Cow Spots and Tales, a blog by dairy farmer and long-distance runner Lisa Reeck, brings together two seemingly different worlds, one of athletic training and the other of dairy farming. The curiosity and passion from this farmer and runner will give you the inside scoop on daily life on a Minnesota farm milking Holstein cows and raising corn and alfalfa hay for feed. This farm kid, now grown, looks for the blessings in everyday things.
While you’re here, be sure and check out Henrietta “Etta” the official blog cow of Cow Spots and Tales, and read about Lisa and her husband Justin’s passion for and commitment to producing safe food on a Minnesota century farm, in operation since 1885.
What inspired you to become a blogger?
My reasons for starting a blog were two-fold. First, I knew that more and more people were curious and concerned about where their food was coming from and how it was raised. As a farmer, I felt compelled to share some of my daily life and give readers the inside scoop. This was about the same time I became more interested in training for long-distance races. I found a lot of good advice and community through running and fitness blogs. I decided I could combine these two passions to reach an audience of young women who were fitness-minded like me but had maybe never set foot on a farm. Hence, my blog was born.
One piece of advice you would give to beginning bloggers?
Things will likely start slow when you have a new blog. Don't get discouraged! Just keep creating quality content, visiting and engaging with other blogs, and working hard. If you keep at it, you'll begin to see your reader base grow.
Tell us about your family:
I grew up in a dairy farm family with four sisters. Trust me when I say there was never a dull moment! I met my husband, Justin, in college, and we were married in 2009. Justin and I, plus our two lovable dogs, make up our little family.
Tell us about your farm:
Justin and I work with his parents on their family dairy in Central Minnesota. It's been in his family since 1885, and we are proud to continue the legacy. We milk Holstein and crossbreed cows, and we raise corn and alfalfa hay to feed the animals.
What is the hobby you don’t get to do nearly enough?
Hanging out with family and friends! The people in my life are so important to me, but farm life and chores can make it hard to get together as often as we'd like.
What are the questions you get about farming most often?
Lately I've been getting more questions about the safety and health of dairy foods. I like to try and understand the asker’s specific concerns, but my general answer focuses on the way we care for our cows, the food safety measures taken during processing, and the way I enjoy dairy foods in my own life.
The other thing people often wonder about is why I chose to work on a farm. I share my background of growing up on a dairy and how rewarding it can be to care for animals and produce food.
What is one misconception you commonly hear as a farmer that you would like to clear up?
I want people to understand that even though I'm a farmer, I'm still a regular person just like them. I care about my family, work and home like they do, and safe food is important to me too. Farmers are always going to have a huge concern for food safety and the environment because a healthy environment allows us to raise good food, and certainly we want to raise the best product we can, because it ends up back on our plates too.
How do you decide what content to post on your blog?
I tend to share chronological stories about my life including: tasks at the farm, fun stories, family events, recipes, and details about my running and training. I also like to highlight issues that affect the broader food and agriculture community. Reader questions and feedback also inspire blog posts.
Favorite activity outside of farming?
Running. I enjoy training for races, and my favorite distances are the marathon and half-marathon.
The quote you live by?
“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Image (left) credit: Dairy Star