From Pipi’s Pasture: Tales of the broom | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Tales of the broom

Diane Prather/For Steamboat Today

While my granddaughter Megan (Prather) and I were drinking coffee together this morning, I mentioned I had to think of a topic for this week's "From Pipi's Pasture."

Megan said, "Write about your broom."

My family has great fun teasing me about my broom. There's really nothing special about the broom — it's just a broom with plastic bristles that are starting to show their wear. In fact, the broom probably needs to be replaced.

Before I had knee replacement surgery about three years ago, I took the broom with me to do chores. It served as a makeshift cane, because my knee hurt and I was afraid I might fall. So, there I was with the broom in one hand and a bucket in the other. And, since I had the broom with me anyway, I started using it for corral chores — much more than ordinary chores, like sweeping floors or swatting cobwebs off the ceiling.

The broom became especially useful during winter. On mornings after the snow had drifted, I used the broom to sweep away some of the snow so I could get the tall, deer-proof double gates to the corral area open and wade through the snow to get to the cows.

Down at the corral, there was more sweeping to get the corral gate open enough — sometimes only inches — to squeeze through and make a path to the pens to feed whatever animals were in pens and let them out. Snow had to be swept away from the corral fence so I could throw out hay. Even the hay bales had to be swept off before twines could be cut. Sometimes, the broom had to be used to find feed pans. The broom's bristles were often thick with snow.

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Even after I got my new knee and no longer had to use the broom as my cane, I still use it to push snow during morning chores. It's so much handier — and quicker — than using a shovel in the mornings when time is a factor. No wonder the broom's bristles are starting to show wear!

However, pushing snow around with the broom isn't the main reason my family teases me about it. Since I often had the broom with me anyway, I got to using it when I needed to move cows, steers or bulls around at the corral or put them back if they escaped. The broom has a long handle, and I can shake it around to let the animals know I mean business.

Mom (or Grandma) and her broom — it must look hilarious to watch me chasing a cow while shaking the broom around! At least I feel like I'm in charge; I'm not sure what the cows think.

So, this week, I was complaining to our grandson Kenny about Turbo, his bottle calf. (Remember when I wrote a column about the tiny calf we babied around?) He still resides in the backyard — though not for long. The problem is that it's hard to water the grass when Turbo is around. Setting the hose is a major job when a calf is chewing on my clothes and butting at me.

Kenny listened quietly to my complaints. Then, he offered this advice: "Well, Grandma, get out your broom."