We have crammed a lot in the month of June. Between end of school farm tours, weekends going to dairy breakfasts, family tours, board meetings, our son’s wedding in Seattle June 22, and then the grand finale, our dairy farm open house June 29.
    Our calendar is so full, I have had to add notes to some of the dates so I do not forget all that needs to get done before the day is gone. Just the idea of having many people here looking at our new robotic dairy barn has us jumping with excitement, but also we are reviewing other areas of our farm that need attention.
    Our daughter Anna has motivated everyone to take a look around and see what we do not need. She likes to make to-do lists and is persistent to accomplish what she sets out to do. Picking up, sorting, organizing and deciding what we can get rid of. Recycling, tossing, scrapping or putting in boxes to donate to St. Vinny’s. Her motto is, “Cleaning up and cleaning out.”
    Since we have been out of the tiestall barn for six months, Anna and her boyfriend, Kevin, have been working on taking down the pipeline, airline, waterlines, chains, trainers and drinking cups. They have been posting stuff on Craigslist or Facebook to empty out the barn so we can make plans for group housing for our calves in the near future. It is refreshing to go into the barn and see the progress they have made removing all of the things that had made it an efficient dairy barn. It has made it easier to visualize the plans to have gates and panels installed later for the calves to live where the cows used to be milked.
    She even went to our oldest machinery shed and started digging through the items that were put in the shed. Organizing, moving and rearranging to make it easier to see what is there and get rid of the items we will never use again. She posted the stanchions for sale that were removed from the dairy barn in 1993. They were stacked up in the shed collecting dust for years.
    Why did we save old cow mattresses? They were piled up in the shed next to the rubber padding that is crumbling apart waiting for an empty dumpster. Moving around the pallets of calf grower, dry cow mineral and supplies we use daily to get at the stuff we do not need behind it. Bent t-posts stand in the corner with many that are not. Sort out the bent ones and on to the scrap metal pile. Easy enough. The trailer will be full of scrap that will be sold for cash. It feels good to go through and let these things go.
    Anna got Duane excited about cleaning up his shop, too. It has been swept, reorganized and rearranged so Grandpa’s old 55 Ford truck can be easily taken for a drive. The counters are empty and wiped off. All tools are put away, nuts and bolts sorted, and fix-it projects put away until time will allow them to be completed. I think she even vacuumed all the dead flies out of the windows. Another check on her to-do list of projects to get done before June 29.
    Like a tornado, she has gone through the house. Putting all of her dorm stuff away that has been piled up at the bottom of the stairs. She has gone through the pantry/laundry room and tossed all of the chore clothes we do not wear any longer. She boxed up my binders and folders from the boards I am on so I can get them into storage instead of a pile under my desk. She has even sorted all of our clothes in our own baskets so we can get them put away instead of piled on the folding table.
    This surge of energy to tidy up the house, barn and shop has kept me pumped up about getting the mulch into the gardens, planting more perennials, dividing up over grown plants, filling the pots and planters with bright, happy flowers and keeping the gardens weed free. It feels good to accomplish all that and check it off Anna’s list.
    As we get ready to leave for Seattle for my son’s wedding this week, it will be so much easier to enjoy our time at their event without having to worry about returning home to finish up these projects. They are nearly all complete. We will be finishing cleaning up and cleaning out before we leave so it can be checked off Anna’s lists of to dos. We want to be ready for our open farm event when everyone can come and see our farm. We hope to see you all then.
    Tina Hinchley, her husband, Duane, and their daughters, Anna and Catherine, milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2,300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin.  They have been hosting farm tours for over 20 years.