I had said that I wanted the potatoes dug before the baby arrived. I shouldn’t have. She was a week late and the potatoes were still in the ground. I had been busy getting other work done but it was becoming obvious that she was waiting for me to get to work in the garden. Forty one weeks and I was digging potatoes. Mike was busy prepping the wheat field for next spring and the kids were taking turns riding the tractor and playing with the worms unearthed as I dug. I finished the red potatoes at the same time that Mike had finished the field, also the same time the kids were ready for lunch. We called it a day in the garden, loaded the potatoes and headed home.
It would be another week before baby arrived and needless to say I was more than ready to lose the extra girth. It’s surprising how much more difficult daily tasks are when you belly is “out to here”.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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!
“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!
I’m happy to announce that Tales of the Pregnant Farmer will be starting again. The morning I got two positive tests, yes two, I didn’t believe the first, I was out catching chickens. Starting this pregnancy off right, again!
Here’s weeks leading up to now…
Chores were done in the usual, high class fashion, at 5 am that morning. My best bedhead, bath robe, barn coat and boots. Classy! There was nothing out of the ordinary with that morning’s routine other than I had to catch 3-4 chickens to bring to town to be sold before work. I must say my chicken catching skills have greatly improved since last fall. It didn’t take too long to have the ladies in the crate and ready for town.
A few days later…
I’m not going to claim pregnancy brain as of yet, even though most days I think I’ve lost my memory and mind when our oldest came along, I’m holding out hope anyway. I was having a usual day at work, nothing exciting to speak of, when my husband called.
“Did you use the back door this morning?”
“Probably? I assume so. I don’t remember I guess.” (I did remember later, yes I went out on the porch to get a trellis for a plant that was drooping.)
“The door was wide open. Did you leave the dogs out?”
“Yes, the two big ones.”
Apparently they were all outside and the cat who lives in the barn had ventured into the house. He wasn’t in there when Mike arrived, but the evidence was stuck to his foot. The little fella must have really been snooping, because when he was found outside he was attached to a sticky mouse trap. Better than a snap trap I guess.
So after we got all that figured out and gave a second thought to the furnace that was most likely running all morning. I hung up and continued working. Not too long after the phone rang again.
“You must have been sleep walking this morning; the gate was open in the barn too.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake!”
The cows were out in the corral and if any of them would have wandered that direction it would have been the boys and they would have just hung out and ate hay off the stack. Thank goodness.
The little boy was a breeze. The little Miss was a physical challenge between chores and dress (the Christmas party incident). Number three could be quite a doozey at this rate!