With my husband out of town, I had a fine week of (mis)adventures. Course, everything had to happen at the same time:
You say bucolic salad-bar beef, I say repeat offenders!
They weren’t happy with their old life.
The were looking for greener pastures! It’s like they say…
Specifically, they were lusting after this fine clover, so they helped themselves out of the fence. Which, we later found out, was not fully electrified – but we fixed it. By “we” I mean myself and Leo Cox, Jacob’s former student and a good friend, who happened to be in town and was kind enough to stop by to help me with my steer situation.
This is Leo on another occasion. A man of many talents! Leo’s mom works with my husband.
Also, many thanks to our friend Matt and his boy Truman, who also came out to help with a bunch of Truman’s fourth-grade friends.
I don’t know what I would do without you, guys, cause I am no match for the steers.
Gotta love this small-town life – you call up a neighbor, and they come right out and know just what to do, independently of whether they’ve done it before or not.
I also had to move the electric wire around to contain the cows in this clover-y area – my husband left them in a plot that I guess wasn’t quite as satisfying as they would have liked.
To do so, I had to run an additional piece of wire (and by wire I mean the electric fence) along the side of the barn to reach the electricity source.
Which is in this shed.
This kind of moving from plot-to-plot is what you call rotational grazing, and this is how we pasture our 100% grass-fed steers. If you are in or around Viroqua or La Crosse and are interested in buying some of this naughty but delicious beef in the fall, give a holler!
But it wasn’t my first challenge this week.
Bad news: my washer quit on me in the middle of a full load.
Good news: it was during the rinse cycle!
Course I grew up in USSR, where my dismally impoverished and largely dysfunctional family couldn’t afford any meat, sweets, or dairy, much less a washer, much less an automatic one, so wringing out the contents of the washer by hand and draining the water was a no-brainer with my acquired skill set.
By the way, I was really amused by the suggestion I got to wring the clothes out one by one in a salad spinner – I am still cracking up at that one. Back in the Old Country, we didn’t have salad spinners either. Instead, we had a terrific, versatile tool we successfully used for most things: our hands.
In fact, it constantly puzzles me that women no different from myself can be preoccupied to the point of neurosis with all the seemingly secondary body parts like their face and middle, while in fact it’s our hands with their accumulated skills (along with our minds and hearts) are what’s ultimately responsible for crafting a satisfying life.
Or at least that’s been the case with me.
Actually, this washer and I had a good life together between the farm, three young kids, two home births, and a countless number of resulting unmentionable substances. And since we had bought it used for a song, which is the thing to do here in America with people constantly moving around and upgrading, I am at peace knowing that there are countless others waiting to take its place.
Plus, like my six-year-old daugther hilariously put it, it’s much better than “having a broken water pump!”
This is her:
She bakes cakes and cupcakes (with my help) and recently masterfully changed the baby’s poopy diaper without ever being asked to do such a thing. This, I believe, is called initiative.
(Here’s that baby.)
I think it’s a gift to be able to raise kids with a healthy sense of perspective, which is why I am not bitter about my District-12 non-childhood at all. For here’s what’s great about growing up in a collapsing/totalitarian country: it makes you tough, resourceful, formidably self-assured, and able to treasure the smallest amenities like the greatest of miracles – think Katniss-Everdeen-turned-mom.
And for that, my friends, I will always be grateful.