Did you know that dairy’s get graded? Yep, we sure do. Grade A milk is what everyone wants. It’s the best milk. The inspector comes around on surprise visits, and the State Dept. of Health pulls milk samples. They are the people that give us our score. They are who we want to keep happy. They call the shots. We play by their rules. Amen! And then we have Boss Man. He has rules too. He came up with the “F” scores. His three F’s of a dairy farm……Feed, Fuel, Fertilizer. They will eat your lunch if you don’t watch out!040.jpg     This is what the calves think about the scoring system. They think it’s a bunch of “bull”. By the way….we were NEVER allowed to stick our tongues out when we were young kiddos. That was totally “taboo” with Mom. She did not tolerate such behavior. I must have some really rebellious calves. 018.jpg     First on the list is feed. This is above the milk barn. There’s 8 holes that need to be filled. It’s all done by man power, with a shovel. It’s also called a cardio work out. Try doing this on a hot, summer day when it’s 100 degrees outside. It ain’t easy, man! Now that the boys are old enough….it’s their job. Feed…you have to have it…the cows won’t give milk without it…it can be a double edged sword. Prices vary according to markets…it’s a gamble. It’s complicated. A job for Earl. 020.jpg     The times when I do have to push down feed….I sit at the top of the stairs and catch my breath when I get done. Am I getting old, or just out of shape? In the winter time, these steps can be your worst enemy. Slick as snot! Hang on and don’t let go.024.jpg     Then we have the fertilizer. It’s that time of year when the wheat pasture needs a little “boost” to help it get going again. Wheat is our biggest crop of the year. Wheat grass makes milk. The cows love it. Commercial fertilizer is also a necessity for farming. This will also give you lots of headaches. You want to apply at the perfect time to get the most “bang for your buck”. Decisions, decisions. Another job for Earl.034.jpg     I told you the cows loved wheat grass. We only let them pasture for about an hour or so. Then it’s time to jump on the four wheeler and round them up. They lay around and sleep, fart, and belch until milking time. If you think I’m crazy….walk out to the pasture and take a stroll. They’re animals! I must have animals living in the house too. Haha066.jpg      Fuel is another big one. Always make sure the tank is full when the field work is in high gear. There’s no time to run out. Who orders the fuel? Who checks the tank? Who makes sure everything is ready to go? Also a good job for Earl. Feed…fuel…fertilizer…it’s a wicked world. Can’t live with it and can’t live without it. It’s a killer. The cows have no idea just how complicated things can get on a dairy….and it’s all because of them.045.jpg     Sometimes I question our sanity. What the heck are we thinking?! What are we doing?! Why?! Michael’s answer is…..It’s a way of life, Mom. Yes, it is. Come to think of it…..we do look a bit dazed here. Some days we’re on auto-pilot. We just do what comes natural. Eat, sleep, milk. Repeat and repeat. Again and again. What day is it anyway………………Carol