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Spring on the Farm

Warmer nights and softening soils thawing from the harsh winter are welcome signs of spring.  As the peepers start their nightly song and we watch for bright, blooming bulbs, we are gearing up for “go-time” on the dairy farm. 

Winter on the farm is a time to prep and by early spring we are in full planning mode.  As farmers, we’re watching the weather for pockets of time to complete outdoor projects.  Machinery and equipment long tucked away make their way out of the barn to get another “check over” before we start another active work season. 

brown calf

Animals can tell the seasons are changing too.  The calves born during the winter, wearing a thick, fuzzy coat begin to shed and the barns begin to fill with young 4H-ers eager to train this year’s calves.  Oh, and spring wouldn’t be complete without a few loose calves looking to skip the learning from a challenging training session.  Fun and exercise for all involved!  The excitement for spring is felt and heard throughout the farm. 

Soon the fields will be prepped for planting and it’s during these times especially that the teamwork of the farm shines through.  Throughout the cropping season, it’s all-hands-on-deck to get the best seed in the ground and the best crops from the ground at just the right time to keep our cows fed and healthy.  Mother Nature plays a big part and some days she sure does like to challenge us!  But with the help of our dedicated employees, family members, and even additional seasonal help, our goal each year to provide the highest quality feed for our bovine beauties comes together. 

For many years now we’ve instituted a ‘no-till’ method of planting, where instead of plowing the fields each spring, we leave the ground and its natural ecosystem intact.  The pathways formed by the living organisms that help to keep our soil balanced and healthy, also provide a way for our nutrients to enter the ground and feed our crops.  Not only has this method proven to be less demanding, it has also provided a natural and sustainable solution to further lessen our environmental impact.  Soil health is at the heart of all we do. 

As farmers, our land is as much our legacy as the animals that rely on it.  For 11 generations, our family has watched over this very special valley and today, our children are learning each day what it means to be stewards by working alongside us. 

The good and the tough days, the silliness and all the farm-kid-fun, we experience it all.  There’s a reason why our grandfather likes to refer to our girls with the sweet endearment of being “pasture-raised”.  We wouldn’t want it any other way! 

All through the year, but especially in spring in New England, the world comes alive again, and we are reminded of the gift this farm life is.  The care we show our animals and land are values we’re instilling in the next generation.  We want to ensure that our farm will continue to feed our family and our community for generations to come. 

Enjoy the spring days! 

Angela Young 
Valleyside Farm
Woodstock, CT 

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