“And into the [field] I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”John Muir
I’ve always loved this quote, it’s spoken as “into the woods I go”, even though I enjoy the woods, the field is more fitting for me. To “lose your mind and find your soul”, is to go to a place where there is no worry or concern … to escape from the daily thoughts and tasks of normal life and settle into a place of familiarity and solitude. A place to dream and soak in the moment of being aware of your surroundings … the birds, bees buzzing, the noise of kittens jumping from hay bales on each other, wind rustling through the wisps of wheat tops as they blow in the field, a milk pump droning in the background, laughter coming from family members cutting up in the barn, cows slurping water from a nearby trough, cows munching on grass in the pasture, the scuff of hooves on a barn floor as they find their favorite stall … I could go on and on.
I grew up on a dairy farm nestled in Frederick County, Md. The oldest of four children, I was very involved in the happenings of the family farm as much as possible. Milking, tending calves, feeding — you know, the normal farm-kid chore list. Showing cattle (and an event we call “dairy judging”) happily took over my young life and I was able to meet a ton of new friends and industry people. Toss in a few years of pigs and beef cattle projects and things were great!
Fast forward to high school and like many dairy farms in the area, the farm was unfortunately retired. College days ensued and I graduated with a degree in Dairy Science and minor in Communications from Delaware Valley College (now University). This opened an entire new chapter in my life as I was able to follow my interests in agriculture journalism. Landing internships and hands-on work experience through breed association journals and Farmshine Newspaper, I found a way to stay involved in agriculture. This type of work inspired me to tell farmers’ stories.
Various jobs were had that helped me diversify my agriculture knowledge. I have worked not only in journalism, but as a veterinary office staff member, hydroponic tomato greenhouse employee, and egg and beef grader/inspector for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Our lives shifted and we relocated to Wisconsin for a few years where I was able to work at Hoard’s Dairyman, the nation’s leading dairy publication as their editorial coordinator. I was involved in shaping the layout of each publication while working between editorial, marketing, publishing and art departments. I loved being able to work between the different departments as it gave me a taste of each persons’ role. The art department fed my interest in photography and I soon began to gain education on photo technique.
After introducing our son into the world, we later moved back to Maryland to be close to family and friends. We felt it was important for him to grow up in an environment surrounded by his grandparents, cousins and farm life. He jumped right into farm life at full speed (my in-laws place) and really loves his Jersey cows, especially sweet Honeybuns who’s his best buddy.
So, here we are, living a rural life and working amongst the faming families surrounding us. I’m excited to see what the future holds for our family.
What are some of your soul cleansing sounds and moments on the farm?