Pighetti's Dairy World > Posts > Dairy farming - an amazing way of life...
August 17
Dairy farming - an amazing way of life...

I had the opportunity to go home for a long weekend in PA last weekend. Although we don't have dairy cows anymore, I can't help remembering the hard work, family, and funPap neff milk barn 1961.jpg we had. Producing milk to feed others was simply aside benefit that I really did not appreciate when I was younger. I also didn't realize all the skills I learned growing up that helped me in every day life: hard work, critical thinking and ingenuity, teamwork, and last but not least having fun. 

Hard work - caring for a large number of animals requires a lot of hard work -- I often joke, that this is the real reason my parents had five children - more to share the work load!  Not only do you feed the animals, but you grow most of that feed as well.  Monitor their health and treat them when required.  "Cleaning" their living areas.  I much preferred cleaning the multiple stalls and pens then my own room - much to the frustration of my dad and mom!  That is a sampling.  Definitely longer then a 40 hr work week that covered 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  But as I progressed through my career, this ability to focus and work hard has been critical for me. 

But we balanced this with FUN too - games of kickball, rope climbing, making tunnels through the hay (not a good idea - it can come crashing down...), king of the mountain (snow, dirt, hay, corn fodder, didn't matter...) fishing, swimming and tubing down the creek (pronounced 'crick' in central PA)... 

Teamwork - my siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends would work together to care for the animals and do all the fieldwork.  We needed it, you couldn't stop feeding or milking, just because its time to cut and bale hay.  This took good communication, dependability, and showing appreciation for that help.  Usually with a good cookout when the day was done.  

Critical thinking and ingenuity.  You didn't always have what you needed, so you had to figure out how to make things work with what you had -- I definitely am a firm believer in and practice 'redneck' engineering to this day.  Yes, duck tape and baler twine can go far :-)  I didn't give up because something broke or I didn't have all the resources.  

At the time, I thought of all this as fun... little did I know that I was building skill sets that would help me succeed in life.  Despite all the hard work, I wouldn't have traded that life for anything.

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