Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Family Farmers

As some may know we (the kids and I ) are visiting MN where lots of family and friends live. My dad needed a visit from his "baby" and she needed to see her dad since he had a heart attack and worries were flying.
He's doing alright for now, although concerns are still warranted. But since the long drive was made with 4 children in tow we decided we needed to do lots of visiting. We've not been in these parts in over 6 years!
Today we drove to Exeland, WI, a TINY little town in the heart of WI where my cousin runs a dairy farm. I have to tell you, this is by far one of my most favorite places in the whole world to be! I know years ago I blogged about growing up visiting my uncles farm in Exeland. Well, he's not farming any longer but his daughter married a farmer and I've visited as often as I could over the last 20+ years. I even lived in Exeland for a year in 92/93. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this place.
So today's post isn't about St. Brigid Farm, it's about the Zesiger Farm in Exeland WI. Here are tons of pictures from that visit.

Above are just some cows lazying around. Below, Joseph and Nicholas have found some new friends. Barn kittens. And they LOVE to be held and played with! All day long I kept hearing, "Can we take one home with us?" This would come with "ideas" on how to make it work in the 1700 mile car trip home. :)

As I said, they love to be held. They would just plop there on your shoulder and stay.

The kids found some of the kittens in the hay bales.
Kelsey jumped right on into chore time. Every day at 4pm starts "chores". She scraped the center isle where they walk up and down to milk the cows. Then she swept their mangers, pushing the feed back into place for them to reach it.
In the above picture of Kelsey you see she is scraping manure into the gutter. Below you see Nicholas absolutely fascinated by this system. The gutter is turned on and these little arms move along the gutter to scrape it. They reach this part of the system where they run over a deep hole where the manure drops and a device scrapes the arm off and it moves on. He stood there the entire time it ran to watch it move. He even informed me that at times it "wasn't working properly."

Here is again, 15 minutes later watching the gears move and the arms get cleaned off.
Joseph and I went to the calf pen while everyone was getting ready for milking. This little calf, Starbust, wanted to lick and lick. I was standing there and this big huge tongue came out and was trying to reach my shirt, hands, camera. LOL It was so funny. I tried to get a picture of the LONG tongue but it was difficult.

This calf is yet unnamed, but she was curious too. Wanted to smell Joseph. I love this picture.

Charissa was the only one to climb up into the hay loft. She thought it was pretty cool.

Charissa is washing an utter and then she learned to put the milker on as well. She really jumped in there and was helping out. She really enjoyed herself. Notice the cat in her lap. That cat would jump up into anyones lap that was sitting like this working on a cow. I first saw it in my cousins sons lap. It was so funny.

Kelsey's helping was Ellyn. They name ALL their cows. They don't just get a number. This was Kelsey's favorite because of the color. Beautiful. I think the breed is called a "milking short horn" .

In this picture Joseph is helping wash a cow and he has on his hiney the cutest little stool that attaches around the waist while milking, for this exact purpose. He begged and begged to try one out and so I tightened up the belt to see if it would fit. It sure did. He walked around like the big guys and it made his work easier. LOL Seth, my cousins 22 year old son, got a big kick out of it.

Here is Joseph and his little seat.

After chores were all done the kids were rewarded with a ride on the ATV. They had a blast. Here is a very cool picture of the first ride. Kelsey and Charissa are on the back, Dave (my cousins husband) is driving and Christina (my cousins youngest daughter) is on the front.

It took awhile but Joseph decided he wanted a ride so he sat behind Dave and hung on for dear life. He had a blast!

I wanted a picture of the whole farming family before leaving. Joseph decided he needed to be a part of the family. Since we just finished barn chores they are all in their barn clothes and dirty. Thanks Zesiger family for a great day! I miss you all very much!


grammafaithie said...

LOVE the pictures.. wish I had been there too..

mtnlionsings said...

Thanks for sharing this. The kids will never forget this day.

Jeanie said...

Wonderful! Hugs to all of you. I just remember the climate back there and go....argh! Such a great farm family--both of them!

bob said...

That's a little NW of my family's Wisconsin area; around Edgar, WI and tiny places nearby. Very impressive that the children all pitched in. I bet the family there were impressed. Will you branch out to bovine adventures?
-- Bob Koch

Marfa said...

Wish I could come and help out...I love milk. That photo of them whizzing by on the 4-wheeler is GREAT!