I have to admit one thing as a parent. I’m brainwashing my three children. If you have met them and know how strong willed they are, this is no small feat. Now before you worry that I’m filling their impressionable little minds with awful nonsense, you may breathe a sigh of relief. I’m brainwashing them in the ways of dairy farming.
Emma and Taylor joined the milking force at the ripe old age of two weeks. Henry had some minor health problems and waited until six weeks. Yes, my children are living examples of “were you raised in a barn?”. Emma was born shortly after we had the hoof trimmer giving the ladies pedicures, I’m pretty sure my mom, the hubby and I thought I was going in to labor one morning milking while I was pregnant with Taylor (he hid for another week) and I milked cows the night before I had Henry. I’m sure I’m not the only farm woman who has done this.
My children, who can talk, probably know more about the American food supply and how it works than the average “anti” who finds their information on the internet. They know when a cow is sick she gets medicine, that her milk is “no good” after she’s had medicine and that sometimes, despite all our efforts, medicine doesn’t work. They don’t worry about what is flowing out of the tank valve and in to their red solo cup in the milk house. They know it’s safe.
My kids can tell you the difference between a calf, a heifer and a cow. They can also tell you which barn they live in and what food they eat. They also know that bull calves don’t stay. Believe me, I spent a whole afternoon consoling the middle tribesmen after a brown swiss bull calf left that he favored. But they know not every gets to stay.
The amount of responsibility my children have for their age impresses me. I don’t believe they would have this if they didn’t have the chance to be growing up on the farm. I mean I am the mother of an entrepeneur. I have a four year old who mans her own egg business. Emma has 18 of her own laying hens and 28 pullets “in waiting”. She sells eggs to much of our family and many of our neighbors. I make her talk to customers, count change and she does the daily care of her hens. Now before you start thinking I’m some crazy mom, slaving my kids away we help them. That’s the thing, farming is a most generally a family thing. No matter how big or small your operation. We must “brain wash” them to have good family values.
Taylor is obsessed with horses. He became one of the few lucky kids who asked for a pony for his birthday and actually got one. We talked with him about how Jack was a lot of work. Most days Taylor feeds Jack and gives him a good brushing. For being all of 3 years old he knows that he is in charge of Jack.
My kids know how much work the cows take. They are both involved in peewee showmanship at a district Holstein show we go to. The show isn’t until August but the kids are learning if they want to do good they have to start now. Success does not come easily. The other night was quite the battle of wills, who is more stubborn the kids or the calves?
Our kids may be getting brain washed, so to speak, to become responsible individuals. Who knows what fun adventures Henry will want to tear in to. I’m sure what ever the three of them jump in the upcoming years will shape them in to unique adults. I can think of no better way to raise a child than “brain washing” them on the farm!