I have been reading a new blog that was referred to me because we seem to have a lot in common. It is written by Julia and is titled Of Petals and Wool, they live and work a dairy farm. Now if any of you know anything about a dairy farmer you know how hard they work! I know it is very hard for them to go on vacations trying to get someone to fill in for them, and someone who isn't afraid of the cows :-) We had some friends that were dairy farmers and when she went into the hospital to have her baby she said it was like a vacation. While reading some of Julia's posts it brought back some memories of life here a few winters ago, so I thought I would share them for a good laugh. (And her post today just added more memories to mine. Oh boy what a day she had!!! ) One of my favorite ones didn't happen to me but to Art and the girls, but I was witness to it. I had gone in for a hysterectomy and had been home a couple of days when we were hit with a one bad ice storm. Knowing that the barn lot was like a skating rink I took my pillow, pressed it hard to my stomach and went to the window to watch the guys feed. It was so slick they could not walk, Lindsay our oldest daughter finally got down on her hands and knees and crawled to the barn door. I laughed so hard, well as hard as I could with a 10" incision on my abdomen oh it hurt so bad to laugh! They, however didn't think it was funny.
This one they did think was funny because it happened to me. Many times the hoses would freeze up, even though we would drain them before we came in. Thus, requiring us to carry 5 gallon buckets of water out to fill up the tanks and buckets. We typically would throw water or break out ice in the same spot so we wouldn't slip on it and fall. Well, I was off in another world one evening I guess because I walked right over our little hill of frozen danger, carrying 2 "full" five gallon buckets of water. I feel flat on my back, and yep you guessed it dumped all 10 gallons of water on to myself. I was so mad I probably was steaming in the frigid air. My husband told me to go in and change but I just wanted to get the feeding done, get in the house and warm up. So I finished my work (which was feeding our 4 horses and filling their tank with water) and by the time I got into the house my clothes were frozen, seriously they were frozen stiff. The zipper on my sweatshirt was frozen closed and I couldn't unzip it. I had to pull it off over my head. Oh and two 5 gallon buckets of water was just a drop in the bucket...pardon the pun....we had to go to the hydrant and fill them many many many times when the hose was froze.
Oh and hoses are not all that freezes. When your gloves get wet and you touch a metal gate your hand immediately freezes on the gate. I did that one day it was so slick where the horses would walk that I went to fall, grabbed the gate, but my body was in motion to fall....needless to say I almost dislocated my shoulder as to the abrupt stop.
One of our favorite and fun animals we had was Annabelle. She was a Jersey, dairy heifer.
She was so tame and when she was a calf the girls played with her like a dog. Well she grew up, and weighed over 500 lbs. One December "Moo" as we nicknamed her decided she wanted to venture out of the barn lot and into our front yard. The gate was only opened a crack but they can see that a mile off I tell you and when she did there was NO stopping her. We had set up a manger scene in our front yard with a stable building that my Dad had made. When Moo got out we knew we were in trouble as you don't just call a cow back like you do a dog. We yelled at Lindsay to go get feed to lure her back in. One thing that Moo liked better than freedom was her food. She saw Lindsay carrying the green feed scoop and off she ran towards her. Now being a pet has no significance when you are being chased by a 500 lb animal. Lindsay took off running down the drive way and darted into the manger building right behind the 3 Wise Men. Moo was right after her but slipped on our icy driveway sliding on her side for about 50 feet. When she got up she had made this long solid smooth line down the snowy driveway. She wasn't hurt (thank goodness) and Art took the scoop and lead her back into her pen. I can still to this day see her sliding on her side all 4 feet up in the air down our drive.
Julia was saying on her blog today that she was mounted by a calf. Yep, had that happen to me too. Only Moo wasn't a calf when this happened. My husband and I were moving hay on a 2 wheel dolly from the hay barn into the horses barn. On the way back to the hay barn I said hey give me a ride. So I stepped onto the dolly and he leaned me back a ways and off we go. Now where Moo was hiding and how she got to me so fast we still cannot figure out. She came "running" towards us jumped up ONTO me on the dolly with my arms pinned down to my side her legs on either side of my head, and a slimmy, cold cow's nose in my face. I was screaming "get off me Moo." Art, at that 'exact' moment became Superman~ because now he not only was supporting me on the dolly but this 500 lb bovine (cow) and we are going backwards! Now how he didn't fall I am still amazed at. We laugh now but at the time all we could see were the headlines in the local paper. Local Woman Crushed by Milk Cow see how it wasn't funny at the time? She finally got off me and Art's arms were shaking! Me...my whole body was.
Julia was talking about how in the winter you don't clean pens or stalls you just add to the bedding to make it cleaner. Then in the Spring when you go to clean out the barns you have 3 feet of packed half frozen, wet, HEAVY bedding to clean up.
Oh and one interesting tidbit...did you know duck's feet will freeze to a barn floor when they get wet? Well they do and you have to "unfreeze" them. How fun!
We don't have all the animals any longer to take care of in the winter. I miss it sometimes and then some days when the temp is -5 below, Nope don't miss it. Eggs frozen and broke, doors frozen shut, hydrants frozen, latches on gates frozen, gates frozen to the ground, fingers, toes, and noses frozen.
Winters on a farm can be so challenging and frustrating.....but boy do they make the memories. Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me. Oh and the hot, humid months a whole other story........
So from cold, Indiana, best wishes.