Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Calf bucket

One day late last November after Glenn had his hip replacement surgery when cabin fever was nagging us, we took a drive out to a dairy near us that was selling Christmas trees.  The dairy is in a lovely valley -- well, lovely in a very southern, Southern California kind of way; a valley that many people believe is sadly being spoiled by a huge electric power project.  The dairy was started by the current owners' grandparents about 50 years ago, if I am remembering correctly.  The current generation of dairymen graduated UC Davis and brought updated practices to the family operation including methane production (from all that cow manure!!) that powers at least a portion of their operation. 

The Van Ommering's also supplement their dairy income by offering dairy tours to school groups and seasonal activities like a pumpkin patch and the Christmas trees I was looking for!  The wife of one of the owners created a small gift shop on the property, too. 

I think I may have mentioned before that as the wife of a small business owner, I like to buy from other small business owners whenever possible and will choose a family-run restaurant over a chain all the time.  So, the idea of buying our Christmas tree from this small, family-run dairy, rather than from Wal-Mart, was very appealing to me.  Plus the drive out to the dairy would be a nice diversion for the two of us.

I found the perfect, very small tree -- one I could wrestle into the back of the SUV, into the house, into the tree-stand, and onto the table next to the sofa by myself, having at the time, a husband who was not allowed to pick up anything heavier than his pillow.   (Kind of like me right now!)

(If you've stayed with me this long, you probably need to get a life!)

While we were looking at the trees, I noticed the cute little, galvanized aluminum buckets they were all standing in.  Calf buckets the dairyman's wife told me, used to feed (or water, I don't remember which) the calves born at the dairy. 

Well, I just had to have me one of those buckets!  Were they for sale?  Nooooo, not really said the dairyman's wife.  Plllleeezzz?  said I.  So she called her husband who quoted her a price -- probably all the while shaking his head over the goofy things non-agricultural-type people would be willing to buy.  (And this from a family who sells bags of rotted cow manure in their gift shop!)

So, home we went with a Christamas tree and this cute little calf bucket:

If you're still sticking with me on this, I'm finally getting to the point of my story. 

Today, after my doctor appointment during which I was told I was progressing nicely and could spend more time up and about, I decided to check out my tomato plants which, now that the weather is cooling off a bit, are budding again.  I was please to see that I might have a nice fall crop of tomatoes,  IF I can keep ahead of the darned horned tomato worms, that is!  Tons of horned worms.  Munching and pooping their way along the stems of my tomato plants! 

Upon seeing the first worm, I sprang into action (well, not really, more like moved slowly into action) and began stripping the fat, evil looking worms off the tomato plants with my garden-glove-clad hands.  And, here is where the calf bucket (finally) comes in! 

Hooked nice and neatly to the side of each of my horse trough gardening containers, it caught the horrid worms and held them until I had removed every one I could find. 

Here's how it looked part way through the process:

(The worm still attached to the stem refused to let go and, being squeamish as I am even when wearing garden gloves, I decided it would be easier to remove the whole stem than to risk squishing the worm with my fingers.)

After collecting probably three times that many worms, I ceremoniously, dumped them into the canyon behind our house where I hope the roadrunner and other birds gobbled them right up.

I love that calf bucket!

So, this is a blog about two dogs, right?

So, here is the dog content:

A fence and gate keep the dogs out of my vegetable garden, so the velcro dog can't get in there with me.  But, at one point I looked up and saw her keeping tabs on me, just the same:


scotsmad said...

Those worms are creepy looking. Hope they don't crawl back! Glad the calf bucket came in handy!

A velcro dog will never be far away....unless you have house guests.

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

Taryn said...

That calf bucket is adorable! I would have wanted one too!

We get those same icky worms! They sure can devour a tomato plant. Seeing as how I grew up a country girl, I just squish 'em!

Becky said...

It's a shame there aren't fences for those ugly worms. A calf bucket how clever!