Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ignorance Isn't Bliss - It's Ignorant. Go Towards the Source

OK. There’s this 120% uneducated person out there that is spreading lies about the dairy industry and as a Pied Piper their followers are dancing along behind them believing every word. I will not validate this person with a name or site. But I will dissect the lies and share the truth.

This ignorant person states that cow’s milk gets whitened. They must be confusing the dairy industry with the dental industry. I can see how easily that can happen when you ignore all the facts.

Cow’s milk is white. Comes out white and stays white. There is no blood or pus in your milk. Upon occasion an animal will have mastitis. That cow is removed from the herd and treated. When her treatment is done and the hold time is up the cow comes back into the herd to be milked.

Apparently this person knows more about dairying than us dairy farmers. Their “facts” state that a cow is milked 24/7. Hmmm . . . we never knew that. We’ve been giving them time to eat, drink, mingle with each other and chill out on their mattresses in between the times we milk.

Another statement: a cow’s life span is 20 years, yet as a dairy industry we turn them out in 4-5 years – it must be from having the milkers hanging on their teats 24/7 (insert eye roll here). We have cows that are double digit in age. Must be all the attention we are giving our animals – like feeding and caring for medical needs. This has to stop so we can have a turn over every 4-5 years.

Also, after the 4-5 year kick out the cows have their throats sliced at the slaughter house – this person’s false fact. I’ve been to many slaughter houses yet I’ve not seen this. A cow is an animal. This animal provides food and products in many different ways. Milk and meat are two. If this person is so anti-animal killing then they need to inspect their cupboards and lifestyle.

Footballs are generally made from cattle hide. Ooops, no more football!

Some soaps, lubricants, lipstick, face and hand creams are made from the fats from beef. There will be some stinky, dry skinned people out there once they see this.

Say bye-bye to buttons, bone china, piano keys, wall paper, sandpaper, toothbrushes, combs, glues and violin strings.  I guess it’s OK to not use toothbrushes since this person and those who follow only eat vegetables. The can mush them up and swallow – no teeth needed.

Are you diabetic? If you follow their reasoning and don’t use animal by products (which many do) then I hope you have your will made out. It takes the pancreases from 26 cattle to provide enough insulin to keep one diabetic person alive for a year. There are 5 million diabetic people in the US and about 1.25 million of them need daily insulin. We can reduce population that way – make more room to grow more vegetables.

Rape on the farm is a common occurrence in this person’s brain. I find it offensive to even suggest something that is so horrific to so many women be used to describe artificial insemination.

Personally, I see no need to attack people’s choices in food. If you want to be vegetarian – great! If you want to be organic – great! If you want to be GMO free – great! I choose to eat meat, drink milk, be a conventional farmer and I don’t have any concerns about GMOs. There is plenty of room on this ball of mud for all of us to have choices.

There is one thing I would ask. If you have any questions about organic farming – ask an organic farmer, not a conventional farmer. If you have questions about GMOs or other farming – ask a farmer who uses GMOs – don’t listen to celebrities and angry specialty groups. Go to the source.

A great source for all your farming questions is Ask The Farmers face book page, or their site This is a group of farmers – all sizes and types that coexist on this page to answer questions and share information on all kinds of farming practices.

You know the saying “Go towards the light?”

I’m saying “Go towards the source.”

Live long and carry on.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Shhhhh - Looking for a Wife

My son - outstanding in his field.

Shhhhh. Don’t tell him but I’m looking for a wife for one of my sons.

I have one son left to marry and I really want him to be happy – translates to I want more grandkids.

And, since he never reads my blogs I should be pretty safe.

I thought I’d list the qualifications needed in case any of you are interested.

Oh, he’s smart, good looking, a lot of fun and will be a great husband and an awesome dad.

Now on to the list:

1. She must be sturdy – if you’re going to come to the farm you need strength and the ability to stick with something until the job is finished.

S   2. She needs to be organically raised by her parents –  we all know organic is so much better than the conventional way of farming that feeds the world.

     3. She cannot have any added hormones. God gave her the right amount.

     4.  She must, must, must be antibiotic free – in fact never taken any antibiotics, ever. We want to make sure that no residue from the safe antibiotics out there has ever entered her body. We don’t want any issues passed down to the future grand kids.

     5. She can only be GMO-free or it’s totally a no go. Even though the National Cancer Society and AMA and scores of other scientific and medical communities have deemed GMO products safe, we just know that “they” who tell us GMOs are evil must be right.

     6. We prefer she comes from a small family. Large families are known to mistreat their kids. In fact, they have extra kids just to get more money from the government. We call them Factory Families. No large family is a good family.

7. Along with being from a small family, she needs to be familiar and have had spent time out side – free to roam and range out to the environment. Her value will be higher than a house bound woman.

Seven simple qualifications needed.

If any of you or if you know of anyone who meets this list then please feel free to contact me and we will set up an interview time.

Oh, I almost forgot. There will be a fee of $1000 to join this search, but that’s OK because the money goes to the HFW fund. Helping to Find Wives. You can search our website to see how that money is dispersed. I can guarantee you that no more than ½% will go towards the searching process. Sadly the expenses of the Board of Director eats up the rest of the monies. Notice it was Board of Director – singular? We do all we can to cut costs. But, you’ll feel good about your donation because we’ll send you a poster of a very sad eyed, cute Mother-in-law that will melt your heart.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Youth Hunt 2016 - Again! Same Spot, Different Deer, Different Grandson.

Grandson #3 went out this evening with Son #1 (his dad)  for the last hours of youth hunt. He went to the same stand his brother got his deer this morning. See:

I texted his dad to tell him Braiden left his shoes here at my house. He texted back that there was a deer right in front of the stand at that moment.

So, I got my shoes on and grabbed my camera and headed for the barn. I was thinking positive thoughts.

As I was at the barn I heard a shot, then another and then a third. I texted Son#1 and asked if he got him. "Yep!" So Grandson #2 (who was at the barn working on his dirt bike) and I got on the gator and headed back to the woods.

When we got there they were just coming down the stand. They waited a few minutes to make sure the deer didn't get up and take off.

So, off we went.

The first few pics are a bit blurry. It was getting dusky and I was trying to keep up with them. Also, I knew my camera battery was close to dying so I couldn't take extra shots.

We looked for blood - as all good trackers do.

Right where he thought he would be.

My proud Grandson, Braiden with his first deer - a nice 8 point.

By this time it was still light out but I put the camera on auto and got the flash which makes it look darker than it was.

Son #1 and his son. It was so special for me to be part of this today. Two grandkids and two deer in the same place. Austin got a 9 point in the morning and Braiden got his 8 point tonight.

Back at the barn at the same cleaning spot.

He still has a smile on his face.

Even the BEBs (Brown Eyed Bossies) wanted to see what was happening.

Youth Hunt 2016

We got a call from Son #1. "Can you come out and help us bring in his deer?" So we headed out behind the farm.

The patches of fog were gorgeous this morning.

Our mighty hunter with a 9 point.

Since I just had to document this whole ordeal I couldn't help.

A much nicer picture.

Love watching Son#1 in this moment of fatherhood.

Taking the deer up to the barn to clean.

This is one of my most favorite places on the farm. I love to merge hay here and I always stop for a picture.

Nice sized deer that will provide some good eating this winter.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

45 Years and Counting - the Real Story

Forty five years ago tomorrow I got married – now you can say you know someone who was married at 10 years of age (insert eye roll here).

Facebook and blogs are good places to paint pictures of perfection. If I stated that I married my best friend (which I didn’t) and I love him more now than the day I married him (which I don’t – just differently) – even if it were true I don’t see how that helps anyone.

I have always tried to be transparent (much to the chagrin of my family) in my blogs and on social media. I never understood how putting the few “best moments” out there would help anyone who hardly ever has those “best” moments. I want to know that I’m not the only one struggling and that I’m with good company in the “you screwed up again” line.

Over the forty five years we’ve had some wonderful moments. There’s been laughter and great times together. Also, we’ve had some nasty times. There have been words thrown around (mostly by me) and emotional shut downs (mostly by him) that didn’t help bring us closer together. In fact, there have been times when there has been a huge distance between us. And, to be perfectly honest I totally enjoyed some of those times.

Living and working on the farm when we are always together has not always been a good thing. Especially if you don’t agree on how something should happen or the way something should be done. And boy, are we different there. There have been times when his way has totally bombed and also by doing it his way instead of mine it was a total success. I get that we aren’t supposed to marry like-minded because we are different to complement each other. But, complementing each other through differences is not an easy thing. It’s frustrating and tiring.

His personality and mine are alike as much as strawberries and raspberries. There are similarities but still totally different. He’s quiet, slow to act and has to figure everything out ahead of time. I’m impulsive, zealous – annoyingly so at times, and can run circles around most people. I want to do it now, he wants to be sure. I say let’s go for it and figure out issues on the journey and he maps out each step and how to avoid the issues. Doing it his way will soften the troubles but we will also miss a lot of adventure and unexpected treasures.

We have some things in common. We are both committed and we do love each other. Now, there have been times when neither of us liked each other. We both love God and believe his way expects and equips us to stay with each other. Divorce has never been an option. And, this is for us. I’m not judging anyone else because for both of us we’ve probably had enough grief and turmoil that it would have been easy to do over the last several years.

There are two things that have never happened in our marriage. We have never, ever been unfaithful. And, we have never ever given up. I joke that divorce would be too easy. I want to stay with him and make him miserable his whole life. (insert smiles here).

My kids have seen a work in progress as they’ve grown up. They’ve heard too much arguing and angry conversations. Yet, I don’t think it is reasonable or healthy to have all your disagreements settled behind closed doors and to always be sunshine and roses in front of your kids. You are setting them up for complete failure in my opinion.

I also think that God has blessed us for our effort in hanging in there.

We have 4 wonderful sons, 3 great daughters-in-law and 8 amazing and adorable grandkids.
Farmer and I are in good health, generally and are still going full tilt on the farm and in life. I don’t have to look too far to see that isn’t always the case.

So, why am I putting this out there for the world to see? I want to encourage anyone who is contemplating giving up. For anyone who thinks you’re the only “screwed up” person and can’t make things work, you’re not.

For every person who puts out how perfect their life is and how wonderfully flawless and impeccable their marriage is there are hundreds that just want to gag.

I would encourage you to strive to have things better but to expect things to go awry periodically – in fact, regularly. But, that doesn’t make your life or marriage bad – it makes it real.

So, here’s a toast to realness and for another forty five years with this ol’ Farmer.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Farm Wife's Confession and Apology

Consider this a fig leaf of peace.
I have a confession and an apology to make.

My confession – I have been directing my frustration and anger (although that sounds a little strong I can’t think of another word) towards the wrong thing.

My apology – I need to ask forgiveness from almond farmers.

Here’s the back story:

I am a dairy farmer in West MI and do blogging and agovacy – some on air on a local radio station in Holland, MI.

Over the last several months occasionally and almost every time I personally hear someone talking about almond milk I am quick to correct and I’m ashamed to say quick to find fault.
I usually point out that you can’t milk an almond and that it is nut juice with other additives.
I’ve spoken about how closely the marketing of almond milk is to dairy.

I made comparisons between dairy – cow’s milk and almond milk. I’ve done a fair job and have only reported the truthful facts but it has always been my goal to put almond milk on a much lower level than cow’s milk.

I will say I think the marketers of almond milk have done a great job riding on the coat tails of diary – with their packaging and other choices they’ve made the consumer has a fairly easy time seguewaying  to almond milk. But, that’s their job.

The reason for my confession and apology was an “ah ha” moment between me and the good Lord. Don’t roll your eyes, keep reading.

I’m not even sure when or how it happened but one day a thought came into my consciousness and I had to stop and examine my motives and myself. I had been doing everything I could to put down almond milk and raise cow’s milk in consumer’s eyes. And, I guess that would be expected and even accepted. But – and here’s the big BUT and the “ah ha” moment.

I finally recognized that behind every almond – whether in milk or candy bars or whatever stood a farmer. A fellow human that toils, sweats, and works at creating a food source. They fight the same elements we do. Weather, pests, prices and etc. are just a few.

I’ve seen how the lack of rain in California has been a huge problem. I know what it looks and feels like to lose crops due to weather – lack of or too much.

My eyes were opened to the fact that there are generational almond farmers trying to keep the farm in the family. They are dealing with family issues, legal issues and working to preserve a legacy.

I would imagine almond farmers walk between the trees praying for God to bless them. And I would bet there have been times of tears in those orchards just as I have sat in a dried up hay field fighting fears of lack.

So, I humbly ask for forgiveness from almond farmers.

I feel we should come together and support one another. I would think there is enough food needs to go around.

I do have one request from the marketers – please market and advertise without touting that you are “better than dairy”. We are different yet alike. We are a food source and almond milk can be a great alternative for those who are dairy sensitive. And hey, maybe you like the taste of almond milk better than cow’s milk – no problem. I think you’re nuts but . . . oh oh I’m slipping back!

Bottom line – we are both working our tails off and not getting enough money, nor appreciation for what we do. Saying that, I want to show my appreciation for you and your product – “Thanks, and I hope you have a marvelous, prosperous, safe year and years ahead.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blessing . . .

Celebrate the ordinary

Today is the only day you have. Don't wish it away, worry it away or plan it away. Your ordinary days add up to life.

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