Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm running as fast as I can . . .

I thought it would be a little easier this year with an intern.  But I bit off a little extra because he is here.   Bad move.  Then I put him on a lot of long-term one-time projects (like burying the old fridge for cold storage of root crops next fall) instead of staying on top of the day to day things.

Finally, breaking not one but THREE new heifers has been unbelievably time consuming.  This morning we got Dolly into the barn while the other cows were inside.  For the first time we milked her in the lineup, without having to shut down the line to get her inside the barn.  She wandered in all the way while we were milking the other four.  While Kathy kept Dolly occupied, I sneaked outside and came up behind her and closed the door, keeping her completely inside while we finished milking the other four.  I know, doesn't sound like much, but that was a monumental improvement.

I am hoping that I can milk alone tomorrow morning.  This is all a strain on me, but Kathy is here every morning, without complaint, and she has a ten mile drive to get here. 

My greenhouse has suffered.  I usually bottom water a few trays each day - by far a better way to water than spraying on the top.  But I just haven't had time.  So today, I started right after milking, and I am about half done.  All of the plants are sorted again, and condensed into ever fewer trays.  So now I can make room for nearly all of the plants that have been on the floor.  It's coming around, and plant sales have been very brisk.  Tomatoes are nearly half gone already.

Milking took a little longer than I expected this morning because Sam and Jack are VERY aware that two of the cows are in heat, and they broke out of their paddock three times in pursuit of the girls.  I keep telling them that the prom is not until July - and THEN they can have a date, but not before.  We don't need any calves being born in February!

I finally decided to get out the fence checker, and not surprisingly it had no juice on the east side.  So I chased the bulls back one more time, then looked for the short.  One of the milkers had closed a gate and let a pigtail of wire lay against a metal post, shorting out the whole east side of the farm.  The pigtail shouldn't have been there, but who has time to check for all of these things, and then when you find them, run to the barn for wire cutters?  No matter how many tutorials I do on how electric fences work, it really just doesn't soak in.  It's the concept that is not understood, so if the next problem doesn't look exactly like the last problem, it goes unrecognized.  Sigh . . .

My son and two of his kids, Kate and Bob, came to see me for an early Mother's Day surprise yesterday.  It was so good to see them!  Kate and Bob helped feed the calves.  Then we came in the house and made brats on the grill, I popped open a jar of homemade sauerkraut and one of my pickled hot peppers, and I sliced up some homemade Colby.  I'm really proud of this batch, very creamy, just a little bite in it.  Practice makes perfect, hey?  We topped off the meal with some of Bill Parcel's excellent angel food cake from the market, blueberries from last year's crop and whipped raw cream with vanilla powder and a wee bit of sugar.

Sometimes my life seems a bit harsh, not enough amenities.  But I eat better than anyone I know - healthy, tasty, and lots of it.  I would rather have good food than a Mercedes, or expensive jewelry, or lavish vacations.  That's what my life is all about right now - providing good food for myself, my family, my guests and the members of our dairy herd association.  :)

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