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Sweetness is good

From the Farm

August 12, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman (

Sometimes my husband can be so sweet.

Thursday morning he realized I was going to have a day and a half of craziness, and he offered to help me out.

Contrary to popular belief, I can't just appear at the Brown County Fair's Dairy Livestock show and walk my Jersey cows around the show ring.

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Kerry Hoffman

A little bit of thought and preparations go into the entire adventure, and that is on top of the pseudo-shows we stage for practice.

Because a dairy animal is judged 40 percent on her udder, it has to look its best. In order to look better than any other udder, it has to be full of milk. That also means I have to adjust to a milking schedule which may not be conducive to my bubbly personality.

According to our calculations, we have come up with a time that seems suitable.

"Because of her stage in lactation, and the estimated time that you will be showing her," Steve advised, "you should milk her Friday morning at midnight."


I couldn't decide if he was pulling my leg or being totally serious.

After rattling off a myriad of reasons, which were going in my left ear exiting directly out my right ear because I was still trying to accept the midnight idea, I agreed that it midnight would best serve my cows ability to have a full udder.



I should me just entering my deep sleep at that time. I may have to pitch a tent in the parking lot. Hmmm I do have to consider that option.

I guess I could spend the night at my mother's house. That sounds more comfortable.

Joey and Russell have lucked out and their milking show cows will have to be milked at 10 p.m. Thursday evening for Friday's show.

I know I could handle that time a bit easier than midnight.

Well, I guess one positive of having to use the fairground's milking parlor during the middle of the night is that there shouldn't be too long of a line.

If you see me Friday morning and I have coal-black circles under my eyes, you will know why.

Getting back to the reason why my hubby is so sweet. During milking Thursday morning he offered to take my "Watch-the-cows shift" at the fair grounds. He also offered to take Russell to his driving test.

"I know you want to also take a nap since you said you were awake until at least 1 a.m.," Steve said. "I will cover your shift at the fair grounds."

I just about fell over right there in the middle of the milking parlor.

Usually the boss lets me and our boys take care of all the fair stuff.

I wonder what he wants.

I don't think many people realize just how much work the kids put into their fair animals. They spend a ton of time walking the cow and trying to get her to stop and stand in the perfect position. And that position varies according to the age of the cow.

Clipping the cow's hair is a gnarly job as well, especially if it's done during the hot, humid weather of a Minnesota summer. That hair sticks everywhere and it get itchier than my skin after I've been in a patch of poison ivy.

If you have a few minutes during your day today, swing by the dairy show. Walk through the barns, but stay out of the way, and observe how much work goes into preparing a cow for the show.

You will certainly be impressed.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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