!

Free stall barns are not ideal for cow/calf pairing. The babies need fluffy straw to give them a warm and comfy bedding pack, where as Mom likes to lay in deep sand so she can hunker down and rest. Each has a different housing need. On top of that, the flooring in a free stall barn is grooved cement to allow for easy cleaning. While cement is fine for Mom, babies legs are too wobbly and they will struggle with footing.

A view inside of our free stall barn.

A view inside of our free stall barn.

A baby hanging out in a calf pen. This shot was taken in the winter, the jacket is meant to give her an extra layer to stay warm.

A baby hanging out in a calf pen. This shot was taken in the winter, the jacket is meant to give her an extra layer to stay warm.

Let’s face it, some dairy cows just aren’t good mothers. It’s easy to assume every cow has a calf and wants to care for it. Some do, but some don’t. I have seen plenty of cows lay down, go thru labor, only to get up and simply walk away. Mothering traits have not been bred in to dairy cows as in beef cows. Humans have taken care of dairy calves for many, many years. Calves can be stepped on and suffer devastating injuries. I have even seen the after effects of a less than careful cow lay on her baby, squishing it. Babies have separate housing to keep them safe.

Calves are housed with other calves their own size.

Calves are housed with other calves their own size.

Dairy cows and calves have different nutritional requirements. Cows need access to plenty of feed geared to make them produce lots of quality milk. Calves need the nutrition to help them grow quickly. Their nutritional needs change every few months at first. We have rations for each stage to maximize their health and growth.

Our herd is regularly vaccinated just like you or your pet are. This ensures we keep some nasty diseases at bay. Calves, like any other baby, are born with no immune system. This sets them up to be a magnet for germs. Most diseases can be vaccinated for and prevented against by taking small preventative steps. Some simply cannot and are easily passed from older cows to calves. A calf’s health and wellness for their entire lives can actually be set up very shortly after birth.

We strive to keep our babies healthy and content.

We strive to keep our babies healthy and content.

We don’t take baby calves away to be mean. We don’t take baby calves away to “steal” milk meant for them. We house baby calves separately because years and years of observation have told us it is the safest option for the calves.