Lists. I love them! I make to-do lists constantly and in the busiest of times I have planned my to-do list to the hour. Dave finds it amusing, but I like seeing if I am ahead of the game, or behind with getting things done when under time constraints. But those are only select times when I need to be extreme about getting things done. Generally, Dave and I have a full to-do list. I used to be able to go through life remembering what I needed to do and when I had appointments. Three children later…no more. I had to give in and get a planner.
The farm’s to-do list is never ending. Each year we look forward to getting more stuff done so the following year will be less busy. Well this year is finally that year…the year I threw away those rose-colored glasses and am accepting of the fact that a year that isn’t overwhelming busy probably will never happen. There’s always just something new that pops up. This year is no exception to being behind with the farm work. As you can see below, our plants in our unheated (since we didn’t get heating it checked off of our to-do list yet) are still so small, so far behind many other growers. We just couldn't get to planting them early enough. I take full blame for that because as you can see next to the plant picture is the picture of just another little job I added to Dave’s list…the addition to our home.
Five people and two bedrooms just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It doesn’t help our sons’ bedroom is so small it only fits 2 beds and 2 bookcases. Even their dresser had to be put in their closet. So it was time to expand and last year we had decided we waited far too long. So we broke ground last summer and this summer we are just weeks away from completing the first floor which will be my mom’s new home. The upstairs addition will be for us to expand, but that is still going to take some time.
So when you stop by the farm this spring and summer, pardon the construction, our to-do list was getting done, so to avoid panic, we decided to add to it.
Life on the farm isn't all hard work, sweat, mud, and manure! Who am I kidding? Yes, it is...and we LOVE it (except the mud part)! But out here on the farm, we still like to add a little fashion, especially for the cows. Let me give you a little back story.
When we took over the farm from Dave's grandfather we were given a herd of cattle where each animal looked different because of their Simmental genetics. Easy to tell apart and easy to remember where each baby came from. Then we expanded and changed the genetics so they would better fit our program... which is UNconventional farming. Now we have all black cows (except for a few descendants from the original herd that occasionally show a white patch), and they are all the same size and same frame.
Now we have a slight problem. How do we tell them apart? When we line up four black cows, all the same size, same shape, that lost their ear tag, Dave and I are out of luck figuring out who they are. So we call in our oldest, David. Amazingly to us, David knows EVERY single one of our herd by looking at them. He can even tell who they are when their heads are turned and their ear tags aren't showing. I have tested him on this, he aced the test. David will look at us like we are crazy for not being able to tell them all apart. He points out different elements of the cows that he sees in order to be able to identify them. I try to follow and see what he is saying with no luck. They still all look the same to me. I have lost count the number of times Dave has come in the house to get David to help him identify cows just in the last month.
Then David will tell me about their different dispositions. How #37 is the babysitter in the group and is usually rounding up the babies. However, when I try and identify them, they stand there chewing their cud and look at me with a dumb, blank stare on their face. However, this is not how cows are. I know this is just a ploy to throw me off. This is part of the cows scheming, they teach this to each other and pass on the "give a blank stare and chew your cud" routine to throw off the farmers. We have read, Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type, and we refuse to give our animals any access to modern technology. We fear what may happen.
So this past weekend we gave our cows some new earrings. Most have two new ear tags. They are stronger and since Dave carved the information into the tag, easier to read and identify them. They give us information as to which bull sired them, who is their mother, and their identifying number as well as our RVF symbol. David isn't always at the farm to tell us which cow is which. I don't think he will appreciate being called by his parents at 16 while on a date to help identify which black cow is which. Now there can be no trickery by the cows...the joke's no longer on us. We have triumphed in this case, that is until the cows come up with something else. Maybe that is why their are always huddled together...planning their next scheme perhaps?