Kathryn and the kids are here and all seems right. How many years have they ended out the year with us on the farm?
As per the norm, Kathryn and I spend too much time drinking too much coffee, covering the gamut of work and life, spirituality, office politics, marriage and kids.
Kids work, eat and play.
Coco still had mastitis this morning. Clumpy, stringy stuff instead of creamy milk. Patrick massaged and milked this morning. I planned on giving her an antibiotic this evening, worried that if left untreated, mastitis could lead to illness, complete loss of milk supply, worse case scenario, loss of a quarter, best case scenario.
As we aim for "beyond organic" status, antibiotics are not a part of our regular regime, but we recognize that at times, antibiotics can save our children's life as well as our animals. There is a particular antibiotic that can be injected into the cow's teat that will combat the bacteria that causes mastitis. We do not use it unless necessary, but as you well know, Coco is a terribly valuable asset on this farm and I hope to keep her healthy. Knowing that she would not easily submit to me injecting some paste up into the orifice of her mammary gland, I called Rachel to ask Jason to please come and assist.
Especially since two of my children have strep throat and are on antibiotics themselves.
I got home, Tim and his dad were here fixing the upstairs bathtub which has been out of commision since last February.
They joined me and Jason out in the barn and I began to milk Coco in her stall, emptying out the infected quarter. The gentlemen stood by, ready to tie Coco up and hold her while I administered the medicine.
The stringy, mucousy milk had cleared up. No fever in the udder.
I made the executive decision to NOT administer the antibiotic since it seemed like massage and milking were clearing things up. Little baby frolicked in the stall, healthy as could be. Coco tolerated me as I applied hot wet washclothes and massaged. Tim, his dad and Jason hung out in the stall, on call, but thankfully not needed.
I felt grateful to take care of chores with help. Not alone.
We said our goodbyes then Kathryn and I drank wine, chopped veggies, made a stir fry, then enjoyed our dinner with the pile of kids. We gathered around the tree, exchanged gifts and all enjoyed peace as I read a couple of chapters of At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. We prayed for dear ones, for sick ones, for sad and hurting ones.
Is there a better gift than the company of old friends?