Posts Tagged ‘Dairy Life’

Manuel Borges Jr Dairy Farmer - Father

Manuel Borges Jr
Dairy Farmer – Father

Well here we are in June already. Always a busy month. Between graduations, farming our corn and fathers day. On top of that it is “Dairy Month”.  For a dairy farmer every day is dairy day, week, month and year. The cows need their food and milking everyday, 24 /7 the cows are on our minds and run our daily lives, but we love it and most of us agree it is our calling.

This is the 24th Father’s day without my Dad. I still miss him terribly, yet his legacy and passion lives within me. My Dad was not a man of many words. He liked his routine and was just happy to be in the barn with his beloved cows. We were pretty much polar opposites when it came to socializing and chit-chat. I think he thought me a bit quirky, a bit boisterous, and always on the go. I was just like my mother. It was a yin/yang thing. All I know is it worked. I truly think that my life growing up was as perfect as it gets. I had the best of both worlds. A free and easy, hippy style mom and a quiet hard working Dad that like routine and structure.

We have all of these fancy terms for everything these days. I think that my Dad might have been termed, OCD. He was the cleanest person I have ever met. He spent so much of his time that he should have been sleeping, cleaning. He only slept about 4 hours a night.

My first memories of my Dad was by his side…working and cleaning. You see I was the oldest, I know in his heart I was supposed to be a boy, thus his nickname for me was Bobbi. (He had married later and I was born when he was 35 years old). He needed a worker and well, I ended up doing just that. At four years of age he put steel wool in my hand and taught me to help him scrub the line. My very favorite memories was about that same time when he put me in the big stainless steel milk tank to help him clean it. He said that my hands were nice and small to get into the “crannies”. It was such fun slipping and sliding around. I remember we used a lot of cleaning chemicals. I told him, “Daddy I can’t breath”, he calmly said to me “it’s OK honey, just hold your breath”. I did just that. While others might not think that was the best parenting moment, it was one of my happiest times.

My Dad was even picky about the color of his cows. He liked them mostly black with only a little white on the bottom. When asked why, he would simply reply, “They look cleaner like that”. He was known by many of this preference and any bull in his breeding program reflected this and any cow that was purchased had to fit that bill. (I am blessed to have a aerial photo of our dairy farm and his   “Vacas Pretas”  as he would call them in Portuguese are prevalent and a beautiful keepsake of our life).

That desire for quality and cleanliness was passed down to me. A good product starts with the best quality milk. Once you have the milk, so pure and pristine,  processing it must also retain cleanliness and quality.  The importance of this has been passed onto me and I pass that on through my cheese and milk. So many people tell me that my cheese and milk lasts long after the “best by date”. I tell them that is because of our clean milk and processing. It makes me so very proud. I am so lucky that my husband also is a stickler for quality. It is, to my delight that my daughter, Tara, has also inherited that gene. I am so happy to have her heading up all of our production.

I am sorry that my Dad did not get to see “Dairy Goddess” come to life. I know he would have just shook his head and smiled that crooked grin. My father told me out loud only one time that he was proud of me. That was on my wedding day. I always knew that he was, but like I said he was a man of few words. He did often tell me he loved me, especially towards the end of his life.

There has been many times since his passing that I have heard him. When I had been lost in my thoughts or worried about this thing or that, his voice will pop into my head and say “I love you, Bobbi”… and then it’s gone, but that moment stays with me and I know that he is right here watching the whole thing. Our loved ones never really leave us. We carry them in our hearts and in our actions. We hope that all of the best parts that they gave us are then passed down to our children.

Happy Fathers Day Dad….and to all you Fathers! Don’t forget June is Dairy Month…go on out and celebrate. Think about all of the hard working dairy farmers out there bringing you the best of what Dairy has to offer.

Cheers…preferably a big cold glass of milk!

Read Full Post »

Women In Dairy Conference – November 7, 2012

Women in Dairy Pennsylvania – Penn State Extension

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of dairy farmers from Pennsylvania that were visiting California dairy farms. Our dairy was one of their stops. Tony and I shared our dairy and our cheese plant and the debut our chocolate milk. I had the opportunity to speak to them and shared our struggles with the dairy business and operating a dairy products plant.

A couple months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in being the Keynote speaker at their Women in Dairy Conference being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I reminded them that I was not a professional speaker. She said that it was the ladies from the tour that suggested me as the speaker. I was flattered and frightened at the same time.

They also asked if I could sit on a panel for blogging. That, I thought, no problem. I feel comfortable with blogging. I admit I do not know a lot of the technical things associated with blogging but I do feel comfortable sharing my message and I realize the importance of getting your story out and not let others speak for you. Especially in the dairy industry.

I agreed to do it. I admit, a bit reluctantly. It seemed so far away. I really didn’t know where I would be with my business. I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get away. I didn’t know how to put together a keynote address. I had seen plenty of wonderful speakers in my day. I was especially moved when I had seen Dr. Scott Vernon from Cal Poly SLO give his keynote address at the California Women in Agriculture convention earlier this year. I was challenged and I like that. I decided to do it!

Months before, and up to just before departure I was agonizing over my decision. One day it was, “how exciting” the next day was “what the heck did I get myself into”. I was worried about letting those ladies down. I knew it was too late to back out now. I dug my heels in and resolved to do my best.

I would hole myself up and write, rewrite, write and write some more. It is very rewarding putting your life on paper. I also created my first power point! Accepting challenges and learning new things, isn’t that what life is about?

Penn State Extension is an outreach program of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. They provide educational programs for dairy producers, their employees, and advisers. (click here to see the great programs that they offer) They do a great job. They are professional and work very hard. It is very clear that they like what they do and they like working with these dairy farmers. I felt their devotion and respect for the dairy farmers that they served.

There is nothing easy about getting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Fresno, California. I departed at night on November 5th. I arrived, after a couple of plane changes, in the morning of November 6th. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful place. I would not let my weary body get me down. I had to go explore. Explore I did. I want to thank Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, PA. I called them at the last minute. They asked what I was interested in seeing. Offered me a very fair price and picked me up right away to escort me on my adventure. I got to visit the Central Market in Lancaster, PA It is the oldest, continuously ran, farmers market in the nation. A perfect stop for me right? I enjoyed introducing myself to the farmers/vendors there and they were kind and warm. I even got a hug from a lovely Mennonite vendor. I was driven through the beautiful countryside enjoying the farms and got a glimpse of Amish life. I drove through Hershey, PA, the “sweetest town in America” and yes the street lights are the shape of Hershey’s kisses. The whole time, as I was enjoying this, I kept telling myself how much Tony would love to see this and vowed to come back and spend more time.

After my full day I got to enjoy dinner with some of the Penn State Extension team. We also went to a pre-conference reception that evening.  It was nice to have this “warm-up” because that moment was here and there was no turning back now.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, that moment, that I had agonized for so long, was now here. I admit, I was glad that I was up first. When I was done I felt great relief and satisfaction. Mission accomplished! I had wonderful feed back and response and felt embraced. One very nice young lady said that I had “set the tone” for the conference. I was happy that I did not disappoint. These are hard-working dairy women. They are busy working on the farms, milking cows, raising calves and taking care of their families. I wanted it to be worth their time and I didn’t want to disappoint the ladies that suggested me for the job.

I was happy to share my life. I believe they realized, like I did, that even though we might run our dairies differently. We might have more or less cows to take care of. We share to same goals and struggles in our lives. At the end of the day our lives are consumed with the care and well-being of not only our families but our animals.

Sitting on the blogging panel was fun. It is always fun to share the rewards and challenges of blogging. I got to sit on the panel with Raechel Sattazahn. She did a great job sharing her blog, Go Beyond the Barn Blog please check it out. Her husband is a guest writer and they do a wonderful job sharing our agricultural story.  Lisa Perrin from Mid Atlantic Dairy Association did a great job as the panel facilitator.

I got to enjoy the rest of the day mingling, eating good food, and taking in the other breakout sessions. I met too many wonderful people to name individually. I  hope they know how much I appreciated my time with all of them.

During the day I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Armacost. She is the director of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Promotion Service . They have a very impressive program. The girls are very active in promoting dairy in their state. She had with her two of her princesses, Callie and Heather. These two lovely princesses gave a beautiful “milk toast” at lunch. They attended the whole conference and were staying on for other appearances.  They were staying the night and asked if I would like to join them for dinner.

What a great evening. She drove us into the town of Harrisburg and indulged me in some picture-taking of this beautiful town. We ate at a local restaurant Appalachian Brewing Company. It was an evening of good food and good company.  I so appreciate their invitation. This was a perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Dairy and Animal Science and Laurie Porter for their efforts in arranging this conference. They make it seem easy. Congratulations to you both and everyone who made this day the success that is was.

I made it back home without delay. I was comforted to know that my cheese/milk and dairy business ran just fine without me. Tara and Tony do a great job and did it all themselves without complaint. It is I, that do not know what I would do without them. Thank you both for “holding down the fort”. I love you both.

Again, Pennsylvania Women in Dairy and Penn State Extension, my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. Until we meet again….

Read Full Post »

Well it is getting very close to time for Chica to have her calf. She is doing well and is a bit lazy…but why not? She knows she is going to be busy soon enough.

I am looking forward to meeting her calf and getting her back on our dairy.

Also this week I got to go a couple of days to the World Ag Expo in Tulare CA. What a huge event that is more social for me than anything. I had a tweet up with some of my twitter friends.

Great Meeting! Great People!

There twitter handles are from left to right @khammerstrom (Karri) @katpinke (Katie) @RayLinDairy (Ray) @WifeOfADairyman (Nancy)  @JDJohansson (James) @MNfarmmomma (Emily)

GREAT seeing you guys!

Read Full Post »

It was such an honor to have such a nice piece done about my “Dairy Goddess” story! Lindsey Pena the reporter and camera man Adam were so kind and professional. It was a pleasure to share my story. I was also so proud of how much they loved the cheese and was happy to send them some samples to share back at the studio!

Lemoore woman’s dairy blog inspires cheese making

By KSEE News

Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese

September 24, 2010She’s been dubbed the “Dairy Goddess”. Lemoore’s Barbara Martin is milking cows, making cheese and blogging all about it.

Lindsey Pena talked to the “dairy goddess” herself and joins us with her story of growing success. 

To buy “Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese”, go to dairygoddess.com, visit the Hanford Portugese Bakery or call 559-924-2449  


Life has been busy on the farm and cheese room! I am looking forward to visiting with Chica next week.

I look forward to sharing that with you!

Read Full Post »

My very first memories are of being around cows. They make milk and that milk was transported off to some other facility where they processed it.

That was all I knew and grew up with. I always though, had in the back of my mind that I could make something with my milk!

Life moves forward and time goes so quickly.

As my kids grew and became independent, I started to really think again about making something, making a bit of a “mark” so to speak. Reinventing my creative side was really where I wanted to head.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cheese…so why not make that? I have my own cows and they make wonderful milk. 

In September of 2008 I took a class at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo titled Dairy Science and Technology Basics for the Farmstead/Artisan Cheesemaker. (For more information visit www.calpoly.edu/~dptc )

It was three days covering all aspects of cheese and making. They stated that one of the most challenging parts of cheese making was making sure you have enough milk for processing. I knew that would not be one of my obstacles.

 They went over the rules and regulations of starting a cheese processing facility (as with everything…not so easy) and my favorite part was the actual  hands on part of cheese making. (I also really loved eating the fresh curds too)!

Making cheese felt natural to me and all of the pieces seem to fit. With all of that information I wanted to do nothing more than to make my own farmstead cheese from the milk that my cows make fresh everyday.

Then….the milk prices began to drop again…and the dream was again put on the back burner. Even though I placed it on the back burner it was still on my mind everyday.

In the late fall of 2009 I decided that it was something I could put off no longer…

I am in my (hopefully) final stages of approval for my cheese room…and the rest is to remain to be seen…

I look forward to keeping you posted!

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite things of having a blog is the people you get to reach from all over the world.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Alfred. He has a dairy farm in Kenya Africa. Alfred had stumbled upon my blog and asked a couple of dairy questions and our dialog progressed from there.   I am now honored to call him a friend and colleague.  As I mentioned Alfred lives and dairies in Africa. Dairy life in Africa seems very much like having a dairy farm in the United States. He cuts silage and raises calves he worries for their health and well-being.
He also has many of the same struggles that we have here. He worries about the weather and the milk prices and feed costs. He does have worries of predators, like Lions attacking (we don’t have Lions…but we have our own predators to don’t we? LOL)
Alfred tells me “I have a happy family made of a boy and a girl named Ted and Natash and their mother Fridah”.
Alfred is the youngest of 5 siblings. He still grieves the loss of his mother 7 years ago.
Alfred tells me that he has a small dairy but with “God’s grace” he is passionate of pursuing his dream, of milking 200 cows, to help his family and neighbors.
He also would like to process his milk as well and “pack” yoghurt.
Alfred has sent me some photos of Africa and a “Breeds Show” that I have put together in a short video. I am happy to share my friend and colleague with you.
I chose the music of Bob Marley, “One Love” because, dairy farmers, around the world have this in common…a LOVE of Cows and the product they provide!
My thanks to Alfred for allowing me to share our story on my blog!

Read Full Post »

I have been feeling hurt as I see these manipulated images of dairy and

Tony Martin Dairy (4th generation still at it)

 farming in the media. Media’s sole survival is to get ratings. To be read and viewed by many. The people feeding the media with these images know this and without conscience they continue to manipulate the media and the public to think this is correct and their ideals are the way to go. They plant doubt, guilt and fear to those that do not know any better. By shocking images and edited footage.

So here I am, a dairy farmer with a new purpose. To help those confused and fearful and believe the images they see. Every dairy farmer is feeling wounded and hurt at the images we have seen on TV. Most know that we need to get out and spread our true farming practices. We have to dispel the horrible images portrayed in the media.

I love the little ones!

Unfortunately, good farm practices is not news breaking material. As with most good news…we see very little of it in media.

I have always considered myself a “tolerant” person. I have always worked on being non judgmental. I know I have a weakness of speaking my opinion, but not in judgment, only in opinion. There are many people I like that I agree to disagree with. I have considered myself open minded not putting down others even though theirs was not a practice I believed in. Now being under fire it would be easy to get mad. I just remind myself that it is not the norm those with “agenda” are not the majority (they are just very noisy). I am speaking out to share, not to defend myself. I know how hard we work for the best interest of our cows comfort and welfare.

Tara and AJ Feeding Calves

As I was connecting in Phoenix I quickly saw a book called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” It caught my eye because of the Guernsey in the title (Guernsey’s are dairy cattle I am not very familiar with). It turns out that it’s about Guernsey in the British Isles (little writing of the cows themselves). It turns out to be a lovely book that I have had a hard time putting down.

Calves are our future

I read a moving passage in the book that was originally written by Thomas Carlyle and it goes like this:


Does it ever give thee pause, that men used to have a soul-not be hearsay alone, or as a figure of speech; but as a truth that they knew, and acted upon! Verily it was another world then…but yet it is a pity we have lost the tidings of our souls…we shall have to go in search of them again, or worse in all ways shall befall us.

Now, I am not referring that most people are without souls! Quite the contrary! I do believe that we have to continually search for what is right and true. We have to work at searching the truth and not just depend on the images of the media or the writings and claims of others that manipulate emotions to bring you into their agendas and grant them power. We must continue to search for the truth. We can not rely on tidbits of distortion as fact. We can not grab on to the souls of others to feel good. We must find the “tidings” of our own soul and live in truth of your soul, not one that sounds and feels good on the outside but one that is truly good on the inside.

A 4th Generation in the Making!

Not everyone is perfect and mistakes happen. An industry or person should not be judged by the action of a few. I often look at the images of abused children and am grateful that not all parents are considered “bad” because of the acts of those minorities. So I ask you to reach out and get to know dairy farmers and their practices. Ask questions. Get to know our souls. To know us it to love us! Really!
Here are some resources to help you understand dairy and dairy farmers! Don’t be afraid to ask! We are all there to help you find the “tidings” of our own soul J




Also you can find lots of information by searching for dairy families in any state (I have had the blessing of meeting many dairy farmers from other states…what a treat) They might have a different accent…but values are the same! It really is easy to get to know us!

Facebook and Twitter is another great search ( #agchat #dairy for Twitter)

www.realcaliforniamilk.com (family documentaries)



http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hanna-IN/Troxel-Dairy-Farm/300640585611 (My friend in Indiana, her husband is a Vet. She is a wonderful example of true dairy life.




You can always ask questions on my blog or find me at Dairygoddess on Facebook or Twitter.

http://gilmerdairyfarm.com/ Just a great young dairy farmer from the south…and he sings too!

Read Full Post »

  Today after a tough Friday (I was admitted to emergency to have an abscess lanced due to a MRCS (staph) infection.

Tony came in and told me that Chica had a miscarriage (aborted). She lost her calf at nearly 7 months. He said that she was in the “hospital” pen. She was doing well and eating. He said that our employee, Jaime, told him that “I am sad for Patrona, she is not good today….”  These things happen but we are always saddened.

I could not stay in when I knew Chica was in the hospital pen. Cows are creatures of habit and this was a new area. I didn’t want her to be  nervous. Chica though, is a very tolerant cow. As I hobbled up to her she galloped on over. She was happy to see me. She was even patient for this video.

Chica is a young cow.  She will have some rest time and then we will try again.

Read Full Post »

  When do cows make milk?

In this video a couple simple “cow” questions are answered. Sometimes we dairy farmers think everybody automatically knows…but don’t!  

 If you do have more questions…just ask! I will get it answered for you the best I can. I might even video it and give you a shout out! Sooooo send me those questions!  BTW….there are NO dumb questions! Encourage your kids too!

Read Full Post »

  I am so very happy to bring you our 3rd video. I am so very proud to introduce you to my daughter Tara. She is a 23-year-old full-time student at Fresno State University majoring in psychology. She is our relief worker for our calf raising team. We have a great love of calves, not only because they are so very cute (especially when they suck on your fingers) LOL…..but they are our future! Healthy and happy calves grow into healthy productive cows. We know that with committed calf care with consistency we are ensuring a healthy productive growth for our calves well into their adult life. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us and our family farm!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »