There are some things in life that are just ridiculously satisfying. You may have seen those videos on social media where something so simple is strangely pleasing to watch. On the farm, there are many of these surprisingly gratifying instances — many of which seem to occur in the springtime.
Here’s a quick list of the odd things and moments that are delightful to us farmers:
• When your calf ear tag numbers match up with the current year. Tagging a calf with #2022 in the year 2022 . . . now, that’s insanely cool for us.
• When the frozen block of manure finally falls out of the skid loader bucket after thawing on a sunny day. It may not be glamorous, but it’s a sweet victory for the farmer.
• A freshly cleaned and dried pen or lot with new, fluffy bedding. Come on!• Power washing literally anything. Need I say more?
• Opening all the freestall doors and curtains for the first time in the spring. You really can’t feel more refreshed than at that moment.
• Letting cattle out to pasture after a long winter or muddy spell. Watching all the cattle do their first lap running around the pasture would be pleasing to anyone.
• A freshly covered silage pile is enough to make a farmer swoon. The feeling of accomplishment combined with the fresh smell of chopped alfalfa, rye, or corn really hits the spot.
• All feed sacks and net wrap cleaned up. Piles of these items accumulate during busy times, but the days we clean out every barrel and reset is unreasonably enjoyable.
• The clean and empty feed alley right before you dump fresh feed. Before every feeding, we clean up any old feed the cows didn’t eat. That brief moment of a completely clean area can’t be beat.
• Washing and putting away all the winter gear, then breaking out a brand-new pair of boots for the changing season. How glorious!
• Finally using up the last cornstalk bale that didn’t fit in the shed; or, completely stocking the shed with bales in the fall. Both ends of the spectrum are super gratifying.
I’m sure there are many more moments like this that aren’t coming to mind right now, but I’m certain every farmer can attest that there are just some things around the farm that give us brief moments of satisfaction.
The author dairy farms with her parents and brother near Hawkeye, Iowa. The family milks approximately 300 head of grade Holstein cows at Windsor Valley Dairy LLC — split half and half between a double-eight parallel milking parlor and four robotic milking units. In the spring of 2020, Molly decided to take a leap and fully embrace her love for the industry by returning full time to her family’s dairy.