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Another usual day?

From the Farm

March 25, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman

There are, at times, certain weeks where I compose an "average" column. I come up with what I can and send it to The Journal with a sigh. There are times when I send in my column and that very day something happens that would make for a better than average column.

It happened again this week, but this time I am not letting opportunity pass me by.

I'm supposed to have my column in by Wednesday, but the events of Thursday caused me to really miss my deadline by a mile.

Steve had a meeting in the far away land of Rogers. That city is near Albertville, but not near enough to warrant a shopping trip to the outlet mall. Steve had to be on the road real early and ducked out of chores before we were even finished milking the cows.

That's really not a problem. I have to leave early some times as well.

With one less person hanging around, it just means a bit more work for those of us staying behind. I had to pressure wash the milking parlor and then scrape the holding area.

Once I finished that, I thought it would be a good time to fill the milk bucket to make sure we had milk in the house for dinner and supper. I topped off the bucket, placed the lid on and set it outside in the snow to chill it super fast. (Ice cold milk on a big bowl of cereal is awesome too.)

Then I hand washed a few milking items in the milk house, which is a normal ritual.

After being satisfied with the cleanliness of the milk house, I needed to go help Mitch with a few outside chores the more the merrier and quicker we get finished.

I couldn't find him. The tractor was running, but he was nowhere to be seen. That is until I looked up into the silo chute.

He was having issues with the silos and was up there working on god knows what.

I wasn't much help. I know as much about silos as I know about speaking Mandarin.

While he struggled with the silo doors and cords, some 50-feet in the air, I fed Pinky and Moolatte - two Jerseys getting my special love and attention - and one really ignorant Holstein bull calf.

Once I finished that job, I looked for Mitch again. He was still 50-feet in the air, so I figured I would help and give 12 cows some needed medication. I thought it would be simple. I asked Mitch for directions, turned and walked directly into an unloading auger. Mitch saw it coming; he gasped just seconds before I smacked my noggin. My head and neck hurt, as did my teeth, because I had them clenched at the time. Can you say chiropractor and dentist?

I walked back to the milk house to retrieve the list of cows to be treated and Lilly, the Great Dane, had removed the lid from the milk bucket and lapped up more than one gallon of milk. Icky. It's amazing what she can do with that long tongue. Well, I'm guessing she used her tongue.

I returned to the barn to locate the cows needing an injection. Most were obliging and allowed me to treat them. Number 389 was rather elusive. Her name doesn't do her justice, unless it translates into a naughty word in Mandarin.

I think I chased that bugger back and forth in the barn at least 27 times. Mitch helped out (I think he needed a break from the silo.) and he had to chase her back and forth another 27 times. Chasing that bozo caused my favorite syringe to fall from my pocket. I chalked it up to being lost. What are the odds of finding a syringe in our huge barn filled with sawdust? Remember one cow was running ape and getting all remaining 90 cows running as well. It was almost like a relay race.

To my shock, I actually did find my favorite syringe. The green cap on the needle actually stuck out like a black and white Great Dane in a walking down the aisles of a grocery store.

I was back in business.

I tried to give an injection to Number 429. She insisted on creating such a hullabaloo. She mooed and stomped and drew all kinds of attention to herself. She jumped around so much she bent my brand new, super-sharp needle. I had thought ahead of this happening and had a spare needle in my pocket, which I didn't lose during the relays.

She bent that one too.

I was too lazy to walk all the way back to the milk house for a new needle, so the remaining 11 cows received a sideways injection.

Does that make a difference?

In the end, despite all the little quirks of the morning, Mitch and I did get all the work finished with a sense of accomplishment. Well, I had that sense anyway. I am not so sure about Mitch.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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