Well, I survived last week. It wasn’t easy, man. So, here’s what happened. Earl had an opportunity to take a few days off, and we knew that if he didn’t go now……it might never happen. A dairyman gets very few days off…if ever. Especially when there’s no hired hand or relief milker in sight. So, we dairy folks have to grab at every opportunity that comes along. It’s do or die! Now or never! 037.jpg       Those 5 days that he was gone……I don’t remember anything. It’s all a blur. I’m still not quite sure what all happened. I’ll try to relive some of the highlights for you. I do know this much….I do NOT want to run a dairy farm on my own! Ever! Amen! There is so much work that requires having a “man” around. And way too much responsibility for my “frail” shoulders. Haha But, I do know what I’m capable of, and just how much I can actually do when the need arises. Don’t mess with us farm girls…..we’re a tough bunch! 019.jpg     Thank God for Michael! He was “man of the house” for those 5 days. He did all the heavy work for me…….hauled 25 five gallon buckets of grain every morning……did all the hay feeding……checked the dry cows……pulled a calf……the list could go on forever. He got up at 4:00 every morning and worked until he had to be at school, and then home again at 4:00, and it started all over again. Needless to say, our butts were dragging the ground. We came in at night, ate, and hit the hay. He’s contemplating his life….where am I….what just happened….am I still alive?015.jpg     Marshall was my milking partner. He helped me keep everything running smoothly in the barn. There’s a lot of things happening at once while milking. So, it’s nice to have the kid in there to help me tie up all the loose ends. At times….the loose ends became quite frayed! I don’t remember having a total meltdown….there was no time for things like that. I was thinking of things like…..is the bulk tank turned on…..are the compressors running…..do the calves have water…..I need feed pushed down…..I hope nothing is trying to calve…..I need CHOCOLATE! 007.jpg     This calf was a newborn when Earl left. It was the cause of great frustration for us. It drank colostrum from it’s Mama the very first day, and then when we put it in it’s own hutch….it decided to turn stubborn on us. It wouldn’t drink for 2 days. So, finally at the end of the second day I knew I had to do something drastic or it would die. Earl is always the one that does the force feeding…..but this time I had the honors. I got it done without any mishaps, thank goodness. This went on for another day and finally I decided..that’s it…no more. This little “jerk” needs to figure out how to drink from a bottle. That night at feeding time….it drank perfectly. I looked at Marshall and said….It’s a miracle!! Haha It’s the little things that mean the most! 019.jpg     Boss Man is back! Wow! It’s amazing what one extra set of hands will do. Besides…I didn’t have to carry all that responsibility anymore. I “shucked” it all off on him as soon as he walked in the door. I whipped him into shape in no time at all. Back to the working world, dude! Get after it! Haha He was ready to do some physical labor again. He gets “antsy” after awhile.036.jpg      Michael enjoying some “down” time. This chair is where I would sit and drink my first cup of coffee every morning. I really don’t know how many it took….quite a few. I had to talk myself out of insanity every morning. I dreaded my life for 5 days. Haha When that alarm would go off…..I so wanted to grab it and throw it up against the wall as hard as I could. I restrained myself. I survived. Michael never left until he had done all he could. He took good care of me. I would’ve died without him. 011.jpg     Marshall sang and hummed while we milked. He would ask me…..does it bother you if I hum? Nope…I didn’t even focus on that. My brain was fried. When they left for school, he asked me if I was going to be Ok? I wanted to scream….Have I Ever Been Ok?! But instead, I chuckled and said…..Yes son, I’m going to be just fine. Haha Marshall has such a kind heart. Where did he get that from?!034.jpg      Oh, it’s so nice to have Boss Man home again. I have a brand new appreciation for him and all he does for us and our farm. The responsibility he carries all the time and not just for 5 days. I could tell Michael was relieved too. That’s a lot for a young man to do, but he stood up to the challenge….and he survived. We all survived! Whew! Glad that’s over! Man, I would “kill” for an iced coffee about right now. I don’t care how late it is…………………..Carol