I am interested in work - hard, physical, relentless work that demands attention every minute, every day. Sometimes the work is done for the love of the craft, and other times because that is what there is to be done. There is no choice, and it is a matter of making a decent living.
Just outside the village where I live is Spring Grove Dairy Farm. I have known the Cosgrove family since we moved here twenty-five years ago. Michael and Ruth's children went to the same public school my son attended. Ruth works at the public library, our sons are the same age. Michael is a fourth generation dairyman.
So it was not difficult to contact the Cosgroves and request to come to the farm and photograph the work. When a friend heard what I was planning, he said, "You better get out there. He's selling the herd."
This is a small collection of images from those final six weeks spent in that lovely barn with those lovely animals. The work there was intense, intimate, and all-consuming. And it did not change until the day the transport trucks arrived.
One day I asked Michael if he loved the life of being a farmer.
"Yes. Yes, since I was small I always loved it."
"It just became too much of a drain," said Michael. "There was always something breaking down, a constant worry, and financially it became impossible."
Our landscape is littered with empty barns and collapsing silos. It is a story that is happening all across this country. The transformation is impacting families, our local culture, and of course the environment. I am not alone in despairing of this loss.
We are not the better for it.
© Andi Alexander 2016