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.

The drive was uneventful. The sugar beet harvest is in full swing in the Red River Valley area, there were extra trucks on the road but the traffic wasn’t too bad. We past miles of flat land fields of soybeans, potatoes, and the sugar beets divided only be tree rows and shelter belts around the farm yards. It was a nice day to see some new country. We made our way down some one-lane gravel roads and came to a small farm tucked in amongst the commercial farms.

A mother hen and nineteen chicks wandered by, there was a flock of guineas checking a fence line and the cow in the pasture. The majority of the time when we pick up an animal the seller is ready to just load it up, get the cash and we are on our way. This couple was very nice and began visiting. It was really interesting to hear how they were pretty much self-sustaining on their fifteen acre farm. That day they had a litter of piglets in the garden cleaning up this year’s leftovers and “tilling” in preparation for next year’s planting.

Heather explained her cow breeds she was pasturing; two “butter cows” as she referred to them and Irish Dexters. The butter cows were crosses of high cream small dairy breeds which she used for butter. The dexters milk was their prefered drinking milk and beef. We loaded our new heifer into the trailer and were once again on our way. The drive back was a little longer due to the precious cargo and we were behind schedule to pick the kids up from daycare as well.

My parents agreed to pick up the kids for us allowing time for us to unload Sweet Caroline and clean out the trailer. Simple enough, it shouldn’t take long, one would think. Nothing ever goes as planned so we should have figured that if we were able to make the whole trip and nothing happen, something was going to happen at home. It did.

We pulled into the yard and up between the flowering crab trees to get lined up with the barn door for easy unloading and then it happened. The truck tires began to spin and we weren’t going anywhere. Put ‘er four-wheel drive and still nothing. We had gotten a fair amount of rain all season and apparently the ground was softer than we realized.

We tried pulling with our truck from all directions and still there we sat. Once all options there were exhausted Mike pulled out the tractor. We unhooked the trailer from the truck and using the tractor got the truck pulled into the driveway where I proceeded to turn towards the house. I figured that since I didn’t have the trailer behind me the small hill I was turning down wouldn’t be an issue. I was wrong. We didn’t have the truck out for a full two minutes before I got it stuck again. Once more Mike and the John Deere pulled me back to semi-solid ground and I parked along side the barn.

While all of this towing was going on I had the baby in his carrier on the center council trying to feed him a bottle with one hand and drive with the other. Surprisingly it worked out ok and by the time the truck was parked he was sleeping. Perfect timing considering there was still a trailer with a cow stuck in the barnyard too.

Mike got out his chain and we wrapped it around the three point tractor hitch and the other end on the trailer hitch. When the three point was lifted, the trailer jack was just barely off the ground, but enough so that we could very slowly push it back to the open barn door. Finally, I was able to open the trailer gate and wait for the little lady to hop out into her new barn. It took a little coaxing with some rolled corn but she came out without too much fuss.

After that the rest of the evening went on without any troubles. We used the tractor to get the trailer to the truck and got everything hooked backed up, cleaned out and ready for another day.

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