June is dairy month. Did you know that? I'm joining today with a group of dairy farmers to give you a glimpse into a day in our lives. Click on the links at the end of this post to read their posts.
Which day do I choose? Hmmm...they're all so different!
Yesterday was a crazy day, and today is much more laid back, but both are typical days on the farm.
I guess I'll chronicle Monday for you. It went something like this...
5:30 am...I hit the snooze again, and struggle to wake up. Jim's already been up for a while, so I drag myself out of bed and head downstairs. I am not a morning person, can you tell? I can hear the cows starting to walk into the barn, stalls rattling as they find their places.
6:00 am...cows are ready for milking and Jim starts milking the first two rows. (we have four rows of cows in our barn) I hop in the car and drive over to the other farm where we keep our bred heifers and dry cows. There's a springer (a cow about to calve) that needs to be checked. She's fine, so I head home again and go in to pack Eric's lunch. Our neighbor Daniel pulls in just after 6:00 and starts the feeding. He helps us three mornings a week before his other job, and our kids help the other mornings before they leave for work. We are switching a few extra cows around right now, so I milk the extra cows and switch them into box pens so that when Jim brings the other three milkers over to the 3rd and 4th rows, we can keep right on milking.
7:30 am...Daniel heads for his other job, and Jim does the daily run with the manure spreader. I start the pipeline washer and head to the hutches to feed the calves before breakfast. They're eagerly waiting for their food...
The one closest to the camera is eight weeks old, ready for weaning off milk, and she's not happy about it! Notice her mouth is wide open? If there were sound here, you'd hear her protesting loudly. She's doing fine...just misses her milk.
There are two fields of second cutting hay laying. It's been a good drying weekend, but rain is forecast for this afternoon, so Jim heads out after breakfast to rake the hay into windrows. Jenna heads to the barn to do "the morning work"...bedding up with sawdust, feeding the heifers hay, getting balage down in the cart for the noon feeding, and general barn cleanup. While she's doing that, I wash up dishes and run a couple of errands. Oh...and work on that huge Monday morning laundry pile. At least when I wash dishes I can enjoy the view from my kitchen window...
Late morning..Jim starts baling, and Jenna and I bring empty wagons over from the other farm and drop them in a corner of the meadow where he can easily hook up to them with the baler when he's ready.
Noon'ish - 1:00'ish...We left the cows in the barn today with the fans running, so Jenna and I give them their noon time feeding of balage and corn. Jim is almost finished baling, and he calls me from the field. The sky is looking pretty threatening, so Jenna hooks me up to the full wagons and I take them over to the other farm where they can be backed into the barn if it rains. Just as Jim finishes filling the last wagon, the rain drops begin to fall! He gets the wagons under cover and feeds the heifers and dry cows while he's over at the other farm.
Meanwhile, Jenna has been browning beef for the co-op meal I'm making tonight. I finish it up and deliver the meals. Luckily I had chosen a simple recipe for today. Sloppy joes are super quick and easy to make!
4:00 pm or so...Eric gets home from work, soaking wet from working outside in the rain. We get a short break before evening milking. Eric feeds, Jim and I milk, and an Amish neighbor boy takes care of calves and other chores. Jenna warms up supper so that after milking the guys can eat before unloading hay.
7:00 pm...Jim, Eric and my cousin Steve unload two of the four wagons full of hay. Since there's no more hay ready to bale right away, there's no hurry to empty all the wagons tonight. I think they're planning to unload the others tomorrow evening.
The mow is getting fuller! Sometimes we fight with the weather all summer and have trouble getting nice dry hay, which we prefer to feed...but this year the weather has cooperated a little more and we're thankful to see the mow slowly filling up.
7:30 pm..Jenna and I put the cows out into the meadow for the night and clean up the barn. One cow is in heat, and goes a little crazy as she leaves the barn. She finally gets to the meadow and settles down a bit. Jim has me call the breeder for early morning service tomorrow.
8:00 pm...After the hay is unloaded, Jim goes to check out the springer at the other farm once more before bed, and finds her with a little heifer calf. We like to have them home before they calve, but sometimes they go early like this one. He heads over with the cow trailer and tractor, and since it's almost dark, I follow him in the car with the flashers on to bring the cow and calf home.
It's finally time to relax before bedtime. Somehow after a day like this one, relaxing quickly turns to sleep for all of us!
Not nearly all days on the farm are like this one, thankfully! It gets a little crazy sometimes, but I find that the busier I am, the more I get accomplished! The next few days will be a little more relaxed...at least for me...and I would imagine you'll find me much less motivated and easily distracted!
Farm life is not boring, that's for sure!
Here are the other links! Thanks to Sadie from Dairygoodlife.com for pulling it all together!
Eat Farm Love
New Day Dairy
Guernsey Dairy Mama
Dairy Good Life
SC Farm Wife