Weather in Wisconsin can be a friend or a worst enemy of a farmer. This winter was the coldest on record in Wisconsin and challenging for dairy farmers. Many farmers dealt with frozen cow teats and so much frozen manure in free stall barns that we would have liked to skip over those cold days and go right to these rainy days we are having now … at least we know it will be planting time soon again. This is also the time we hire more chore hands to get some of these extra duties done that get pushed into April. This month is full of extra work and mud. Just this week I found myself with more paperwork, having more calves, doing dehorning and vaccinations, extra breeding of cows, and picking up the farm of garbage and sticks. Not to mention my husband is in the shop fixing tractors non-stop and hauling extra manure on to flat fields due to the rainy spells.
Chore hands this week started ripping out more of our fence that has served its purpose for 50+ years. It’s time to clean out that brush that shorts out my electric fence and start fresh. They also milk cows and are starting to understand that not all cows are the same. Cows do not have the same personalities as each other and they don’t have the same “nipples”, which I like to call teats on a cow udder, as each other. Growing up, we would occasionally like to mess with our peers and tell them stories about our brown cows producing chocolate milk or that an uncle milked a bull by mistake. I remember one time we had a kid stand on the flat rack as we green chopped feed for the milk cows. We told him just what he needed to do – catch the grass and place it on the outside edge of the wagon so the cows can reach it. Well, needless to say he was covered in seconds with chopped oat grass. When we started the field our green chopper was like a lawnmower on steroids. Luckily we never lost any friends by pulling these stunts with them and to them; just a lot memories and laughs to pass the cold and rainy days away.