Tales of the Pregnant Farmer: Nesting Theory

When asked when I’m due my usual response is “sometime between now and the county fair.” This is sometimes taken as sarcasm, unfortunately I’m serious. This time around I was given four due dates depending on who I talked to. An average “safe delivery” time can be two weeks before or after the due date, which means I have/had about eight weeks of “any day now”. So the no “real” due date answer seems to shock and/or annoy the person asking when. Hmm. How about Mama? Think about how annoying it is to politely answer that for eight weeks or longer?! Not to mention the weeks of comments of “how big you’re getting!” (that’s not a compliment no matter how you try.) The only acceptable thing to say about a pregnant ladies size is “you look great!” FYI.

All that complaining aside, life doesn’t stop because of it. I still mow the lawn each week and do what I can to help with yard work, gardening and so on. It takes a lot longer to get anything done, but it does get done. In an attempt to get this baby out I thought I’d give “nesting” a try. Pretty sure I didn’t do much for nesting with the other two. I didn’t really have time, nor did I slow down as much as I have this time. I washed the baby clothes the last time I had everything dug out of the kid’s closet to put away the out grown and get the next box of hand-me-downs. The house is picked up… I wouldn’t say clean, but picked up. Wash the floors during nap and by the next snack time they’re sticky.

Nesting it is. It was worth a try anyways.

The ducks really only need enough water to dunk their heads but they make such a mess splashing and end up wasting all their drinking water doing so. I had put a rubber feed dish in the run to give them something a little more to splash in. It worked… kinda. They emptied that and the drinking water. The days are warming up considerably and if I want this year’s chicks (who live with the ducks right now) to have water the ducks needed something more again. I think.

When they were in the house we had them in a small kiddie pool. The kids loved it. It was fun but it didn’t take long for them to outgrow the space and make the house smell like a chicken coop. It was time for them to move out. After the flock was in the coop the pool went outside to be stored until the next batch of chicks would grace the kitchen.

Well, my “nesting mother duck” came out and those ducks needed a pond of sorts. I dug out the pool, hauled it to the outside run and scrubbed it out quite nicely… I’m not sure why. It stayed clean about as long as a freshly washed kitchen floor. A short piece of fence post scrap was set by the edge in case someone needed a step in and I began filling the “pond”. While I was watching my handy work fill, Mike brought over the four-wheeler and wagon so I could get the coop cleaned too. I’m not sure what he thought when he saw my project but he didn’t object at least.

Happy Ducks

Happy Ducks

“I’m going to go up to Erica Lane and meet Uncle Greg in a bit. I’ll be back in after while.” Mike headed out of the run. By that time I had just about finished cleaning the mud out of the waterer. As I went to leave the pen and shut off the water I had a little bit of an issue… He locked me in.

Yep.

Stuck.

The hook and eye lock on the outside was too low for me to reach over and unhook. I’d like to think I could still fit through the turkey door in the other pen but once again that wouldn’t do much good because their door was closed with a hook and eye inside the feed room. The idea of trying to climb over the fence…well even I knew that wasn’t going to happen today. The landing might have knocked the baby loose which would’ve been helpful I guess. Luck was on my side this time. I remembered I had my phone with me because I didn’t want to miss my Uncle’s call.

“Hello?”

“Hi. I promise I won’t leave the yard if you let me out of the duck pen!”

“What?”

“Please? You locked me in when you left.”

(Short silence. Then laughter.) “I’ll be right over.”

Only on our farm would mama get locked in the duck pen on the 4th of July.

Once allowed out, I got the whole coop cleaned quite nicely. The ducks were swimming in the new pond. The Ladies were happy with their fresh bedding and watermelon rinds. The nesting boxes are all cleaned and ready for fresh eggs. Baby’s still not here… So much for the “nesting” theory.

Breaking Ground

May God give you dew from heaven and make your fields fertile! May he give you plenty of grain and wine! Genesis 27:28

We are hoping for vegetables from the freshly plowed fields, but wheat and wine would be nice too. The other evening the sod was rolling for our new garden. The soil underneath looked healthy, black and alive. There are few things I enjoy more in the spring than seeing freshly worked soil. The field has laid resting for years, the telling sign was the sizable saplings that had to be removed before the brush mower could knock down last year’s grass for the plow to then turn it under.

It was a family event, as most things are on our farm. After a quick supper we migrated down the hill to the neighbors shop as he put the plow on his tractor. Shortly thereafter we were on our way to “Erica Lane”.

One tractor, one plow, one driver and four spectators.

The kids played on the swing set for the first couple passes down the field. It wasn’t very long that we were all standing at the end of the first couple runs watching the plow cut through the top soil. Our neighbor was driving the tractor, my dad got the job of removing and replacing underground cable marking flags, while Mike and I kept the curious munchkins out of the way as they inspected the new land.

“This is our garden!” exclaimed the little boy. I asked him what we will be planting in there. “Um, we can plant bananas! And apples on trees! And berries!” “Carrots and potatoes too?” “No. Bananas.”

I have a little convincing to do before we start planting. I’m up for a challenge and may be slightly crazy when it comes to planting but I’m not very optimistic that we will be growing bananas this close to Canada any time soon.

I’m only a couple months late with this… I was waiting on pictures but those can be added later I guess. I hate to get too far behind!

 

 

Making Room for Hay

I have been searching off and on to find more of the history about our farm and the Lake Julia Sanatorium that it was part of. So far I have found a fair amount of fiction and the facts I find are not what I seem to be looking for… not that I know exactly what that is.

I found a gal online that grew up on the dairy and am waiting for her to finish her book about it, which is maybe what I am looking for.? There isn’t much to know about an empty building besides the craftsmen who built it, the floor plan and legalities. Beyond that it’s just a building. If I had to guess I would say I am looking for first hand experience from those who were there, which in my family there are none left, there are a couple of the children that remember bits and pieces. That’s what makes history, buildings and their remains give the memories a visual location. A place to close your eyes and “see” the recounts come to life.

If I dug deep enough, I could probably find a few photos of family members while they were there and some that have been made public by the historical society and other public records. There are a lot of stories on Dr. Mary Chapman Ghostley, if you are looking for a female role model she would be one to read up on and when it comes to the sanatorium, history on her is mostly what I have found (aside from fictional crap). A very amazing women to say the least. I don’t live at the sanatorium, I live at the dairy farm, which by looking at the land titles and deeds, was once under the same parcel of land. I’m more interested in the daily happenings on the farm and so on. Talk about hard to find! I have the basics of the house; floor plan, legalities and such. Again, empty facts.

Photos and stories about and from the farmers and others that made life at the sanatorium possible are a real challenge. Farmer’s kept the place fed on a daily bases; no farmer, no food (same as today except they are even more forgotten these days). They were self-sustaining when it was still a normal way of life and not the newest “movement”. Looking back there is little to no recognition in the history books for these hard working families.

We have been slowly working on the barn and I know it’s probably not all original to what is was years ago just by seeing some of the old foundations in there. The manger and stanchions were broken out before we moved in. The barn is in need of a fair amount of work but it’s still straight and we use it.

I really like to restore rather than replace as much as possible in a compromise with my husband I get to keep the last 2-3 milking stalls in place with the original concrete and rebuild the manger for my milk cows. The slab on the north side gets to stay too. The rest of the broken, unused foundations will go at some point. (Not the one from a horse barn that burnt down though! Don’t think I’m giving in on that one! That’s not part of the dairy barn.)

A complete restoration of the barn is not doable for us, monetarily or functionally but the pieces that I can use and work into what we need I plan to keep. Our first year we added a fence for the cow’s pen, the second year was the goat pen and now we have started a hayloft over that portion. (“we” again is Mike, dad and brother) The hay loft addition will give us more ground space. The cow’s pen will be expanded some and the goats reconfigured. It will also give us a spot to park our “new” tractor and such.

Next summer hopefully we can tackle the outside as the majority of the boards are beyond fresh paint and need replacing. I plan to finally put in permanent stanchions where they used to be and rebuild the manger with field stone as it once was. The wooden stanchion that I made last fall for temporary use can then be modified to fit a goat or just taken apart and made into something else. The couple stanchions will be my own little tribute to history and rather than a museum piece, they will be functional and used daily. My quilting mother has said it’s more offensive to set the quilt aside in fear that it is to use it often and wear it out. That’s what I plan to do; restore what once was and wear it out!

Setting support posts

Setting support posts

Not this little boy's first time setting posts!

Not this little boy’s first time setting posts!

More progress!

More progress!

In desparte need of new siding... It's nice to feel the breeze and work in natural light I s'pose...

In desperate need of new siding… It’s nice to feel the breeze and work in natural light I s’pose…

 

Last Calf of the Season

Another Sunday morning calf was had this week. Second and last of the season. Again, a steer who couldn’t have been here for very long before we got out to the barn. He was still wet and Lucy was cleaning him off. He is even smaller than Gus, which would make sense. Lucy is full Dexter and was bread with an Angus, giving a calf that was roughly 35-40 pounds. Louise (Wheezy) is half Dexter and half Angus, baby Gus (3/4 Angus, ¼ Dexter) was 45-50 pounds give or take a few. I’m glad they were both steers; meat in the freezer. We would really like to expand the herd by another heifer or two, but they need to be Dexters. The more Angus in the cow, the more pasture they need and more hay for the winter. Not to mention, the Dexter temperament is usually on the less aggressive side. I still would rather they walk beside me rather than behind me but even more so with an Angus. Next year, hopefully the calves will be heifers, from our bull; 100% Dexter. All that aside, Lucy’s calf arrived and we missed church.

Because the calf (who I have yet to name) was so new I didn’t stand around for too long to make sure he ate while we were out there. Instead we watched for a while and went back to the house to get ready for the day. We had a busy Sunday planned, the usual day of “the rest” and started right in. We got our “town” errand done and were home by noon, much later than usual but that’s the way it goes. Once home we checked on the calf and Lucy and went about our work. It wasn’t too long after that we realized neither of us has seen the calf eat all day. Lucy looked like she was going to burst.

Lucy and Calf

Lucy and Calf

She was making a good effort to get the calf to eat. She would get him standing, all lined up and in position to eat, giving him a few nudges in the right direction and he was not interested. Not even a little. He just turned his head and walked away to his favorite patch of straw and laid back down. Lucy has had more calves than we have been a part of, this is our third and her fifth or so, I don’t have the records in front of me. Either way, we still don’t know how to fix most special situations when it comes to calving. I called my uncle and explained what was going on.

“Any advice on what we should do?”

He said we should bottle feed colostrum as soon as possible and that will sometimes get them going. “Don’t bottle feed for too long or you will end up with a bottle calf.” (I would take on a bottle calf if it were a heifer that I planned to milk, but a steer for the freezer, well, only if necessary and not on purpose.) He dropped everything he was doing and got the calf bottle and extra colostrum they had together for me. I’m so thankful he had some on hand! I was on my way in no time.

Once home again, I mixed the biggest bottle I’ve ever made, and the little miss and I headed to the barn. Now for the tricky part… getting the calf out of the pen without mama getting mad. While Mike untied an overlap in the cattle panels, I opened the gate to the chicken run for the kids. Sounds horrible I know, but in all honesty that has been the new favorite for them. The little boy laughs as he chases the chickens trying to pet one or feed them grass. The little miss, well, crawling in and out of the chicken door is her favorite. It’s probably not recommended but they are in sight, safe from the cows in the event one gets out, and having a ball (and bathed as soon as they are done). With the kids safe and a small space in the fence, Mike was able to squeeze in and grab the calf while Lucy was slightly distracted with a little cracked corn.

Have you ever bottle fed a calf? I hadn’t. I had no experience feeding a calf and this calf had no experience eating. Talk about blind leading the blind. With Mike keeping the calf in place, close to the fence (he kept trying to back up), mama on the other side watching very closely, I did what I could to get that calf to take a bottle. It was a slow process, I found it worked best to hold his chin with one hand and open his mouth a bit with my fingers while weaseling the bottle in with the other. We kinda got the hang of it. It was messy and sticky but once we figured it out as best we could the kids were over to “help”. Both were excited to pet the little guy and the little boy was so happy he got to feed the calf.

That evening it looked like he was eating, not as much as I think he should have been, but eating none-the-less. The next day, he was more active, not running sprints like Gus, but up and around and eating. He’s making progress and that’s what matters.

 

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer: Sunday Morning Surprise

Gus! and yes he's not much bigger than a Shih Tzu!

Gus! and yes he’s not much bigger than a small dog!

Any given Sunday we are late for the early church service. It’s not due to lack of effort, but for whatever reason there is always something that ends up setting us a few minutes behind. So a Sunday morning surprise is usually when we arrive a couple minutes early or at least on time. The few times we have made it just in time, they’ve started without us anyway. It’s enough of a surprise that when we made a half hour early on Christmas Eve the priest congratulated us and asked if we were told mass was at three instead of four. Hey, if we don’t make it to the early service, we don’t make it at all! And if the sermons were a little shorter, there would be a better chance of the whole family getting to sit together and get the message rather than taking turns hauling the little ones out because their one and two year old attention has been lost. Just a thought.

Last Sunday however the surprise was much greater and yes we were a couple minutes late as usual. Mike and I had it together that morning and were on schedule to make it to church on time (7:30 am by the way). He went out to feed the cows and I was getting the kids a quick something to eat to tide them over until mass was through. The phone rings just as a little girl’s handful of juicy watermelon hits the floor.

Splat!

(sigh)

“Hello?”

“Hey, put your boots on and bring a towel to the barn! Wheezy had her calf and it’s out of the fence!”

Sure! Why not?! We need to be in the car in five minutes.

“Ok little girl, on the floor for you. Melon can be eaten standing, or you’ll fall out of the highchair. I need to go help daddy in the barn.”

I grabbed the first towel I could find and “ran” out the door. By the time I got out there the calf was back through the fence and the distraught mama was calmed again… slightly. This was her first calf and she was still getting things figured out. By the looks of it, he was only on the ground for an hour or so before Mike found him. We were going to try and get the pair separated from the others so they could get things figured out without being on defense at the same time. With only half an unspoken plan we turned to head out of the barn and do a quick “cattle cut” with our big herd of 5 mini’s (ha!) and there stood the Little Boy. Mud boots on, hands in his pockets, quietly watching, not wanting to be left out of whatever Mama had to rush to the barn for.

Church! No time for separation right now. I stood quietly in the door of the barn and watched for a minute to make sure Wheezy was going to feed the little guy. She calmed and he started eating. All was good.

I picked up the Little Boy and we took a quick waddle around the corral so that he could see the new calf that caused the commotion while Mike went to the house to get the Little Miss in the car. The ride to town was filled with talk of the calf that the vet had guess to be due two weeks from now. As soon as mass was over the Little Boy was happy to tell anyone that he had a new baby calf and ducks were coming out of their shells!

After picking up groceries and breakfast with the family, I took the kids home as it was almost naptime and Mike headed to town with my dad to pick up a cattle gate for a different project. When home we went about our business as usual, unloading groceries and such. The kids wanted to go see the cows and off they went. With a new mama out there I was close behind them, I’m not sure how protective she will be. There she was, throwing a fit in the corral and the calf was nowhere to be found.

The Little Miss was quickly brought in for a nap. (Thank goodness she was ready!) Hand in hand the Little Boy and I went out to find Gus. (He got his name during breakfast) It didn’t take too long and I noticed a tiny black spot down the hill in the pasture. Heeding to my instruction “Wait here.” I left the Little Boy watching from the top of the hill and headed down with the rope halter. Here’s where Tales of the Pregnant Farmer meets a slight déjà vu. It wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the very same thing during a snowy November, home alone with the Little Boy, pregnant and carrying Elvis back to the pen.  (The Elvis story is not one listed in Tales of the Pregnant Farmer, incase you go searching.)

It was quite easy to get the halter on Gus. He was pretty well settled in to his spot in the sun and not interested in moving. I scratched him for a minute and just in time, Mike and dad pulled in. Mike was in the pasture in no time to pick up the calf that wasn’t planning on walking back on his own and knowing full well I was planning to carry him myself. With instruction on the easiest way I’ve found to carry a calf we were on our way to the barn. By this time, the Little Boy and Papa were talking to the cows and came over to greet Gus. Wheezy was anxiously waiting for him on the other side of the fence but we decided to take advantage of the separation of long horned mama and baby and banded him right away.

I’m not moving. I’m napping.-Gus

After things settled down towards the end of the day we were able to get the girls and Gus penned in in the cattle panel section. They can have their space from the Elvis and G.W. and Gus won’t be able to escape again.

No Cheese, Just Quackers!

What a weekend on the farm! Our duck eggs that I had marked on the calendar to start hatching on Saturday, started Friday morning. It was quite exciting. We all happened to be home and huddled around the incubator peering into the little windows watching with great anticipation of the shell bursting open and our first duck falling out.

Through the night Lucky (the duck) pecked his way around the top of the shell. Mike noticed the cracks and some movement early Friday morning and from then on, “duckling watch” had begun. Everyone checking in any time we happened to walk by… so all the time. It wasn’t too long and the Little Boy was on the bench with his nose to the glass watching and the top of the shell popped off and a tiny duck head peeked out. There looked like a bit of a struggled for a few seconds to which our little guy, who was quite concerned exclaimed “Help him!” “We can’t buddy. He needs to get out of his shell by himself.” That was not the answer he was looking for but kept watching anyway. With a little more effort Lucky was out! Barely standing and very wobbly we had our first egg hatch.

Did you know ducklings can live for a couple days without food or water?! That’s how they can be shipped without provisions. I did not know this. It was after a text to a friend who know everything there is to know about poultry that I learned this. You are not supposed to remove the bird from the incubator until everyone that should hatch did. It is very important to keep it humid in there or the babies can get stuck in their shell. Lucky came out that evening regardless. Our house is so dry we needed to add water anyway. So one added water while the other grabbed the duck.

The next morning Tallulah broke out of her shell. Just as the day before, she was greeted with great anticipation and excitement… in fact we were all a little late for where we needed to be because of it. Three more emerged on Sunday morning while we were at church, for a total of three blue and two fawn Runner Ducks. I am holding out hope that at least one chocolate one will hatch; I was really hoping for that color, but we will see I guess.

There are six eggs left to go. One was chirping and moving so hopefully we will see that one soon. That would bring us to our fifty percent hatch rate, which is what I was hoping for. We will give the rest a couple more days and see what happens. If none of the chocolates hatch this year, maybe we will try again next year.

 

Lucky the duck!

UPDATE: A chocolate one hatched during the night! We have two fawn and two chocolate left to possibly hatch!

A Duck Egg Update

A quick duck egg update:

It has been a week since the eggs arrived. I was asked by almost everyone that I told we were getting duck eggs “How do they ship those?” To which I had the great reply of “In an egg carton in a box? Maybe?”

They were shipped in a large box with bubble wrap and a thick foam pad that had holes punched out. Each egg was carefully wedged in a hole and in pencil noted what color of duck should come out of the egg. I liked the labeling; it’s much easier than the guessing game of which chick is which when we order live chicks. Questions answered.

The day after the eggs arrived, they were put into the incubator. They are supposed to sit for a day, point down just in case the air sack was jarred loose during shipping. The rest allows the sack to reattach to the top of the egg where it belongs from what I hear. The temperature has hovered around 99.5 f. From what I’ve read a steady temperature of 99.8 is needed for the first 25 days of incubation for the duck eggs. Hmm. A quick prayer and duck egg blessing and we are hoping for the best! After the first week you can candle the eggs to check development and remove any unfertilized or dead eggs… again from what I’ve read.

Candling eggs is basically shining a bright light onto each egg, allowing you to be able to see through the shell enough to see what stage in development the potential bird is. You can buy special flashlight type devices made just for this special task… We have not purchased one; go figure (I prefer multi-use tools). I did however candle the eggs the other morning with my own special tool. Using my goose hunting head lamp and an empty toilet paper roll, I had my own task specific egg candling device. Ya’ know what?! It worked well! Next time I will probably cut the roll in half. I don’t think the whole thing is necessary, but it was early and the thought process was still a little slow.

We had ordered 12 eggs- Mike picked out 6 of the fawn color (also known as pencil runners), I really liked the chocolate and the blue, so I picked 3 of each.

After our first week’s candling, from what I can tell there is one fawn that is dead and one blue that wasn’t fertilized or died right away. The rest have the veining that they are supposed to. There may be a couple more that won’t make it. They were a little iffy, so they can sit for another week and we’ll see what kind of progress they make… if any.

 

This is our first time incubating so by all means this is not meant to instruct, it’s just to note our first time attempting to hatch eggs.

 

Opening New Garden Ground

So last year we didn’t get to put in a garden, instead I watched progress on another that I pass on my drive to work. We changed our plans as to where the garden was going to go so nothing was planted. The year before I was too excited to get planting and things didn’t turn out well. You can bet I am itching to get back out there. I’ve got my seed list ordered. I cut way back from the initial list I had planned. It was a little disappointing but I just added them to the 2017 garden plans (yes, I have already started those too.)

With none of my own planting to tend last year I got my “gardening fix” as best I could through reading all sorts of farm and garden books. It’s always a good time to learn something new! All that reading has both complicated and simplified my garden planning. I now have spreadsheet upon spreadsheet that I used to put my garden map together. It started with planning the CSA gardens. Everything I have read about running a successful CSA comes back to precise planning and lots of record keeping. My plan is to have CSA shares available for the summer of 2017, for that to happen I needed to start some serious planning in the fall of 2015. I know it seems like a long ways off but seeing the binder of spreadsheets I’ve got started, well, it’s a good thing I started when I did!

Those spreadsheets and maps will only take me so far. There comes a time when I just need to get out there and plant. That is what this summer is for. Planning this summer’s garden wasn’t quite as challenging as the one for next year for a few reasons: there is less to plant, the growing season will be shorter and there is less successional planting to do for our family garden.

My focus for the family garden is some vegetables for fresh eating but the majority for preserving for winter. The focus for the CSA is the opposite, all for fresh eating and weekly harvests achieved through successional planting. Even with different purposes I will still get the missing information I will need this year to complete my plans for next year.

This year’s growing season will be shorter only because we moved the plot (twice now) since last year. Plowing new ground takes some time… and a tractor with a plow. We can make the time but will need to borrow a tractor. The family garden will be planted as soon as the ground is tilled- not the smartest plan, but I can only be so patient. The CSA plots will get tended and maintained for the summer to encourage soil health for optimum vegetable growth next year- the more correct way to go about a new garden plot.

Then there’s more fencing to do as well! The garden space is going to need a fence. A good one. There is plenty of wildlife that would love the opportunity to graze fresh vegetable as soon as they come available. That’s not okay. So a fencing we will go. It really is never ending when it comes to fencing.

But first things first, we still have some cleanup to do from the previous owners. That’s where we’ve started. We measured and flagged where the garden is going to go. Then started taking down the old garden fences that look to have been abandoned long ago. The grass has overtaken the garden mesh. Half the posts are rotted off and the others are “well-planted” and will need a bit more force to remove.

Every time we are up there good progress is made and at this point that’s all we can hope for. Just keep working on it. I can envision the end result and it’s going to be worth it!

One of many grown-in garden fences to remove

One of many grown-in garden fences to remove

The little miss "helping" during nap time.

The little miss “helping” during nap time. (and a 28 week pregnant mama)

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer: You Look Like My Wife

“You look like my wife.”

It’s a popular rodeo clown joke. That was funny at the first couple rodeos when you were old enough to get the joke. Now it’s more of an “eye roller”. It takes a pretty good clown to pull that one off these days as far as I’m concerned… Unless you’re my husband. He’s not a rodeo clown but has once again managed to pull off a questionable feat.

I got home from another long day at work to find my family swinging on the front porch. A sight that always makes me smile. When I joined them we began talking about our days and enjoying a few minutes before going in for supper when my husband says:

“Don’t take this wrong, but tonight when we were feeding the cows I realized you look like Wheezy.” (For the newer readers Wheezy is my brother’s pregnant heifer.) “She walked into the barn and the look on her face was a lot like yours. She looked very uncomfortable.” (She also looks big and pregnant. We are due about a month apart.)

Last weekend we were at my sisters for family supper. It had been a great day– we cleaned some of the new garden plot, I cleaned the whole chicken coop and got the goats hooves trimmed! Needless to say by the time supper was ready I was moving very slow. We were called to come dish up and my husband says “Come on Wheezy. Do you need help?” Mom picked up on “Wheezy” right away and then the story came.

First, the first time he mentioned I looked like Wheezy and on from there… “I can’t get away from it! I get the same look in the house as I get in the barn!” On he continued, all the while the rest of us were laughing so hard we were crying. I should have taken a video because this isn’t even half of what he had to say and I was laughing too hard to take note of everything that was coming so enthusiastically from his direction. Maybe next time (I’m sure there will be a next time) I will have to have him write the story.

Disclaimer- Picture was taken in the morning right after a big cup of coffee!

Disclaimer- Picture was taken in the morning right after a big cup of coffee!

Gentlemen, there are very few times that likening your wife to a cow will result in a favorable response from her. I don’t recommend trying, but if you do I wish you the best of luck!

 

Serious Barn Therapy

Barn.HayWagon

“Maybe you need to sit in the barn for a day.”    – Mike, husband

I have been struggling with almost constant headaches and migraines for a few weeks now. The barn was Mike’s suggestion to my curiosity about an ear piercing that supposedly minimizes or cures migraines for good. He’s right. I am in need of some serious barn therapy. The lack of writing about the farm and animals is a good indication that I haven’t been doing my fair share of chores this winter. It’s true, my pregnant farmer days have slowed to next to none unfortunately, but with the nice weather coming it’s time I get out of the house and get going on things again. Mike has been doing a great job out there and has tamed the girls down again. Finally Lucy (the milk cow) will eat out of our hands again and Wheezy too!

It seems like a very long time since I have been knee deep with my pitch fork. I’m pretty sure when he said “sit” he meant just that. Just sitting in the barn although a great thought, just might do me in. The longer I sit, the more time I have to see everything that needs to be done and think of what can’t be seen that needs doing too. Nope, sitting will come after the barn time. After I waddle my way to the house, just before my back tightens up for the night and I make pancakes for supper because I’m done for the day. (Yes, that happens here too. Mama fails to plan ahead and its pancakes for all!)

Last weekend, Mike was able to sneak me out of the house while the kids napped and bread rose. It was nice to wander through the barn and check on everyone. The goat’s hooves looked pretty good. I will pencil them into my schedule a couple weeks from now for a pedicure. Otherwise, everyone was looking great and eagerly waiting at their fences for whatever handout they may be offered. Lucy and Wheezy are looking rather wide, and healthily pregnant. Little G.W. could use some green pasture for a while. He’s looking good just small yet. It won’t take much summer for him to catch up. Elvis’s horns are more than nubs now; I’d like to keep him around for another year or two just to grow those out before butchering. That isn’t going to happen though.

If you have never spent serious time in a barn you really should! (you can use mine, pitch fork included!) There is nothing like it. When chaos happens in the barn, (yes “when”, there is no “if” there) it passes quickly and once again you are left in a quiet calm. There is peace in there. Time to think and relax, even while working. It seems to be the easiest way to reset yourself, to regain a handle on things and recharge. This is probably why morning chores are my favorite… though I haven’t been doing them in a while. Even a quick “hurry up and get the animals fed before the kids wake up” takes twenty minutes or so and is enough to start your day on the bright side. (again I will offer the barn therapy sessions for free seven days a week)

I’ve now seen how things go when I skip out on my barn time and it’s past time that I get back out there!