Keith Wallace was the fifth of seven children who lost their father at the start of the historic influenza epidemic in 1917. They were the fourth generation to farm on a beautiful ridge called Blush Hill in central Vermont where the Wallaces had settled in 1866. The family, with kids aged 7 to 17, forged on, the two eldest “broad-shouldered sons” doing the bulk of the work, recount two of Keith’s children, Rosina and Wally. “Grandmother knew how to milk a cow but she never told anybody she did,” Rosina said with a chuckle.
Rosina and Wally’s father became a legendary dairyman and community member who was elected a state representative and then senator and won a lifetime achievement award from the National Farm Bureau. Rosina runs the farm now with the help of her brother, milking 16 Jerseys and “one silly Holstein who doesn’t know her way to the barn,” she said after herding the renegade cow in for afternoon milking with the “help” of her rescue Border Collie, Bodhi. “That’s Buddhist for enlightenment, but it’s not a good name for him,” she remarked drily.