Because I picked up a Saturday shift I was given a day off during the week. If the kids aren’t going to daycare for a reason other than being sick, I like to give her as much notice as possible, as this directly affects her income as well. I completely dropped the ball on letting her know the change in plans, so I guiltily dropped the kids off at daycare on my day off. In an effort to rid myself of some of the guilt I decided I was going to get as much done at home as absolutely possible.
I started my day with an appointment with our Midwife. That went well. Then I painted the wall in the laundry room in preparation for the new cupboards my husband was planning to install that night. While the paint was drying I suited up, grabbed a freshly sharpened filet knife and headed for the coop. I haven’t been out there cleaning weekly as I should have been and it was past time to do so. It was a balmy 30 degrees out, snowing giant flakes and windy as ever. But in the coop none of that mattered.
There was nothing unusual about the cleaning other than it was embarrassing how long I let it go. After the “morning sickness phase” had passed my priorities turned to keeping the house tidy (a losing battle) and spending every spare minute with the kids. I should have taken an hour during naptime and taken care of the coop. Lesson learned. As usual I had the door to the coop opened for extra air flow; in the summer it can get rather dusty when cleaning, in the winter, it’s just nice to get some fresh air.
It was blowing and snowing and I was happily taking my wheel-barrow loads of “coop cleanings” to the pile. After a few loads, the old was out and fresh shavings were down. As I was cleaning out the laying boxes I heard something hit the wheel-barrow. My first thought was a shovel blew over. I cleaned another box and realized I didn’t have any shovels outside at the time and if I did they would have still been too far away to reach the wheel-barrow. I peered out the door and with a bewildered look said “well, shit… hmm” and went back to cleaning the last few boxes.
Do I call Mike at work and let him know what happened or do I wait until he gets home…
Of all the times I remember my phone when I leave the house, today I had it, so I gave him a call on my way to the barn. No answer.
The other spot on the farm that has really been missing my attention is the cow’s pen in the barn. Again, I blame it on the “morning sickness phase”. When I was feeling my worst was when the cows were starting to spend more time in the barn and when I should have started daily barn cleanings again. As luck would have it, I didn’t start and well let’s just say the “work” has been piling up. I grabbed my new pitch fork (Mike got me one for Christmas this year!) and made a path from the gate to the door so I could maneuver the manure outside without tipping the wheel-barrow. A few loads in and my phone rings.
“Hi. You called?”
“Yes. It’s pretty windy out.”
“So I cleaned the chicken coop and the laying boxes. Martha didn’t take her place on the roost so she’s still out there.” (Martha is going to go sooner than later, hence the filet knife.)
“Ok. That’s good”
“You know how I’ve been having trouble getting the coop door open when it swells and freezes? Well, you can fix the door length a little easier now… It’s not attached to the coop anymore.”
“What?! How did that happen?”
“Umm, it’s windy out. One minute it was there, the next it was flipped over in the yard. I gotta go the boys are going to tip over my wheel-barrow again.”
I don’t know what it is about a full wheel-barrow but the cows love to come scratch on it and almost always tip it over. It can get rather frustrating. I was able to push them out of the way and get out the door without spilling the load this time around. A few loads later my phone rang again (probably why I don’t usually bring it with me). It was time to be done anyway; my back had had enough. The gate was open and I just got the wheel-barrow through when I answer and continue the conversation from earlier. Now there I am, standing between the open gate and the cracked corn storage, on the phone and the cows are lining up. Elvis, my sweet steer, G.W., the friendliest little bull and the girls behind them. The boys love to have their heads scratched and to eat corn. Elvis was after both and made his way out the gate, G.W., glued to his side, Wheezy pushing and Lucy bringing up the rear.
Try backing that train up!
“The cows are out. I gotta go again!”
Oh my! What a parade!
I got the girls backed up just by trying to scratch their heads. The boys I started pushing with no measureable progress. So I caved for a bit and gave them both a scratching. That seemed to be enough to get them to follow me back into their side of the fence. It’s going to be a sad day when Elvis goes, for me and G.W.. I’m sure I say that too often. I think it’s my way on reminding myself that “yes, he’s sweet, but he’s destined for red meat.” I’d say that’s probably why Old McDonald didn’t name his animals, but with a “herd” our size it wouldn’t matter if they have names. With that I closed things up…except the coop, and headed back to the house.
By the time I finished the second coat of paint in the laundry room and got supper going the family was home. It was a good day, not completely guilt free, but not wasted.