Rob and Karen Wheeler share the early-morning milking, which means being at the barn by 4 a.m. They don’t mind it though. “I appreciate the serenity, the peacefulness of the valley,” says Karen. “You’re at one with what’s going on,” her husband agrees. Both grew up on dairy farms and were ready and willing to settle on Rob’s family farm, joining his parents and older brother, John. A summer vegetable stand, snow plowing business and spring sugaring keep them all very busy year-round.
The house was always full when Rob and John were young. “There were 10 of us around the table including the hired man,” Rob recalls. Simple, solid meals were paired with “big glasses of fresh milk,” he says. “It’s a very satisfying and rewarding life: feeding ourselves, feeding our neighbors, feeding the world.”
Every season has something to look forward to, the Wheelers say. In summer, there is the sound of cows chewing fresh grass as they rotate through the pastures. In fall, the hillsides blaze with fiery leaves. In winter, boots crunch snow on the way to the cozy barn. In spring, says Rob, “the geese are flying back, the sap is flowing and I get to be in the sugarhouse with my dad.”