“Millie’s not okay.”
I was in the middle of soaking up every nugget of wisdom that Hayley had to share about self-publishing an e-book. Excitement had been building within me for nearly three weeks, and I was finally joining with other want-to-be published writers to glean from Hayley’s knowledge and experience.
The Professor had listened for a while, eventually deciding that publishing an e-book is not something about which he needs to know right now. So he donned his flannel jacket, a head lamp, and those black steal-toe boots and headed to the barn to do evening chores.
When he came inside he was quiet. He grabbed a book off of the bookshelf and started flipping through it, page by page. For several minutes I was so deeply engrossed in Hayley’s class that I was completely unaware that The Professor was agitated. But then I heard it in the way he signed. Though I couldn’t see him, I knew that as he sighed his lips were pushed to one side of his face and his eyebrows furrowed deep down as he pondered the words he was reading.
I looked up at him, my farmer-professor husband. I asked him what was wrong.
“Millie’s not okay.”
Millie – short for Amelia – is our fourteen month old British White heifer. She is our first breeding heifer in our very small herd of cattle. She is stubborn, and was none too eager to get to know The Professor and me when we first acquired her last April. For ten months we have cared for her, built fences for her, fed her top quality feed, mucked her stall, and ever so slowly won her trust.
When The Professor said, “Millie’s not okay,” my heart sank. It was late in the evening, and I’d had a long, tiring, frustrating day. I couldn’t even think of what could be wrong with that stubborn cow – she’d been perfectly fine all day.
After the class was over I grabbed my farm jacket, three sizes too big for me, but it is oh-so warm, a thermometer, a stethoscope and my mud boots. If we had to call the vet at 9:30 at night, I was prepared to report Millie’s vital signs and symptoms.
Her heartbeat was slow. Normal.
Her temperature was 101.5. Normal.
Her breathing was slow and clear. Normal.
Her eyes were bright and alert. Normal.
She stood upright on all four feet, no indication of pain in her hooves or joints. Normal.
Her stomach noise were loud. And to be honest I have no idea if they sounded normal or not. But I could hear some sort of movement in her gut.
But still she stood there not eating, head low, and looking quite lethargic.
This stubborn, strong-willed heifer had not a care in the world as I took her temperature, listened to her heart and her lungs and gastric noises.
And as we stood there wondering what in the world we should do with a sick cow, she started eating. Her normal eating habits are quite akin to a half-starved fourteen year old boy who has just been given a plate of steak and potatoes and gravy. She normally inhales her food. But this time she ate slowly. She grazed at her feed bucket, as if she were enjoying a well-planned and expertly served feast.
The Professor and I looked at each other and laughed. While we were still concerned that she did not feel well, we couldn’t help but wonder if she’d been faking it so we’d come out to the barn and baby her a little bit. Could it be? Had we been duped by a cow? Manipulated and conned by an eight hundred pound heifer?
Maybe we should have named her Jezebel.
Business + Family Q & A with Alys Hejl
ARD: Is your family supportive of your blog? How do you use your business and/or business to bless your family and strengthen the family relationship?
AH: My family is very supportive of my blog. I would not be blogging if it weren’t for the support and prayer of my husband. I use my blog to bless my family by including them in my decisions about the blog. Every post that is written I run by my editor and chief (the hubs) and together we pray over it and decide if it’s ready to publish. I also try and manage my time in a space to where when it’s family hours it’s their time and I schedule blog time second, not first.