Thanks for visiting, living, and working with us Lewis. And thanks for sharing your experience with the world.
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.