Category: Cows and Crops

A Case of the Mondays

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.

#Plant12 Progress Report

Sorry for no post last week and a late one this week. Things have maybe been even busier than usual, apparently. What have we been doing?  Well, we’ve been doing lots of planting!


About a month ago we borrowed a drill with a seeder from our neighbor to plant oats and seed alfalfa simultaneously. We plan to mow and chop the oats and then hopefully get 2 or 3 cuttings off the alfalfa this year. Also, the alfalfa will come back and should provide good feed for the cows for two more years. We’re really pleased with how it’s growing so far.

The taller, grassy stuff is the oats, and the small round leaves are the alfalfa.

The plan (I should know better by now…) was to start planting corn immediately after we finished the oats, but first we had to get the planter going again. It was ready before the fire disintegrated the monitor and ruined the wiring. We replaced the wiring harness and monitor, hooked it up to a different tractor, and got started planting a couple of weeks ago. We finished about 70% of our corn planting before stopping to chop the cereal rye that we planted last fall.

David’s view from the tractor while planting corn

We haven’t finished the rye yet, but when we do we’ll continue planting corn. Many grain farmers have finished their corn planting, but it actually helps us to have our corn crop spaced out a little bit to give us some time to chop corn silage later this summer. If all of the corn is ready at the same time, and we can’t keep up, it could hurt our feed for next year. We also have a few acres of beans to plant before we officially finish the planting season.


A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit and help us with some things around the house. While my dad tilled the garden (thanks, Dad!), my mom and I went plant shopping.  We actually went looking for some bushes and annuals, but I also bought most of the veggies for our garden. It took me nearly a week to find time to plant them, but one night after work when we were expecting a rain, I decided I had to get them in the ground. I planted various tomatoes and peppers along with cucumbers, squash and a watermelon plant. I finished just as it was getting dark and had to have David help me water everything while I held a flashlight.

This past weekend I got around to planting the seeds I had bought – onions, radishes and green beans. In a few weeks we will plant more radishes and green beans, in order to stagger our harvest somewhat, and also intend to expand the garden or start a new one to make room for sweet corn. It seems like it takes forever for the plants to start producing, but thankfully, last year we planted strawberries.  They come back each year, and we have really been enjoying them so far this spring. I can’t wait to have more fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy!

The strawberry patch, in the daylight.


I mentioned that when my mom and I went plant shopping, our primary objective was to buy flowers and bushes. We bought snap dragons and dahlias to fill in and add summer color to the big flower bed that is home to all of our perennials. We also got a variety of annuals (portulaca, geraniums, angelonia, osteopermum, and several more) to fill in three pots and three other, much smaller, flower beds. We also found a eunonymous bush to replace an azalea that the pets destroyed and a hydrangea to replace a rhododendron that just never thrived and eventually bit the dust.

My mom helped me plant the bushes and many of the flowers. When we finished, we also put fresh mulch down.  Everything looks great freshly mulched and watered.  Now’s the fun part – sitting back and watching everything grow!!

Corn starting to come up.