If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Let me...

I enjoy sleep.  I like to sleep late in the mornings.

Growing up on a dairy farm, we rose from bed and stumbled out to the barn long before daylight each morning.

Even though we weren't Morning People, we had chores to do.

My Daddy used to let me get the cows up.  (That means I had the opportunity to walk through the dew-damp pasture in the morning darkness before sunrise and get behind the cows till they walked into a pen behind the barn and holler, "Hey!  Get on up there!")

He let me get them up out of the pasture and into the holding pen to be ready to milk.

My Daddy also used to let me feed the calves.  (That means I had the opportunity to prep warm bottles of milk to feed the babies whose mama had just entered the milking herd after their birth.)

He let me prepare the bottles of warm milk and hold them for the calves to suck from birth till about six weeks of age when they were weaned.  I also got to feed them grain and hay and put straw or shavings in their pens for dry bedding.  They each had a bucket of water in their pens for additional hydration and guess who got the chance to keep that water bucket clean and filled...Yep.  He let me do that, too.

My Daddy used to let me feed the growing heifers there on the farm, too.  (That means I had the opportunity to fill five gallon buckets full of grain - about twenty pounds or so - and tote that bucket out to various lots where the young cattle were grouped by size.  Then, I got to pour the feed up and down the trough, spreading it out so they each could get plenty to eat.)

As a young girl, after my morning chores were done, I'd high-tail it to the house to get breakfast, get cleaned up, and get off to school.  After school, my Mama would bring my sister and I home and we would get a snack before we trudged off to our afternoon chores.  Yep, my Daddy let us take care of the same chores in the afternoon, too.

I grew up, went off to college, married, graduated, and after the birth of my daughter, returned to the farm.  Guess what...once again there were chores to do...And, my Daddy let me do some of them.

My Daddy let me do the milking.  Each morning and each afternoon I had the opportunity to milk the cows, keep the milking equipment and milking barn clean and sanitary.  (That means once again rising before daylight and heading out to the barn.)

Daddy also let me help with the herd health checks which means he let me assist him and the veterinarian catch and hold cows, draw blood for testing, fill syringes for vaccinations which were required to prevent diseases, and administer any other medicines which might be needed.  (This was a day-long job that took place at least once per year.)

I raised my two children within three miles of the farm and they had chores all their formative years just like I'd had.  For many of my adult years Daddy let me help there on the family farm - and he let my children help out there as well.

My life took another direction for a while.

I earned a teaching degree and have spent the past twelve years in a classroom.

Then, last fall, my husband retired after spending the majority of his adult life working in a warehouse.  He decided that he would return to his roots.  You see, he grew up on a small family farm as well.

Right now, Mike has thirteen baby calves who drink a bottle of warm milk morning and night and I told him I would help him out this week while I am on spring break.

So, on my first day of spring break we arose before daylight.  We shared an old-fashioned farm breakfast of bacon, eggs, and biscuits.  Then, as we cleaned the kitchen the sun was rising over the horizon and we were mapping out our plans for the day.  Mike said to me, "I'm gonna let you check the water buckets while I mix the milk for the bottles."