Jerseys are brown with long, dark eyelashes and their milk has the highest fat content of any other breed.
The cream that rose to the top was inches thick. My mom churned butter and once in a while we made ice cream.
Apparently, there was no shortage of dumb questions asked by the Johnson clan (my family) in 4H meetings, which were populated by “real” farm families.
But we became knowledgeable enough to fill our freezer with meat and poultry, including the occasional long tongue (I know, yuck! Right?!).
The animals grazed freely in the pasture and sometimes escaped—cows on the loose!
We could be seen herding animals on the road back through the open fence and, days later, they’d find another weak spot from which to escape. It was comical to see them out and about with all of us waving our hands not knowing what the hell we were doing. None of our cattle ever went missing so we must have been doing something right.
We took our animals to Milk Day—did I not mention that Harvard, Illinois was the “Milk Capital of the World?” And the county fair.
A blackboard was hung up in the barn, listing our chores (it’s still there, in fact, the chalk faded and practically illegible). We owned giant milk bottles to feed baby livestock; pitchforks and green rubber boots. Friends today can’t imagine me shoveling sh*t, but I did. It was smelly, messy work. Sometimes there were maggots. Ew!
Two horses were added by the time I entered first grade—another adventure.
Unaware of what to look for in a horse, we ended up with Charlie who had a back that dipped (noticed only after the blanket was removed) and no teeth (discovered upon getting him home and seeing that he couldn’t eat). The other, Callie, was a healthy Appaloossa but she became barn sour (a term used to describe a horse that isn’t ridden often enough and rebels when you try to take it out for a ride by running back to the barn as fast as it can because it really just wants to hang out and eat, not exercise).
Charlie, poor old Charlie, slipped on the ice one winter and couldn’t get up. We covered him with an electric blanket while we waited for the vet to arrive. There was no hope for the old horse and he either died waiting for the vet or the vet put him down upon arrival (PDUA). It was heartbreaking! A truck came to pick him up the next day and my friends refused to believe my horse died. Eventually, Callie was sold.
We owned a couple chestnut horses before or after that experience. Nobody rode them enough either so our horse experience was over.
We had an apple orchard with seven apple trees.
Or was it six apple trees plus one cherry tree?