Yesterday I was working outside in the snow, when my sock started getting wet. Uh oh, I had worn a hole in my first pair of Red Wing boots, they had lasted me years. Thankfully, Nick was headed to town to get some supplies, so picked me up a new pair.
I love my Lady Red Wings. They are strong, durable, comfortable, waterproof, and well, the perfect work boot for me to wear on the farm. Best of all, they are made right here in Minnesota! Red Wings are Nick’s boot of choice too, the men’s style though, of course.
Disclaimer: Red Wing Boots in no way compensated me for this blog post, I just really like my Lady Red Wings!
Nick and I had the opportunity to be one of ten couples from across the United States that were a part of the 2013 Class of National Outstanding Young Farmers. We were Minnesota’s state winners in 2011 and then competed at the national level.
We spent five days in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Outstanding Farmers of America conference. There were interviews, tours of the Albuquerque area, speakers, banquets, and most importantly networking. We were able to get to know our classmates, learning about their farms, families, similarities and differences in the ways we farm. We learned about tropical fruits, orchards, and row crops that we don’t grow here in Minnesota. We were also able to meet past winners and learn about their farms as well. We made friendships that will last a lifetime. It was truly an honor to be a part of the 2013 Class!
Learn more about the ten honorees by viewing the below videos. Five families are featured in each of the below videos, narrated by Orion Samuelson.
The first Five National Outstanding Young Farmer videos.
The second five National Outstanding Young Farmer videos.
The “So God Made A Farmer” video which now includes a photo of each of the top ten finalists.
2013 Class of National Outstanding Young Farmers
2013 Top Four Winners: Brian & Stephanie Perkins, WI; Nick & Tara Meyer, MN; Greg & Gina Wegis, CA; Erik & Heather Teitig, FL.
Nick & Tara Meyer, MN
One of the most important things that we do at Meyer Dairy is provide cow comfort. Every day we groom the cows’ bed with a stall groomer. Nick had done a lot of online research on stall groomers when we built the new barn and began using separated solids as bedding in the stalls. When the barn was first built we used a rake in the interim, and that was time consuming and labor intensive. We knew we needed a skid loader attachment to groom the stalls to be more efficient and do a better job for the cows. Nick found a groomer that he liked online, we tested another style which Nick didn’t like. So he drew up the features that he liked on paper and took it to a local welding and fabrication shop, Messer Repair. They came up with a design, Nick and the designer tweaked the design a bit and we now have a stall groomer we really like!
Nick is using the stall groomer in our dry cow pen.
Photo Credit: Mark Klaphake, Dairy Star
The past month has been one of more transition here at Meyer Dairy. We incorporated 50 of Nick’s Uncle’s cows into our farm. So we have been helping the cows with the transition, getting them accustomed to their new home. We had to teach the cows how to enter the milking parlor to be milked. They had to learn where to eat and where to lay down. The new cows were mixed in the pens with our cows, so the new cows could sort of “follow the leader” and learn from our cows. Within the first couple of days the cows were accustomed to their new home in the freestall barns. Learning how to enter the milking parlor took more time. Nick spent a lot of his time during milking showing the new cows how to enter the milking parlor. Each milking the new cows adjusted better and better. Now as we look back on the past month, things are going very well. The new cows are thriving and comfortable.
We have had a fairly mild November here in Minnesota, which has given us extra time to get machinery stored in the sheds for the winter and get a few projects done that we had been putting off as we were working on the construction project and then adding more cows to the farm.
Yesterday, Nick and I went on a search for Spruce tips and Cedar branches from our grove of trees to put in our front porch pots. The dirt in the pots was not yet frozen solid, which made making the pots very easy. We just clipped off some tips from the Spruce trees and small branches off the Cedar trees. It’s a quick and easy way to dress up those empty pots through the winter months.
This recipe came out of my mom’s recipe favorites. Tonight after the kids and I finished calf chores we ate supper and made these bars.
Chocolate Carmelita Bars
1 3/4 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda
Heat oven to 350*. Grease a 9×13 pan. Combine the above ingredients, mix well. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture, press the remaining onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips on top.
Mix 1 cup caramel with 1/4 cup flour. Stir until smooth and drizzle over the chocolate chips.
Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of oatmeal mixture over the top.
Bake for an additional 18-22 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting.
The crust is ready for the oven
Chocolate chips, caramel and remaining crust spread on top. Ready for the oven again.
The finished product.
We received a lot of apples from a friend, so this morning we made Crock Pot Applesauce. After eight hours of making our house smell amazing while it cooked, we enjoyed the applesauce with dinner tonight. I found many recipes online, tweaked and combined them and came up with the following recipe, which I’ll definitely make again!
Crock Pot Applesauce
15 apples, peeled and cored. (I have a Pampered Chef apple corer, which saves lots of time!)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
Mix the apple pieces with cinnamon, sugar and vanilla in the Crock Pot. Add water, set Crock Pot on low for eight hours.
All mixed together and ready to cook.
The finished product. Our kids loved it!
The last month has been spent finishing all the last details on the new barn, along with fall harvest. This weekend we finally were able to move cows into the barn. We’ve already had three calves born in the new barn in the last 12 hours. We are so happy to have this project complete.
The cement crew is pouring the last of the cement. The cement needed to cure for seven days before we could drive on it with the tractor and mixer.
The stalls are filled with bedding and are ready for cows to come and lay down in them.
Nick is putting down fresh feed for the cows so that they can eat as soon as we move them into the barn.
Cows moving in. The dry cow group (cows that will have a calf soon) are walking into the barn for the first time.
She is ready to eat in her new barn.
Here is the first calf born in the bed pack area of the barn.