Tag Archives: factory farm

Wordless Wednesday-Family Pasture Walk

Yesterday, we had our first 60 degree weather since last fall. Tim was itching to go check the culverts and see how the pastures were fairing. We took the hike as a family just before sunset. I wish I would have had my camera. Instead I took a few pictures from my phone.

It was warm enough to be without a coat, except for Hannah

Erik was making bridges out of the branches that fell with last week’s storm

Our trip started in the yard. We followed the “river” and see where is went.

No trip is complete without a really big stick

“Don’t fall in Jonnie!”

A full moon was rising behind us as we walked

Made it to the top of the hill (stick and all)

The heifers greeted us as we made our way back.

Milking was just finishing as we walked into the yard.

Hannah got all tuckered out from the fresh air.

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Happy Birthday Tim! & Homemade Brownie Recipe

Today is Tim’s 29th birthday. To celebrate he will be spending it on the farm (not much different from any other day). The biggest difference is that we will be celebrating with large homemade brownies! Tim loves brownies. In fact, instead of wedding cake at our reception, he got his own brownie.

Fudgy Brownies: by Kathy Kirkland (You Deserve Dessert)

  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted (I used Organic Valley)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (I used Zweber Farms)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and butter. Stir in cocoa, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Pour mixture in pan
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely.  Serve with a big glass of cold and creamy Organic Valley milk.
Happy Birthday Tim!

Tim (age 5) with Uncle Roy at Zweber Farms

Jon and Tim Zweber


Filed under Cooking, Cooking with Dairy, family, Food, Organic Valley

Cajun Bone in Pork Chop Recipe: 30 minute meal!

It is hard to find recipes that include bone in pork chops. Since the bone in takes much longer to cook, the pork industry has focused their recipe developmental on boneless chop. I love bone in chops because they provide a little more flavor. So when I find a simple way to prepare bone in chops, I jump at it. Here is one that is sooo simple that you have to laugh, but it is really delicious.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of the chops. Place in baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chops once. Make sure the chops reach an internal temp of 145. Let them rest 5 minutes and serve.

Easy as that! They come out juicy and perfect. Pair with green beans, brown rice and a large glass of Organic Valley milk.

Of course I forgot to take a picture, maybe next time. But this is what they would have looked like if I had


Hunk of Meat Mondays

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Murphy’s Law on the Farm

Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

What reminded me of this old adage was my father, Jon, taking off the weekend to go to a Superbowl party with my uncles. You see whenever he leaves the farm for a weekend something or multiple somethings will invariably go wrong. It’s a running joke said with only a half smile and cautious glance around that as soon as Jon leaves the farm expect the unexpected.

Our cows are generally fairly well behaved. They seem to know when Jon has left the farm though and that is the time they choose to do their annual escape and visit the neighbors trick. Three years ago they decided to run laps around two of our neighbors’ houses in a figure-eight pattern at 2am for fun. It is a good thing we have wonderful neighbors who weren’t only forgiving but had a blast rounding up 100 cows in the dark with me. Two years ago they went for a romp through a drainage ditch to get to a neighbors sweetcorn patch. They had only begun to start detasseling the corn when I caught them in the act and rounded them back up to put back in. Unfortunately, the poorly maintained ditch crossing I was bringing them back across was not where I thought it was resulting in a waterlogged ATV and a very unhappy me. This last summer the cows decided that they wanted to visit town. Yes, that’s right, they went to town. They must have visited at least 10 neighbors’ yards during the wettest spring we’ve had in a long time. No one was happy with them after that prank. They seemed to be pretty happy with themselves though and spent the rest of the afternoon napping on a hill. It seems no matter what kind of fencing a person puts up cows will always find a way to go have a good time if they really want to.

Cows are not the only thing on our farm that follows Murphy’s Law. Our farm equipment is a far more common offender than the cows who, like I say, are generally a well behaved bunch. We don’t have the newest tractors and implements on our farm so some breakdowns are be expected, however, they seem to occur at the absolute worst times. I’m sure any of you who rely on some kind of equipment to get a job done from a combine to an inkjet printer are very familiar with this phenomenon. We log over 1000 hours per year in our skid loader. Needless to say it’s a very important piece of equipment and without it we really can’t do many of our chores. For some odd reason our skid loaders have a tendency to burst hydraulic lines during Christmas. I could understand it happening once and calling it coincidence. The odd part is that it has happened twice now with two different skid loaders. I’m not talking the little hoses for the hydraulic cylinders that move the bucket. No, those ones could be made at Carquest, it was a big one both times that supplies the drive motors to make the loader go. Those are special hoses and must be purchased from the Bobcat dealer which is tricky during the holidays.

My favorite example of Murphy’s Law as demonstrated by our equipment was the meltdown of our Case 970 tractor’s engine. I started it to let it warm up and came back 5 minutes later to find it wasn’t running anymore. Turns out it wasn’t running because the engine had seized up due to a lack of oil. I would like to say its my fault for not checking it often enough but it wasn’t, it was so much less likely than that. After the local technical college students took it apart I found out the cause of the engine failure was the oil pickup tube falling off the oil pump after 20+ years of apparently being firmly stuck there.

Nothing major has gone wrong (knock on wood) this weekend and Jon gets back tomorrow afternoon. Here’s hoping our luck has improved and it will stay that way. What great stories do you all have about Murphy’s Law?


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Flock of Seagulls – Our Cows Hate Them

Our cows HATE flocks of seagulls.

No not these guys (maybe they do, we cannot tell for certain):


These guys: Flocks of Seagulls birds


Strange noises can easily frighten our cows. Especially, when the noises come from above. This time of year seagulls migrate to their warmer winter homes in huge flocks. Their flight noises make even us look, but to a cow they are pretty scary.

Cows don’t think to look up when frightened. They see best to their sides and down. So loud and strange noises from above can spook them and send them running to the barn or through fences. Flocks of seagulls and fleets of hot air balloons scare the cows, but gaggles of geese don’t. That is because geese are around all year and are common place for the cows.

So now that I have that frightening picture of the Flock of Seagulls band in your head, remember that is how our cows feel when a flock of seagulls fly over them.


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Miley’s Story-Part Three The Happy Ending

If you have been following along, you know that recently we had to treat one of our good milk cows, Miley, with antibiotics. You can read about Miley’s story here and here. We are happy to say that Miley’s story has a happy ending. This past weekend, Samantha’s boyfriend Nick purchased Miley. Miley will go live on his family farm just west of the Twin Cities.

Miley with Nick and Samantha

Miley is once again her old self. She was even dodging Sam and Nick when they tried to get her halter on. In the picture above she is trying to knock Nick over. This is something she would not have done when she was sick. We are sad to have her leave, but it is a must on our organic farm. Thankfully, she is going to a good home, where we know she will be treated well.


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Can Chickens Get Laryngitis?

Erik and I were out at the farm garden today checking out the fate of the tomatoes when we heard a strange noise coming from the lilac bushes. I would have never guessed it was a chicken making this noise. Can chickens get laryngitis? I’m not sure but this one makes me believe they can.

I checked to make sure there wasn’t an egg under the chicken because sometimes they make strange noises when laying. Nope, no egg. My unofficial guess is chicken laryngitis. Maybe we should make her some chicken (cough) noodle soup.


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Lamborghini and Baptisms-Family Friday Linky

My title might have you confused. How could Lamborghinis and baptisms have anything in common? They don’t. Please continue reading.

The answer to my Fun Tractor Trivia: Renazzo Lamborghini. Yes Lamborghini was a tractor manufacturer before he made his uber famous and expensive sports cars. In 1972 the car and tractor portions of Lamborghini’s business split, but you can still find Lamborghini tractors sold under Same manufacturing. Who knew, right? I sure didn’t until my two year old became obsessed with tractors.

click for source

So that was the Lamborghini part. Now on to baptisms.

This Sunday we will be celebrating Hannah’s baptism and her welcome into the Catholic church. This sacrament is very important in our faith. It is the moment that a person is forgiven of Original Sin.

So, with all this pressure of this blessed event, I must get my house cleaned! Last night I tweeted “Does anyone have a magic wand?” Unfortunately, several people told me theirs were broken. Darn. So that means I must get to it the old fashion way.

I am usually a pretty clean and organized person, but I have putting off things like dusting and window washing for a quite some time.

I hope I can get it all spic and span before Sunday. If you have a magic wand, please feel free to send it my way!

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An Interesting Idea for Child’s Birthday Party-Wordful Wedenessday

Our two year old LOVES tractors. I don’t think I can stress the love part enough.

He has been sleeping with this book for the past month! Each night he wants us to read a section out of it. I have learned more about tractors from my two year old than anyone else ever in my life.

Tim often asks me to do parts runs for him. I don’t mind doing it and I’m usually in Northfield often enough. Jonnie gets super excited when he gets to come along. We call Larson’s Implements “The Tractor Store”.

When you first walk in, there is a row of toy tractors. Jonnie walks down the row saying things like “Oh that is big, I would like that, Daddy has this kind of tractor, Daddy doesn’t have this” After Dave at the parts counter gives us our order and the boys their sucker, it is off to see all the tractors on the lot.

Jonnie could climb up each of the tractors’ steps for hours. I have to limit his play to a short half hour each time we go. Jonnie has expensive taste when it comes to tractors. Yesterday, he climbed up the biggest tractor on the lot and proudly said “Mommy, I want a Steiger.” I checked the label, and yes it was a Steiger 400 (smart two year old). That tractor is worth twice as much as our house!

I wonder if the “tractor store” would host a birthday party for our tractor lover? I can see it now: I could bring a cake, the kids could eat the free popcorn and suckers and then spend a couple hours climbing up and down the tractor steps. Maybe Larson’s mechanics could give a tour of the shop. Tim said that he buys enough parts there that they should. I said you need to buy a new tractor then they would for sure. *wink*

I might just ask Dave the parts guy the next time we are in.

Fun Tractor Trivia: What tractor maker “dabbled” in sports car making when he complained to Enzo Ferrari about the noisy gearbox in his cars? Hint this tractor maker now makes one of the world’s most expensive sports cars.  Come back for the answer on Friday’s post.



Filed under #AgChat, family, Pictures, Wordless Wednesday

Miley’s Story Continues

Dr. Bob Davis, DVM (aka Doc) visited our farm on Monday to check on Miley again and assess why she didn’t respond to the treatment we gave her. If you remember from a previous post Miley became extremely ill about a couple weeks ago. We tried treating her with organic remedies first, but quickly realized it was more serious than we could fix with those. We then moved to using an antibiotic called Nuflor with an anti-inflammatory drug similar to aspirin. At the time Doc thought Miley had pneumonia. Giving an antibiotic was the most humane choice at the time.

Well, it turns out she doesn’t have pneumonia. It is much worse. Miley has an endocarditis which is a fancy term for an infected heart valve. How did she get an infected heart? We don’t know and neither does the vet. Doc said last he saw this was 5 years ago when there were a number of cattle who had it and hadn’t see it again till now. The most likely cause of endocarditis is an infection elsewhere in the body that gets into the bloodstream. We never saw the clues if she did have an infection before she became ill the other week. That is the trouble with cattle, sometimes they don’t show when they are ill. Many animals don’t show weakness/illness as a part their defense mechanisms. Sheep are very well known for this.

So what do we do now? That is what we asked Doc, feeling a lot less hopeful for Miley’ s future. He decided we should try to do a very aggressive and sustained treatment protocol of penicillin to try to kill the bacteria infecting her heart. The chances of this working aren’t that great but its worth a try. The challenge is that we need to kill the bacteria so her body can repair her heart and fight off reinfection. Doc said that many times you will think the cow is better but then she gets ill again because the infection returns. It is very hard to cure an infection in the circulatory system of a cow because the bacteria causing the issue get distributed to every organ of the body. In other words the causative organism has a lot of places to hide from antibiotic therapy vs. a confined skin infection which is an easy target.

Hopefully the treatment will work. She is still eating well and getting around fine which are good signs. She doesn’t like getting shots but I guess she’ll have to put up with more of them if she’d like to keep living. As far as what we plan to do with her if she gets healthy or if she gets worse I don’t know yet. We’ll have to address those decisions as they come up.

FYI, we continue to dump all her milk. Like stated in the pervious post, she is no longer considered organic. Right now our main concern is her health and well being.

Tim (with some help from Emily)

Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy.  We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterand YouTube.

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