I wake up Christmas morning, full of anticipation to open presents, I’m still kind of like a little kid that way. As I walk down the stairs I see presents encircling a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. I wonder what perfectly wrapped packages are mine. Did I get what I really wanted?
That’s a great question and I’m going to be wondering for the next couple hours. What? Why? I’m a dairy farmer. While old Saint Nick may have dropped off presents, he didn’t milk or feed the cows at our farm.
Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean that our girls realize it’s a holiday. We still wake up early to begin the first milking of the day. After all of the cows are milked, the barn is scraped free of manure, the sand in their free stalls is raked clean and every bovine on the farm has been fed then we head in to open presents!
One of the challenges of farming can be balancing family time and the farm. No other time is this more apparent than the holidays. We attend Christmas get-togethers for both sides of our immediate family, as well as needing to make sure all the shopping and cookie baking is done. And let’s not forget our annual dash to Christmas Eve service! All while tending to our “girls”.
Our cows still expect to be milked 3 times a day and be fed in a timely manner, regardless of what day it says it is on the calendar. To them it doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or not, they’re hungry, their udders are full and they still need to have clean beds. Some even decide to bless us with babies on Christmas to add to the chaos! While this is all time consuming on a day where many want to relax and enjoy the festivities, it is necessary. It is our job as farmers to care for them regardless of what else may be going on. They can’t milk or feed themselves. Farming is truly a 24/7, 365 day a year job.
I grew up this way and have always known that family gatherings need to be schedule around milking time. While the cows always seem like the dominating factor in our lives, the truth is we wouldn’t have the lives we have if it wasn’t for the cows.
Even though the cows may make us open our gifts a little later than you open yours and make us run around a little more crazy than most, their care is constant in our lives. And I’m not sure I would want it any other way. Merry Christmas!