I grew up on a dairy farm – today I would call it a gift, at the time, I felt like an indentured servant. We moved to a farm when I was 10. When I was 12 we started milking. Twice a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. Ours was a small dairy herd, 18-20 cows. My brother Steve fed the silage, scraped the yard, scattering the fresh bedding in the cattle shed, my job was to do the actual milking. We had a grade b dairy farm. I can still remember heading outside to do the chores after opening presents one Christmas morning. I’m thinking to myself…”This isn’t fair, why don’t Kim and Karen have to come outside in this sub zero weather to do chores too?” (they were my two younger sisters)
Go here if you are interested in the specifics of how to milk a cow.
My brother and I are 15 months apart. Occassionally we would get in a fight while we were milking, neither one of us had enough sense to take the milking machine off the poor cow while we duked it out. What a circus.
I remember one morning when we flipped the lights on in the barn. We had left the cows in the stanchions over night because it was so cold. There, running around on top of the stanchions were 3 raccoons. “Quick, get the gun!” I dropped one – he wasn’t dead so I took my dad’s Steven’s 22 rifle and clubbed him- snapped the maple stock right in half. Boy did I catch it later.
I never had any desire to go into farming after I got on my own. You have to be willing to go in debt 100’s of thousands of dollars in our area if you’re just starting out. There is a saying, ” You can take the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farming out of the boy.” -It’s true.
A few years ago, I wrote mom and dad a letter- thanked them for the opportunity to grow up on a farm. I met a fellow blogger recently who is considering moving their young family to a farm- as a young person who got to do exactly that, I would tell them, if there is any way possible you can pull it off, you’ll never regret it.