Thursday, June 30

Snake Eyes

Good gosh I'm glad I took advantage of the tremendous day I had yesterday because today I drew the short straw.

I can't go into it right now but trust me, it's not looking good.

So I had to remove myself from my thoughts and office and go take a looky-loo at my new baby...

Cute huh?

Great.
Super.
Terrific.




Wish me luck today.

Wednesday, June 29

A Little Red Around the Edges

I graduated from a private school, I don't love pink..but can't help that it loves me, and I scream when a bug lands on me.
But I could still kick some tail.
Try me.

That's right I'm a lean mean Hello-Kitty Silly Band-wearin' machine and you don't want any of this business.

Actually I'm pretty soft-hearted.  I cry often..especially during virtually ANY animal movie, thanks mom.  There are really only two ways..maybe three..to really get a rise out of me:
1.) Abuse..even verbally..my animals.
2.) Question my work ethic
3.) Ask me who the "guy" in charge is...DOT DOT DOT

Boy that last one really gets me fired up.
Considering we are in the heart of 'redneck' country I get fired up about once a week...poor Chuck.
A guy, punk really, walked into MY barn yesterday and asked ME if there was a GUY he could speak to.
Golly mister all the men-folk are out doing hard work and left us women-folk here to wash clothes and tend the younguns..... 

Maybe he could sense the hostility growing....or maybe it was how my tank top accentuated my sculpted noodle-like ten inch bicepts..regardless after he asked he literally took a step back.
I don't blame him..and he won't be back.

I tell you what this mouth of mine is about the only thing that could get me in trouble.  I don't know if it's that I don't talk to many people during the day, or it could be that I need to get out into the "real world"..but my level of tolerance is nonexistent.

People can be so dumb.  I can be so dumb.  But NEVER as dumb as some people.  Though I have been pretty dumb before.  I'll never be as dumb as some people.

I'm not a "people-hater" I just don't have much use for most of them...

A couple of weeks back, when the heifers decided to go on a "trip" and were running down the middle of the road, we were out herding them back in and I could hear a vehicle coming.  This "vehicle" could be heard a mile away..it was that loud.  Mufflers are just suggestions here.
Anyway, I was afraid this crazy-loud thing was gonna round the corner and waylay my girls before it had time to stop..but I couldn't do anything but pray..
Then it got closer and all I heard were tires skidding on asphalt..luckily they were able to get stopped to a reasonable speed..and they missed the heifers.
Whew!!
But as they were creeping by me..the two jackwagon teenagers in the pickup realized that I was a female..and since their window was down the whistle came out loud and clear.
yeah.
So as they passed I smiled reeeaaaalll big and said "hey why don't you go faster next time pumpkin?"...
They probably hit 75 mph 2 minutes after they passed me...

Just a little red...around the edges...


Tuesday, June 28

Hopeless



I could scream.

OK maybe not scream..just sigh .  A really really long and desperate one.
Melvin is leaving...the only one who I can communicate with.
Siiiiiiigggggghhhhhh.

He is leaving on Sunday and I am in a deep depression.

Another guy, Manuel, is replacing him and my fingers are crossed..which makes breeding difficult by the way.

Change.  I don't like change.  I don't do well with change.
I am a structured person..right down to the core.  I can prove it.
The following may scare you;
I wake up at 5:15am, drink 1 litre of water
Get ready, make my oatmeal and get my coffee together.
I leave the apt by 5:35.
Eat on the way to work.
Get to work by 5:45.
Feed calves, drop dogs off, come up to my office.
Drink another litre plus coffee while I do this.
Bring up fresh cows, check sick cows at 8am.

That is my morning routine..EVERY.DAY.
Whatever happens after 8am is a variation of the same thing, basically.



So am I hopeless?

More than likely.
But I'm not gonna dwell.

No, I'm gonna take my depressed, hopeless rear out and hope for the best.
Cuz that's all I have..hope and Spanish for Dummies.



Sunday, June 26

Clearing the Ayyyy-uuuur

OK.  Let's get one very important thing straight.  I'm.Not.Pregnant.
And if you think I would choose the internets(I love it when people put an 's' on the end..it sounds so sci-fi) as my platform to reveal such information..you are wrong.  I'm sorry but you just are.

Here I was all amped up to tell you about my day yesterday, or was it the horses, or Chuck? I can't remember now.  But it was information you couldn't live without, trust me.  And here ya'll go thinkin I'm pregnant.  sigh.  Come on now you think I would want to subject someone else, a child, to this level of crazy?!
There now. See? I'm smarter than you think:).

The Heat's not even ready yet.  I'm prepping her for it if you must know.
I drop my dogs off at her house every morning after I feed calves, and pick them up every evening after I feed calves.
It's working out well so far.

She pets them, gives them bones, walks to the mailbox with them, sits by the garden and talks to them..almost like having a kid..right?
I really see no difference other than the fact that leaving them in the basement when she goes places might be frowned upon. And to be honest, the feet-licking thing has me slightly concerned.

I'm evening thinking of her needs in regards to a great baby name.  It needs to be a good strong name.  A name that means something.  A name with some "meat" behind it. 
A single-syllable name.
Those are easier to yell.
That's important because I accept the fact that my kids will more than likely be hard-headed, naked the majority of the time, dirty ALL of the time and constantly in a state of "trouble".
Single-syllable names are also more easily understood when you mouth them exaggeratedly with wide eyes and that "ICantBelieveYouAreDoingThatInFrontOfPeople" look. 

I mean could you imagine yelling "Maximilian don't eat dirt!", "Jedidiah get your finger out of that!",  or "Ocatavia put.your.clothes.back.on!".

I'm really doing her a favor.  You'reVeryWelcome.

Who am I kidding right?  We are in the South.  There are no single-syllable words.
Everything   consists of at least two syllables.
Like Chuck.  It's Chuuu-uuuuck.
Or mom, Ma-uuuuuuum.
Stop, sta-uuuuup.

Bye, byyyyyyye.
;)

Saturday, June 25

Your Average Rockstar

In the grand scheme of things I am of the utmost unimportance.  I know this.
However, in my world, which we all know is far from reality, I am a flippin rockstar. 
Seriously.  Recognize.

I don't sing..though I am A-mazing at vocal electric guitar, I don't dance..unless its A. 80's night, B. TO-TAL darkness, C. I see someone else dancing who I cannot possibly be worse than, and I can't play any instrument..unless you  count air drums in which case I should get paid.

What's left? 
I.Feed.The.Animals.
Oh yeah.  You wanna feel like a rockstar, be the one who feeds everything.
The fairy of the fare.
The nutrient nurse.
The giver of grub.

Like being the lunch lady at elementary school on pizza day, or PCO day as Beenie would prefer(Pizza, Corn,Okra).
I would venture to guess they know exactly how I feel...everyone is ALWAYS happy to see them.

My calves(and cats) are up waiting for me at 6am and by 3pm..and if I walk around them at any time in between they think it's Christmas. 
I talk to them.  They moo.  It's actually more of a pitiful IHaven'tEatenForThreeWeeks..Mea.
Nevertheless, milk lady brings the happy.  Even when EVERYTHING, including the gravel drive, is covered in ice.  She.Delivers.
That happened this past winter. I made it to work on the wings of my Tacoma, grabbed a bucket of salt, and proceeded to step step..fling!  Step step..fling! Until I made it to the calves.
Better than the postman.

I feed my cows at night, Eddie does the morning feeding not very well.  It's hard for me to feed in the morning because that's when I do most of my cow treating, breeding and fixing whatever happened overnight.
(Think 2ft gate..).

Cow feeding has to be relatively precise for a number of reasons which I won't bore you with.  You have to weigh out each ingredient, using a loader, into the mixing wagon.
Like using measuring cups into a mixer..except slightly larger..
It's hard to be precise with a loader that has a 6ft bucket but I'm better than Eddie.
It goes mineral, cottonseed,hominy,distillers,corn silage and rye silage for both groups.

A couple of weeks ago I couldn't get the augers in the wagon to come on so I went and got Eddie..
Me: "I push the clutch and pull the lever and it just bogs down.."
Eduardo: "Is there a tire in it?"
Me: "..wha?"
Ed:  "One time I had a tire in it."
Me: Tire?  That's not on my list.  I don't go to the 'tire pile' and get 123 lbs of tire..ah geez..tire. I can't think about this now. "Nevermind".
Seriously people sometimes you just have to let it go.

The wagon is big, big like I can't see around it big.  Big like if you drive up behind me I WILL back flat over you, big. 


This.Is.Embarrassing.

The cows know when it's feeding time.  When I come around the corner with that wagon they all pile up at the gate so they can see me. 
The feed lady. 
The rockstar.
You know in movies where a tour bus drives through a bunch of people and they all reach their hands out to touch it?
That's exactly what it's like.
Except the tour bus is a feed wagon and they use their tongues..not hands...boy that would be an interesting movie...


It drops the feed like so...


By the way, that is perfection.



And if you are lucky you are one of the first to be finished milking...

A Jersey. Always a Jersey.




Rock.Star.

Friday, June 24

I'm Expecting...

Excitement.  Nervousness.  Doubt.  Anticipation. 
Will I be a good mom?
Will I raise him right?
Will he be sensitive but still have a thick skin, will he be healthy?

So many questions so little time.
I found out yesterday that yes, I am going to be a mom!  I know, I know it's sudden...but it just feels right.
I chose my blog to reveal this information since we all now how wildly popular it is...chrip chirp chirp..
Some of you may look down on me for doing so, and to those who do I am sorry you feel this way. 
I tried so hard for so long and I will not let this moment be ruined.

I can honestly say I am still in shock..and if he is the only one I have that will be just fine!  I am satisfied.
You're probably wondering how I already know the gender..it's just a feeling I have.

I already have a name for him as well!

It's Tommy...


Tommy-to.

Hehehehehehehehehehehehehe!




Thursday, June 23

Lil' Momma Ain't Happy

Chuck calls me Lil' Momma.  I'm not sure why.

I'm not a mom? 

I  do have a number of baby calves on any given day to care for..so that's probably why.  Technically I am the 'father' of these babies because my left arm is where the "magic" happens.  Fo Sho.

Today..or this morning rather...Lil' Momma is.not.happy.

You would think that by scheduling a truck load of hominy a FULL week in advance you are pretty much guaranteed to have it when you need it.  NotSoMuch.

Was there a hominy emergency?  Did the truck get hijacked?  Because we all know how valuable hominy is.  Currently my cows are eating around 1600 lbs of the stuff per.day.  NOT having it gives me more anxiety than when I see my dad's number pop up on my caller ID. (That will literally make my heart beat out of my chest.)

But I can't do anything about it.  And that's the thing with people.  SOOOOOO undependable.  Cows?  They are pretty much gonna do the same thing every day.  If cows were truck drivers they would ALWAYS be on time. 

There was a time before I met Chuck when I thought I would be a lone cow-lady forever.  Just me and my cows.  Cuz I sure as heck was not going to settle or depend on someone.PPPFFFFTTTTT!  Plus my cows are always happy to see me..unless I have a pink sleeve on my arm.  The Love Glove.

Then I met Chuck.  He doesn't mind that I smell like a stockyard at the end of the day.  That's nice.  Not to mention he is possibly the BEST 'food tester' on.the.planet.  I make it?  He WILL eat it...and he always likes it!  At least he says he does.  But ignorance is bliss and I am happy.  He is also the knot at the end of my (very short) rope. 

But currently I am NOT happy and am fixin to give someone a piece of my mind.

As Chuck says, "I sure would hate to be that guy".

Wednesday, June 22

Mamacita

I don't feel good.
This is crazy.  I am robust.  I don't get sick.  Chuck gets sick.  It was like 8 degrees this past winter and I didn't get sick..everyone else got the flu..I didn't.  Uuuuuuggggghhhhhh!
Sick or not, I still work..why?  I'll tell you why..because if I don't I get behind, and when I'm behind happiness packs it's stuff up and leaves town.  And they can't do this without me.
Could you imagine?

This not feeling well stuff has kinda thrown off my writing mojo if you will, so I will not be telling you about the two horses and their....relationship (DOT DOT DOT) today.  Instead...
Loooooook! Mamacita calved yesterday morning!!! OOOooooooOOOOOoooo..


Oh Mamacita. 
The matriarch.
The "mother of all".
The only cow I have ever wanted to hit upside the head with a piece of slate  hug.

She had a bull, Maloney..I shall call him.  Only because that's his sires name and my creativity has left me today as well.  Sigh.
I don't feel good.  Did I mention that?

The only reason I have named him is because I am going to keep him, for breeding purposes.  Mamacita, while being a few bricks short of a load, is in fact a great cow!  She is 6 years old and has a lifetime production of 73,000 pounds of milk! 
Woot! 

Yeah, there are bigger and better cows out there but I'm partial to the crazy old lady. 


He will be used as a "clean-up" bull for heifers.  I breed all of them once then turn them out with him and he..ahem..gets the ones I miss....sounds different when you write it.
Oh well.


Yes, one day my friends, little Maloney will have a 'harem' of young ladies who will LOVE him.
No joke.
These bulls are like Elvis..or Brett Michaels..or Optimus Prime...(Yes, I have a crush on a Transformer).
I'm not feeling well, don't judge.


But first he has a lot of growing to do...
and will SOMEONE please get that off of his head?!

Tuesday, June 21

Wimpy Beats the Heat

 If you are like me, let's just hope that's not true, you have recognized that June is dairy month and have made pint upon pint of ice cream...right?
I mean you have been celebrating and supporting your local dairy farmer..right?
Telllll me you have at least eaten some ice cream to combat the heat...............right?

Personally I have made at least two different kinds of ice cream per week ever since I purchased my Cuisinart ice cream maker.  No more of that shakin business for me.
Before I left work yesterday I received two orders..one for the Heat and one for Mercy..and by the time I reached home I had three orders, the last one from Taylor.
I don't mind..I love making things for people!!
So I made the Heat Super DAAAAARK Chocolate with a little Baileys and I may put nuts in it.
Made Mercy his current favorite which is Mocha Mint with Thin Mints stirred in..heaven!
Taylor's request was for Milk Chocolate ice cream with fudge and brownie chunks..no prob!
So far I think Chuck's favorite was the Blackberry with white chocolate bark stirred in..he favors the custard-based ice cream over all else. 

I made some homemade mac and cheese with Gruyere, Gouda and mild cheddar cheeses. I also added sun dried tomatoes and a touch of cayenne to it for flavor..and that.was.dinner.
I spent the rest of the evening churnin out some frozen, delicious, creamy goodness..eating mac and cheese..making breakfast muffins for this week..and talking to Beenie who stopped by.

I don't mind being in the kitchen cooking after a long day in the heat..especially if it's ice cream.  It was a very still-humid day where you just stand there and melt.  I picked a few blackberries and good-night-in-the-mornin did I melt! 
I use that expression a lot..good-night-in-the-mornin..I also use goooood-gosh, geez-o-pete and golly-bum.
None of which make any sort of sense.

The cows and horses get really hot as you can imagine..wait?  What was that?  Horses?
Yep. Horses.
Two to be exact.  Wimpy and Laddy.
They belong to Rebecca or Beenie as I call her..(looong anticlimactic story that would waste 2 minutes of your life)...
They love each other...well Laddy loves Wimpy.  Wimpy is old and really could care less, but Laddy is Wimpy's 'Dupree'..as in "You, Me and Dupree"..I'll give you a minute..
I am going to write about their romance tomorrow..I bet you JustCan'tWait!!

The horses are in the dry cow lot, duh, I mean where else would they be?
Anyway, I was checking my dry cows yesterday and discovered Wimpy's method of beating the heat...


What? I'm just standing here drinkin a little water...




That. Just. Happened.



And... ta da!  We have crop irrigation!!

By the way it took me FOREVER to figure out why there was always water running down through that field....and yes that is an old truck bed being used as a water trough.
Our creativity knows no bounds.



Monday, June 20

Lickin Babies

New little man, born about 7.5 minutes ago....




And tried to stand up about 5.5 minutes ago....


Aren't you glad we don't have to lick our babies off when they are born?
At least now you have something to be thankful for today;).

Sunday, June 19

Addressing the Elephant

Alright so obviously there's an elephant in the the room and I'm just gonna go ahead and address it.
I have no tomatoes.
There. 
I have resigned myself to the fact that my tomato plants are in fact some sort of hybrid tomato bush..tomato hedge if you will.
Sure they are now TALLER THAN THE RAIL on my balcony and have bloom upon bloom, but still.no.juicy.ripe.goodness.
Not even a green one.
Each time I see Saigon(almost every day) he asks about the "garden" with a chuckle.
I die a little bit.
Okay, so I failed!  Is everyone happy?  Chuck thought yesterday was Monday..does that even matter?!
Might as well carry a sign around my neck that says "bears no fruit"..that's sure to get some attention.
The herbs are doing great. Super. Terrific.
Makes me wanna go eat a big bowl of.....herbs.
sigh.

On another note the Hondurans hen and rooster have magically reappeared!  And aren't we all disappointed happy!
Now the rooster can stand outside my office door and crow at.all.hours.of.the.day.
Vociferous.  That's what he is..I just learned that word and I WILL use it.
I know one thing, that hen must be backed up with some eggs..seeing as she didn't have the bobcat seat to lay them on.  I must now look before I sit. 
Before it was like Easter every day.  There would always be one single egg on the seat of the bobcat each morning..it was cool in that "where do I put this thing" kinda way.
I once rescued her from the grips of a toddler-sized raccoon.
Then they both just up and left one day.  The rooster and hen, that is.  Not the raccoon. 
No joke they have been gone for months..and just came back 2 days ago. 
The Heat thought the Hondurans must have eaten them.
She also thinks they ate their dog.  Naturally.
I'll tell you one thing I wish someone would eat a dadgum dog already!
There's this shady-looking house in town and there are always crows on the roof.  So I was talking to the Heat one day and mentioned it..
Me: "..and there are ALWAYS crows on the roof!  Why do you think that is?"
Heat (wide-eyed): "You don't think their cooking dogs do you?" Dead.Serious.
I can't wait to see what the future holds.

One thing is for certain I never doubt my future with Chuck.  Today is Father's Day and I can say that without a doubt he is the best dad I know.  Really really.
He tries..and that's a lot more than I can say for a few other folks.  (I shall leave that elephant unaddressed).
We were gonna go see a movie last night and missed it..by a LONG shot..so we stopped by the arcade... you know what?  I'm just gonna let that image sink in for a minute...
So at the arcade Chuck spots the "Police911" game...and decided to play it. 
I feel like he plays this every day..I searched high and low for the "Farm" game and came up empty-handed.
So I watched and so did about a dozen little boys with their mouths open. 
Maybe it was because the game had motion sensors so when playing it you actually had to "duck and hide" to keep from getting "hit", or it could have been that he held the gun so life-like that he really did look like he was gonna go shoot someone.
Whatever the case I noticed that he shot quite a few "bystanders"...

You don't EVEN understand how much this picture is worth to me!
Like the calf in the feed trough..you can't put a price on that.


Thursday, June 16

Bless His Heart

How do YOU determine when it's time to do some personal upkeep such as taking a trip to the salon?
For me it's when some ragamuffin truck driver leaves me his number. Seriously.
I call 911..or the salon and schedule an appointment for an obviously MUCH needed touch-up.

I try not to leave the dairy for extended periods of time..because we ALL know they can't do this without me..so I schedule these appointments late in the evening.  I had a much needed massage Tuesday and hair color yesterday..and I feel like a new woman.

I know the cows could care less what I look like as long as I feed them and keep temptations, like 2ft gates, hidden.  THAT is exactly what causes me to go 9..NINE..weeks between hair appointments.  I simply forget, and Chuck, bless his heart, wouldn't say one word about it.  However he did go and pay for my massage as a surprise:) awwwwww...I know.

I especially don't like being gone if it looks like a storm is coming.  That's a quirk I have.  Deep down I believe that if I am here and a natural disaster strikes I will be able to help my cows.  Plus I am not exactly sure that my superpowers haven't yet "arrived".  They could be weather-related.  You don't know.  Maybe in a really stressful situation I could lift ten thousand pounds!? 

Bless.His.Heart.

Yesterday it looked like a gully-washer was about to hit right before I had to leave....
See?


So I went down and fed baby calves realfast and took some pictures of my "old faithfuls" for your viewing pleasure.
Some days there will be 24 cats, and some days there will be just these ladies.  They are my old faithfuls and they know that the milk lady will feed them twice a day if they show up. 
I'm a real hard-butt I know.
When it's cold out they will meet me at the top of the driveway and walk down with me to the barn.
Drives Rowdy crazy.

They have started bringin the younguns around with them...
This is the Asian-inspired mother of 3..one is convinced I am a monster..therefore gets no picture.




This is Francine.




She and one of her siblings have their very own milk cup.



While the mothers drink out of a different dish..
..yeah yeah I know its a bucket-lid.  That is the ONLY thing the dogs won't carry off.  Don't judge me.




The other sibling, who thinks I'm a monster, braves the bucket-lid.
I don't know what they talk about around that lid but sometimes while I'm mixing milk for my calves I will hear a hiss and when I look out there is not one.single.cat left.  Like a ghost town. 




Oh and this heifer was born on Tuesday and look at her eyes...
OOOoooooOOOOooo creepy huh?
I think she has superpowers too.



Remember that calf I rescued from her gluttonous doom?  Just to show you she is OK....




and I'm pretty sure that cheeky Jersey was aiming that look at me.





After everyone was fed I said goodbye to Francine and black cat..



...and smiled to myself as I walked to the dairy barn.  Then I remembered EXACTLY why the kittens are my favorite.

No respect.

Wednesday, June 15

Keys to Working on a Farm: Play Dumb

Unless you are already dumb, that is.
If you're uncomfortable with that just act like you don't speak English.  That usually works too.

Once you have wrapped your head around the "every man for himself" frame of mind we have around here, you will be ready for the second key.

Ever wonder why we don't expect much from Eddie?  Because he has mastered the second key.  He wrote the book on it.  Not to mention that thing on the end of his nose keeps me from spending much time making him the center of attention.  ew.

The second key to being a successful farm hand is NEVER admit ability..play dumb.  Do you want to know why this is so important?  It keeps the phrase "then that can be your job now" to a minimum.

I detest that phrase.  Oh!  Really!? Thanks because I NEEDED ANOTHER JOB.
Pfffffffttttt!

Somehow I have managed not to have to drive a dump truck each year when it's time to chop silage...that is until this year. 
This year it wasn't even posed as a question..the boss man told Tim I was going to drive the 1928 Model-T dump truck(heh just kidding) when it came time to chop rye.
Oh boy..he really must love me a lot...That's all I could think each time it backfired, started smoking, overheated and even when the brakes went out..that guy, my dad, must think the world of me..

He thinks so much of my driving ability that now he wants to get a big truck and have me start hauling our soybeans and such TO A DIFFERENT STATE. What a guy...
And do you know what he said to Tim when he threw that brilliant idea out??? Hmmmm? That's right...
"That can be her job now".
If I wasn't so naturally amazing at everything I wouldn't have this problem..hehehe..kidding.
The silver lining is that I would be able to talk on the CB..man I have always wanted to do that.  My handle could be "Dairy Queen"...
I could say things like "break break..this is the DQ. I'm east bound and down keep your eyes peeled for any smokey bears..come on back". 
Don't act like that trucker-lingo didn't knock your socks off. 

I have found that the easiest way to play dumb without actually acting dumb is by breaking things.  I broke 2 tractors on Monday.  Tim fixed one and Eddie fixed the other.  This was after I smashed my hand, so by that point I felt like it was in everyones best interest if I called it quits.
I didn't really break them..they just quit working and instead of tinkering around and possibly getting them going again I called in the "professionals" so if something bad happened it would be their fault.  I wasn't born yesterday ya know.

That way if the boss asked why something wasn't working I could tell him that Eddie was supposed to fix it because I didn't know how.

See how beautifully that works?

Tuesday, June 14

They Can't Do This Without Me

When they try to do this without me see what happens?


This was my afternoon surprise yesterday.
As a result I have a chubby hand and my knuckles are blue.
I don't even know where to begin.

See that board across the trough? 
That board is there to keep these things from happening because..and I know this may sound crazytown..the calves WILL stand in the feed trough.  Don't think for one second that the board is doing more harm than good.  If it wasn't there the same thing would happen..only there would be three calves in it. 
I try not to figure out their thought process because it is much too complex.  I mean I can count on one hand the number of times I have had the urge to stand on the dinner table while I'm eating. 


I came back from lunch and just happened to walk by the barn and heard this terrible beating and banging..ah geeze.  Ooooh wait quick pic...ok got it.
I walked over..did the whole "now was this a good idea?" thing..and tried to devise a rescue plan.  The board was NOT coming off so I thought I would grab her head and at least try to work her out from top to bottom.  Greatest.Idea.Ever.
As soon as I reached down to grab her head she threw it back and caught my hand between it and the trough.
OW...owowowowowowowowowowowowow...
Just breathe..it will stop..it's not stopping..I feel sick..ow..walk it off..I can feel my heart in it...breathe...
It didn't stop hurting so I walked over and flipped the trough so that the calf was wearing it turtle-style.
Take that.
Tipped it halfway back and worked her out.
Hero.
As soon as she stood up she turned and gave me that "don't just stand there, clean up that feed you spilled" look.  Sigh.

I don't know what they would do without me.
It would be a zoo..there would be calves everywhere stuck in both water and feed troughs, and the ones who weren't would have a bucket stuck on their head! 
I walked around the corner of the calving barn last week and surprised a calf who was just standing there minding her own business, and what did she do?  She jumped into the water trough...back legs sticking out and everything.
I guess she was going to swim to safety.

Don't even get me started on the cows. 
I'll never forget the morning I got to work and discovered that the 2ft gate we had in an entryway was missing.  I really didn't think much about it because it was more or less propped up and just thought someone had used it someplace else.  
Then I saw her.
Trying to stick her head through the head-locks to eat with a 2ft gate stuck around her neck.
I stood there and watched as she had obviously just accepted the fact that that was the way life was going to be from now on.  
You should have seen us trying to get that thing off.  
Not enough butter in the world.

I know I was gonna post the "Second Key to Working on a Farm" today but I'll do that tomorrow.  Plus I just now got a phone call and the heifers are out in the cornfield. 

I bet Eddie didn't shut the gate.cha ching!




Monday, June 13

Keys to Working on a Farm: The Bus

I have decided to devote one entire post to the first most important key to a successful career as a farm hand.  I'm a farm hand..only I have what is called "accountability".  Thus I am expected to think for myself and make decisions...which means people get to blame stuff on me willy nilly. 

Try to avoid being in this situation.

The first most important key to being a farm hand is, DO NOT under ANY circumstances pass up the opportunity to throw a fellow co-worker, or boss, under the bus. 
These are in fact "opportunities" and should be held in the highest regard..you can't tuck these in your back pocket for later use.

I am at a severe disadvantage though, because my boss happens to be my dad. 
I screw up?  I start a forest fire.  It's easier to deal with.
He screws up?  It's someone elses fault because of something he never told them to do. 
I have a nickname for him, but I'm not stupid so I'm not telling.

Tim and I have a brother-sister relationship.  There is something about him that makes people want to tell him everything.  And in return he tells dad everything.  I too used to get a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth around Tim, but you get hit by the "dadhound bus line" enough times and you learn to zip your lip.

I took the dairy over from Tim 3 years ago and I cannot even begin to describe the state it was in.  Duct tape and hope..that's what was holding it together.  Now I have an arsenal of "bad Tim decisions" to pull out and use when needed.  Can't put a price on that.

Tim lives in the here and now.  He thinks it's a good idea to raise a few bull calves on a cow that doesn't need to be in the dairy?  Mmmmmk but they are now his calves so he has to band and dehorn them..wasn't my idea so I'm not doing it.  Couple months go by..he has yet to dehorn them..they are now well over 100 lbs of spoiled-rotten kick-you-in-the-face bull calf.  Boss says "why haven't these been dehorned?!"  Rachael says "because those are Tim's calves"..cha ching.

Eddie is easy to throw under the bus...the Tim bus that is.  Eddie does a lot of hiding and "disappearing" then suddenly he shows back up an hour before it's time to go home.  Sneaky.  I'm jealous..dang accountability.

Tim does a whole bunch of yelling at Eddie which makes Eddie mad..but Eddie doesn't get angry he smiles.  Oh Lord.  You can feel the atmosphere change and I go do that thing that I needed to do...
Last month I got stuck in the crossfire and Tim told Eddie that he should go home..he said it in such a way that I wanted to go home. 
I would have gone home.
I missed home. 
I can't yell at Eddie..I just sigh cuz it's Eddie.  Not to mention he has this HUGE place on the end of his nose and I end up talking to it the entire time. 

If something doesn't get done that really needed to get done..it's because Eddie didn't do it.  Duh.  But the boss doesn't expect anything outstanding from Eddie so this only works with Tim.  Then Eddie smiles and we all want to go home.

The second key has to do this the most dreaded phrase you will EVER hear..the phrase you try to avoid at ALL costs..and I will talk about that later.  Maybe tomorrow.

I gotta go figure out what Eddie didn't do yesterday...

Sunday, June 12

Hot, Hot Mess, Come on Rowdy



I think I'm gonna make Sunday "picture day".
Or maybe "pictures taken by my phone day".
That's more accurate. 

If I had one of those "smart phones" the pictures would probably turn out better..but I can't get one unless it bounces.  That's my number one requirement.  Mine bounces. And seeing as this is not Africa, I'm not going to carry my camera around safari-style.

The word for the week was "hot". 
Hot as in 90 degree weather.
Hot as in no rain.
Hot as in my temper.

Two words for the week would be "hot mess".

Three words would be "come on Rowdy"...I discovered that I say these three words more than I say ANY three words during the day. 
I'm all about self-discovery.
I used to sneeze every day at 4pm..OK sometimes 4:05.  True story.  I think it was allergy related but I'm not sure..they probably learned about that in Montessori school.

Anyway, here are a few pictures I took with my phone for the week..oh and I think I figured out the 3 most important things to know when working on a farm. 
I'll probably tell you tomorrow..unless I don't make it til then..in which case please adopt my tomato plants.




Sunrise over the mountains and corn.






Rosie(my twin) enjoying her breakfast.






First time parenting is sometimes scary.







Sunset.

Saturday, June 11

Deep Fried Labor of Love


Drive by the farm on any given morning around 8:45am and you will more than likely catch Tim, Eddie and I standing by the road talking.
This is our daily meeting of the minds.
We could solve world hunger.
I mean just the other day Tim was telling us how he could be a millionaire if he could figure out how to dig up dead people in the cemetery beside his house and take their fillings, or "sinky-dinky's", without being noticed. 
I'm gonna make my moms into a necklace.
Eddie's thoughts or lack thereof are more  "world changing".  I'd say the government already has his house bugged.  
We were standing there watching a really big plane go over and he looked at me and said..dead.serious..
"you know why the country ain't got no money don't you?" 
me: OhGoodLord "no, why don't we?"
"Cuz those outer space suits cost a million dollars! Why do we even need to go to outer space?"
me: "Ya know, that's a good point!  Why do we need to go to outer space?" ThisShouldBeGood.
"Walkin around on them space stations costs millions..and there ain't even any oil up 'er!"
At this point I have lost so many brain cells I wouldn't have known my name if someone asked.
We are a veritable threat to national security.
My role is to fuel these fires that Tim and Eddie have burning inside them.  I agree, practice my mental eye roll skills, and try not to use words more than 6-letters long.
BUT if I had to pick two guys to be on my team I would pick them..Tim at least..
They have gotten me out of many a pickle around here..Tim with his ability to fix ANYTHING and Eddie with his years of experience..(remember the first plow ever built?  Eddie came with it).
Besides being exactly the same size, the three of us have one other thing in common.
Job security.
We show up.  That's the secret. 
As Eddie says, "ain't no one gonna come do what we do every day and get paid what we get paid".  He's eloquent too.
But it's the truth.
It's a labor of love.
Plus the Pentagon isn't ready for this crew yet.
Speaking of labor of love, ever wonder where the Canola oil that you fry with comes from? 
Not the grocery store.
I took these yesterday because it is again time to combine Canola and it's a process not many people get to see..plus the pictures are pretty.


This is not Canola..I just thought it was pretty..






This is the combine in the Canola with Tim driving.



Closer picture..it has the grain head on..which is designed for grains with stalks smaller than corn.



Big old hunk of metal..expensive..hunk of metal.
It sucks up the entire Canola plant..stem and all..then separates the seed(where the oil comes from, come on now) from the rest of the plant.







The seed stays in and the rest of the plant is spit out.





Ever see the "pretty yellow" fields of flowers?
This is what they look like after the bloom..ugly huh?





And these teeeny tiiiiny seeds are what we are after. 
Told ya, labor of love.

Thursday, June 9

One.Hottttt.Commodity.

Ok let's be real for a minute.
I'm just gonna lay this out there and you do with it what you want.
I sweat. A lot.
Like bunches.
Like on any given DAY I drink between 6 and 8 LITERS of water.
That much sweat.

I feel better now.

That being said it has been in the 90's this week with humidity so bad it feels like you have to cut through it with a knife.  I mean I just stand there and melt.  Sweaty old-man-saggy-bottom jeans.ew.

Ok. Now that I have painted that unforgettable image in your mind I wanna tell you what happened yesterday.DOT DOT DOT.
It was about 4pm and I was perched atop the loader mixing feed for my cows when my load of distillers grain pulled in.  wooohoooo! Trust me, I was scraping the barrel.
PLEASE keep in mind I have nothing...nada..against truck drivers..without them I would not be able to feed my cows well or ship my milk.  God Bless the truck driver. Amen.
These are merely my experiences.

The truck driver got out in typical truck driver garb...shorts, circa 1978 polo and hair that was so shiny that either he had been working on a busted oil line or the A/C wasn't working in the truck.
Classy.
He strutted sauntered over to me and gave me the most obvious look-over.
Just breathe rachael, just breathe.and smile..just breathe and smile.
He told me he was gonna give me the ticket when he was unloaded...and my response was "I don't care if you stick it in the ground"..yes I have always been eloquent.  I proceeded to load feed.

Now, being a female in this industry does have its advantages...
-You stick out-so when you do something great it's extra great.
-People are always willing to help you-especially when it comes to lifting heavy things
-You're admired for your hard work-because quite a few old men people don't expect it coming from a girl.
-(My personal fav) When you're not wearing work clothes the compliments on how you look seem endless..I could be wearing jean shorts and Chuck would think I was headed to the opera.

There are also disadvantages...
-You stick out-so when you screw up everyone acts like they figured you would at some point.
-People think you can't do anything-Come on there has to be a man in charge....
-You tend to attract the wrong guys..the ones who see you working and think "well gawwleee that's the kind of woman I need..she'll take out the trash..."(I can't even touch that right now because it's SO TRUE).

This guy.  This driver must have looked at me and thought that, underneath the upper-lip sweat and pure disdain coming from my eyes, he had a chance.  The ring around my neck?  Chucky-Cheese prize.
Don't worry, I see me when I look in the mirror..not a supermodel..not a sacred jewel..but really? 

He finished unloading and handed me the ticket saying "here ya go honey" cringe.
Before I even looked at it I knew and threw up a little in my mouth.

He wrote his number on the front.

FYI Chuck and I met at the gym.

Monday, June 6

Patience is a Virtue


If someone asks you what patience looks like would you be able to tell them?
I would.
And here she is...




Her name is Rowdy but I should have named her Patience.
Probably woulda come out ahead if I had.
Hindsight. Pffffft. 

Then again she has lots of names..Rowdy-Roo, Roozie-Dooz, Roozer, Dingie, but most often just Rowdy.   But you won't get it right unless you say it with your teeth clenched.  And trust me, you will want to.

I have never been considered especially patient..I do well to sit and eat a meal.
Multitasker I tell ya.
But I am learning and this little jewel of a dog is my teacher.

Roozie was not born blind..she just got that way after a tragic fall 3 years ago.
Pre-disability she was mean, no-nonsense, "please-say-sgitttem"...mean.
Just like me.TrueStory.
She is a true cattle-dog at heart and if she even hears "ssss.." she is out for the first nose, hoof, or now blade of grass she can find(or run into).
No weed stands a chance with Dingie on the loose.

Sometimes I feel sorry for her..I really do. 
She has run into EVERYTHING. 
But..and this is when I know The Big Man is smiling..she still chases cats and tries to bite them.
We used to fuss at her. 
Then it occurred to me...
If the cats..who can all SEE her coming..allow her to catch them then I believe they deserve it.  Don't you?

After the fall I did have her on a leash..but she really didn't like that and seeing as she would follow me to the ends of the earth if I asked, I let her run free into whatever tickles her fancy.
She's 7 so she spends the days lying where it's cool and barking at my mom.
The Heat LOVES Roozie and Roozie LOVES licking the Heat's feet.

I.Can't.Stand.A.Barking.Dog.
This is where the teeth-grinding comes into play.
I don't know why she has to bark..I'm standing right there..she knows this..yet she barks..and barks..
..and barks..
..and the more she barks the more that if-I-open-my-mouth-I-will-explode feeling wells up inside me.
Patience.  Remember?

Rowdy-Roo and I have had some great times though.
She used to come to school with me when I was in college..the only problem with that was that she is one of those dogs who only hears nature's call when she is standing on tile..or in the middle of the road...

I have stopped many a car by standing -in the road- beside my blind dog who is doing her business.
I'd catch a grenade for you little girl.

One time she pooped an eyeball. 
True story.
That's how we figured out what was happening to all the Christmas ornaments.
Good times.

Roozie-Dooz was meant for me.







Sunday, June 5

Sundays Here


On Sunday we all work.


Some may appear to be relaxing..but are really allowing unborn babies to grow big and strong and ready for the world.


 
The crops work as well.
The corn grows in rows..


..until it almost reaches the sky.




The dogs await their commands..
..even disabilities don't stand in their way to do what they love.




The cows make milk..and practice looking annoyed.



 Though on the outside looking in it may seem like we go on like it's just another day..




...we never forget our Maker.



God Bless Sundays and honest work.