This week we are so excited to feature our son, Kyle, on our blog. Kyle is our 4th child, and he is 25 and lives just a few miles from us. He does a lot for East Hill and for Graceland Dairies. He puts in a lot of long days and many hours, which is just all the more proof that farming and producing food is not just a job, but a lifestyle. Read on to learn more about Kyle!
Kyle went to college in Lima, Ohio for Ag Mechanics, and after college he actually headed out to Oklahoma/Kansas to work on the beef side of things with Rod Weeden. We featured Rod in a blog a few weeks ago, but in case you don’t remember, he is the man that takes care of the beef cattle we send out there to graze wheat pasture and be finished out. It was a great learning experience for Kyle, and he really enjoyed his time out there with Rod. Plus, his experience on the beef side of things helps us better understand that business and do a better job at producing beef cattle. He only spent 2 months out with Rod, because he was ready to get home after 3 and a half years of being gone.
A typical day in the life of Kyle Burley is quite varied. Lately, he has been getting up between 5 and 6 AM. Usually he doesn’t get done until 10 or 11 PM at night, because he has been hauling silage and has so much to do. As he said, the past few months it has just all fell in order, and as soon as one thing is done, he is already late at doing something else that should have been completed yesterday. So there is no shortage of work for him—he is quite the hot commodity for operations around here. He did say that the past few days, things have slowed up, so he has been cutting firewood for his house. He started cutting firewood when he was 13, bought his first saw when he was 15, and then he sold firewood up until 3 years ago.
When Kyle first came home from Rod’s he was logging and doing odd jobs for his dad. Then he started trucking hay for his sister, Holly. He bought his own truck, and then as he said so perfectly, “the school of hard knocks began.” He had to learn a lot about owning and repairing a truck from the get go. He said that the truck broke down 20 miles from where he bought it in Newcastle, Pennsylvania. He still owns the truck and has almost rebuilt the whole thing. He describes one of his main roles now as caretaker for Holly’s operation. As he said best, “I keep the wheels on the machine.” He will start working for his dad again when they start logging this fall.
Outside of the work he does for Holly and his dad Gary, Kyle has been hauling corn silage since April. It is a great feed for the cows, so Gary and Holly have wanted to keep feeding it, and that means Kyle has work to keep hauling it. He also feeds cows for Holly. He hauls hay over there twice a week, and to add to everything else he already does, Kyle has been very busy with his 8800 gallon manure hauling tank. There is 6 months of winter ahead, so he needs to get all the manure spread right now, since he won’t be able to get back in the fields until May. In case you didn’t know, manure makes a great fertilizer for the fields. He said, “I do a little bit of everything every day. It’s something different every day. That’s what I like about it. I get in my truck for a couple hours. I go and feeds cows for a couple hours. I fix a tractor.” Obviously, there is no shortage of variety in the life of Kyle, but that’s what happens when you are such a handy person. You are wanted and needed everywhere!
When asked about East Hill Creamery and his thoughts, Kyle said, “My dad is a self-made man, and this is something that will be a big accomplishment in his life. He has been through the thick and the thin, and now he is having fun. I want to be just as successful as my father, but I want to make my own name for myself.” Driving truck is Kyle’s passion and he is well on his way to make his own name for himself in that. He bought a 379 Peterbilt (the same one that broke down 20 miles from where he bought it) and also bought a T800 Kenworth this summer in July. The one he bought in July is what he uses for all the logging and hauling logs that are either for firewood or the lumber that is being used in East Hill Creamery as well. He made his own wood boiler stove from a cast iron stove he bought, so he has no shortage of skills. He and Gary also have 6 antique Farmall tractors, and he rebuilt the engine in one when he was in college.
We are very proud of him and the man he has become, and we hope that you have enjoyed reading about him today. As always, feel free to ask Kyle any questions. Thanks for reading today!