Sept. 12 2023 10:40 AM

There’s no simple day — for better or worse — on a dairy.

When you live a dairy life, there’s always something that doesn’t go to plan. Make a plan for the day and then laugh at it and throw it in the garbage. I seriously think that would be the most effective part of trying to plan with a dairy farm to run. There will always be something that needs fixed, cows in a situation, or just something else that needs immediate attention. Is there really ever a day that goes completely the way you thought it would on a dairy farm?

There’s always something that takes 10 times longer than you planned. You know that repair that suddenly needs done that you swore you had the right parts for? Or that quick project that you were completely prepared for? Yeah, it’s going to take way longer than you thought it would.

Somehow, that something seems to morph the passage of time. When you’re planning on being somewhere at a certain time, dressed in decent clothes, that’s the perfect timing for the heifers to get out. When you need to get the milking done early, something will speed time up so you have the same amount of work that usually gets done in a timely manner.

There’s always something on the to do list. Beyond the everyday jobs are those things that we hope we can fit into a few extra minutes. And then there are the bigger somethings that sit on the list just waiting for the appropriate time. No dairy farm will ever have an empty to do list.

But despite all those things, there’s something about this dairy life that is really something. It’s a thing that can’t just be described by some words. It’s felt in our hearts and makes us really feel all those truly special things that can’t be found anywhere else.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons 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 transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.