On August 1, 1999, I married this man. He wasn’t on the tractor that day, but we were married in a hayfield just one fence away from the cows he milked that morning. Ever since then we have been building our house, raising our three children, and milking cows on our hilltop farm where his mother’s father and grandfather milked too.
Dairying is work. Hard work. Anybody who says different either hasn’t tried it, or has mechanized systems to handle milk and manure and feed. We do not have such systems. We farm with bucket milkers and dung forks and small square bales of hay. We farm with the strength of this man’s back. I can work as long as my husband does, or I can work as hard as he does, but I cannot do both at the same time like he does. I have borne and nursed his babies, though, and of that work he was properly in awe.
The price of milk plummeted in 2006, and barely recovered before falling sharply again in 2009. During those years, I started “working out”–taking paying work off-farm. When I distanced myself from the mindnumbing soulsnatching labor of the dairy barn, two amazing things happened: I no longer ached all over my whole body, and I remembered how much other stuff I like to do.
Those other interests are the things I will be sharing on this blog, although if anybody has specific questions about cows I will consider making room for answers.