Thursday, January 10, 2019

Changes Are Coming...

I suppose some of you have heard "rumors", and others of you may have wondered what's happening on our farm in 2019!

Changes are what's happening...

Changes can be exciting...changes can be challenging...changes can be unsettling...changes can be fun...or they can be all of it rolled up in one.  That's kind of what our coming changes feel like!

Jim and I have been dairy farming since the day we were married, just over 25 years ago.  We started out with Jim working for his dad on the farm, while I worked full time at a local bank.  In April of 1994, we officially took over the dairy, while I remained working at the bank.  I slowly took on less hours at the bank and eventually stayed at home full time to help Jim on the farm and to start our family.

The past 24 years of being self employed dairy farmers have been mostly good ones!  I say mostly, because no job, however wonderful, is completely without challenges.  It was great to both be at home, and to raise our kids on the farm.  Being self employed certainly has it's benefits! When the kids were small, I could go for groceries while the kids were napping, and Jim had the baby monitor with him...we could eat three meals a day together during the "slow" times on the farm...the kids had lots of fresh air and space to explore, and many more. There were sacrifices however, like being able to get away rarely, even for weekends, having to "divide and conquer" to get to our kids activities over the years, and being "on call" 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  We chose to farm, and we don't regret it!

All that said...we just spent our last evening working all together as a family in a barn that's full of cows...


Eric went back to college on Monday, and Jenna heads back next week.  By the time they're both home again at the same time, our cows will be gone.

A lot of thought has gone into this decision; it was never taken lightly.  The kids have chosen paths other than farming...and we're totally thrilled for them.  We are making this choice voluntarily, and perhaps in a few years, Jim will choose to crop farm again.  For now however, we have rented out the ground, and will be working at jobs primarily off the farm.

I'm sure there will be visible emotions when the cows leave, but that's natural.  We've talked to many farmers who have gone through this transition, and they have shared the ups and downs that go along with the changes.

I hope to keep blogging, but my blog will look different, for sure!

If you pray, we would appreciate prayers as we make decisions regarding our jobs, and for the changes that our family will be going through.

We're still "happily married...just not to the cows!"


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

PA State Farm Show...

Jim and I are glad for the opportunity we had to go to the PA State Farm Show in Harrisburg  between milkings on Monday!  The kids were both still home on break, and chose not to go with us. They helped with the morning work and agreed to feed the cows at lunchtime, so we could get on our way in good time.

You never know what kind of traffic you might encounter in that area, but we  had no delays until we got to the parking lot.  We parked about a mile away, and took a shuttle bus that dropped us off at the door to the complex.

I always enjoy the butter sculpture.  Each year it has a different theme,  and is unveiled at the opening of the farm show.  It is carved from 1000 lb of butter, and features individuals wearing super hero capes...a doctor, an athlete, a soldier, a firefighter and a dairy farmer...


We wandered through various exhibits.  This one featured old tractors that were restored by various FFA groups...




We saw many, many animals , but I only got pictures of a few.

These piglets were about two weeks old, and growing fast!


I'm not sure what breed of cows these are, but I thought they were especially pretty...


This steer was getting his pre-show bath...


There were lots of displays...veggies, flowers, fruits, baked items, and more, too numerous to count...




We were there for several hours, and could have seen so much more if we'd have had the time.  Throughout the week there are lots of animal judging contests and special events. Tomorrow,  I'm  taking my mom up to see the Sheep to Shawl contest.   She has always wanted to see it, and I never have, so it will be a new experience for us both!