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

Summer chaos

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

Summer farming chaos is in full swing on our farm. The five little boys are busy running a-muck as Cora gleefully watches from her stroller. Summer is the time of year that is deceiving to me. When the kids are anxious to get out of school; it seems like they have so much time, a whole three months to enjoy the outdoors and be farmers. Then you finally pause to look at the calendar, realizing you haven't done anything fun yet and it's now June 30. The frustrating thing about time is it doesn't stop for anyone.
This summer's construction project is a calf barn for Stacy and her crew. After last winter's miserable weather, coupled with this summer's frequent downpours, plus a door full of other reasons (it's true, we have a running list of reasons 'Why We Are Getting a Calf Barn' written on the milkhouse door) - a calf barn is in process. The progress on the process, however, is slow going due to the work site being a large clay lined puddle at the moment. The electricians worked in the rain until lightning started brightening up the sky this week, and the concrete crew did as much as they could without actually getting the concrete poured due to rain. Then we all sit and wait for it to dry out again. Well, unless you are little boys. They devised an intense game that revolved around the puddles; you line up across from each other but behind a puddle, then you throw mud balls into the puddle to splash the other person. Melanie and I learned the intricacies of their thoughts when we decided to join in and started whipping clay balls at them. We were quickly informed that that wasn't how to play the game, and then all five boys began pummeling us with mud.
We have been enjoying our slow calving month (only 70 due) because we know that come July the pace picks up - 100 due to freshen. The girls had 15 heifer calves in 10 days, after a half month of primarily bulls being born. You know that feeling you get when you can see the storm coming from a few miles away and you aren't sure how bad it's going to be? It's similar to the one you get when you've had lots of bulls and just know all of a sudden you will get slammed with heifer calves. You know they're coming, you just can't pinpoint when. This week alone we had Apollo and Artemis, Leticia and Alicia, along with Vivian and Vashti ... all sets of heifer twins. Thanks to the team effort in the transition barn, the calving pen stays much cleaner lately. This has helped to cut down on calf sickness tremendously and helps out the girls, both calves and calf feeders.
Summer is the season of cereal. Cereal for breakfast, cereal is for supper - it's a summer staple. Partly because when it's hot outside it doesn't involve cooking, and because most nights, we are home late and it's fast to prepare. I feed roughly ten people daily for lunch, and some days it feels like cooking is all I actually accomplish. So, when I give options for supper and my kids vote cereal, I don't complain too much. Keeping the farmhouse refrigerator stocked to keep the hangries (hungry plus angry) away is a job in itself. I swear all the boys have worms. They will finish lunch and be back searching in the fridge within minutes to satisfy an urge. They can go through five pounds of apples in a week, multiple bags of carrots, and they never tire of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Growing boys must eat, I remind myself daily, as they open and shut the fridge for the 100th time.
Ira has been working like a man, helping Peter and Tony V. fix the stalls in the freestall barns. He's also recently taken up learning to play the trumpet. I'm thankful he has a fan club that likes to listen to his squeaks and squawks, then tell him how cool it sounds. Dane and Oliver are usually on their bikes, zooming around the farm checking every puddle for signs of tadpole life. If they are sitting still it's generally curled up with a kitten on their lap in the barn. Finley and Henry are a walking comedy show some days. They have such great three year old logic for why things should happen the way they want them to. They love one another so much that even after a day of knock down fighting they still want to be near the other. Henry rides his bike around to keep up with the big boys, while Finley is content to push Henry up the hills or help me with the stroller. Then there's Cora. At a grinning, pudgy, thumb-sucking four months old, she is the sunshine to all the miserable rain lately. All any of the boys have to do is look at her and talk and she's attentive - smiling and jabbering right back at them. It's instant gratification for the love they show her. She's very calm and easygoing, which is a gift with all the other chaos around here.
Perhaps the next two months will bring real fun for the boys. For now, we all seem to find little ways to bring a break to each day of summer. It might be a raspberry-picking excursion, a game of kickball, a hot day on the slip-n-slide, or making good use of the mud by throwing it at one another. There will probably be many more days of cereal meals, and sandwiches eaten on the run, and far too many sets of twins. After all, summer has really just begun.
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