Livestock Adventures

If There’s A Cow Emergency…

The weekend after Memorial Day is my husband’s annual “family fishing” trip. I say “family” because I was told from almost the minute we started dating that there were “no spouses and no dogs” allowed on the trip. Fishing is in quotation marks as I don’t think much fishing takes place. I think it should be called the “family drinking, sitting, gorging, and smoking” trip. They drink, sit, gorge and smoke for four days, and with the husband away, I am left to tend the farm.

This will be the first time that I will spend a few days alone on the farm. Well, not actually alone, I suppose. At first count we have 1 baby, 2 dogs, 1 spayed barn cat, 2 kittens from the spayed barn cat (the vet says that there is a possibility that the cat had two uteruses….two uteruses….seriously?!?!?!), 2 pigs, and a herd of cattle – a few of which are severely pregnant. I keep asking my husband how many cows we have and he just says “a bunch.” Thanks, that’s helpful when I am trying to figure out how many should be in the pasture. The herd has actually been broken up into three groups — one here, one across the street in a pasture up in the woods, and one up the road in a neighbor’s pasture. We got rid of the chickens in the fall as my dog kept using them as a chew toy– every once and a while I still find feathers from her victims.

The first night, I had to teach a literature course at the local community college. Xandy is usually home by the time I have to leave for class, but this week he is “camping,” so my mother and sister agreed to tag-team babysit. My sister had been babysitting Kitt since she was about three months old when Xandy and I had our first big “date-night” out together.  I, silly me, was worried about the baby. I ran around frantically showing my sister everything there was to know about Kitt — “Be sure to turn on the light machine after you feed her,” and “She likes this cow toy especially,” and “Make this face if she starts to cry.” You get the picture.

Xandy, however, had other things to think about, “If it’s a kid emergency call Sherry’s cell. If it’s a cow emergency call my cell.”

I remember Chrissy’s face, “A cow emergency? What the hell’s a cow emergency?!?”

Xandy just smiled, “You’ll know.”

My mother planned to arrive at 4:00PM, about 30 minutes from when I wanted to leave for class with my sister relieving her at 6. My mother-in-law had stopped by earlier in the day with an emergency of her own and left me with Xandy’s brother’s dog Molly. That brought the dog count up to three. I mentally noted that I had to add Molly to the list when I have to (as Xandy puts it) “feed things.”  I figured that I would feed the 2 pigs, 3 cats, and 3 dogs after my mother arrived. She could change and feed the baby, and then I could change myself.

I told my mother and sister that I would pay them with food, so I was finishing up the baked haddock meal I had decided upon when my first babysitter arrived. My plan worked well. I put on my sexy purple rubber rain boots that Xandy had given me for my birthday from Tractor Supply (as my sister said, “Nothing says love like a waffle maker and some gum rubbers”) and headed out to the barn.  I followed my husband’s instructions exactly –“Turn on AM1490 so that the critters know it is time to feed things. Hopefully, there will be clarinets. Everyone loves clarinets. Take a five gallon bucket to the hand pump and fill it ¾’s full. You’ll look like a true farm wife out there on the pump! (He laughed here. He’s been slowly trying to train me since the day he met me, but I don’t train well) Fill the grain bucket and put both in the pig trough. Give the cats fresh water and food. The cows should be fine on pasture. It’s not too hard. At least I got rid of the sheep.” The “feeding things” went off without a hitch. I even had the dogs and my mother finished in a timely fashion.

Now that I was in charge of both kid and cow emergencies I was sure that I would be receiving panicked calls every ten minutes. That didn’t happen though. The only thing that occurred that first night was another surprise addition.

“How many kittens did you say you had?” My sister grinned.

“Two. One black and one orange tabby.”

“You realize there are two orange kittens in the barn.”

“Come on, you can’t be serious.”

She was.

New count: 1 baby, 3 dogs, 1 spayed barn cat, 3 kittens from the spayed barn cat, 2 pigs, and a herd of cattle. I took the phone up to bed and prayed that no one called to tell me the cows were out.

To be continued…

Here’s a pic of the miracle kittens — the first two anyway:

Gardening Attempts

Don’t Eat the Peaches

As I mentioned in my first post, I recently gave birth to an amazing little girl: Kitt. Her actual name is Katharine, but when Eartha Kitt passed away during my pregnancy, I had to convince my husband not to call her Eartha (it was a difficult fight, trust me), and so I compromised with “Kitt.” She is an amazing little girl, and motherhood thus far has been an unexpected albeit wonderful challenge.

Much like it was a difficult fight not naming my daughter after Catwoman (or the big globe at the Delorme store off I-95), it was a battle of what to do with my placenta. That’s right: my placenta. I was completely ok with allowing it to be considered biowaste and having it tossed away or incinerated with all of the other body parts, but my husband had other ideas.

“Let’s bury it under a tree.”

“Seriously? A tree?? What if the dogs dig it up????”

“Come on, it will be fun, then the kid will have her own tree.” That’s right, my husband calls his daughter “kid.” “It’s easier that way…you know, ‘kid’, ‘dog’, ‘wife…’ ” ” Don’t get me started on the last one…

“She can have a tree without a freaking placenta underneath it.”

“It won’t be the same.”

Needless to say, I was not victorious in this battle.

According to my husband, the nutrients in the placenta would make amazing fertilizer for the tree.  So upon admittance to the hospital, he smiled and told the nurse that we wanted to keep the placenta.

“Really? For what?”

I have since learned that some women cook and eat their own placenta (mostly in pill form) to help stave off post-partum depression. I am sure she was wondering if that were the case.

“We are going to plant a tree over it.”

“Of course you are…”

So, the hospital kindly put the placenta in a white tupperware container to be frozen until we were ready to use it. For the entire winter I was then forced to root around the thing when getting meat from our chest freezer. There were more than a few nights when I decided on take out instead of braving the freezer.

This spring I got the chance to see a cow placenta (****WARNING — Next picture is not for the faint-hearted****) While this is not the actual placenta I saw, this is a close facsimile and should help to demonstrate just how disgustuing this whole thing is:

That’s it — that’s what I saw, and that (a little smaller of course) is what my husband was planning to plant under a peach tree for our daughter.

I told him that I would have nothing to do with it. I was not going to hold a shovel, the baby, or any human tissue. I couldn’t help but hold the camera, however. So off we went.

There go Xandy and Kitt, off to plant the placenta, I mean peach tree.

 Yup, that is exactly what you think it is. My tough farmer husband gagged a bit while he was putting it into the ground.

There’s the peach tree getting ready to suck up all of the nutrients I am sure.

There they are — Kitt and her proud papa in some sort of perverted American Gothic pose. It’s officially done. The tree has actually now begun to sprout leaves. I wonder how many years it will take before peaches emerge.

I overheard my sister talking to one of her friends the other day — “If ever you are over to Sherry’s and she offers you peach cobbler, or peach pie, or peach preserves, DON’T EAT THEM!” I was a little offended, I mean –what does she have against my placenta??