Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just another day on the farm


Now that J-Boy has left and I am in between students, I can focus on getting things around the house done and help Hubby with work that he needs to get done. You'd think that now that I've got "free time" since I'm waiting for the next batch of students, I'd be able to relax. Right? Wrong! Definitely wrong!

Today started out bright and early with a load of laundry to be washed and hung outside to dry. After that, Chance needed to be groomed...desperately! Next, weed the garden, pick asparagus and rhubarb. Clean and cut rhubarb, and then put them into freezer bags to freeze for later use.

Hubby and I were supposed t0 fix fences and move cattle from one field to another. After that, we were supposed to fix a tractor that had broken down. We started to move cattle right after lunch and by the time we finished, it was 6:30! Nothing ever goes as planned when you live on a farm! Now I understand why we can't just make out a schedule and follow it. Something always goes wrong, things fall apart or break down...and the cattle almost never do what you want them to do!

The girls and their calves went into the bush, through the swamp, and every which way they could that was the opposite of where we were trying to get them to go. They could have gone the easiest, most direct way, but chose to make more work for us. Poor Hubby was running and trying to get ahead of the herd. I was trying to direct them away from the bush (aka forest or woods for city folks like me). I was exhausted. I don't know how Hubby does this all the time!

When we tried to get the heifers and their calves from the barn into the field, the heifers left just bolted and left all their babies at the barn! Try coaxing a bunch of calves out of the only territory they know! They are so cute, but so stubborn! Their mommies were gone and they sure as heck did not want to leave the barn! Even though the gate was open and green pastures awaited, they weren't having any of it.

When I got back home, I almost forgot that I had laundry hanging out to dry that needed to be brought in. I'm sort of glad that I don't have students right this month. I don't know how I would manage!

Oh, just to show you how much of a city girl I still am, here's a little conversation Hubby and I shared while we were fixing fences today.

Hubby: Okay, can you secure the fencing pliers against the blah, blah?
Me: Huh?
Hubby: Blah, blah...leverage...blah, blah, blah. Blah, blah, the insulator.
Me: Uhhhh...
Hubby: That's good! Perfect! Do that again!
Me: Ummmm...

Seriously, I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. I guess I must have been doing something right, because we managed to get the electric fence fixed.

Some days I wonder how on earth I managed to get accustomed to country life so easily. Never ever in a million years would I have imagined living the lifestyle I am living now. I have absolutely zero experience living on a farm (with the exception of a two week field trip I went on with my class when I was in grade 3! We spent two weeks on a farm in Ormstown, Quebec). Now, I don't think twice about being knee deep in cow manure while I try to push the calves out of the barn and into the field. Okay, so it wasn't knee deep. It was ankle deep! Haha! The old me would have been totally grossed out. The old me would never have been caught dead in coveralls, a baseball cap, work boots and no make-up! Now, it's more like, "Mehhh...so what? It's organic matter. It's fertilizer. It really isn't that bad" and I still put make-up on, style my hair, wear heels and nice outfits. I just don't do that when I'm working on the farm! My, how times have changed! I actually think cat litter smells much worse than the lovely cow pies the cattle leave behind. I like getting dirty in the garden. I really enjoy growing our own fruits and veggies and making homemade everything. I just need to learn how to drive stick shift, because this driving 2 km/hr on the tractor and just doesn't cut it for me!

I would also love to learn more farm lingo! I sound like an idiot sometimes. When we were in the middle of calving season, Hubby said that someone called to tell us that "a cow dropped". I immediately gasped and said, "Oh my gosh! Is the cow okay?!?!?!" Hubby started laughing a big, hearty laugh. "No, no. A cow dropped a calf. It means that she gave birth and now there's a little calf in the field". "Oh".

Doing farm chores with Hubby makes me realize just how hard Hubby works every day. I kind of feel guilty when I say that I've had a rough day teaching or so and so wasn't listening...and then I see all the crazy hard work Hubby does every day! He's definitely a keeper!!! I guess he's a keeper especially now that he says I look cute in my coveralls, ponytail, sunglasses and work boots and when I'm dressed up and made up to go out when we're in the city or at a function!

7 comments:

mrinz said...

We use 'dropped' when a cow has her calf also. And 'slipped' if she loses the calf during pregnancy.

Hubby needs a good couple of NZ working farm dogs to help with the cattle.

We could tell our dogs to go and get the cows in for milking and they would streak off down to the far end of the farm and start bringing them down - provided we left the gates open of course. The one thing we never trained them to do was open the gates! hehe.

C said...

Mrinz:
Wow! That would be great! Wee need some NZ working farm dogs! ;) The only thing my dog does is chase after the cattle and get them worked up even more! He hasn't been taught to herd them in. He was two years old when we moved up here.

He's such a city dog that even the Canada goose goslings chase after him and he runs away! LOL! It was so funny! One morning, I was getting breakfast ready and I looked out the window because I saw something strange. Chance was running back and forth across the lawn and when I took a second look, I started laughing. There was this little gosling running after Chance and hissing at him! LOL!!!

He's getting better though. Chance has learned how to stay away from porcupines and chase raccoons up a tree. He's learned to not let strangers onto the property (this works only half of the time). He prefers to spend his day playing with rocks (which isn't great for the lawnmower, since he brings the rocks on the grass). He's finally realized that he is much bigger than the barn cats. He used to take a brutal beating from them, and has just started chasing them up trees. *sigh*

Mrinz, I didn't know you had a dairy operation too! Where on earth do you find the time! I'm really interested in your kiwi operation!!!

VE said...

I think I'm part cat...I feel like that picture too.

t said...

good lord! john is indeed very lucky to have a city girl who is willing to go country! not many of you around chris!i'm city through and through

mrinz said...

Chance is so funny! I doubt that he is trainable at this old age to be a hardy working dog!

I did get my tenses a bit mixed up - I was talking about when I was a child growing up on a farm.

Our farm was what is known as a 'mixed' farm with some river flat paddocks and some hill country. So we had a milking herd for the flats and ran sheep on the hills.

This was a busy farm for my father (and us - we worked hard as well) as we had the daily grind of milking cows and feeding calves etc plus the care that sheep need also.

Our team of working dogs were an essential part of our farm and highly valued. They saved a lot of manpower and effort. This of course is still relevant today on farms here - all farmers have their farm dogs to herd.

Sheep dogs have extra skills of course - eye dogs can mesmerize a sheep and hold it until it is caught.

Calfkeeper said...

ha ha...yes, I know all about the weird farm terms you have to get used to. Hubby talked about "springers" and I was thinking Spaniels, not heifers about to calve.

The cows will know exactly which way you want them to go and they deliberately WON'T go that direction...I am convinced of it! The calves are cute, but they are so frustrating when they won't go the right direction either. Hubby says that's why he put ME in charge of them. Thanks Dear!

About losing stock...it's hard, so hard! I know. I've never gotten "used" to it, I just learn how to deal. You have to think of it as a business, not a collection of cute personalities. Which doesn't make it any easier, but helps.

Uncivil said...

I love the smell of "Cow Pies" in the morning........but "horse pies" smell better.
I would say horses and cows are the least offensive in the odor area.
I think it's great that you help hubby with the chores C.

Oh BTW......my little birdies met Mr Chicken Snake. It wasn't good!
My first thought was hmmmmmm.......they've been eatin' worms, and now a great big huge worm ate them! Darn it!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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