Ah, I started this blog seven years ago this month, and I've gone from writing here every day to ... writing for work!
Our farm, our family, and our lives have changed so much in the last seven years, too. It's changed even in the last year! So, here's to a wonderful 2018 as we look back.
The biggest project this year was changing from sawdust to sand bedding. Just saying that doesn't sound so hard, right?
Last summer we had a bad problem with mastitis. We tried everything, and the next solution was to change to sand bedding.
However, this wasn't easy. This would require modifying our only five-year-old barn! We wanted to pay our builders to do it, but they wouldn't be able to schedule such a huge project until after the summer ... when the heat can exacerbate the problem.
So, nearly everyone on the farm, plus the boys and me, helped. It required taking down the free stall dividers, breaking up the cement, pouring new curbs. We needed to painstakingly remove the mattresses and reuse them as a base for the sand. All of this took weeks of manual labor as well as using cement contractors. As well as all the hard work by our team, Kris and the boys spent their free time doing it. Finally, it was done, and even better - it really solved the problem! Saying all of that in one little paragraph doesn't really capture the amount of work that this took, involving new drills that broke bits, buying a sand shooter, bringing truck after truck of cement, moving the cows around to accommodate the work, trying to get done before the cement people came ... ah. I'm glad it's done!
Another big project we completed was a cow walk for our cattle. We built it for them to enter the milking parlor, so we could have even more free stall space in the barn.
This project also had great results, as it gives us more barn space! The cows liked it too, except one that did not want to walk in the new way. She eventually accepted that this was what was happening, and moved with the rest of the herd!
We are very thankful for the team we have working here. It's not always easy to find people who want to work on a farm, and we're very grateful to these great people! I know I say this a lot, but it affects our lives each and every day, and we're so appreciative of our wonderful team. Also new this year is that Kris is on the Michigan Milk Producers Association Board, which means he goes to more meetings, which in turn requires replacements here! So thank you, this year and every year, to our farm team. A special thanks to my mom and dad, who are the best volunteer workers this world has ever known! My mom fed calves for months and my dad does any driving or running or hands-on-things we even mention, and words can't express our thanks enough.
As for me, I have the farm, three or four other jobs, and these kids I like to see. I love sharing about the farm and appreciate you taking the time to read all these years. Here's to a wonderful next year, full of milk drinking, cheese eating, and ice cream parties.
Want to know more about the farm? Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.