Ensuring Milk is Antibiotic Free

When a cow is sick she generally needs medicine to feel better. Did you know that once a cow has been treated (received medicine) her milk/meat cannot enter the food system until ALL of that medicine has left her system? 

So what do we as farmers do to ensure that the milk/meat you buy is free from antibiotics and other medicines? Here are important steps we take at our farm to keep your food safe.

Immediately when a cow is treated she receives 2 red Velcro leg bands. Red means STOP. This is a fairly universal rule in any milking parlor. 

Red means STOP!

These 2 simple bands allow everyone to know that her milk cannot go in to the bulk tank.But she still needs milked. Her milker will now hook up to a separate  bucket. This way the milk she gives until her  withdrawal (the time it takes for medicine to leave her system) is over can be dumped down the drain. 

The pail her milk goes in to every milking until her milk is “good” again.

All medicine comes with a mandatory withdrawal time. It varies from medicine to medicine and has been established from many trials done by veterinarians and scientist.

We are required by law that ALL of our medicines are clearly labeled with the withdrawal times. Regardless if they are purchased over the counter or a persciption is required.

It’s important to keep track of all the medicines a cow is given. This way she can continue to receive care accordingly and we know when her milk can be sold again. For ease of communication we have a large white board that hangs in our parlor to record any treatments given. 

The note on the board has her name/number, the date when she was treated, what medicine she received as well as the day and shift (am/pm). 

This is not a very long standing record. We have a computer system where we enter all of our medical (as well as many other) records. Medical records are available on any of our animals that cover the time they were born until the leave the herd. 

The cows identification number, medicine given and date are entered in to the records system. If you happen to enter a cow is leaving the farm before all of her withdrawals are done the computer alerts you. This is another great tool! 

Farmers work diligently to keep the food you buy safe. Every load of milk is checked for antibiotics and other medicines before being unloaded to be processed. Over 3 million loads were checked last year (that’s a lot of milk!). Out of 3 million loads there were only 371 loads that tested positive. These loads had to be dumped. 

You can buy your milk at the store with confidence knowing several steps have been put in place to make sure you are buying the safest and tastiest milk possible! 


Girls Can Be Farmers Too

You’ll only like spending time with cows until you find boys. 

I’ll never forget the day our vet told me this. I was in middle school and loved spending time with the cows. It hit me hard. 

With one of my girls, Pala, back in my younger years.

While it’s true that the average little girl doesn’t dream of growing up and being covered in cow poo daily, there’s plenty of girls who dream of living in the barn. 

Farmers are often envisioned as men. Agriculture is predominantly a male occupation. However, more and more women are declaring farming/ranching/agriculture as their main form of income. 14% of farms have a female principal operators. 

Being a female farmer never easy. Some people have a preconceived notion of what a farmer should look like. Most of these descriptions don’t involve a mom wearing yoga pants and a messy bun. Few things can be as disheartening as having a sales rep stop by only to ask to speak to your husband or father. 

Generally no one questions if a man can drive a tractor, pull a calf or AI (artificially inseminate) a cow. “You know how to that?” is not something that is asked to often of male counter parts.

Packing silage this past summer.

Women have a growing presence in agriculture. As more and more young women decide to cement a career in agriculture (be it sales,production, engineering) the gap we have with our male counterparts lessens. 

AND if you’re a young aspiring girl who wants to farm, here’s my piece of advice. Don’t listen to that old vet. There’s boys who like farming, that love girls who farm too 😉


The outlook for agriculture is currently not a stellar one. Prices are less than mediocre and many are hanging on by a string. In some cases a string that’s fraying. 

A strong US dollar is limiting our exports. We are striving to make advances to benefit us but are being financially limited to do so. Agriculture runs on a boom and bust cycle. I think many are aware we are currently in the later category. 

So why do we stay? 

 A Way Of Life

It’s hard  to find another occupation quite  like farming and ranching. For many of us it’s not only a way of life, it is our life. Our homes sit on our farms. Often times multiple generations have been raised inside the walls. When a farm sells everyone is literally up rooted. Not many other businesses have this to deal with. 


Much like a way of life, farming can be a family tradition. You don’t often hear of multi generational doctors, landscapers or contractors. You’re hard pressed to walk on to a farm or ranch and not see 2-3 generations working together on any given day. Let alone the number of generations that set the precedent. 

The Future

A love of the land and passion for agriculture is easily passed from one generation to the next. We are submersed in farming quite literally as soon as we’re born. Often with the hope that we stay and continue on with what has happened before us. Improving upon what was left in our care.

A life in agriculture is not for the weak nor weary. While we are so heavily depended upon, we are often overlooked. Times may be tough, but one way or another farmers and ranchers will find a way to persevere. 

Apple Enchiladas

This household enjoys a good dessert. We also favor anything wrapped up in a tortilla. Enter in to our world Apple Enchiladas. Apple pie filling, wrapped in flour tortillas and covered in a super easy caramel sauce.

Apple enchiladas are a super easy, sweet treat. All they take is a few minutes of prep work before a quick bake in the oven. They are delicious. Like I’m talking life changing. 

Apple Enchiladas 

  • 2 cans of apple pie filling
  • 8-12 flour tortillas (depending on size)

Warm tortillas in the microwave so they are easily pliable. In ours it was a quick 30 second spin. Times will vary. 

Fill tortillas with apple pie filling. Be careful not to overfill so it can still be rolled. I like to tuck my ends in then roll the tortilla. Making a neat little packet. Arrange in a greased 9×13 pan. 

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cinnamon to taste (I use around 2 teaspoons)

Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil until mixture begins to slightly thicken (1-2 minutes). Immediately pour over prepared apple enchiladas. 

Ok, now if you have self control, they are best if you allow them to sit for an hour. This allows the tortillas to soak in the carmel-ly goodness. That being said I have no self control. I pop them in the oven immediately the vast majority of the time… 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. The tops of the tortillas will begin to lightly brown. 

I like to serve these with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Both equally as delicious! And a tasty side note: these are even better the next morning after sitting in the fridge overnight. Not that I would recommend dessert for breakfast or anything….

Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

Lately an article drifting around social media has been causing quite the stir among some. A semi truck and trailer overturned spilling mass quantities of skittles. These skittles were intended to be used as cattle feed.

A snapshot of our cows eating at the feed bunk.

The whole thought of cows eating a sweet treat was foreign to most people. Here is a great thing about cows, they are amazing recyclers! If these skittles didn’t find a way to be repurposed they’d be destined to go to a landfill to rot. 

Cattle are able to use many products in their diets that would otherwise be thrown out. These are called byproducts. A byproduct is something that is leftover from manufacturing of a product. Cattle are able to utilize byproducts from bakeries, ethanol plants, breweries and everything in between! It’s pretty amazing.

The great thing about byproducts is they are able to reduce the cost of rations. Generally they are cheaper and used in smaller amounts than more traditional feeds. Cows, just like humans have nutritional needs to be met in order to produce milk, gain weight and grow. With the help of a cattle nutritionists they are able to eat a ration that is balanced to their needs, with or without the use of byproducts. 

The grain our milk cows eat. We utilize byproducts such as distillers grains.

So what are some byproducts cows eat other than red skittles? 

Brewers Grains- This is mainly the barley (and some hops) left over from the production of beer. It’s very easily digested by the cows and is a great source of protein. 

Bakery Waste- breads, pasteries, cookies, etc that are left over from large scale bakeries. Often when it comes to the farm it is all ground in to small particles. This is a great source of additional far and starch in a cows diet. 

Beer Pulp- this is the part of the sugar beet that is leftover from sugar production. It adds fiber and allows less forages to be fed. 

Chips/Potato Waste- leftovers from potato chip factories can be a great source of starch. 

Distillers Grains- generally corn, barley and other small grains left over from the production of ethanol. 

Candy- the infamous skittles, funny bears, milk chocolate, gum drops, etc. All of these are very high in sugar and fat, enabling energy to be added to the cows ration.

Obviously a cow can’t live on candy and bread alone. Just like humans, a cattle nutritionist balances their ration. Together with traditional feedstuffs (silage, hay, corn, soybeans) a economical and efficient ration can be made! This is another way farms are being more sustainable and reducing waste. 

All that feed gets turned in to tasty milk!

The Age of Perfection

There’s a great thing that’s come about with social media. The age of perfection. One where our photos are only posted if we are perfectly groomed and everyone is smiling brightly. There is no sadness in our family, only tooth filled smiles and pleasantries. Our children no longer misbehave, always please and thank you. There is never a disagreement with your spouse, I mean who has time to argue with all the well manicured photos and happiness?

Ok, did I lose anyone? Because honestly that was making me nauseous. Real life isn’t as neat and tidy as a perfectly posed, filtered Instagram photo. I would be lying if I said I wish it was. 

If you want to fully submerse yourself in to perfection, discuss parenting on social media. Blogs, posts, info graphs on how to improve your child. How to correct behaviors. Full of advice and wisdom. 

Here’s the thing. Our kids aren’t robots. They’re smaller versions of us. They have more emotions and feelings then you can imagine. Don’t believe me? Spend a mere 20 minutes with a 3 year old. Happy – crying- enraged – giggling toddlers. God bless them and their mood swings! 

Some days he roars like a lion. Then needs snuggled.

I’m not sure it improves much when they’re older. Opinions, valid (😁) arguments… Believe it or not there are days my precious angels have the audacity to yell at me!

There are days they are as mentally exhausting as they are cute.

Brace yourself… Some days I let them dish it to me. Just like us kids have bad days. Some times they fly off the handle. Guess what, so do I! 

Our kids aren’t perfect. Neither are we. The thing is we all learn from our mistakes. We apologize. We say sorry. We are merely human. Some days we’re simply angry and crabby. That’s ok. Even if the anger is directed at you from someone who still can’t tie their own shoes. 

Some days in this house we yell and argue. There’s tears and name calling. Then we apologize, hug and move on. There are no perfect kids that live under our roof. We are far from perfect parents. And we are definitely trying to figure out how to perfect that amazing social media photo. 

It’s as close as we get.

New Year, Same Me

Every one is making New Years resolutions. I mean it is that time of the year. We set goals, we aim to change, but are we really that bad to begin with?

Call me boring, I kinda like me. Believe me it’s taken a long time to get here. Personal acceptance is hard. You have to realize your faults then come to terms with them.

After some deep thought, I’m not making resolutions this year. It’s taken me nearly 30 years to decide I’m a pretty ok human. None of us are perfect. I’m not going to beat myself up trying to be.

I’m a mother to 3 amazing (although semi feral) children. 

I’m a wife to another pretty decent human, who has dealt with me for over a decade now. Kudos to him!

Maybe we do need to make a goal of more pictures together. Minus the random child or cow…

I work with my parents on a daily basis doing something that I’m passionate about. Family and business is hard, but we all make it work. 

Meeting time!

I attempt to keep chugging along at this blog. I love sharing my story. Even if it seems like some weeks, ok months, I neglect it. 

Check it out here, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Why does the change of the year have to decide we need to change a good thing? Keep on keeping on. Here’s to a great 2017! 

Black Friday, Christmas Trees and A Trip Down Memory Lane

WAY back when I was in middle school, a time when scrunchies were cool and we all had AOL messenger, my mom starting the tradition of us going Black Friday shopping together. Now before you judge I have never pushed, shoved nor been cuffed on Black Friday. We are rational and avoid the crazy stores (i.e. Walmart, Best Buy). 

These adventures have led to many memories. Both of triumph and tears. I figured it was time to share a story that contained both. 

Nearly 10 years ago RKO (Rural King Ohio) was running a door buster deal that involved the first 50 people to cash out in the store getting a FREE live Christmas tree. My dad has always drug his feet on putting up a tree early. My mom and I saw this as our shining oppurtunity to secure a tree before December 23rd. 

The store opened at 5 if I remember correctly. In our game plan we needed to leave about 45 minutes prior to that because I needed to get gas. At the time I drove a Ford Ranger. Small enough to park in a crowded lot, but still having a bed to stash our prospective tree. 

We set out. Thinking the gas station was open the next town over. Wrong. I think no big deal we can make it to the next station about 10 miles up the road. Wrong. We run out of gas. In a swamp. In the dark. 

A May Day call was put in to my father and then fiancé (I gotta give him credit for staying with me after living this story out) who were milking cows at the time. They laughed, they grumbled, my dad started our way with a gas can. 

Up pulls head lights. Not my dads truck. My mom and I start discussing the possibile escape routes in case it was a murderer. Good news, it wasn’t. It was the kid who worked the deli counter at the local grocery store. He was nice and checked to make sure we had help coming before driving off. 

My dad arrives. He puts gas in my truck that came with a lecture about having enough gas, serial killers and how ridiculous this whole adventure was. 

My mom and I collected our thoughts and continued on our quest. We were women on a mission. We arrived at RKO and hustled in to the store. After all of this it was like 5:15. We rush thru and cash out. Success, we still got FREE tree!!! This effort was not in vain. 

We shopped til we dropped, then returned victorious with our pine in tow. Grudgingly the next day my dad put up the tree. We all decorated and got in the holiday spirit. 

Now it’s important to note that deer season is next to a holiday around these parts. The male farmers at our place become very scarce and they only have priorities involving white tails. 

My brother also had a cat at this time with questionable mental stability. At some point in time during the day, towards the end of the week when everyone gets cranky from pursuing Bambi, the cat knocked the tree over. This happens sometimes with cats. Except when the tree fell it hit the entertainment center in the living room. No big deal, it broke the fall right? Well in breaking the fall it knocked EVERY needle (or so it seemed) off the tree… It seems as though our tree may not have been freshly cut. 

The conversation that occurred next was one of personal victory for my father and defeat for my mom and I. To add insult to injury he left the tree. Naked with dangling ornaments and all. 

Hanging our heads low, we un-decorated our prize tree. What had once brought us so much pride and joy quickly became an embarrassment. 

The following week we bought a new tree. Which we cut ourselves, ensuring the freshness. Then we redecorated it. Twice the holiday cheer! 

Nearly 10 years later and this story is still brought up on Black Friday and when we decorate our trees. Occasionally when we walk past the rows of trees at RKO. 

Holiday traditions. They’re never short on memories! 

Being A Good Mom

I’m a good mom. It’s a hard statement to type. It’s probably even harder for me to say out loud. But the truth is we need to tell ourselves this. 

I frequently feel like the candle is burning from both ends. But really the candle doesn’t only have two ends, it has wicks every where. Some days that flicker of a candle is more easily envisioned as a bonfire blazing out of control. 

There are days I pray that my kindergartener feels like I’m giving him enough attention while he works on spelling as I’m doing dishes and tending to dinner. 

My first grader reads and colors with my toddler while I get lunches packed for school. She’s my go to to occupy him when I need a diversion for him so I can shower. 

I think the hectic life of farming has made me stop to appreciate the small actions that are turning them in to great little humans. They have learned it takes a team to get everything done in a day. 

I’ve begun to focus more on the quality of the time we spend together. We have fun even when doing everyday things. Telling jokes in the tractor. Singing pre school songs (possibly loudly and off key) while we scrape manure. Our time together may be crazy, but it’s still time together. 

Days I feel like the candle is starting to go a blaze I stop and think. Did the kids leave for school happy? Did everyone eat a semi nutritious meal today? Is everyone fairly clean? Did we all survive until bed time? It may sound corny, but some days just reminding myself this helps. 

Life’s not perfect. Some days it’s an absolute mess, with glue stick in your hair and all. There are nights I run to dance class a little “aromatic” yet from the barn. But I’m giving it my all. And that is what makes us all good moms. 

Thankful November and Parenting

November is here and it brings with it the urge to share everything we are thankful for. There are the obvious family, health, friends… But I think when you’re a parent you enter a new season of thankfulness. One where you appreciate smaller things. 

  • Everyone knowing the location of their shoes when you need to walk out the door. 

    Shoes, shoes anyone?

  • No hostage type negotiations over eating, getting dressed, basically acting human.
  • No one proudly announcing a bodily function in a public setting.

    Toddlers fart a LOT. For which they are very proud.

  • All outside type creatures (bugs,slugs, amphibians) remaining outside. 

    This list should include ducks.

  • Good weather that allows your kids to burn off energy outside for hours. 
  • Successfully completing potty training.
  • Everyone cooperating for a family photo.

    I’m not sure this qualifies as that.

  • Avoiding cold/flu in the winter.
  • The bank teller giving you the correct number of suckers when you go to the drive up window. 
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathons so you can accomplish something on a rainy day. 
  • Cause nothing is more destructive than a bored toddler.

  •  That glorious moment in the evening when everyone falls asleep

    Snuggled in Mom and Dads bed because thats where they sleep best.