Memorial Day weekend is considered the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. When my boys were in preschool and kindergarten, they would bring home summer calendars with suggested activities to keep them engaged and learning throughout the summer. Today teachers encourage us to have them read, write and work on math during the summer so they stay sharp with their skills.
When it comes to reading and math, it is easy to come up with ways to practice. They are constantly reading manuals and instructions on how to do something. Building their dioramas, tinkering with their own tools and old engines we give them, and calculating feed for show cows are some simple ways they will stay up with their math skills.
The best part is they are working on their reading and math skills without knowing that they are. Now that writing part is a little difficult. As I was thinking about what to write this week, the boys were outside playing basketball while waiting for lunch. I decided that the readers of Progressive Dairyman and Proud to Dairy needed an update from the boys.
I tend to mention and write about the boys a lot, but you have had the opportunity to get to know them over the past couple of years through their own words. It all started in September 2013 with a back-to-school contest on Proud To Dairy. All three boys wrote their own blogs, made videos and shared pictures to tell their story about living on a dairy farm.
Then in December 2014, they wished us a Merry Christmas through their version of “Let It Snow.” Most recently in December 2015, they sang “I Saw Santa Milking Cows.” That brings me to one way to have the boys work on their writing skills this summer. They have each written a short paragraph about a topic related to the farm. Here are updated pictures and some words from them.
Randy is now 12, and he has left the comforts of elementary school to enter middle school this fall.
Living on a farm is not an easy thing. There are also many surprises like cows calving, calves getting out and sick animals. I personally own two calves, Rea and her calf Roxy. It is a lot of work. I have to feed them and work with them to get them ready for the fair. I show them at the Grant County Fair. Another 4-H thing I do is dairy judging. I have gone to Area Animal Science Days for three years. I love living on a farm!
Wesley is 9, and this is his first year in 4-H. He is excited about showing heifers at the fair this summer.
A Day On The Dairy Farm
We wake up in the morning, eat breakfast and go do calf chores in the automatic calf feeding barn. We feed grain, wash down feeders and feed newborns. Then we have to lock the dairy cows out to pasture. Then we mix up feed for the dairy cows. Then we feed the dry cows and the yearlings. Then we have sandwiches for lunch. Then we let cows home from pasture to get ready for milking. Then we do work that needs to be done. Then milking and afternoon chores start. We have to circuit clean the calf feeder. And then we feed grain. When milking is over, we spray down the parlor. Then we feed our show cows Jelly Bean, April, Kiwi, Gruff and Coco Bean. Then we feed the show cows hay. Then we go to the house, clean up and eat supper. Last we go to dairy judging practice.
Matthew is 8 and tries hard to do everything his big brothers do.
There are many things to do on my farm. Like feeding calves milk and grain. I milk cows with my family. I ride with my dad when he bales hay. I have a calf named Kiwi who is now a year old. She is a Shorthorn, and she looks like a zebra. I can’t wait for her to have a baby in 2016. I like working the new automatic calf feeder. I also like the kitties. I love living on a farm.
So there you have it, a few words from the boys. Summer vacation is off to a great start here in southwestern Wisconsin. Every stage of being a parent is special. Gone are the days of playing on the playground, naps and swim lessons. We are treasuring this new stage of campfires, taking things apart, having our own swimming pool and being trusted with bigger jobs on the farm. We are planning to make the summer of 2015 a great one and hope you do too! PD
Christina Winch is a dairy farmer in Fennimore, Wisconsin. Connect with her on Proud to Dairy.
PHOTOS: Photos provided by Christina Winch.