The following was written by one of our interns or apprentice who spent a week with us this summer on the farm. With 4 out of 5 Americans living in the city or suburbia a chance to experience farm life is rewarding! When the Bed & Breakfast opens this summer, you too can stay with the cows, although we won't make you work as much, unless you want to try out the Be A Dairy Farmer Challenge!
Thanks for visiting, living, and working with us Lewis. And thanks for sharing your experience with the world.
What do you want to call it? Duty? Responsibility? Fun? Personally, I couldn’t tell the difference. My experience at New Day Dairy might’ve been a mix of all three, and I can’t tell you how I felt about the work I did. I honestly don’t know… But I can tell you that it’ll keep you very occupied, grateful, and surprisingly happy.
I’ll start from the beginning. I’m a city kid from Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve never lived anywhere else, unless you count vacations. I don’t know farm life. My one experience came with my great uncle on his ranch, where I rode a horse and almost got kicked by a couple. That’s it. So when my dad, after reading Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult, concluded that I needed to work on a farm before high school. When I heard the plan, I thought: DARN.
Mr. Sasse is a cool guy. I read a lot about him, and I’ve met him person several times through the homeschool community. And all of a sudden, it seemed to me that he’d wrecked my life. Finding out I’d have to wake up early and work all day sounded dumb. I’d expected and dreaded for months the 5:00 mornings and cow manure I wasn’t too excited. Then the day came.
Sure, there was cow manure. And yes, I had to wake up early to do things that didn’t seem half as good as sleeping for a couple more hours. But it wasn’t torture. It was learning, working, and responsibility I’d never known before.
My first discovery didn’t have anything to do with cows. MR. BOLIN’S CATS WEREN’T FAT, LAZY, OR CRANKY. THEY ACTUALLY DID STUFF. City cats are spoiled with serious attitudes. I’ve never liked cats. I still don’t. But I did enjoy those cats. They abide by a mostly milk diet and do productive things like killing birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, as well as being very entertaining with their cow interactions.
Second, I found out that life on a farm had ups as well as downs. My nose couldn’t stand up to the smell in some places. I was sore from hard work. I didn’t shut feed windows correctly, resulting in three young calves escaping. All three were eventually rounded up, but I was still disappointed that I hadn’t done it right. If you think those are bad, wait until you hear about the downs! TOTALLY KIDDING. The ups were great. I got to hack through foliage with a machete. WIN. I got to herd stubborn cows that wouldn’t milk. FUN. I got to witness a dramatic storm and clean the resulting mess. STILL FUN.
With the surprising dutiful fun, I was able to take on responsibilities that I don’t take in mind to often. Going to bed at a reasonable time, for instance. And I fell asleep in five minutes. At home, it can take me hours. I got to man loose calves when a fence gave way and Mr. Bolin was away breeding maturing cows. I got to step over electric fences. All of these things gave me a sense of responsibility that was part fun, part labor, and part necessity.
Bulls and calves were born. Augers were run. Tractors were driven. Each night, The Bolin family was mindful that I was not a seemingly never-tiring workhorse like Mr. Bolin. I was able to experience the farm without misery.
If you want to be an apprentice at New Day Dairy, let them know. All you’ll need is a pair of boots and a willing attitude. They’ll handle the rest. And they’ll do a good job.
Wanna know more about what you'll do or already scheduled your spot & want to get prepared? Then read on!
Milk A Cow
Give Rita the robot a break while you try your hand at milking a cow by hand... we know it's on your bucket list! And it's not as easy as it looks!
Get Up Close & Personal
Typically in our barn visitors get pretty close to our cows in the alleyways but in order to scrape manure off the crossovers you'll get to head in among the cows, don't worry #DairymanDan will go with you & our cows are very calm!
Did you know that cows have a "personal bubble"? #DairymanDan will teach you all about how to use that personal bubble to move a cow where you want her to go without even touching her! If any cows need to be encouraged to go get milked you'll help get her in the "fetch" pen.
They're big & powerful and you'll get to ride in one, and maybe even take the wheel! Did you know the term tractor was coined just north of us in Charles City?
Everyday #DairymanDan uses the mixer wagon to mix up the cow's "salad" & then deliver it. Climb up and peek inside to see the huge augers that mix it all up!
Care for the Calves
They're cute, little (relatively speaking), and need extra special care. Hopefully we'll have a new baby calf, just a couple days old & you'll get to bottle feed a calf. If not you can still help deliver milk to the calves buckets & help them learn to eat their pellets by hand feeding them.
Peek under the Hood
Always the most popular stop, people love seeing Rita at work, milking the cows. But you'll get to look under Rita's hood in the back of the robot room and see not only her arm at work but all her inner workings too!
You'll even have a chance to "play" with Rita's controller... kinda like your favorite video game!
At the end of your barn time you'll get an exclusive t-shirt to proudly wear & showcase that you "walked in #DairymanDan's boots". Be sure to head over to the "Contact" page to let us know you're coming to be a dairy farmer! See you in the barn!
Growing up a city-girl, after marrying my dairy farmer husband and spending a few years abroad, we came home to expand the family dairy farm and want to share our journey & farm life with you!