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Dairy Farm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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When I was nine my family moved from a small hick town in New Mexico to a small hick town in Indiana because we wanted to own a dairy. I started fourth grade three weeks later. The children all knew me as the new kid with the dairy farm. I had never heard so many cow jokes.

That school year, I made a close-knit group of five friends. When summer came, we decided to get jobs on my father’s farm. I had worked there before but not for more than a few hours at a time. During the course of the summer we went from picking weeds to milking cows. I thought the transition was going to be great because of the increase in pay, but I was wrong. Milking taught me quite a few things. First off, in order to be a milker I had to pull long shifts. Those long days taught me how to work hard and fast.

By working shift labor I soon realized that the best job is the kind where you set your own hours. Watching that clock count down all day drove me crazy. I decided that no matter what career I chose, I was going to pick something where I could set my own hours. However, when I put my mind to it I can work faster and harder to get the tasks I dislike out of the way. If I procrastinate and save chores for later, I tend to forget them. Despite this great epiphany, the farm wasn’t done teaching me yet.

While milking, I also learned that s--t happens … literally. During the course of a shift, it is guaranteed that a cow will have at least one bowel movement right above a milker’s head. As a new and inexperienced milker, I didn’t know to watch for the warning signs. I dealt with a lot of feces that summer. But I had to keep working because the carousel kept spinning. If I stopped milking, the entire process would come to a halt and money would be lost.

Eventually I learned how to foresee what was coming and avoid most cow-pies, but I was still occasionally caught off-guard. I learned that you can have all the experience in the world but s--t still happens and the world, much like the carousel, keeps on spinning. In the end, there’s nothing to do but shake it off and keep working.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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