We moved to the farm when I was nine.
I stepped into another world.
A world of noise.
Sun up to sun down physical…work.
It wasn’t all bad.
Have you ever slid down an elevator, drenched in sweat, after stacking two hundred bales of hay in 120 degree haymow?
It is one of the simple pleasures of life 🙂
Winter in the Midwest brings it’s own set of issues.
Frozen water pipes.
Temperatures so low, my fingers would feel like they were on fire.
I would get up at 5:30 in the morning to milk 18 humongous Holstein cows, 20 times my body weight, twice a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year,for seven years….
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to put a milk machine on a fresh heifer. The trick is to plaster yourself against her flank, put your arm between her utters and her back leg, so when she kicked your arms acted as a buffer.
If you’re not paying attention, you and the milk machine will end up in the gutter…guaranteed.
I got a front row seat delivering babies growing up…
Baby pigs, baby calves….I can still remember the day I had to put my pet calf down.
The whole cycle of life played out right before my eyes, multiple times.
I can still remember the day, dad said I was old enough to drive the tractor by myself,and spread manure.
We were John Deere people.
With letters like “A” or “B” stenciled on the metal.
“Two Bangers” the old farmers called them, because they ran on just two cylinders… You could here them coming a half a mile a way.
The clutch was a vertical metal rod. I learned you needed to ease it ahead nice and slow to put it in gear.
The spreader (short hand for manure spreader) was attached to the tractor by a tongue and a power take off shaft….
I got on the John Deere A, eased it into 3rd gear and headed North. The field we were spreading manure on was right behind the barn. A 1/4 of a mile long….
The only instructions I remember dad telling me was to take my time and not go too fast.
Got to the designated area, downshifted into 2nd, put the clutch in gear, pulled the power take off handle…
The next thing I knew, large chunks of fresh cow manure were raining down on my head.
What dad neglected to mention was pay attention to the wind.
We do our kids a dis-service when we micromanage their lives, especially as they get older. A little cow manure never hurt anyone.
When I turned 18, I moved to town.
Can still see my dad standing in the driveway watching me leave….
It wasn’t until years later, I began to appreciate just how much those nine years on the farm shaped my life…..
DM about 12 years old.
So maybe you’ve never had cow manure rain down on your head because you didn’t anticipate what might happen..but I’m pretty sure you have a story or three of your own you could tell me along the same lines… I want to hear them 🙂 DM