Tag Archives: dairy

Dear Reader,

I was so shy I let bullies be bullies, until my neighbors stood up for me on what school kids called the “retard bus” because it had to traverse 20 miles through the countryside to pick up the farm kids. One might call me a hobby farm kid.

My aunt gave me her vintage 1957 Smith-Corona electric portable typewriter as a high school graduation gift, a gift that took her into teaching English to high school kids. I was the envy of the dorm. Of course this was pre-computer and laptops and everything else.

I was afraid to write, afraid to think or speak my mind, or sing. Writing 500 words was a challenge for me back then. Now I can do it in ten minutes if I know what my mind wants my fingers to type.

Sixth grade, I skipped tryouts after school for choir solos. The next day my teacher asked me to stay after school and look out the window. She played a note on the piano and asked me what it was. I told her. She made me sing a phrase from “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and made me lead off at the concert in front of family, friends and other parents.

I have had the gift of a great family and teachers and friends. Kids, do something that means something to you, it may be music or writing or computer code or math or being a doctor. Don’t bottle it up inside because people think women are inferior and don’t want to hear their thoughts. We are all important in this world. Dee

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Wheat Grass

Years ago I tried an experiment to see what I could not eat. I went vegan for a few months and learned that I was allergic to tomato and pepper skins.

During that time I decided my cats should be healthier as well. I bought one wheatgrass plant in a 4″ container and they chewed on it all the time. I couldn’t eat or drink the stuff.

As the cats liked it I started growing it from seed every ten days. Then I placed a container outside my door. Days later all the dogs and cats in the neighborhood were coming to see me.

Pet owners asked me to stop, because their dogs were going potty all over the place because it is purging. Refuge of dogs with cheap food and bad diets. My past/passed dog never took to the raw stuff but the cats chewed on it from time to time and had no issues.

I’ve read that our DNA is very close to wheat. And bovines. Humans eat cereal and milk for breakfast. Was that just a Kellogg marketing ploy back in the day?

The downside is that I do not believe wheat has “feelings” dairy cows do when they can’t produce anymore as that’s called hamburger.

Years later I must cook meat and potatoes and vegetables for my husband, it could even be chicken but he’s allergic to fish. When he’s on a business trip I’ll start making fish, move to frozen pizza and then to yogurt and fruit.Then I await his return so I can start cooking again! Cheers, Dee

Commonalities

One is oneself, then when there is a connection to another that seems random or ill-fitting, you marry and figure it out.

My husband is educated as a physicist and works as a software engineer/consultant. I majored in soc/psych and worked for government and non-profits. He’s a genius in the field of science and technology. I’m smart but my talents go to literature, legislation and people skills.

Somehow we clicked, two weeks after 9/11 when Americans were talking to strangers about what happened. The next day he asked me out, opened the car door, took my hand and never let go.

We really didn’t have disparate backgrounds. He grew up on a dairy and I lived above one. The farm kids were our friends and we made hay forts and stepped, inadvertently, into cow patties. And they protected me from bullies on the school bus.

We shared a lot about ourselves before we married a little over a year after we met. We met the parents et al, then eloped because of my family, not his. After years of marriage things settle (believe me) and a wise person is wont to figure out why.

We’ve more in common than our differences in what he calls “hard skills” vs. “soft skills.” Traditional male/female roles. Over the past few years he’s learned soft skills and it’s not as easy as writing code that transforms trading systems.

Honesty, integrity, leadership skills, people skills, technical skills. We each bring our own to the table and they mesh. For years I’ve been a volunteer leader and mentor, creating projects and managing ten times what anyone else did.

We both have disdain for bosses who cannot lead or teach the job at hand and who can never admit to making a mistake. We believe in the servant leader relationship where one is only as good as one’s “team” however large and the ladder goes up, rather than down.

Know what you’re talking about. My husband was all business and tech. He lived in a man cave in the dark with a mattress, first dual-brained computer he built from scratch. He had a desk made from two file cabinets with plywood on top, a chair and a lounge chair and only a 72 oz Dr.Pepper and individual string cheese in the frig with wrappers going from frig to computer. And he used a Scooby Doo towel from the shower and had a clean/pile and dirty pile laundry “system.”

Yes, I have tamed the beast, so much that I’m beginning to regret some aspects of the transformation. Yes, we’re on a high floor with a great view and floor-to-ceiling windows. About ten years ago he learned how a grilled cheese sandwich was made but still prefers me to make them.

I have created a food snob. From string cheese and Monterey Jack to judging cheddar by age, I messed up. He now asks if he can help in the kitchen. Conveniently he always asks when I’m almost done or are prepping and ask him to get his ice and water and please take the dog out.

He has his library which includes Numerical Recipes. I’ve 150 cookbooks that give me references, memories and comfort. We’re both technicians, scientists and good, smart folks that make a difference. I got a crosswalk last year. People were getting killed, the city finally built it and now that the paint is fading I got the Mayor’s office to re-paint the lines as no-one stops for me and our old dog.

There’s another similarity. A year after we married we adopted a rescue dog, a sweetheart who needed her hips taken out and physical therapy as a pup. She’s 10.5 years old now and I’m the food wench and disciplinarian and he’s the fun guy.

When we wanted to take her to his parents 10 years ago they said they’d mow one of the goat pens and she could stay in there. I told my husband I wouldn’t go. He told his folks she’s a house dog and sleeps on our bed. His dad scrubbed a crate and placed in the room we’d be staying in. She now has full run of the house, jumps up on his Dad’s section of the sofa to see him coming in on the four-wheeler after feeding the cattle, sleeps on our bed. Now when we fly in and have someone stay with her at home, Mom says “what, she’s not coming?”

She has to do extra kitchen floor vacuuming and mopping when Zoe’s not there during our three-day Thansgiving cooking extravaganza where we unintentially drop crumbs. I used to bring one dish, now it’s six but there are 60 people at Nanny’s Thanksgiving. Ahh, you can’t even imagine the dessert table.

As to thanks I have to thank Nanny and my husband’s parents for raising a great man, one that I love, trust and is my best friend in the world. I’ve said this before but marry a geek. He’s smarter than the football quarterback and may be someone you’d like to have a breakfast chat with for the rest of your life. Similarities. Cheers, Dee

 

 

The Dairy

I nearly forgot another part of the Zoo. The family farm. They teach kids how a milking operation works, both mechanically and on video. Also the parts of a cow on a plastic Holstein that lights up (the stomachs).

There are also stationary tractors and such. Then there are several types of dairy cows all lined up eating hay, up close and personal for the kids to see (not pet).

I have to get this right, all y’all because my father-in-law was a dairyman for most of his life and will quiz me on this over the holidays.

Black and white Holstein, Red Holstein, two I forget, short-somethings from England, one Ayrshire from Scotland, and a Brown Swiss. Sorry, hubby will have to help me out on the English short-somethings.

This was all a part of an exhibit that included ice cream (of course), plus a vegetable garden that’s mostly gone this time of year but must be wonderful in spring and summer and includes European, South American raised beds, plus a butterfly garden.

There are goats nearby that the kids can pet. That’s OK with me as long as they have enough, monitor the site, and rotate them regularly. What I did mind is that they also had pony rides. Why would a zoo have pony rides?

Much of the signage was in large print with arrows and photos and used colloquial terms like “yeah!” and I thought it would have been good to place a brief adult version so that the parent can answer his/her child’s questions, as well, such as “how much does an adult hippopotamus weigh?”

Initially I didn’t want to go to the family fun farm but it was interesting and the younger kids seemed interested as well.

Thanks, J, for letting me feed a baby calf all those years ago. He was a twin and often Holsteins only take care of one so it’s up to humans to get them through the first few days. In the dairy community, there are also some cows who can be counted on to be surrogate mothers to the unwanted. It’s an interesting bovine community!

First time I visited my in-laws, a few months before we married, I awakened early and went to use the restroom and turned on the light. Twelve pairs of eyes looked luminously at me and I shut off the light. We’d arrived in the dark and I didn’t know they had bulls 15 feet away who now thought I was J and it was feeding time! Whoops! It freaked me out but even in their simple ways they do have a societal structure. Drink your milk. Eat cheese. Cheers, Dee

Milk, and In-Laws

As my dear husband and I ponder our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months (OK, he hasn’t pondered it at all or looked inside his ring where he had me inscribe our wedding date and my birthday so he could remember) I thought of the early days.

After a year of dating, he took me halfway across the country to rural Texas to meet his parents. He’d already met mine, separately as they were divorced. His mother was brilliant. She spent five days talking me out of ever having a life with Jim, that he’s methodical, etc. He thinks in the shower so his younger brother used to cut off the hot water so there would be some left for him! But that mother, a couple of years ago I called her and said her son was driving me nuts spending months compiling a set of antique woodworking tools for our nephew. Her response? “I TOLD you…..”

So, this first weekend spent with his family was a doozy. Over 60 relatives for Thanksgiving and everyone wanted to know about the gal Jimmy brought. I was interviewed by Nanny and most of the older gents. The men never talk to me anymore – women are only there to bring food and do dishes. This is Texas!

The morning after I arrived I started to make breakfast (I do that) for everyone and couldn’t find any milk. The 150 cows had just been milked across the way and there was no milk for the scrambled eggs. Jim’s mother said there was some powdered milk in the pantry.  What??? She calmly explained that she no longer had two growing boys living at home so there’s no need to keep two gallons of milk in the frig at all times.

Wondering about that, I went out with Jim and his father on an errand to deliver some heavy equipment. His dad asked him privately “When are you going to ask her? It’s OK with me.” We eloped two months later.

Jim’s mother is a gifted baker and seamstress and we are sometimes glad we’re not there to eat her potato rolls on a regular basis (adds to the waistline) but we do have her quilts and other items on display at our new home.

Jim’s father loves animal husbandry, particularly bovines, and has a good eye for picking them out and is well-respected in the community. He’s a civil war guru (excuse me, as a northerner I never heard of the War of Northern Aggression) and we argue politics anytime we can. When they got their new tv I told him if he wanted to use TIVO he’d have to give up Fox News. Tehee.

It’s almost time to plan another trip over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving. Our generation’s kids are growing so fast I can barely recognize them, plus they’re outside playing or running around so they never stop or show ID at the door!

Will we do anything special for our 10th anniversary? I don’t know. But I do love the family I married into. Love to Nanny, too!  Cheers, Dee