I’ve been weighing milk replacer powder for so long now I could do it in my sleep.
    A couple months ago, I wrote about the digital scale we use to weigh milk replacer powder and its secondary use as a kitten scale.
    As luck would have it, shortly after that column was published, my trusty scale started to malfunction. I accepted that eight years of daily use was all a small electronic device could handle and ordered a new scale.
    The new scale was the exact same model as our old scale. And, for a couple months, the new scale was as trustworthy as the old.
    Then it, too, started to act glitchy. At first, I thought to myself, there’s no way this brand new scale can already be malfunctioning. Then, I heard my father’s words echo in my head, “They just don’t make things the way they used to.”
    Could the scale’s manufacturer really have skimped that much during the assembly of the scale, I wondered.
    I was about ready to call the company’s customer service department, when I decided to take a closer look at the scale. As I tipped the scale up, a tiny pebble rolled out from under the balance pan.
    Could it be that simple, I asked the barn cats who were watching me fiddle with the device.
    I turned the scale on and, sure enough, it appeared to work perfectly.
    But then I was I little concerned about its accuracy. Well, more than a little concerned. I consider milk replacer concentration and consistency from feeding to feeding to be two of the most important factors for raising healthy calves. Having an accurate weight when measuring milk replacer powder is crucial.
    Plus, we use the digital scale to calibrate the powder dispenser on our automatic calf feeder. How can Device A be used to calibrate Device B if Device A isn’t accurate?
    Well, thanks to the handy-dandy internet, I learned that United States nickels can be used to calibrate a digital scale. A brand new, shiny nickel weighs five grams, so weighing a handful of nickels will give you a good idea of how accurate your scale is.
    Thankfully, our scale didn’t sustain any damage from the pebble under its pan, because it accurately weighed several nickels. I can once again feed calves without fretting.
    I wish every problem could be solved by simply finding the proverbial burr under the saddle and removing it.
    A couple weeks ago, we had all been working on jobs around the farm when Dan disappeared from the yard.
    Monika quickly spotted him out in the pasture, driving the four-wheeler.
    I wrote earlier this year about Dan earning the privilege of taking the four-wheeler to get the cows from pasture. So, Dan was within his privilege to drive the four-wheeler.
    However, he had not notified a parent that he was going to take the four-wheeler. And, since it was not yet time to bring the cows in, his jaunt through the pasture confused the cows. They thought it was time to come in, so we had half the herd waiting at the gate for an hour before feed was unloaded.
    I was so upset by the time Dan got back that Monika and Daphne were hiding. When Dan finally approached me, however, I willed myself to remain calm. I explained, more carefully than I apparently had the first time, the importance of letting an adult know when he was going to drive the four-wheeler. If something had happened to him, we would have had no idea he was out there. I also pointed out the untimeliness of his trip, as far as the cows were concerned.
    Dan apologized, and I told him we would discuss consequences after I had time to decide what would be appropriate.
    That night, when I was tucking him in, I asked him why he decided to take the four-wheeler out.
    “I just needed to recalibrate, Mom,” was his immediate reply.
    I knew he had been having a rough day, and I honestly can’t remember what he had been upset about, but I remember that statement as clearly as if it was yesterday.
    I remember, too, first wondering, how does my sixth grader even know what the word recalibrate means, especially in relation to his mood?
    Then I felt sad and proud at the same time. No mother wants her child to be upset. But I was proud that Dan recognized he was having an off moment and that he knew what he needed to do to turn his mood around. Taking a break, especially one that connects you with nature, is one of the top strategies for maintaining emotional resilience.
    Emotional resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, the ability to bend without breaking – is a critical life skill. At its foundation is recognizing when our stress level has gone from normal and acceptable to overwhelming and then taking steps to calm the turbulence. Our emotional state is the signal that we’re losing control and need to recalibrate.
    I started an online course to bolster my own emotional resilience. I can’t be the only one who feels like I’m in the midst of one of the worst onslaughts of negative stressors ever.
    How’s your emotional resilience? Do you need to recalibrate your mood?
    If your answer is yes, the handy-dandy internet has countless resources addressing emotional resilience. I recommend starting with Psychology Today’s “10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient People”.
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children – Dan, 11, Monika, 8, and Daphne, 5. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com.