Yeehaw Farm

One bucking thing after another.

The nitty gritty dirt

A future dairy cow, indeed.

Posted by Judi F Radel on January 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Remember this girl?  I have a photo of her in our farm photos that I posted two years ago.  I believe the caption says something like, "A future dairy cow?"  Well, guess what?  Two years later...she is a milk producing cow on Yeehaw Farm.  Her name is Mennie.   Yeah...I know...that's an odd name for a cow.  Do you honestly expect anything less than a weird name for our animals?  My punks named her and of course, there is a reason behind her odd name.  (Read no farther, unless you want to hear the story of how Mennie got her name.) Otherwise, have a nice day and maybe next time, I will post something that you want  to read about.

Back to Mennie.  Over two years ago,  I tested positive for Lyme disease.  It was during the summer; farmer's markets were in full swing, our CSA was in it's inaugural season and our butts were hopping on the farm trying to keep up with summer and all it's growing.  My doctor called with the results and asked me to stop by the hospital to have another test done as I had some especially high levels of some medical jargin (that I have never been able to remember).  I said, "Sure, I will stop after farmer's market today."  My doctor hestitated a bit but then, remembering that I am indeed a knothead, figured that he might as well be happy with that concession on my part.  So, after farmer's market,  I drove myself to the hospital, walked into the emergency room and there began my nightmare.  I was strapped down, told that I would only feel a pinch and that I would have to remain laying down for the next 6 hours after the white coated dudes preformed a spinal tap. What?  I agreed to come in for a test, not mini vacation on my back. And that pinch?  "Just a pinch", my ass!  That freakin' needle hurt like...well, you know?!  Six hours later, the dudes in the white coats decided my fate that I was staying at the hospital for a few days hooked up to intervenous fluid.  Feel good drugs? Really? Normally, I would say, "Yeehaw! Let's do it!" because, you know, I am game for a good time almost anytime but not so much that time of year when we are so busy on the farm.  They still had me strapped down so I really couldn't get out of there without some nurse catching me and a major incident.  I had visions of nurses chasing me out of the hospital, me still attached to my IV, dressed in my hospital gown, with my back side exposed.  Now, that's a visual most of you would like to shake off right now, aye?  "Alright, I'll stay, you talked me into it with your scare tactics." I conceded.  Plus, the feel good drugs were making me really happy and feel really special. 

The doctor's said that I had the early on set of Lyme disease meningitis but with continuous intervenous drugs, I should be good to go in a few days.  Okay.  

But let's think this scenario through a bit more.  I was going to be staying in the hospital, away from my farm for a week.  Away from my babies for a week?  Away from my husband, my elderly parents, my blind brother for a week? No cooking?  Cleaning? Baling hay? Pulling weeds? The blasted laundry?  I was totally cool about all of this until...I realized that my husband would have to milk all of the goats and our one family milkcow.  Crap.  This is the man who NEVER wanted to milk anything if we were going to farm together? The man who said that I could keep a family milk cow on the farm but I always had to be the one who milked her. Oh. Crap.

I called Tommy and told him that I had to stay in the hospital.  Would he be able to manage without me?  He must have been reading my mind because he said, "Yeah, I'll manage but...what about the milking?" 

So, began my long hospital days of laying in bed, nurses waiting on me, bringing me food on a platter, 105 television stations and lots of time on my hands.  Seriously, who needs 105 television stations?  But honestly, I was enjoying myself.  Who wouldn't?  Until I got a phone call from Tommy.  He was at the barn with all four of our kids, trying to finish up the evening barn chores.  And trying to milk.  He had managed to milk the goats but the family milk cow was giving him a bit of a hard time.  I heard kids screaming, cows mooing, pigs squealing, goats, cats, dogs, and my husband cursing...all in the background cell noise.  It was nice to hear home.  Then my husband said, "If I put the phone up to the milk cow's ear, will tell her to leave her milk down for me?"  (Yeah, I know...I am still laughing 2 1/2 years later!)  Bless his heart...my husband was trying to milk the family cow.

That whole week, Tommy never visited me in the hospital.  Nor the kids, or my other immediate family.  I know the nurses didn't believe me that I had a husband or kids because they never saw them...not once.  I suppose this may be hard to understand to those of you who don't live on a farm but my farming friends will totally understand why no one came to see me in the hospital. Days are long on a farm, especially in the summer time but they are never long enough to get everything done.  Hospital visiting hours aren't exactly condusive with farmer's hours.  Until Tommy got everything done on the farm for the day, it was time to put the kids to bed and call it a night.  I know Tommy felt bad about not visiting but I understood.  I really did. (But you can bet your butt that I bring it up in every fight we have had since that time! "Well, remember that time when I was in the hospital?...You NEVER came to see me!" It's pathetic how low I will go to win a fight.)

As promised at the end of the week, I was allowed to return home, free of that pesky needle, plastic tubing and bag of happy juice.  I drove myself home to our farm. (Seriously, don't be that impressed with my independence.  Aside from 105 television stations, three meals a day, and the private room, most of my time in the hospital was spent curled up in the fetal position, sobbing, sucking my thumb and missing home.)

I was greeted with hugs, kisses and happiness that their momma, wife, daughter, sister was home and alive.  I'm still wondering what exactly Tommy told our kids about my absence because they sure did have a hard time believing that I was still alive.  Upon my arrival, Tommy told me that he was sorry that he didn't visit me in the hospital or bring me get well flowers.  But he did have something for me in the barn.  I walked to the barn to find a little Jersey/ Holstein heifer calf. Seriously?   Get well flowers?...p-pleeze!  A future milk cow is way better than flowers anyday!  This could only mean one thing.  Tommy was conceeding that I could have more than one milk cow on the farm. Yay!  And as much as I would love for all of you to say, "awww, isn't Tommy sweet?"  Truth is...he bought the calf to suck the milk cow dry so that he wouldn't have to milk while I was in the hospital.  And the only calf that he could find in quick order was a heifer calf.

I still got another diary calf and that's all that mattered.  I left our punks name the calf and they came up with Mennie to always remember the week that their momma was in the hospital with meningitis.  Evidently, it wasn't traumatic enough for them to remember that week without the help of a future dairy cow's name.

And that, my friends is how Mennie got her name and how a short story gets turned into a really long one. 

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1 Comment

Reply EMILY
6:23 PM on January 27, 2012 
I love this story! Great ingenuity Tommy! H was once hospitalized for 15 days and I saw him ... twice. We had blizzards, a contagious sick kid who then made me contagious. Sooo, I know how it can happen and how depressing it must have been for H.