Monday, February 3, 2014


We had to say good-bye to our dog Molly this week. Everyone has lost that beloved pet that is as much a pet as a part of the family, but Molly was also a working partner.

Molly spent years working by my side. We had to feed all the animals, do the yard work, load the wood stove, whatever I did, she was there.

She was also the boss and caregiver of all the animals. When kid goats were born, she was there to protect them and take care of anything she felt the mother goat was not doing well enough. She'd take over cleaning if twins were born and mama couldn't get them both cleaned up and dry.

If you brought a new animal on the farm, she was there to make sure it followed all the rules. Don't leave the yard, don't bark at the horses, don't bother the cats, don't chase the chickens, and don't think you are getting her family to just pet you.

Molly was famous for stealing kittens. She actually nursed and raised two tom cats that stayed by her side for years. It was so funny to see those cats follow her all over the yard.

Molly made a pass around the perimeter of the yard at least once a day. She kept in what belonged in, and out what belonged out.

When the Animal control stopped by to tell me that neighbors had reported seeing a cougar near the house my friends and family worried about my kids. I worried about Molly, because I new she would give up her life to save those kids.

And how many people can one dog nip and get away with it? It was a lot for Molly. If your child was on our property, that child was then protected by Molly. That seems perfect until you try to pick your toddler up. If you came to the house, you better go to the door before you try to grab a kid, she had to hear it from me that you had permission.

Am I sad that she is gone? I feel she gave me many years of voluntary services, she was never on a chain or caged in, she stayed out of loyalty. The past year was a hard one on Molly. She lost her hearing, and she loved to be talked to. She had breast cancer removed. Once another tumor showed up that seemed to be painful to her, I took her to the vet. Because I have a very respectable vet, I asked him the hard question, is it her time, I won't let her suffer to save me heartache. At first he thought he could just remove the painful tumor, but x-rays revealed her lungs were full of tumors too. That explained why she slept the last couple months away. So we said good-bye to my best partner ever.

Now I will find another pup of similar blood lines and give that dog the best life I can offer. Molly would like that. I know I can't really replace her, but I can try to duplicate it closely.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Our garden is growing

I was looking through some pictures for the shots of the garden, when to my surprise I found this shot. Obviously my kid and my dog don't think my "no dogs on my furniture" rule applies if I'm not looking. I admit that this is a cute shot of the greatest dog we have ever owned, but that couch is over a hundred years old and has been in my family since it was new. The kid and the dog are lucky I love them so much.

Now on to my reason for this session, the garden.


A long row of red and green cabbage along side another long row of broccoli (or as little kids say "trees") and cauliflower.

Some of the plants I started in the house are already producing food for us! Here is our first and only little tomato!

And then there is the tiny little sweet pepper!

Then there is this patch of lettuce just because Saide loves salad more than any kid I ever met.

We have started collecting strawberries. Here is what happens when you don't bring in enough to make jam. What a yummy way to prevent waste.

Thank you Lord for all the gifts you do provide with a bit of labor from us.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The County Fair

The Milligan Dairy  Farm has never gone to the fair, till now! I have decided to take our cows on the road to Jackson County Fair Grounds this fall.

As a dairy class, open show, we will take calves of various age groups to show. We might try to take some of the milking cows. I say "might" for one good reason, these cows might let you pet them, but not one of them  grew up with a lead rope around her head, and for a cow, that could seem pretty scarey.

We will also be sure to take some very young calves so kids can help bottle feed babies. So please, weather you are a share holder, neighbor, or blog follower, come hang out with us and our lovely cows at the fair.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another sign of Spring

Getting stuck behind a slow moving tractor isn't fun for anyone, not even another farmer. Just remember to be patient and know that we farmers have to get from one field to the next if you want to eat again this year.

From now till October, if you have to travel down a country road, you might want to leave a bit earlier. We will be working fields and planting through May, then we go into hay season, mowing every 30 days. For us, it takes about that long to get all our hay fields cut, so when we finish the last field of hay we restart the first one in just a few days, so we are on the road almost everyday in the summer. Just when we are about done with the hay, it's time to start harvesting soybeans and corn.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring is here!

Spring is that time of year when everything feels like a game of hurry up and wait.

Glenn and Garrett spent two days running around all the pastures checking that every inch of fence is up and working. We don't want to turn the girls out and watch them head down the road. But now we have to wait for the pasture to be growing before we put the girls out. Hurry up and wait!

Our big group of heifers are all calving. That is very exciting, but also nerve racking. There are 30 young cows having a calf for the first time. First time mom's of any sort are nervous Nellies, and the babies don't always just drop out. We are trying to stay out of the way so as not to upset the young mom, but still be there and ready should she need help. Hurry up and wait!

We are also trying to get all our equipment ready to do the fields, planning what crop will go where, and then we have to wait for the temperatures to be right so that our crops will grow. Hurry up and wait.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Say Cheese!

I used to make cheese all the time, but when we moved out of the old farm house I got rid of most of my supplies. I think your home can affect your mood. This house was not homey, or homestead material, and I hated the kitchen.

I finally pulled out the old (modern)kitchen a couple years ago and made it look like a very functional farm kitchen. I love working in my kitchen now. The next problem was that I had let someone buy my cheese equipment.

I finally ordered new equipment. So far I have a white cheddar drying and a gouda drying. I will wax the cheddar Wednesday and let it start it's six month aging process. The Gouda will get smoked before I wax it. I love smoked Gouda!

My sister in law, Cherie was here for the first batch of Mozzarella. It's so much fun making cheese, now she is hooked.

Now one of our employees wants me to make cheese for them for Christmas. I might be able to do something like that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

raw milk in perspective

Okay, just call me crazy for the way I think.

For some reason I decided to look up the raw milk laws in other countries. Why is it legal to sell raw milk in so many other countries if raw milk is so deadly? I'm not talking about third world countries, or undiscovered tribes in Africa here, I'm talking about Scotland, England, Italy. How about Prince Charles giving raw milk the credit for his grandmother living to be 100. Read for yourself.

In this next link I find some interesting points. If you read it you will see that there were 12 cases (involving only 435 people) of food borne illness in 2000 and 2008 tracked back to raw milk. If that's the case for making raw milk illegal, explain to me why it's legal to sell ground beef or raw vegetables. Here's a little quote about ground beef for you: In 1999 it was estimated that about 73,000 people in the U.S. got sick each year from E. coli. About 60 died. It’s believed that the number of illnesses and deaths has been dropping since then. Come again, and this food is not as dangerous as raw milk?

The next thing I find interesting is that there were 2 people who got sick from pasteurized milk in that same time frame, oh but wait, they figure that was milk contaminated post pasteurization. Fair enough, but who said the raw milk didn't become contaminated after it left the farm.

I will say that I  agree with having a high standard for raw milk farms. I don't think you would want to eat at a restaurant that couldn't pass an inspection, a dairy farm should be the same.

You see peanut butter factories killing people with contaminated food, and no one outlaws peanut butter or even goes in and arrests the owners. Nope, we are allowed to decide for ourselves if we ever want to trust that brand again.