Cream of the
Crop contains 20 true stories set on my family's farm 40 years ago
when small family farms still dotted the countryside.
In 2004, the owners of the last dairy farm in our neighborhood sold
I miss seeing the neighbor's Jerseys turned out to pasture. They
used to approach the fence when I went for a walk along the dirt
road north of my house, curious, as only cows can be curious, smelling
like only cows can smell, bringing with them that sweet bovine scent
of grass and fresh air and sunshine, sounding like only cows can
sound, with the occasional "mooooo!" -- the jingle of their neck
chains -- the gentle scuffle of hooves moving along their cowpaths.
I miss seeing the newborn calves, too, tucked away in a corner of
the pasture, waiting for their momma to return from her trip to
the barnyard for a drink of water.
And I miss seeing the milk truck go by and waving to the driver
if I happened to be outside at that time of day.
Since 1969, Wisconsin has lost 70 percent of its dairy farms and
the United States has lost 85 percent. This book is for those who
remember the small family dairy farms as I remember them -- and
for those who will never see a small herd of a dairy cattle grazing
peacefully in a green pasture -- for those who will never know the
wonder of a newborn calf -- for those who will never taste 'real'
whipped cream as we did in Cream of the Crop.
Story titles include, "What's in a Name," "She'll Be Comin' Round
the Cornfield," "If It Rains, It Pours," "The Lesser of Two Evils,"
"The Experiment," "The Mysterious Red Coat," "The Day After Valentine's,"
"Gertrude and Heathcliff," "Nothin' Like Homemade," and "Cream of