High Grove Farm Journal – April 2023
May 08, 2023 (Westby, WI)
April, you make all things new! The bright greens and blues outside are a welcome sight and clear sign that SPRING IS HERE at High Grove Farm. Hi, I am Jessica! Each month I share our life on a dairy farm – a SMALL dairy farm. We are one of over 130 small dairy farms that make up Westby Cooperative Creamery. On behalf of all of us, I’d like to give a big thank you to all of you who support us by buying our delicious and nutritious dairy products made from our cows’ high-quality milk.
Just because we are a “small farm” doesn’t mean it’s not a full-time job. In fact, it is about a 12-hour workday for our family to manage everything on the farm, and that’s on a good day when everything goes right. One thing that is helping everything go more smoothly is the warmer weather. Goodbye gloom and MUD! My husband Drew and I, along with our three children Carter, Caleb and Laney, are so happy to have the farm drying out from all the rain and snow of the previous months.
March left in a rage, hurling over 60 tornadoes and vicious thunderstorms across the United States on the last day of the month. We had a lot of rain, and so much lightening that the calves in the barn were upset by it. But the grass sure was a lot greener the next day. The weather has been all over the place, and we even had several late snowstorms, but it is gradually warming. It warmed up enough that we were able to get our potatoes planted on Good Friday like we do each year. The trees and plants are finally starting to wake up and grow.
I am almost finished washing all the winter barn clothes and the animals are all starting to lose their winter coats too. We started grazing on April 24 this year, which was a few weeks earlier than last year. The cows ran and jumped and ate until they were content and then laid down out in the sun and napped. Cows love to be out on grass, and it’s a pleasure to watch them enjoying it so much!
By the end of the month, we have some real good-looking forage starting to grow for the cows to graze. Planting is next, and we have some permanent fence we need to get in soon to help make our life a little easier for grazing. School is coming to an end for the kids, and Carter has a big trip to Washington DC coming up next week that he is looking forward to. Caleb just rode the Sparta Elroy bike trails through the train tunnels with his class last week, and Laney has been busy in the hoop house and gardens with me getting things planted and keeping things watered.
It is a wonderful time of the year on the farm. We have had many calves born and are looking forward to several heifers calving for the first time. When you care for them since birth and watch them grow through the years, then wait and watch them calve and see their family lines grow – grandmother next to daughter and her daughters – milking them in the barn for the first time is just the greatest feeling ever. It’s like a graduation ceremony of its own! Once they are in the barn with all the cows, they act so different. Like they know they earned that spot there, and now they get to eat the “fancy food” and be pampered like the rest of the big dairy cows who they’ve watched since they were born.
Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY SPRING!
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.
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