An account from a visitor to the farm last week:
"There's a favorite movie
that our family watches each year called Love Actually. The introduction to it features observations of people welcoming their friends and family at the terminal at the airport. We've all had those moments people-watching where you get glimpses that are really telling. So, I'll tell you what I saw when I came to Fairmont last week.
First of all, the visit was just supposed to be a cute little tour for the kids. I had an angst-ridden teen who had cabin fever after the bitter cold snap. (Fyi, I don't wish that angst on anyone). I had met Lindsay the week prior and she gave me her phone number with mumblings about being in charge of the calf nursery. My mental image of a calf nursery paled in comparison to the absolute glory that we beheld when actually visiting that wondrous place. Honestly, when we pulled up on the gravel road, I had no idea of what was ahead of us. Let me tell you that I am not shocked by much, I don't glorify anything, or compliment often. There aren't judgements formed and this isn't an evaluation by any measure. Just my way of saying thank you in a very wordy way.
(Now, I have to admit, I freak out in all the good ways at the idea of visiting a good local dairy farm, dairies and being around animals. I like the aroma of farms as it reminds me of my own little hobby farm growing up. As a further disclaimer, I might be the one at social gatherings who eventually ends up lounging with the pets on the couch chatting with a few people who also migrate toward the backyard animals and furry friends.)
We drove up and immediately spotted Lindsay. She was all smiles and happy to greet us. My kids barreled out of the car and onto the snow hills (piles, drifts? I don't know what they are called). We chatted about the weather and then followed the hoses from the milking barn to the milk truck. We went through the doors and saw some men chatting by the cow milking machines who waved to us. The Holstein cows stood there getting milked and looked at us quietly. We went back outside and the boys followed the hum of the milk truck, observed the digital counter (measuring the gallons of milk going into the truck), and I shook hands with the "happy fella" as my son called him. Turns out, he was one of the co-owners.
Next, we walked up to the long barn where Lindsay opened up the garage door. If I could bottle the image up, I would relive that moment a hundred times. Seeing the "cow babies" (as my six year old called them) get the zoomies was life-giving. It was one of those moments where I felt I was happy for the kids but, (it doesn't happen simultaneously), I was happy for "me" too, outside of being "mom."
My kids all sat down with the warmly jacketed calves while they asked all sorts of questions about the new calves and I did the best I could to answer them while Lindsay answered the inquiry with my teen who wanted to know more about how they primarily have female calves. Lindsay explained the science behind being a local dairy and the need for a hearty dairy cow. She informed us that many of the calves are for the local 4H Club and they are separated by age in the calf nursery.
Honestly, I think we would have slept in the calf barn if not lured by the opportunity to go see the "mama cows" where there was a possibility to see newly-born calves. As we walked down the center walkway with grains/feed on both sides of us, a tractor followed creating a fresh line of feed and a clean path. Lindsay told us the names of some of the heifers, described the breeds, and described the defining facial characteristics of each breed.
My little boys ran down the barn pathway to find another "snow hill" and chat with the "tractor guy," named Tucker. In that 5 minutes of chatting at the gas tanks, my kids learned Tucker had daughters the same age and was chatting with my boys about school, coaching and sports. He smiled and shook my hand and we had a laugh.
We got to see a new bull calf who had waxy hooves and a soft wet nose in fresh wood shavings. Lindsay talked about her daughter likes to lay with the bulls and names each one. That conversation brought us to Russell, the Wagyu steer, who is like an overgrown puppy who hangs out with the sheep ewes and lambs in the lamb barn. Under the heat lamps were the tiniest little lambs with the longest legs. We were told that those lambs and sheep are quite a passion of the "happy fella" we met prior at the milking truck.
I left thinking about that movie scene in the movie, Love Actually, where I was on the outside looking in at this beautiful place with happy people doing what they do each day and enjoying their lives where they spend some of their days. I felt lucky to observe Fairmont family of employees as they worked and checked on the babies, moved the grains, filled the feed trucks, and filled the milk truck that day. Thank you so much for welcoming us to Fairmont. We got to witness a lot of heart that day that the employees shared with us, each other, and the cows."