Back To The Farm (3/24/13)

My family's house and barn
Me saving a freezing calf... he was trying to find milk!

The end of a competitive season is always hard. I’ve literally been living out of a suitcase since October, and I haven’t been home in more weeks than I can remember. Spending mid-November to Feb. 19 in Europe is crazy when you think about it. I could not be happier to be back on American soil. I wanted to yell “MERICA!” as I walked into the Chicago airport; it didn’t matter that I still had another connection and a three hour drive back to my family’s farm.

The crazy thing is, there is no real down time. I get home and we are in the middle of calving season! This means the next morning I’m up at 7 a.m., and working by 8:30 a.m. This usually entails working a minimum of 10-hour days from dawn to dusk, and the only reason we stop is due to the fact it gets dark. It seemed as soon as I showed up, so did all the calves. We were having 20-30 calves a day when I first got home! Things usually go pretty smooth, but there is always something that can go wrong, especially in a snowstorm. In snowy conditions, we drive through the fields taking extra care to make sure the calves are not wet and freezing (usually twice a day 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.). I mean, come on, being born on snow, soaking wet would not be fun! So, we have two trucks going through the fields checking 700 head of cattle while the scout, or “ambulance” as we call it, would pick up any baby calves needing help. The calves picked up by the ambulance would go back to the farm and into the shop (a round top with tools and such) to be dried off, bottle fed, and then brought back out to their mom once they were dry. This required everyone to help. The neighbor I work with has six kids, and they were pumped to get a snow day from school until they found out they had calf duty. Eddie, the oldest, would drive the ambulance, Josie and Jessie, the 12-year-old twins would dry the calves off, Tommy would feed them, and Allie assisted. Did I say six? That’s because they basically adopted me ;)  So, I guess that makes me the oldest.

I’m usually in a truck checking and tagging the calves, however I have been left in the shop to dry them off and feed them if need be. It seems the work out here is never-ending, and every day is completely different from the day before; which is why I love it. The people out in the boondocks are some of my favorite people. They truly enjoy the simple pleasures in life, and after being on the road for so many months of the year, I have as well. I never knew farm life was for me. This was my father’s dream, and he passed away before he could show me how amazing it is. It seems I’ve fallen in love with it too.