I don’t usually have the kids to daycare early enough in the morning to have breakfast but this particular morning we were planning to be there early. According to the schedule we received in the beginning breakfast is as 8:00 which means I try to have everyone there be at least ten to-.
We were doing great. We were right on track to get there on time. I told the older three to get their shoes on and get buckled while I got the baby in the carrier. It’s nothing new, they do it every morning. Then back came the little boy, “mama, there’s a cow in the yard!”
A quick silent prayer “Oh dear Lord, please let it be the neighbor’s cow.” We’ve never had any visiting cows wander through but it would have been fine with me this morning. I would have waved at it and left on time.
“Hey! Where did the meat birds go?!” It had been a couple weeks since we butchered chickens and the little miss just now noticed the empty chicken tractor. She wasn’t too concerned when we told her they were in the freezer and we had been eating them for supper. She was already on to talking about the new chicks in the coop.
The little boy helped plant the garden and I’ve had all the kids out there helping harvest now too. They’ve been busy pulling onions, picking tomatoes and corn. At ages 2 and 4 there’s some vegetable casualties, squished tomatoes and topless onions for starts. It’s so much fun to see the excitement in their eyes when they are handed a cob of corn and after they curiously peal back a few layers of husk they discover “there’s a corn in there!” The potatoes are next on the list. Mike and I can dig and the kids can do the picking there too.
It was a dark and stormy night, well sort of. It was evening and raining pretty good. There was some thunder here and there. I was getting groceries after work when I got the call.
“Hey, uh, where are you?”
“Just finishing at the grocery store. Do I need to run back in for something?”
“No. Hmm… The cows are in the front yard.”
“I’m on my way. If you need help now, try Mark or Uncle Greg. I don’t think dad’s home.”
“I think they’ll be ok.”
Sure enough, I pulled into the yard and everyone except the calves were milling about the front yard. I would have left them for a bit, the lawn needed mowing and with all the rain we’ve been getting we (Mike) hadn’t had a chance to do it. I hopped out of the car and headed to the barn… well let’s be honest here, eight and a half month pregnant I rolled out of the car and waddled to the barn. By the time I got there water was swishing between my toes and I realized that I was once again not wearing the proper footwear for rain or cows. It was too late to change though.
We had eight of twelve duck eggs hatch. The eighth I’m hoping will make it, he’s been looking better but I’m still cautious to say we are in the clear with him yet. All animals have a “best outcome method” (my own official term) of birth. Cows it’s best to see the two front hooves and nose coming out first, goats too. Egg hatching birds (all that I am aware of) are supposed to peck around the top of the egg which is the more round end, the bottom being the pointed end. These don’t guarantee a healthy baby but the odds are much better.
Duck8 started pecking at the point of the egg. With a very small hole pecked he made no progress what so ever for about 24 hours. There was still a little wiggling in the shell so Mike decided to help the little guy out. This is not recommended by the way, but we can only watching something struggle for so long before we have to step in and help in hopes of saving the little life. Mike pealed back some of the shell leaving the inner lining intact. It reminded me of a beating heart, the motion of the lining (it was white though, not red and bloody). Then he left to go disc the hay field.
It took more days than I had hoped but all of the grain to be planted for the season is in the ground. You see when you plant by hand it takes a few extra hours. When you add children to the task those extra hours get spread out over extra days. Little by little we got it done though.
The original wheat field was planted first. I used a small handheld broadcaster. Mike followed me with a fifty pound bag of seed, refilling my seeder every pass, all the while asking “Are you walking in a straight line? It doesn’t look like it.” (sigh) Once I had it all seeded he used took the drag, the four-wheeler and one kid riding at a time they smoothed the whole thing.