Rural blogger and cow enthusiast Anna Bowen shares her experiences of growing up on a dairy farm.
1. Wearing white soled shoes on the farm drive is never, ever a good idea.
2. If you have long hair, five minutes in the parlour is all you need to emanate ’eau de bovine’ for the rest of the day.
3. Even if you yourself are not part of the milking process, 8am is still considered a lie-in.
4. You know the real horror of sheeting silage clamps and will do anything in your power to avoid it.
5. You have no idea what the different coloured lids on bottles of shop milk mean.
6. For you, milk comes fresh every day - your first experience of sour milk is scarring.
7. Calving jacks, caesarians, pools of mucous, retained placentas and the farm dog rolling in rotting afterbirth - you have no illusions childbirth is going to be easy or magical.
8. In a system when the cows are artificially inseminated and semen is often sexed you can see the possibility of a society without men…
9. You also know how hard it is to move a stubborn, bleating calf.
10. After struggling for half an hour to get a calf to use a bottle, ending up with half the warm milk running down your welly, you’re not too fussed about how “cute” baby animals are.
11. Holidays and weekends have never really existed. One day is much the same as another.
12. You religiously watch the Countryfile weather forecast, even when you leave home and work in London.
13. You would tell children at school horrible stories about birth, life and death, because it all happens here.
14. No matter how hard you try to keep him away from it, your dog WILL have an insatiable appetite for calf poo.
15. Even the most expensive and cherished horse will at some point travel in a cattle box. To be honest, they don’t actually care about their vessel of travel.
16. Baler twine and alkathine sticks are part of life.
17. You tell the time by milkings - “I’ll come over after milking.”
18. Paperwork and invoices are very often streaked with manure. It just happens.
19. Certain reps and salesmen spent so much time in the kitchen/office that you kind of thought of them as family. You saw them more often than your cousins anyway.
20. You don’t throw away clothes - they are demoted to farm clothes.
21. Arable farmers have it easy…
22. Then you see some flooded wheat fields and change your mind.
23. You secretly envy spring calving herds because of the weeks off over Christmas that can be spent hunting/skiing/escaping somewhere hot.
24. Whatever your system, you will strongly believe yours is better than anyone else’s.
For example- a high-yielding Holstein breeder will laugh at the milk yield of a cross-bred herd. On the flip side, that cross-bred herdsman will spit on the floor in disgust at the prospect of keeping cattle inside for more than two months of the year.
25. Nothing smells better than a field of freshly mown silage.
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