About Me

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I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of one. I have many hobbies and interests but gardening and rug hooking are my main interest at the moment. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and have been married for 49 years.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I BACK FROM WHERE I LEFT OFF YESTERDAY...

As I promised,  I'm back to continue my story of woes. I had gotten up at 4:00am, Monday morning, filled all my large pots with hot water and loaded up my van and took it to the calf area  by 4:30 and went back home for another load of pails filled with cold water to mix their milk replacer as quickly as I could before the water got cold. All my work got done and as I think I said, I was only 14 minutes late for my blood test appointment.

I'm a blood technician's worst nighytmare. My veins in my left arm are hard as nail and the last time it took two people to take a little bit of blood and it took them almost half an hour but this time I got a 27 year veteran technician and she got lots of blood from that stubborn vein. I was so thankful and I was so hungry since the last time I had eaten was Sunday morning at breakfast around 10:30 or so. I went to the small coffee shop in the lobby to get a cup of coffee and a muffin to tie me over till I got home. It had been 17 hours since I ate last.  I didn't care if there was soybean oil in it or not. I gulped it down and went down town to pay my car registration. I was lucky to find a nice parking spot  and I put money in the meter and I hope that since it was a rainy Monday it would only take a few minutes and I paid for 35 minutes just in case.

I was early and there was nobody in the lineup and I handed the clerk my registration paper and he asked for my insurance. Rats, I had left it in the car. I backtracked and  went back in but already there was 5 people in the lineup. When I got my turn I handed the clerk my insurance and he looked at it and said, Mam, your insurance expired in July. I said, impossible. I remember paying my car insurance.
He pointed me the phone over there and said get the insurance company to fax me the insurance. I called the insurance number and I got someone from the motor vehicle branch. Thinking that I made a mistake, I called again, I got another person answering the phone from a different department of the motor vehicle branch and she said, just dial again.  A third attempt had the same result and I went to talk to the clerk and told him what was happening and he said" Did you dialled the # 9 in front of the phone number?" Deh... I was way too tired to think straight and my sugar and coffee rush hadn't kicked in yet.

I got a hold of my insurance and she said"Your insurance is paid but give me 10 minutes to fax that to the Motor Vehicle Branch. I had never received the insurance card to carry in my wallet as they mail it from headquarters. They will send me a new one.

All this time my parking meter is ticking and I'm glad that I had put more money than I thought it would take but I was sure that my time was running out.
Finally the fax came in and I got my ticket to pay my registration and I have to sit some more and wait my turn. Time feels longer when I wait with nothing to do. Finally they call my number and I paid and I'm out of there. I rushed to the car and I couldn't believe that I still had 3 minutes left on my parking meter. It doesn't take much to make me thankful and happy.

I'm trying to do all my errands while I'm in town to save on gas. I went across the bridge on the North side to my Credit Union to make a deposit and I got a call from my husband George.

The hospital where my son was had called for someone to pick him up as they would not allow him to drive home  after Day Surgery and told him to take a few days off to recuperate and no lifting...

I rushed back home to pick up my husband and drove him to the neighbouring town hospital to pick up the truck and I picked up my son Vaughan.

When I arrived home it was almost noon and I'm truly famished. I warmed up the mushrooms I had sauteed the night before and cooked the T-bone steaks and steamed some carrot curls and I warmed up a bit of left over sticky rice and my husband and I had lunch. After lunch, I laid down and fell asleep on the couch for an hour.

When I woke up, I checked my emails and opened the stack of business mail and did a bit of office work and went to work at the farm early since we were one man short.

I remember one more incident that happened last Saturday night after work. As I was getting ready to leave the barn, my son asked me to help him. One of the milking cow had knocked a little one way door right off the wall. He needed someone to hold it in place to nail it back on. It had fallen right in the manure and was all dirty. Thank goodness for disposable gloves. My son hammered the nails back in but it wouldn't hold. I told him to get a few big spikes and I held the little door while he hammered. We got it back in place and well balance.

There are many little details that I've forgotten but one just came to mind just now. A day before the meat is ready to be picked up my husband announced to me that he's picking up the meat at the butcher tomorrow.  What meat?  He said "I told you about the meat. No you didn't. This is the first I heard of it and I just filled the freezer with lots of food and bread. I even bought some hamburger on special...

He thought that he had told me but a housewife would never forget an important thing like that...
I had to turn on the spare fridge in my upstair kitchen and get stuff moved. Luckily my son's freezer had lots of room to spare.

My husband went on a weekend silent retreat  in the neighbouring city and I've been home alone . I worked at the farm from the time I woke up and since I had all the hired hands to feed I had put a beef roast to cook in the slow cooker last night before going to bed and had a big country meat and potato dinner for them. My son came to get the left over for his supper.

This afternoon , Saturday 23rd, after lunch I went to clean the pit in the milking room. It's a sunken area where the men stand to milk the cows.  Big heavy rubber mats had to be removed and my grandson and I worked for 4 hours and finished just in time for the guys to milk the cows. I then went to feed the calves. The men cleaned the big pens and added beddings everywhere so now all the cows and calves are happy for the moment.
I'm waiting for another cow to calve but she only due on the 30th. I'm hoping that it will slow down soon. We milk about 60 cows twice a day and have approximately 120 head of cattle to care for.



My son just got my pots out of  my van  this evening. I kind of had forgotten about them. lol... They have been rattling in my van all week since Monday. Today has been extremely busy but everything went very well. I hope it stays that way. Tomorrow I'll clean my pots.

Our lives takes us on different journeys and we all encounter our crosses but it's a good life and I'm thankful for having some work to do.

Thanks for  putting up with me and reading my life's ups and downs. Life is like that.
I enjoy your visit and comments and I'll try to catch up on your blogs  as soon as I can as you mean a lot to me. I'm off to bed now.

Good night.
JB


Friday, November 22, 2013

IT GOT WORST AS THE DAY PROGRESSED

Here is how my weekend went.

Saturday, Nov. 16 One of the calf I was weaning off milk was eating more grain  than usual and had pooped all over her gate and pails so I hosed the gate down and she panicked, reared on her hind legs and jumped in the next little pen with the other calf.  I called my husband but he was busy milking and my son was still in bed and would come in about anywhere between half an hour to an hour if he didn't fell back asleep. so I decided to try to feed them one at a time. One drank the whole pail of mostly water with a sprinkle of milk replacer powder while the escapee sucked on her new friend's ear.  I thought that she must be full by now and the other one would  be next. She drank the second pail while the escapee continued sucking on her ear.  I tried a third pail and she wanted more so I pulled the pail away.

It was getting close to lunch time when my daughter Jackie and granddaughter Nicole came to bring my grandson Liam to work at the farm so I went home with Jackie for a cup of tea and to give her something.

I had to feed two workers for lunch and it was 11:45am already and no lunch ready. George left me a note that he already had his lunch and had gone in the field to spread liquid manure. I had made a big pot of beef  barley vegetable soup the day before and I put a piece of roast beef through the food processor and made some meat sandwich fillings and the boys made their own sandwiches and heated their soup in the microwave. Everyone was happy. I ate and went back to the barn to clean that pen.

The two calves were beginning to feel crowded in the small pen made for one. My grandson arrived to help me  and together we   cleaned, scrubbed and washed the pen well and put bedding in and tried to get the escapee back in her pen. Calves can be very suborned.  She didn't want to come out but the other one walked to the end of the narrow alley. Perfect, I  put one of the little gate there and tied it down to keep her there and with much coaksing  we got the escapee in and locked her gate.

Now we had a second vacant pen so we cleaned that one and two more using the same tactics.  We almost lost one of the calves out the door as my grandson misunderstood my command and instead of blocking her way out he got out of her way and she dashed out of the enclosure and the barn door was open for fresh air but I ran after her and stopped her from escaping. My grandson is still learning how quick they move.

After we were done with cleaning those 4 pens, I sent my grandson home as he was getting tired and hungry and I started to do my evening barn chores work and got home around 7:00 pm and washed and had supper.

                       ************************************************************
Sunday morning Nov 17, started tame enough. I went to work at 5:30 am and I went about my chores as I heard a cow moaning. When all of a sudden, she moaned really loud and I could feel that she must be calving. It was dark where she was and I got my trusty flash light and went amongst the dry cow to investigate. I saw a long pair of little white legs sticking out so I knew that it would soon be born. The cow was laying down.

I called my son and by the time he got there the calf was born unassisted. He carried the calf to the big pen and took care of the mother and I fed the little bull calf and went home when my chores were all finished and took a quick shower. I went to church alone for 9:00am that morning as George caught up on much needed sleep.

I treated myself to breakfast with a dear friend and we had a wonderful time chatting girl talk and reminiscing. Time went fast and I got home at around noon.

I picked up my granddaughter Jordyn and her new baby boy and took her across town to visit a friend and show off her cute Cyprus.  I forgot my camera, darn it. I dashed over to pick up some calf milk replacer while in the area and on my way home, I stopped at Cosco and at the Coop for some grocery.

While I was at the Co-op I got a call from my son that the back door where the heifers are was left unlatched and the heifers all came in in the alleyway and made a huge wet mess. There was manure and pee from one end to another. It took him half an hour to clean up the  mess. I was very thankful that I didn't need to clean that mess. I normally clean up small messes.

Earlier that day a man wanted to trap raccoons and my husband had gone behind to show him where to find the raccoons and he exited another way.  That door can only be latched from inside.

When work was finished and I got home, it was already dark.   I found a note from my husband  who had gone to a meeting that my granddaughter had called to be picked up. To make a long story short, I left immediately to pick her and her baby up. The baby was crying and as we approached the farm on our way back, I asked her if she wanted to wait till tomorrow to get fresh cow milk and she insisted that we go pick up the milk now.

I filled two bottles of milk and as I went to wash the milk tap, there was  just enough water in the hose to rinse the tap.  BAD NEWS: There was no water at the farm... I took her to her home and  when I got to my house I called my son as my husband had left his cell phone home.

By now it was 8:20 in the evening and all I had eaten all day was breakfast around 10:30am. I was famished.

I sautéed some  fresh button mushrooms and I was about to fry my T-bone steak when I remember that I wasn't supposed to eat anything after 7:20 PM because I had blood tests at 7:20am  in the morning and I had to have a 12 hour fast. Everything went back into the fridge.

My stomach screamed in despair, I drank a tall glass of cold water and waited for my husband's return so I could tell him the bad news about no water at the barn. Cows drink during the night and remember when the water pump broke, the milk production went down because they had no water during the night.

No water is one thing and to make matters worst, my son wouldn't be able to help as he had an early hospital appointment in the neighbouring town for day surgery and I was due at the hospital for blood tests for 7:20 in the morning.

I'm so glad that my granddaughter decided that she wanted to get the milk when she did because this mess would not have been discovered until the morning and my husband would have been alone to deal with this whole mess.

Both my son Vaughan and George tried to find out what was wrong with the new water pump  and were getting nowhere. The hoses were brought out of storage again and hooked to my sister in law's house  and my husband filled the water troughs and called the plumber emergency number and they would be in first thing in the morning.  The pump was OK and it was a switch box that needed replacing. At 2:00 am, my son went to turn off the hose.

I was tired but happy that Jordyn wanted to get milk when she did or things would have been worst.

I woke up at 4:00 am and went to the barn at 4:50 am. and got all my work done before going for my blood test.

Thanks for reading my farmer's journal. Just think of us the next time you put cream in your coffee or milk in your cereal or recipe, or ice cream in your cones and butter on whatever.

To be continued tomorrow, to read at your leisure.

PS, I thought that a nice glass of Gewurztraminer  and a piece of dark free trade chocolate would be nice while I told my story. I took one sip and the Gremlins knocked my glass over and it shattered in pieces on the floor and all I can say is "That sip tasted good". Here what's left of my glass. Fortunately, there was another glass left in the bottle and I have lots of wine glasses left in the cupboard.


Good night all and sweet dreams.
JB

Thursday, November 21, 2013

THE FARM GREMLINS HAVE MOVED TO MY HOUSE

This morning my husband did the milking and we were both a bit later than usual as we have been  tired because we went to bed at 11:00 PM last night. He was supposed to come get the mother cow to milk her so I could feed her calf but he was rushing to wash the system before the plumber came to replace the water pressure tank and he totally forgot. He had to wait till the milking washing cycle system was finished before he could milk her in the steel milk can but by this time the plumber had turned the water off and I had no way of warming the milk so I had to go home to get a hot pail of water. The big steel milk can is cold and  cools off the milk rapidly.  See what I mean, the gremlins are here. This meant that I had to return to the barn to feed the new calf after having breakfast.

The water bowls and water troughs have been getting plugged on and off lately at the barn and especially lately and we have found pieces of diaphragm from the pressure tank and pieces of lining that plugs up the  pressure nozzles and water bowls so today we had a new pressure tank installed. It holds 180 gallons of water at the cost of $1100. 00 and the new water pump  on the 7th of November  was over $1200. 00. We had the water tested twice and there is still some bacteria that is present but
not harmful to human so we still have to get the well shocked another time and one more test. We believe the bacteria  came from the old tank when the submergible pump was replaced. There was some black in the water if you remember.

When I turned the Halogen light on this morning, it burnt out and I had to work in dim light. I say Gremlins are at work...

This morning when I opened the cover on the calf feed bin I saw my first mouse of the season. I couldn't believe it with all those cats in there. They were sniffing under the bin and for a good reason. I hope they catch it or I'll starve them till they do the work they are supposed to do.


When I returned home to make a beef pot pie, as I was getting a small Corning ware casserole dish out from the bottom of the cupboard to store the rest of the beef pie filling in and I accidentally knocked two identical small Corning casserole dish off the shelf and they shattered on the floor. I got those as wedding presents in 1966. I like them because they are small enough for two people. I still have one left thank goodness.  I think that the gremlins did it...  Oh well... it's time to think of downsizing any way. lol...   I  made my own Cream of Mushroom soup from scratch to put in the pie filling instead of the gravy. It was real good. I used the pie crust  trimmings to make a small one for my son. At least that project went very well. The Gremlins are not having any...


This afternoon, I went to work on weed cutting and my new weed eater was giving me problem as I was cutting tall grass I ran into some hidden metal wires and it cut the small blue cords and my husband had to take the spool apart. It has two cords inside the spool instead of one and he removed one cord and I liked it better. After that each time it hit something hidden in the grass, I knew what to do.  The damed Gremlins were at my weed eater too.

I was doing real well when I got a call from my son that he had found a new heifer calf born outside.
I dropped everything and went over to look after her. The mother was due on the 29th of November.

I have absolutely no place for another calf and had to remove the one that was in the big pen and tie it to a post right in my work path. I see a Gremlin pattern... Oh I almost forgot, that calf I had to tie to a post escaped from the pen the day before and went missing for a while.

When George came to get the mother, he left the big pen gate wide open and then he also left the big gate open. The calf gingerly came out in search of his mother and he ran over to the first cow he saw in the dry cow pen, out of site.
It was a warm sunny afternoon and I opened the outside door to let fresh air in and noticed one of the calf had knocked his feed pail on the floor and I went to tie it down and it's then that I noticed the calf missing. I thought that he had escaped outside. My heart sank down to my knees.

I looked everywhere and I finally found him hiding behind the dry cows. He laid in some cow patty and I had to wash under his belly and dip his navel again.
My husband has had so much on his mind lately because there's so much going on  that he forgets little important things like closing gates. Or maybe it was the Gremlins again...

At this rate, I'll never be able to tell you about my weekend stories. It's a longer story and if I don't write it down, I'll sure forget it as there are always some more stories that crops up.

I don't know what to do to keep my stories short. I do apologize.  Maybe just pretend you're reading a book.

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your comments.
JB

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

LIFE IS FULL OF HURDLES

We had a couple of warm afternoons this past week and I did a few hours of yard work at the farm cutting small bushes and trees around the foundation on the back side of the machine shed and cutting tall weeds and grass and it felt good to be in the fresh air. It was warm enough to take my jacket and fleece off for a while. I also did some raking and made big piles of branches and weeds and grass for my husband George to haul away with the big tractor.

It was coming close to the time to go feed my calves when my weed eater gave up. No sweat, I had a brand new one still in the box at the house. I had bought it on sale at Canadian Tire store a few weeks earlier just because it was on sale lol... and might come in handy. It did come in handy. My husband just arrived home at the same time I did and he put it together for me. I rushed back to cut a little bit more barnyard grass.

My job is not finished but I've got a good head start on it. It's more than I can say for my own yard and gardens. Everything is a total mess this Fall.


For lack of taking pictures lately, I'm using and older picture of a messy flower bed in front of my house. This picture was taken last Fall I think and it's pretty much what my flowerbeds look like right now.

Today I scrubbed the walls of the milking parlor and wash the floor and the gutters. Not much glamour there. There is still lots of cleaning to do in there but my shoulder can only do so much before it starts to hurt a little so I have to pace myself.

While I was still in the milking parlor my husband called me about a heifer trying to give birth with her butts against the wall. He brought her into the calving pen and I came to assist and together we pulled the bull calf out and I clear the mouth and the nostril. My son Vaughan arrived before  the calf had taken his first breath and he stuck a piece of hay in his nostril and he breathed. I dipped the navel and vaccinate him as standard procedure. My son milked the mother and fed the calf for me and helped me with my chores while George milked the cows. I was done early for a change this evening. That's was the second bull calf this week. One was born on Sunday and I sold two yesterday. My pens are still full and I still have four without pens.

It has been a rough kind of a week but we take it all in stride. That's what we do on the farm. It never seem to get boring somehow. Always some kind of excitement happening on almost a daily basis.

Today was just a normal day and I have some more good adventures to share that happened this past week but it would make my post too long so I'll share some more maybe tomorrow if I can find time to post.

Thanks for stopping by. I so appreciate your comments.
JB

Thursday, November 7, 2013

SOME DAYS, IT'S JUST DOESN'T SEEMS WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED


This morning was one of those days. I've been getting up at 5:30 am every morning since the daylight time changed and I was getting short on sleep so this morning I stayed in bed till 6:00 am and went to work. When I got to the barn I checked on my sick calf and he was still alive but not strong and he hadn't moved since his blanket was still in place. Despite all my efforts to keep him alive he was failing more and more since his birth. The vet was coming this morning to put him to sleep.

I then fed the cats, and put hay and bedding in the calves pens, grain in their pails and when I went to hose down the narrow alleyway floor as I usually do twice a day, I found out that I had no water. Just great, one of the young calf that had started eating his feed decided to spray the floor with his black paint. Just what I needed, but at least I could console myself that she hadn't sprayed her feed pail.

  My first thought was that maybe my husband had turned the water off for some reason. There were no cows in the holding area and I thought that my husband had gotten to work much earlier and was finished milking the cows.

When I found him, he told me that he thought that the water pump had failed. It's a deep well submergible water pump and was 7 years old. Pumping water for about 120 some head of cattle  day and night can take it toll on the poor water pump. My son was called to come milk the cow while my husband tries to get someone to come take the pump out and replace it. There's an emergency number to call  but the guy was already gone on another emergency in another town.
He has to go to plan two and find another source to get the pump removed and another one put in.

I got my flash light and went looking for long hoses to connect water from my husband's sister's house all the way to the barn and into the cow's big water through.  During the night they had totally emptied all three water throughs. I had a 200 foot long hose attached at my house, and I found another one at the farm.

Then I had to go back home and fill all my big pots with hot water and I carried them with my van and my husband carried big buckets of cold water to the farm. After two trips I got enough hot water to mix the calf milk replacer to finish feeding 10 calves and my husband feed the little ones.

In the mean time my son had a dentist appointment for a root canal which he had to cancel and my husband also had some appointment for something too that he had to cancel too.

I did all what I could do at the farm and went home and made a nice chicken stew with dumplings for lunch and the repair man is at the farm replacing the pump and now I have to go was my bottles and pails and equipment.

Not all my week was as bad as this morning, my brother and his wife came to visit while they were on their way back home from visiting a sick friend in a neighbouring city and I invited them to stay the night. My sister in law was a real jewel and she came to help me feed and care for the calves and also she came early the next morning to help. I can tell you, she's a fast learner.We talk and laugh and had a good time. My house was in the worst possible mess but I knew she understood so I didn't get stressed.



My sister in law, Juliette and my brother Jacques

When the vet arrived with his usual good nature, he said "Good Morning" and my response, It's NOT a  good morning. He laughed but when he went to check a cow, the cow wouldn't get her head in the lock and he had a wicked time, I tried but she refused  and my son had to help rope tie her and the first thing she did is shit all over the front of his clean coverall. Poor guy, I had to laugh.

I told him that I had a lot of farm laundry to wash  I could include his coverall in the wash since I had to wash the calf warmer jacket and his blanket and lots of rags that I used to keep the sick calf clean yesterday. He had to laugh too. He had to change into his plastic coverall.

My little bull calf was gently put to sleep this morning and is now roaming in the greener pastures. Although he was sick, he never had a fever. The vet thought that it must have had a weak heart. I no longer get attached to them as I did before. I'm getting tougher.

Oh... and the previous post about my new farm boots must have appeared unusual to most of my followers but I can explain. I was showing Juliette how to navigate Blogger and how to post a picture and since the last picture I put in the file folder came up when I went to upload a picture , that's what I used. Thanks to all my most faithful followers who bothered to comment. You are the greatest to humour me under such conditions. I love you all.

Sorry this post is so long.... a good thing that I don't blog often lol...

There are many little stories that happened during the week but these were chosen as the headlines. Thanks for dropping by and I appreciate even the smallest comment. ( sorry, no time time to proof read this afternoon, the pump should be in by now.)
JB

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Testing



Nice boots Just testing things folks. Have a good day.
 JB