By Pat Grotenhuis
Buses are cancelled.
Those three little words are the ones that all children long for on snowy, icy or foggy days. I was no different. It was always nice to have a change in pace and instead of rushing out the door to barely catch my bus, breakfast in hand, go to the barn instead.
Yes, on my days off of school, I was in the barn. Sometimes my parents would let me sleep in, but once I was awake, I would dutifully bundle against the elements and make the trek out to help take care of the animals.
On those days, there were normally extra jobs to do, beyond the usual chores. The worse the weather is, the more work it takes to keep the animals comfortable. Also, there were always goats kidding, sheep lambing, or cattle calving that needed extra care.
On those days, there was nothing more important than taking care of whatever needed to be done on the farm. Don’t get me wrong – Mom and Dad would give us breaks, and there was normally some point in the day when they told us we could go in for a while and do homework, study or relax (depending on what we had going on at school).
So, it leads to the question a lot of my friends had for me: why would I actually look forward to snow days if I was normally putting in a full day of farm work?
Because I love working with the animals, and I always have.
It was a change of pace for me, giving me the chance to help my parents do their work so they might get a little break that day too. It let me be involved in some of the jobs around the farm that I normally only got to do on weekends or holidays, and it also let me help my parents on days that were filled with frozen water, snowed in doors or equipment, cold baby animals, or a number of other things.
Growing up on the farm and being expected to help with the work gave us a lot of time with our parents, and days that school was cancelled were just another chance to have quality family time. We formed strong family bonds through many years of working alongside each other in the barn, and even though my siblings and I have all moved on to different farms now we are still close.
Were there times I thought it would be nice to spend the day indoors sleeping in and watching movies? Of course there were. But often as I was thinking that I would look at one of the calves who had frozen water, slip into the parlour to milk cows with my dad, or go help my mom with something in the feed room. It would help me remember that even though I was not having the fun, laid-back day my friends were having, I was doing something very important to care for animals that depended on me.
Posted by Farm and Food Care on February 8th, 2013 :: Filed under Animal care,Dairy cattle,Farm life,Uncategorized,winter
Tags :: animal care, cattle, dairy cattle, Farm life, Farmers
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