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Dogwood Ramblings

On occasion (i.e. frequently), I “wax” on and on about things of years past!  Most often these thoughts occur when I wake in the morning and have to talk myself up off the comfortable mattress.  So, if these thoughts bore you I suggest you move on to another column as my “waxing” isn’t eloquent.

Many years of experience with the dairy industry is something some of you might be able to understand.  Back when (1952 – 1963) we milked our cows by hand and marketed it from milk cans that we struggled to keep cool.  We also dipped from the top of the can on occasion to have cream to put on our cereal, to churn for butter, and then had the buttermilk for baking, the slop to feed our pigs.  The cream separator was a chore to clean.  After moving to MO we had a big cooling tank for the milk and the hauler came every other day.  Still, we could skim some cream off the top.  Then the big honchos for the milk companies decided we were “stealing” from them and forced us to pay for additional equipment to be installed on the tank to keep the milk agitated so the cream couldn’t rise.  Of course, the fact that we paid for the land, the cows, the electricity, the extensive cleaning of equipment and put in hour after hour to milk, feed and care for the cattle, paid for the milk hauling and marketing, putting up hay in the heat and humidity, the big honchos further decided to make it illegal to sell a gallon of milk to a neighbor.  However, we usually had a Jersey cow or a Guernsey cow and some of that milk went into our refrigerator for our use on occasion.  A nice loud “raspberry” to the big honchos!

Then there was the DNR and EPA telling us we had to keep manure out of creeks and telling us we could no longer let our cattle water at the creeks.  This became another expensive and work intensive thing to accomplish as we already had to have the ponds fenced off (as cows drink and evacuate at the same time).  Needless to say, many a dairy farmer was eventually forced to close down, including me.  They told me (then a hard working widow) that my herd was too big for the property and I had to get down to 35 cows or they would shut me down.  35 cows production couldn’t pay the bills.  Of course I didn’t relish going out on the hill before four in the morning to bring the cows to the barn, especially as it seems most lightning storms come in the early morning and again before four in the afternoon when again it was time to bring the cows to the barn.  Of course, when winter caused the holding pen to be so frozen I couldn’t scrape off the manure no person from “Big Honcho” world came to help, just my sons when they could.  Using the brush hog was certain to bring mechanical breakdowns.  So I sold out with tears in my eyes.  I don’t imagine there are too many dairy farmers remaining in our countryside.  When I sold out, my 80-cow herd of 95% Holsteins was producing milk with a 3.9 butterfat count.  Over the years some of the big honcho companies cheated us on our butterfat counts, the basis for what we were paid, so who was stealing?  May God bless those to have managed to remain in this industry of long hours and hard work seven days a week, and many a night as well.

This little gem was sent for me to share, a message for teenagers:  Tired of being harassed by your stupid parents?  Act Now!  Move out, get a job, pay your own bills while you still know everything.”  Also, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, It is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”  — Patrick Henry –(doesn’t seem to work that way anymore!)

Some of the Boeddeker family went to the Ava Cemetery for Memorial Day.  We paid our respects to those family members who fought (and some died) in our American Revolution, in the Civil War, WW I, WW II, and Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.  We also saluted all veterans here and around the world.

Pray for peace here and around the world.

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