Friday, March 10, 2006

Tuesday was Dairy day.

Doris's daughter Julie and her husband David run a dairy near Roanoke. I was interested in seeing how things are different now than they were 50 years ago when my parents were dairy farmers.

I had hoped to be able to go out there and it worked out that Julie and David's sons were better so we went out there on Tuesday morning.

When we turned off the main road, there were cows, cows, cows. I think Julie said they have 160 and milk 120. In addition, David's father raises their calves until they are ready to be milked.

The cows are Jersey and Holstein although they would like to eventually have all Jerseys.

The family lives in an old house. When they were working on it, they did not let Doris go out to see it because it was so bad. They hope eventually to have a new house but the old one has gingerbread trim and original wood decorations on the end of the stairs.

They milk 12 cows at a time in the dairy barn. The barn is not that much different from Mother and Daddy's except that it seems smaller and the milk goes directly from the cow to the milk tank.

While we were there, the tanker truck came to pick up the milk. They just hook up to the tank and transfer the milk to the truck.

In the barn, they had some calves, including one brown and white Holstein. (For you non-dairy farmers, Holsteins are big black and white cows.) Julie said that a brown and white Holstein is the result of recessive genes.

Julie's boys are 1 and 3. They have a lot of places to play, including two dirt piles. I think that is great.

Julie also has chickens.

Dairy farming now seems much more scientific, with records on feed, etc. However, one thing is still the same: There is a lot of mud and manure.

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