Guest Post by Darlene
Today, I cried. OK, honestly, I bawled my eyes out over a cow. Yes, she was a favorite cow. Yes, farmers do have favorites. Yes, she will be greatly missed!
These are the moments I wish every consumer could see. The raw, real, true, emotion of dairy farming. Every time a another “animal rights” video catches someone abusing a dairy cow, every time a consumer assumes that is the norm, every time a company makes a claim in their advertising that they are farming better, I wish they could view these moments. The literal, blood, sweat and tears that truly goes into dairy farming.
And I’m not just claiming this as an “emotional woman.”
I would show you my father, who’s been a farmer from the day he was born 58 years ago, as he fights back tears and anger after having to put a respected Lady down, a Lady we just spent countless hours/days/weeks over trying to make better, exhausting every resource possible before having to give her a peaceful end. I would show him tired, sweaty, with a bandaged finger that’s missing a finger nail and hurts like hell headed back out to the fields in the summer heat and sunshine to make hay to feed the calves through the winter, after just literally working 16 hours straight for the last 10 days in a row. Those same hours that ravage his body year after year.
I would show you my husband, the newbie to this life, who has embraced it to it’s fullest, tired and cold, with aching legs from a disability, not stopping for a break as he doctors a calf again, only to lose her that night. I would show you his frustration and disappointment in not being able to save her. I would let you hear the true cuss words that portray that emotion when he finds her gone that morning. I would let you see his panic and frustration as we try to breathe life back into a calf that we thought for a brief second had a heartbeat. I’d show you his hands with countless cuts, his back with aching sore muscles and his tired body as he gets out of bed again at 4:30 am for morning chores.
I would show you my mother, who chose this life to be with her high school sweetheart, in the milking parlor on the hottest day in the summer, the coldest day in the winter, milking diligently and carefully every Lady. I would show you her disappointment when a Lady hurts a teat, as she tries every trick in the book to get her milked out and keep her from getting sick. As she juggles keeping up with paperwork, worry over bills and literally not enough hours in the day to get it all done, getting it all done.
And I would show you me, the one who grew up in this life, knows its every in and outs and still chose to stay, with tears rolling down my face as Mercedes the cow pictured above gets her lasts scratches from me before she leaves our farm for the auction. I would let you see my memories of Mercedes being born, of growing up friendly and sweet, having her babies and joining the milking herd. I would show you her unique personality that set her apart. I would let you see the connection I had with her, the care and true love I have for all our Ladies.
I would show you the tears on my keyboard as I write this…………Yes, today I cried over a cow, because dairy farming is much more then a job to me…….it’s my life.
Darlene, I choked back tears when I read this post. My love for animals includes these beautiful creatures. Just look into their eyes! There is love in those eyes. Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into a world that many of us have never known. We are ever so grateful for all of you and I can say for a fact that many of us pray for the farmers. We need you! …Sinea
Darleen the Guernsey Dairy Mama is a dairy farmer, wife and mother to two young boys. She is proudly caring on a 3rd generation tradition of caring for her Ladies and the land in Oregon. She feel blessed to live a lifestyle that allows her to work beside her family everyday. Her journey is definitely one fun, crazy, hard-workin’ adventure, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Follow along with her on her blog: Guernsey Dairy Mama and social media, too.