Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

A quick stop at a Family Dairy Farm in Wisconsin.

One of the best parts of dairy farming is the people. The people who come into your lives. The people who enrich your life. The people who make you see why you love farming. The people. The families. The love. It was a quick visit but it was just what this dairymom needed to recharge.

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

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Celebrating 4H Week with Highlights from the Morrison County Fair

4H is a wonderful program for kids to be a part of. As a 4H volunteer my favorite part is to see kids thrive and gain confidence in themselves each passing year. To see them take the 4H motto to heart in their action and their words. “Making the best better.”  To hear them say the 4H pledge at every meeting centers me.

 I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

In honor of National 4H Week here are some of the high lights of the Morrison County Fair.  4H’ers work hard getting their projects ready from livestock to non-livestock. There is room for everyone in 4H. If you are looking for a program for your entire family to enjoy together, 4H is for you.

Everett took 3 non-livestock projects to the fair this year. Blonde Brownies, a bouquet of flowers and a monarch caterpillar with a habitat.  During conference judging kids are asked about their projects one on one.  The skills they learn and confidence they gain will last a lifetime.

Working as a team and cheering each other on is a big  part of 4H.  Snappy Elmdalers finishing up their Community Pride board and presenting as a team at the fair.

The day of the dairy show is a busy day.  There is always time to pause, refocus and one last pep talk-“You can do this. Take your time.”

IMG_6798This year there were 10 Cloverbuds with Dairy projects.  This is huge!  To watch the dairy program grow before our eyes is an amazing thing to be a part of.

This year marked Jordan’s last year as a 4H’er.  You can read more about Jordan here and how he has been an example for younger 4H’ers.

IMG_6934This year was extra special for Everett. He was able to show 304 and her daughter, Lady Wilt in the Dam and Daughter Open class. You can read more about Everett and 304 here.   




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Stuffed Green Peppers & Black Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Stuffed Green Peppers are delicious!  They are quick simple and easy.  Stuffed Green Peppers are great to have in the freezer because they freeze great for a quick meal.

Ingredients you will need: 

6-8 Green Peppers (How ever many will fit in a 9×13 pan)

1lb of Hamburger

1 onion

1 can of Spaghetti sauce (I prefer Hunts because it is cheap) (and I get excited when it is 10 for $10)

1 cup of uncooked rice

about 1 cup of water

Parmesan Cheese

First  Step

Start browning your hamburger.  I like to add some peppers sliced and diced with a diced onion. Salt and Pepper

Stuffed Green Peppers

While your hamburger is browning start your Rice.  Cook to in instructions.  You can use minute rice, Brown Rice or plain ol white Rice.  Rice is my menace, Sometimes it is beautiful and fluffy and the next I burn the bottom. I’ve even screwed up minute rice.  Nate’s words ” How can you screw up minute rice?”  One day I’ll be able to make rice in my sleep.


Get your peppers ready by washing them and cutting off the tops.  Clean out and push step through the “hat”.  If you want to be fancy you can cut them length wise and call them “Pepper Boats”

Once hamburger and rice are cooked add Spagetti sauce to hamburger mix in rice and 1 cup of water.  Simmer about 10 min

Stuffing for Green Peppers Add a thin layer of mixture to bottom of 9×13 pan


Nestle peppers into pan fill peppers with hamburger mixture.  Ad remainder mixture to sides or in between peppers.  Top with tops of peppers.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-60min till peppers are tender

Green Peppers BakingWhile they are baking the dishes. Ugh!

Dishes to Wash

Delicious!! To Freeze them you can freeze them before you put them in the oven or after you bake them.  I usually freeze them and then bake them once I take them out of the freezer.  Now for the reheat we are hunger.  I’m not sure what happened all I know is that I forgot they were in the oven and I said, “Well that is interesting!”

No they are not supposed to look like this!

Black Stuffed Green Peppers~Opps

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First Day of School~2017~A little sister missing her Big Brother

We made the bus on time the first day.  I had nightmares for about three days leading up to the first day. Missing the bus the first day of school. I’d wake up in a panic. Yesterday was easy peasy getting ready. So I am going to put that in the win column with a big star because there will be times when the win column is behind and needs a reset.

Everett brought a monarch caterpillar to share with his class.

Everett was excited for 3rd grade and Vivian was sad once Everett left. Vivian was lost and needed some extra hugs today. That’s ok, because I was a little lost too and needed the extra hugs too.

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Showmanship Just isn’t in the Show Ring

There is a part of every dairy show I look forward to watching and that is showmanship. As soon as the kids enter the ring for the first time in the morning they are beginning to be judge on their showmanship throughout the dairy show. The judge watches as they walk in the ring with each and every animal. The judge watches and takes all into account for the final showmanship class.

When Jordan finished his 4-H experience with Grand Champion Showmanship at the Morrison County Fair,  I could not be more proud of him.


Jordan is the role model every mom wants for her young 4-Her. Where the dairy judge watches in the ring, I watch outside the ring. I watch Jordan work alongside his mom throughout the four days of the fair, taking great care and pride of his animals. With Jordan there is no showboating. He stays focused and on task when he is in the ring. He walks as one with his animals at a slow, steady pace. It is a wonderful thing to watch. Jordan helps with a smile when something is asked of him. During the state fair lineup, as we waited for the judge to place all the animals, a little girl was standing by the fence looking at Jordan’s cow, without missing a beat Jordan asked her, “Do you want to pet her?” A big smile came across her face and Jordan’s.

As I congratulated Jordan telling him how happy I was for him and how sad I was he was graduating out of 4-H, he reminded me he would still be around. There is no other way to describe Jordan but, he is a good kid and he isn’t a kid anymore – he is a strong young man. He is kind and generous.

As a dairy mom and 4-H mom, I stress to my tribe – it is outside of the ring that matters. The life lessons learned isn’t where you place in the ring, it is the hard work leading up to the fair that has value. The hard work at the fair taking care of your animal, engaging with fairgoers, always helping with a smile has strong merit.

Kids fun with Dairy Night

Jordan helping Raising a Farmer with “Kids Fun with Dairy Night” at the Morrison County Fair 2017

Enjoying your time at the fair is important. Disappointments will happen, “But did you have fun?” I always stress with the kids, it isn’t how you place but were you able to handle your animal? Were you able to stay calm when she decided to do something else and get her refocused? Jordan has been this role model, outside of the ring. So when Jordan left the show ring with three purple ribbons in total, it was just the icing on the cake!

Jordan with his Purple Ribbons

Jordan with his Purple Ribbons from the Morrison County Fair 2017


Joke of the Day #2

Because we always need a laugh.  Even if the jokes are so bad they are good.  Those are my jokes. Those are my favorite jokes.

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A Determined Fair Goer

Everett has big plans for his little sister. His heart is made of gold. His nerves are made of steal. His determination is made of a power with in. His heart was broken losing 400, a sister to 304. He always sees the good. Determined both of 304’s girls will go to the fair.


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Learning to make Home Made Ice Cream at a Bed & Breakfast

The kids and I were on location at one of our local bed & breakfast, the Waller House Inn in Little Falls, MN.
Raquel was so welcoming and patient with my tribe. As soon as you walk into the Waller House there is calmness that takes over. The Waller House is an old house which wraps you in warmth and tranquility. It is the perfect place to rest your feet after exploring Central Minnesota.

Inn keeper Raquel welcomes you with a big smile and a warm heart. We could have stayed for days!

We celebrated dairy by making home made ice cream and a fritatta. I had no idea what it was but it sure was GOOD!

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Marching Bands in the Milk House

Summer time brings parades and parades bring the marching bands.  We love marching bands.  Waiting for the bands and feeling the beat of the drum line as it makes their way up the street is wonderful. The sound of the trumpets beginning, nothing says summer time like the smooth steps of a marching band as they move as one.  Growing up I wanted to be in the color guard so bad.  Watching the flags fly through the air with grace.   I would practice with a broom at home, (my mom was not impressed). When the color guards would gracefully march by and throw their guns high in the air, all I wanted was to be one of them catching it with such grace and flare.  My high school didn’t  have a marching band let alone a color guard.  So all I could do was imagine the end of a broom was a brightly colored flag flying through the air.  Like I said my mom was not impressed with my flag skills in the kitchen.

Everett and Vivian created their own drum line as I was finishing up evening milking one night.

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We carry each other when our hearts are broken because we love big

I write this with a heavy heart. There are parts of dairy farming we know will happen and we know it will break our hearts, more then we can imagine. Cows leave our herd. Some we are happy to see leave, some we are disappointed and some just plan break our hearts. The latter is what recently happened.

As I went to tell Everett, he knew what I had to tell him was not good. I could see it in his eyes. I explained to him what happened to one of his beloved cows, 400. One he has taken to the fair since she was a calf and a sister to his most special cow, 304. One he has loved on. I barely could get the words out as I said, “She never came around.” Words I knew I would eventually have to tell my child but never wanted to think about it. Words I know as a dairy farmer are said but you never want to have to say to your child about one of his special cows. As I held Everett in my arms, nothing I could say would take the hurt away. Nothing. Nothing I could say would help ease his tears.

Nate brought 400 to the site were she would be laid to rest, overlooking the pond. Everett, Vivian and I picked freshly blooming lilacs. Lilacs are a sign of spring, a new beginning. They are some of the first flowers to bloom after a cold winter. They bring promise. That evening they were used to give safe travels to 400 as we said our goodbyes. Everett went to the other side of the house and came with freshly bloomed bleeding hearts. All of our hearts were bleeding. I asked Everett if he would like to bury his fair ribbon with 400. A firm, “Yes” he told me. We went to the show box gathered her ribbon from last year’s fair and Everett’s stall sign from the fair to be buried with her, I couldn’t help but think what those ribbons mean. They mean hard work, dedication and love. Everett loved 400. As he held his ribbon, fair tag and flowers as we waited for Nate to bring 400 he stood proud but his heart was breaking inside. I saw my 8 year old holding back his tears and then letting them fall. Trying hard to navigate his heartache. He asked about 400’s new calf, hope in his voice, I replied “She had a bull calf.” knowing his hopes would be shattered by my simple words. Again his heart broke. My little boy full of love and dedication to 400, petted her one last time, laid flowers around her, gently placed her ribbon and stall tag near her face and said his goodbyes. As Everett came and stood by me I told him with tears in my own voice, “It hurts big because you loved big.” Nate, Vivian and I all surrounded Everett in our love. We farm together. We carry each other when our hearts are broken because we love big.