Multitasking Milking

Life in the Farm Lane

10/9/2013 5:26 AM

Like most moms, having to multitask is a necessity of life. Having to do it on a farm requires a bit more finesse.

One of my pet peeves is having a neatly mowed and cared-for lawn. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should never look forgotten and neglected. The challenge for me is that I’m not always home during the week and my husband doesn’t always have time to break out the lawn mower, especially during harvest season.

A few weekends ago when I got home from work, my lawn was just unacceptable (for me anyway). Couple that with my son’s desire to always be in the barn with his dad, I opted to try something new.

When my boy goes to the barn, I’m almost always with him. On that particular evening, I left him alone with his dad for the first time, and to top it off, it was during milking. My son picked out his favorite tractor and plow to play with on the parlor floor and seemed perfectly content. Off I went on the lawn mower.

Being nervous, I stopped the mower every second lap around the yard to check my phone for distress calls from my husband.

Just my luck. One section of yard left to mow and my son was done cooperating with Dad.

But that experience was a good test run for the following weekend when my son and I need to help Dad milk. Multiple toy tractors scattered across the parlor floor, my son was mostly content for the length of the milking, especially when he found a small puddle of water to play in.

With about 15 cows left to milk, he decided he was tired and wanted held. I quickly discovered that it’s rather difficult to milk a cow with one hand.

Oh, but wait one minute. Now that he was more at eye level with the cows, my son thought it was a wonderful idea that he handled the pre- and post-dipping. Iodine stains a 19-month-old just as easily as it does his mom.

But those two nights in the parlor really helped my son learn how to behave better in the barn. Since then, there have been two days when my son and his dad were alone on the farm. I may be incredibly nervous about that, but they were both fine and actually had a good time “working” together.

This past weekend, my husband and I discovered that trying to corral a wild heifer is pretty difficult when I have to use one arm to hold my son. While the process wasn’t exactly pleasant for Mom and Dad, who both got covered in manure, our son named that wild heifer “Crazy” as she continually tried to escape from the chute where we were working on her.

Needless to say, my son and I aren’t going to try to  work with Crazy by ourselves any time soon.

~ Jessica Rose Spangler, market editor

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