August 13th……….“WAS FARM LIFE DANGEROUS FOR CHILDREN AS WELL AS FOR ADULTS? SHARE A STORY WITH US, GRANDPA, ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SIBLINGS SUFFERING AN INJURY”.
A cataclysmic, cow-created, cacophony of kid crying erupted in our family barn one late afternoon during the second milking of our Holstein dairy herd. Our little sister, Candice, had been attacked by the cloven, clobbering clout from one of our cows.
Usually, “The Girls” ambled into our barn, for the afternoon milking, in a placid pattern of nonchalantly walking to their specific stanchion stalls and settling in to eat and drink to their tummy’s delight while we washed their udders and began the milking process.
The pristine jewel of that Minnesota morning had greeted us all as we stepped outside the back porch door of our farm home to view cawing crows “waving” at us with their wings from above the billowing green canopy of our treed windbreak surrounding our farm buildings.
With brother Lowell now home from the Air Force to assist our injured father on the farm, my sister, Candi, and myself enjoyed having some playtime that morning with big brother and our fairly new equine elf, “Joker”. That ornery Shetland colt was cute, at first, but, as time went on, “Joker” truly lived up to his name as he laughed at every attempt we made to try to “break” him for riding. Between our big brother’s help and that of our father’s, us two little farmer kiddos would jump aboard that stinker pony and hang on for dear life as that four-legged whirlwind would buck and spin and eventually deposit our butts to the grass below. Both Candi and I thought for sure we heard him give us a horse-laugh for being the victor once again. 😉
Our family, in a sense, were two families in one. Lowell and Rosemary had been born in the 1940’s and us two (Candice and myself) came into the fold in the middle 1950’s. As the wee ones, Sis and I adored big brother, Lowell, (and Rosie, too, of course) and always wanted to help out in his daily farm chores.
On this particular day, Candi wanted to be our elder brother’s shadow in the barn and was given the task of washing the udders (milk bags) of our cows while Lowell strapped on the vacuum-powered “Surge” milking machines to “harvest” the milk from our Holsteins. What a brave little soul she was! Candi was a mini-munchkin compared to those towering bovine bodies that had to be made to moooove over to let her in between them. She then would use her small bucket of soapy water and a rag to clean their teats from being out in the muddy pasture all day.
Our little dynamic farm girl moved from one cow to the next in getting her job done for big brother. About halfway down the fifteen cow lineup, she pushed her tiny frame in between another two bulging bovine bodies and began washing the udder of, what turned out to be, a very volatile animal. It could have been a number of issues that brought the cloven kicking calamity. Maybe the cow had an injured teat which was sensitive to the touch, OR, the soapy wash water and little sister’s hands may have gotten too cold to the cow’s sensitive udder area.
In the blink of an eye, that cow began to kick and thrash our little sister repeatedly beneath her and with one final KAHPOW of her hoof, sent our sweet little sister flying across the manure gutter, thus landing on her face on the sidewalk behind the herd and hitting the wall of the barn.
Lowell came on a run from the other end of the barn and scooped poor crying Candi up in his arms as he ran with her from the barn and up to our farm house. “Oh Candi! Oh Candi! Oh Candi”!!!!, was all our brother could keep saying as his little sister, now bruised and bloody with cow mess all over her, kept crying from the fright she had just experienced.
Carrying his beloved little sister into the house, Lowell tenderly settled Candi into the arms and care of our mother Clarice. As anyone acquainted with farm life knows, the matriarch of a farm family is on duty 24/7 to be a first responder as to doctoring and kissing the boo boos of her entire family when there was a sickness or injury.
So, with his little sister now in the tender loving care of our mother, Lowell, still caught up in the highly emotional moment of his little sister’s injuries, went back to the barn and, before continuing milking the rest of the herd, he gave that ornery cow a good old-fashioned “spanking”. All in all, it was one exciting day on the farm of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!! 😉