Completely oblivious to my utter lack of herding skills, Farmer Jay yelled down to me, “Make sure none of the cows get through that open gate,” as four or five large Holsteins galloped in my direction.
As I placed my 200-pound physique in their path, I simultaneously calculated that the total bovine mass heading toward me was around 8,000 pounds. I never imagined a cow as being a particularly intimidating animal, at least until the moment arrived when I had one rapidly coming at me.
Luckily for me, a few claps of the hands and a commanding shout made up for the four ton difference and the animals came to a skittering halt.
This moment passed as did many others where I felt a sharp sense of city slicker panic over nothing more than the barnyard mundane. These moments were almost always punctuated with an amused chuckle or smirk from one of my gracious hosts.
Last Wednesday I traveled to the rural country of Smyrna to visit the Ingerto family farm, run by Jay and Ginny Ingerto. The couple has operated the 425-acre dairy farm for the last 25 plus years with the help of their two adult children Alan, 27, and Colleen, 24. However in the last few years, Jay and Ginny have run the farm mostly by themselves as their daughter moved away for college and their son married and started his own family.
“What do I really like about it? It’s the same chores every day, but it’s never the same day and the work changes through out the year. It certainly keeps things interesting,” said Jay.
“The biggest concern we have is having to milk twice a day, every day,” explained Jay, who hasn’t been able to take a “real vacation” with his wife in the past 25 years.