I went to the local co-op yesterday. Ya’ know, just do’n the farmer thing. Picking chicken feed and bedding, lick tubs for the cows.
Usually I just get one bag of chicken feed at a time. There isn’t any room for more with all the kids in the car. The guys will put the bag of feed on the front seat. When I get home I put one foot on the side of the SUV and the other on the ground. If I pull the bag just right it will roll out of the car and into the wheelbarrow. Then I can wheel it to the door of the coop and hope I dump it in the door right next to the 55 gallon can that the feed should go in. I just push it to the side as best I can and there it will sit until I’ve used half or so and then it can finally be lifted and poured into the can. (Yeah I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time to waste scooping feed from the bag to the can. The kids, though helpful, still need supervision with such a job too.)
Yesterday, I had a list. So I hooked up the trailer and loaded up the kids and hit the road.
“Morning! I’ve got a list today. I need 3 bags of chicken bedding, a cattle lick tub,”
”What kind of tub are you looking for?”
”Um...A big one?”
(Thank goodness the guys that work there are patient!)
”Let’s head into the office and see what you need.”
Once that was figured out, they kindly loaded the rest of my list and we were on our way home. Everything was going smoothly.
Then I got home.
The trailer needed unloading. That lick tub I mentioned, yeah, that weighs 225lbs. Double what I weigh. The feed for the ladies (laying hens) comes in 100lb bags (hense the heave-ho wheelbarrow yoga). The broiler chick feed is in 50lb bags, those I got. Just like flour and oatmeal.
Oh Lordy! Here we go! Let’s hope the neighbors aren’t watching, right?
First the chicken bedding. Easy enough. Pressed bails of shavings. No big deal. Then stack on the chick feed. I also picked up a 60lb tub for Charlotte and Grace to share since they get special treatment and barn access for the summer. That tub I could slide, lift and shuffle off the trailer and through the gate, pen and barn.
The beast of a tub for the rest of the herd I slid on the trailer until it caught the lip before the ramp. Then I braced myself as best I could on the ramp and pulled towards me onto it’s side and rolled it down the ramp. You’d think that then it’s just an easy roll to the pasture. You’d think wrong. These wonderful tubs, and I do mean wonderful, once empty we use them for all sorts of things,they have a slight taper. That means when you roll them, the roll in a circle, not a straight line.
So there I am rolling this tub in nice thick grass. The path looks about the same as the trail I leave with the wheelbarrow- what I’d imagine the route would look like after someone closes down a bar, the after party and then have to walk the white line.
Roll. Push. Swear. Roll. Pull. All the way to the pasture. By the time I made it to the gate I had an audience- the bull and family. A pile of corn at the opposite end and a run back to the gate before they noticed and I was able to unchain the gate and make my final roll. At this point I’m watching the cows, wondering if I’m close to standing up straight and how the hell am I going to get this 225lb tub upright. If it were winter I could have braced myself against a frozen cow pie. There’s no such thing in the summer though. Summer you’d just slide right through. I wiggled the tub a little closer to the gate post and put my foot up on it and pulled. The tub tipped up and I fell back, landing right next to a... pie of sorts.
Now for the feed bags. The big ones.
Somewhere along the way I lost my sandals. (appropriate footwear I know). One by one I yanked the feed bags onto their side and drug them down the ramp, into the grass. Standing with my back to the coop, hanging onto the top of the bags, picture the stance for a “granny roll” while bowling. Yeah. That was me, except I was waddling backwards towards the coop with this giant bag of feed. I actually wore one of these bags for Halloween a few years back. It fit with room. Now I’m dragging the damn things across the yard. Oh how times change.
Once I shoved the bags into the coop. Right next to the can they go in.
And there you have it! Just another day on the farm.