The switch gets flipped
Milk pump gives a moan and a purr
Pulsators pick up their steady beat
Heartbeat of my parlor

Chains rattle as I bend to milk
Another mother-to-be enters the pen
Guttural bellow, labor pains strong
Ready to push, she knows when

A chorus of new calves bawls
As the mothers pass by
One cow gives that certain bellow
Danger, warning, time for me to fly

Ready-made meals in the barn
Draw in pigeons and starlings
The constant bird chatter, the messes
These things are not winged darlings

A soar of eagles cries from the field
Declaring a feast, each takes a turn
They swoop overhead, filling the trees
Voices, songs, so much to listen and learn

Cora’s voice, authoritative and knowing
Commands her cow herd as she plays
Changing her tone, adding a British accent,
This is a hilarious phase

After putting up the “I’m clean enough” war
For the better part of an hour
Henry’s singing can be heard
Coming out of the steaming shower

The snores, sniffles and sneezes
From the couch and my sleeping spouse
Body working to fight the cancer demon
Rumblings heard across the house
Ira in good spirits, walks past
At first you wonder what he’s trying to do
Ah, turkey season is near, he’s practicing
A chirp, a click, a gobble or two


Silence is Dane’s sound
Curled up, immune to distraction
Whisked away by the pages of a book
Hours of reading bring satisfaction

Quiet yips and yelps heard at my feet
Sleeping, dreaming Peanut
A twitch, flinch and a wiggle
Such a sweet, devoted mutt

A clatter from a spoon,
As I zone out and stir my tea,
Beeps from the oven,
Good thing it reminds me

These are the sounds of my life,
They keep me informed
Sounds from my little world
That let my heart be warmed
    Jacqui and her family milk 800 cows and run 1,200 acres of crops in the northeastern corner of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira (14), Dane (12), Henry (7) and Cora (4), help her on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones, or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos – and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.