Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Carmex has Alfalfa In It

A little known hazard of ranch life is the infiltration of hay and straw into every aspect of existence. I didn't fully appreciate this until recently. Every morning it's my job to go out and feed the livestock. As a reminder, I tell you we have 5 hens, 5 guineas (used to be 10 but some varmint got the others), 3 cats, 2 dogs, 6 horses and, until they both croaked, 2 pet cows (a fallow bull and cow). This is not to mention 60 pair of cows and calves. I always take some lip glop with me because if I don't I eventually get chapped lips and I hate that.

On that particular morning when I came to fully appreciate the situation it was raining. It was very cold and just above freezing. It wasn't to the point of snowing but it was awfully close. As I finished with throwing hay for the last of the horses I reached into my zip pocket on the inside of my well worn Dri Duck (a Carhartt knock off, just as good and a fraction of the cost), opened the lid of my small pocket size Carmex jar to get a glop to smear. It was then that I noticed little flecks of something green. It looked like oregano from my kitchen. It was then that it dawned on me. I have alfalfa in my Carmex.

I wasn't grossed out. Alfalfa is nutritious and clean. At least ours is. We keep it in a barn and out of the sun, wind and rain so it stays pristine. I wouldn't go so far as to purposely eat it but  I'm also not going to let a little herb deter me from using lip glop. There's no real reason to toss it. It still serves the purpose it was meant for. Yet, it started me to thinking how much hay permeates my existence.

When I come in from feeding and my pants have been rolled at the cuff I always have to make a stop at the back door in our erstwhile "mud" room which isn't worth the boards it was made of being much, much too small to be of reasonable use. I have to make a stop because if I don't shake out the cuffs I invariably leave a trail of alfalfa flakes all through the house. God forbid I should forget and leave the pants cuffed and then go upside down to put on my socks and shoes. I get a shower of alfalfa flakes all over me like 5th Avenue confetti. 

It's also important to scoop out the alfalfa debris from my pockets of my barn coat before I launder it. The contents could feed a couple of guinea pigs and make them quite happy. Forgetting to clean them invariably leads to finding wet oatmeal-like mush post-launder.

None of this bothers me. I feel blessed that we are able to provide good feed for our livestock. Because of this they are in good condition, healthy and happy. It pleases me to be able to care of our animal brethren in this way. They are at our mercy in this fenced and cross-fenced world. Left to their own devices to work for their supper like the wild creatures out in the open they would find that Nature is not so kind and reliable.

So I'll take alfalfa in my Carmex. I wouldn't have it any other way. But if you can come up with a good system to keep it out without going to a lot of trouble I'd like to hear about it!

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