Wednesday, May 30

Here and There

Hey!  How are ya?
Peachy, I hope.

I'm good, I would just like to put it on record that mt love muffin turned the AC on Monday night and I slept like a baby.
A twitching, hand-smacking-forehead, tent-making, baby.

It was glorious, and more than likely had absolutely nothing to do with me calling him out publicly.
Absolutely nothing.

He also whittled the foam filler down and made me a wine bottle holder out of it.

I was going to take a picture...but then I didn't.
Partly because I still don't know what to think about it, and partly because it reminds me of a 3-year olds finger painting that looks nothing like a giraffe...but it's supposed to be a giraffe and they are so proud of it that you must display it for everyone to see.
It's totally not a giraffe.

It's on the kitchen counter, not being a giraffe, if you would like to come see it.

The past few days have been pretty warm out, by "pretty warm" I mean sweating-in-my-jeans hot.

So warm that I can't even remember when it was cold...if it was ever cold.
People keep saying, "it's not even summer yet!"...I thought it was.
I don't remember driving to work this morning, much less last month or what today is.

Is it bad that I don't remember driving to ever?
Maybe I'm still asleep.
Do you remember driving to work?

I remember getting to work and finding that a new baby calf crawled under the fence and was laying by the road.
Think you could stay with your mother..please?

Yesterday was officially the end of the barley season.
Tim completed the task of combining and putting the seed into the grain bin.


I don't have the vocabulary to properly describe how hot it is in that combine.

A BIG HUGE thing that happened yesterday is that my sister Malinda completed her residency and graduated from the program at Mayo Clinic!!!

She is one amazing lady.

She will stay at Mayo to do her fellowship, then move home to keep me company.
You can quote me on that.

I do miss her though, every day.
She will be home one day:).

It is time for me to skeedaddle, but I truly hope you have a lovely day!


Monday, May 28

Hot and Foamy


When I woke up this morning it was 81 degrees...inmyhouse.
Yesterday it was 86.

Do we have AC in the house?  Yes.
Do we turn it on? "We" don't do anything. My husband is the AC master.

Generally I leave the internal temperature of our house up to him.
I mean, I'm gone all day out IN the heat, so what do I care if the house is a bit warm?
Plus, I'm not a whiner and I'm sure not going to turn into one just because I'm standing in the kitchen sweating while trying to make chicken salad.
Won't hear a peep.

It was hot out yesterday.
Like in the 90's hot.

I was out in it working, so it really didn't bother me.
My only relief were the two times I had to go somewhere in my truck, during which time I cranked the AC with reckless abandon!
HA!  That's right, I control the temperature in my truck!
Take that!

After work I had to go to the grocery store, because they love it when I come in all stinky like that and take care of their remaining customers.

Honestly, I would have rather sat down and cried, than have had to spend another minute in my sweaty clothes.
But we do what we gotta do when we gotta do it.

On my way home from the store Chuck textededed me and said, "I finally broke down ad turned on the AC".
He must have gotten hot inside the house.

I won't lie, in my mind I was relieved to know that I could sleep in a cool house and not wake up feeling like I was being smothered.

It was cool, and nice.
The best part was not sweating after I got out of the shower...ahhhhh.

Then I woke up this morning and discovered that, at some point last night, my husband decided to not adjust the temperature on the AC, but turn it off completely.

If you need my after 8 pm I'll be in my truck.

Oh, I almost forgot.
Have you ever heard of a tree burl?
Well, it's a disease on a tree that bubbles the bark up.
Some people cut them off, hollow them out and stain them, making pretty bowls for decoration.
I think they are nice.

Anyway, my new invention other than "glow hole" which I'll tell you about another time, is a foam burl.
Why wait for a tree to grow one of those things when all you need is a hole around the foundation of your house and a husband with a can of foam??

Listen, this is what happens when you use an entire can of one hole and then you turn off the AC inthemiddleofthenight.

We're almost even.

Happy Memorial Day!!!
God bless the past, present and future troops, because of you we sleep well (with the AC on) at night.


P.s. "Glowhole" is my concept, so don't be thievin'.
P.p.s. ^ it has to do with cornhole.

Friday, May 25

Asking for Forgiveness

I don't beg.
We need to get this straight.
Imma chooser not a beggar.

I think it's because I know my limits.
I know what is allowed and what is far-fetched.
Or, at least I used to....

It needs to go on record that Chuck and I have been married for 2.5 months and I love him more and more each day.
(I hope you got all that.)

We have a lovely life....a new home, a place for his son to live, a farm for them to's wonderful!

We also have dreams.
Lots of dreams.

We want to have a child together, Chuck wants to eventually get a dog-he is crazy good at training-and I look forward to one day being able to park my truck under something.
A three-car garage...the American dream.

All of that being said, I thought a 6 ounce addition to our lifestyle wouldn't really make much of a difference.

I mean something as small as my hand, that's afraid of Chucks shoes can't really cause that much trouble...right?!

I'm glad you agree.

Now, if you will excuse me I shall commence asking forgiveness for this vagabond who lives in the master bathroom now.


Wednesday, May 23

Things I Will Never Understand

There is a short, but very astute, list of things I ponder from time to time.
Occasionally on my way home from work...sometimes when I'm at work even.
Do you do the same?  Pleasesayyes.....

1.  Why are needy animals attracted to me?
Exhibit A.

Found Sunday morning, before I church, beside my truck meowing like there was no tomorrow.

2.  Why do I sneeze every day between 3:30 and 4 pm?

3.  Why do I insist on touching things like ringworm and poison ivy...then touching my face right after?


OK, you know what?  This isn't at all what I want to say.
I'm trying...really trying, but I don't wanna bring you down!
You might not come back!

But I guess I'm not really sure anyone is out there in the first place, so what am I losing?
My mind.  Evidently.

What's going on in my noggin'?
Lots of things.

$15/hundred weight milk is right at the top.

That's what we are getting paid.
$15 per hundred.

Why so low?
Oh, lots of reasons....exports are down, school is name it.

This is nothing new though...4 years ago when I was getting into the biz it was $14.

So here we go.
I sold 16 cows, dried 14 off.
I have more to go.

I have to get the costs down so that I can do this more efficiently.

Wanna hear something totally honest?
I wanted to throw up when I got paid for the first load of cows.

Maybe I don't have what it takes anymore...I don't know.

Maybe I'm too soft.

We're not selling out though!
No worries as far as that goes.
I'm just kind of in a funk.

It will be OK though.
I hate to bring you down:(.
Please forgive me?!

I have a lot on my mind, and there are so many things I want to share with you.
A teeny tiny one of them I mentioned before....
My little peach fuzz.
Maybe he was dropped off here for a reason..could be the orange lining I need.

Don't give up on me just yet...I just need to get a glimpse of what I am reaching for then I will keep my blinders on and push through this.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, May 20

Unexpected Hope

I cannot take enough pictures of this's so lovely!

OK, maybe I can.

This time next week it will be in the grain bin, ready to be ground and fed!

We (being the mouse in my pocket and I) are estimating 6,000 bushels...which should last (at a feed rate of 20%) 452 days.
That's just a rough estimate...
Nothing set in stone...

As we kick off the start of the new week, I have decided to take off early today and spend time with my honey.
This past week has been loooong and physically as well as emotionally draining for me.
Such is life, right?

Things I have learned this week;
- It's much easier to put 70 lbs of air into a truck tire than it is to remove it....
-You're only supposed to put 35 lbs of air in a Tacoma tire.
-People the my subdivision.
-Cats will hide for 3 days (going on 4..) in  my parent's basement, after getting caught-by the dog-eating the dogs' food.
-Gus has taken to being the guardian of the baby calves.
-The raccoon population has moved half a mile down the'rewelcome.

The biggest thing I have learned is that, there's this small percentage of people who won't let you down.
That group of people is comprised of the unexpected..not just family.
They listen, most of the time saying nothing, but when they choose to speak it's worth remembering.
That's where hope lives.



Friday, May 18

What do YOU Want to do?

Question of the week.

I have been asked that question several times a day for the past couple of days.

In the grand scheme of things, I want to be happy, healthy and have a family.
That's what I want.

I want to continue to love Chuck, and receive his love in return.
I want to help raise Caden.
I want to bring God into our lives each day, with open arms.
I want to accept His love and ask nothing from Him.

That's my big picture.

What do I want today, tomorrow, next week?

I want to do what I am doing now.
I want to farm.

It's like breathing.
Farming is as natural to me as waking up in the morning.
It is me.

I feel like if I tried to be something else, it would be false.
Like living a lie.

To be honest?
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, to be able to know exactly what I want.
Unfortunately what I want is about as lucrative as it is popular.

But I'm a smart girl, and my hand is in God's hand.
Together we will figure this out.

Surely something so honest and good is meant to be.


Wednesday, May 16

4 Years

I wrote a post that I was going to put up today in honor of my 4th year running the dairy, as well as my first year blogging.
I still have it saved in the draft form.
It's cute, it talks about things I have learned and sights I have seen.
You were there through them all and I thank you.

Four years ago yesterday I turned onto the road less taken, and it has made all of the difference.
I can honestly say that these cows, this place, saved me.
I was as low as I could get and didn't feel like I had a reason to get up in the morning.

I was told I would be taking over the dairy while Tim was on vacation, for three months, then he would resume his position when he returned.
Tim returned, but his position had been filled...permanently.

I found my reason to wake up.
I found the place my heart belonged.

Every single day for the last 4 years, I have worked for these cows.
I have been determined to do right by them, because I owe them.

Keeping this mindset has allowed me to shape my herd of cattle into a healthy, sound group.
A group that I am proud of.

I suppose I need to mention that at the time I was breaking into the business, most farmers were getting out.
The bottom literally fell out of the milk market and farmers couldn't afford to do it anymore.
Some were just too tired to try.
I don't blame them.

We didn't find it any easier than anyone else, we just had a few more things going for us.

Currently, the milk futures aren't looking good.
We have a projected milk price that is frightening, you won't see it in the me.

Couple what we are expected to be paid, with a couple of years of bad crops and you have a recipe for trouble.
Feed prices are astronomical which is bad news when you have a crop situation like we have had.

Money is always the bottom line.

Four years ago yesterday my life changed for the better.
Yesterday decisions were made that will change my life.

BossMan has a plan and I believe God is in my corner so, with the request of your support, I am moving forward.

I know this is what I am meant to do forever, I just pray I can and that I will have what it takes.


Monday, May 14

A Family Tradition

Yesterday was Cadens 11th birthday...wooohooo!
We had Chucks family over, Cadens mom, sister and grandmother as well as my brother and sisters.  It was a full house for sure!
But it was awesome.

Cadens whole family there celebrating his birthday and Mothers day together was a dream.
I couldn't have asked for a better time.

The weeks leading up to his birthday, Chuck and I were thinking about what to get Caden and trying our best to pull some ideas out of him!
He's a fortress.
He's lucky he didn't get socks and underwear.

Now that we have a house, a place big enough for family to come over, I suggested we cook out and have a family party.
I don't know what your traditions were growing up, but we always (to this day even) had an at-home birthday party as well as one with friends.
It was our tradition.

The Heat would ask us what we wanted for supper and what kind of cake we would like for her to bake.
It was special, it was our day.

Later in the evening, when dad got home, we would put on our birthday hats and sing, blow out candles and open gifts.
No matter how old we get, we still have birthday supper at home.
The Heat still cooks, and BossMan still comes home early.
It's us.
It's tradition.

Now that Chuck and I are making a life of our own, that tradition is something I know I want to continue.
I am so lucky to have a stepson and am able to continue it right off the bat!

Yesterday was our first ever at-home birthday party and it was a success!
We grilled out and I made a key lime cheesecake for the birthday boy!

I tried not to think about it, because I would have cried, but this morning I did.
I kept thinking, Man!  This is what it's all about!  This is it!

It hit me like a ton of bricks.
This life with these two guys, is what I never knew I wanted.
This is home.

I can't even dream of making it any better than it already is.

Some things seem to take forever to happen, and you begin to second guess yourself and Gods plan, but stick to your guns and stay close to Him, because the rewards are unbelievable.


Sunday, May 13

The Mommas

To all of the mothers, stepmothers, Godmothers, grandmothers, expectant mothers, this is your day.
One day does not even begin to give you the recognition you deserve.
We owe it all to you.

You're the fish flushers, keeper of Kleenex, dishwasher damsels and the only ones who know how to fill up an empty ice tray.
Where would we be without you?
It would be a world of wiping noses on sleeves, eating off of paper plates, drinking tepid water and don't get me started on the pet cemetery our backyards would be!
Chaos.  Complete chaos.
We need you.

Obviously we wouldn't even be here without you, but no one said you have to be as amazing as you are.
I mean really, every year I have to one-up the card from the year before.  How many ways can I say you are the best mom ever?!  Monetary gifts are probably the answer.  Ben Franklin gets the point across pretty well...or in my case George Warshington.
I should probably stick to baked goods.

Everyone says they have the "best mom eva!", and I believe you! 
Not to rain on your parade, but I think my mom is the cat's meow.

The Heat is my center.  If I can find her, I can find myself.
She keeps me true and on track.
She has this relationship with God that is impenetrable.  It takes years of love and prayer to achieve something like that, and I only hope I will get there one day.

My mom has raised 5 children and still thinks she has more to give...but not in the form of a child.
She is really looking forward to me having a kid so she can take care of him/her during the day!  Wait...what?
OK, maybe she didn't actually say that but I know she thinks it allll the time.

My mother taught me how to bake, but more importantly she taught me that I can do anything if I try.
I owe my persistence to well as my defensive driving skills.

She has been there at the very worst, head held high, and she has been there at the greatest moments.
I only hope I can be half the woman she is, when it's all said and done.

Here's to the mommas!
The ones who know what it's like to carry groceries and babies, the towel-folding fairies, the grill masters of the grilled cheese, and the original prayer warriors.

May you find calm in the storm today.


Saturday, May 12

Ann Taylor

Twenty years ago(that just hit bottom...I'm getting old), a miracle happened.  My little sister was born 3 months premature. 
At the time I really had no idea what was going on.  I don't even remember The Heat going to the hospital, having the cesarean, or the events that lead to it.  All I remember, at the ripe old age of 9, is looking at my mom and dad through the thick window of the Children's Hospital nursery, as they stood over a tiny baby in an incubator.

That was my sister.
That impossibly small life, fighting all the odds was Ann Taylor.

The monitors and tubes were innumerable as she lay very silent and very still, and I watched my mother quietly worry and pray.
The Heat was there all the time, she had to spend some time in the hospital as well before and after the surgery.
BossMan was there.  He was present in the operating room, during every single procedure, surgery or not, that was performed on this tiny life. 

There was a lot of silence, Malinda and I really didn't know what to make of the situation.  I was scared for mom and our sister, and Malinda would let me sleep with her at night because I needed someone.
I would ask her countless questions about what was going on and, like she always does, she would answer me in the most reassuring way possible.

Three months went by, very slowly, and finally Ann Taylor was ready to come home....or at least dad was ready for her to.

She wore a heart monitor around her chest and it was equipped with a, really loud, alarm that would sound when her heart slowed or beat irregularly.
You talk about scaring some people on an airplane!  That sucker would clear a room fast.
Taylors little body got stronger every day, and soon she was able to ditch the heart monitor for good.

I cannot believe that was twenty years ago.  Amazing.
Now she's a young lady, so grown up!

Ann Taylor is living proof of Gods hard work. 
Don't ever doubt.

Today I am wishing my little sister Taylor a happy birthday, and thanking Him for His constant blessings.
Sometimes it's easy to forget.
I love you Taylor!


Thursday, May 10

Keys to Working on a Farm: Act Nonchalant

Just do it, trust me.
Why, you ask?
Because, they're gonna do it.

Yeah it will be done right in front of you.
OR, embarrassingly enough, right in front of you and someone else.

It's like watching TV with your parents and something totally inappropriate it.

Hold your breath?
Chuckle...noyoucan'tdothat!  Ya weirdo.
Act like it didn't happen?

Just act like it didn't happen.
...while holding your breath.

Luckily..I use that term doesn't happen, like eva, here at the dairy barn.
I don't use a bull to breed my cows...I use my left arm and right hand (that's where "luckily" looses its steam).
Now the cats are a different story.

Picture yourself standing outside talking to some sales rep who has decided to grace you with his waste of space presence.
While you are actively not listening, the big yellow tom cat waltzes up to the white cat (whose eyes are way too close together) and suddenly your morals are questioned.
What do you do?

-Watch? Ew. NO! This is not National Geographic!

-Break them up? Sure.  If you want to look like a scene from Tommy Boy with a cat latched onto your leg.

-Look the guy dead on and say, "What are they doing?".  Wait.  If you could do this with a serious expression I would nominate you for an Oscar.

-Scream "NO MEANS NO YELLOW CAT!".  This is an idea, it would take care of the salesman that's for sure, but it seems a bit over the top.

-Fist pump, high-five the guy and say "Yessss!  I've been hoping for a yellow kitten!".  Only do this if you can keep a straight face.  Make it believable.

-Act nonchalant?  This is probably the better idea.  Acting like it's no biggie is probably the most mature way to handle it.  If the salesman gives you a look, respond by giving him the "What? Don't you know where babies come from?" look.  

Listen, I am only telling you this because you need to be prepared.
You should really be thanking me.  You'rewelcome.

We are really coming along on this job-shadowing thing!


Wednesday, May 9

The Note.....Board

You all already know, because I have told you, that I am much more of a writer than speaker.
...or dancer forthatmatter.

I can get my point across in a better, more understandable way if I simply write it.
When I start trying to explain things verbally, I get confused and wind up getting sleepy.
That's how it goes.

When Chuck and I started dating I would leave him silly ones, ya know?
Like "roses are red, violets are blue, I really like about you?"...nothing very deep.
Just my inner carb-hoarder coming out.

These notes were most often written on a Post-its and stuck all over the place.
The bathroom mirror held hundreds, the microwave had a few...pretty much every solid surface was home to at least one yellow sticky piece of paper.

After we had been dating for a while...or a month...things got more serious, and so did the stickies.
"I love you" was used numerous times, "I" was often seen, as well as many other variations.

Then the day came when I read the apartment flyers realized  that occasionally apartment maintenance comes in to change filters relatively unannounced, this was oddly enough the same day the stickies stopped.
Good gosh they must think he has a stalker!

I replaced them with a dry erase board.
'Cuz Imma genius.

Saving one tree at a time here people.
Environmental conservationist will be added to my resume.

We both started using the dry erase board which hung on the cabinet, unless company was coming over...then we hid it because no one wants to see that kind of crazy.

I have done some of my best drawing on that little board.
Once, after trying to explain this to Chuck, I drew a picture of the radar I have him on.
It was a beautiful picture of him(the blue dot) and any "bogey"(female predator) around him was red.
I allowed that it makes that constant "bloop" sound in my head unless a bogey gets too close then it "bloopbloopbloop"'s much faster.

He got my point.
Or maybe he just acted like he did, since the picture was so convincing.
Or maybe he was just scared.

This past Monday morning I woke up to find that he had written that he "loves me" and since he had a dream where I left him while he was in flight school, he had also written "I hope you don't leave me" followed by "I'm sorry I almost hit you"...that last one is for.real.real.

Every morning I kiss him and tell him bye and that I love him.
No biggie, right?
Not unless you are trying to wake a grizzly bear who happens to have a gun two feet from the bed.
...bears probably don't need guns though.

I have taken to leaning back and extending my arm as far as it will reach, touching him with the tips of my fingers to "test the waters", because if I go all-in then occasionally I scare the bear and he comes up swinging.

It's always nice to smile first thing at a handwritten note from my honey, and I could not resist but write back.
I wanted him to feel as special as I do.
This was my response....

The beauty of the dry erase board is in the "erase".


P.s. Iloveyouhoney.

Tuesday, May 8

Tough Farm Kids

Farm kids are tough.
Farm kids get dirty.
Farm kids ain't scared of nothin'...

'cept maybe snakes...

And personally I'm not fond of bugs.
But that's a different story for a different time.

This is about long, slithering, hissing, slimy, icky snakes.
No offense snakes.

But really, I'll take a kitten.

I went to feed calves yesterday afternoon, and when I got to the barn I saw thisssss.....


Yeah. Black snake. Big whoop.


Keeping that last thought in mind I quickly took a picture in case it decided it needed a snack for the trip, at least CSI would have enough sense to look through my phone and put the clues together.
Unless they just think I like snakes.
I have cow pictures too.

Atanyrate, I decided to ignore it until Mercy came down because obviously he would know what to do.
And he did.

He did what any other raised-on-a-farm boy would do, he grabbed a pitch fork.

Like a real one, not like the Halloween kind.

I think it was more of a comfort thing.
I had a blankey...he has a huge fork with a wooden handle.
Therein lies the difference between boys and girls.
There's other stuff too I'm sure.

While we were out watching the snake do snake things, the cats followed...ofcoursetheydid.
I often drive home fearing a cat army following me.

They would have little cat berets and wear cat armor made from bottle caps and such.

Anyway, Mercy being the all-around good guy he is, completely FREAKED out when Jasper(his favorite feline) walked around the snake...


(I don't know what happened there...)
Jasper had no clue..until suddenly he did and I laughed so hard my teeth hurt as the snake coiled up and Mercy yelled, "Noooooooo Jathsper!!!".

It was a moment.

One I will be sure and bring up at every family gathering for therestofourlives.
You're welcome.

In a effort to save the cats, Mercy used the pitch fork to scoop(not injure) the snake up and toss(rather gently considering the situation) sir snake to the other side of the log.....because we all know snakes can't get around logs.
Snakes 101.

After much debate we decided that the snake would muuuuuch rather be in the barley field than around, oh, baby peacocks and eggs....

The highlight of the snake session was when Mercy, pitch fork never far, scooped the reptile up again and ran him to the field.
He only dropped him once..I think.

Then again The Heat and I were laughing so hard we did the mouth-wide-open-making-no-sound thing, and didn't notice.
Like a wheezy 94 year old smoker.

It was an educational experience and totally made up for the fact that someone drove through a puddle
I was all like, pfffft! Like I care. We just schooled a boa constrictor.

Well, Marcy did.  I just documented the occasion.


Sunday, May 6

Keeping the Faith


Occasionally, actually not as often as you probably think, I succumb to the "endangered species" feeling.
The feeling that "us" as in "us farmers" are in danger of becoming extinct, and as with any endangered creature we be come less and less understood.

The past couple of weeks that feeling was beginning to overtake me, what with the "dust complainer" and the co-op shifting gears.
I was getting pretty down  in the dumps.

But I was keeping calm and dairying on! (That's for you Chuck:).)

Anyway, just when I was convinced all hope for humanity was lost, yesterday happened.
It happened to me.

After a looooong day that started at 3am, my Church came out for a tour.
(They actually just wanted to pet baby calves...and that's OK too.)

My pastor, Brad, called me to inform me that the expected "20-30" was actually 44.
It's a good thing Imma people person....heh.

After hanging up with him, I immediately called The Heat and had her ready the reserves! (i.e. Mercy and Taylor.)
I was gonna need help.
Then I breathed into a paper bag until the bus got here.

I was worried, I won't lie.
Worried about letting them down mostly.
Worried that there was a lot of build up and then it would turn out to just be

So I gave the girls a pep-talk and headed to meet the bus.

The beautiful thing about the Rio Church that I attend, is that there are people from all walks of life.
Normal people.
No two people are alike, the only requirement is an open heart.

There was a wide variety of ages and backgrounds.
From "city girls" to people who were raised on a farm.
It was awesome.

Our first stop was the baby calves..I mean really, who can resist?

The calves were great sports and allowed the kids to feed them bottles, even my little trouble-maker enjoyed herself....

Gus saw the crowd and came over to see what was shakin', then ended up staying to be petted and loved on by everyone.
He's a sucker for attention.

After the calves we went to the dairy barn where I talked about feed and tried to convey the fact that it's more than meets the eye.

I admittedly get very excited about what I do, and end up wanting to tell them EVERYthing I know.

I need to just start hitting the high-points...babies, milk and poop.
If I had a handout those 3 topics would be the points of interest.

Anyway, we walked through the barn and I explained the flush system to them, and how we are able to flush the manure out of the barn before each milking.
-Over half appreciated the sentiment, but not he smell.
-A few boys were worried about whether or not we take the cows out before turning the water loose(we do).
-3 people wanted to see it done.
-1 kid wanted to surf it...until he saw that it was recycled water...heh.

The culmination of the tour was the milking parlor...ze grand finaleeee.
...and the manure pit was right up there as well.

I tried to explain the milking process, but really it's one of those thing you have to see to believe.
So they did.

They got to see one of my cows milk 50 lbs...she brought her A-game.

The kids and adults asked lots of questions, which I really appreciated, and genuinely seemed interested.
One child was too embarrassed to ask his question which was, "do you have special cows for lactose intolerant people?".
I wish he had.
I would have responded with, "Of course we do!  We keep them separate and feed them a special diet of almonds, coconut and soy".
Missed opportunity.

I know it was hot, and most of them got bored, but maybe one day they will be able to tell someone about that time they fed a baby calf and let it suck on their fingers.

I don't know that I could have felt any closer to God.


Friday, May 4

Something for Everyone!

OK, let's talk shop.
I am not in the habit of venting twice in one week here, but sometimes things happen and they have to be addressed.

Have you been to the local co-op?
You know the 'farm store' that sells feed and seed and...dishwashing detergent, indoor latex paint, "Scrubbing Bubbles"....?
Um yeah.  That's where this is going.

I was at the Foothills Farmers Co-op in Maryville earlier this week, and left shaking my head.

I went in for electrolytes and found myself browsing the kitty litter which had taken over half of the "livestock" aisle. cats don't use litter....the world is their restroom. it is for most barn cats...ahem.

Found what I needed, then headed to the medicine cabinet to get a few syringes and some penicillin.
Found the medicine, now where are the syringes that hold more than 12cc's.....??
That's right, they no longer carry them.

BUT!  They do have quite the variety of indoor pet food as well as a large selection of wiper blades, which is perfect because the skidsteer wipers are making that blllllllppp! sound...
Never mind that the skidsteer has no windshield, maybe I can use a garden hose to IV my cows seeing as they no longer carry those sets as well.

Let's get creative!
The next time I am in need of a float for my water trough, instead of grabbing the SINGLE already-opened box containing HALF of the parts for a new one, why don't we just put some Moen faucets on?
You know, the faucets that have a touch-sensor or perhaps motions sensor?
That shouldn't take too long for my cows to get used to.

While we're at it we can get some decorative pieces to hang on the...wood the dairy barn.
Maybe a Topsy-Turvy tomato bag?
How about a "lawn tractor" to use to plant corn?

Do you think if we lined up enough air filters around the barn, we could take care of the smell and the dust?
Then we could be a non-smelly, dust-free operation and everyone will be happy!

Hold the phone, do you think I could get the cows on board with the "litter box" idea?

We're a minority.

When I got to the counter to pay for 1/3 of the things I needed, I looked at the guy working there and did the squinty-eyed-pointing-finger thing while head-shaking I proclaimed, "IT is a sad, sad day when the cat litter takes over the livestock aisle", then turned on my heel and left.
That'll show 'em.

"Co-op offers quality products for everyone!" It says so HERE.


Wednesday, May 2

I Don't Even Know Where to Start...

So I'll just give it all to you in one whack.
Here goes....

Do you ever wake up in the morning and just feel like something's amiss?
How about when things just seem off from the get-go?
Well, that's not at all how yesterday started.
It was normal.

Did the normal coffee/oatmeal thing, went to work, fed calves...posted the EOM.

Then The Heat sent me a text that said, "jersey laying down in front of yellow house".
That in itself is fairly normal as well.
My far-off dry cow lot runs along the road and yes, there is a yellow house across from it.

I have a jersey, 7769 who is due in 15 days, and I figured she was just delivering early.
Normal cow stuff.

I went out to check on her, and sure 'nuff, she was laying on the ground flat as a board and no baby in sight.

I went to her and could not for the life of me figure out what had happened.
She was laying there, just breathing, not moving, just breathing.
Now waitasecond!  Don't call PETA yet...

There's this thing that happens sometimes when cows calve called "milk fever".
It's basically nutrient imbalance, which causes them to get really weak, stumble around and occasionally...actcrazy.
I could elaborate on some circle-spinning, head sideways action...but I won't.

But this...this jersey..did not act like she had milk fever.
This was something I had never seen...heck, Eddie had never seen it either and he's really olllld.

She just stretched out and the only way you could tell she was alive was by her breathing.

I found the calf, a girl, and carried her punk-butt to the barn.
Her 25 lb butt tobeexact.

I caught her out nursing on whatever cow would stand still, so when I took her to the barn I mixed up some colostrum.
She didn't want it.

Picture her, head between my knees while I try and get her to nurse a bottle, with all 4 of her hooves pushing against the back of my legs trying to free her head.
I gave in and just left her alone to thinkaboutwhatshehaddone!

I got Eddie and had him drive the front end loader out to the field to haul 7769 in, since she didn't seem like she would be getting up any time soon.

After putting our minds together we had half an idea of how to get her into the bucket...

Keep in mind that she was not moving.
No blinking.
Her tongue was sticking out.
Making no noise.

We got her to the barn and I decided to IV her with some CMPK(calcium, magnesium, phosphorous) as well as a few other vitamins...I really didn't know why I was doing it but I thought I would take a shot and see what happened.
Why not?

As soon as I was finished with the IV I took her halter off and, as if we were in the midst of a Baptist revival, she sucked her tongue back in and opened her eyes....
Then she stretched her neck out and jumped up, looking around like she had no clue where she was...
I'll be danged.
Jerseys are the darndest animals.

By then it was lunch time and I was convinced that my super-powers were of the miraculous sort.

I ate then returned to work to start the pump.

We have been pumping liquid out of the top lagoon(it pumps into big silos and we use it to flush the manure out of the barn twice a day) using an electric pump for about a week, however, due to the lack of rain I knew I would have to start the tractor and use the other lagoon.

I started the electric pump and figured I would have about 30 minutes before I would need to shut it off and start the tractor, so I hooked the charger up to the tractor battery.

I returned and sure enough the top lagoon was empty, so I shut it down and unhooked the charger from the battery and started the tractor.

It took a minute, as I figured it would, to warm up so I stood back and watched it puff and splurt out white smoke as well as bits of what looked like straw, from the stack.

I kept standing and watching, alternating between looking at the stuff spewing out of the stack, and the hood of the tractor....

When the tractor had warmed up, I realized that what was coming out of the stack was burnt....and what I had been looking at on the hood was....bird poop.....
It was as if a menagerie had taken residence there in the past week.

Then I put two and two together and just as I came up with the answer.....ffffffffffffoooooooopppppp!
Out of the smoke stack popped a nest that can only be described as one you would find an ostrich egg in, that flew high into the air before landing on the top of the tractor and bursting into flames....

There are no words.

I ran to the tractor, climbed up, brushed the flaming nest from the cab and it landed on the ground where it proceeded to set the ground beside the tractor on fire.
Oh boy....

There are very few things I am certain of, but one thing I know without a doubt is that I would be in deep doodoo if I set a tractor on fire...

I ran around, did a little stomping, then finally ran up to the parlor and started getting buckets of water.
Each time I returned to the blistering inferno to douse the flames, I was showered with burning pieces of grass which landed in my hair, on my back and so at this point not only was I running but screaming and throwing water all over myself and the ground.

After determining that all of the flames were out, I called Chuck back and could be seen periodically walking from the office to the tractor, fire extinguisher in hand.

That, my friends, was Tuesday.


P.s. This is the gal that kicked my butt...

...she may look cute but she has ninja blood.

Tuesday, May 1

May Employee of the Month!!

Whoa...can you believe it's already May?  That's crazy talk.
It seems like yesterday it was March...but it was Monday and I had chicken at a steakhouse.
(Chicken lady 4-eva).

So how has your spring been so far?  It's warm here allofthesudden.
I used my office heater last week and sweated my butt off wonder I can't keep track of the days.

Since it is the first day of the 5th month I am bringing you the Employee of the Month!

There were a lot of great contenders for this honor, but one in particular stood out.
I would like to introduce you to 5534..or Vivienne as I call her....

Vivienne is 7 years old and her birthday is March 13th....:).
Since entering the milking herd after her first calf in 2007, Vivienne has made over 110,000 pounds of milk!
...That's over 13,000 gallons!

I did not know Vivienne until I took over as head Honduran herdswoman, almost 4 years ago, but immediately she stood out.
She is a hard worker, as her stats indicate, as well as a great all-around cow.

Vivienne is a great role model for the younger cows in the herd, by always being the first to the milking parlor and feed alley.
She is also very much a "boss cow", having created her own super-delux freestall by bending some loops and giving herself more room...none of the others dare take her spot!
She leads by example and it is my hope that she will still be going strong many years down the road!

Thank you Vivienne, I couldn't do it without you:).