I was hoping that I could say this week that I thought we might be halfway through our project but unfortunately we had some setbacks. If you're following us at all you probably saw that on Monday morning a storm blew through the area (over 2,000 people saw our post on Facebook - which is record so far!). Straight line winds around 80 mph toppled over what had already been built of the barn. It was disheartening to say the least.
But, it could have been so much worse and we're so thankful for so many things...
- no one got hurt
- we were only a week & a half into building the barn (the walls at least)
- we had insurance, and very helpful and good agents/company!
- clean up went quickly
- great support network and encouragement (thanks for all the comments!)
- hard working, patient construction crew
- we were building again the next day!
- another shipment of material was already suppose to arrive later in the week, bringing needed materials to rebuild
It was a good week to remember our theme verse from Lamentations 3:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Though we had a minor setback, God is still with us and each new day He gives us is a gift. And He is faithful through it all, working out good, even when it's hard to see. Now on to some pictures of the damage.
By Tuesday the walls were going up again and by Thursday we had a good re-start.
The concrete crew kept on working this week too, getting forms off the manure storage wall and having a minor setback in the milk house & guest house area. But hopefully they got it all fixed and now we just keep on rolling and doing what we can each day.
On a side note, it's interesting that since we began this project weekends have become more like real weekends. It use to seem that weekends were busier than the week because Dan still had the same amount of work to do milking, feeding, etc the cows but since it was everyone else's weekend, we crammed a bunch of other stuff in there too. Now that we're building and the crews have the weekend off, it makes it seem like a real weekend because we're not concerned about what's happening at the building site and checking in all day.
Unfortunately rain days are frustrating. Friday was a rain day so not much work got done and then even though Saturday was a beautiful working day, obviously no one showed up because it was the weekend. There are chances of rain all week long this week, so we'll see where it develops and how much work we get done.
More materials arrived for the guest house & milk house area, so now we're really ready for this to go up, but it can only happen as fast as our crews can work and as long as the rain stays away. Our milking robot is scheduled to arrive this week, even though we're not quite ready :) And we're also getting phone & internet dug to our place!
The kids and I did have some dairy fun this week as it was the county fair. We headed to the dairy show, where they both got to help show a cow and get a ribbon & milkshake! I'm sure it won't be our last dairy show! They both had a blast! And we had a visit from my brother & his buddy, who were driving through. They just launched their Kickstarter campaign for a great new game, Luminosity, they designed! Check it out!
Until next week!
As many bloggers do, I wrote this post over the past few days and put the final touches on it this morning before the kids woke up, expecting to post it sometime mid-day. But at about 7:35am this morning things changed. As straight line winds blew through our area, the start of the barn walls and trusses were toppled. It deserves it own post to truly show the damage and that will be coming but I didn't feel right about posting 10 reasons we love dairy without full disclosure that it comes on a hard day.
We're obviously disappointed, sad, and frustrated but thankfully as I note in reason #7 below, days like these are to be expected as part of life. I was reminded this morning while singing & dancing with the kids to the classic song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" that God does indeed have "the wind & rain in His hands". Why He allowed them to blow through our partially built barn today is not our's to know or understand. Someday looking back with perspective maybe we'll get some insight but whether or not we ever understand," why?" we have faith that God is good and have hope knowing that He is with us going into the future.
After some pictures, we'll be on to my original post; well almost, I did renamed it to "10 reasons we STILL love dairy" because they are all still true, even on the tough days.
June is Dairy Month as I mentioned early this month. And that means celebrating what we love about dairy – the foods, the animals, the people, the lifestyle and more! Today I'm celebrating 10 reasons I love DAIRY FARMS....
D elicious food
A lways working
I ndividual cows
F amily lifestyle
A dorable calves
M ultitude of practices
S imple, pure MILK
1) DELICIOUS FOOD: Now really, there are SO many ways to enjoy dairy.... a quick cheese stick snack (my kids favorite), protein packed Greek yogurt for breakfast or a sweet ice cream treat, in an appetizer cheese ball or as part of so many delicious main dinner recipes! Which reminds me that I want to remind you to check out the new Dairy Good Cookbook for lots of great delicious dairy-filled recipes!
2) ALWAYS WORKING Now you might ask why always working would be something I love about dairy, since that obviously means that my hubby is always working (not to mention me and my in-laws!). Dairy farmers have an amazing work ethic, it's hard to be a dairy farmer without one. God created us to work – and what a joy it is to work with His creatures and His creation each day! If we didn't work hard we wouldn't have the joy of seeing problems solved, challenges met, and jobs completed. And thankfully we can and usually do have fun while working hard!
3) INDIVIDUAL COWS One of the reasons I love dairy farming is that each cow gets treated as an individual. On our farm each cow gets a name and we make sure we record when she's born, her individual markings (did you know each cow has a different pattern, just like our fingerprints are different?), any medical attention she received, how much milk she makes, and soon with our robotic milking system a whole lot more information! But more than just a record, Dan knows our cows and their own unique personality. Some are timid, some feisty, some bossy, some curious, and a whole bunch of other traits!
4) RELATIONSHIPS I've been amazed as I've been introduced over the years to the dairy industry at the wonderful relationships that dairy farmers have with each other. There are independent family-owned dairy farms all over the United States but they collaborate & depend on each other for a lot! There are formal associations & networks for all sorts of various aspects of dairy but as we've been going through the building journey I've discovered something I love more!
As we've considered different equipment, ways of doing things, types of buildings, and more we've had the opportunity to call and talk with and go and visit a variety of farms to see how they do things. Dairy farmers are almost always willing to show you how they do something, tell you what works and what they'd do differently, and take time out of their busy day to talk about what they love -their dairy farms. It doesn't matter if you sell you milk to the same coop or if you have the same breed of dairy cow or if you have a different brand of milking equipment, the attitude is that “we're all in this together!” I'm amazed & thankful for that!
5) YOU It may seem rather silly but we really do love you, our customers, those who consume our delicious dairy foods! Obviously without you we wouldn't be able to stay in business but more than that, you really do love dairy and often want to know more about dairy and our farms. We're looking forward to hosting many guests through our Guest House who want to experience a real working dairy farm up close and find out where their delicious dairy foods come from!
6) FAMILY LIFE I've talked about this before but we love that we get to work and play with our family! And we work and play with just about everyone in our family. We obviously work with Dan's parents on the farm, and our we love that our kids get to come along and are learning along side of us each day, and will continue to as they grow! But it doesn't stop there. Dan's grandparent's are still involved, interested, and actively helpful in many aspects of the farm! And even my parents are getting involved in our new building and farm project from solar panels to decorating the guest house! And we love that we,as husband & wife, get to work together. Not all farms are like that, but we feel blessed that we get to partner not only in raising a family but that we get to do all of life together!
7) ADORABLE CALVES. Beautiful Sunrises & Sunsets. Watching the corn sprout. Seeing a new calf emerge. You can experience God's creation in a variety of ways, but we feel like we get a front seat to seeing it all around us. We experience the heartbreak of life loss and days we'd prefer the weather to change as well, but to embrace the beauty God's created we must also learn to embrace that which we don't initially find as beautiful. Our's is not to wonder why but to worship Him who created it!
8) ROBOTS Now not all dairy farms use robots but having a robot to help milk our cows in our new barn will be revolutionary to what Dan does each day. Instead of spending a lot of his time milking the cows, he'll be able to transfer that time to managing all the aspects of the farm, ultimately allowing him to provide better care for our cows! And since it won't be as physically as hard on his body he should be able to do what he loves much longer!
9) MULTITUDE OF PRACTICES It may make sense that this follows robots since currently relatively few dairy farms have automatic milking machines or robots. It's amazing to me the diversity of how one can dairy farm – from the number of cows you milk, how you milk the cows, the type of cows (or even goats!) you milk, where you house the cows, what you feed the cows, what your milk becomes – milk, butter, cheese, and more. Every dairy farm is unique in it's own way – there is not a “one size/style/etc fits all” in dairy farming! Yet, for the most part, #4 Relationships is still true - in the end we're all dairy farmers!
10) SIMPLE, PURE MILK That's right the last thing I love about dairy is just that – milk. Sure you can enjoy it in a huge variety of ways, but it's amazing that a nice cold glass of milk can give you so many of the nutrients & vitamins you need each day. God created an amazing creature in the dairy cow that allows it to naturally turn what it eats into something I can, and really should, drink everyday.
Those are my top 10 reasons that love dairy farming, but I'm guessing there are many other reasons to love it. And it turns out that one of those dairy organizations, the National Dairy Council is turning 100 years old this year. To celebrate Midwest Dairy is collecting 100+ reasons to love dairy! So if you want to find out why other dairy farmers love dairy farming check out the other 90+ reasons on Midwest Dairy's blog!
Why do you love dairy? Share it in the comments!
Here it comes! Some of the trusses went up this week... honestly I thought they'd go up faster, but check out how big they are... I'm sure it's not easy to get them up there and in place (especially without a big crane or something - which is expensive!). Here's some pictures throughout the week as it kept changing.
The concrete guys were still at work getting walls on the manure storage facility as well as beginning to work on the floor in the milk house and guest house apartment area.
Unfortunately Dan was sick Tuesday & part of Wednesday but God was watching out for him and he didn't get any emergency calls during that time! A big thanks to Dan's parents for their extra work while Dan was sick & our great neighbor who comes and milks our cows more and more often it seems!
The kids & I headed to MN to see family and picked up one of the bathroom vanities we're going to use from Ikea so I can match the wood stain. Things are coming together in that area as well!
Dan also kept making other decisions on equipment, making phone calls, sending e-mails, meeting with our local welder, and more! The robot may be coming soon, we'll see! Until next week.... well actually hopefully I'll be posting tomorrow about 10 reasons we love dairy to help celebrate June Dairy month!
See you then!
It finally happened, the start to some walls are up! Even with a rain day on Thursday, by Friday we got to see the start of walls going up, which means if the rain stays away this week, we'll see even more dramatic changes!
And the manure storage now has a big, flat concrete floor, which we needed a big pumper truck to do.
Anyone up for a game of roller hockey, since it's a bit to warm for ice hockey? We've got a nice big rink with walls starting to go up this week.
The milking robot is scheduled to arrive in about 2 weeks, which means we're praying for the rain to stay away so we can get everything ready for it's arrival! We need a roof and the concrete it's going to sit on before we can set it in place.
At our current farm this week we had the enjoyment of finally getting the cows out to pasture (the heifers have been there awhile), moving our ever-growing calves and heifers to their next bigger locations, and the heart-break that comes with losing two new heifer calves to some strange ailments.
We're praying that the chances of rain this week will stay away and not impede some much needed progress, although we trust that whatever God brings in the weather (since He's ultimately in control) will be just right and we'll keep on keeping on with the things we do control. Thanks for tracking with us and look for some major changes by next week (I think for real this time!).
Here I sit once again on Monday morning trying to review all of what happened last week! The windows are open all over the house trying to get some of the cool morning air to blow through in case I don't get around to figuring out how to put in window air conditioners! It's definitely summer! And we (and our great crews!) worked hard, which might even be an understatement, last week!
Although the walls didn't go up like we were thinking might happen this week, the floor came up quite dramatically. This will make way for the walls to go up and then eventually the concrete alleyways and freestalls to go inside.
To see the full pictures click on a picture to open up the "gallery", which includes some captions & explanations as well. OR you can "hover" over the picture with your mouse to pull up the caption over the picture. Cool, huh?
And by Friday the first of the building supplies did arrive on-site, while we were having a picnic hot dog roast on our huge brush bonfire!
We're so thankful that the rain stayed away this week, as the middle of the week was consumed by chopping haylage for our cows to eat! Dave got it cut on Monday and then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday was spent chopping and bagging it, which is a three-man job. Our neighbor and fellow-dairy farmer has chopped and bagged for us for over 25 years. It was a few long days, ending at midnight the first day. Now our cows will have some yummy hay to start munching on!
We needed another tractor for the job, which turned out just fine since we'd already purchased just what we needed a few weeks ago, Dan just had to give it a little tune up and away it went!
The concrete guys finished up what they could on the barn area and moved on to working on the manure storage holding area, which also changed dramatically throughout the week!
Growing up a city-girl, after marrying my dairy farmer husband and spending a few years abroad, we came home to expand the family dairy farm and want to share our journey & farm life with you!