Snow, and sometimes an abundance of it, makes us long for the next season. Always racing ahead, full speed — when do we hit the brakes and appreciate the moment we're in, as crazy or routine as it might be?
The most challenging season for me is spring. Do not get me wrong — sunshine and warmer temperatures are welcomed with open arms, but longer days for dairy farmers equal longer workdays. When Daylight Savings comes, seeing my husband exits!
We just finished hauling a million gallons of manure this past week. That equates to 13 to 14 hours a day in a semi, trucking manure from the pit to the fields day-after-day. We’re always running full speed ahead, clinging to a hope and a prayer for no equipment breakdowns.
I'm trying to embrace this chapter I'm in. With a round-trip load from our pit to the field taking 25 minutes, I pause and find myself riding shotgun for one or two trips to catch up on the day and actually see my husband. Moments like this might not seem like much, but they break up the monotony of the day and allow everyone's smiles to stretch wide.
And, when I have kids with attitudes and I'm at my wit’s end on how to handle it — in the semi they go. Fresh air, a change of scenery, and time with their fun-loving father generally changes their mood.
Last weekend we received 10 inches of fresh snow that blanketed the ground; that put a halt on manure hauling. As much as we despise the workload a snowstorm brings, we paused and enjoyed the season. Spring snowstorms are rare and leave quickly.
Ironically, after mass on Palm Sunday, my kids did their chores and then built snowmen. We will enjoy layering up and enjoy the calmness a fresh blanket of snow brings because soon it will melt and soon we will be pulling the planter out of the shop.
Karen Bohnert is a second generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.