Monday, June 1, 2015

Hello Guernsey Dairy Mama

Have you enjoyed following me? You can now find me at: 

It's almost with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to this space! This has been my blogging home for the past four years, and it definitely feels like home! But I have finally taken the plunge to have more creative freedom with my little space on the web. It's a whole new adventure and challenge that I am really looking forward to! 
Seriously Thank You for joining me here, reading my posts and following along with my journey. When I decided to re-brand last Fall, I didn't really know what a journey it would be. But I am excited for the future and where this fun little hobby can continue to go. So I hope you'll all join me:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mid-Week Meal

So I am always looking for recipes that make good grab and go meals, cause lets face it there are lots of times dinner is literally consumed on the go around here. Our big meal for the day is consumed at lunch time, where we actually all sit down together and eat. Dinner is usually more thrown together or left overs because we often don't get in from the barn until it's time to eat. Last night was one of those nights and I was staring into my fridge trying to figure out what to whip together with what I had. The chickens are laying like crazy so I wanted to use up eggs, and I remembered seeing recipes that cook eggs in a muffin tin. And they came out great, even better they might be one of our new favorites!

I'll call them On the Go Eggs:

1/4lb lean hamberger
1/4 cup diced onion
10-12 Farm fresh Eggs
 1/2 cup frozen tater tots
Pepper jack cheese
Spices to taste: Salt, pepper, garlic and I used paprika this time

Preheat oven to 350. Throw in your frozen tater tots as the oven is preheating.
Grease a muffin tin and set aside.
In small frying pan cook the onion in a dollop of olive oil until translucent. Add hamburger and lightly brown.
In a separate bowl crack eggs and whip together. I added probably about 1/4 cup of milk because our yolks are so thick, helped the eggs to whip up better. Add spices and mix again. I really did just go on taste and you could use whatever spices you wanted.
As the oven reaches temperature pull out your tater tots (I'm sure frozen hashbrowns would work well too). Crumble into small pieces, they should just fall apart if they have cooked enough. Let cool slightly.
Fold in the hamburger mixture and tater tots into the eggs.*Update* I forgot, that's the problem with making up a recipe as you go. I shredded in some pepper jack cheese, probably about 1/4 cup.
Divide equally into the muffin tin. I kind of poured the liquid egg into the tins and then spooned the thicker mixture in after. That way you got the same consistency in each tin.
Bake for 25 mins. They should really puff up, and just be the slightest bit brown, don't over do it!
Let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving! If you have littles eating with you, I would pull a couple out and break them open, they really do keep the heat in as they are so dense!

This was my first attempt at these and I see doing lots of different varieties. This is one of those recipes you can't really mess up and would be a good place fot that stuff you want to use up sitting in your fridge! I was somewhat worried they might be a little crumbly, but they really do make awesome on the go eats. My husband grabbed a couple as he was running out the door for drill as a volunteer firefighter. His first comment was how easy they were to eat while driving!
We all have those meals that are on the go, make them a good one!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day

Farmers don't just think about Earth Day once a year. For us Earth day is Everyday! That means taking care of the land that in turn takes care of us, our farm and our Ladies! My hope as a farmer is to leave the Earth better for future generations! Proud to part of the industry that is the original caretakers of this amazing planet!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dairy Farmers visit the Capital

Democracy only succeeds with engaged citizens.
I'm excited to have begun my journey with the Oregon Young Dairy Leaders class of 2015/16. The first session certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone as we headed to Oregons Captial. We spent the day behind the scenes and met with 12 representatives. Truly interesting to see the inner working of our state government and those that govern us. I honestly have never been a very " political person", but I know if we don't make our voice heard, then someone else will tell our story for us. Especially in this legislative session there are several bills that would be extremely harmful to the whole of agriculture in Oregon. I was really impressed with the openness of those we met with and their encouragement to truly feel that the Captial is our building. They really want us telling our stories and how pieces of legislation will impact us so that they can make informed votes for the betterment of their constituents. 

Really a great kick off to becoming a better voice for the dairy industry. Looking forward to the next year with this great group of young adults from the Oregon dairy industry! 
Rep Mike McLane is an FFA & 4H supporter
Enjoyed our time with Senator Betsey Johnson
OYDL with Rep Greg Barreto
A big thank you to all the representatives that took the time to accept appointments with our class. Great introductions with them and I look forward to building on those relationships.
P.S. if you get a chance to visit Oregon's stunningly beautiful capital, seriously an amazing building! Make sure to check out the carpet on both the house and senate sides. More than certain it gives the PDX carpet a run for it's money! ;-) It also fun to wear non barn clothes for the day! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cows on Pasture

My favorite day of the year has arrived! And a whole month earlier than last year. Today we let the Ladies back out onto the pasture! It is always so much fun to watch them return back outside to the lush green grass. After a little bit of fun and kicking up their heels they got right down to business grazing and then taking a snooze in the warm sunshine!
We do everything we can to make their winter care the best that it can be. The reason we pull the Ladies into confinement for the winter to protect our ground. The pacific northwest just gets too wet in winter, and if we allowed the cows to stay outside they would make a complete mucky mess of the pasture. This break throughout the winter not only protects the grass, but also allows it to get a wonderful healthy growing start. This in turn helps to provide feed for our cows.
It's all one big circle that dairy farmers care greatly for; we care for the land so it can in turn help care for our Ladies. It is definitely my favorite view to see those gorgeous brown and whites on the lush green Spring grass!

Freckles leads the herd

Bette takes off running!

Bookie and Ramira butting heads

Notice Jolanda jumping for joy in the background?!?
Muzzle deep the grass is lush! Jesusita and Anna are enjoying!

All settled down for a nap!
Brooklyn soaking up the sunshine!
Seriously my favorite day! And it was so warm here today, the sunshine felt amazing! I hope you had an equally great day! Happy Thursday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Robot Tour

When I throw the word robot out there, dairy farm probably doesn't come to mind first. But that is exactly what I am talking about, robotic milking on the dairy farm. We are excited to be launching into the adventure of transitioning our farm to robotic milking. After much discussion we felt it fit our management style and where we want to take to our herd for the future.

So while our start of date is still a ways away we are currently taking the time to visit as many farms as we can that are currently using robots. We are in the research and development phase of our plan and touring other farms lets us learn from them. Last week on my facebook page I mentioned we were headed on a little adventure; that was to tour 3 farm in Washington that are robotic.
Here you can see the collar the cows wear.  I think they enjoy them as a fashion statement!
On a robot farm the milking is done by a robot that lets the cow visit and be milked as she likes. She enters an individual stall, much like our current parlor, and her information is read from a collar on her neck. That information includes pretty much everything under the sun about each cow, but it gives the robot a map of her udder so she can be prepped and milked. While she's being milked she's eating grains fed according to how much milk she is producing. Each quarter of her udder is on an individual take off, so they come off as she is done giving milk. Once she is completely done she is sprayed with teat dip, the stall opens and she goes back to her day. It's pretty much exactly what we do now, just a robot is doing it. Click here to see a robot in action.

A big part of success in a robot barn is the layout and design of the barn. As the cow is free to come and go as she likes, the flow, as it is called, is very important. The three farms we visited retrofitted their robots into their existing barn, instead of building new like we plan to, but it was still beneficial to see how the cows moved through their designs.

It was also great as all three farms also graze their cows as we do for as many months as the pacific northwest weather allows. Those insights on grazing were very beneficial. Part of grazing success is a sort gate the cows must go through before leaving for the pasture. This gate reads her information on her collar much like the robot and either lets her out to graze and sends her back into the barn as she still needs to be milked.
Graze Gate
One thing completely evident on all three farms is how calm, relaxed and contented the whole herd of cows is. They really enjoy getting to pick their own schedule and that frees up the farmer's flexibility. Since we've announced our plan to move to robotics we've heard lots of people ask what we are going to be doing with all our free time if we aren't milking cows. A farmer doesn't put in a robot to not manage his cows, it's simple another tool we can utilize, I guarantee we won't run out of things to do!

We are all very excited for this adventure. But there is definitely still a lot to learn and decide, it almost all feels very overwhelming at times. Without a doubt though we are excited for this future and what it will bring to our farm, our family and our Ladies!   
Happy Robot Cows!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Healthy Start

Hello February! 

Sometimes it take some healthy determination to make a difference. This month I am determined to carve out a little bit of time for myself! After a few months of just feeling blah by the afternoon, I knew I needed to make a change. It's easy to feel like I just need a break, Mama's need a break, and nap time is my usual down time. But this month I've decided to add in a little movement to help my body feel healthier.

I am not a workout person, and things have to be simple and easy or I won't stick with them. So I am simply trying to move for 20 minutes every day. Yesterday I simply carved out 5 minute intervals in between house clean up. One time I walked our stairs, the next I did a few easy exercises; push ups, plank, lunges and squats and lastly during chores I pushed myself at a little faster pace than usual. Those ten minutes during the afternoon really helped to boost my energy level and clear my head.

So after day one I am sticking to it! One more thing I threw in for fun is drinking more water. I get plenty of water every day, in coffee form, so I'm making a conscious decision to grab a glass every time I think of it.

Small changes, simple baby steps for a healthier and happier ME.
Cause we all need some time for ourselves!

Join me on instagram #30x20challenge, we'll keep each other accountable!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Christmas in the Country Reveal!

Merry Christmas.........Happy New Year..........Oh wait it's the end of the middle of this will just be a tradition that my Christmas in the Country post is late! This year I didn't have the excuse of having a baby, but I was busy the first half of January getting ready for my littler farmer's first birthday. Yes excuses, excuses! But don't let that diminish my enthusiasm for probably my favorite blog activity of the year again: Christmas in the Country 2014!

This year I sent a taste of my hometown to the lovely Katy of Little House on the Horizon. My gift  was packed full of my favorite things made right here, coffee and everyone's favorite chocolates form our local chocolate shoppe. I also including some homemade jam,. *Note to self for next year, pick lighter items to ship! Hehe, but I truly had so much fun putting Katy's gift together, and even though I haven't heard from her I am hoping she enjoyed and had a wonderful first Christmas in their new home!!

  I was so excited when my package slip arrived on the 23rd, I knew it must be my exchange gift! I couldn't wait till Christmas so I opened it early and found an awesomely packed box of goodness from Danielle of High Heels and Shotgun Shells. She did an awesome job of  "stalking" me to put together a meaningful gift.
First out was a box of Christmas cookies, that I didn't waste any time breaking into! I even shared some with my boys, they loved the ones filled with M&M's and pretzels! I throughly enjoyed a chocolate cookie with my coffee, great combo! We finished them off Christmas morning as we were opening presents.
 Next I spied something lacey! Danielle was SO thoughtful to throw in something girly for me, cause she's right, I am overrun with boys around here! An awesome pair of boot socks!
The rest of the box was filled with awesome pieces from Danielle's new home state Kentucky. BBQ sauces that I can't wait to try out, thinking it will go great on pulled pork sliders! Salsa......mmm Salsa! I kind of have a thing for good Salsa, don't think I've ever admitted that, but chips and Salsa are definitely up there with my favorite snacks. This one did not dissapoint, sweeet, spicy and all around awesome! It was a perfect snack after a long night just the other day. Of course some Kentucky Bluegrass seed, which will some in handy, I have a strip in our yard that is still resisting regrowing after two summers ago pipe work. And lastly, but definitely not least Danielle caught onto the idea that I kind of collect ornaments from trips around the States. So now I have a Kentucky one to proudly hang on my tree!
Didn't waste any time on getting it put on our tree and it looks pretty awesome if you ask me! Enjoying my little piece of Kentcuky that will get to join us every Christmas!

Danielle rocked my present! And I've been having so much fun following along with her on all her channels. She's fun and has great style, go check her out!

I really enjoyed participating again this year in Christmas in the Country! A huge shout out to our hosts who help make this happen! I am still friends with my gift giver from last year Jenny from The Magic Farmhouse and I think it's an awesome way to connect and make like minded friends from across the country! Looking forward to Christmas in the Country 2015!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Resolutions

I've never really been one for New Years resolutions, but I seem to always find myself thinking about all the possibilities that seem to be more readily available as the calendar turns over. Why is it that we are more ready to make a change when the date changes? I'm all for motivation, and anything that helps is great, but I find resolutions seems to hang a heavy weight over some heads. So I'm here to encourage you to let go!
If anything that has been my theme for the last year, anyone hear the Frozen song Let it Go playing in the background? In all reality embracing that thought, and only attending to what has to be done, has been liberating. I'll be honest that some areas of my life have suffered greatly from this mantra: my house is literally a disgusting mess, my long lost friends rarely get to see me and my to do list is literally a mile long.
So what have I been doing? Surviving, living, and even sometimes enjoying motherhood with two young boys and a dairy farm. I've embraced the thought that I literally can't do it all and am completely alright with it! Don't get me wrong, it took me a while to get here, and at times it feels like a lonely dark hole that I dug myself. But I find I am so much more happy, less stressed and free. And let's truly be honest, if we don't take care of ourselves, it's really hard to take care of the others in our life.
I am all for making positive changes in your life, just don't be afraid to examine them realistically and be easy on yourself if you don't at first succeed. Above all, take some time for you. Enjoy that extra cup of coffee and chocolate without counting the calories, leave the laundry for tomorrow and play with your child instead, pick up that book you've been meaning to read, go for that run because you want to!
I understand this fast paced crazy life often leaves us with little time for the things we really want to do. Stop longing to do them and make them a priority! 
Above all don't believe that investing in your own happiness is selfish!

 Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is a blessed, healthy, prosperous and HAPPY year for you! ~Darleen

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hello 2015!!

Our first calf, a heifer, arrived this afternoon! A great way to Welcome in 2015!
Happy New Year!