Summer on the farm.

30 Jun

I’m back.

No, I haven’t been trampled by a cow.  I haven’t moved to a foreign country, joined the circus, or lost both of my thumbs in a tragic accident.

It’s been a little bit of procrastination, a little bit of family tragedy, and a little bit of summer, but I’m back.

Procrastination and summer fever can happen to anyone, but the family tragedy portion of my recent life deserves mentioning. Since mid-April, two of my Dairy Man’s grandparents have passed away. We acutely feel the loss. I’ve wanted to write about our wonderful Grandma F or vivacious Grandpa Z, but I can’t seem to find enough words to describe their love and faith. They were amazing people. I was a lucky girl to even get to know them. We rejoice to know that both are celebrating in glory, but our family parties this summer will be missing some important people. While the loss of our precious grandparents clouds my psyche a bit, the summer soldiers on.

This week has been a “slow” week for my Dairy Man—in a world where 50 hours is slow—and I’ve taken full advantage of the chance to spend time with him before 10 p.m. But, as always in farming, this is the calm before the storm. In a few days, second cutting of hay begins, and it is CRAZINESS. I’m talking tractors and trucks out in fields at 2 a.m. craziness; no showers for a week craziness; meals that consist entirely of things the Dairy Man can eat in one minute or less craziness. I’m not looking forward to it. All I ask, dear hay, is that you wait until after the fourth of July.

So. While I’m still feeling tranquil and full of good humor, I thought this would be a good time to show you what summer looks like on the farm. As someone who gets all tingly about tall buildings and taxi cabs, I never thought I would find the claustrophobic openness of the country to be beautiful. But I stand corrected. I am a human being full of wisdom and growth.

But on to the prettiness.

This is the view from our back deck. Beautiful, right? Even the most fervent city slicker has to admire that big blue sky. I love sitting out here with a glass of Cab and a husband. Even the cat likes it.

Here are the cow dormitories, er, I mean barns. Dor-moo-tories? Anyone? Oh boy, I need to get more sleep. And better jokes.

But not all of our cows live in the barns. The Dairy Man has moved our dry cows (a.k.a. the pregnant cows) out into the pasture.  Surprisingly, they don’t suffer from mood swings or crave chocolate ice cream with pickles, but they do love to sunbathe. And eat. Oh my, do they eat.

As temperatures rise in west Michigan, the Dairy Man spends a lot of time making sure the ladies stay cool and comfortable. Since a beach day is out of the question (we just can’t afford that many flip flops and scuba masks), it’s all about the sand. Each barn has several rows of “free stalls,” which give the cows a cool place to lounge in the sand. So, life as a cow really IS like a day at the beach.


The beautiful weather makes a tramp around the farm on a warm evening nearly irresistible. I even managed to coax a feline companion to join me!

Until he spotted a baby woodchuck to meow at…

…And, after chasing it into a hole in the ground, decided that he would not be joining me for the rest of the stroll. Heaven knows he had an exhausting day at the office, sleeping, eating, chasing bumblebees, and sleeping. A cat needs his rest.

After a long day at work and the proceeding 80 minute drive home, there is something profoundly peaceful about my place in nestled in the hills of dairy country. I still think that skyscrapers and asphalt are sexy, but I’m beginning to love green pastures and blue skies. Besides, we have our own skyscrapers.

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9 Responses to “Summer on the farm.”

  1. Tilly Whirls 06/30/2011 at 7:45 pm #

    I don’t know if anyone could ever really pry me from Northern Virginia, but you do make a good case. Gorgeous photos. And I’m glad you’ve been getting to spend some quality time with your husband. 🙂

    • the modern farm wife 07/08/2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks, Tilly! Michigan farmland in the summer really is beautiful. And I never thought I would say that. 🙂

  2. Paul Kratochwill 06/30/2011 at 7:48 pm #

    I am trying to get my arms around cows in flip flops…

    Awesome words. I feel like I am on the farm as I read it.

  3. Henry DeVries 06/30/2011 at 8:31 pm #

    You’re making me homesick. Before they cut the hay, take a walk in the meadow at night after dark to watch the fireflies — magical!!

    • the modern farm wife 07/08/2011 at 5:04 pm #

      Henry, you are welcome on our farm whenever you like! Unfortunately second cutting has already taken place, but it will grow back!

      Kyle and I did take a walk in the cornfield at sunset the other night. Equally magical.

  4. Amanda V 06/30/2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Love it Jess! Keep up the awesome writing.

  5. Shirley Bareman 06/30/2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Jess – I love it! You are so down to earth (farm) I mean. Hope I get to see it soon. I am intrigued.

  6. Shari Konkel 07/12/2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Jess, I live just a few miles away and really enjoy your posts. I knew the family somewhat that lived in your farm house before it became a water buffalo farm–the Rottiers–had some 4-H meetings there.
    You have made some amazing progress on the house and it’s great to see activity on that farm again. It’s a beautiful location up on a hill and I know the view is gorgeous–spectacular in the fall, I’m guessing.
    Best wishes as the summer reaches its midpoint and gently switches into fall. I can identify with what you write, although in my case it was I who grew up on the farm, and my husband who did not, although FFA and working on others’ farms gave him a great background.

  7. Aunt Connie Scheurwater 07/21/2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Hi Jess, It was wonderful to visit your farm last Saturday. Now I can identify with these pictures. I enjoyed the tour of all the cow dor-moo-tories, as well as your home. You’ve done great things with the house. I think it’s beautiful. Thanks for the special tour and lunch. Hopefully, the cows aren’t suffering too much in this uncomfortable weather.
    I mentioned your blog to a friend with whom I had breakfast yesterday morning. She said she spent an hour on it afterward and enjoyed it very much.

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