Hello Farm Friends! The temperatures rose on Wednesday and Thursday. That created a lot of mud. On Friday, the temperature was above freezing, and it snowed. This mixture created a lot of slush. It made driving conditions difficult. By nightfall, the roads were really bad. We had a lot of ice and slush mixed together. Jolene came home overnight and ended up putting her car in the ditch about two miles from home. Dad had to pull her out with the tractor. I went back to Cedar Falls with her on Saturday and stayed overnight at her place. Saturday night we went to a jazz concert. It was really good!
I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM A GIRL ON AN ORGANIC VALLEY FARM IN MINNESOTA. I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN HEARING ABOUT HER LIFE ON A DAIRY FARM, SO I?M GOING TO SHARE IT WITH YOU.
I'm writing to tell you about my family's organic dairy farm in Minnesota. My name is Rachel. I am 12 years old in 7th grade. The sports I play are basketball, softball, tennis, and volleyball. My parents are Jeff and Pam and I have 4 older siblings - Kelby, Derek, Matt, and Brad. My oldest brother Brad just graduated from college in the fall of 2003 from Iowa State University with his fiancée, Sarah.
Our farm is a busy place. We farm 157 acres and rent 150 acres. Our milk is shipped to Organic Valley Family of Farms. We are milking 60 cows and have a total of over 100 cattle all together. Our cows are Holstein, Jersey, and Normandy cross. We use these breeds to help improve protein, butter fat, and grazing. During the winter our cows are fed corn silage, dry hay, balage, and dry corn and oats. The cows are milked twice a day at 5:30 am and 5:30 pm. We use a double eight swing-milking parlor. It takes about 2 hours to milk and feed the calves and do chores. Other chores during the week include grinding feed, hauling manure, and feeding the cows. Last month 3 calves were born. We are expecting 3 more calves this month. It's fun to feed these little wobbly critters with a bottle, they push and pull on the bottle when I am trying to feed them and they jump and run around in their pen, such cute little babies. We also cut wood for our outdoor wood stove that heats the parlor, water, and our house.
Other animals on the farm include 20 pigs a year and about 30 laying hens and a few roosters that roam around the farm. We have a total of 8 dogs, 6 are Chihuahuas. Three of the Chihuahuas belong to my older brother Brad and his fiancée Sarah. The 6 chihuahua's names are Norman, Libby, Oliver, Leonard, Ernie, and Lilly. Libby is the mom of two litters of babies and she is about to have more babies. The other two dogs are a golden lab and an Australian shepherd, the labs name is Reilly and the shepherds name is Babe.
On our spare time my brothers and I play sports, my brothers play football, wrestling, and baseball. My family also goes fishing when we have time. This past winter we have had a red cardinal stay around so we make sure there is food available all the time. I can not wait for spring because the wet land on our farm will fill with water and many varieties of birds, ducks and geese will come and the sound of the frogs is nice to listen to. That is life on my farm.
Thanks for writing, Rachel.
Farm Fact: Organic livestock farmers need to test their water if they have a pond, river, or a creek in their pasture. The water might be contaminated from chemical, fertilizer or bacteria runoff from neighboring fields.