Meet Sam. Sam was born five years ago, the day my grandfather Sam passed away at 96 years young.
My grandpa Sam was born in 1918 and walked to a one room schoolhouse. He provided for his family on the farm, having asked (told?) my grandmother (the new college-educated county extension agent from the city) to marry him on their first date.
He was a Brown Swiss lover, and much to the rest of my family’s irritation and my gratitude, he lit the fire for Brown Swiss in me at an early age & supported it as I grew up. We made an annual pilgrimage to the Eastern Breeders Sale every year together, and more than once went halves on a purchase to expand my cow herd. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his influence on my life.
At his memorial service, our family & friends told stories of my grandfather’s “riches,” despite his modest life as a farmer. So Sam the cow, sired by Richard, was registered as “Crosswinds Rich As Sam”. She actually descends from a maternal line that moved here from Catskill with me, and has my grandfather’s breeding, and it is an “S” named family. This irony of her birthday touches me daily, as I’m a believer in things happening for a reason.
As a rule, our cows don’t kick when we milk. They have no reason to. Sam is a miserable exception. She’s always been a bit, shall we say, flighty. But since she calved most recently, she has been absolutely awful in the parlor. Downright violent. Reaching into her wingspan is putting your life in danger. We have tricks and tools to prevent a cow from kicking, but they barely slow her down. Some days it is a two person operation (which is completely opposite of our philosophy here, with everything set up to flow with one body).
A normal soul would have sent her for a career change long ago. But every day, somehow I have managed to milk her. We are truly blessed to live the life we love, farming. We witness the rhythm of the seasons and the cycles of new life, growth, and harvest that accompany them, and are proud to share the products of our labors with you, our customers. The riches of farm life have been even more poignant in the last year. But there are certainly times that cause you to question your sanity.
I’m sure her attitude is intended to tell me something. I haven’t decided if the message is to persevere when the going gets rough, or to quit while you’re ahead.
One thing is for sure: Sam is lucky that the stubborn gene is as dominant in the brown cow farmer as it is in the big brown cows!
I'm half of the Crosswinds farmer duo bringing you farm fresh cheeses, beef, and pork from the heart of the Finger Lakes! Stay tuned for our daily adventures growing a family & a farm, and food for your table. We welcome your questions & comments, but please keep them respectful! For the latest updates, please follow Crosswinds Farm & Creamery on Facebook or Instagram!