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From the Farm: Prepping the parlor for winter

November 15, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

It sneaks up on me every year.

Maybe I should say, "He sneaks up on me every year."

That would be Old Man Winter.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

He is so rude. If it were Old Woman Winter, she would never be so callous as to sneak up on me when I am least expecting it.

OK, so I was expecting winter to show up this year. I just kept hoping and praying that I would get a few more days of warm, beautiful sunshine.

Every year I promise myself to get all my outdoor gadgets put away before Old Man Winter shakes his dandruff all over our yards.

This year, I kept telling myself that I still had time to pick up the lawn rake, put the footballs in the toy box and empty out the doggy pool.

I gradually ease into the cold weather in the milking parlor. If I am cold while milking on a Monday, on Tuesday I wear an extra sweatshirt. If I am cold on Tuesday, I wear my long underwear on Wednesday. If Wednesday rolls around and I again get cold, I may wear a scarf. By Thursday I am so bundled up I can"t bend over to pick up a dropped towel. By Friday, I am sweating my buns off because the temperature chose to go above 10 degrees.

It's a vicious circle.

Such was the case Tuesday morning. I was supposed to be in Phoenix Sunday to spend a glorious week basking in the southern sun, but plans change and I wasn't able to leave until Wednesday. Steve, being the lucky guy he is actually left Sunday and spent a few glorious days in the sun without me, and that's why they were glorious!

So I venture out to the barn to check on Garrett and Tarah, to make sure milking the cows was going just hunkey dorey.

Holy baloney it was cold in the parlor.

I felt awful. I was freezing and I had my three layers of clothing under my wool vest, a stocking cap and some toasty gloves covering my hands.

Although I had tons of things to do in the house, like pack my bathing suit because the place we"re going to has at least three swimming pools, I chose to try to make the milking parlor a bit more human-friendly to Tarah and Garrett.

I chose to install four large pieces of plywood at the entrance of the milking parlor.

It's a very high-tech design that keeps the warm air in the parlor a bit longer.

The pieces of plywood are 8-foot-by-4-foot - I think. They are huge. I was unable to lift them off the floor to carry them to the parlor entrance.

I had to drag those large pieces of wood through some mighty fine cow waste. It's might-fine waste because as Steve says, when a cow poos in the parlor, "It's nice and creamy and holds its shape."

It's like he's describing a souffl. In his defense, you can tell a lot about a cow's health by looking at her manure.

Anyway, I had to tip the ply wood a certain way to get it into the designated area. Several years ago, I had a brain storm and I numbered all the pieces that we use in numerical order.

Now I know the correct order to put the pieces so they all fit!

I am strong enough to lift the plywood on my own, but I could use someone to assist with balancing the behemoth to get it lifted into the small space so I can screw it into a wooden beam.

Nobody was available. Zach was working with the cows. Garrett, Tarah and Russell were in school; Steve was basking in that southern sun!

I had to use my head - literally. I balanced the plywood on top of the yarn ball on my Mycogen hat, so I could get it standing on end by the beam. I am proud of myself. I installed the cold barrier all on my own.

I hope it makes a difference for Garrett and Tarah.

Old Man Winter is a ruthless dude.

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

 
 

 

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