September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.


By Diane Iliff- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

June is dairy month throughout the land. Here on the Iliff farm, this June is proving to be a month of adjustments. Not that we want this sort of chaos to become national, but I would like to declare some sort of recognition; even if it would only be observed here on the Iliff farm.
We had not planned on dealing with so many changes in such a short time frame. If we would have read on paper the way this has been "writing itself out", we could have prepared. And we certainly would have done all that we could to avoid some of the agony.
Let's lay it out for you:
Months ago, Kevin talked about quitting his truck driving job. It was even discussed with his boss. Freight for the containers going on the rails was hard to come by, and Kevin spent way too much precious time waiting in line. Waiting in traffic; waiting to have the can lifted; waiting for an empty can; waiting in line to load; waiting to get loaded. You get the picture.
Back home on the farm, Jack was handling most of the chores. He seemed interested in sticking around and being a dairyman. There was much discussion about growing the herd and the two of them working together. Of course, Kevin being the more experienced one suggested more than doubling the herd. Jack, not being totally convinced, wanted to stay small enough where chores were not an all-day affair.
The guy with the most money and experience made the ultimate decision. We were able to pick up a few Holstein heifers here and there at a pretty decent price. Then we got fifteen more that a jockey found for us. (Just for the record, one of those heifers left the farm in a trailer this morning and no one was happier than Kevin.)
Kevin tried to convince Jack on expanding with Jerseys, but Jack preferred milking the Holsteins. Then the wonderful idea about adding the Brown Swiss breed to the herd came into play. I went with Kevin to look at the herd and we both liked what we saw.
Kevin needed to quit being gone if we wanted to buy the cows. He knew he couldn't expect Jack (and me and the girls) to handle the milking and chores. It was not the best way to end his driving career, but he ended it without very much notice given to the boss. I am not the only one who is glad he is not driving anymore.
The Swiss were milked in tie stalls. We milk in a parlor. Over half of the Swiss that we bought were older cows and set in their ways. Let's see........Brown Swiss plus set in ways equals............You guessed it: Not going in the parlor!!
The second week of adjusting to the Swiss, Jack applied for a night job in Wadena. Last week was his first week of work. We don't see him much because of his hours. Therefore, the work load has landed on Kevin and the girls and me. Since I am gone quite a bit with my postal jobs and Juliana is involved in marching band and coaching T-ball, the brunt of help has come from Jessica.
She is not adjusting well. She did not get to vote on any of the changes and remains upset that so much has landed on her. Kevin makes sure to send her in before chores are done in the morning. But, she is still concerned for Dad doing the chores alone, so she usually sticks it out.
Kevin is adjusting to being on his feet all day. Truck driving is not easy, but it is a lot different than doing chores all day long. He has been suffering through it, doing his best not to complain because no one is sympathetic.
Jack has been coping with his new life and we still don't know if he misses the cows or if he thinks he has found his niche. The house doesn't stay very quiet for someone who needs to sleep during the day, but we figure if he doesn't like it, he can always decide to get a place of his own! But wait a second! He was the one I could rely on to mow the lawn, till the garden and weed wack. So, who is going to do that?
Enter Juliana, trying to adjust to being in charge of the yard work; between rains, games and parades!! So, if you drive by and wonder why we are slacking, just remember that this is June Adjustment Month.
I am also trying to adjust. It's not going well. The house is awful. The flower beds are weed patches. We don't get three square meals a day.....heck, we don't even get one. That's not a great adjustment because I have been struggling to provide for my family in that regard for decades. The girls and I are relying on meal replacement shakes. I have lost 15 pounds. That's great! But, now my pants don't stay up. I have had to adjust my clothing.
Kevin has lost weight too. His diet plan is different than mine. At the rate he is going, he might be gone by fall! I think he really needs to make some more adjustments in order to survive being a dairy farmer. When the girls go back to school and I work full time and Jack leaves, he will be doing it on his own.
Maybe this adjusting thing is not to just be recognized in June. I think it would be better described as 2010: The Year of Change and Adjustments.[[In-content Ad]]


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