Its 6.00am on a Sunday and the day has begun. I have the luxury of remaining in the house whilst my husband goes off to milk the cows, but not the luxury of returning to bed because – a. We have found from experience that for marital harmony it is much better if we are both up and working and therefore both tired at the same time at night, and b. There is too much to do, and efficiency is massively increased whilst the children are still asleep!
We are very lucky in where we live, there is lots of space for the children to run around, but equally lots of space to farm and maintain which is quite a lot of work. I generally spend the early mornings doing business plans, paying bills etc., generally things that require concentration, then when the kids are awake start on washing, ironing and tidying (whilst they loaf around watching TV, playing Xbox, and on mobile phones)then launch into homework, followed swiftly by lunch preparation.
After lunch its time for fresh air, historically this may have been a bike ride, or a walk up the Malvern’s, now there’s too much to do on the farm so its normally down to the campsite planting sunflowers, siting bee boxes, mowing the grass, etc. By about 3.30 pm its time to get the cows up for the afternoon milking session. Me and my son generally do that job, which as long as it is dry is quite good fun as we use the quad bikes!
Once the cows are in, it is a complicated procedure of opening and closing gates so that once they are milked they go into a different set of fields, and you don’t mix the milked cows up with the none milked cows. We then go into the ‘maternity ward’ and check the dry cows to see if any have, or are due to give birth, then back home to start tea. All that is done every day in rain or shine, and, with milk prices as they are at the moment, for very little money.
It’s all certainly a long way away from the housing estate in Warrington where I grew up, and I learn things, (and get things wrong), every day. Life on a dairy farm is not easy, but what things in life worth having are!