High Grove Farm Journal – December 2021
Dec 20, 2021 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
Welcome to a month in the life of a Westby Creamery Dairy Farmer. I am so glad you’ve joined us here!
We’ve had a quiet and seasonably warm month of December here at High Grove Dairy Farm, which has made for some nice “working weather” for our family to get winterizing done on equipment and farm buildings. I am Jessica Rogers, Westby Creamery farm ambassador, and my husband is Drew. Each month we will share with you about our life, milking our cows and raising our three children.
The agreeable weather this month made it possible to move any lingering field equipment under shelter for its winter hibernation. Putting chains on the tractors and changing the oil in the skid-steer and tractors are necessary projects before the cold weather hits. Drew was also able to finish the project of turning a shed into a free-stall barn. It is now a shelter for the cows when they are not in the milk barn that they can freely come and go in, laying down on the sand-filled “beds” as they please. We situated water tanks and feeders for the cow’s paddocks for wintertime as well. This month, I have been focusing more of my time around the house as I finished the yard work and clean up the vegetable garden. I’m glad to have all the root vegetables snug in the cellar for cooking hearty meals for my hard-working boys.
Our day started when Drew’s alarm went off at 4 a.m. I heard him in the kitchen soon after making coffee, an absolute necessity for this farmer! Lately, it’s pitch black outside as we walk to the barn in the mornings, and there are stars twinkling overhead. The moon has been so bright this week! The cows start to stir after we turn the barn lights on, some almost groan as much as our boys when I wake them up. Several of the cows eagerly stand up and stretch, a few arching their backs to shake off sleep, as I feed them their first scoop of grain.
I wake up our almost 13-year-old son Carter, and our nine-year-old son Caleb about 6 a.m. to help with chores. Morning chores end for the boys and I around 8 a.m. when we all come in for breakfast and the boys start school. Drew heads back out after eating some scrambled eggs with cheese and our four-year-old daughter Laney is usually awake by now and sits next to the boys to do her “school” too.
We had several calves born this week. One cute heifer calf born to Crayola has a marking on her face that looks like a backward seven or a hook, and with the help of friends on social media voting and submitting name ideas, we named her “Candy Cane!” She wasn’t sure what to think of my idea to dress her up as Rudolph for this week’s social media posts!
With the temperatures falling, we’re now keeping the woodstove going to heat the house. In addition to our everyday chores, we’re always looking for the next weak link in equipment or buildings – those things must be kept up with if you don’t want to have drama and extra-long days in the bitter cold weather. It always amazes me how much time and effort it takes to keep things running smoothly so that our family can take time off for family gatherings and extra church services.
My family would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.