I didn’t choose the dairy life–the dairy life chose me.
Well, okay…I did have some say in the matter. But farming (which for me consisted primarily of dairy-ing until more recently) did kind of fall into my lap. It wasn’t intentional.
When I moved to my family friends’ small farm, Cornerstone Farm, I had no idea that just 8 months later I would be starting a raw milk micro dairy! Natalie and I bought our first cow in November of 2011, and the next 4 years were a huge learning curve.
Those were the best of times and the worst of times.
One day in particular proved that to be true. That morning, our first heifer was born! It felt like we had waited for her forever, after having only bull-calves up until that point. The day that began in joy and excitement, however, very quickly turned into a nightmare when we brought home the new dairy cow we had just purchased, and she went through a perimeter fence…at night. Being a black cow, on roads with no street lights, the inevitable happened. She was hit by a car, injuring her leg badly enough that we had to put an end to her life. It was devastating.
We had many conversations over the years that started with something like this: “Why are we doing this again??”
And yet, we continued.
If we had given up at any of the points where we really felt like it, we would have saved ourselves a lot of frustration and heartache. But we also would have missed out on so much joy, satisfaction, and reward. Not to mention oodles of killer dairy products.
I was sad to leave that all behind when I moved from Cornerstone and dissolved my dairy partnership with Natalie; the dairy had essentially consumed my life for 4 years, and through it all I developed a wonderful close friendship with Natalie.
But what better reason to change everything in my life, leaving behind a dairy business I had spent four years building, than to marry the love of my life and begin a farming life adventure with him?!
Shortly after the wedding and beginning to get settled in my new home, I went to our local raw milk dairy to buy some milk. While in their farm store, I got to talking with the owner/operator and as it turned out, their milking employee was about to finish out her time with them, and they were in need of a new one! I now milk at Meadowwood Farm five mornings a week! Until I have my own cow(s) in milk again, this gives me the opportunity to work with dairy cows, and “play” with milk.
When Joe and I got married, we each came with a dairy heifer; they have both been recently bred, and we will soon find out if the breeding took and we can be expecting calves and milk from them by the end of the year.
We are starting to prepare for our own dairy adventure to begin! Stay tuned – there will be much more on that to come!