Have wondered how it went ALL DAY, esp. in the AM as I was washing milkers and cleaning in the parlor. Try to smile thru the tears and any regrets, remember the girls and all the good times, more good times over the years of all the hard work.
If it were me, I would want some alone time, not go into the barn ( hopefully the few old girls were adopted by dairy friend)
and not worry about the house this week or possibly the next week. Do something relaxing, gardening or a long lunch in town.
I wish peace within with your decision. My aunt whom I admired for the long years she and her husband dairy farmed with no help from family, no time away, no time off etc., at her 80th b-party I asked her if she would have done any thing different now that my uncle had died so shortly after their retirement cow and equip. auction. Her answer was to me ---- do not work so long in the years, travel, relax and enjoy life together.
Linda, you take care of everyone, the grands, your Mom, farm, husband, yard, etc. Take some time for yourself, you deserve it.
Sorry I couldn't post on this sooner, but every time I started I just couldn't get through it. The actual loading went easily for the cows which was good. Low boy type semi trailers; they just walked right on. Nice. I got some pics but the one I really wanted of them going over bridge by our place-my batteries died! They had their noses up to the openings & I went up & said my goodbyes. The bad part is that they had a 7 hr. ride to northern WI. Didn't really realise that. We let them eat a little after we milked & before they loaded; trucks were here early before we finished.
There are 4 left that we need to get out of here. There's barely enough milk to get the paddle on the bulk tank to touch. Haven't heard from dairy friends so we'll call another one today. Those poor girls stood and bellered, wandered in & out of the free stall barn and pasture looking for their friends. Even yesterday they are as lost as we are I guess. Our feed rep was here to help load (5 guys in all) and he took us uptown for breakfast which was psychology a good move. Into the real world I guess. We talked about future plans.
I really think we should have waited another year. We're still in good health and prould to be dairy farmers.
But we fell into this business without too much discussion and we went out about the same way. Had mentioned we didn't think another winter was a good idea and here we are. We got a fair price that might not have been there another time. The "family dairy" they went too actually doesn't sound to family-big yes-but again I have to disassociate myself from those girls. DH having a hard time too. I had to go to a wake the first night & people were coming up & asking about it all which made the tears come for my cows not the older gent in the casket. LOL We loved the business and I respect every dairy farmer who works so hard, especially those with hands on. I will truly miss it.
I have gobs to do here but so far haven't been productive. Yesterday I pulled weeds but I need to get ready to paint in the kitchen. Monday deadline there. Guess I need a list. Feels like a death in the family. Have to try & get a bucket list. Trying to plan a short trip somewhere. We need to get away fram here a bit.
Now out to feed my babies. Thanks for listening.
Ed and I would like to invite you to come and visit SW Ohio and stay here at the HyMark Bed and Breakfast. I have wanted to meet you for so long. We will show you around. The guys can do farmer stuff and we will have fun doing whatever is going on during your visit. It would be our pleasure to host you. I would live to have you meet our parish friends at Mass. Please email me privately if you are interested. Hope you can make a trip our way!!
You have to focus on who and what is still there, instead of who or what is gone. I didn't want to cook Thanksgiving dinner without Jenna last year, or decorate a Christmas tree. That would have been unfair to the other kids, and especially to Winn, who needs us to build a family history in his memories.
In time, I hope you will be able to open your eyes to all the other things in your life besides your cows. I am sure you will see the days fill up with all those other responsibilities...your cup was always running over.
Before everyone else claims all of your time and then some, I strongly urge you establish certain pockets of each day and week, just for taking care of yourself. This is something I definitely recommend that you do, before the demands of life swallow you whole. It might be twenty minutes daily, to read a passage of poetry or Scripture, an hour every couple of weeks to get a massage...it is up to you to choose.
Mike has decided to part with our flock of hair sheep. It is his decision, and I support it. Not another winter of slogging around with bales, mostly.
I have ordered the scrapie tags for taking them to the livestock market, and he is dragging his feet. They need to sell while everyone has lush pasture from all this rain...it needs doing now, but he has purposely missed this month's sheep sale at the closest stockyard.
I remember my father standing and shedding tears, when we moved our hogs out of one of his old buildings, where we has been finishing. It is hard to sever from the herds and flocks that have been such integral parts of our lives.
Maybe you need to start a list of the reasons why you guys made this choice now...good prices, bad winters, etc., to look at when you are missing the girls. You seem to feel you have been sort of swept along this morning...
We fell into this farming operation in what I consider to be like Johnny Cash's "We got married in a fever" way, too. That can make you feel your major decisions in life are all rash and not well-enough thought-out. That leads to regrets and recriminations. Focusing on the rationale for this choice ought to relieve you of feeling that you may have made a mistake, instead of a well-reasoned, mature decision.
My best wishes that you and your husband find the new purpose that you now have more time to pursue. This day was coming "someday"...this way, you are both still young, healthy, and your cows continue to be productive in a going dairy herd. That sounds like a great, positive decision to me!
Just talked to the other dairy farm near us who had bought heifers from us. She said "how did you ever sell your cows? We could never do that." Swell. They are older than us and still do chores BUT they have 2 married sons who can do the heavy work and the sons at least have every other weekend off. Made DH feel bad though.
Put some heifers with the 4 milkers so they wouldn't be lonely and now they are all on the pasture. He said "see your girls are home". Gee, salt in the wound!
Kay, I can see where you & Mike are with the sheep. Ronnie drug his heels calling the vet.
Our dairy inspector has become a friend and she always checks back on farmers who have sold and has caught several after a week or so who just break down & cry. She says give it 2 weeks and it gets better. Then 2 months before you decide anything. We've not taken any trips other than Dairy Expo (not far from cows there) so this is new territory. Not sure I can go to it this year. DH said this morning that he didn't mind quitting at the steel mill but this is different. We need to take baby steps for trip,etc. like little kids staying overnight without mom & dad. LOL Thanks LuAnn-will consider after we get through this initial phaze.
Talking about your family's courage, in dealng with a hard decision, got us opening up about how we have not been dealng with our own bitter pill. He opened up about the fun the two of them had enjoyed, on motorcycle and camping trips together.
We sat and tentatively planned a couple of short vacations, back to their mountain haunts to pick apples and visit some microbreweries, and Colonial Williamsburg, for the Christmas decorations. We need to sell the sheep off, so as not to overburden everyone while we go for a few days here and there. Like you say...like the little ones starting out overnights away at Grandma's house.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. If it makes you feel any better, those neighbors will either sell their cows,or drop dead milking them someday. What makes them better than you for taking that path theough life?
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