Sweet Caroline’s Spring Run

“Sweet Care-wa-wine!” and Little Miss

I’ve got the baby in the high chair feeding him his second lunch when the phone rings.

“Hey, uh, can you come out here for a minute?”

It was Mike and it seems a fair amount of stories start this way on the farm. So I moved Boy 2 to his play seat so he won’t get into anything while I’m out, throw my boots on, grab some gloves and run out the door.

Boy 1 is standing outside the barn directing me there. Upon entering Little Miss is standing on the stock tank hollering “Sweet Care-wa-wine” in her shrill little girl voice. Mike is telling her to quiet down and Boy 1 to get away from the door. There stands Sweet Caroline by the stack of hay outside the pen. She knows that spot well because that’s where I tie her in the mornings when I want her out of the pen and still need to take her for a walk around the yard. It’s where she starts her breakfast while I clean the pen or feed the rest of the herd.

“I guess I shouldn’t have left the gate open. She headed right over to the bag of alfalfa cubes.”

I grabbed her halter with the intention of putting it on her like I’ve done so many times before. This time she made a run for the door. She was wound up, I assume from the kids and Mike. There was much excitement and anxiety in the barn when I arrived. Doesn’t matter why, the point is she was out.

I grabbed an extra lead rope, her rope halter and a pocket full of alfalfa cubes and headed out the door after her.

They kids reluctantly went to watch the happenings from the front porch.

Very rarely do I run to catch an out cow… Never actually. They just run faster and in the wrong direction. I wandered about the yard and managed to direct Caroline into the pig gate at the corner of the corral.

Once she was through the gate she was pretty well contained, not where she was supposed to be but within a fence at least. I circled around the barn to the north gate to make sure she wasn’t going back to the yard from that direction. In the meantime Mike had closed the pig gate and we had Caroline in the summer pasture.

I am quite particular about the pasture. The cows are only allowed out there at certain times. They are sent out late in the spring once the grass has grown at least knee high. Then they are allowed in each paddock for no more than a week at a time. This allows for long healthy pasture all the way to August. From then on the grass slows considerably and gets eaten pretty short. They are pulled from the pasture after the first hard frost to prevent and plant damage. Having Caroline take a spring run about the summer pasture isn’t going to cause and irreparable damage but the sooner she was back in the corral the better.

One other minor problem we were on the edge of having is when the corral gate opens to the summer pasture everyone is ready to run. I don’t blame them, come spring I’m ready to get out too. I don’t want to try and get the whole herd back in if we don’t have to.

After a few more tries with the halter I gave up. She was too unsettled to bother with it. Instead Mike tossed a few flakes of hay over the opposite fence and everyone gathered there. That gave Mike time to come up behind Caroline through the pig gate and push her up the hill towards me, where I opened the corral gate and shuffled her in.

By this time the kids were right back to the fence and happy to point out that through all that went on the gate in the barn, the one that was open to begin with, was still open.

Caroline back in the pen.

Once all the gates were closed and everyone was on the correct side of the fence I ran back to the house. Little boy 2 was upset, very upset, but he was safe and that’s what counts. We rocked and he napped and all was calm on the farm again.



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Sweet Caroline’s Homecoming

Sweet Caroline


The morning was off to a great start, in fact if I didn’t know better I would have thought we were trying to make it to church on a Sunday morning ending up late as usual. This morning, however, we were off to Cavalier, North Dakota. We made it to the end of the driveway when the first spider dropped from the roof right in front of my face. I screamed, threw the mail that I had just pulled from the box and almost caused Mike to hit the ditch. I had no idea where the spider went and from that point on was on edge to say the very least. About a mile down the road a huge spider dropped by Mike. Again I screamed and reached for the door causing Mike to swerve a bit. He got that one. Along came spider number three a few miles past that. It was another big one, it got the same reaction from me and it went missing. We stopped at the only gas station on the way and Mike searched it out and took care of him. “One more spider and I’m going to walk” I said. We were a few minutes late out the door to begin with but nothing that we couldn’t make up, after the attack of the spiders we were late. Cyril and Scout made it do daycare in time for breakfast and we were finally on our way. Almost. We had to stop at my parents and pick up my dad’s truck and a friends trailer. With Emerson in his baby carrier strapped in the back seat, we were on our way.

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She Just Climbed Over and Thump!

The January thaw that usually only lasts for a couple days has lasted for a few weeks this year and we have been taking full advantage of the warm weekends. It has been a great time to get everyone’s pens deep cleaned before we plummet back into sub-zero temperatures. It was pretty exciting to have a blister on my hand mid-winter that wasn’t from a woodstove. That’s some good work! This Sunday was no exception.

Once the kids were down for their afternoon naps Mike and I headed to the barn. I was busy cleaning in the cow pen; we are going to have some great compost this year! I was happily running my pitch fork getting things all pretty for the herd while Mike was busy in the goat pen. I had the bigger area but he had the bigger job I would say. The ducks are doing quite well in the goat pen and not making nearly the water mess they could. They are however making themselves known. Mike spent a portion of time chipping the little ice rink out from around the mini stock tank. He then removed the tank and shoved Stinky Hank back into his own pen. His time with Scarlet was up. With any luck there will be some kids coming late spring! With everyone separated accordingly we were able to install the insulated tank my dad made. Talk about nice! Those are some spoiled goats!

I had the cow pen cleaned just as Mike was ready to start wheel barrowing out the goat pen cleanings. It was the same time that the cows remembered there was a fresh bag of alfalfa cubes in the barn and if they all line up to the rail there’s a good chance of getting a treat or two (or five if the Little Miss is feeding). This isn’t a big deal but to get to the winter heap we have to go through the cow pen. For the most part this is done without a second thought. The eager faces were quickly disappointed when the realized I was not going to be handing out and treats, but they were not moving. G.W. (the bull) has watched me take Sweet Caroline out of the pen a few times through that gate and he’s been pretty sure that that’s where he wants to head. Smart cow, he knows where the good stuff is kept.

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