Saturday, November 11, 2017

A new lease on life

sunrise over dairy farm

Like the sun rising on a new day, a big change here on our farm has given us a new lease on life.

A couple weeks ago, we hired our first full-time employee.

This might not seem like a big deal to some, but it's a big change for us. For the past 12 years, Glen and I have done most of the work here. We get extra help as needed from family and friends, including a good friend who has done relief milking for us for over 10 years now.

But that was no longer enough.

To put it simply, our herd size has grown considerably over the past year. We’re now milking 100 cows. The reasons for this growth could fill another post with a complicated explanation of dairy markets and economics. What’s not complicated to understand, though, is that milking more cows means more work for us – more work than we could handle ourselves.

We trudged through the spring and summer with a workload that left us completely exhausted. Most days, it felt like we were barely getting through the day, or worse, falling behind.

I can’t even remember when we started talking about hiring full-time help. It came up during milking one morning. We’ve talked about hiring in the past, but never gave it serious consideration. This time, it was clear: We really need another person here.

We found that person a couple weeks ago. The young man we hired is a quick-learner, has a great sense of humor, and is fun to work with. In the short time we’ve been working with him, we already feel like he’s part of the family.

We also feel like we can breathe again. Instead of feeling constantly behind, it now feels like we’re moving forward. The exhaustion and frustration we felt before have been replaced with energy and satisfaction. Dairy farming is fun again.

I am so incredibly thankful we made this decision when we did. I'm thankful, too, for this young man's interest in working with us.

What's more, and just as important, is that we're once again finding time for the other things we enjoy. We took the kids out to eat. Glen got to go deer hunting. I've actually been cooking supper. Glen and I went to an auction – together! That counts as a date in my book.

Thank goodness for changes for the better and for more good things to come.