About a week and a half ago I was kicked extremely hard in the thigh by one of the cows. I wasn’t milking or doing anything to her; I walked by and bam! Wrong place, wrong time. It hurt like hell, I literally couldn’t stand on it for a few minutes. It didn’t bruise, at first, but has been swollen and tender. A few days after, the bruising showed up… in my knee! Well below where she kicked me. This knee, that I’ve had surgery on in the past (you can see the scar in the pic), is swollen, cracks, pops and is generally annoying at this point. I’ve whined A LOT about it (sorry Dave). It wakes me up some nights and I’m even more conscious of every step I take, especially when it’s wet outside. I know it will get better with time. It’s not the first, nor will it be the last time something like this happens. It comes with the territory of working with livestock.
Keeping that in mind, let me give you a couple of examples of messages I get on a weekly basis:
“Hi! I have 3 small children and they absolutely love animals. Can we come see your cows and tour your farm?”
“Hello! I want to start a homestead and get my own family milk cow. Can I come follow you around and learn about animals and see your farm?”
My answer is typically, automatically, no. While I do enjoy teaching people about animals and agriculture, and think it’s important, people and animals together are a liability and our insurance frowns upon it. And if the story above doesn’t already convey it, animals are unpredictable. Even ones that you handle every day, multiple times a day. They are still 1000+ lb beasts with a mind of their own. They are not pets. Had this been a small child that had been where my leg was, they would have been severely injured or worse, and that is not something for which I am willing to be responsible.
Beyond that, there really isn’t much to “tour” here at our place and it’s exactly that: our place, our home. We don’t have a market or a storefront or a petting zoo. We have a fenced property with an electric gate. We have to grant access to those wanting to come in and try to be selective in doing so.
So with all that said, I don’t write this to shame or make anyone feel bad. I write this because I want everyone to understand why we aren’t open to the public and why I’m likely not going to give you a tour of the farm. We aren’t trying to hide anything (in fact, I try to be overly transparent in our practices) and we aren’t being mean or unfriendly. Not to mention there are just not enough hours in the day to try to coordinate with visitors or entertain those who decide to show up unannounced. My dream goal for this business, far in the future, is to have a bigger property, just for the farm, that will also be an educational destination where people can come to learn about agriculture and the dairy industry, see it in person and interact with the animals. Kind of like a Fair Oaks without the drama. LOL.
Know that we appreciate everyone’s interest in our products and farm, and we wouldn’t be doing this if not for the demand from all our awesome customers!
Here’s a few pictures from Arista of injuries she’s endured from working with livestock. Luckily, not all of them were here. I’m really going to have to wrap her in bubble wrap…