I think this might be the post I’ve been trying to write for the last 14 months. In February 2013, my in-laws made the very, difficult decision to sell all of their registered Jersey cows in exchange for a much, less labor intensive lifestyle. While they are certainly worthy of an enjoyable and well-earned retirement it was the legacy of the farm that kept them going. Maple Lawn Jersey Farm saw its first Jersey cows in 1909 and by the year 2013, the sixth generation of Schweigert’s was breeding these beautiful animals.
Despite this historic milestone, the fact remained that the operation was physically demanding, affecting my in-laws health and there was a lack of support from much of the family. This is where I get stuck while writing this post. I have a great deal of guilt because I feel like I should have offered more help during milkings. There is a list of excuses such as we live ten miles apart, the kids need to be driven to school most mornings-the opposite direction from the farm, Crohn’s disease, my job and then there are the evening activities-baseball, 4H, Cub Scouts, etc… But, what if I had worked harder to get past these excuses? Would the cows have been sold? We will never know the answers to those questions however, we do get a second chance at continuing the legacy, even if its for a short time.
While all of the cows were sold, eliminating a huge amount of work, my father-in-law graciously kept several heifers (young cows who have not yet calved and who are under two years of age), for the grandkids to show and breed. It took a great deal of patience but Pickle’s oldest heifer named Tequila (after her sire or father) calved (or gave birth) a heifer calf last week, making Tequila a cow. The little calf is doing great and we named her Maple Lawn Premier Precious. And, the circle of life continues a legacy at Maple Lawn Jersey Farm.