On the outskirts of Eubank, a slate-blue horizon signals the beginning and end of each day at the Bishop family’s dairy farm.
With farm-ready boots and worn denim, Charles and Mark Bishop make their morning rounds on land that has been in their family for 97 years.
Charles sets out across the dew-drenched, prickle-planted field between his home and milking parlor. The golden light of the morning calls attention to creases on his hands and face, constant reminders of years of hard work. Mark follows behind, searching for the pack of resting cattle to steer toward the parlor.
The pace is leisurely but methodical, ushering cows toward the parlor, cycling then through the milking stalls and then turning them back out into the field. On sunny days, the two men clean equipment and work on emptying the grain bin.
Aside from routine milking, rain signals a day of rest or an opportunity to catch up on work outside the farm. After a rainy Wednesday morning in the milking parlor, the two men return to the house and settle into chairs in the living room. Charles turns on the television, flipping between detective shows, the news and The Price is Right.
After lunch with his mother and father, Mark’s eyelids become heavy, and he drifts off to sleep. “That’s what farmers do when they come in and get warm,” his mother, Mary, says with a laugh.
Certain tasks irritate Charles’ arthritis, causing him to require more assistance from Mark. With each new year, the tasks that Charles taught Mark as a child become Mark’s responsibility.
Soon, Mark will carry the Bishop family farm into the next century.