milking magic

I think that as Farmers, in this very distinct community, that we all have our moments where we stop and think, "what the hell am I doing?" It is very difficult to do work in the field that we work in under "normal" circumstances, but then add the fact that we live in the midst of where we work, well, that definitely throws a HUGE wrench into things. Lately I have been having a lot of those aforementioned wonderings. And yet, there are days that start winding down like today; days which catch me, shake me hard, rattle around the marbles upstairs, and almost shout, "SEE!"

I was very tired this afternoon, recovering from a visit with my old college roomie College Kim--her and her boyfriend were here for just hours yesterday en route to visiting his family, who happen to live in western MA--and two trips to the airport in two days (one to pick up College Kim and one to pick up returning Farmer S today). And of course today also happened to be my milking day, and being tired I was grumbling more than just a little, then to top things off some folks who vacation in the area stopped by and wanted to help.

It took everything in me to not shout, "go away, can't you see that I am sleepy and just want to get out of here, and don't want to talk and pretend to be a nice Farmer!!" And yet, I took a deep breath and became the nice Farmer who is buried in me somewhere, and managed to get through the small talk of who I am and what I do here, etc. and began to realize that they really were helpful. The man and his 5 year old daughter dumped milk buckets, weighed the milk, recorded the who-milked-how-much and dumped it into the bulk tank for me. Then they broke up the bales of hay, which Farmer J had set out for me, and portioned hay out to all the cows. They were both very nice and the daughter was very sweet and kept asking me (in such a sweet little voice) why I was doing what I was doing; if the new calf missed his mother, who is no longer in the pen with him; asked all sorts of questions. And in her questions I felt a little twinge of the Librarian I used to be, answering the kids questions. And I missed that: working with kids; being looked up to as if I knew so many of the answers.

But I was able to give something to this little girl to take away with her. She was able to watch as I bottle fed "S," (name to be determined), our little calf born last week before Christmas. It was one of those really wonderful, special moments that I was so glad I could share with someone else. It was such a great way to end a tired day. To leave the barn; boots steaming in the cold air from the hot wash I had given them; to hear the coyotes loudly calling to one another; to look up under another crisp and starry night; to go to the upper campus and hear as the bell rang and called us to dinner.

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