Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another emergency in the milk room

It's 10:30, and I'm just now coming in.  Another long day.

Tonight Leifschon called me to tell me that the vacuum pump wasn't working right.  Thank goodness she was on the last wash cycle.  We have been very lucky.  Only once has it failed BEFORE we were done milking.  But it is still a hassle.

She called Kent and he came right over.  He is so good to us.  And he is so good at fixing things.  I sat on a box listening to the pump try to work and made plans for how I would handle being without a pump tomorrow morning.  I would call the dealer in Ligonier, get the new pump to the barn in the morning, skip morning milking.  The two older calves would be fine.  They are only two weeks from being weaned anyway, but the two little ones would have to be fed.  I have enough milk in my fridge to take care of the heifer.  We are feeding the bull with non-organic milk from Steve, since he is going to the sale barn on Friday and doesn't have to maintain his organic status.  So feeding the little calves would be taken care of even if I couldn't milk in the morning.

Okay, I had everything covered.  (Oops, there was that awful sound again as Kent tried the motor . . .)  And then Leifschon said, "Good luck trying to keep Blossom and Caramel away while you feed Delaney and the bull calf."  She had a point. 

I said, "Do you mind hanging around to help me move the calves to the nursing pen?"  It has two sections, so I would be able to keep the big calves from the little ones while I fed them.  She was more than happy to help, and it went pretty well with two of us.

About that time, I heard the vacuum pump running smoothly.  Music to my ears!  Kent had worked his magic once again.

He said there was a buildup of dirt in the vacuum line, that there should have been a filter installed at one point in the line.  He showed me where the dirt was getting in.  I don't know these things.  Guess I should have spent more time examining drawings of the mechanical end of a dairy barn instead of focusing on the layout of the milk room and the milking parlor.  Live and learn, hey?

Kent will be back tomorrow to finish up the job so that the line stays clean.  But for now, we are up and running yet again.  A little duct tape was involved in tonight's fix.  ;-)

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