September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Rookie of the year

By Jacqui Davison- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

The good news is I still remember how to change a little boy's diaper and be fast enough not to get peed on. The bad news is that I have had some serious "rookie" moments in the kitchen and the barn since the birth of Henry. Sometimes I feel like I am completely losing my mind, other times I feel like I have everything under control - part of being a mother of three I guess, perhaps just a mom altogether.
I told the guys that Henry was really thinking when he decided to arrive in between 3rd crop and 4th crop haying, and definitely early enough to give me some time to recuperate before corn silage. While physically I was feeling better, the mistakes I made in the kitchen while trying to manage a newborn were ridiculous by my standards, making me think my brain was still on maternity leave. I burnt the first meal of grilled burgers I made for the guys, and I mean they were black. I was hoping no one would notice because it was their night meal and already dark outside.
A few nights later, this time using the charcoal grill (because I was convinced that it was the gas grill's fault), I tried to successfully grill chicken breasts for them. Blackened chicken anyone? That evening when they quit for the day, Ray Baby and Max stopped in the house for a chat and I apologized for their slightly overcooked supper. They said they figured it was because I was feeding Henry and no big deal - sweet guys, huh?
The next time I grilled burgers (that actually turned out), my dad said how they were so much better than the last ones and maybe next time I burn burgers that incredibly bad, I really should just cut the black part off before I feed it to them. I could have tried that angle, I suppose.
My baking skills were questionable as well. I went to make super delicious s'more bars one afternoon and totally screwed up the topping. It didn't even cross my mind that flour, sugar and graham cracker crumbs wouldn't make a crunchy topping without butter involved. After baking them for the required time and the top still wasn't brown, Thomas walked in and asked what I did wrong. I read the recipe three times before it dawned on me what exactly I didn't do.
Then I turn around and while baking the crust for lemon pie bars, I start to cook the filling on the stove. Now why would I have to cook the filling on the stove if I have to bake it in the oven? I was standing over the stove stirring, reading the recipe for way too long before it registered with me. Thankfully, the bars still turned out fine.
The men all survived my kitchen catastrophes and still continued to say thanks when I fed them. I admit, it took a little coordination to work my cooking schedule around my newest man that needed to be fed, and he was by far the one with the least amount of patience.
I vividly remember the first few milkings after I was back to work after Dane was born, it felt like I had forgotten how to behave around cows. I caught one very large Holstein off guard and she sent me flying to the wall, and not two days later the very same thing happened (with a different cow). I had never had that happen to me until then and quickly learned to be cautious until I was back in the swing of things.
The past two weeks have been the first time I have tried to do more work than just holding a clipboard in the barn. The first Saturday night I was in the barn, I brought a cow in to check on her calving status and discovered twins in trouble. Three weeks early and dead, it wasn't a great welcome back to the barn.
Monday morning brought another cow needing assistance, I think the cows were happy their midwife was back and this was their way of showing it. It always makes me feel good when my cow intuition kicks in and I am right about things - like a cow having twins for example. However, on the flip side, it almost always bites me in the butt when I don't listen to my inner voice when it comes to a cow.
As I went about pulling this second set of twins for the week, the thought of putting a stitch in her to prevent her casting her withers entered my head. I didn't act on it. It turned out to be a bad rookie move; she did indeed cast her withers and no one was there to notice. She died before night chores.
Last Saturday night I noticed a fresh cow that wasn't really up to par, so I started to put the hose in to pump her with 10 gallons of water and Bovine Bluelite. I thought I smelled the stomach gases so I started to pump. Less than two gallons later I knew something wasn't right by the way she was moving. I had just pumped that right into her lungs. Peter says if you've been doing something that long you are bound to make a mistake eventually. I had never done that to a cow before and let me tell you, it is a very sad sight and knowing that you did it is a miserable feeling.
This week has been better, my cow and kitchen skills are coming back from maternity leave and I haven't burned anything as of late. Henry is almost getting used to this farming routine, and sleeps quite soundly in his swing despite the banging of stalls and loud hum of the milker pump. My rookie mistakes make me feel terrible, even though we all know mistakes happen and that is part of life......after my first week back in the barn full time, things are starting to look up.[[In-content Ad]]


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