Guys, it’s October. Which basically means it’s Christmas, right? Do you know one of my favorite things about Christmas? I mean besides family being together, Christmas cookies, the music, and the lights. Hallmark Christmas movies are coming. If you’ve never watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, I’m not sure what you’ve been doing with your life. Sure, the acting is mediocre, and the storylines are predictable. And yes, Santa, or one of his elves, sneakily makes an appearance in every single one of them. But most importantly, love always wins, the bad guy always loses, and the girl always gets the guy. This year, it’s got me thinking, what would the farming version of Hallmark look like?
The cows would always calve in the same two-hour window on the day they were due. There’d be some touch-and-go moments, but ultimately, everything would work out just fine. And when you had to get rid of a cow, it wouldn’t be because she had bad feet or you couldn’t get her bred back; it’d be because the neighbor was hoping to start their own ice cream business and needed Bessie to help make their dreams come true.
Harvest would always happen under sunny yet chilly skies so you could wear your best autumn-themed vests. There’d be absolutely no breakdowns so that every night you could head on down to the fall festival happening in the town square for some fresh apple cider, apple dumplings, and a romantic hayride. When you’re feeling sick and can’t get out of bed, there’s no need to worry. One quick call to Gus at the local hardware store and one retired farmer, his three grandsons, and his womenfolk will show up to get the hay in, do the chores, and feed you chili and cornbread while you heal.
Finally, when milk prices drop and it looks like you’re about to lose the farm, your high school sweetheart will come home from the big city and find a way to turn it all around with little to no input or investment from you. Because everything works out in a Hallmark movie.
Lately, very little about farming feels Hallmark-esque. Honestly, it feels like there are fewer and fewer Hallmark moments as the years go on. That’s why it’s becoming more and more important to talk about it. Of all the mental health advocating I’ve done, the best advice I can give is to talk about it. Does it accomplish anything? Maybe not. But it will make you feel better. And that’s no small thing.
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.