Thursday evening I was pretty tired so had planned to go to bed around 10 pm. I usually stay up until 11 - 11:30 and sometimes later. Just habit I guess.
John always goes out to check the cows around 10 one last time before he goes to bed to see if any of them look like they are having trouble calving. If a cow needs help or needs to be put in the barn he does it then he will go out later to check that cow again. Well, on Thursday he went out to do his maternity watch and discovered that part of the herd had broken out. They had run through an electric fence and were calmly grazing on all the new weeds and grass scattered outside the lots.
I was ignorant of what was happening for a while just watching the news and thinking I really should go to bed. All of a sudden I could hear one of the ATVs . Sounded like John was just tearing around the farm yard so I went to a window and looked out just in time to see a cow run past the windmill and take a right by the first grain bin with John in hot pursuit on the ATV.
I changed my shoes (was wearing some new sandals trying to break them in), grabbed a jacket and my dust mask and headed out the door. Finally got a second ATV started and helped get the pesky cows back in where they knew they belonged. Of course it wasn't quite that easy....think the cows thought we were playing hide and seek. We have rows of the large round bales near the lots, lines of machinery, a couple of large buildings and several grain bins in the area where they were "playing".
Being that it was dark they could quickly step out of the head lights and disappear. Think John and I went round and round for an hour getting one or another and finally decided we had them all where they belonged. I had looked in my yard around the house and thought, "thank goodness they didn't get in here".
The next morning I picked up a couple of neighbor boys that I had hired to help me clean the flower beds and garden of last year's debris. I of course had to wear that dust mask again - I hate the things as they are so scratchy around my chin and cheeks, plus my glasses just don't sit right on top of it and they get very hot. Here is what it looks like...of course that isn't me, I have different colored hair and am not a man but you get the idea. Actually his hair doesn't look so bad, mine was a mess after putting that rubber band thing around it. It could have had a little longer straps too as it is really tight. Guess that is the whole purpose of these masks is to keep the dust out. It does have one nice feature though and that is that my glasses didn't fog up because it has a breathing filter.
The boys and I worked all morning, broke for lunch then worked another hour and a half after lunch but got all the flower beds and garden areas cleaned up. It took the three of us 4 hours to get it done since most of the time we were on our hands and knees clearing the dead stuff out of the new growth. We worked hard and steady and now it is beautiful, clean and ready for the flowers to grow.
The last part we were cleaning was my vegetable garden and flower bed on the back side of the house. The 11 yr. old was raking the strawberry bed, I was on my knees cleaning around and in my rhubarb and the 13 yr. old was nearby removing old flower stalks. I am setting the scene so you can visualize what happened next.....
The rhubarb had dead leaves and stems that I was carefully removing since the new growth was about 6" tall and pretty dense. Just as I grabbed one brown/black dried up stem another one moved. I instantly screamed and tried to scramble backwards half crawling, half rolling to get away. It was a garter snake... I know, I know, they are harmless but scare the pa-jee-bees out of me anyway. I certainly did get the attention of the boys though. I know they were not trying to laugh at the sight of me screaming and rolling away from the rhubarb but were very kind and didn't let me see their smiles. (By the way - this is not me in the photo but probably a close facsimile but you need to add the beautiful dusk mask to the photo, age me quite a bit and give me reddish blond hair to make it more accurate.)
The older boy very calmly picked up the snake and I asked him to please take it to the far reaches of the farm yard so it would never be back in my yard again which he calmly did. Took me an hour to stop shaking from the experience! I do think I am traumatized from childhood as we had rattle snakes around where I lived and were taught to always presume any snake was a rattler.
Last evening my muscles were so tired but a good kind of tired from a job finished. This is the first time I have hired the neighbor boys and will do so again as they were a tremendous help.
No quilting done yesterday, but a day well spent (with the exception of the snake of course.) I want to leave you with a much nicer image in your head.....