My Kids Socks Don’t Match

 

Balance. It’s a tricky word. Any mother can relate to this. If you work outside of the house or stay home to tend to little ones and the house, there’s always something to do. I think this is only amplified when you toss a farm in to the mix. Some days it feels like the job(s) never done.

Not only do I have to make sure my kids are eating decent meals, I have to make sure the calves are eating well too. Some days after making sure the cows needs are met we eat pizza or burgers because cooking for humans is beyond my energy level that day. It happens.

 

Helping to entertain her little brother in the parlor.

There are five of us who live in our house, if that’s not enough one happens to be a toddler that I’m fairly positive is a dirt magnet. In the winter laundry piles up from everyone layering to keep warm. Summer time is not much better with sweaty barn clothes. To top this whole mess off our washer and dryer sit in our kitchen. I would like to meet the genius who thought of this idea… A pile of laundry constantly sits there nagging to be done.

 

This is a pretty standard look for him most days.

After being washed and dried the laundry needs to at least be sorted to its respected owner. We each have our own baskets for clean laundry (generally piled high) with one communal basket for socks. These socks aren’t matched. Most days everyone just grabs two their size then goes on with their morning. It might not be the best method, but we get everyone dressed and out the door most days.

Days on the farm can be long. It feels like there are more minutes spent negotiating with a toddler to be patient while I finish up than reading to him. My preschooler has followed me around enough I’m pretty sure he knows how to vaccinate milk calves by himself and my kindergartner may or may not have read a bull proof before for reading homework. Magically at the end of the day I still have a mental to do list at the farm about 3 miles long.

 

Patiently waiting for mom to hurry it up!

I have decided there is no catching up. Balance is a word I may never know the definition of. I may forever be destined to be the crazy lady running in circles. I have no cutesy blog post about organization and home skills (don’t laugh at that notion those who know me!). Currently my biggest skill I’m trying to achieve is how to better wrangle a pre schooler and kindergartner to the car while carrying a thrashing toddler and trying not to spill my blessed coffee.

Life happens. The earth doesn’t stop turning because you aren’t perfect at meshing together motherhood and life. Our kids will all turn out fine and the cows will be standing at the parlor door every eight hours to be milked regardless of if you feel you have your sanity or not. And most days my kids socks won’t match. But in the big picture it will all be ok.

 

Balance might not seem possible, but happiness is.

 

Ke-what-is?

Calving can take its toll on a cow. Just like a human, when a cow calves, they undergo stressful situations. It’s our job to try to minimize these stresses as much as possible. We calve our cows inside to virtually eliminate the chance of a cow needing assistance going unnoticed. Our cows close to calving eat a different ration (feed) formulated to get them geared up to enter the milking string. Upon calving they enter a post fresh group to give them more space at the feed bunk (some boss cows try to keep sluggish or more timid cows away).

Despite all of our best efforts cows can still end up with problems. This past week we’ve been helping along a girl who came down with ketosis. Ke-what-is? Ketosis is a metabolic problem that occurs in some fresh cows. When a fresh cows shows signs of ketosis she can be very unsteady and have a very odd, almost sickly sweet smell to her breath.

When #95, our girl in question, began to increase production after calving her energy intake was lower than the energy she was putting out to make milk. Most likely she went off feed some time around calving. When this occurs long enough the liver begins to metabolize her fat in to sugars that she could use for energy. While these ketones give her the energy she needs, they also make her sick. Sluggish, depressed, wobbly and just miserable feeling all around.

 

Ketosis is a metabolic problem that we are able to treat by supplementing sugars. When we give the sugars for energy, her liver calms down. The ketones stop being produced and she gradually begins to feel better.

photo 1

It can take a lot to make an animal as big as a cow feel better. Here is a bottle of dextrose to IV, the gallon of proplyne glycol, a tube of probiotics and the yummy 5 gallon bucket of drench mix. 

To treat #95 I gave her an IV of dextrose. What, cows get IV’s? Just like us sometimes cows need some extra fluids for a pick me up. To help ensure she was getting the sugars she needed, I also gave her an oral dose of proplyne glycol (also a sugar). It is metabolized and her body breaks it down more slowly.

When a cow is ketotic they don’t like to eat. In order to help prevent further tummy problems #95 received probiotics to keep her tummy “bugs” going. We are also able to give her supplemental nutrition via a stomach drench. Think Ensure for cows. Cows don’t really like to drink this lovely green concoction (it’s mainly an alfalfa powder with vitamins and minerals) so we carefully deliver it with a tube and pump it in to her stomach.

photo 2

I apologize for the horrible lighting! This picture shows 95 being pumped with the drench. A hard plastic tube prevents her from biting down on the hose. A small hand pump pushes in all in to her stomach. We had a very willing helper with the pumping as you can see…

Yesterday the vet was here to double check and make sure #95 was on the right track. He thought we were over the hump and should start to see improvement soon. This is great news as she needs to feel better and I think we are starting to wear out each others company!