Dec. 15 2022 08:00 AM

Lots of rain has made for a long start to our winter.

“In the cornfield you can see the tractors,

slip n’ slide through the mud.

They are just trying to get cow feed,

but four-wheel drive can’t get through 6 feet of mudddd…”

This is my take on the famous tune “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Currently, we have experienced several days of rain here in good ol’ Virginia. The gravel driveway is easily covered in around four to five inches of mud from the tractors tracking it in when loading feed or bringing in hay. Maneuvering a cattle trailer is next to impossible, and trying to even walk through the grass becomes an obstacle course.

Usually, around this time, it’s been staying around the upper 30s to lower 20s most every day. However, Virginia had different plans this year. One day it’s 30 degrees; the next it’s 60 degrees. One day it’s sunny; the next it’s raining. One minute you are doing great; the next, you’re ready to call it quits because you’re wet and cold. It’s a never-ending cycle.

“The bale chopper is bedding the barn heavy

as we frantically try to beat the rain.

Keeping all of the cows clean is top priority,

but it’s near impossible in this rainnnn…”

We are spending countless hours bedding the freestall barn with straw and the pack barn with wood chips. The cows are dirty from the trails leading to and from the barns as well as where the rain is blowing in the barns. It’s a constant battle but one we continue to fight to keep the cows clean and healthy.

“The milk pump keeps on humming

as the cows’ milk keeps flowing.

The cows milk on,

right through the storm,

milkin’ in a muddy wonderland.”

Regardless of the weather, as long as the cows keep going, we keep going. Though the weather may be frightful, with snow, rain, sleet, or whatever it may be, we keep milking.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and all other holidays you may celebrate. Whether you have snow, mud, or clear skies, enjoy the wonderland that is this beautiful season.

Courtney Henderson

The author is a sixth-generation farmer and fifth-generation dairy producer in southwest Virginia, where she and her family own and operate a 145-head Holstein dairy. Courtney is involved in agriculture organizations throughout her community and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.