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From the Farm

Milker Snafu

November 14, 2008
By KERRY HOFFMAN

In Minnesota, you know deer-hunting season is upon us when you find me out in the parlor, milking the cows two weekends in a row. This weekend, I have to milk and hunt with our youngest son. Dont know if I am looking forward to that or not.

Not that I mind milking two weekends in a row. It gives Steve and me some alone-time. Which we hardly get enough of lately.

I think Steve is delaying the act of winterizing the parlor and holding area so that I have to snuggle up to him for warmth. It's really cold milking in the parlor right now.

"So, how did you like driving the new skid loader with the heater in it?" Steve asked.

"It takes so long to warm up, I was just about finished when the warm air started blowing out of the vents," I said. "I appreciate the fact that the cab is enclosed and I don't have to breathe in those nasty vapors when I stir up the compost."

When the weather gets cold, the compost in the barn stays warm. Stirring the compost releases all the heat in the form of an ammonia-like smelling gas. It's yucky, and before we had an enclosed cab, I would hold my breath for as long as I could to avoid breathing it in. Can't imagine that gas is good for a person.

This past Sunday morning I milked in a T-shirt, a turtleneck, two sweatshirts and a windbreaker. It was darn chilly out there. Sooner or later, I am going to make Steve and Mitch put the curtains on the holding area to keep the cold air outside. Don't like to snuggle in the parlor. Takes too much time.

Steve and I continued to gab away.

I pride myself on being able to gab and work at the same time. This is an act that, for some reason, behooves Steve. More often than not, he stops working to carry on a conversation.

This one time, my exceptional gift of gabbing and working at the same time left me. Must've been carried out of the parlor on those cold winds.

Anyway, I prepped the last four cows in one group, and Steve stepped into my walking pattern, can't remember if he was talking too, and multi-tasking ability to completely disappear.

"I thought you would dry those last four cows for you," Steve said as I was walking to the rinse bucket to wash my hands.

This is where my routine got fudged. Normally, I grab four towels to dry the teats on the cows, but this particular time I didn't have to. Steve was in charge.

As I was grabbing for the useless-towels, Steve said, "Let the cows out."

I kind of did the I-don't-know-what-I-am-doing spin and reached for the handle to let the cows out of the parlor.

The only problem was, in my brainless spin, I forgot where I was and I reached for the wrong handle. I grabbed the handle on the gate holding all the cows in that we just put milking units on.

No matter how hard I tried to pull the handle back to close the gate, I just wasn't strong enough to hold Moose, Anti-mope and one other cow in the parlor and they escaped.

"Steeeeeeve!"

Muscle man came running over and was able to shove the gate closed again.

Maybe Steve will be glad I might not be in the parlor this weekend to cover for deer-hunting season.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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