I drove a tractor today.
HEY YOU GUYS….
I DROVE A TRACTOR TODAY. Unsupervised. By myself. I drove a red chug-a-lug bona fide tractor today!
This should come as a surprise to you. I’m not exactly what you may consider a “tractor driving kinda girl.” But, after a crash course in which gears go forwards and which ones move back after you start the thing (why there are so many levers, I couldn’t tell you), I was happily putting along at a pace at which your grandmother could walk beside me, loudly singing “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” without even feeling winded.
It’s the end of my first full day of work on my dairy farm in Doddington, England. And, like my past EMS experiences, I’m happily climbing a very steep learning curve.
If I had to identify one essential skill I’ve mastered in my EMS experiences to date, I’d say:
Horses – shoveling sh*t
Lambs – trying not to eat sh*t (both literally as well as trying not to slip and fall on placental remnants in soggy pastures)
Alpacas – peacefully, quietly, herding these gentle, beautiful creatures. I owe you an alpaca post. I know. I’m playing catch up.
Dairy could easily fall into one of the sh*t categories as there is a certain smell I can’t seem to get out of my hair, however, the theme that has dominated my first day here is
Bringing a full milk churn from Point A to hungry calves at Point B is not a task to be taken lightly. If my Google search served me correctly, these things are standardized after 1930 to hold 10 gallons. That’s around 90 pounds of milk! I believe it. I lifted with my legs and still could only get the thing to hover a few inches above the ground as I awkwardly waddled around with it. I think the only reason I can lift it onto the back of the tractor is because I know that the calves will DIE if they don’t get any MILK. That motherly “rescue the baby instinct” kicks in and I use strength from the stores of my “lifting the proverbial car off my child” reserve to heave a milk churn 15 feet to the back of the tractor.
Oh milk. That brings me to the second big thing I learned today. Milk spills. You can’t cry over it, but you will get sloshed by it, which, in turn, results in a stale, sour milk perfume cloud that surrounds you. After spending the day in my sour milk t-shirt and pants (yes, waterproof pants have lost their watertight integrity and my underthings got milky too!) I have officially decided that I am not keen on the idea of ever lactating. I don’t think there is enough “new baby smell” in the world that would help me get through milk smell. Of course, if I had a baby, I’d want to feed it yadda yadda yadda. But, right now, given the choice to lactate or not to lactate, I’m going to go with “No.”
Don’t lecture me. I know my mom did it for me. But, sitting here, still catching a whiff of my balled up t-shirt in the corner of the room, muscles tired from the heavy lifting, I’m telling you, I don’t want to lactate. Ever. AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.
But, I’m glad cows lactate so much because, even if the smell of it makes my uterus constrict into a small unwelcoming void, milk gives us ice cream and cheese. And that, my friends, is what I look forward to most about my week on the dairy farm. They make ice cream and cheese on location and I’ve been promised tastes!
I’ll write a proper post with adorable pictures of baby cows trying to suck on my fingers and stick their tongues up my nose later. I obviously don’t let them lick anywhere near my face as calves are essentially adorable little transmitters of a bacterial circus, but I’ll snap a few shots of them trying. They are really stinking cute. Even when they have sour milk crusting on their faces.
For now, my friends. I rest.