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Kountry Life Memories

Life on a Dairy Farm
I grew up in upstate New York. I did not live on a farm, but my 2 uncles had dairy farms. In high school, I would spend summers in the late 60's putting up hay. Every time I drive by a new mowed field, the smell of hay brings back memories. Everyone used the square balers then and the uncle I worked for didn't have a kicker attachment so I learned to stack the wagon. We went seven high, and I was proud that my loads would hold together even on a side hill. I learned very soon to watch out for snakes in the bales and yellowjacket nests on the ground. One summer I was given the task of doing the hay myself as my uncle had to drive a dumptruck to make ends meet. I had a field that was ready to bale but I had a church softball game that night that I wanted to play in. So I got the bright idea that I would drop them on the ground and pick them up the next day. I never did that again as the next morning was so hot and humid and I never realized there were so many bales in one field. I would never choose to own a dairy farm. It was very difficult work but I enjoyed it as I could leave at the end of the summer. One year my uncle said he was going to build a new silo. I thought that sounded exciting until the truck arrived with the silo staves. To this day I can't remember any heavier than that concrete. He also built a new barn but didn't have the money to install a gutter cleaner that year. It was my job every other day to back the spreader in the barn and scoop the gutters for about thirty cows. One of the most pleasing memories was weaning the calves from their mothers. I still remember sticking my fingers in their mouth and the calves sucking them as I pulled their nose into a bucket of milk. They would snort the milk and jerk their heads out and I would keep doing it until they learned to drink. I have a lot of good memories but it sure was hard physical work. I wish my kids could have had the same experiences.

Dale M, from IA, entered 2003-12-25

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