'It's in his blood': 90-year-old P.E.I. dairy farmer still milking cows
Heath MacLennan helps his son milk about 30 cows on family farm in Port Hill, P.E.I.
Every day around 5:40 p.m., 90-year-old Heath MacLennan crosses the road to the family farm in Port Hill, P.E.I., to help his son milk the cows.
"He rushes over," said Hilton MacLennan, who now owns the family farm. "Mom says he can't wait to get over and that's the highlight of the day. It's in his blood."
Heath has been milking cows at the farm since he was a kid in the 1930s.
"I still love doing it," he said, even though "everything has changed."
As he attached a milking machine to one of the 30 holsteins standing in the barn, he recalled milking by hand in the old days.
"We used to milk them out in the field one time," he said. "It wasn't a very excellent job when it was raining. The water was running off the cows."
You don't see too many 90-year-olds out milking cows.- Adam MacLennan
He's not sure if it would be a good idea to milk the cows by hand today.
"I wouldn't want to touch them when they're not used to it now. They might kick the head off you."
Hilton said milking the cows for an hour a day provides a daily connection with his father, who lives across the street.
"Nowadays, families hardly see each other, with the world the way it is now and social media and everything," Hilton said. "But we see each other every day."
'We go pretty wicked'
Although a machine does the actual milking, it takes time to set up, and to carry the hoses around to each cow.
"The two of us get going here, sometimes we go pretty wicked," Heath said.
Heath's grandson Adam, who also helps out on the farm, said he admires his grandfather's work ethic.
"You don't see too many 90-year-olds out milking cows," he said. "But if I was 90, I hope I'm down in Florida somewhere golfing."
'Last one out'
Adam said his grandfather likes to get in and start the pipeline, the wash, and hose everything down.
"He's usually the last one out of here."
Adam also knows not to be caught checking his phone while his grandfather is there.
"He'll tell you to put your phone down, but I guess that's what any boss does."
Milking cows is not the only chore the elder MacLennan does around the farm.
He plows the fields and helps put in the crops.
'I don't like homogenized stuff'
Heath doesn't get paid for his work on the farm. There is, however, one benefit he looks forward to everyday — fresh milk, straight from the cow.
"That's all I know. I don't like homogenized stuff."
Heath, who's been married for 68 years, loves the daily routine of milking and said he plans to do it "till the Fella up there wants me."
But "apparently," he added, "I don't think He wants me."
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