I think as dairy farmers we are lucky to have a profession that brings us closer to the wonders of the natural world. We get to see and experience things that many people never will. While not specific to dairy farming, yesterday I got to add another event to my life list.
Viewing a total solar eclipse.
Our farm happened to sit right in the path of totality for the 2017 solar eclipse. And while I knew it was supposed to be a very neat experience, it completely surpassed my expectations.
We set up chairs in the pasture and had our eclipse glasses ready for all three generations. Through the glasses, we watched the sun change into a crescent shape as it cast an eerie fading light. It made me feel as if dusk was settling at 10 a.m. It even included all the colors of a sunset.
Not as dark as the dead of night, but definitely dark, as if the sun had just sank below the horizon at the end of the day. The most dramatic experience for me was the temperature change. Almost to the point of goose bumps and wishing you had grabbed that sweatshirt on a summer evening. My oldest even commented, “it’s cold,” as the moon blocked the heat from the sun’s rays.
There was some talk of how it would affect animal behavior. The cows didn’t seem to notice and all was business as usual in the barn. We even saw birds still flying during the minutes of darkness as the brightest stars and planets were even visible in the sky.
I know some think it was rather silly that everyone was all hyped about the solar eclipse. And while I might not travel across the world for it, having it happen in our area was special. To hear the excitement from my kids and parents as the day went dark around us for two whole minutes. That is a once in a lifetime event and the kind of stuff that makes this life so darn awesome.
The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and is in the process of transitioning to a robotic milking system.