Saturday, July 31, 2010

How Are The Cows?

We have been asked that question frequently during the 2010 heat wave here in Maryland. The cows are fine. While they do not like 104 degree temperatures and 80% humidity, they can tolerate it with good management. When the days are going to be hot, we milk start milking at 4 am and finish by 6 so the cows have time to graze before the morning sun starts to raise temperatures. At around 8:30, we bring them inside where they have shade and access to a sprinkler system. Six fans hang over the freestalls to help keep them cool while resting. Some cows have figured out which spots are the coolest and routinely scout them out. The cows will remain in the barnyard eating hay and their grain allotment until afternoon milking is finished. When the sun starts to set and the air cools down they return to a fresh pasture. They stay out in the pasture all night and graze and rest comfortably until they are brought into the barn at 3:30 the next morning. This routine makes for long days for the farmer but at least we finally turned on the A/C so she is doing fine too!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Good Time and a Good Candidate

On Sunday, we hosted a burger and beer fundraiser for Congressman Frank Kratovil. Earlier in the year, we were invited to a small gathering to hear Frank discuss his rationale for voting against the health care bill. He was so articulate and rational in his reasoning that we wanted to give other people in the northern part of the county a chance to hear Frank in person. Next thing we knew, we were having a party.

Over 60 people visited, ate and drank from 4 until after 6 on a very hot afternoon. In addition to talking with Frank, guests could tour the farm and watch afternoon milking. We were amazed at the interest people had in seeing Ethan Jones milk the cows and were reminded that so many people are several generations removed from any exposure to farming.

Guests included over a dozen farmers including our neighbors Pat & Dutch Langenfelder and Roy & Judy Crow. Pat is president of the Maryland Farm Bureau, and Roy is a Kent County commissioner. Our special guest was former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest who did a wonderful job introducing Frank and emphasized our current Congressman’s ability to think through issues and decide independently what is best for the citizens of the district and for the future of his four (soon to be five) children. Frank gave a great recap of his successes and lessons learned during his first 18 months in Congress.

Diane Jones (Ethan’s grandmother) and her friend Sue Sussman played old time mountain music on banjo and fiddle. They came in style in a beautiful 1929 Model A Ford. Our caterer, Dave Perry, Casual Caterers, grilled our delicious ground beef to perfection and served sides of corn and pasta salad. For dessert, he made homemade ice cream from Jersey milk with chocolate chip cookies and brownies.

We raised over $4200 for the campaign. In addition, we may have a new employee in the wings as Frank and Kim’s youngest son, Nate, wanted to know how old he had to be to work here.