High Grove Farm Journal – December 2023
Jan 08, 2024 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
Walking into the dairy barn on a cold December day, you’re met with the sweet smell of hay and fresh pine bedding. Two long rows of lounging black and white Holstein cows greet you with their kind liquid eyes and fill your senses with the cozy feelings of peace and warmth that only a barn in winter can give. It makes it easy to leave the busy world behind at the barn door.
The hectic hustle and bustle of the holiday season is dimmed when stepping foot on a farm. There is a grounding and calming presence that nature and the routine of caring for and being around animals brings to daily life. Each month you can see through my eyes, a Westby Creamery farmer-owner, wife and mother, what it’s like living and working on a dairy farm with our family. Hi! I am Jessica, and I am glad you’re here.
The month started with snow flurries on Dec 2, and by the next day a blanket of white covered everything. Our first Christmas gathering was that day at my husband Drew’s cousin’s house. It felt just as a family Christmas should with delicious food, lots of laughter and family from near and far. All the cousins were out playing in the snow until we left for farm chores that afternoon.
Coming home and immersing oneself in farm chores and forgetting the long list of errands and projects Christmastime brings is a wonderful break from it all. My mind is cleared by the fresh, cold air as we chore. While we accomplish task after task almost automatically, it’s easy to feel rejuvenated – at least mentally. Getting things done has that effect.
Farm life was extra good this month and the weather, although making work muddy by midday, was fair. Last year this time was very cold with windchills that felt like -27! The rest of the month was full of Christmas preparations, concerts, pageants and sports for our children. Drew even had to start up the wood stove in his workshop a few days, and he built new top-half doors for the back of the barn. We had a set of twin Angus bull calves born a few days before Christmas this year and they are my favorite thing about chores these days. They are so cute!
Christmas was here quickly as it always is, and it was a wonderful time with family and friends. As the weather gets cooler, our mornings lately have included making a second pot of coffee after chores and sitting by the fire to warm up while we eat breakfast together. Here’s a favorite winter coffee cake of ours for you to try. It’s best served cold as the filling is heavy. But if you’re at all like me and enjoy your coffee cake piping hot, just warm it up in the microwave after you slice yourself a generous piece.
Stay warm friends and remember the more time you spend outside in the cold, the more Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake you can eat when you come inside! Thanks for visiting the farm!
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.
A new farm journal comes out each month. Missed last month’s journal? You can find it here.