Friday, October 28, 2005

In Sickness and in Health

I've been a little under the weather this week, which inspired this post.

Those who dream about the agrarian life must keep in mind that the work is there everyday, whether you want to do it or not. Out in the barn are animals that rely on you for their every need. Those with a city job (scotts words for anything other than farming) can call in sick when things get bad. The farmer can't. When you make the choice to own animals, you have made the choice to midwife, waiter, chef, doctor and sole provider of living things that can't take care of themselves. While the animals are our servants, we best exercise our dominion by acting as there servants. My dad would never let anyone eat a meal until every animal on the farm had had theirs. Dad always believed that if you took good care of your animals they would take care of you. Todays cold economic truths make us wonder if its true, but its our rule never the less. If you milk a cow, you will at some time or another milk her with a broken bone, a headache, the flue, frozen fingers or upset belly. Over the years I've suffered through a few milkings that really made me wonder if a bullet in the head would have been a more painless option. I once broke every bone in my right foot. I was milking 50 cows 30 minutes later. As a rule, if something hurts, every cow will do her best to make it hurt worse. The only thing that hurts worse than breaking your foot is an 8 year old cow standing on it after you break it! Our whole family got hit with the worst flue bug I've ever seen, a few years back. It hit the old folks hard. They couldn't move. I could crawl. I crawled to the barn to start what would be a 5 and a half hour milking job. Puking and diarrhea kept me busy, as I tried my hardest to get the girls milked. I passed out and woke up under a 1700 pound cow.....thank God she didn't lay down. I was under there for a while because the cows that had milkers on were done and there was no milk in the hose. When I got the last one milked I passed out on the milkhouse floor. The milk truck driver woke me up, I think. Next task was getting the girls some feed. By the time I got them fed it was time to milk again! I'll never forget those 3 days of hell. Owning critters is a full time job. Keep in mind that those animals don't care if you feel like a million bucks or death warmed over, they just want to fed and milked and scratched behind the ears.

Other Things of Interest......

The KSMILKMAID has a new Blog

The BadgerMum has an interesting post on Alfred the Great

We need to have some dirt in our lives

Hey, let's use a paper towel


At 10/28/2005 7:05 PM, Blogger ctroutma said...


I always appreciate your realism brother. Hope you are well soon. Blessings,

(I think I am blogging again now)

At 10/29/2005 11:53 AM, Blogger The BadgerMum said...

LOL! I cannot keep house without paper towels.

At 10/29/2005 3:41 PM, Anonymous KSMILKMAID said...

Awesome post Scott! You have been really hitting on the challenges of farming. Brian is a wonderful sport. He will be there no matter what. He is so loyal. In the past six years, he was only missed milking once. He was sick sick sick. He had the stomach flu and couldn't walk. I convinced him to let me help. He now letting me take back morning milkings. The only problem is the girls are so used to him they held back three gallons between the six. On a heavy customer day, that could spell shortages for customers. Hopefully they will get used to me soon.

Milking is a fascinating thing when you get ready to deliver a baby too. I was so glad our most recent addition arrived in the morning and we were able to have her at home so we didn't have to leave. I will have to go over and post about a divine quality I have learned through this. Thanks for the inspiration!

At 10/31/2005 5:57 PM, Blogger flacius1551 said...

it's one reason I was happy to leave the farm--the fact that cows are worse than children--but I think farmers are not the only ones who experience the need to work despite illness or injury. Some "city jobs" have similar impacts on other people rather than animals--teaching, for example, or doctoring, and some people feel compelled to work despite illness because if they don't work they or their family won't eat.


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