High Grove Farm Journal – Jan. 2023
Feb 06, 2023 (Westby, WI)
By Jessica Rogers
Tonight, the sky is painted with pinks, purples and blues that blend as the sun sets and the full moon rises with bright orange just above the treetops. Our daughter Laney and I are finishing outside chores while my husband Drew starts milking the first side of cows in the barn. The sound of our two boys talking is easy to hear across the farm on such a still evening. They’re pulling off large armfuls of high-moisture hay, called “balage,” from a round bale just outside the barn door for easy reach after milking. This will be the cows’ next meal.
Thank you for visiting each month as I write to you all about what has happened on our farm. If you don’t already know, my name is Jessica and I farm with my husband and our three young children – Carter, Caleb and Laney. This month, we mostly have just been doing the usual farm chores, which sure take a lot longer in the cold months than they would normally. January is a long month on a dairy farm!
The elements affect you when you’re spending long days out working in them. We are so tired come supper time. If you follow Westby Creamery on Instagram, you’ll know this from the videos I share every day. I show how the tractors and equipment struggle and sometimes break from the cold, barn cleaner troubles, caring for cows and calves, feeding and cleaning chores out in the biting wind. Snow or mud (depending on the day) make a whole lot of extra work. I also share our efforts to ensure our animals are the most comfortable, well bedded and fed this time of the year. It is hard to truly convey because short snippets of a 14-hour-plus day will never do it justice.
This month has felt like one never-ending chore time. However, the bright mornings full of sunshine and birds singing, and the days that reach the 30s in temperature, revive us just enough to keep us from turning into barn hermits who scoff at anyone that gets to take a vacation or go do anything fun while we’re fighting frozen water lines and dead batteries.
As always, the farm runs on mother nature’s time. We will do our best to keep up with the demands of farm life in winter, and we’ll keep trying to find moments every day that are renewing. Like yesterday, when Drew and I spent an hour brushing the cows in the barn before our veterinarian came to do herd health checkups. It was peaceful and relaxing. The cows loved it too!
Thanks for stopping by.
-Jessica Rogers is a Westby Creamery farmer-owner who is sharing glimpses of farm life with us.
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