Home is where the cow is

So this blog post has been writing itself for a couple of weeks in my head.  I’ve been thinking about it since I ran into a gentleman that used to dairy farm near my Daddy.  We talked about how farming gets in your blood and you can’t get it out.  How I know that my husband and I are crazy for trying to farm.  We could already have that quiet little house in the suburbs, but that isn’t our dream.  We are dreaming of something different.  Of course the conversation turned to dairy cows and how they also become a part of you.  It really got me to thinking about cows and how much they mean to me.  I really can’t even put it into words but I want to try, so here goes.  Every single person has something that means “home” to them.  Maybe its your old bedroom, your backyard, your parents’ home that you grew up in, or a grandparents house.  For me, home is a 1500 pound black and white cow.  You see its more than just the fact that I grew up on a dairy farm.  So many of my favorite and most memorable memories revolve around holstein cows.  Every other day my parents would get us all up at about 5:00 in the morning.  They would leave me at my grandparents house while they milked cows.  As a very young child I remember riding the 4-wheelers with my mom to go round up the cows.  It was absolutely one of my favorite things to do.  The majority of the cows would be waiting to be milked right there in the alleyway, but you always had to right threw the pasture to be sure there wasn’t a straggler.  I would stay in the barn sometimes and sit on the step and just listen.  Listen to the rhythmic sound of the milkers, the sounds of the gates opening and shutting, and  the sounds of the cows.  The cows would walk by, right behind me, and occasionally lick me, with their sandpaper tongues.  And crazily enough that to me is home, right there on that barn step, that was always so wet.  That’s where I watched my parents work together sometimes silently and sometimes laughing.  I have so many stories that come from growing up on a farm, in fact most of my stories come from there.  I mean we spent the majority of our days at the dairy, probably more than I spent at my on house.  There was the one time I went and helped my uncle feed the baby calves.  I accidentally left one of the calves lose and he made me chase her around until I caught her.  It took me forever and he just sat there laughing at me the whole time.  I used to help my Dad fix equipment, well I would go and get tools for him.  Other times I just sat under the shade tree and watched everything go on.  I think of all the tractors and trucks that I rode along in.  And it really just all came back to the cows.  I sat right there on that step and I knew so many of the cows.  I knew their spots, their tufts of hair they had on the tops of their heads, their feet, and all their personalities.  Of course I knew their smell too.  I know people that aren’t around cows say it stinks, but the smell is home for me too.  Really I just wanted to say all that, because I need to make a point.  I know times have changed and people want to know exactly where their food comes from.  They want to know that it was raised responsibly,  sustainably, and humanely.  I agree with all that and I want to be a good steward of the land.  I will not apologize though if I get upset when someone attacks my “home.”  Those cows are as much a part of my family as my uncles, my grandparents, or my cousins and I will stand up for agriculture and dairy farming every step of the way.

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