Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Barn Chicks who Blog- Interview with Leontien of The Four Leaf Clover Dairy

I'm very happy to share my interview with Leontien of the Four Leaf Clover Tales blog. I like her. She's fun. She's into farming. She's crazy about her husband, and even married him three times! She's a strong young woman who is a cancer survivor. I cried when I read about the horse of her dreams becoming available to her when she was sick from cancer treatments. I laughed when I read about her chasing a mouse around her bedroom. She came to our country from the Netherlands and I hope she stays. Drop by and see her blog sometime soon.

1.      Tell us a little bit about your farm.
Well we have a large farm in Indiana. We milk about 1700 cows every day, 3 times a day. We have 21 employees, most of them are Hispanic and without them we could not take as good of care for our cows as we do now. We have been certified true the Vertified Premium Plus program, and are Gold Standard with our Milk Co –op DFA (Dairy Farmers of America. Also we are working on the Certified Producers Program. We have several tours every year because we would like to show people what it is we do at this large family farm. See our  website www.fourleafcloverdairy.com we have  a whole page with facts and things to know.

2.      I know you're from the Netherlands. Did you grow up on a farm there?
Yes. My mom and dad had a hog operation in the Netherlands. I used to help with cleaning the barn and help my dad with moving of the little piglets.

3.      Does your husband come from a family with a farming background?
Yes, my husband’s parents had a crop farm in The Netherlands. The farmed  sugar beets, wheat, alfalfa and Barley.

4.      How did you end up on a farm in Indiana?
After I got my degree I stayed with Dutch Families here in Indiana Ohio and Michigan and tried to learn everything I could learn about dairy farming in America. Every week we would drive around in our car and try to find the most perfect spot to build our dairy. I did not want to be in anybody’s way, but I also did not want to hide in a secret place. Finaly we found this location and it is fantastic! We have great neighbors and crop farmers and a good community (also you can read “living my American dream”).

5.      How did you meet your husband? Did you meet him here, in the United States?
I met him in the Netherlands in our school bar. The story is on my blog (yesterday’s).

6.      Please tell us how you ended up owning a horse called Classic, that you had been interesting in owning ten years earlier.
It was truly a gift from god. The whole story is on how a girl get’s a horse blogpost. But I still can not believe my luck! And that she remembered me!?!

7.      I cried when I read your blog post about how you got Classic and what he meant to you when you were undergoing treatments for cancer. Please share with us how this magnificent stallion helped you heal. The incredible blog post of how she got her horse.
In every way possible!!! Just to know that he was/is there. And that he came here for me! He is getting a bit old lately, but he’s still going strong and he’s turning 29 this fall!

8.      Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, my music! I love music. Last week I got a CD of Mozart… and my mom and dad thought I lost my mind! I love all music, from Dutch Techno to rock ballads to jazz to country and back. I also love to read, I have hundreds and hundreds of books. When I was young I imagined a whole wall with books, well I haven’t gotten it yet but I’m close! Haha. Oh and I love my car, and driving fast in it! I know this is not good but I don’t drink, I quit smoking and I don’t do drugs, so my speeding is a little sin… I know…

9.      Do you like to cook or garden?
Both! I like to cook but I don’t use a cookbook. I’m just a try and here we go kinda girl… Sometimes it works out great and sometimes…. Well let’s say even our dog doesn't want to eat it. And my garden… Well I started it while I was on chemo, I wanted to do something but I was too tired too fast to do anything else (like riding my horse), so while Bastiaan’s mom and dad where here (Bastiaan’s mom is a huge gardener) she helped me start. And now I just keep it up and have a great time buying all kinds of flowers, plants, bushes etcetera and plant them wherever. My mother in law would be pulling her hair out if she sees what I put besides each other… haha

10.  What made you decide to have a blog?
Different reasons…  I wanted to share our dairy with the world. Lot’s of people think different about large dairies and they can be a bit scary (the unknown  always is) and I wanted it to be to show people were just like everybody else who has 1, 10, 100 or 2000 cows. We care for them and we love them and we won’t sleep if they are not allright. Also I always liked to talk. LOTS. This gives me a great outlet, because since we moved here to the States I feel pretty lonely. Living in a man’s world, out in the bush and missing my friends. This (blogging) is perfect to feel more connected and not so lonely.

11.  Tell us about your other blog.
It’s because I love to read. I wanted to tell people about what I had read and how much I liked it (or not),so maybe more people would read it…??? Haha,  always trying to change the world, I know…
12.  What's in the future for Four Leaf Clover Dairy?
I hope the future is bright and open! I really hope that we (as a family) can stay in this country and provide for our family.  We don’t necessarily want to grow, we've got enough cows but we want to build a sand recycling system. It's better for the environment and that we we can reuse our own sand. Also I want to expand the E-dopt a cow program on our website and go into local schools with it. I think that would be great for kids (to get to know cows and where their milk comes from) and do more tours.
And a little secret I hope to have in my future is a couple of Alpaca’s! I just LOVE those animals!


  1. Love Leontien's blog! She is so resilient, vibrant, and has wonderful stories to tell :-)

  2. Leontien is such a neat lady--and a lot of fun in person.
    You just need to ask her about cow cuddling sometime!

  3. I love her too!!! Her energy and zest for love and life is SO apparent. What a great, hard-working and successful family!

  4. Thank you so much Patrice! It looks GREAT!!!

    Leontien and the rest of the family

  5. I have enjoyed her blogs so much and it has been a joy to get to know her and yes, I have cried through her blogs on a daily basis and her cancer story is so incredible. I love reading about the dairy and all of her stories.
    Very nice interview.

  6. I, too, have loved getting to know Leontien through her blogs and chatting with her in person. It is a lonely life out here on the prairie some days, and it is sooo nice to come in and chat with a friend, even if it is on a blog! Hugs to you Leontien and Patrice for, as always, being such a wonderful hostess for us farm gals!

  7. So glad to know Leonien a little better. I love following her blog. You never know what you are going to read!

  8. You are so right that Leontien is funny, bright and has a great blog. Loved the post about her wedding(s)!!

  9. I think it is great you are interviewing other bloggers. I love finding new people to follow. Leonien has a great blog and it sounds like she is having a wonderful time.

  10. Nice to see her farm blog on here. I follow her book blog, so it is nice to get to know her better!

  11. Patrice, You did a professional job of interviewing Leontien.

    I've been following Leontien's blog for some time and I love it. I can attest that she is a smart, warm, funny, courageous and dynamic woman with many other attributes.

    She has dared to dream big and has realized her dream and I only wish that she didn't had to fight this ugly cancer again.

    Leontian I have all my small herd of cows mooing for you along with me that you beat this ugly cancer. Just think that cancer is grass and you're the lawnmower. Prayers, love and hugs. JB

  12. I enjoyed reading this Thank you Patrice. Leontien is a strong woman. B


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