Bless her heart, she listens to me while I talk about which animal needed doctoring, what employee had issues, the current dairy gossip that another dairyman or co-op guy called and told me about, and how steel and feed prices are going up while milk prices are falling off the cliff. My wife smiles, tells me she loves me, and then asks me if I fed the dog and the horses.Everyday, when I finally drag myself into the house, my wife will ask me how my day went. Given the current state of dairy in general, or the chance that the day included a sick calf or cow, that is a loaded question.
My wife is a pharmacist and was not raised on a farm. She comes from a military family and was raised in Tucson, Ariz. She has not quite learned how to interpret all the phrases and dialect we use here in the southeastern U.S. yet, bless her heart. She does not quite understand why my family works the hours that they do, for the pay that we receive, and why my dad at 82 years old is outside operating a tractor chopping silage.
All she knows is that we love our farm and our family. She talks about what it would be like to retire. I laugh and tell her I want to be like my dad at 82. I explain that farmers don’t retire. We just hope we are able to get to pick the jobs we like best on the farm in our later years.
It is a blessing to have someone just to listen to the challenges I face each day on the farm. She does laundry that is covered with grease, sweat, and possessing the smell of cows. She asks me how the manure got tracked across the kitchen floor. I usually shrug, smile, and say I haven’t a clue how that got there. She wonders why I love to mow hay but forget to mow the yard.
She thinks I do not know how to tell time because I never end up at home at the same time any evening of the week. You know, to tell the truth, I should probably pick her some flowers on the way home this evening. Not sure what time that will be, as we are mowing down ryegrass this afternoon. Bless her heart!
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.