Well, days like this have to happen.
1. Our main producer, Mattie, was so dehydrated this morning, she went straight to the water buckets when I let the cows into the parlor and I spent an extra 15 minutes just filling them for her. The boys who are assigned to help me obviously are not doing their job.
2. When Mattie finally finished 25 gallons of water, she started stealing Jani's food instead of sticking her head in her own stanchion as all good cows know to do. Then, when I shoved against her (yes, I am an expert cow-handler), she spooked (maybe not so expert) and ran outside again. I finally had to ignore her until she realized that she was indeed hungry and minced back to her stanchion.
3. The grain they are used to came in as the wrong order, so Mattie is refusing to eat the substitute stuff we are giving them in the meantime.
4. Something is wrong with the vacuum pump, so the short tubes that connect the claw with the bucket slipped off again and I had to frantically try to re-attach them while keeping the claw out of the muck.
5. I let Jani out of the stanchion before milking Mattie (I'm drying up Jani and so she's done pretty quickly). Rule #1: never, EVER let one cow out while the other one is eating. I had to tackle Jani and push her away from Mattie's grain bucket and get her back into the field.
6. Mattie's production is down because of lack of water, the spooking incident, and because she refuses her grain which would help in this cold weather.
7. NORMALLY there is someone to assist me - give an extra hand when the tea kettle is whistling, the water bucket is overflowing, the calf is mooing, the machine is malfunctioning, the cows are knocking me over in their exuberant search for stray alfalfa, the cows have done you-know-what on the floor and it needs mucking, I forgot to add ice to the cooler, a lid fell on the floor and needs to be replaced, the bottle of CMT needs refilling... Caleb tends to sleep in in the mornings.