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Deep, warm pockets

From the Farm

February 22, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Last week, or the week before, I wrote a column about how our cows are able to produce milk that is of great quality?

I explained how I wanted to keep that string of production going and one of the options I was going to try was using microfiber towels to clean the cows' teats before we milk them.

Well, I purchased those towels and we used them until my household washing machine bit the dust because the little bits of sawdust left on the towels was wreaking having on the drain. (I now refuse to wash them in the house; the new washer and dryer arrived for the barn yesterday.)

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Last week, in an effort to remedy the new in-house drainage problem, I removed a drain hose from my front-load household washing machine and took it out to the milking parlor so I blast the inside of the hose with the pressure washer.

Not being of brilliant status on this particular day, I grabbed the pressure-washer hose in my left hand and the power washer gun in my right hand and stuffed the powerful nozzle into the hose as far as I could manage, which was about a half-inch.

I know what all the tool-loving guys are thinking right now.

"Is she some sort of idiot? The pressure washer gun could slip and totally blast her hand."

I hate to admit it, but that's exactly what happened.

I pressure washed the four fingers of my left hand with 3,000 pounds of pressure.

It hurt like a son-of-a-jackal. I was afraid to look at my hand. I was expecting to see white, arthritis-ridden phalanges. It felt like I had ripped the soft, squishy flesh right off the bone.

Upon inspection, I found my chubby fingers intact and I have never been happier. I may have actually grinned for a millisecond (one thousandth of a second).

No blood, no bone; but definitely red. My fingers and I were still in tact.

Anyway, my fingers felt like they were frozen cold for several days. I continuously kept putting them in a fist and tucking them in my pocket like I was freezing my fingers. That's what happens when I milk the cows and it's deathly cold outside.

It was the oddest thing. I developed dime-sized blisters on the pads of three fingertips and the feeling still isn't back to normal.

I couldn't help but remember my "finger washing incident" while Steve and I were milking cows Wednesday morning.

It was so freaking cold, even the Abominable Snowman stayed indoors!

I kept my fingers in a fist and jammed into my pockets. That's why dairy farmers where bigger-sized clothes in the winter so we can fit our long underwear underneath and keep our hands in our pockets for warmth.

Sometimes I tuck my hands in between a cow's udder and her back legs, but my hands were so cold, I thought it would have been pure punishment on my part to torture a cow like that. Just think of someone surprising you by putting frigid hands down the back of your shirt.

Wednesday, while I was pressure washing the parlor after milking, I noticed that even though I rinsed the washing trays with water, it was still a chore to tucking the milking cups into the rubber holders. Upon inspection, I noticed that all the water I sprayed for lubrication had turned to ice!

"Wow," I said to Steve. "It's no wonder the units are harder to attach to the wash trays, the water I sprayed is frozen."

It was ice-cube cold!

I continued on my way and was rinsing the floor when I thought, "It's probably a good thing that we don't have a thermometer in here. It would make me feel more miserable."

Just then Steve walked back into the parlor and said, "I looked at the temperature on the thermometer in the utility room that tells me the parlor temperature, and it said 29 degrees."

So I will just keep forming my hands into fists and stuffing them in my pockets. That seems like a better reason than pressure washing my fingers.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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