Adventures in Cow Checking

The house was a little too quiet this morning. All three kids went back to school today. My littlest one had his first “first day of school” ever. It was just too quiet, so I decided to join my husband, Scott, on his daily morning activity of checking cows. I’m so glad that I did because we saw a lot of action!

We currently have 180 dry cows on approximately 90 acres at the dairy. Dry cows are bred, nearing their due date, and therefore not part of our milking herd. As part of Scott’s responsibility, he drives around in our pastures looking for newborn baby calves. He ensures that the babies have drank their mother’s colostrum (first milk that is rich in antibodies) and that the mothers are doing well.

I was feeling kinda blah with the empty house, and this morning was just what I needed to take my mind off of it. Just look at these beauties! We had 5 new baby calves this morning.

IMG_1332Momma Cow & BabyBaby Calves

Baby calf

As we were checking cows, we saw a mother wild turkey with her flock.IMG_1336

We also saw twin fawns hidden in the brush. If you look hard, you will see the second deer in the back. Did you know that a doe will run AWAY from her fawn when approached? She wants to you to follow her instead of finding her baby.

Twin Fawns

It was great to spend some quality time with my husband in nature. In fact, he has asked me to go with him every morning so I can open gates, drive while he walks the cows up, and be another set of eyes looking for babies hidden in the tall grass or under trees. Living on the farm is such a blessing!


We Are Proud Dairy Farmers

Elyse came across an article in the magazine, Hoard’s Dairyman,that perfectly captures our life, love, and family tradition of dairy farming. It captures our blood, sweat, and tears. It captures our hopes and our dreams, and we want to share it with you. WE ARE PROUD DAIRY FARMERS!!

“I am proud dairy farmer”
by Joseph Giemza

I am a dairy farmer. That’s all I’ve ever been. There once were a lot of folks who could say that. As of March, there are 9,600 of us in Wisconsin. Wow! In March 1999, the numbers indicated there were 22,000.

You’d think someone would build a fence around us and charge admission to view us in our natural habitat or Congress would put an endangered species protection act on us.

Yes, I am a dairy farmer. It’s my job, my life, my career, my religion, my passion, my home – all rolled into one. Most people are too busy to get to the basics of life, too busy trying to get rich quick. I get to deal with the basics of life every single day: birth, death, soil, sun, growth, mud, storms, calm, parched, wet, and above all, stress.

I am proud to be a dairy farmer. My contribution to society is very simple, yet it’s as grand as that of anyone who graduated from an elite liberal arts college.

I tend a heard of dairy cows that produce what evolution has chosen as the most naturally nutritious food for the most developed animals in the food chain – people. Evolution took thousands of years of trial and error, millions of genetic events to decide that milk is it. Its nutritional value puts milk above coffee, energy drinks, beer, or soda. Milk is it!

Milk doesn’t cause fatal car crashes or domestic violence. You don’t need an identification card to purchase it any time of the day or night. It won’t stain your clothes if spilled. Consider all the great products that are made from milk, whether they are hot, cold, cultured, or frozen.

Today, the American farmer feeds 144 people every day. Fifty years ago, each farmer fed 22 people. We’ve come a long way. The American farmer is expected to feed, fuel, and clothe the world, take all the risk with no guarantee of receiving fair compensation for their hard work.

One hundred percent of the people on this planet eat food. Where do they think this food comes from?

Not from a store, it’s from a farm. Yet, the farmer is the least appreciated person on earth. Not many people become famous for milking cows, but a lot of famous people couldn’t do what we farmers do. Professional athletes make tens of millions of dollars per year and contribute little to society.

Dairy farmers work extremely hard just to survive. What industry works for less than minimum wage, puts in hours well beyond the traditional eight-hour work day, seven days a week, with no overtime pay, no benefits of any kind, and no retirement fund?

Farmers have no control on the price we receive for our products; we have to take what the processor gives us. Is that fair?

We do it because we have passion for the land and what we do.

Published in Vol. 161,No.14 Hoard’s Dairyman


Can You Handle the Cuteness?

Who doesn’t love baby animals? Baby calves have the most precious little faces with big eyes and long lashes. We had a weekend full of brand new baby calves and I just have to share the cuteness. Get ready to say, “awwwwww”!

One of Scott’s responsibilities is to check all of the expectant momma cows. The whole family decided to tag along on Saturday, and boy are we glad we did.  All six grandkids got to witness a baby calf being born!

Then we headed back to the barn to visit two more calves who were about a day old. The babies of our family, Claire and Clayton, enjoyed meeting this sweet baby.

We continued driving around looking for calves and witnessed this sweet moment of a momma nursing her baby.

The next morning, Grandpa, Krisie, and Claire rescued two calves that had been abandoned by their moms. One of the babies was still wet from being born, so Claire helped dry her off.

What do you do with abandoned baby calves? You take them to your house and bottle feed them! It started to rain so we moved them to the shelter of the patio. Grandpa gave Eli a lesson on how to hold the bottle. The little bull calf was shaking, so he was wrapped in a towel while Krisie fed him. The kids had so much fun (I’m pretty sure the adults did too), and they learned a lot.

Just to push the cuteness factor up a notch, we had a baby bull calf born a few weeks ago that was so teeny tiny. He was about the size of a dog! Can you handle all of the cuteness?!



Butter Me Than You

Have you tasted homemade butter made with fresh cream? Oh. My. God. It is so delicious! We have excess cream for sale at the dairy, so if you have been entertaining making your own butter, now is the time!

Homemade butter is so much better than store bought, and you know exactly what’s in it– just cream and a little bit of salt. You can even make a giant batch and freeze individual portions. Just look at how pretty and yellow it is!


So how do you make butter you ask? It always sounded like a big undertaking to me, but it’s really not that hard. The first time I made butter with my mother-in-law, Elyse, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  It was such a great bonding moment for us too.  Knowing that I would be moving to the farm soon, I realized that she was teaching me one tiny lesson on how to be a dairyman’s wife. I will always treasure that memory.

Okay, enough of the mushy stuff, let’s get down to the details. All you need is cream, a food processor or blender, a little salt, and a wooden spoon. **Let the cream sit out for a bit before making butter. This will allow the cream to churn faster.**

1. Pour cream in to the food processor approximately 2/3 full.  Run the food processor for a few minutes. You will notice the cream becoming thicker and eventually separating into fat (butter) and liquid (whey). You can also hear the difference in your processor. This should take a few minutes. If you are a visual person, check out the prairie homestead for pics of the stages the cream will go through.

2. Strain off the liquid. This is old fashioned buttermilk. You can save it for baking or discard it.

3. You will need to wash the butter in order to remove as much buttermilk as possible to prevent premature spoiling. Place butter in a large bowl and add a a few cups of cold water. Press butter with a wooden spoon in order to remove as much buttermilk as possible. Discard the liquid and repeat until the water is clear. This will take about 4-5 times. Use very salty water for the last wash.

4. Place butter in small containers and refrigerate or freeze. Enjoy!




Chasing Chickens

One of our daily chores on the farm is collecting eggs. The twins and I frequently participate in this job. Head out to the chicken coop, open the back of the boxes, and deposit the eggs in a bucket for collection. Easy enough, right?


Well, not when you have crazy chickens who like to hide their eggs! The boys and I have a real life Easter egg hunt on our hands. Just when you find their hiding spot, they move to a new location.

With Grandpa’s help, the boys raided their newest stash–under a tractor in the tall grass.


Well, at least it keeps them busy! On a side note, aren’t the eggs just gorgeous? And with all of the roaming our chickens do, they are simply delicious!





Meet the Chaloupkas

Introducing the Chaloupka family! By the way, the “c” is silent (think Chanukah) and it is pronounced ha-loop-ka. Here’s a pic of the whole gang, Eugene and Elyse, their children, and grandchildren. Aren’t we a good lookin’ group?


Gene and Elyse have been married for 46 years. They were both born and raised in Moulton and were high school sweethearts. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Gene oversees planting and maintaining the crops as well as equipment maintenance. Elyse is responsible for records and accounting, and she heads up the raw milk side of the dairy.


Their oldest son, Chad, has been working at the dairy since he graduated from Texas A&M in 1999. Chad is the dairy herd manager and also is heavily involved in the production of our new cheese plant. He is married to Niki, and they have a 7 year old son, Landon, who loves sports and the farm.


Their daughter, Krisie, and her husband Marty, are raising their two daughters in Houston. Lily is a lively, lovable 3 year old, and Claire is a curious, cuddly 1 year old.


Their youngest son, Scott, his wife Kim, and their boys recently moved back to the dairy so Scott could continue the family tradition of farming. Scott takes care of the heifers and helps with the crops. Kim manages social media and the websites for the dairy and our corn maze, Rocky Creek Maze. She is also the voice behind our blog. They have 4 year old twin boys, Eli and Isaiah, and 5 month old Clayton.


We hope you enjoy reading our blog.  Check back often to find out what is happening with the farm and the family.