Since the last time I wrote, things are looking up on the farm. The cows are divided into two groups, running with our two bulls, the three young horses are as friendly as ever, and my new chickens are getting close to laying age. I conducted my weekly clean of their coop yesterday.
The weather was beautiful over the weekend. It was true Indiana summer weather: cool and crisp in the morning, warm in the afternoon, golden sun over everything. Saturday, we turned one group of cows back into our creekside pasture, a wide space surrounded by trees at the bottom of the hill. They had been in a smaller area so we could keep an eye on them after some treatments from the veterinarian. Mist hung over the grass. The calves sprinted ahead of the cows across the field. I watched from the edge of the field near a water tank as I waited for it to fill. Branches of full green leaves bowing low in front of me framed my view of the running calves, outlined golden in the morning sun. Continue reading “Looking Up”
My journey as a calf rearer in New Zealand has come to a close. I’ve been wanting to write about my job for a while now, but the hectic pace of calving season lent to only a small window of time for writing and illustrating a descriptive post. So here is a bit of a taste of what I did for the last two-and-a-half months.
As part of my job, I drove a truck around the dairy farm.
Here it is:
Known as the milk truck, it’s a stick shift with the gear shaft on the driver’s left side. The first time I hopped in, I felt extremely lucky to have been taught at a young age how to drive a manual transmission. Soon, I learned that a manual transmission is standard in Europe because of their mountains and hills, so my fellow calf rearers were already pros at driving a manual transmission. In the U.S., automatic transmissions and cruise control reign, so I had some work to do to become proficient at driving the milk truck.
This was the vehicle for delivering nutrition to the calves under our care. They received milk that stayed on the farm rather than being transported for sale. Our happy customers gladly consumed it for us.
Without hat and gloves, I fed the dogs tonight, and when I did, I looked over to the pasture to see a cow lingering thirstily by the water trough. Stuffing the dog food cups in my coat pocket, I waltzed to the end of the hose, stuffed it in the trough, then meandered to the water hydrant and connected the metal end. Turning on the hydrant, I noted how cold my hands were getting and said,
“I will come back out with hat and gloves to finish up the watering.”