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From the Farm: It’s so dry even the water pipes gave up

September 6, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

I rolled over in bed at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning and knew that something was amiss.

I heard Steve chit-chatting on his cell phone. In my sleep-induced fog, I was aware that he was not in the house, but standing outside near the garage. A person can hear everything out in the country, early in the morning.

I thought maybe he was talking to Jake, from State Farm. You know the one that wears khakis at three a.m. and sounds hideous.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

He was talking to Donald Schaefer of Searles Well Drilling. Bless Donald's heart. I am almost positive he doesn't normally get up at that time of the day to talk to people. He was probably in a sleep-induced fog as well.

Earlier Monday Steve noticed we were losing water pressure throughout the entire farm, and he mentioned it several times throughout the day.

Knowing Steve, and I know Steve, he lay awake wondering what was causing this loss of pressure and thinking of a million possible causes and solutions.

"It's probably one of the water lines that goes over to the close-up barn," he said. "It's probably somewhere under all that cement. That's bad."

"I know it is, but there really isn't anything you can do at this time," I said.

While lying in bed Steve hollered, "Russell, you have to feed calves in the morning and then go looking for the water leak, by looking for extremely wet ground."

"Fine," Russell responded in his not-so-happy voice.

"Well that should be easy to find with as dry as it is," I added.

Well, it turns out Steve was calling Mr. Schaefer Tuesday morning because we had absolutely no water anywhere on the farm.

You don't know what you got till it's gone.

The first thing I noticed was Steve managed to find enough water for one pot of coffee. Apparently he drained the water hoses in the milking parlor and came up with a full pot.

He's a wise man.

While Steve continued conversing on the phone, (He had already prepared the parlor for milking. He had a lot of time on his hands.) I brought the cows down for milking.

I tried spraying the poop off the bottom of my boots once I was in the parlor, but couldn't. The hose just spit at me, but I had coffee.

A cow pooped in the parlor, I grabbed the hose and was going to spray it down the drain, which flows to the holding tank.

Couldn't do that either.

Between milking groups, I couldn't spray the floor down with water either. I like to keep the milking parlor floor clean when I have to milk.

It really wasn't all that bad. Russell and I had to be a bit more aware of keeping things clean.

Eventually, Zach showed up to help us milk. Turns out he couldn't do his work in the compost barn without water either.

After we finished milking Group 1 cows, I volunteered to go out into the fresh outdoors to bring Group 2 up for milking.

As I walked past the water tank, I noticed that there was water from our milk-cooling system filling the tank where the cows stop to drink after milking.

"We have water!" I yelled. "Woot! Woot"

Nobody heard me.

When I entered the parlor, I exclaimed, "Hey guys we have water! Woot! Woot! OK, let's write a song about water! Russell you have the first line!"

Both Zach and Russell looked at me like they thought I had fallen off my rocker.

"The end," Russell said.

I laughed and washed my boots off.

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

 
 

 

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