If the changes of your surroundings haven’t signaled fall in every way, then certainly schedule changes have. Ours include harvest, back to school, sporting practices and events, and parent teacher community meetings, just to mention a few. Then, of course, we also have to find the time to feed everyone and still manage the daily chores between milkings.
There’s a kind of hustle and bustle to this time of year that can’t be found any other time.
Maybe it’s just that we don’t want to let go of summertime’s easy, slow speed (is there ever a “slow“ time in dairy farming?), but something about this drastic switch in pace has me struggling this fall, and I know I am not alone in that feeling.
Here are a few little hints to help you find some balance during this time of year.
School: Be open and honest with your children’s teachers and administration about what is going on this time of year. That dialogue can go a long way in building understanding. Make the car pool your new best friend; don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents, neighbors, and friends to help with all those after-school sports and activities that seem to always be in opposite directions, coinciding perfectly with milking time.
Home: Do yourself a favor and just let go of your expectations of housekeeping for this time of year! The laundry pile means clean clothes, and dust bunnies actually make great pets. Paper plates and crock-pots are your new best friends; as long as everyone is fed, that is all that matters.
Harvest: When you’re trying to beat Mother Nature, it’s easy to push yourself past the point of exhaustion. Remember to do a little self-evaluation and truly rest when needed. Ask for help when and where it’s needed, we can all relate in the community that is dairy.
Above all, know you are not alone! Across the country, dairy farm men and women are adjusting to the same changes. We’re all trying to find some balance in an otherwise crazy time of year that can make one feel isolated and overwhelmed. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves and each other. Happy fall!
The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and is in the process of transitioning to a robotic milking system.