When you are a farmer, nothing keeps you from your daily tasks. Sprained ankles, bee stings, 17 degrees with wind chills down below zero. Nothing. The critters and plants are depending on you, their very life depends on you.
Postal workers aren't the only ones that claim this creed. For farmers it's a way of life. We don't get sick days, mental health days, or snow days. There are too many lives at stake. We seldom get a vacation, we can't take the animals to the kennel for a week. Farm sitters are few and far between and expensive when you can find them.
A couple of weeks ago I sprained my ankle. I was working at seeding the greenhouse and needed to get more shelving to set the flats on. Our greenhouse is full and I still have more planting to do. While trying to maneuver the shelves I stepped into a hole and my ankle rolled. I've had many sprained ankles over the years so I know what to do. Ice, ibuprophen, a brace and rest. Only when you are a farmer, rest is not easily obtained. So, I hobbled into the house and iced it for a few minutes, got my brace and took some ibuprophen. I finished seeding what needed to be done in the greenhouse and then Reid and I went and fixed a property line fence where our bull, Jethro, had been rubbing as he was challenging the neighbors 9 bulls to a Sumo wrestling match, which could be, and likely will be, another blog post.
Reid was working around one of the high tunnels the other day and somehow got stung by something. Neither of us saw anything, but the evidence was clear on his arm. Something had nailed him at least 5 times, maybe more. Normally he doesn't react to bee stings, but this time he was beginning to swell. We tried vinegar, benedryl, toothpaste and ice. The latter two being the only ones to give him any kind of relief. He was up all that night from the pain, but when morning came, he went to the barn and helped with the morning chores.
The weather doesn't keep us in entirely either. Yes, on the bitter days we are likely to be inside more than out, but there are still things that must be done. The animals have to be fed and if locked in the barn, they have to have water. Hopefully we are able to keep the waterlines from freezing, other wise we have to carry water from the house to the barns. For a point of reference, a cow can drink 10 gallons of water a day. Sheep about 2. If we have Mercy and Grace in the barn, that's 20 gallons, just for them. There are the chickens, rabbits and the dogs that need water too. Carrying water for all of these critters can be an exhausting task all of it's own.
If the greenhouse is in production mode that means it must be tended, not just daily, but sometimes hourly. This morning it is 17 degree's on the Knob. We have an overflowing greenhouse. Our peppers, tomatoes, basil, parsley, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, onions and herbs have all been started. We have thousands of beautiful plants in there. Reid has been up and down all night making sure the heaters are keeping the greenhouse warm enough for the little beauty's to survive. Two days ago we were watching carefully to make sure that these same plants did not cook from the intense sunlight, making the greenhouse temperatures climb near to 100 degree's. Windows and the ventilation fan had to be opened, and we needed to water a couple of times. I have seen a twenty degree temperature change happen in just a matter of minutes.
I could go on with so many stories of things we have found ourselves doing when most other people would have not even entertained the idea. But, we are farmers. Our animals, our plants, our crops depend on us. The buck stops here. We do it for them,we do it for us, we do it for you. Blessings and peace friends. Till next time.