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Excursion to Zettlers' Organic Dairy Farm

Published on Sunday, 15 April 2012 Written by A. Gudino, Gr. 10

zettlers farm

 “This great experience at the Zettler farm gave me a whole new perspective on life, and on what it means to work hard.”

A strong musty smell reached our noses as we stepped over piles of hay and pushed open the doors of the barn. In two rows stood eighty cows, idly chewing food and swatting with their tails at the thousands of flies swarming them. 

Leonard’s brothers moved from cow to cow, attaching milkers and cleaning their udders. We were at the Zettlers’ dairy farm, living the real country experience.

Before leaving for the farm, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. To be honest, I wasn’t very excited, and I thought it would be dull and uninteresting. I had never been to a dairy farm before, and I imagined that after attaching cows to some machines, there would be nothing to do. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

Each morning, Daniel and I were woken up at 6:30, and had a delicious breakfast made by Mrs. Zettler, Leonard’s mother. We then hurried into the barn where Leonard and three of his brothers had already been working for almost an hour. Before being milked, each cow needed to be thoroughly washed and its udder disinfected. Milking about six cows at once, this usually took around two hours. Then all of the food which the cows hadn’t eaten was scraped down the aisle and carried away in wheelbarrows, and fresh hay was laid out, as well as forage, which was dropped by a huge dispenser driven by one of Leonard’s brothers. This entire process was repeated at around 7 pm.

zettlers cowsIn between these two trips to the barn, we were kept very busy. One day, we loaded a huge truck with fire wood, and another time, we spent the afternoon digging up potatoes. There was lots of work to do in the barn as well, tossing down fifty-pound hay bales, cleaning out calf pens and feeding the pigs. Basically, we worked from sunrise to sunset, only stopping for meals. Mr. Zettler and Leonard’s older brothers were harvesting corn, and they usually didn’t come home until midnight.

Although very tiring, doing these chores wasn’t as bad as it sounds. There was something satisfying about turning your shovel to find lots of potatoes that you could then eat for dinner. Also, it kept us busy; I never heard a single person complain about being bored.

It really put life in the city into perspective. In comparison, we seemed to lead lazy lives, complaining about having too much work to do when in reality there are hours of spare time. Also, the work on a farm is somehow more enjoyable than in the city. Work is still work, but somehow, since it is only doing what is necessary to feed yourself and family, it isn’t so bad. In the end, I’m still a city boy, and I will always love the excitement of the city, but this great experience at the Zettler farm gave me a whole new perspective on life, and on what it means to work hard.


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