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Follow organic dairy farmer Jonathan Gates as he reports weekly from his Vermont family farm. Howmars Farm is a certified organic dairy farm, one of many Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer members who supply the milk that goes into making Stonyfield's yogurts and smoothies. The entire family pitches in on this third-generation farm. Check out some of the happenings on his farm and post your comments. Jonathan loves to get feedback from readers.

Excoooose me, Jon, your gate is open

Before going to bed at night, I usually go down to the barn to check that everything is set for the night. Last night Yukon and I stepped out into the below zero night air around 10 PM. As we walked to the barn, Yukon let out a few barks but I told him to be quiet, that nothing was wrong. I heard a cow moo as I opened the barn door, and I thought, where did that come from?

OnyxGateKeeper0105.JPGLeft:Onyx, the Gate Keeper

Everything was fine in the barn. The doors were all latched, the water was turned off, the feed bunk was full of hay, and anywhere that cold air could come in was plugged up. Since it was supposed to drop to -20F overnight, I wanted everthing shut tight. I opened the door to leave the barn, letting Yukon out first, and then I stepped out and came face to face with a cow! Onyx, a cow that appeared in a blog back in September, was waiting in front of the barn to tell me I had forgotten to shut the gate. Must be she was what Yukon was woofing at as we went to the barn. I herded her around the corner of the barn, back through the gate, and into the barnyard. I could see a few heads turning inside the barn, watching what was going on.

I'm happy Onyx was the only one out wandering around. If it had been a warm summer's night, probably the whole herd would have been running wild around the place. I guess it was just too cold for the cows to be nosy tonight.

CowAndDogNoseToNose0105.JPG--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
Franklin, Vermont

Where's Franklin? Click here to learn all about it.

Learn about other organic dairy farmers and the Organic Valley family of farms.


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That cow is so pretty. It looks like she is wearing eye make up! How pretty!

You have one smart Jersey cow .. I have always said Jerseys are smart, my Boss on the other hand. I work on a mostly Holstien farm. We have a few half-breeds. All cows are smart given a chance.

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