Watching over the water tanks
November 27, 2009
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During the winter and spring months, when we're feeding cows at the house, I have to keep two large water tanks filled.
It's not such a bad job, just monotonous. So, I've tried starting the hose and going off to do something else while the tank fills.
The problem is, all too often, I get so engrossed in the "something else" that I forget to go back and shut the water off. The results range from mud holes to ice skating rinks.
You'd think I'd learn, especially when I get snuggled down in a nice warm bed at night and then remember the water tank.
Did I turn the faucet off?
I do so many things automatically that it's hard to remember. My husband never even asks what I'm doing anymore as I put a coat over my nightclothes, pull on boots, and grab a flashlight.
He knows I'm off to check the water tank. Usually the water has been turned off and the hose is coiled around the fence post.
However, there was one occasion that made an impact. It happened in the daylight hours, too.
I remember that spring afternoon when I came home from work. The cows, which usually pay no attention to my comings and goings (unless it's feed time), started for the back part of the pasture.
Something was up.
When I went out to do the chores, they were all standing near the corral. Then I saw it. The faucet was still on, and water was spilling over the tank. Already a large pond had formed, and blackbirds were walking around in it.
The cows looked at the water. They looked at me.
I got the message: There had never been a pond in the back part of the pasture before.
After that, I started sitting near the water tanks while they fill. It's even become pretty much routine (though I have my moments), and I actually enjoy the "down time."
Sometimes I read or write as I wait, but more often, I soak up the sun while I watch the cows and think.
And that's where this story is going.
Lately, with the holidays and all, my thoughts have turned to the many things for which I'm grateful, especially for 2009, which is drawing to a close.
For example, I'm grateful for the following (and a lot more):
• Water to fill the livestock tanks.
• The lush and plentiful grass on summer pasture.
• A stack full of hay.
• Sunny days, like those I enjoy while filling the livestock tanks.
• Being able to chuckle at the small things, like kittens playing as they run up and down the trees, or a skunk making a run at the cats to chase them away from the cat food.
• A hot cup of coffee in the morning.
• Warm socks, mittens, a hat and boots without holes.
• Each day that I don't trip over a frozen manure pile and fall flat in the middle of a bunch of cows fighting over their hay.
• Garden produce that we enjoy summer and winter and a freezer full of homegrown beef.
• Friends and family who help me doctor sick calves and gather, sort and haul calves.
• Getting to watch a mama cow clean up her newborn calf.
• The luscious aroma of spring lilac and chokecherry blossoms.
• The robins' songs on a spring morning.
• A warm house on a January day.
• The newspaper with a cup of coffee each weekday morning and the lady who graciously delivers it right to our door.
• Cold November temperatures (even though they're not my favorite thing) that might help cut down the populations of insects that destroy crops and trees.
• Sharing memories with my 92-year-old father.
• Watching our grandchildren grow up and getting the chance to participate in their activities.
• That I still have enough energy to shovel drifted snow away from corral gates.
• For all the people who put up with my quirks and do things that make my life easier.
• Having a wonderful family.
• That there's another year to do all of the things that I didn't get done this past year.
• That there's another day to watch over the water tank.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2009.