Once Upon a Farm

It’s late August and the summer heat is intense. Today will be the first day back to school and I’m certain we are looking at a short day. My husband and I are up early. There are chores to be done before we wake the children. I slide on my wellies and step outside and there’s my husband waving his arms over his head. Great, now what?

“Call the vet! Eli isn’t getting up.” Eli is our newest addition, the littlest calf in the barn, and my favorite. I call the vet and run out to the barn. A helpless animal is my Achilles’ heel. I cannot let him stay there alone in pain so I send my husband into the house to handle the kids while I sit down in the straw and hold Eli’s head in my lap. Twenty minutes later the vet arrives, the kids come in to say goodbye whether to me or Eli I am not sure. The vet gives Eli a shot and waits, shaking his head. He is concerned because Eli hasn’t gotten up yet. He cautions me that it looks like the worst case scenario and I should prepare myself. I continue holding Eli determined to give him as much love as I can. If these are his last hours I want them to be good hours.

Only these were not Eli’s last hours. About an hour later Eli stated to perk up. I bottle fed him encouraging him to get up and walk around. Thirty minutes later he walks to the doorway and with a look back at me, as if to say thank you, he walks out into the pasture to be with his friends. I wish I could tell you Eli lived out his life right here on the farm, but that is not how it works on a farm. I can tell you that while our animals are with us they are given love and care.

Finally I am home from work and we are gathered in the kitchen. Country kitchens are the heart of any farm house. I am at the stove and the kids are gathered around the island doing homework and talking about their day. The hubbie has been sent out to the garden to pull fresh herbs and tomatoes needed to complete the meal and in the process lets the dog in who starts to chase the cat around the room. I jump to avoid stepping on the cat and the rug slips out from under my feet. I am going down. Then a pair of strong arms catch me and I am being gently brought back to my feet. My hubbie, my hero!

One of the kids looks out the large window facing the pasture and announces Sport got out again. We all sigh with relief that it is the horse that got out as a brown sugar pop-tart will have him following us right back into the barn. If it was a cow we could be out there for awhile as we have yet to find what can tempt a cow more than fresh grass on the other side. The cow, a large ungraceful beast, can and will contort its body into awkward positions to taste a mouthful of tall grass under the fence line. So, when the gate opens to an awesome world of emerald green grass, well it is cow heaven.

On the way back to the kitchen we have to stop and discipline Daisy, the Shetland Pony, who is the only one that knows how to pop her tiny little head upward unleashing the door latch. Daisy, as sweet as her name sounds, is pure evil. Anyone who has every had a Shetland Pony can tell you that what they lack in statue they more than make up for in attitude.

The dishes are done, baths are over, kids are tucked into bed. We step outside and sit on the porch swing, a glass of white wine in hand, and listen to the locusts sing us into fall. I turn to my husband and smile. “Thank goodness today was a quiet one.” He smiles, because as farm days go, it was a relatively sane day.

Today the kids are grown and the animals are gone, but my heart is filled with farm memories.

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