I love having people out to the farm. Getting the chance to show off my cute calves and teach people about where milk, cheese and all things dairy comes from is just a ton of fun for me. Sara is a friend I met via twitter a few years ago. She is a coupon maven, a writer, a business owner and an animal lover. She is super fun and I was glad to have her out to the farm in October to show her around.
I always wonder how people see the farm. I want things to go smoothly and I want to present the best picture possible. Some may think farmers hide the bad and only show the rosy side of farming to any one that comes out but the truth is manure happens and covering it up just doesn’t work. On the day Sara and her friends visited we had a cow on the farm that had slipped and injured herself. She didn’t want to get up and we had the vet out several times trying to fix her. Wasn’t what I would like to show guests but I made a point to show her to Sara and company that day because I wanted her to know that when manure happens, farmers do whatever they can to make it better.
My name is Sara…and I’m an urban junkie.
Yup, it’s true. Despite growing up in a small lil’ town surrounded by fields and farms, I am a city gal through and through. While living in our small village about 30 minutes from Milwaukee, my eyes glazed over the corn and cows and focused on the houses, asphalt and “downtown” which consisted of a Piggly Wiggly and a Walmart.
Once I graduated school I hightailed it (ha, ha…so punny) to the “big” city…Milwaukee. I quickly found a job at a flashypants law firm and moved in with my city dwelling boyfriend. I was a happy camper.
Nowadays I have my sights set on an even bigger concrete jungle, New York. An hour doesn’t pass without me thinking about that city in some capacity. And someday, I’ll get there.
However, a day last October was not that day. In fact, I was just about as far away from hearting NYC as I could get.
I was on a farm. Carrie’s farm!
I brought along my best bud and his two kidlets to get an up close and personal tour of a real farm. Surrounded by ginormous furry critters and donning my galoshes, my nose instantly wrinkled. That smell. I believe around those parts it’s called poop de parfum. 🙂 But in all it’s stinky glory, the farm was beautiful. Simplistic in it’s operation, dedication and pure unadulterated love is what turns the wheels of this well oiled machine.
I say often that I’m “soooooooo busy…ohmigosh….I’m soooooo swamped” which I am. I have papers to push, columns to write and businesses to run. However, after hearing about a day in the life of Carrie, I’m now biting my tongue. Carrie does it all. She is a business woman, ambition is in her DNA. She is a writer, a maker and a shaker. She is charitable and social.
In those ways we are two gals, cut from the same modern maven cloth.
What else does Carrie do in her day to day life? Something I can safely say I have never had on my To Do list?
Carrie makes cows. Yup. Makes. Them. It seemed everywhere you looked on the farm, there was a preggers cow shufflin’ about. Just hours before we arrived, another calf was born. The Duggars don’t got nothin’ on Carrie’s cows. All fifty gazillion of ‘em, with more on the way.
Sure, the horses were cute. The chickens were fluffy and fab. But the cows? They were the stars of the show. Apparently cows have personalities. Who knew? I wouldn’t have believed it but there it was. Some cows were shy. Others were jealous. One cow was a total attention whore. There were comedian cows, and jerkcake cows. A sad, lazy cow was lying down, off to the side. Carrie explained if the lazybutt didn’t get up soon she’d have to bite the dust. That’s what cows do when they’ve had a bad day or aren’t feeling well. They plop down and make the humans come to them with food, water and love. Cows are much smarter than I ever imagined.
Carrie explained to us how the farm operated, what the cows ate (there’s beer in their food!), how the milk was gathered and all the politics and policy that goes with it. She dipped a glass into the tub of milk right before the semi truck came to suck it up & send it to the supermarket. Austin, one of the kidlets in tow, gulped the fresh, raw milk down exclaiming it was the best thing he’s ever had. I was too big of a woosey city mouse to try it. After hearing Austin’s repeated praises of the raw milk on the drive home, I’m regretting my hesitation.
I thought I would leave the farm with some sort of vegetarian revelation. Instead I left with a deep appreciation for what the farming families, like Carrie’s endure. Carrie is up at all hours of the night, helping the new cow moms with their bundles of joy. She milks, feeds, and loves those animals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And because of her dedication and passion city folk like me can walk to the grocery store and mindlessly whip a gallon of milk into our cart, none the wiser of how much hard work went into getting that one wee gallon.
I didn’t leave a vegetarian, I left as an advocate for family farms and Carrie.
Thank you Carrie, and all those in the agriculture community, for all you do for urban junkies. Your hard work, tenacity and love is apparent and appreciated in every sip, bite and sniff. 😉
Again I am so happy that Sara came out to visit and that she brought friends with her. I am also very thankful that she took time to write this post for me. I think that the best way to connect farms to food to people is to have people visit our farms and I encourage you all to invite people to your farm or if you haven’t spent time on a farm look for an opportunity to visit one! Thank you Sara for being an advocate for agriculture!
I don’t want to take credit where credit isn’t due. Currently we are “in between” farms with our cows and they are staying at the neighbor’s farm across the road until we can either start milking on our farm, we find a farm to work into partnership on or we buy a new farm. When Sara visited we went to both of the farms to show her all of the animals. We are fortunate we had a place to go with our animals when our previous plan fell apart in a big way. Now we only have a few cows and calves on our farm. Since most of our cows stay on someone else’s farm we do not have income from them and we both work “town” jobs. Our ultimate goal is to have a small farm and make cheese from our cows milk. But right now we would just settle with a zoning variance that would allow us to use the farm we own as a farm.