There are tasks that fall inside my job description, which I seem to be more and more tested by, as they come up every year when the pages on the calendar dictate that they need to be looked after.
Now, I've always been adamant, and freely expounded upon to anybody who will listen to me over coffee, that I am not going to be one of the annual statistical seniors, who gets mauled, and hospitalized or even killed by a cow during calving season, because of some emotional attachment to a 1700 pound beastie. The fact is, I don't move nearly as quickly as I did, even 5 years ago, and while I try to make up for that with better corrals and best intentions to assess the situation at hand and act accordingly, cows tend to have an innate ability to bring out some of my less than desirable qualities. So, I've set myself up with an imaginary line on my horizon when I just won't have cows anymore and perhaps my body and my wife's sanity, for having to deal with me when I deal with cows, will all be the better for that end.
I think that's reasonable? It just didn't occur to me that the act of making feed for those cows might be the thing that does me in, long before any cow has a chance to use me as a bean bag.
I like making hay. Or, I liked making hay in the past, might be a more accurate statement. I like cutting it, I like raking it, I like baling it. I like the smell of a field of newly baled good hay as I drive by with with my window down. When I was younger, and we cut hay with a tractor that had no cab, I could take whatever the elements chose to bombard me with and be no worse for wear. I cut hay in heat that threatened to melt me through the floorboards, swarms of mosquitos that left a red streak of blood down my arm when I brushed them off, and clouds of pollen that dusted me with a yellow sheen by the time I ended the day. But now, from the comfort of my perfectly climate controlled tractor cab, as I scan the dial through an endless assortment of radio stations, and adjust the lumbar of my swiveling seat so my back doesn't get sore, I'm pretty convinced that haying is going to kill me.
I'm not sure why, but this year, I struggled with an allergy to pollen or hay or farming, like nothing I've experienced in the past. At night when I would have normally went out and cleaned off the top of the machine, I was afraid to leave the cab. I would come home unable to breathe, welts all around my neck, a rash covering the upper half of my body, and fricken blisters on my eyelids!
Blisters. On. My. Eyelids!!
What the hell?
So, if this is the fate that I'm destined to endure, even locked inside the relative safety of the cab of my tractor, I may have to consider taking a job in a different field. No......different profession, I tried a different field, with the same results. Trouble is, my resume is pretty sparse. I have 46 years of employment history all in the same place, and no references as to my ability to do my job, other than what I can tell you. Mine would be the resume stamped NO, and shredded for hamster cage lining, after the first glance. So what are the options for a slightly, over-the-hill farmer, with a debilitating allergy to his chosen profession?
Ideally, I think I'd like that job where they sent the guy around the world with one razor, documenting his travels, and ability to maintain a close, sexy shave without the luxury of a second set of blades for his razor. Or, maybe I could land a few roles as the generic, leather-faced farmer, in heart touching agricultural, television commercials narrated by Sam Elliot. As long as the sets are nowhere near an actual field, I'm fine, and I do leather-faced, extremely well.
But, there is another option. Recently, as part of my volunteering to run the beer tent at our local community rodeo, because realistically, where else would I be, I was required to pass a liquor servers course and am now a card carrying individual, licenced for responsible liquor sales and service, in the province of Alberta. Ya, me. I guess they were desperate?
Although, the beer tent gig, didn't involve much more than popping the tabs on cans of beer, I do have a bit of an interest in mixing drinks, and I think I make a pretty decent mojito. Maybe I could turn my barn into a pub and be one of those friendly bartender types. Despite what my wife might tell you, I am a pretty good listener, and you could bend my ear, while I mix you up a beverage of your choosing.
...........plus, opening beers for cowboys all day, left me with a bit of a callus on the side of my finger, so I think I'm probably already more than qualified?