The other night, the family and I watched Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and today, I felt like I was in that movie just a bit.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised today happened the way it did. I mean it is Monday. In the midst of the string of events, I found myself laughing, though. I think I laughed because it felt better than to cry. I hope you too, may laugh at the events that follow during the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Farm Day.
Turn on the heat…
Currently all my reasons for living in the South in terms of weather have been shot to pieces. It is below freezing, and all water troughs have 2 inches of ice. That means that we are chopping ice with an ax and supplying heat lamps and knee high bedding for everyone. Farm chores can be rough in warm temperatures. They become a bit more difficult when Jack Frost is biting you. However, I will say that cleaning frozen pig poop, is a bit less messy than normal.
North Carolina is in one of the coldest weeks of the year, and of course, Lulu decides she wants to have babies during this unusual cold snap. As we went to feed the older group of goats, we were greeted by the sound of bleats from two kids. Lu had kidded sometime during the early morning hours, birthing a girl and a boy.
While she had done a good job drying them off, they were still understandably cold. We quickly set up a heat lamp andpiled thick bedding in an individual shelter for the new mom and babies. This was easier said than done though. Finagling drop cords and cleaning hulk sized cob webs were in order. We also had to weigh the babies and put iodine on their umbilical cords. We use iodine to prevent any infection or the potential navel ill disease. They weighed 9.5 pounds each, which is a good size for baby goats.
However, even with a good body weight, the little girl was weak and was not terribly interested in nursing. Throughout the day, we kept checking on her… in the midst of other “exciting” events.
After lunch, I went back outside to check on the little ones. When I stepped out of the door, I heard water… a lot of it. I started looking around, thinking that one of the sheep was having one heck of a pee break. Sadly, we were not that fortunate. There at the barn, was a regular Niagara Falls.
The pipeline had burst with the cold temperatures, despite being insulated. I ran out there in my slippers, but quickly traded those in for muck boots when I saw how deep the water was. I called Daddy to ask him which valve I should turn to cut the water off. The valve was under water, though, and I couldn’t see it. I got a bucket and began to bail the water out, but it refilled faster than I was emptying. Dad told me to run to the front yard and cut off the whole property’s water. This finally stopped the water. I called Mom to tell her that she had no water at the house, but I had things under control. I ran back to the barn to start bailing water again. Finally, I found the valve. My hands were blue and frozen from being in the water, and now the valve was stuck. I found pliers and used those. After breaking the tab on the valve, I finally got it turned off just as Alec and Papa drove up to help.
I left them to investigate the split pipe, while I went to hang another heat lamp for the goats. Where one crisis ends, another begins…
The Mailbox Murder
As I was walking back to the barn, I heard a BOOM! I heard Papa yell that a guy had just taken out our mailbox. Two farmers who were hauling large pieces of equipment had just passed our house and clipped our mailbox. I asked Alec to go and talk to them. When he approached them, he asked if their equipment was OK. They said it was. Alec then told them that they did a number on our mailbox. They looked past him and looked wide-eyed at the damage. They didn’t even know it had happened. One of the farmers went on his way, while the other came back to investigate the damage. He believed that the other guy had done it, but paid us for the damage anyway. He jokingly told Alec that if he heard of a commotion in Harnett County, he knew it was about him trying to get his money back from the other guy. Oh lanta!
Sometime during trying to tend to the new babies, Mom and Grandma were breaking ice in another pasture. Somehow the sheep got out and Grandma went to chasing them. Mom is asking Grandma to stop chasing the sheep, telling the dog to get the sheep, and trying to keep the rogue little buck inside the pasture as he rams the gate. After much chasing, the sheep finally were returned to where they belonged. As Mom was fastening the gate, the buck rams the gate one last hard time. The gate hits Mom in the head, and she literally saw stars. It was just one more aspect of the day.
On the Brink
After a nice dinner of taco soup, I went to check on the kids another time. Lulu and the little boy looked fine, but the little girl was not doing good. In fact, I thought she was dead when I got there. Even though, she was in the shelter and in the rays of the heat lamp, she was so cold. I decided to carry her in the house. Honestly, I didn’t expect her to even make it from outside to the house, but she did. I started warming her up with a hair dryer and towels. Her internal temperature would not rise, though. Daddy and I decided to tube feed her, in hopes of A) getting some nourishment in her and B) get some warmth to her insides.
After accomplishing that feat, we ran a warm bath in the sink for her. This did the most good in warming her up, and she actually started to kick a bit. All of a sudden though, she seemed to stop breathing and became non-responsive. We thought we had lost her. Taking her out of the sink, we wrapped her in a towel, only to have her take another deep breath. She was still alive. Currently, she is sitting in my bathroom with a heater on her, sleeping. I have low expectations of her living through the night, but so far she keeps proving me wrong.
Ice, Ice Baby
Now, as I sit at the kitchen table, looking at the end of this Monday, the ice is coming down outside. All the animals are tucked neatly in their bedding and heat lamps, and I am exhausted. Despite it being a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Farm Day, I am thankful for moments of laughter, the teamwork exhibited by my family, and a warm home. In the end, some days on the farm are hard, and others are fun, but they are all worth it. I’m sure we will all look back and laugh at this crazy day.