Shooting, milking, and eating — days at my friend’s farm

shooting, guns, milking -- fun activitiesI have a small farm. I have a big garden, enough chickens to keep my family in eggs, bees, and Christmas trees. My wife uses the honey in her baking and at Christmas time we sell the baked goods and coffee to people looking for trees. We also sell some of the eggs and a small amount of honey. Our farm generates all of its income in December so we have to be very careful with our budgeting. My wife is also an accountant so we have that income coming in as well. She also plans our budget for the year. Without her expertise I don’t know how we would manage. August is a pretty slow time for me so I decided to take a few days off and visit a gun-loving buddy of mine who has a much bigger spread than me.

He runs a dairy farm in Abbotsford and he asked me if I wanted to come and help him run it for a few days while his help is on holidays. He runs an operation with five hundred dairy cows. The first day we were up at 5am to milk the cows. We hooked each cow up to the machine, waited until they were done, and then sent them out to the pasture to graze until the second milking time at 5pm. Each milking took about three hours from start to finish. After the second milking of the day we fed them all grain and then put them in the corral next to the barn. Coyotes can be a real danger to the calves so it is best to keep the herd close to home at night.

The first day was pretty hot so we took a drive to a local lake and went for a nice refreshing swim in between the days chores. The second day we took the ATV’s out to check the fence line to make sure that there were no holes that any of the cows could get out of. Then we headed out to the back of his property where he has some targets set up. He likes to keep his gun skills fresh just in case he needs to shoot any coyotes that might be bothering his stock.

We spent about three hours shooting at the targets and I got to fire a .22, a .308, and we even fired his kid’s Airsoft handgun. Afterwards, we cleaned the guns and even reloaded some of the bullets (he showed me how since I’m completely inept when it comes to firearms; they sort of scare me to tell you the truth). It was a nice way to relax before we started the second milking of the day.

The third day we dismantled an old shed with sledge hammers and then built a big fire to get rid of the damaged lumber. We roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over it for dinner that night. I forgot how nice it is to eat around a fire. And destroying things with a big hammer is always a lot of fun.

The fourth day I helped with the first milking and then I headed home to my trees. My farm seemed so small when I got home. It only takes me about twenty minutes to walk the outer perimeter. It took us over an hour to check my buddy’s fence line when we were driving the ATV’s. My wife and I have talked about expanding but it is just not in our budget right now.