Time to exercise, but not this way

Saturday night I felt a bit guilty for eating three full-sized graham crackers covered with left-over cheesecake filling before I sauntered upstairs to watch Netflix on my iPad.

I kind of swore that I wouldn’t partake in snacking before go up to relax in bed.

I puffed my pillows and settled into bed with my earphones in my ears.

I just about hit the ceiling when I felt some very strong fingers grab ahold of my foot. I was so enthralled in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I was a bit freaked out.

Those hands were my husbands and I instantly knew it was going to be bad. He never grabs my feet any other time.

“There are beef cows and black and white Holsteins running around in your yard,” Steve said.

That’s like hearing, “Code blue!” “S.O.S.” or “Mayday!” or “He’s in v-tach!”

There’s no time to ask questions, or get answers for that matter, because Steve gives these long drawn-out answers. And by-god, those cows are ripping up my new grass seeding!

I quickly removed my pajamas and put on my smelly, dirty chores clothes. Grabbed my wool vest and was out the door before Steve even had socks on.

Yep. The cows were obliterating my new grass in front of the house. Oddly enough, the small electric-fence I created to keep the dogs off my lawn had trapped a big beef cow. She was on the inside of the fence and couldn’t figure out how to get on the outside of the fence. Cows can be so dumb.

I jumped on my super-sonic bicycle and started herding cows back toward the “escape tunnel.”

They ruined the fence right by the north-end of the barn.

Steve and I herded the all but one of the wild beasts into the correct pasture. Then we had to figure out how one other rogue cow trapped herself into another pasture area and bring her back to the other group.

Well, herding her worked as well as trying to catch a greased pig in a County Fair contest.

She managed to jump through a fence, and run through knee-high mud and manure and hide herself in the group of cows that are not being milked.

Steve, being the insane cow herder that he is, thought we should try to get her out of that group. I, being the sane cow herder, thought we should wait until morning.

I lost and I was headed into the mud and manure.

I stood in front of a vast mud hole. I pondered how I was going to cross and the only thought that came to my mind was to follow the cows’ tracks.

Well, that worked as slick as trying to catch two greased pigs at the County Fair.

Before I knew it, my rubber boots were making this awful sucking sound as I tried to take steps. My feet were coming out of my boots and my boots were disappearing in the brown goo.

By the time I weaseled my way out of my gooey mess, I had removed my boots and stuck my feet into the cold goo. My hands were also full of it, as I had to balance when I tried to pull my boots out of the mud.

They still stink.

Eventually I removed myself from the abysmal mud and started to walk to the milk house for a proper dousing in the large stainless steel sinks.

My feet were cold, manure and mud had squished between my toes and my hands were just as icky.

After I returned to the house, I thought, “Well, I don’t have to feel bad for snacking before I had gone to bed. I had worked it all off. In one hour I road my bike at super speed, ran around the grain bins like I was on a merry-go-round and used every muscle in my body to unstick myself from the manure-mud mixture.

Yep. I think I burned off the cheesecake filling.

It’s good to live on a farm.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net


My little boy is all grown up

I just walked past our youngest son on my way into the house, as he was on his way out of the house for his last day of high school.

As I walked by said youngest son, I gave him a big hug and wished him a fun day on his last-official day of school.

Russell is ecstatic to be finishing his high school career. Mother and Father are too.

He couldn’t be more ready to let those double doors close behind him at 3:10 this afternoon.

I know he is well prepared to move on and become an even greater person than what his father and I already think he is. He is responsible, hard-working and fun-loving. For instance, just the other day I tried to convince him to write a really hokey paper about Macbeth, since it shouldn’t affect his grade. I thought he could title it about Macbeth, but then write a paper about our cows.

He refused and thought it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard.

Russell has always been an entertaining child.

From the time he was a baby the kid always has had a smile stretching across his face. And talk about a handsome baby – oooh, I received so many comments on my handsome boy. Still do.

Russell was always the instigator when it came to him and Joey doing things out of the ordinary here on the farm. He’s the one that decided to turn an old bed frame into a sled to pull behind the four wheeler.

I haven’t really had a ton of time to sit and think about how much I am going to miss him. I do get little snippets of time to look at things, which makes my eyes water.

Just the other day I was sitting in Steve’s well-worn office chair and looking at a photo frame with tons of pictures in it. My emotions came out, when I realized that my days with my youngest son running around the house and pestering me are numbered.

In that frame, is a picture of him pushing a Tonka dump truck across our yard when he was about 4-years-old.

Another picture of him shows my two little men snuggled on my lap, sleeping. Those times were so precious.

Or the picture of him “doing” my hair in 27 little ponytails.

In my book, Russell is one of the world’s greatest sons. There are three: Joey, Russell and my higher power.

Every mother has a right to think her sons are the greatest. You can’t tell me Mary didn’t think her son Jesus was pretty awesome when he brought Lazarus back to life.

Years ago, Grandma Up-the-Hill, may she rest in peace, looked at me as I sat next to her, in her small Catholic church.

I leaned over and kissed Joey on the forehead. Grandma looked at me, noticed I had tears in my eyes and asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.” I replied. “I just love him so much.”

“Don’t ever be afraid to show everyone just how much you love him,” Grandma said.

I live by those rules! Every mother should live by that quote. (I still miss my Grandma and hope she is helping me raise two amazing farm boys. That’s what she called my sons.)

Russell and Joey both hate it most of the time – the public show of affection.

I didn’t care if people thought I was rude for walking out onto the football field at Russell’s last game to give him a huge bear-hug. It was an amazing hug! We were both so sad football was over.

I don’t care if Russell gets a bit mad if I holler his nicknames Buddha, R.P. or Tractor at other sporting events. Or if I whistle for him when the stands are quiet. Or if a make a silly banner about kicking the opposing team members in the knees.

I know Russell really gets annoyed when I secretly go into the school parking lot and stick Hello Kitty stickers on his car or use Tinkerbell stickers on the football players’ lockers and coach’s classroom window.

“That way you will know I was thinking of you when I drove past the school,” I say.

He hates it, but 20 years from now, I know he will understand the significance. He will smile when he sees Hello Kitty on his coffee mug that I provided for him to use as he works in the fields.

Steve and I have done our best and dang-nabbit, he turned out to be a really great soul.

We are so proud of him and our world is more complete with him in it.

New calves never get old

Cow Number 096 starting calving Saturday, in the early afternoon.

It started out as business as usual with an employee telling us that she was starting to give birth.

This particular cow has a pretty pink ear tag in her right ear, which means she is going to have twins! She started having her baby all on her own, without any major noises emanating from the barn. We noticed she was calving when two little hooves started sticking out of the cows back end.

Let the excitement begin. We began checking on Number 096 every half-hour or so. She had that little calf all on her own and was proceeding to make her mama grunts and lick all the ooey-gooeys off the baby.

Knowing she was supposed to have two calves, we decided to let her go and keep checking on her to monitor her progress. Every 15 minutes, or so, I would walk over and check her. I am sure others were checking on her just as often.

I observed her drinking water, laying down, eating hay and the mixed ration out of the bunk.

The first calf she had was all fluffy and cute, so things were good with that calf. It doesn’t take long for the mother cow to get a calf clean.

But it can be distracting and she forgets that she still has another calf inside.

Number 096 wasn’t pushing one bit. She was way too interested in eating. It was time for Steve and me to assist with the birth.

Steve and I walked over to the milk house to gather the necessary supplies: chain, hook, warm bucket of water and long plastic sleeves.

Just kidding. We didn’t take the long plastic sleeves. Steve says, “Real men, don’t use plastic sleeves.”

When I walked into the barn, I couldn’t find the first-born calf.

“Oh my god!” I screamed. “She’s laying on the first calf.”

Sorry PETA, but I kicked the mother cow to get her up quickly and sure enough, there was the first calf, right underneath the 1,800-pound Number 096.

That poor calf had zero eye movement. Dead calves have a spacey look – zombie like.

I could see the heartbeat, but I also noticed the calf was not breathing.

Life-saving mode kicked in.  After all, it was a heifer calf and I would do what I needed to save this calf.

I started rubbing the calf along the ribs, going from head to tail in an effort to get the calf to breathe. This is what I do to most of the calves after they are born. I think it helps stimulate them to take that first gasp of air.

Then it dawned on me that I was not pumping air into the calf’s lungs, so I started doing CPR, and pumping up and down on the calf’s chest. Of course I did the CPF without the breathing.

All of a sudden, it gasped!

I was elated! I pumped a few more times; until she started taking regular breaths and blinked her long-lashed eye lids. She could write a book about going to heaven and coming back!

This baby heifer calf survived and was doing amazing! I Monday afternoon I took her out of her dome home and we went for a walk. She followed me all around the yard. I sat on the grass by the garage and she curled up next to me.

I say “was dong amazing,” because she accidentally was sent off to live at the steer farm! I have no idea how she is doing. She’s supposed to be coming home today.

Normally, a heifer born with a bull, which is what the second calf was, is sent away because they will be unable to conceive a calf – if they share a placenta in utero. One will be a boy and one will be sterile girl. If they don’t share a placenta, the heifer calf should be intact.

Later that day, Steve came into the house, “I have some disturbing news,” he said. “They took your calf to today.”

I started crying and blubbering about, “How could you do that?”

“I will call him and have him bring her back,” Steve said.

You’re darn tooting’ you will bring her home.

There are some tests that can determine if she has the correct reproductive organs.

I haven’t picked out a name for her yet. This name has to be unique.

So, for the first time in my life I have administered CPR to a calf and we will always be buddies. Imagecalves never get