The weeks before Christmas

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‘Twas the weeks before Christmas, when all ‘cross the farm
There was many a reason to sound an alarm
The creatures were indeed stirring, causing quite a tizzy
The chaos that ensued has rendered me dizzy

Mrs. Rochester, the sow, should have been nestled in her crate
The boys welded it tight, but, alas, it was too late
She farrowed out right on the old milkhouse floor
What followed was much more than we had bargained for

I headed to milk early, when Ira called all a fluster
“Cows are out again. Bring all the help you can muster!”
Milkers pulled off and away to the barn door Henry and I flew
“You go this way; I’ll go that. See what we can do.”

The layer of fresh snow added a new scare
Slippery and dangerous, one must run with care
When what to our straining eyes should appear in the dark
But two Holsteins, stuck in the pit. Hark!

60 cows put in, and Ira ran to the loader quick
We got Zorro up the ramp, even though it was slick
The loader, the pile shaver, a log chain or three
Kindness, the heifer, was rescued; all were safe, thankfully

Hail French Fry! Now, Tinsel! Now, Bramble and Bean! 
Onto Orpah! And Bunco! And, just when it may seem …
The calves may slow down, they keep coming at this pace
Elf, Claus and Kiwi are added to the background space

It is a sight to walk into the barn in the morning
All maternity pens full, cows bellowing their warning
So into the milkhouse I move at full tilt
Thankful for the extra calving areas we had built

A moment of quiet comes over; then what do I hear? 
I roll my eyes knowingly, my dread and my fear
Here comes a new delivery, born down in transition
Thrown on a sled, swoosh, another addition

She was covered in the poo from her head to her tail
Shivering and slimy, her momma following without fail
A quick warm shower and into the warmer she goes
Months with 130 calves due keep us on our toes

Zoe was stuck in a stall, the second time this week
Her back was all scraped; her energy looked meek
She walked with a limp, a sad little hop
Into the straw pack, she lands with a flop

Back to our sow, she lies flat on her side
The piglets squeak and run and often collide
With curled tails, and each a little round belly
They plump when they eat and aren’t too very smelly

The chickens have long been on break from their work
I have bribed, cajoled, but not threatened — I’m not a jerk
The sheep are in need of a boyfriend to visit soon
At this rate, I probably won’t have a lamb until June

I write this to tell you of all our trials and our fun
When you read it, our year will be close to being done
Merry Christmas to all and a happy New Year, as well 
Next year I’ve no doubt I will have more stories to tell! 

Jacqui Davison and her family milk 800 cows and farm 1,200 acres in northeastern Vernon County, Wisconsin. Her children, Ira, Dane, Henry and Cora, help on the farm while her husband, Keith, works on a grain farm. If she’s not in the barn, she’s probably in the kitchen, trailing after little ones or sharing her passion of reading with someone. Her life is best described as organized chaos, and if it wasn’t, she’d be bored.

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