Last Days of Summer Dinner

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When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

-Selection from A.E. Housman’s “When Summer’s End is Nighing”

Only one week until the Autumnal Equinox! Last night I decided to make a meal in honor of the end of summer with grilled kabobs, roasted sweet corn, and a skillet chocolate chip cookie. Everything turned out so delicious I thought I would share the recipes here.


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About eight hours before you want to cook you should start marinating the kabob meat. The marinade I used is a my own variation of the marinade that you can find here. I used chicken, but any meat you prefer would probably work fine. This was enough marinade for about 4 chicken breasts.

Cube your meat into chunks about 1.5 x 1.5″ square. For the marinade you need:

1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup cilantro and roasted onion infused EVOO)

3/4 cup soy sauce (I used Bragg Liquid Aminos)

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup southwest spicy mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together. Put the cubed meat into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over top (make sure that all the meat is covered). Seal the Ziploc bag and place in a glass container (in case the bag accidentally leaks). Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

When you are ready to cook the kabobs cut up some of your favorite grilling veggies (I used onions and sweet peppers). Alternate threading a veggie and a piece of meat onto your skewers. Cook on the grill using medium heat. Halfway through cooking flip the kabobs over so both sides get a nice sear.

Roasted Sweet Corn

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About eight hours before you want to start cooking you need to start soaking your ears of corn. Leave all of the husks on and put the corn in a waterproof container (I used a large, plastic Rubbermaid tote). Fill the container with enough water to cover the corn. The corn will float, so you’ll need to put a heavy weight on top to keep it under the water. A cinder block did the trick for me.

If you’re having trouble finding fresh sweet corn at the grocery store this late in the season try looking for a roadside stand that sells it. Most commercial sweet corn growers plant their sweet corn under rows of plastic and use irrigation to have it ready as early in the year as possible. This also means that the sweet corn is done sooner. If you can find someone local who just grows a little bit of sweet corn in their backyard you might be able to find it this late in the year.

At least two hours before you’re ready to cook the sweet corn start building your fire. Your object is to get a bed of nice hot coals to cook the corn over. Roast the corn on a grate over your bed of coals, turning it once with a pair of tongs to make sure both sides of the corn are evenly cooked. When ready to eat, husk the corn and serve with butter.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

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The recipe for the cookie is just the original Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I’ll put it in so all of the recipes are together.

1 cup of butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread the dough in a greased 10″ cast iron skillet. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. You wan the edges of the cookie to be golden brown. It’s OK if the center is still slightly gooey because the cast iron retains heat for a while and will continue to “cook” the cookie even after you take it out of the oven. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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-Michaela “The Farming Daughter”


Fire on the Fourth!

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35 years ago today marks a Fourth of July my family will never forget. While other families were enjoying the usual Independence Day festivities, my family was experiencing fireworks of a different sort.

The day before, July 3rd, had been good weather, and my dad, Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Chuck were busy making hay. By day’s end, they had finished filling the barn hay mow completely full. This is what the farm looked like then:

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An aerial photograph of our farm before the fire

The next day started like normal, with everyone helping to do morning chores and milking together. Back then we milked our cows in stanchions, which meant that each cow stood in her own stall and the milking machine was brought to her. At 7:30 am the first group of cows had finished being milked and had been let out to pasture.  Just before the second group of cows was let into the milking stalls, someone, either Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Chuck, or Dad, noticed a red glow radiating from the hay mow chute. With a sinking feeling, they all realized what it was. It was one of the worst things a farm can every experience…fire!

Our farm would look idyllic, if it wasn't for the cloud of smoke pouring from our barn
Our farm would look idyllic, if it wasn’t for the cloud of smoke pouring from the barn.

The first thing a farmer thinks of in a situation like that is his cows. The men immediately shooed all of the milking cows out of the barn, and as many of the heifers as they could. Grandma, in the urgency of the situation, forgot there was a telephone in the barn, and dashed to the house to call 911.

I asked my grandparents how long it took for the fire trucks to arrive and they told me it felt like an eternity. The actual time was probably 15-20 minutes, and soon eight fire companies were working hard to put out the blaze.

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The fire trucks pumped water from our pond to put out the flames:

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My dad was 15 years old at the time of the fire and I asked him if he was scared. He said there was too much to do to have time to be afraid.

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Thankfully, all of the milking cows made it out of the barn and all but 4 of the heifers. While it’s heartbreaking that we lost those 4 girls, in truth we were very blessed to have lost so few.

The cows stand in the pasture, completely unaffected by the drama happening behind them.
The cows stand in the pasture,  unaffected by the drama happening behind them.

Whenever I hear the story of the fire what stands out the most to me is the number of people that showed up. Dad tells me how literally hundreds of people came to help. In this photo you can see the barn burning and the dozens of cars lining our road and stretching around the corner:

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At 1:30 pm, while the barn was still burning, bulldozers and pay loaders began tearing down the wreckage and loading it into dump trucks. The rubble was hauled down the road and dumped behind a generous neighbor’s barn in a pile. A fire truck had to be stationed by the pile to hose the smoking debris so it wouldn’t start on fire again.

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Not only is it sad for me to see the destroyed barn, but also the piles of burned hay that had just been stacked in the mow the day before.

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Of course just because the barn was on fire didn’t mean the cows didn’t need milked anymore. Don Beck, Inc. came and started putting in a new milking pipeline in an undamaged part of the barn, while the rest of the barn was still burning and and being hauled away. By 7 pm half of the cows were taken to a neighbor’s farm and the other half were being milked in our barn. In the midst of a fire we were milking cows again, without having missed a single milking.

Bec's equipment vans showed up to put in a new milk pipeline
Beck’s equipment vans showed up to put in a new milk pipeline

We never found out for sure what caused the fire. Some speculate a “hot spot” in the new hay or a spark from the hay conveyor could have been the cause. In one day we lost an entire barn, a mow full of hay, 61 stalls, a milk pipeline, and 4 animals. 3 months later the barn was completely built back.

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The old barn and the new

To me the story of our barn fire illustrates some of the core values of the farming community: the courage of the firefighters that risked their lives to save the rest of our barns and our house, the neighbors that came from miles to lend a helping hand, the generosity of fellow farmers offering their barns and equipment, and the indomitable spirit of my uncle, grandparents, and father when they chose not to accept defeat, but to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

The Fourth of July barn fire is just a small part of my family’s story, but the lessons it taught are not. What have you learned from your family history?


-The Farming Daughter

Caring for Cows in the Winter

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Whenever I talk about our farm during the winter, the first question I get asked is, “How do cows do with the cold?” Actually, cows tend to prefer cold weather over hot. Their thick hides (7x thicker than human skin on average), hair, and unique heat-producing digestion mean that a cow’s favorite temperature is between 40° and 65° F.  Of course, it gets colder than that during the winter and we want to make sure our cows are safe and comfortable even if a blizzard is blowing outside. So how do we do that?

One of the most critical things is proper housing. A cow needs a clean, dry environment that shelters her from wind and snow. Our cows are housed in a “free-stall” barn and can choose to walk around, eat, drink, lay down, or socialize whenever they want. During the winter, curtains on the side of the barn are raised to block the wind, but on milder days they can be lowered to let in some fresh air. Keeping the cows in the barn during winter ensures the cows never get wet or chilled and protects them from possibly slipping and injuring themselves outside.

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A few of the girls resting in their freshly groomed stalls.

It is also important that a cow is receiving plenty of high quality feed. A cow’s largest stomach compartment is her rumen, which she uses to ferment her feed for digestion. This fermentation produces heat and, “is beneficial by helping dairy cows prevent a decline in body temperature” (Cooperative Extension, University of California, Davis). We feed our cows a special diet of grass, silage, straw, and grain using a recipe that our dairy nutritionist formulates for us. This ensures that our cows are getting the perfect amount of energy, protein, fiber, and nutrients that they need.

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Eating breakfast

While adult cows handle the cold well, our baby calves require special attention. Since a calf’s surface area to body mass ratio is higher it’s easier for them to lose heat. Like the cows, our calves are housed in a barn with a curtain that can be raised or lowered depending on the temperature. Our newborn and small calves are each kept in their own pen so we can monitor them individually and make sure they are eating properly. We feed our calves two times a day, and the milk is warmed before we serve it. We also use warm water for them to drink.

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Drinking warm milk

Each calf wears an insulated blanket or coat that helps keep them warm.

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Twice a day we add fresh bedding to the pens so the calves stay clean and dry. We also put fluffy straw in the little calves’ pens so they can snuggle down and nest in it.

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Addison adding fresh straw to the calf pens

Looks like she went a little overboard on this one…

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The older calves are housed together in group pens.  We feed grain twice a day with free access hay and water.

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Mason bedding the group pens

It’s important to us that our cows are warm and comfortable, even in the middle of a western NY winter!

I took a short video of one of our calves playing in the bedding we added to her pen. You can watch it here.

To learn more about winter cow care here’s a short article about How Cows Stay Warm in the Winter.

-The Farming Daughter

Winter on the Farm

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Winter came early in November this year, and we’re still firmly in its icy grip. We have so much snow we’re running out of places to pile it! I am definitely thankful for my heavy duty insulated Carhartt overalls this year! The good news is, the cows are all snug in their barns and are handling the cold weather just fine.

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Best Christmas present ever, thanks Mom! 🙂

I thought I’d share some of my favorite “winter on the farm” pictures I’ve taken so far.

First, some pics from Winter Storm Knife that hit us in mid November. We were very blessed not to get as much snow as other places, but we still spent a day shoveling off the barn roofs.

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Winter Storm Knife starting
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Shoveling snow off the roof
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The view from the top

Only a week after the storm it was warm enough to let cows out to pasture!

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It can either be blizzard-ing and snowy:

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Or, extremely cold and clear:

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I found these “snow feathers” on some of the driveway stakes and thought they were so delicate and pretty!

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The frost on the windows is also very beautiful.

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Winter Sunrise Winter on the Farm (
Winter Sunset Winter on the Farm (
-18 Winter on the Farm (
18 below!

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Playing in the Snow
The boys coming back from sledding

January Snow Winter on the Farm (

Sunset Winter on the Farm (


I hope you are all keeping warm! Many of my friends have been asking about how our cows do during the winter, so I’ll be posting about that soon!


-The Farming Daughter

Valentine Card Challenge

Valentine Card Challenge

Valentine’s Day may be over, but here’s a great way to show Christ’s love to others:

In Uganda, 1 in 6 children under the age of 17 is an orphan. At least 1,400 of these orphans live abandoned and neglected in orphanages/prisons.

Crista Moriah over at Uniquely Fashioned for His Glory has an ongoing Valentine Card Challenge to send cards and the message of God’s love to the imprisoned children of Uganda. You can partner with her by making a homemade card so that each child receives one.

See all the details and where to send your cards here.

To learn more about the imprisoned children of Uganda check out Sixty Feet Ministries.

Just to let you know, the blog says “by February 14th”, but Crista Moriah told me they’re still accepting cards.

Some of the cards that my family, and several groups from our church made:

Cards for Valentine Card Challenge


-The Farming Daughter

I Met Dairy Carrie!

Meeting Dairy Carrie - The Farming Daughter

Addison and I attended a Young Cooperators meeting Thursday. These “YC” meetings, hosted by our milk co-op, are always a great learning and leadership-building opportunity for those of us in the 40 and younger crowd. This time was no exception! We were talking about social media and using it as a tool to reach out to our consumers. It really inspired me to start posting more about our farm and cows, I am the Farming Daughter after all!

My favorite part of the meeting was listening (and getting to talk to!!) our special guest speaker Carrie Mess. Carrie blogs over at The Adventures of Dairy Carrie and writes about farming on a 100 cow dairy in Southern Wisconsin. She had some great advice about “telling our story” and gave us the challenge (which I’m going to try) of posting at least once a week.

If you’ve never read her blog I suggest you check it out!

The Adventures of Dairy Carrie

Here are a few of my personal favorite posts:

Just the (dairy) facts: 29 facts about dairy!

A new baby, now what?

Sometimes we are mean to our cows


-The Farming Daughter

Crowning Glory

Today was the day. I went and got a hair cut for the first time in three years! I had been growing my hair out to donate it, and as you can imagine, not cutting your hair for 36 months means some pretty long tresses! This is actually the longest I’ve ever had my hair.

I’ve donated my hair twice before, both times to Locks of Love. This time I did some research about hair donation and decided to support a different organization. I wanted to insure that the hair I sent would be used responsibly, and I preferred an organization that didn’t charge its recipients. Pantene’s “Beautiful Lengths” campaign seemed like the perfect fit. Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society to “graciously help women who have lost their hair to cancer treatments”. They turn the hair that is donated into real-hair wigs and provide them to cancer patients free of charge. I’ll be sending my foot long pony tail to them soon! 

Now for some pictures…

Hair - back view

Hair - front view


It will take some getting used to it being so “short”, but I’m really happy with how it turned out! And hopefully it won’t take 20 minutes to brush anymore! Have you ever donated your hair before?

If you’d like more information about donating to the Beautiful Lengths Campaign you can see the official website here.

-The Farming Daughter

Fall Wildfires

fall pic 1

Cold weather has sparked, and kindled a blaze

That burns through the forest till the end of fall’s days

Simply smoldering at first on the tips of the trees

Before insatiably ravaging the whole of the leavesfall pic 2

Tingeing the hillside with colors of light

The orange and the gold ‘midst green shining bright

Then quickly fading away in a blink and a flash

Darkened to brown like the dying ember’s ashfall pic 3

Brittle and cracked like the tome’s dusty page

They flutter to earth with the onset of age

Leaving staunch oak and fair maple bereft of their crown

Verdant pine’s greenery alone to be found

fall pic 4But how odd that in the humble leaf’s passing

Is then that its beauty is so brilliantly flashing

But dormant hope still resides, even in death

Which will awaken ere long when fanned by spring’s breath

fall pic 5So let us still look for hope in the bitterest defeat

Which will soothe the deep hurt and make the gall sweet

For after the bare branch withstands the long cold

Is then the green shoot springs out from the old

fall pic 6


Poem written by me, October 26, 2013.

-The Farming Daughter