If you follow agriculture at all, especially local farm blogs (Hi Michigan Farm Girl!) you know that the time between the start of spring and the heat of summer is go time for farmers of all sizes. From small homestead type farms like us to large family farms, all the way up to big time harvesters, everyone right now is scrambling in one way or another.
I have read about farmers cussing at trying to get their hay balers unhitched (the struggle is real), trying to get the hay in before the rain, husbands are gone for seemingly days at a time getting crops in, and babies crying in the barn. Currently, our hay mower is in pieces and my husband is spending another long night repairing broken parts on the old girl.
With such a short working season, there is a lot to be done. Anything that involves counting on mother nature here is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of long hours to be put in (so I guess it’s handy that the sun is visible from about 5 AM to 11 PM where I am at, even if the kiddos use it as a scapegoat from bedtime), and a lot of projects to get scratched off.
The bonus to these long days being at home with the kids, is they really get a chance to fully experience the farm. My two-year-old is already trying to help milk the cow (she is the official fly shoo-er while I milk) and the one-year-old enjoys taking in all the sights and sampling all the dirt areas for the best texture… But they love saying ” Hi” to all the animals.
The other thing that happens to many young farmers this time of year, sports start. I am not immune to this, my oldest daughter has been rather successful in showing in the Hunter ring with horses the last few years. While the Olympics are many years away for her, she has them in her crosshairs (can you hear my wallet weeping?)
And what is the point of blogging if I don’t get to brag about my kiddos every once in a while? But balancing everything is difficult, my husband doesn’t do the milking so I have to be home morning and night to do it, now that the calf is weaned off. I know dairies that have multiple cows and are milking for their income have this struggle year-round. It’s hard to find a farm sitter, even harder to find one that will milk a cow!
This time of year brings a lot of half-dones and hurry-ups, it brings a lot of exhaustion and frustration until everyone settles into a new routine, or crops are settled in to do their thing until harvest time. It brings a lot of speculation, anticipation, promise, hope, and fear. When everything you hold dear depends on the next few months to last the rest of the year there is a lot of emotion. But I think, for farm families, hope is the strongest one because without it there would be no way we could continue year after year.