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Vacation equals cleaning and cereal

From the Farm

December 14, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Steve and I are going on vacation this week.

That means there is a ton of extra work to do to prepare the farm for our one-week absence.

Our preparations have changed a bit. Years ago, when we milked cows in the stanchion barn, we had to make sure there was enough hay in the barn and mixed feed in the feed room to last the length of our vacation. That particular feed room no longer exists, but I can remember filling that little space to the ceiling with ground corn. I can also remember having tons of bales stacked in the milking barn.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Now that it's 20 years later, things are a bit different.

We only have a few minor things to worry about. Although by the state of our pre-vacation attitudes, you would think the world was going to end if we didn't finish our to-do-lists.

Steve and I both remind each other, "If you don't get it done, it will still be fine."

That's because our farm is so much more efficient, the tasks we have to do, don't really circle around the cows and feed.

It's the two teenagers we are leaving behind that we have to prepare.

Sunday evening, during the first travel warning issued in two years, Russell and I were shopping in town.

"This is the perfect day to be shopping," I told Russell. "There's hardly another soul in town!"

We absolutley had to go grocery shopping. I mean, I had soup in the cupboard, bread in the drawer and hundreds of pounds of frozen hamburger in the freezer, but that is not what an average teenage boy likes to have on his menu.

I told Russell he could pick whatever he wanted for "sustenance." Sadly, Joey chose to stay home and call us every five minutes to jokingly tell us we shouldn't be out on the roads on that particular night.

At the store, Russell ran to the cereal section. Of course, he grabbed five of the family-size bags. Steve and I discussed this a laughed that, more than likely, both Joey and Russell will be living on Tutty Fruitties in our absence.

Cereal, it's what's for dinner! It's also great for breakfast and lunch too. And forget about cereal bowls; they eat out of mixing bowls hence the five bags.

We also stocked the fridge with Mountain Dew and Diet Coke. OK, the Diet Coke is for me. Of course we have a huge bulk tank of milk a few hundred feet from the house, but sometimes pop is better. Besides, they will need all the milk to pour over their cereal.

Of course, I also purchased a bunch of healthy bananas. I figure by the time I get back from Hawaii, they will be perfect for making a batch of banana bread or cake.

It's not like Joey and Russell will eat them. Tuttie Fruitties don't jibe with bananas.

Part of my vacation preparation involves getting the house cleaned. I don't know why, but I like to have it vacuumed, dusted and all the dishes put away. Do you think I will return to a house as clean as I left it?

Monday morning, before leaving the milking parlor, I also noticed the milking units were a bit on the dirty side. I took the time to wash all 12 units down with a scrubber sponge and soapy water. They looked magnificently shiny!

I couldn't help but wonder if my anxiety about leaving for vacation with a messy house was somehow passing on to the milking parlor. I even washed the hot water heater and the water softener in the milk house.

I am a bit concerned, but I will look into my cleaning issues when I return.

I wonder if the great employees will wash them for me. So that when I return and walk into the milking parlor for the first time after vacation, the units will be sparkling. (Hint, hint.)

Well, I did get most of my cleaning done. And what I didn't finish, well, it's just going to be fine until I get home.

For questions, or comments, email me at



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