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Three's a crowd

From the Farm

January 20, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

I felt a bit of empathy for my husband Wednesday morning. Don't worry, it didn't last very long. At least I recognized the emotion for a few seconds before I started laughing.

Here's what happened.

I am getting treated for back and neck pain, but was on the boulevard to recovery. I am now able to look over my right shoulder, and then over my left shoulder and even back my car up without having to turn almost completely around.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Steve is also getting treated for lower-back pain. He was previously treated for this pain and thought he was doing fine and dandy. Dandy until just recently when he started ripping apart a mammoth bunk feeder. It's not literally a mammoth feeder; it's a cow bunk feeder. I have never fed mammoths, but I am sure it's hard to be relaxed when feeding them.

Especially with those long tusk things; they could be lethal weapons and banned from airports.

Well, while working on the feeder, he overdid it a bit. Ever since then he has been gimping around here in the same shape as a small-letter "r."

(I am not going to complain about men and how they whine when something is hurt or the flu bug has set up camp and is hosting a bonfire inside Steve's body.)

Naturally, when either Steve or I become incapacitated and are unable to do all the work, the other one picks up the slack. We have had to do this several times lately, due to his back issues. Steve will prep all the cows in the milking parlor and then I put all the milking units on those cows. It's my theory that when I see Steve reaching in under the cows, he has a funky little twist in his back. (Too bad he can use that twist on the dance floor.)

The healthy person is also responsible for cleaning up all the manure in the parlor and holding areas using a scraper. The scraper itself weighs about 15 pounds and the manure - well, that's a heavy load of crap too.

So anyway, I started taking on the "hard" work this week in an effort to gives Steve's back a little rest. I even said, "Whoever thinks scraping manure is an easy job is delusional. It's hard work."

I am not a wimp and I was sweating profusely and no, it wasn't a hot flash.

To help keep Steve away from putting milking units on the cows, we hired a helper to come for a few mornings and her name is Becky! A woman!

It's so great having another woman out in the parlor. It's like we are in perfect sync. We can switch topics of discussion several times in a minute and not get lost! It's like we can read each other's mind.

During milking Wednesday morning, Steve was giving me a hard time about not keeping up with tail trimmings on the cows. Yes, just call me the Bovine Barber. I leave no stray hairs behind.

So, Steve was wandering around the parlor asking things like, "When is the last time you trimmed their tails? Have you ever trimmed this cow's tail?"

I was doing my best to explain why the cows in those two particular groups were long.

All of a sudden Becky made a comment about how "you should be helping get the cows prepped or post-dipping and not running around trimming tails."

Coffee and cream just about squirted out my nose from laughter.

Those very words where hanging off my lips. Out of self-preservation, I chose to keep closed the road that words travel and let my hard-working, but inefficient husband, go about his business.

I looked at Becky and mouthed the words, "Thank you Becky!"

After our rant, I thought, "Gee it's kind of nice to have a woman in the parlor with me." I appreciate someone who thinks and works the same way I do. It wasn't until later I thought that possibly he may be feeling a bit sad being badgered by two women in the morning.

You know what they always say, "Two is better than one." Well, it is in Becky and my opinions.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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