- Van Wert
Diary of Michelle Crout - Crout Farm Week 1, August 1-7,2011
Diary - Week 1
When I was asked to participate in this diary, Iíll have to admit I was reluctant. Would I take the time to share our work day with people and would it be informative? So, I agreed to be involved.
Those of you that farm know youíre always busy doing some form of manual labor, especially, in the spring and summer. For dairy, you milk twice a day, 7 days a week. No paid vacations, at least Iím not aware of any..... please let me know if there is. You have to work whether you feel good or not, through the cold weather and the excessive heat. So I digress and will share our day on the Crout Farm.
On Mondayís and Fridayís I watch our granddaughter, Hannah who will be 1 year old. Dan finishes milking at 7:45am. Then I go out to barn to clean parlor. I take Hannah out in her stroller while I clean, and she is anxious to get moving as soon as I am finished. I clean manure out of gutters, wash walls, and sweep up feed. Once the barn work is accomplished, we go have breakfast, devotions and pray for our day.
Danís plan for today is to mow hay away from home, about 7 acres. Took him most of the day because he kept breaking guards on the haybine.† The ground he was mowing has rocks and since we tilled it to plant, the rocks laid on top of ground. Frustrating day for Dan, but that goes with the territory. Dan came home at 4:00 to feed and bring cows over from pasture to milk.
Tonight is the last night for our milk-hand that has been with us for 3 years. He is planning on going to college in Troy. I donít think I mentioned earlier, but we began in 1990 to hire FFA students to milk for us, 5 to 6 nights a week.† This helped us greatly, giving us a break as well as tending to other jobs that needed done. So, we are in the process of looking for another milk-hand that might be interested in milking. Today went well watching Hannah. Most of my time is spent playing with her and making sure she doesnít get into something she shouldnít. Hannahís daddy, our son Aaron picks her up on his way home from work around 5:45pm. Well, Dan decided to haul manure after milking tonight. He finished at 8:30pm and is in for supper. What a long day and somewhat frustrating for Dan.
I guess we set a record today of 17 consecutive days of 90 degrees or above. Hope for cooler weather.
Same as usual... 5:00am alarm and time for milking. Sometimes I donít see how my husband does it, day in and day out for 50 some years of milking. He is such a hard worker and good provider. I am so blessed to have a husband like him!!!! Well, I donít have Hannah today, so my parlor cleaning is a little more intense. Danís brother, John is planning on raking hay for him after he comes home from work.† Danís intentions are to bale hay after milking. Dan is beginning a new milk-hand tonight. He will have a 2 week trial to see if he would like the job or if he is capable of handling the job.
Cloudy today and we actually got some rain! Yeah! Some is better than none. The usual 5 a.m. milking and parlor cleaning for another day. Today I am going shopping for Hannahís birthday which will be the 16th of August. With the excessive heat, the sweet corn is overdue so I will put corn in freezer today. Nothing like home-grown veggies! We should have green beans in a week. Dan needed to grind feed for cows today. Serviced the haybine and cleaned sprayer out. Sun is starting to set and Dan is heading to the back field to bush hog the lane.
The usual 5 a.m. milking and parlor cleaning. Hereís a little bit of history concerning our dairy farm that we presently live on. Danís grandfather bought this farm in 1958. For years raised dairy, hogs, chickens and sheep. The only livestock that is left is the dairy cows.† Dan milked his first cow at the age of 4 and is 57 now. That is a lot of dedication and hard work. We are surrounded by houses on all four sides of us. Family farms seem to keep going out of business. Also it is difficult to find good land to rent thatís at a reasonable rate to produce crops for our cows.
Started the day with the morning milking and parlor cleaning. As I mentioned earlier about bringing the cows over from pasture, I would like to explain how we feed our cows. When the cows are brought over, they are fed ground corn and haylage in the bunk. When it is time to milk, they are brought into a holding pen. We have a double-3 herringbone parlor that was built in 1990. This is where 3 cows are on both sides and you are in the pit as I call it, the cows are elevated higher than you.† Our milk is sent through NFO and goes directly to Meijer Dairy in Cincinnati. The milk truck picks our milk up every other day. Our milk tank holds 800 gallons of milk.
Usual chores started off the day. Since a dairy cow requires a lot of intake, we raise a lot of hay. We bale around 4500 square bales a year and 1000 round bales in order to feed 50 milk cows and young heifers. We use all we raise and if we have a good year, we can get 3 to 4 good cuttings of hay. During the spring we fill our silo with chopped hay, called haylage. In the fall, we chop corn, called silage. We have our haylage and silage analyzed so we know if there is any nutrients lacking and if so we will supplement with the vitamins they recommend. This is in order for the cows to have a balanced diet and to keep them in good health.
Usual start today except we will go to church. Had a real good service!† Invited family over for lunch after church today. I really enjoy entertaining and love to cook! We had lots of laughs and good conversation. Present were Danís brother, John and his wife Lori, Danís mom, Beth, our son Aaron and his wife, Jamie and little Hannah and our youngest son Isaac. Isaacís fiancťe Kelly was unable to join us. She had other plans with her family. Everyone left around 3:45 so out to the barn we go for the 4:00 feeding and bringing cows over from pasture.† Enjoyed another rain shower!!!