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 51years.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


How was your weekend? Mine was on the hellish side.
I didn't take pictures because I don't take my Canon camera to work so you'll have to take my words for it. These are older pictures of the same pens that flooded. First the pictures and then my story of woes.

Those are the bigger calves in the pen that flooded. It's a long pen that is divided to suite the how many calves we have to keep separate by size.

My baby calves are along the back wall where those small windows are on the top of the pictures.

These two pens is where we keep the younger calves  and they are divided again by their size and age.

If you look closely, you can see the water bowl that flooded beside the ear of # 459. These pictures were taken last summer.

The calf barn is right next to the silos and run all the way to the back.  The milk house is not seen on this picture and is to the left of this picture.

Friday  morning I went to work and the first thing I noticed when I went to give the grain to the small calves was that the cows had tore the hinges on one side of the little gate that we open in order to clean a section of the little pens. It was a sturdy little gate but they still broke it. A cow must have mounted another cow and pushed against the little gate. Those cows weigh a lot. Luckily the little gate was still hanging although lopsided,  and no cows got out through it.

I thawed the copper water taps and that only took a minute and I gave water to the weaned  calves.

Next the water trough was badly frozen in the heifer barn in the back because the heifers have chewed the insulating foam on the water pipes and the warming cable was no longer working to keep the water from freezing. Heifers are so destructive.  I had to go get some very hot water and pour on the pipe and got the water going and broke the thick ice with a hammer so they could drink. They kept trying to lick my face and my glasses were getting all steamed up...

My mittens got all wet and my fingers were frozen. I had to go back and forth to the sink to get them warm up in hot water. Then I had to close the door in the back but it was rubbing on the floor because of the frost and it was hard to close and as I pulled hard the handle which is as old as Adam became detached on the bottom and is hanging from the top now.  Just not my day...

Last evening I noticed that two of the small water bowls were frozen in the smaller calf section. Just a thin layer of ice but enough to stop the flow of water.
I  went to thaw the first one and as my back was turned one of the calf mounted me from behind, yeah.... She put her two front legs on my shoulder and let me tell you, she was heavy.  I had just washed my barn jacket that afternoon... I got the water bowls going and  they all drank frantically and I left the barn to come home for supper.

This morning I braved the nasty storm to get to the barn and instead of going to the milk house like I usually do to warm  the milk for the little calf, I went directly to the calf barn to see if the taps were frozen. The first thing I noticed is the sound of water running. I went to investigate and I didn't had to go far to see what was the matter.

The water in the bowl I had thawed the night before had run all night because the float didn't go down to shut the flow of water when the calves were done drinking. It flooded the whole section where all 15 calves were bedded and it was one big mucky mess of poop, bedding and water in the mix...

 I called my husband who had just finished milking. "Turn off the water valve" he said and I'll be there in about 5 to 10 minutes...   that's a long time. ... I turned off a valve in the ceiling and shut off water to the whole side of the barn including the heifer barn in the back lol...  I don't know about these things...
One valve shuts down the calf section and the other is for the rest of the heifer barn, who knew?...

 Anyway, the water had overflowed the pens and was now running in the alley way  about 3 inches deep. It was deeper in the pens because the pens have sides ... It was one big mess of poop, bedding and water in the mix...

Since we have to keep the smaller calves separate from the bigger ones because they can hurt them, I opened the big  calving pen  on the other side of the alleyway to let all smaller calves in there. But one didn't want to go in instead she wanted to jump and run back and forth in the wet alleyway  and she slipped and got all dirty including her face. I got them all in there and closed the gate and my husband arrived.

In the process of moving the 8 bigger one, two got away because my husband didn't see that one gate was still open when he let them out of their pen and one of them bushed against this little gate and damaged the hinges.  Two little  gates damages in two days....

The boys cleaned off the  flooded pens after I went home and most of the water in the alley and put fresh bedding  but I still had lots of cleaning to do before I could feed the calves this evening. We don't clean the pens as often when it's cold and just keep adding bedding every day. It doesn't take long to accumulate.
So here is my blog post for today. Tomorrow is another day. Hope it goes smoother. I've got my share of Murphy's law for the last two days.

Hope that you all stay safe and warm. Thanks for visiting.


  1. Julia ~
    I hope tomorrow is better ~ MUCH better! Your visit to your daughter's will be a much needed vacation.
    Hugs :)

  2. Good lord, Julia, at least now I know why you wrote two hellish days!

    I don't know what to say. I really don't. You... I mean... don't you have hired help? How do... what? You're out in the freezing cold with burst pipes and swimming in cow poop and straw and a calf mounted you???

    I hope you're paid well. I really just ... man? I hope the hell you sleep tonight!

    Talk about HUGS ... I want to hug you but you need a good warm bath first... jumping jeeeeez!

    I remember cow poop... never did care or it.

  3. Oh Julia, I am so sorry! This scenario is all too familiar...the sound of water running when it shouldn't, is one of my biggest nightmares, for all the headaches that it creates. I do hope that your week improves from here on out!!

  4. oh my the life of a farmer. I pay tomorrow is a better day. You will love getting away to your daughters.

  5. Sorry you has to deal with all of that, maybe being a city girl isn't all bad.

  6. Oh my Julia, I had just written a post on the joys of farm living in the winter and some of my memories. Some of your memories brought back a few more to me...I hope your day tomorrow goes better. And I hope when you read my blog you can laugh and know someone else knows exactly what you are going through. The only difference is now I am not living your life any longer. And some days I miss it and some days I don't. Stay warm and safe out there.

  7. Just another day at work then! so many things to do in so little time. You have a very rewarding job but my goodness what hard work - I bet no two days are ever the same. I am surprised you do so much of the heavy work yourself. I remember as a child lying in a field for a long long time and dozing, when I looked up I was surrounded by nervous cows all standing looking down at me! scary! Betty

  8. So sorry you had such a rough day. Hope tomorrow is a little more pleasant and with fewer "surprises"! Pretty soon you will be visiting sweet James and welcoming a beautiful new grandchild!!!
    Take care,

  9. Well, I must say it was good for those calves & cows that you got up. You saved them! I don't know how you do it. I really respect what you do. That had to be one big mess, but everyone is okay now.

  10. HUGS!!! Sorry for your very bad couple of days hope today is going better. Waterers are the biggest problem makers in cold weather aren't they. Hope your back is okay from the mounting you took and cleaning up the mess.Did you get the worst of the storm or just the tail end of it? Take care.

  11. Holy Cow! Seriously...what a mess you were in. I hope it's a bit better today. The farming life is not for wimps! I do hope today is better. You make my job on a bad day look like a walk in the park...I mean a ruptured bowel or a bad gallbladder are easy to fix!

  12. Good morning Julia, I hope today is a better day. I bet you could have just sat right down and cried, second thought odds are you would have gotten mounted!! Why do issues such as these seem to happen on cold winter days? You are one tough lady. How many days till you are in the air and on your way to little James and Family? Another grandbaby... very exciting... Stay safe and watch your back!!!Greetings from snowy Maine, Julie.

  13. As I was reading your post it brought back a lot of memories of living/working on a dairy farm. I am so glad I don't live there any more!!
    Hope your days get better!
    Hot bath and a hot toddy! You deserve it.

  14. Hi Julia one word comes to my mind.Retirement.

  15. Oh, my goodness!! Sweet Julia what a time you had. I sure hope everything has gotten better around your place now and you have been able to get some rest after all you had to do. So sorry about all that has happened and I hope getting the gates and all back in good shape will get done soon. I am sure this has been a weekend you will not soon forget. I hope the new week will be a wonderful and amazing one for you to make some super terrific memories. Hugs sweet friend!

  16. Oh, Ju8lia, you certainly did have a bad day. I guess I shouldn't complain about having to shovel snow -- it could be so much worse. Hope things are easier for you today. Sarah

  17. Oh my goodness! I'm glad you did not get knocked out or freeze to death while out there! Very dangerous stuff involved with tending farm... especially the animals.. so unpredictable... I hope you get some relax time today and aren't too sore...

  18. I lived in the country next to a dairy farm. I know how much work they re. The smell isn't pleasant. Better than dog poop. You work so hard. I'm sure you would like to hire more help but farmers have a hard enough time these days. I m thankul for what farmers that we do have.
    I hope today is better. (((((HUGS)))) to my hardest working friend.

  19. Julia,
    You are one tough lady! Oh man.... And I bet you didn't even say one cuss word the whole time... ?? I think you need that vacation pretty quickly! I sincerely hope things go better from here and the water stays in it's place! It does bring back memories of life on the farm in frozen Wisconsin....yup....remember it well!!
    Sending big hugs and wishes for a nice warm bath and cup of something strong!!
    Cathy G

  20. Gosh Julia, I can totally understand about this post. I can remember the cold, and the smell when that happens, and it does happen. I bet you were so cold. Cows are so destructive and when they get bored I think they get worse. I am glad you had help and didn't have to do it all but there is still so much work.
    I hope you get to rest some but then do you really ever when there is a dairy to run.
    You poor girl. Oh and the stupid cow, I remember them doing that mounting bit and getting me filthy dirty not to mention hurting my back.
    Is it still snowing?

  21. Julia......I don't even know what to say! You have earned a special place in heaven for all your hard work. I hope you get a good rest when you go away to stay with James. Take care

  22. oh geez julia, sounds like an awful day! and i think my furbabes are alot of work somedays! i hope your back wasnt to sore after that... dang i thing we all need spring! even the animals. it just started snowing so we will see how much this storm brings us.. we are on the edge so hopefully not much! enjoy your day julia i hope its a nice quiet restful day for you maybe even some hooking!

  23. OMG Julia, you had one hell of a weekend and in that darn storm..........I feel like I need a drink after reading your post,lol

  24. Julia, bless your heart....What a rough couple of days....I can't image what you went through.....My admiration for you is out the roof.....I do pray your next week is full of cows behaving and gates staying fixed.....

  25. Julia, I will never complain about the price of milk!
    That sounds horrible but I tried not to laugh at the cow mounting you.No one can top that for bad days.I hope tomorrow is a better day you deserve it, Hugs Cheri

  26. So. I rough couple of days.
    When students at the school go on about how much they would love to have sheep or alpaca of mohair goats, all I have to say is "They poop". I NEVER really considered that the miscreants would chew the insulation off the pipes, break gates, and be, um, extremely amorous when your back was turned.
    I had a student have a major melt down on Thursday, but I would still rather deal with that then freezing poop and bedding stew.

  27. Do these young female cows have gender identity issues? I could get it if there were young bulls doing that sort of thing, but getting humped by a heifer? I had my leg humped by a substantial number of dogs when I was a kid, but all of them were male. Seems like cows are so stupid they don't even know what sex they are. And you're a bit of a lightweight to be getting boarded by 200 lb cows. Maybe you need to carry a riding crop to the barn. That might get their attention when they don't want to cooperate.

    But I'm glad to know it's already spring and rutting season has started. Must sign off now. Where is my lovely heifer.

    1. Maybe she mounted me because I'm doing a man's job, hahaha or maybe I looked like a man with my black tuque. Then again maybe I look like a small cow, lol...

  28. oh Julia,
    your story paints such a vivid story
    and again I'll say it:
    farmers are our heros.
    If we all gave farmers
    just half the honor they deserve
    our country would be in so much better shape.
    You are a real pioneer woman:)
    much love wrapping you in prayer
    and blessing,

  29. Just stopped by to see what you where up to...OH MY!!! Big hugs to you Julia! your days are so eventful with farm life.
    The red barn is a disappearing sight here in Ontario & I smiled at seeing yours & your daily events of caring & understanding of all those animals. They say that the Lord will never give you more than you can handle but I think he works overtime on you! He must have some special love for you Julia. Life only moves forward, thank heavens that day is behind you. Your a wonderful writer & I learn from you so much. I was born in the heart of a large city, country/western singers call it 'the asphalt farm'. I long for the rural life with a garden of fruit/veg & flowers & I look forward to seeing your day-lilies this spring. I will not have anything for a while. I spend my summers in northeast NB, so different to the 365,000 populated city I winter in. Your an inspiring strong person, Julia. God Bless You. Another hug! Thank you for all the kind words you have for me. Cynthia

  30. Sorry your comments have gone to non repy.....so many are right now.
    Jack lost his leg before he wae He dug out from under his 9 foot fence during deer season. Deer season makes him all crazy. Not sure what happened. hey found him with his leg mangled. They got him out of the woods and to the vets and they had to remove it. He is a great dog. You are so funny.....about the dogs in Canada having 4 legs.