Quick Reads

Too much truth on a Tuesday

For me, owning a dairy farm kind of sucks right now. It is pulling all the strength I have. It has emptied my soul and left me bitter. I’m down right angry and if you try telling me how lucky I am based on the photos I post – I’ll tell you to kiss my ass.

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What you see is bare feet on five gallon buckets, not the fact that we’ve had to cut back on hired labor and babysitters because we are monitoring our expenses. You don’t see me reasoning with a bored 3yo who just took his bicycle seat off and replaced it with his sisters pink one and She. Is. Pissed., all during the last 30 minutes of milking and I’m losing my cool and everyone is crabby.

What you see is a post telling you to look at how far you’ve come, not the fact that a loan officer has made the last 6 months of my life a living hell because I’m trying to find ways to provide for my family and keep my animals and nobody knows the future of dairy. No lender wants to look at plans when the present is getting worse.

What you see is a photo of my husband in his volunteer fire gear, not the fact that he may want to find a job off the farm because this isn’t fun anymore – and I can’t blame him either. He’s taking night classes which is stressful for him, not a ton of fun for me, and the kids feel that.

This blog is about me, raising a family on a modern-day dairy farm. It is my collection of photos and thoughts. Today I realized that we take from others what we need, to fill the void in our own lives, and I’m not about to give anyone the impression that my farm family has their shit together, cause we don’t.

Things could be A LOT worse, but like I told the farmer who sold his farm a few months ago – we take it month by month. June was positive. July will, most likely, not be. I worry about this industry Every. Day. I worry about my neighbors and friends. I worry about my family; the kids and animals. I spend a lot of time thinking about things I have absolutely no control over, and if you know that feeling, you know it sucks.

So look at this photo of little girl hands, excited to milk a cow by hand, and know that a bad day doesn’t mean a bad life. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Quick Reads

Do we talk about it

I’m at my nephews birthday party, feeling all kinds of uncomfortable, because it’s people around me and not cattle. The kids are running rampant, hyped up on blue frosting, playing with Lego pieces which I’m certain will end up in my sister’s feet at some point in the night. I smile at that thought – because it isn’t me, or my feet. And then I hear someone talking, to me…

“How’s farming going?”

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It’s a generic question right, I’m mean I’m sure he isn’t anticipating my loaded response. But what should I say. Words like hard, difficult, exhausting don’t cut it anymore. He’s a consumer, right, so he might not understand when my sarcasm comes through and I explain, well, uhh, you see, we’re on the fucking titanic and I’m not in a life boat. Why isn’t my husband here, he’s better at these questions, he’s not so e-motion-al. Emotions, hormones, all these freaking feelings that life shouldn’t be this hard. I mean I can’t afford to be in business, can’t afford to sell my business, can’t understand why for all these freaking years I’ve put time and energy into

Me: “Oh, it’s hard and a little difficult. But wow, your kids – right!? They are so big…”

It’s a generic question, better off talking about something else.

But why? Why do I feel that I shouldn’t burden the weight of my problems on people? And I’m not talking about my personal problems. The biggest issue with the current dairy industry, is that at this point if a farm goes out – it’s not because they are a BAD farmer. If any one of my neighbors calls it “enough” it’s because they were given no other option, and that, is probably the conversation we should have had. I’m not looking for pity.  I’m not expecting my customers to purchase dairy beyond their means.  Maybe, what I’m asking is that the public see some people haven’t had their wages cut, and some companies are still accepting new farms, and yet… here we float, paying for our excess milk production, going broke, and losing our ambition.

So, don’t talk about something else. Talk about our industry, whenever you get the chance. Something has got to change, or there won’t be any of us left.

Xo, Nicole