Our four-year-old grandson does his part to herd the cattle down the road by waving his cap in order to encourage them along. His dad takes a bit more active approach as he runs along behind the critters!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fixing Fence

It began innocently enough. While out doing chores this morning I mentioned that I sure could use more exercise. Farmer John looked over and said, "How about right now?"

I was suspicious. "No heavy lifting."

"Not at all," he assured me. "Just a nice walk up to the wheat field to fix some fence."

I brightened. I had my brand new leather gloves in my farm bag and dug them out, adjusted my stocking hat, and said, "OK!"

John pulled into a hay meadow and said, "Let's go."

I looked around.  "Let's go where?" 

"Follow me!" And off he went. 

We went through brush, over a creek, over two fences, and up a mud-slicked hill.  And did I mention that the creek had water in it?  Running water?  I was whapped in the face with sunflower stalks and had my courage tested as I tiptoed over wet and muddy rocks at the creek. 

All in all it was a fine adventure.  I took a lot of photos and felt like an intrepid explorer.  We gained the top of the hill and there was a stiff breeze blowing. I was too warm from exertion and chilly at the same time. 

I spied the Bobcat sitting next to the fence that needed repairing.  The photos below tell the rest of the story. 

Farmer John fixing fence.

Farmer Linda fixing fence. 

OK, I did roll up some barbed wire and did a few other mildly helpful things. But this made a good story, and I'm all about making a good story! 

I loved this day tromping over hill and dale (and through the creek) back on the farm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Coveralls and a Persimmon

The propane tank is full, firewood has been stacked, and we've made one of our infrequent trips to Sam's Club in Topeka, stocking up on everything from Kleenex to canned soup.  We are cozily ready for winter.  

This morning the temperature on John's temperamental but usually accurate wireless indoor/outdoor gauge read 22 degrees.  We plugged in Annie's heat mat (Annie is our dog), and dug out the two heated water bowls for the cats (front porch) and for Annie (back yard). At the shop today in between welding projects, John plans to use a large plastic barrel to create a warmer sleeping spot for our five outdoor cats.  I'll be interested to see his finished design, because I can't quite picture how that's going to work. 

As I pulled on my brand new insulated coveralls this morning I thought, "Now I'll find out what all those dire warnings have been about."  I've been getting a lot of knowing looks and doubtful smiles from farming veterans who rightly believe I'm not, shall we say, the hale and hearty outdoor type.  I do love spending time outdoors, but I've never had a lot of stamina.  It's probably kind of late to start, but I am suffering the delusion that it is possible to become accustomed to a little more strenuous level of physical labor than I've attempted in the past.  
There was a brisk north wind blowing and even though I was wearing several layers of clothing I nevertheless got thoroughly chilled.  By the end of the morning I'd added a muffler, a hunter orange hood, and a jacket to my ensemble, but I hid the camera and Farmer John wasn't able to document those additions to my wardrobe. However, I noticed that he kept laughing every time he looked at me. Although this did not please me I couldn't really blame him. I looked like a clown ready for a circus act while he looked manly and well turned out, sort of like a lumberjack. This is not fair, because I try harder.  John's idea of grooming is to shave. I know  I can't win the hard work and knowledge category of the farming contest, and so I'd at least like to have been eligible to win the "cutest in farm clothes" portion of the competition.  But he is the clear winner in that category as well.  Oh, well. 

I drove, and "stabbed" 3 bales with the hay fork, picked 'em up (ok, I pushed the button that caused the hydraulic fork to raise), and set 'em down.
When John got out of the truck to open a gate he grabbed the camera and took my photo as I drove into the field.  He still can't quite believe I'm doing "farmerish" stuff.  That heifer at the left in the photo above is also looking at me pretty incredulously. 
Awhile later Farmer John removed some shanks from an anhydrous spreader that he shares with a neighbor.   He's going to use special welding rods to apply a hard surface coating to the edge of the shanks so they will last longer.  There was a persimmon tree nearby and my gallant spouse presented me with one of the fruits.  

Now, as I've shared here, I really am a farm girl at heart.  When I was young I used to roam the woods back of my Grandpa's farmhouse with my cousins, and I learned at an early age not to eat a green persimmon.  But this one looked ripe.  
I touched my tongue to the ripest portion and quickly drew back.  Hmmmm...sweet!  Persimmony!  Tasted like my grandma's jam!  Encouraged, I took a tiny bite of the fruit.  Almost instantly that distinctive, dry and puckery sensation spread throughout my mouth.  If I hadn't known better I'd have thought I'd been poisoned.  

I attempted and failed to force feed Farmer John the remainder of the persimmon.  

All in all, it was a pleasant morning back on the farm!

Friday, December 2, 2011


I chased another cow tonight.  I'm learning.  I sped around her, leapt out of the car, and opened the gate.  I'd planned to circle back, get behind her, and bring her to the now unobstructed opening.  To my surprise she ambled right on through while I was still in the process of opening the gate.  I was scarcely six feet away from her.  John has his cattle so tame from wooing them with corn chop that most of them are pretty easy to handle. 

As I was chasing this critter down the road it occurred to me that the skill I actually need to gain is that of fixing fence. I bought myself a pair of leather gloves the other day and my tetanus shots are up to date.  Maybe I'll give fence fixing a try.