Out of the Rubble

Here’s a peek into some of what I do. I haven’t been a milkman forever. And I only wear that hat on Fridays at this point. In 2000 I purchased a livestock transport company. Since then, I, along with some additional help, have been moving livestock from point A to B and all points in between.

A majority of our work is local, literally within a 20 mile radius of home. Every now and then I take a day trip out of state, but that is rare. I move animals from farm to farm, farm to auction, farm to butcher, farm to hospital, farm to farrier shop……you get the picture.

This is the beauty I spend most of my days in. Every winter I have a blast sliding in and out of snow and ice covered farm lanes. Things never seem to get boring. Like last week, I showed up at a farm to pick up a few pigs to take to the butcher shop. The vet had arrived before me. His truck was in my way and so was his patient. A year old draft horse stallion. He had him laying on the barn floor and was just beginning a procedure to remove his “manhood”. I spent the next bit of time watching, asking questions, and feeling a bit weak in the knees. Took about 15 minutes and the little guy woke up and was back on his feet and ready to begin recovery. I didn’t take any pictures and I’m kicking myself now about that.

Here’s a few calves I moved recently. In the cold months of the year I keep a thick layer of straw for them to cozy up in.

This morning I got up at 4:00AM to check the weather and decide if I wanted to venture out at 5:00 to pick up a load of horses to go the the blacksmith shop. The farrier starts at 6:00, so I need to get at it a good hour before that so he can start his day. There was a lot of ice this morning so I left a message for the farrier and told him that I wouldn’t be there at 6, and I went back to bed. Had breakfast with the family which is a treat for all of us. It doesn’t happen often enough.

I thought I would wait a few hours to leave, maybe around noon, give the road crews time to get things in good shape for me.

Soon after breakfast I got a call from David. David is one of my Amish dairy farmers that I do work for. His son Eli has a farm about two miles from him. David explained to me that early this morning the roof caved in on one of Eli’s barns. The build up of snow and ice was too much and it collapsed. Eli had heifers (young dairy animals) housed in the barn. They needed to try and get the animals out of the rubble, load them on a truck, and find shelter for them somewhere.

So, I thawed out my truck and headed to the farm in Morgantown.

You can see people on the roof of the barn with shovels. They were pushing off the snow and pulling off sheets of tin.

There was one wall still standing providing just enough room to protect the animals. I left the farm with 17 heifers on my trailer and took them to a neighbor that will care for them until a new barn is built. There were no animals physically hurt which is amazing. The roof was laying on the floor of the barn except for the small space you see in the picture.

Another amazing thing that will follow this incident is the time it will take to replace this building. I’m guessing that within a few weeks there will be a new barn here. The local Amish community will pull together and all pitch in and help. I’ll try to get some pictures of the new building as it materializes.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my day. Tune in next time and I’ll tell you all about a bovine C-section!! (maybe)


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