Well, Gene is gone this week to hang drywall in Connecticut. Apparently Connecticut does not have any sheet rock installers of their own. (Not complaining, just observing)
Gene’s mom and dad left for sunny Florida the same day. Guess who is trying to hold it together here on the farm? Yes me, who feels like a foreign invader when she steps into the cow stable.
Once when we were dating and I came to visit Gene, I pulled into the lane and went into the house. His mom told me” Oh Gene is in the pole barn, you can go find him. I went outside and started crying because I had no idea what the pole barn was. Seriously the phrase “fish out of the water” fits me on the farm perfectly.
So far since Gene left, Elena has had snow days, so it’s wild and wooly inside the casa. Our dog has taken to running away (everyday so far). The dear neighbors feed her treats and bring her back to her lovely life here. Guess what? She literally jumps back into their car, begging them to take her back to their place. It’s so embarrassing. We are good people really, but our puppy seems to hate us.
Yesterday Gene called and asked that I “run the scrapers”. That is farm lingo for “scrape the crappy manure pans in the chicken house, so the poop falls below into the manure pit”. (Via switches, not manual labor) Whenever he asks me to do something he has to include DETAILED instructions then field my brain-dead questions. So I flicked the switches and ran into the chicken salesman at the same time. I avoided his gaze because I was afraid he would ask me questions about chicken weights, and chicken house temperatures, and I didn’t want to display my ignorance. All went well, and now I have ONE MORE thing in my repertoire that I can do!
Today Gene called, and said word had gotten back to him in Connecticut that we have a deathly sick new-born calf here on our farm, that needs two shots. Would I be up for the task? “You Betcha” I said in my best Sarah Palin voice.
Actually I moaned and shrieked into the phone. “Really do you really think I can do that?” He said very seriously: “I have no doubt that you can do it”. He may have been bluffing, I don’t know, but it did my heart very good that he had that kind of confidence in me.
He talked me through how many ccs of which medicines. No sweat. He said the way to do it is grasp the skin behind the calf’s leg (the armpit, if you will). Pull the skin up and POW, insert the needle behind the skin. I asked lots of questions: Will the calf jump around and kick me? (No she’s too sick) Will other calf attack me while I’m in the pen? (No he might try to suck your fingers) What if I insert the needle into the muscle, will the calf die? (No)
In the barn the calf is stretched out looking deathly. Poor thing. I fingered the armpit, pulling the skin. There is so much fur. I gently poked at the skin with the needle thinking the needle will float effortlessly behind the skin. The needle kept bouncing off. Ok, I have to push it hard. I was chanting “Help me God, help me God, help me God”. Then I slowly manage to push it into the skin. Yes slowly, this is not your doctor’s quick jam and retrieval. The calf lets out a moan. I let out a moan. Oh dear God now I have to push the plunger thingy down. Quickly I yanked it out. DONE.
I can’t believe I just gave a calf two injections to help my husband out in a pinch. I feel like a million bucks. I made Gene promise to take me out when I get home as a repayment. I’m not THAT ready to become farm wonder woman.