Monday, April 16, 2012

Tulips and alfalfa are confused....

On eof the many tulips I have, wondering is it winter or summer in MN?
Boy does this weather in MN have my plants, flowers & veggies confused!  Not to mention the poor cows.  Just yesterday afternoon we were dodging thunderstorms in a humid 70 degree haze.  Today we are talking about snow, wind chills, and oh yeah....FROST!  Last week we endured a low overnight of 19.  That's not only harmful to my precious flowers....but also to our alfalfa.  It's scary to think what this next cool night might bring.  Last week's frost nipped the tops of all of our previously georgious alfalfa plants.  Most appear to have survived, but they are most definitely stunted.  Tonight's weather is going to put some already stressed out alfalfa plants at greater risk for more damage and even possibly death!   Our alfalfa crop is critical.  Healthy plants, harvested correctly, will make healthy feed for our cows...thereby growing healthy cows ;)  So, we are praying with fingers crossed that by the end of the week our dear alfalfa field will have survived the cool weather and resumed their path to an early harvest in May. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nutrition...a confusing maze of information!

Like all young people, Jon & I are working on making sure that we are eating the right foods and taking care of ourselves.  With the change/move to the farm, we have been able to have at least one solid meal with each other, everyday.  Usually that meal is at about 1-2pm, when all of the cows and calves have been fed.  In addition to sitting down for an hour for a hot meal, we also talk about the daily happenings at the farm and catch a little daytime TV.  We bounce between local news and Rachel Ray.  Later, when doing dishes and book work I might catch the Doctors or Dr. Oz. 
While I am not an avid follower of any of these shows, their rhetoric lately has caught my attention.  In an effort to capture viewers' attention they throw out words like "organic", "natural", "toxic", "poison", "miracle cure", "fountain of youth", and many more sales pitches!  Since we are early on our journey to better nutrition, I thought I would find the information on these shows to be useful and informative, but instead I found it to be inflated and false.  My perception was that it was a lot of hype for a variety of  "natural" solutions with false promises.  Example: I would love to eat a miracle berry from China that can reverse the signs of aging while taking a plethora of supplements for every possible ailment I "could" have in the future.  If even half of these ideas worked I should live for...well, I don't know, how's about forever!?!?!?  The saddest part of this revelation is that the average consumer doesn't fact check it, and therefore falls into a trap of misguided intentions. 
My personal experience has led me to believe that the miracle cure & fountain of youth lies within ourselves and how we handle our everyday lives.  My grandmother passed away at the age of 93, my grandfather is still alive and will reach 90 soon.  My father boasts of being in his late 50's and still not needing an ounce of medication for his heart.  The key to their successful, healthy lifestyles.....a balance!  A balance of good nutrition, exercise/daily activity, and reducing stress through positive relationships.  I know for a fact that their lives had/have balance.  My grandmother was noted for her lunches and dinners.  My father still brags about how she'd feed everyone 5 times in a day!  (morning rolls, breakfast after chores, noon dinner, afternoon snacks, and finally supper)  She balanced fruits and vegetables with meats and breads, in addition to dairy.  without even knowing, my grandmother was teaching invaluable lessons.  My father starts each day with the same breakfast before orange, some type of cereal with milk and flax seed, and 2 slices of toast with jam.  Add his farming lifestyle, filled with physical activity, and his heart is that of a healthy 20-something.  And even though my grandfather is almost 90, he still comes to the farm to help my dad....staying young! 
I guess what I'm trying to point out is that with all of the hype about good nutrition these days, it pays to look back at see what worked.  Those skills that my grandmother passed down are far more important to good health than any special berry from China or supplement from the store.  As for me, I'm sticking to my basics...a balanced diet, lots of physical activity, and relationships with others to help me enjoy life.....and I too hope to live well into my 90's as well!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Appreciation for Mothers of Multiples

Just a couple of the sweethearts I get to feed each day!
After the past couple weeks, I am gaining a new appreciation to those mom's who have multiple children or even more so, have multiples.  It's been crazy busy in the calving pen at the dairy barn.  In the past 10 days we have delivered 8 calves.  5 heifers and 3 bulls.  In addition to that, our cows have delivered a total of 23 calves in March!  Needless to say, we're running out of room to put them all.  I've decided to get a little creative and pair some of the newborns together until we can make space in other huts. 
This buddy system is working great for me though.  I have the ability to feed bottles of milk to 2 calves at one time instead of battling through daily feedings 1 calf at a time.  The calves don't seem to mind at all either.  Now they each have their own cuddle partner until they grow to be larger and then will "want their own room".  The added newborns have been keeping me busy, with an additional hour added to each morning and evening feeding, not including the extra times I stop by in the afternoon and night to make sure everyone is doing well.  I love spending time with my little calves, but with all of these newborns, I just not sure how moms with multiples can do it.  And I don't even have to change their diapers ;)  So...back out for afternoon calf check!