Most of the people who know me would describe me as an upbeat person; my family knows better.
The day-to-day of this farming life can really drag me down. One calf gets sick, then another. Then you lose one of your favorite cows, and it rains for five days straight at the end of May when you have zero acres of corn planted. Throw in milk prices, closing milk markets, and the fact that you can go weeks without physically leaving the farm. Yeah, life gets hard.
I won’t say I’m never depressed, but I have more good days than bad. Maybe it’s my personality; I like to find the fun in life. Or maybe I’ve learned that we can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we take it.
Everyone has ups and downs. Every day, I make a conscious decision to focus on one or the other. A million little things go wrong during every morning milking, how I take them makes or breaks my day. When it’s 90°F with 100 percent humidity and the cows are moving slow, I decide if I’m going to be annoyed and start yelling or be understanding and react accordingly. One will ruin my day, the other may not make it the best day of my life, but it will change every decision I make from there on out. While mowing hay last week, a song came on the radio that made me think:
“I wish somebody would’ve told me then, that someday these would be the good old days. Someday soon your life is going to change, you’ll miss the magic of the good old days.”
For me, right now, these are the ”good old days,” no matter how bad it seems or how alone, lost, or unsupported I feel. Even when it feels like my opinion couldn’t matter less and that everything I have to offer is useless, these are my good old days.
I am doing what I love with the people I love. Every day. No, I can’t pay all my bills. No, I don’t see or talk to many of my friends. I haven’t been on a true vacation in years, and the amount of money it would take to update our facilities makes me either laugh or cry depending on the day. But for right now, I’m still here. And that makes today one of the good old days. And that’s pretty darn magical to me.
The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.
Join us for next Monday's webinar:
Karl Burgi, Dairyland Hoof Care Institute, will present “Supervise hoof health with a ‘No lameness tolerance policy.’” It will be presented on Monday, June 11, at noon (Central time).
Lameness affects nearly one out of every four dairy cows worldwide. It deteriorates welfare and causes significant economic losses. Burgi will address factors causing lameness, such as trimming errors, sole ulcers, white line lesions, and digital dermatitis. The webinar concludes with an action plan.
The webinar is sponsored by Zinpro Performance Minerals.