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Miss Ruthie

Mornings have a habit of starting way too early for my comfort. Like around 1:30 in the morning. Around this time, our old German Shepherd started barking. Now, you have to understand – she is just about blind and is as deaf as a post, but still, she stood at the back door, straining to see through her bad eyes and the darkness. Her first bark led to a frenzied cacophony from the other two dogs. No choice but to get up and see what was going on.

I knew there was a possibility that the cows currently staying in the weaning pen were out, as I came home to find Pinky Diva II and Miss Ruthie poking their noses out of the wrong side of the barn. Upon further inspection, I found that the hotwire that crosses the gate had come loose. That was fixed in a matter of minutes, so I was semi-comfortable that all would be well. Still, it was the first thing that crossed my mind with the early morning barking alarm.

At first glance, everything (and every animal) seemed to be in their proper places. Occasionally, we have deer graze in the middle pasture, and from experience, I do know that will set her off. I just figured that was what was happening, so I called all the dogs back and shut the utility room door so they couldn’t get to the back door. The distraction worked, until around 5:30, when I went outside to do a double check.

Sure enough. Hootie was right. The evidence was in the piles of cow pies lining the lane. I did a quick visual. It wasn’t quite light yet, but also wasn’t pitch black. Still, I could make out the outlines of the cows in the big pasture, but couldn’t see the others anywhere. Slowly, I made my way down the lane, looking to see what was going on. As I got to the barn and weaning pen, I noticed that Mia, Bossy’s calf, was the only one there.   As I looked up, I could see a tan blob down by the pond fence. Sure enough, the cows were in the hay pasture.

They must have seen me about the same time, because they came running up to me. I had just gotten them to the gate of their pen when Wilson, our 9 month old German Shepherd and Bonnie, our 10-month old rescue dog decided it was playtime. I managed to get all the cows in but Pinkie, and that was because Wilson was chasing her down the lane, across the middle pasture and over to the gate leading to the North pasture. My poor neighbors – I screamed like a banshee at that dog. And out here, sound echoes like a stage.

With a bucket of range cubes and multiple threats to the dog, I managed to get Pinky back to safety. Although my initial fix was still holding, there is another breech of the electric fence somewhere. The Country Boy will be at work all day, so it will be up to me to get this problem resolved. A short conversation led to the decision to put all the cows in the middle pasture for the time being. Which means I have to find a way to keep 12 cows and calves in and move five cows over.

With everything else that needs to be done on the one day off I have had all week, this Farm Wife is going to be a busy woman. I still have to feed and water chickens, go to the bank in Shreveport, head to Arcadia to find the Country Boy some of his favorite work shirts (the ones he has now are almost not even suitable for rags), get prep work done on a grant at the Village, mow around the bee hives so we can put the broods in their permanent homes tomorrow morning at 8:30 am, repair the electric fence in the weaning pen, clean house and get some more mowing done. Oh. And hoe/weed the garden and clean out a flowerbed.

The life of a Farm Wife is never dull. Her days are often filled with surprises – and not necessarily the good ones. Time is short, days are long, and her muscles stay sore. Discussing her mental faculties is the easiest thing, since that subject would only be one word long – NONE. But I love my life. It is always changing. Always exciting. And usually a volatile combination of emotions that would cause a lesser woman to explode.

So if you happen to pass a whirlwind today, don’t fear. It isn’t the Tasmanian Devil come to wreak havoc, it’s just the Farm Wife trying to get everything done on her list of things to do, and get home again before there is another jail break.

Farming. You just gotta love it.