What’s milk got to do with it? Farm tour and contest

A lot of folks are curious about where an author gets book ideas.

You don’t have to look far to figure out where inspiration came from for my third novel, Lead Me Home.

My cousins have a dairy farm about five miles from where we live. It’s been a place of intrigue and beauty, respite and fascination of mine for decades, and they were gracious enough to indulge my curiosity during the times I needed to do research for this book. 

This week, in celebration of the novel AND the fact that it is  National Dairy Month, I thought I’d share some of my inspiration AND A BOOK GIVEAWAY with you, dear readers.

***To enter the giveaway, leave a comment AND share this post on Twitter or Facebook, making sure to include the hashtag, #LeadMeHomeNovel. A winner will be chosen at random from those who post and share on Friday evening, June 17.****

While you’re at it, be sure to read the gracious review of LEAD ME HOME just published in FarmShine Magazine, the weekly dairy publication serving dairy farm families in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and beyond.

Then enjoy the rest of this post!

Hi y’all! That’s me at the Dairy  Barn at the Indiana State Fair last fall.

And here come the girls, moseying in as they do each morning and evening like clockwork for their twice-a-day milkings. They don’t have to be called in, they know the routine so well.

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Occasionally they stop and stare at the obvious city girl taking pictures.

City girls can be quite annoying.

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“Mooooove along now, city girl,” she says.

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Linger too long and they’ll try and kiss ya.

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Mmmmm.

Cow kisses.

Once they get to the barn, they mosey right up to the stanchions and wait to be milked, happy to have their burgeoning udders emptied and to have a bit of hay for a milking snack.

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They really are happy to be milked.

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Really.

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The milk goes into the cooling tank in the next room, where it is stored until the milk tanker truck comes and takes it to the plant for processing into cheese and ice cream and YUM.

Did someone say ICE CREAM???

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Once they’re done with the milking, each girl gets her teats cleaned (if you’re a real farmer you don’t giggle at this phrase). Then she eases herself out of the stanchions and finds her way back out of the barn to where a hearty grain dinner awaits.

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Bellies full, the girls then take the worn path back to the pasture.

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And find a patch of shade.

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Meanwhile back at the barn, there’s much work to be done.

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The pre-teen and teen girls need tending.

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Hey girls.

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And the babies need to be fed their share of milk.

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I mean seriously.

Can you STAND the cuteness???

Why don’t my eyelashes naturally look like that?

Isn’t this somethin’??!

The work never ends on the dairy farm.

I’ve not even shown you the plowing and planting and cutting and baling, the sick cows and droughts and floods. I’m not even showing you the way the barn looks at 0400 and 1630 every. single. day. 24/7/365. And all the minutes in between when the cleaning and prepping and hauling and dirty, stinky, nasty parts of the job that happen every. single. day. too.

No, the work never ends on the dairy farm.

But along the way there sure are a lot of blessings.

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A harvest of hope and blessings, indeed.

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*****

“Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.”

James 5:7 (MSG)

*****

What part of the dairy farm intrigues you the most?

What’s your favorite picture?

Can you see how there are so many parallels between a life of farming and a life of faith?

Thanks so much for joining me on this little farm tour.

Don’t forget to leave your comment here, and to post this on your Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LeadMeHomeNovel to enter for your chance to win a LEAD ME HOME prize package! 


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on spring. a poem.

i love it when the rain falls

hard on the clods of dirt left all over the yard

the day before

melting them into the ankle high grass

thick with the thrill of spring

and all the hacks of my shovel

and all the sore in my hamstrings

and all the cuts on my arms

feel worth it

because of the rain

smoothing it all into place

   

       

dogs on a frosty morning. a poem.

you felt the sun for the first
time since forever
and ran, the frozen air
freedom’s heist
on a cooped up soul
and on the slow jaunt back
home, frost clung to the bare
branches reaching desperate
and shimmering wild
toward the light

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