Saturday, December 12, 2009

I hate being wrong

Tonight was one of those nights when farming and parenting didn't mix. Two hours into chores, Dan and Monika were fussing to go in. So I put my chores on hold and took them in. We ate, played for a little while and then I put them to bed. I was mixing milk replacer when Glen came into the milkhouse and asked if I wanted to go on a date tonight.

"Who's calving?" I deadpanned.

"Faith just had hers and Disney's got feet out about this far," he reported.

"Faith have a heifer? I asked.


"How are we going to fit two calves in the warmer?" I asked, half-joking, half-exasperated. I really don't like winter calves.

So we finished feeding calves together before attending to the new and coming arrivals. We brought Faith in, put Frosty in the warmer and went back out for Disney. Glen got a good look at her progress and said, "We've got a foot and a nose."

"Just my luck."

Thankfully, the heifers we're calving right now are as easygoing as heifers get. Disney stood in the center aisle while Glen found the other foot and brought it forward.

Then it was decision time. Glen wanted to pull the calf right away. My vote was to give her a little time to labor now that everything was lined up and grab a bite to eat. I could tell Glen wrestled with the decision, but ultimately we chased Disney into the entryway and went in for supper. We came back 45 minutes later.

Disney was laying on the straw. It looked like nothing had happened yet. Until we looked to check her progress. Her calf and the placenta were folded up in a heap between her rump and the wall. We moved Disney and Glen tried to resuscitate the calf, but we were too late.

I hate being wrong. We decided that we might not have been able to save the calf had we pulled it, being that it appears the placenta abrupted, but we probably would have had a better chance.

Her name was going to be Tinkerbell. Glen warned me about naming heifer calves before they're born. "You're going to jinx them," he said.

"At this point there's nothing I can do to influence gender," I said in defense. It's been so long since we've had a DOA that I hadn't even considered jinxing the arrival.

Maybe next time I'll agree to pulling the calf right away. And, hopefully, Disney's next calf will be a Tinkerbell.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Easy meals

One of the questions the Dairy Star asks Women in Jeans is about ideas for making life easier for women who farm. One thing that makes my life a lot easier is a quick supper. When chores run late, time for meal preparation is usually short. Here are two of my favorite quick, easy meals.

When I have no time: Deluxe Frozen Pizza and Oven Veggies


• 1 bag of frozen vegetables (any variety)
• 1 cheap, frozen pizza (make sure it's 100% real cheese; some frozen pizzas use fake cheese; ewww!)
• shredded mozzarella cheese
• oregano or Italian seasoning
• grated or shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven according to pizza directions. Spread frozen vegetables in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Top pizza with a handful or so of mozzarella cheese. Shake on some oregano or Italian seasoning. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Put pan of veggies and pizza in oven together. Bake topped pizza according to directions or until edges start to brown. Stir veggies half-way through baking time. Veggies should be done about the same time as the pizza.

When I have a little time: One Pan Pasta Pleaser

Everyone loves this easy Italian dish.


• 1 pound ground beef, thawed
• 1 26 oz. jar marinara (Spaghetti) sauce
• 2 cups whole wheat penne or rotini pasta
• 2 cups water
• shredded mozzarella cheese


Brown ground beef in a large non-stick skillet or non-stick 3-quart pot. Drain beef, if desired. Add marinara sauce, pasta and water to beef in pan. Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or so until pasta is tender. When pasta is done, remove from heat, sprinkle cheese over dish and cover until cheese melts. This dish is just as good the next day.