Monday morning I headed for work at 4:45. As I was leaving I realized that I didn’t have enough gas to make it to the office. I was going to be late!! Frustrated, I hustled into town, put enough gas in to get me down to KC and hit the road. I was 10 minutes from my office when my phone rang; it was David.
“Honey, we have a problem.”
I was fully prepared to turn my car around right in the middle of the interstate. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary. In the midst of my internal panic his next words were “There’s a skunk in the pit”. The pit is the part of the milk barn the people stand while working, a few feet below the level where the cows walk in. Keep in mind that I had been gone for 45 minutes, and he was running the cows in when I left. He had tried a few things before he called.
I asked the obvious questions…”Can’t it get out?” “Has it sprayed?” The answers were “No” and “I don’t think so, but it stinks”. We got off the phone and he continued to update me through text while I traveled to Wichita. First, David put some boards down into the pit hoping the skunk could climb out. It didn’t go on it’s own, so he tried scaring it by spraying water at it… The skunk sprayed something much worse than water. Finally, an hour or more later, they determined that the only remaining option was to shoot it, so they did.
They took the skunk out, hosed the barn, and washed the line to make sure the milk would be safe. I was told that most of the smell was gone after completing these activities, too. The bulk tank in the adjacent room was full of milk, so David called our DFA field man to make sure that it wasn’t ruined. He said this has never happened before, but it should be okay. If the field man thinks there could be a problem, he will usually err on the side of caution and tell you to dump the tank. It’s a pretty crushing blow, but it’s better than ruining a whole truckload of milk. Our bulk tank is pretty well sealed (for obvious reasons), and we haven’t heard anything since, so he must have been correct.
So milking got started late, and I didn’t get to sleep on my business trip because I was attempting to offer moral support, but all-in-all nothing was really hurt but the skunk. So when your Monday stinks, remember it could be worse. You could (literally) have a skunk in your work-space.