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Diary of Sarah Summe - Jan 17-26, 2011

Published Jan. 27, 2011 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Monday, January 17

Cows must be healthy and well cared for to produce wholesome milk. Farmers give their cows regular check ups to make sure they stay healthy and strong. Cows receive vaccinations to prevent illnesses, just like people. Cows also receive pedicures to keep their feet healthy. Cows live in clean, dry, comfortable barns. This keeps them happy and healthy so they can produce nutritious high-quality milk for us. As always, we milked the cows twice today. We had a set of triplet goats born. We named them Scooby, Shaggy and Velma! We always have many chores to do each day.

Tuesday, January 18

Dairy farmers feed their cows nutritious meals. Cows eat up to eight times per day (at least 100 pounds of food). A meal for a cow includes silage, hay, corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals. Our kids were up a little earlier today before school, they had to check on their baby goats. The cows are always waiting to be milked.

Wednesday, January 19

Cows are ruminants, which means they regurgitate their food and chew it again. Also known as "chewing their cud." A cow has four stomachs to its digestive system. Our kids found a set of twin goats in the barn this morning right before they left for school. They named them Marshmallow and Snowflake. I had to use a hair blow-dryer on one of the goats to dry them off. He is doing great. We also had a baby calf born.

Thursday, January 20

Snow, snow and snow….which meant "no school." Spent the day milking cows and removing snow from the barnyard. We had a set of triplet goats born. The kids named them Lucky, Georgie and Chloe. Lucky got his name because he was very weak when he was born and the kids brought him into the house. They nursed him to health by wrapping him in a warm blanket.

Friday, January 21

More snow = no school! Herb and Drew worked on the combine getting things ready for the new crops. The kids and I looked through our vegetable week book to order seed for the spring garden. We had to hustle to get all the work done today because we had a Friday night basketball game for one of the kids.

Saturday, January 22

The kids had basketball games - 3 in one day! Had a baby calf born. The first milk produced by the cow is colostrum. It is very important that the calf received this in the first few hours of its life because it contains antibodies that are important for disease protection.  Colostrum is also rich in fat, protein and vitamins.

Sunday, January 23

We milk the cows and went to church. The kids had another basketball game. Had a set of twin calves born. Spent some of the day working on upcoming 4-H activities. Before you know it, it is milking time again.

Monday, January 24Herb hauled hay today. He also split and delivered firewood. Since it has snowed so much, the boys are behind on their hay and firewood delivers. They are working overtime to get caught up. We keep the hay dry by storing in the barn. Earlier this summer, the hay was cut, dried and baled on hay wagons. The whole process involves drying the hay, which meant teddering and raking; this usually takes 3 days of no rain to ensure the hay's proper nutrients remain intact. A "tedder" will break up the clumps of hay after cutting and spread the hay out for quicker drying. A "hay rake" will rake the dried hay into a row for the hay baler to pick up.  Tuesday, January 25Herb hauled grain today. This grain was harvested in the fall and has been in the grain bins until it we are ready to take it to market. While in the grain bin, it was monitored to ensure that no mold began growing and the grain stayed dry. The whole process will begin next fall after planting time this spring. The profits from selling this grain will pay for fertilizer and seed for spring planting. The kids had basketball practice after school just like every school day, we have basketball and lots of homework. Plus milking the cows…. mornings and afternoons. Wednesday, January 26Started off the day, just like every other day, milking cows. Fed round bales and scraped the barnyard. The boys worked on the backhoe. One of the kids was "Star of the Day" at preschool, so we took Lucky the goat for show-and-tell. He was a big hit! We also spent the day trimming goat hooves. They need their nails trimmed just like people. We are all looking forward to warm weather so we can get planting!

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